I'm not a photographer and I know absolutely nothing about cameras. One thing I do know is that my iPhone camera is quite rubbish for taking head shots. I've recently become very interested in photography and it's literally just happened overnight. I really can't explain it but I know it's going to be new hobby of mine.

I was reading this: http://stepheneastwood.com/tutorials/len...

and realised my photos always come out like 35mm, 24mm, 19mm. They change the shape of my face and exaggerate my features.

I'd like to start out taking head shots then move out to full body shots later on with a different camera. But for I'd like to buy a camera and lens to start out with. I want to make up for the lack of photos I've taken in the last few years.

If you could provide different options that would be great. Also would a camera that also record video mean a sacrifice in quality in regards to photos? Just wondering if I need to go for a camera that takes photos only. Looking spend under £500, £500 would be max as this would be my first camera.

From the article i read I gathered that 135mm lens would be the best to go for. I've also been told I'd need a tripod also. I've asked this question on yahoo also and have the Nikon 5100 has been recommended.

I managed to come across this deal: http://slrhut.co.uk/product/ID1360C5/WRA5100B2BNDL1_Nikon-D5100-16_2-MP-Camera-+-Accessory-Bundle-W_18_55mm-55_300mm-VR-Lenses-+-Accessory-Bundle-/

With a little tweak it may be what I'm looking for. I really would like to see what everyone seems to be in favour of when starting out.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to the responses. Kind regards.


Offering a specific camera/lens model suggestion might not be that be useful for future visitors of the site, however it's possible to answer your more general questions, and give you pointer of where to look.

Firstly having a video mode doesn't usually mean there's any sacrifice in the quality of still images. A DSLR is a safe bet for portraits/headshots, offering a wide choice of lenses and an good ergonomic platform to shoot headshots.

In my opinion an 85mm f/1.8 lens would be best, considering you would most likely be using an APS-C format camera (the 135mm recommendation is probably based around a full frame camera which offers a wider field of view for a given focal length). Any longer and you could have difficulty finding enough space to shoot your subjects. The f/1.8 aperture is useful in blurring out the background.

Good 85mm lenses are available for major camera systems (eg. Canon/Nikon) for £300 new or probably around £200 used in good condition. This leaves £300 in the budget for a camera body. At this price you would also be looking at a used model, but that does mean you could pick up a few year old prosumer body in good condition. Nikon probably offer some of the better value propositions in this area.

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