So, this question comes from a peer's sister who is undergoing some course regarding "fashion".

They have been asked by their non-photographer teacher to "get a DSLR camera of range up to $803 from Nikon or Canon".
That's all. The photography teacher hasn't arrived yet so more information regarding the specs cannot be fetched.

What best camera and lens combination can be sought for shooting models and the art gallery in the specified range?


At that price range, and without any other specific instructions, it is almost certain that the students will be expected to have the kit lens (18-55mm or 18-[something slightly longer]) that often comes with a new crop-sensor (APS-C or DX) camera. Apart from the slightly inconvenient fact that Nikon users will have a slight advantage over Canon users in the gallery, where wide angle can be important, while Canon users have the edge with the model shots, that will put all of the students on an equal footing, allowing the instructor to teach a class rather than a group of individuals, with the only extra burden being the requirement to know enough about both the Canon and Nikon menus, etc., to be able to help the fat-fingered when they've accidentally set something wrong.

No, the kit lens isn't "the best" lens for any of these uses over the long term, but it certainly is an adequate lens, and what's more, it will allow the student to get the most out of the class. Being stuck with a "nifty fifty" in an area where you need to step back twenty paces (which would mean walking through a wall) will not offset the fact that it will give you better bokeh in a tight portrait-type shot, will it?

  • What makes you claim that the Nikon has an advantage in the gallery while the Canon has the edge with model shots? Unless you have specific cameras and scenarios in mind, this is a pretty baseless statement.
    – Robin
    Feb 12 '15 at 19:51
  • @Robin - It's about sensor size versus focal length. The Nikon DX sensor is 16mm x 24mm, while the Canon APS-C sensor is slightly smaller at 14.8mm x 22.2mm. For the same 18-55mm focal length range, the Nikon will be slightly wider (effectively) at the 18mm range than the Canon, and at 55mm, the Canon will be effectively longer than the Nikon. This is not a statement about the camera quality, just about the 35mm-equivalent focal lengths available when using the kit lens.
    – user35658
    Feb 12 '15 at 21:04
  • 2
    While your facts are correct, I have to say that I think even mentioning the 1.5 vs. 1.6 crop factor difference will cause more confusion than help. The difference is so insignificant that there is no real world advantage/disadvantage to either. Full frame would be a different story though.
    – Robin
    Feb 12 '15 at 21:47

In your case I would buy an entry-level DSLR body like a Nikon D3300 and a 50mm f1.8 prime lens.

This lens is made for such scenarios and you can achieve very sharp and high quality images and you have enough money left to care about studio lightning :)

  • 1
    But if you say "fashion", you don't necesary mean just portrait, so a full body shoot will be dificult closer than 4mts if you only have the 50mm lens.
    – Rafael
    Feb 12 '15 at 18:44
  • 1
    Wouldn't you have to shoot at a narrower aperture for fashion? If the goal is to get a good shot of the clothes, I wouldn't think that a shallow DOF is not going to cut it. I would expect that a deeper DOF and thus good lighting would be a necessity, which pretty much means a flash when shooting inside. I am not a fashion photographer though, so this is just speculation. I would also expect a zoom lens would be necessary for the flexibility.
    – Robin
    Feb 12 '15 at 21:55

Funny that a non photographer is asking for a camera in a specific price range.

I understand that they need to shoot the models inside the art gallery. That is a different scenario from a runway and it is different from shooting just the models.

  1. If you need to shoot both at the same time, you need to be flexible, so you need a zoom lens, so the one included with the camera will do. It doesn't have the best image quality but it is the starting point. You will need a tripod. Try to complement this with a good quality 50mm lens to take some nice portraits of the models with a painting as a texture.

  2. Fashion normally means runway, you are normally not in the front row, and you cannot use a tripod. So you probably need a flash, or a fast lens. A 50mm will do to full body at 3-4 meters.

You need to make a choice. Nikon or Canon. And this will be your choice in the coming years.

I know I am commenting out of the scope, but probably you need to choose one that can do HD video too.

  • 50mm on a full-frame camera will do full-body at just under 4m, but for a crop-sensor, you'd need closer to 7m for a typical fashion model (170-175cm plus heels). The price range (50K INR) is equivalent to "relatively recent DSLR, but don't go broke getting it".
    – user35658
    Feb 12 '15 at 21:13

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