Equipment

Hello!

Many people ask me questions about photography, advice on equipment, and now, questions about what I'm using to shoot the vlog came up.

Phone cameras have improved a lot! It is possible to take a photo with that dreamy blurred background right on your cell phone, so this can also be an option for those who want to start taking great pictures but don't want to spend too much on a camera!

I'm team Apple, so the iPhone is my first choice. But I have to admit that the new Google Pixel 2 has a better camera than the iPhone X or 8.

Since I have all the Apple things, I end up preferring the iPhone so everything is connected, but I confess that I borrow my husband's Pixel 2 to make some photos!

I'm using my choices as an example since my goals have changed over time. (Photos and Prices taken from Adorama and B&H website)

Let's start this... The equipment you choose has to be in accordance with your budget and how you will use it. If your purpose is to make money, you need better equipment with better resolutions. If your goal is to have a nice camera for trips and your Instagram pics, then you can go with a cheaper one.

I bought my first digital camera on a trip to Orlando in 2011. At that time, my phone was a BlackBerry. For taking pictures with friends, it was more than enough, but when it came to traveling, I wanted to have something better. Not to mention that a photography course was already on my to-do list, so I wanted a camera to train my eyes during the course.

My first digital camera was a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H300. It did not change lenses and it was a decent camera for what I wanted. At the time, it costed $420, today you find the same one for $178.00. The price changes as they evolve, so the updated model is already much better than when I bought it!

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H300 ($178.00)

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I spent a good amount of time with this camera, until I started the photography course. There the ideal was to have a DSLR, and since I had another trip coming, it would be a great time to upgrade.

During a visit to Portugal, I bought a Nikon DSLR, but I never got to buy other lenses for it. At the time, photography was just a hobby, so I wasn't willing to invest much more.

This Nikon was a bit more expensive at the time costing about 500 Euros. At Adorama, you can find it for cheaper. It's considered a semi-professional camera, but it's an excellent choice for those who want to start working with photography.

Nikon D3400 ($506.94)

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Before I moved to New York, I sold my Nikon. I was coming to do other things and photography was not a priority. I sold the camera and bought an iPhone 6 Plus, which was great and the camera was much better than my iPhone 5C. Anyway, I stayed about two years without having a camera other than my cell phone.

In 2016, I decided to do some short photography courses, but since I did not have a camera, I couldn't go to the better ones. Most of the courses I took were the ones that had equipment available for students to use during classes, and they were short courses; no more than two days of class.

In May, I decided to buy a new camera to be able to take courses in more specific areas of photography. It was time to start a whole new research process, to compare prices, models, and especially, to think of the purpose that equipment would have.

I went to B&H, which is one of my favorite electronics stores. They have several people to help you with any concern you have about equipment, make comparisons, and so you can test different cameras and lenses. For those who love electronics, this is arguably the best store in the world!

After thinking a lot, I went for the Canon EOS Rebel T6i. It was the new model and perfect for what I needed. I started my course at the New York Institute of Photography and as I learned all its functions, the T6i exceeded my expectations.

The Canon T6i is not a cheap camera. It is still really popular and for that reason, this baby is my number one in my recommendations. If you are studying, starting to get jobs, or even just as a hobby, this is the best one. 

It is simple to use, has an interchangeable lens, and the LCD display flips, making it also a great camera for selfies ;) So if you want to invest in a nice camera, this is my suggestion. Both Adorama and B&H have used equipment, and they give a warranty for that as well. You can find it for a lower price, in excellent condition, and still have a year of coverage.

Canon EOS Rebel T6i ($699.00)

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Of course my photography saga did not end with the Rebel T6i. After all, I was studying to enter the market as a professional photographer. When I started to work, I had to run to the store to upgrade my equipment.       

The cool thing about choosing a brand, is that most cameras will follow the same general pattern of functionality. This means there are no big surprises when you switch to a better model. Not to mention that most lenses can be used in different models, and that's how I started my love story with Canon.

In the beginning of 2017, I started to get more photography jobs and felt the need to have better equipment for what I was doing. That's how I bought my first professional camera (YAY! I'm a grown up now!)

Of course, as I was just getting started, I did not have a high budget to buy a new one. So going back to advice from my professors and friends and after evaluating all my options, I got a Canon 6D as it was my best full frame camera option.

