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DSLR for plant photography

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by Jimba86, May 11, 2018.

  1. Jimba86

    Jimba86 Member

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    So my work has given me the wonderful job if new photographer (yay!) But there is one slight cavat.

    I have no clue to what DSLRs are good or bad. I currently have a Panasonic TZ30 which is a good camera but not suitable for this type of work im assuming.

    So I thought I would ask you guys and girls what the best option is for what I need to do.

    What I need to do.

    1. take pictures in various light conditions for use on the web and printed promotional material.

    2. Take close ups of a number of different plants (native species to give you an idea)

    3. take wide shots of groups of plants in different angles to show them off.

    From What I have read/researched NIkon is better for this type of work then cannon? For lens I know I will need at least a macro lens and wide angle lens, maybe a fisheye for creative shots?

    im unsure of specs of camera bodies as im unsure what the budget will be (im guessing 2K for body + 2 lens). if I can go 2nd hand that will open a whole lot more options for what I can get for my budget.
     
  2. Michael H

    Michael H Member

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    Do not overlook 4/3 cameras by Panasonic or Olympus, which have some great built in features to help with macro photos (esp Panasonic). The Olympus 60mm is a great macro lens.

    Otherwise an entry level DSLR or mirrorless will do the job. Lens selection will be important. A very good macro lens is the Tamron 90mm macro available in various camera mounts (there is also a second more expensive Tamron at 90mm). You will need confirmation on the budget before you commit.

    4/3 will get you more for around $2,000, I suspect. Second hand will indeed great you more. Macro is one area where second lens are common.

    Learning flash, both on an off camera, will be a big plus. One speedlite and a sync cable is the minimum you need.

    Good technique is important for macro. I will post some links later.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  3. OP
    OP
    Jimba86

    Jimba86 Member

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    Thank you very much for the help. I am leaning towards DSLR more due to it been easier to hold in my hand as the grip is bigger so I can get a better grip (if that makes sense?) I am thinking I might have to go new for the body (B stock might be a good idea?) and try and go 2nd hand for the lens to save money.

    but like you said, I need to wait for confirmation on budget before I commit.
     
  4. redav

    redav Member

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    I'd expect you're referring to this on a Panasonic? I wonder how it goes? When I saw that I thought it was pretty neat
     
  5. Michael H

    Michael H Member

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    Post focus is one of the very handy features, basically it also allows you to extract frames from video and stack the images (bye noise)! It works great from what I seen - hand held.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  6. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    I'd be concentrating less on the camera gear and more on the environment; when you're trying to push product its more about styling. Make sure you've got a good spot to actually take the pictures. If you're doing isolated shots of a single plant then make sure you can set up a consistent environment to shoot- that might mean a little shooting tent and some lights or just somewhere on premises that already has nice light / good background.

    When you're shooting groups of plants you want to make sure you can isolate them if you're shooting against a busy / high frequency background.

    For the camera, anything half-way decent (8mp+) dslr / interchangeable lens camera with a good closeup/macro lens and something like a standard zoom on a crop camera this likely means a 18-50~ lens that isn't garbage and a 60-100mm macro. If you wind up going full-frame (which isn't really super necessary for most things) then a 24-70~ and a 100mm~ macro will do the trick.

    One of the single most important pieces of gear you get will be the tripod. Do not, ever, under any circumstance, cheap out on a tripod. Go spend $200+ on a solid one, Manfrotto do good things in that range- at least a 190-series, preferably a PRO variant with a decent head.

    Just don't get caught up in the gear; people were taking fantastic product shots 10 years ago on digital bodies so you absolutely don't need the latest and greatest.

    When it comes to DSLR, personally, I'm a Nikon man. But with either Canon / Nikon you won't struggle to find the lenses / accessories you need.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
    vladtepes likes this.
  7. OP
    OP
    Jimba86

    Jimba86 Member

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    yeah a tripod (the model you suggested) and a decent nikon like the D7200 (im partial to nikon as its what I have used and am familiar with) should be fine.

    for the budget im guessing its better to spend more on lens then on a camera body but not too cheap. from my research anything less then a D7000 series and I cant use all the lens available (new and old) so that is what I should be aiming for I think?

    latest and greatest is too much anyway. If I have to buy it myself then I will look 2nd hand (here and gumtree etc) but if its company dollar then see what they say (new and make it a tax write off i would think).

    for separate shots of the plants a natural environment background would look more natural then a white background, right?
     
  8. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    Yeah sure, D7200 should be fine. I personally prefer the more serious bodies but whatever works for you.

    If the company doesn't want to pay for it I'd probably shoot for full frame; that said though I wouldn't be using my own stuff for company work- if they don't think its valuable enough to pay for it or 'rent' your gear or whatever then they have the incorrect motive in the first place; avoid.

    Natural environment is great for that sort of stuff but just make sure you've got enough room to separate the subject from the background etc.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Jimba86

    Jimba86 Member

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    yeah, If I can convince them for a full frame then I will go that (I agree with your comment and would try and shoot for a full frame if I have to pay for it myself, get a 2nd hand D800 or something)

    there is alot of spaces I can choose from so If I can find somewhere natural and with enough light I will make it the "background" for all solo pictures to make everything consistent.
     
  10. vladtepes

    vladtepes Member

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    ^catalyst's advice is solid. Nothing I can add.
     
  11. SyN

    SyN Member

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    I would have thought m43/APSC would have pixel density advantage over FF for macro work to allow greater working distance and deeper DOF. I haven't done much macro at all, but on my FF i need to stop down aperture a lot to get more DOF and end up having to crank the flash or ISO... any thoughts?
     
  12. Zee

    Zee Member

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    Agreed, I have an E-M1, with the 60mm macro. Built in image stabilisation with Oly is fantastic, and the M4:3 sensore works very well for Macro. It's also a great compact package, and the tocuscreen activation can be remarkebly useful.

    Z...
     
  13. stevo4

    stevo4 Member

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    +1 for Tamron, their G2 lens when it comes to optical stabilisation is second to none, offering 5 stops.

    Having said that while I have a 24-70mm f2.8 G2 lens on my camera most of the time, as my walk around lens, a lot of my flower shots are with a 105mm prime f2.8 micro nikkor lens.
    Razor sharp, but VR not so hot.

    If you going to get into macro photography, learn to shoot with very shallow depths of field.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018

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