Looking to get Professional Quality Camera

TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins
Beginner photographer looking to make a jump into a professional camera. Looking for advise from more people with experience. I don't want to break the bank, but I also don't want to regret buying something that wont produce quality photos. I have been looking at reviews and specs, only to find I am more confused than before I started.


  • RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,908 moderator

    Hi there and welcome to Dgrin

    There's no shortage of advice out there, so it's easy to understand why you might get confused. The good news is that there are many options, all of which can produce outstanding quality images. It would probably be helpful if you told us what sort of photography interests you, what equipment you have used so far and what your budget is.

  • TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins
    Thank you for the welcome.
    I do mostly nature/outdoor photography. I spend a lot of time in the wilderness. I am currently using a Canon T3i 600D.
    As far as budget, Im still learning, so I dont want to go all in, but want to make sure my investment leaves me room to grow.
  • RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,908 moderator

    In terms of investment, the camera body is less important over the long run than the lenses. So it probably makes sense to think about which system to buy rather than which camera. Your current T3i is compatible with a a wide variety of Canon lenses that will work with other Canon dSLR bodies. But if you are concerned with weight (and bulk) you might want to consider moving to one of the newer mirrorless systems from Sony, Nikon, Canon and others. What specific issues are you having with the T3i? They might have more to do with the lenses than the body. Which lenses are you using now?

  • TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins
    So far bulk isn't really a concern.
    My issues, most likely, are lack of experience. I have no specific issues. I currently the the opportunity to do some life changes and want to pursue something in photography.
    Being a novice, and reading reviews, techniques, specs, etc., have been a little overwhelming with all of the information out there. If the t3i is capable of producing professional quality photos, I would be totally willing to get some more lenses to have a selection for different types of shooting. Maybe my focus should be on camera functions, editing, and lenses. I almost never edit photos, trying to learn how to get better original pictures.
    I currently have 2 lenses;
    Canon EFS 18-55mm
    Canon EFS 55-250mm
  • RichardRichard Administrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,908 moderator

    My advice would be to use what you already have and go out and shoot 10,000 frames first. Learn all the functions of your camera and focus on composition and exposure. Editing is useful and pretty much universal among pros, but the most important thing is getting the image right in the first place. It's the photographer that creates professional quality images, not the camera. Go practice and when you feel like it, post some images here for constructive criticism. :+1:

  • TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins

    Here are a few of my resent shots

  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,696 moderator

    Is this your camera - https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos600d

    Do you remember what you spent for it, and do you have an idea of your budget for a newer body and or lenses that you are comfortable with?

    That body was introduced in 2011, so it is no longer current, but your images still look pretty good since well exposed, well focused images from most bodies of a decade ago still can look pretty nice. I still mine images of mine shot over a decade ago - RAW files mind you - and with modern editing they can look first rate.

    I think the first image might benefit from some cropping along the top - not sure I think the ridge adds to the image of the deer? The second image needs a bit of lightening of the darker parts of the raptor, and maybe some sharpening - it doesn't seem critically sharp to my eye. I like the last image the best, nice color and use of depth of field to focus the viewer's eye on the red/pink flowers. The fence line seems slanted to the left, not horizontal. Easy to fix in most simple image editors.

    I think that it is a fact of modern imagery, that editing is an important part of the creation of the final image. I get the idea of capturing the image "in the camera", but in reality, almost everyone finds a bit of fine tuning and cropping can improve their images. I would not dream of posting my unedited images, I am certainly not that capable. One can start with simple edits, just some cropping and mild exposure adjustments and gradually learn the ins and outs of your image editing software. I use Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, and some other plugs ins and add ons. But no one starts with all that.

    A camera body that you might find appealing is the Canon 80D - I just ordered one to replace my 5 year old 70D. Not what I call a Pro body, but very capable of creating fine images in skilled hands, and fully capable of facilitating those skills in the hand of the user. Maybe a nice large aperture prime lens to really let you show off that soft out of focus background - maybe an 85mm f 1.4 or a 50mm f1.4 Depends on what you want to capture as a subject.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • kdogkdog Administrators Posts: 11,680 moderator
    edited April 11, 2019

    What pathfinder said. I would also add the following.

    If you're serious about wildlife, I can highly recommend the Canon 100-400 IS L MKII. Zoomed to 400mm on a crop-body camera such as the Rebel or the 80D, you will have plenty of reach to photograph birds or distant mammals. It's pricey, but really good. Both Sigma and Tamron make some excellent super-telephoto zooms that are worth checking out, a bit more economical, and have even longer reach. I use the Canon myself. To decide what focal length range is most important to you, go back and look at the metadata of your favorite shots to see what focal lengths like the best. At some point you will probably want a better (sharper, faster) middrange zoom and/or super-wide zoom. 18mm is the widest you have right now and on a crop body camera that's actually not very wide. It's a stylistic thing, but I like super-wide lenses, at least 10mm on a crop body, or 16mm on a full-frame.

    As far as bodies go, both crop bodies and full-frame bodies can be used professionally and they serve different purposes. That's why many photographers have both formats in their kit. I use crop body cameras (80D and 7DMKII) for wildlife or other situations where I need more reach. The crop factor of the body adds 1.6X to the magnification of whatever lens you're using. That's significant! I use full frame cameras for everything else including portraits, events and landscapes. Full frame cameras have better low light performance and perform better for nightscapes if that's of interest. The Canon 6D II is the lowest cost full-frame body and has an excellent sensor. It would be a very good choice.