But what is a Full Frame camera?! 

When talking about DSLR cameras (with interchangeable lenses), it is common to hear the terms Full Frame or Crop Factor. This is related to the size and performance of the sensor. Just as analog camera films have different sizes, digital cameras have sensors of different sizes.

On the Canon T6i the sensor is the APS-C, present in most semi-professional cameras. This means that the lens will send a smaller area image to the sensor. In the Canon 6D, the sensor, captures a larger area.

Canon EOS 6D ($1,299.00)

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As everything has a downside, the Canon 6D's is the price! Professional cameras only change the price when a new model is released. By the time I bought it, it was a bit more expensive, but I got a nice discount on an opened box. Both B&H and Adorama have these options from time to time; someone asks to see a model, they do not have in the showcase so they open the box. If the person does not buy it, they put a discount to sell it. That's how I got it and since I was saving some money, I decided to buy an external flash and a 50mm lens.

Just to be clear, this price is for the body of the camera only! It does not come with a lens, so be careful when choosing your equipment.

Last but not least, the Canon 5D Mark III. As new jobs were coming up, I needed a better camera. Now it was a little easier, I already had lenses and flash, so I just had to invest in a new body.

When I started working with weddings, I also felt the need to have a second camera. When you shoot events with another photographer, it's not a big deal having one body, but on my first job alone I was terrified! Changing the lens during a wedding, for example, can cost a lot of money. Every moment is precious for the couple!

So that's how I decided to make the family bigger. The Canon 6D has only 11 focus points, which also means that a lot of the pictures of people moving were blurry. So I decided to buy one that suited all my needs.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III ($2,299.00)

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The Canon 5D Mark III is an excellent camera, has 61 focus points, and the price has dropped significantly since they launched the Mark V.

I honestly think the differences between them do not justify it costing a thousand dollars more, so I bought the Mark III. It perfectly fits the professional photography market. Not to mention that it was much easier to photograph a wedding alone without wasting time changing the lens. I always pick a lens to use throughout the event and I use the other camera to switch between more lenses. Works great!

During winter, I have been using my equipment for other things. Most of the photos for the Blog and Instagram use the Canon 6D, which is the camera I usually carry with me. To shoot videos at home, I use the 5D Mark III and very soon, you will see on YouTube that the image is great. But since we live by the train, I also use an external microphone to capture the audio better.

When I decided I was going to start a vlog for Dicas Barbaras, I looked for the ideal cameras to take with me wherever, and of course, the most popular option was the Canon G7X: the vloggers' sweetheart! A new model was released recently, G7X Mark II and this made the price of the previous model a little lower.

I confess I was a bit confused, but after watching some videos I saw that the image quality of the G7X Mark II was much better.

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II ($679.00)

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Well, from the photo you can see that this is a great option for those who want to see themselves while shooting, right?! There are other brands with better resolutions, but I confess I did not want to make a bigger investment.

In fact, even this amount I was not willing to spend, so I went to take a look at the used department. However, as it was just released, there was no cheaper option. That's when I found a great deal on Amazon.

For those who don't not know, there are two sales segments. One directed to the US and one to the other countries. The US one comes with a year warranty and the others without any coverage. That's how I found the G7X Mark II for $529, $ 150 off, and with the option to buy a 4-year warranty for $59. It was definitely a great deal! 

This is a wonderful tip for those who want to invest in equipment: always look for the best option! If you do not live in the country where you made the purchase, it is worth looking for discounts online.  

But please, avoid unknown stores! There are a lot of electronics scams out there. The number of stores that sell fake cameras here in New York is unbelievable. And most times, you will only find out when you have a problem with it and the supplier does not recognize the manufacturing number. So be careful!

To be really honest, I only trust B&H and Adorama. And when I buy electronics on Amazon, I always see the seller's references, comments and I also buy the warranty extension through Amazon. If there is any problem, they solve it really fast.

Wow! I thought I would never finish writing this post, but I think I was able to give some guidance to whoever is looking to buy new equipment. If anyone has questions or needs help with evaluation of used cameras, just let me know and I will be happy to help! And if you want opinions on other brands and models, write to me and I will help you to find the best cost-effective option for what you are looking for!

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