ART 108 Recommended Cameras
Prepared by Professor Terrry Towery

BH Back to school flyer

You must have a manually controllable Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera to complete this course. No cameraphones, point and shoot or fully automatic cameras allowed. Digital cameras are allowed but they must be fully manully controllable.

Your choice of camera is a very personal decision. I can't make it for you. An analogy might draw is to car or computer choices.There are hundreds of models and options out there. Personally I am a NIkon person (and a Macintosh and Ford person as well). All of the professional brands are fine. Consider how long you plan to use your camera and if you might want to add accessories later. Almost every professional photographer I have ever met uses either Nikon or Canon (or leica) equipment.

If you choose to mail order your camera you must have it delivered by the next class session. The first thing you should do is read the manual!!! There are thousands of camera models out there and it is impossible for me to know all the details of every camera. It is your responsibility to understand your own camera.

Your decison making process should go something like this:

1. Analog or digital?

2. Camera type Dslr, Rangefinder, Prosumer, micro four thirds
DSLR cameras look like this:
Point and Shoot Cameras look like this:

3. which Body Nikon, Canon, Leica, Olympus, Sony etc

4. Lenses are another option to consider. Whch lens Zoom or Prime, OEM or third party? How fast a lens (this is expressed in Fstops, the lower the number the better). You need to have a lens that includes 50mm in its range. A fixed 50mm is fine. The lower the Fstop number the "faster" (needs less light to make a picture) the lens is and consequently the more expensive it is. Generally the manufacturers brand is going to be sharper than a third party lens. Generally, fixed focal length lenses are sharper than zoon lenses.

5. NOTE: Regardless of which camera you choose you will need to add approx $50-250 (or more) in accessories (filters, memory cards, card reader etc).Which optional accessories such as: spare battery, Strap, tripod, white balance tools, an external flash, case, filters, batteries, a card reader (SD or CF) depending on your camera)

FAll 2013 BH back to school sales flyer

Reliable camera reviews

DIGITAL Choices - Make sure you choose a kit that includes a camera with lens, not camera body only.

Manually controllable Digital SLR cameras
Nikon D series        
Nikon coolpix prosumer        
canon Digital rebel
Canon Powershot Prosumer        

ANALOG choices There are some EXCELLENT used film cameras available for very reasonable prices these days.

Traditional Film SLR Freestyle Price
800 616-3686
B&H Price
212 444-6615
800 225-8638
K&M camera and 212-523-0954 Tribeca
This is the film Camera I recommend

Nikon FM10 with 35-70mm Nikkor zoom
Pentax ZX-M        
Vivitar V3800N        

What camera should I buy?

- If your camera is "broken" be sure to check the battery. (98% of all broken cameras simply need a new battery).
- Be sure to get the USA warranteed model. Som vendors sesll imported cameras where the warranty is not valid in the US.
- Do not let them sell you unnecessary accesories such as a warranty or a useless UV or skylight filter. I do recommend a Polarizing filter but it is optional.
-flash is optional

Vendors I recommend:
B&H Photo
Freestyle photography
Calumet photo
KM camera

Batteries: Definitely buy a spare battery for your camera (so you own two)
Memory cards, SD or CF Cards. I like Sandisk cards, Ive got 15 of them and never had a problem. Buy a larger memory card. The card that comes with the camera is useless (too small). Video burns up approx 1GB storage per 7minutes record time. To shoot still photos you can use cards approx 2-8 MB in size, for Video shooting you need large memory cards, 16GB, which are approx $100 each.
You are better using a card reader (SD or CF) depending on your camera) $20 – 40. You plug thi into your computer and pull the memory card from the camera and transfer to computer this way instead of hooking up camera directly.