  • kdogkdog Administrators Posts: 11,680 moderator

    Oh, and just a note on editing. Pathfinder mentioned Lightroom and Photoshop, and that no one starts with that. I agree. But, you do have some experience already and I would seriously consider getting on LR as soon as you can. It's two biggest functions are initial processing of your photos and also organizing them. It's an industry standard so there are no end of YouTube videos to learn from. Adobe has switched to a subscription model and their package for Photographer's is $10 a month. That gets you both LR and PS, with continual upgrades for bug fixes and new features. I think that's a bargain for what you get. Initially, I think you'll find that LR is all you really need for most of your images. Photoshop is great for removing (or even adding) stuff from your images (powerlines, trash, people, etc) very easily. And it does a whole lot more. So much so that almost no one knows every feature. It's that big. Finally I'll add that you should shoot in raw image format which gives you much more latitude in your processing. In LR you have the same controls for raw as you do for jpg's, so there's really no downside to shooting raw except for the fact that the images take up more space than JPGs.

  • TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins

    Wow! thank you for your comments!

    @pathfinder said:
    Is this your camera - https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos600d

    Do you remember what you spent for it, and do you have an idea of your budget for a newer body and or lenses that you are comfortable with?

    Yes, that is the camera I am using. The camera is actually a borrowed. I was told it was about $600. I wanted to test my own skills before I jumped into something. I would like to stay around $1500 for an original investment. I am hoping that will be enough to get me a solid start. I'm an avid outdoorsman, with many expensive hobbies. Many of which, the cost options are endless. I can see where photography is no exception.

  • TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins

    Thank you for your input and time.
    I have my eye on the Canon 80D. It seemed to qualify in both my budget and the spectrum of capabilities I'm looking for. I definitely need to do some more research on lenses and have a better understanding.
    I am not a complete newb to image editing, as I have some experience with photoshop and Corel, along with 3d model making. This experience, however, is a lot different. I actually shoot in RAW, then I just used Photoshop to convert to jpeg on my laptop to share on my social media
    I have heard many things about Lightroom, and am going to take your advise, as it seems to be sound, and get started learning how to use RAW to my advantage. Lightroom, here I come.

    Again, thanks everyone for your input and guidance. Irreplaceable

  • joseafcjoseafc Registered Users Posts: 13 Big grins

    The photos you posted look pretty good in terms of image quality so I don't see your camera as a limiting factor here. My advise is to instead to spend some money on goos tutorials on editing, compositions and all thing photography.
    If you're looking to get into Lightroom and better Photoshop skills focused on Landscape photography I can recommend you Joshua Cripps tutorials. His Lightroom tutorial is pretty solid and comes with images to follow as he teaches. https://www.joshuacripps.com/shop/video-tutorials/lightroom-master-raw-processing-3/

    Until recently I had a sony a6300 and was pretty happy with it. I spend the good part of the last to years going out to explore and shoot and refine my post processing skills (which I'm still doing). After learning as much as I could I started feeling that my camera was holding me back a little bit in terms of image quality and decided to jump into a a7iii. Maybe try a better lens instead of a new body, but a better lens than can be used in an eventual better body. Happy shootings. :)

    Nature Photography

  • DayPhoDayPho Registered Users Posts: 11 Big grins

    Pick up the stand alone lightroom for like 150 bucks while it's still around. Also, if you like Canon, you can't go wrong with the 50mm 1.8 - another hundredish bucks. After that, if I were you, I would consider a second hand Mark III or 6D depending on budget. I never had the Mark III (I have a Mark IV) but I've heard nothing but great things about it. Also, my 6D was my first full frame and it never ceased to delight me. I own about a half dozen L quality lenses and that 50mm is really up there with them, in my opinion.

    Canon Mark IV & 6D. Too many lenses to list, mostly L. 35mm L is my pride and joy and the 85mm 1.4 will be legend. Fan of Adorama, Smugmug and Mpix.

  • puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited August 1, 2019

    You've already received a decent amount of sensible advice re kit, but I'd also suggest that your original question might be open to being slightly re-phrased?
    ie 'how do I produce 'professional quality' photos?

    These - PQPs - have been produced / taken with vastly inferior (re tech features) equipment since half decent digital gear first started arriving on the market. I for one can remember lusting after (and eventually buying, used) a Canon 10D - when it was considered a game changer - and, even more so, the 1Dmk2 (which I couldn't afford)
    In my time of being interested in wildlife photography, I've seen many excellent (and even more not so good :) ) pics taken with the latter camera..
    Similar quality pics could still be taken with such gear if used today - in the hands of a proficient practitioner - could they not?

    Re getting 'half decent pics', I'd suggest you could do far worse than having a shufties here
    With my own attempts I tried to pay particular attention to getting as clean a background as possible and getting as close to water level (as taking pics of waterfowl) as possible - by using a home made rig.
    My general mantra is / was*


    • Since I've not been 'out and about', waving a camera in the general direction of subjects for quite a while, I'd probably have to consider myself a 'talker' rather than a 'do-er' - in which case You're more than welcome to ignore the above :)
  • TheKGAdventureTheKGAdventure Registered Users Posts: 8 Big grins

    Awesome Paul! Your perspective is actually very good. Thank you for it

  • pathfinderpathfinder Super Moderators Posts: 14,696 moderator

    Hi Paul - welcome back.

    Your link - Peter Cairns is always worth a very close listen. He didn't even comment about tools, but how tools are used.

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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