Photo tips, lessons, gallery and glossary:
Digita lphotography school

You need a camera for this class, ideally you should have a Digital SLR Camera (DSLR) to take this course. DSLR camera have manual controls which enable you to change exposure and settings more readily. Low priced DSLR cameras still cost approx $500 - 600+. Alternatively you can by a pro-sumer camera (a cross between Pro and consumer) point and shoot, or advanced Point and shoot, $250 – 400 depending on the model. )OR A FILM CAMERA FOPR LESS THAN $200.00) Most professional photographers shoot either Canon or Nikon, so if you are hoping or planning to be a pro pick one Nikon or Canon. Even if you can afford a $3000 camera that doesent mean you need one.

Refurbished and Used: I would strongly caution anyone from purchasing a refurbished camera and use caution when purchasing used cameras on eBay. Used cameras from BH and Calumet come with a 90 day warranty.

For Camera shopping go to
Look at Digital SLR Cameras with lens ( DSLR ) between $450-1000

B and H Photo, 9th Ave bet 33 and 34 St, Open 6 days, Sun to Fri

The BH Prices are very, very good but you will pay tax and shipping. If you order online from out of state you don’t pay tax and many companies offer free shipping. Thus, If you can find these models elsewhere at a significant cost reduction make sure they have it in stock and it can be shipped quickly. You don’t want to wait 4 weeks just to save $20.

Trade ins:
If you already have a camera and want to trade up, you can probably trade in your point and shoot for $25 - 50 towards the purchase price. But youll need to go to the store, B&H photo video, 9th ave at 34 st.

Calumet Photo
West 22 St bet 5-6 Ave

Additional lenses:
As for the lens there are a few alternatives: There are some equipment restrictions and technical difficulties to deal with. The most important thing to determine is the sensor size of your camera body. You you have to apply the X factor to whatever lens you use or buy. This alters and extends the zoom range of the lens once you apply the X-Factor. To work out the X-Factor on Nikon bodies you simply multiply the focal length of your lens by a factor of x1.5. When using a 70-200mm lens, this equates to a working zoom range of 112–320mm. Any lens you use on that body you have to apply the X factor to get the true focal length. IE: If you mount a 50mm lens you are actually shooting with an 80mm lens (50mm x 1.6 + 80mm). Thus if you want to buy a 85mm you need to purchase a 50mm to have a 80mm, If you want to end up with a 50mm you need to buy a 35mm lens to = a 56mm. Etc. You are always better off with a fixed 2.8 lens (a lens where you can shoot at 2.8 through the whole zoom range) as opposed to zoom lens with a floating aperture (f3.5 – 5.6 etc). Also you are much better buying a 2.8 lens over an f4 lens. However the faster the lens the more money. An f4 lens is $700, and f2.8 lens is $1600, an f2 lens is $2400 etc.

X Factor: See link for X factor info: <>

When shooting in low light the faster your lens (wider the aperture) the higher your shutter speed can be, which reduces the chance of camera shake and minimizes subject movement. With a faster lens you also don’t need to raise the ISO as high, thus minimizing the low light high ISO digital noise issues you get at very high ISO’s such as 3200. You pretty much need a full time f2.8 lens (or faster) to shoot low light work. The kit lenses, like the lens you have now, supplied with most DSLR’s have limited capabilities. A kit lens will allow you to shoot at f3.5 if your zoom is set to 18mm (only 1/2 stop slower than 2.8), but when you zoom out to 105mm (equal to 157mm) the mechanical limitations of the lens restrict you to shooting at f5.6, which is too slow to shoot low light work without using flash.

With lenses, you generally get what you pay for,

If you don’t need a fast lens (f1.4-2.8) you can save some money. For instance for wide interior shots you can use an f4 lens since you are able to use a tripod and can use a slow shutter speed (assuming there are no people in the photos?). But for interior shots at a wedding you really should have the 2,8 lens. Youre in a tricky spot. Ideally if you are thinking of going pro you will need both the 14-24 and the 24-70 (which are essentially the lenses I have for Canon).

Alternative Less expensive lenses:
You can buy alternative lenses made by Sigma, Tokina and Tamron. They are NOT nearly as good but have similar features, and are significantly cheaper.