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Best camera for photography on a budget?
  • Hi guys, I'm traveling to Africa (Ethiopia) next month and I am in a need of a good still camera that can do a great job on a budget in around the $1700 price point. I thought I ask the community and see what help I can get. For video, I am using my GH2s.

  • 23 Replies sorted by
  • I think best idea is to describe your shooting tasks and goals.

  • The event I am covering is the second day of a wedding (traditional I am told) First day they have a professional photographer but too expensive to cover the whole event. So I was told lots of pictures in the "dark", people with bright color traditional cloths. Also pictures in the country side at various landmarks. So in general pictures of people in many different locations.

  • That's actually what I'm leaning towards, but I thought maybe I can get something close to the level of the D600 even cheaper.

  • but I thought maybe I can get something close to the level of the D600 even cheaper

    It won't be FF camera :-)

    If you want to go cheap and good, I can suggest pentax K-5.

    Check same topic for link on K-5 or

    Get WR kit lens (may be 18-135mm kit) and WR 55-300mm if you need it.

  • @ hilltop1

    if you dont mind me asking, why not just use the gh2 and spend the savings on 35mm zeiss glass w/fotodiox adapter? i recently printed a2 and a3 sizes for a portrait project and the results looked almost identical to what my friend got with his medium format camera. i used a long focal length to get a shallow d.o.f. to simulate the large sensor look.

  • @hay I don't like stills that come out of the GH2 at list mine. Certain bright colors looks really shitty even in RAW - Red, orange, pink etc. Funny thing is those bright colors look just fine in video mode on my GH2. I was told the event will be colorful (cloths) so I don't want to take any chances with my GH2.

    Pentax K-5 looks cheap enough, I like. How about the K-5 ii?

  • D7000 + some F/1.4 lenses. Good low light AF, probably still the best low light ability of a crop sensor, and dual card slots for on-the-fly backups.

  • Pentax K-5 looks cheap enough, I like. How about the K-5 ii?

    It is very similar camera, no need to pay 2 times more.

    D7000 + some F/1.4 lenses. Good low light AF, probably still the best low light ability of a crop sensor

    As far as I remember low light is the same as K-5.

    Btw, Pentax have big advantage if you like fast Samyangs - they work in all auto modes (including flash). For Nickon you'll need chipped versions, and I do not know how well they'll work.

  • Why not an OM-D, since you already own some m4/3 lenses? Or one between the E-PL5 and the E-PM2 to save even more money...

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev Last I heard, the K-5 had forced in-camera high ISO NR, even in RAW. Not sure if they ever made that switchable in a firmware update.

  • @BlueBomberTurbo

    Falk Lumo did some research about this, it had few firmware updated, so it needs checking. And, if you ask me, I don't give a fuck about this.

  • Glad to know that samyangs lens will work with k-5, cuz I was telling myself I will need at least a lens at f2.8. At this point the K-5 is looking really good. Will stop by my local camera shop and play with one or try the k-5 ii so I know how the k-5 will look. @BlueBomberTurbo, what's the forced in-camera high iso NR you talking about? I tried looking for some info about it but couldn't find anything. @rikyxxx, I don't know about the stills on the E-PLS or E-PM2, but I will certainly take a look.

    The way I see if, if I will end up spending something close to $1800 camera and lens, then I'm just going to add the extra $200 and get the D600 with kit lens and call it the day. That way I can have a camera good for stills and OK video.

  • @HillTop1 Check this article out:

    Also, the D600 as it stands now seems to have exposure issues. was doing a comparison of it and the 6D, and the D600 was definitely way off:

    They posted somewhere else that they tried the same test on their available D600 stock, and some were affected, while others were not. Might just need a firmware repair, or might be hardware related and more of a pain to fix.

  • @BlueBomberTurbo

    I suggest to ask guys as pentaxforums, I talked with few and all said that it is not an issue.

  • @HillTop1

    I don't know about the stills on the E-PLS or E-PM2.

    Same as OM-D.

  • @HillTop1

    Photography on a budget? Nex 5n or 6 + zeiss 24mm f1.8 + 50mm f1.8 OSS

    Ive used this combination to photograph some weddings and christenings. Gave me no fuss. Af was fast and not one of the photos taken were unusable. Heres some examples (albeit compressed).

    4137 x 2760 - 3M
    4137 x 2757 - 4M
    4136 x 2760 - 3M
  • @HillTop1 I am in Addis Abeba right now, and I did spend this year already 4 monthes here There are MANY prof. fotographers here in Ethiopia using Nikon D800 and similar, and they do the work to VERY low prices. And they bring the copies as well! Why dont you just add the missing money to get a pro on the second day and feel free to enjoy the celebration and different traditions.. and just use your GH2 for your own fun, make some filmdocumentation about... there will be a LOT to see and explore. Ceremonies, people, dresses, hairstyle, foods, drinks, decorations, languages, music, colours... You can be met by quite high expectations here, so basically I would keep out of risk and enjoy just being a guest. Dont expect things always to be as straight forward as you expect them to be.... ;-)

    enjoy your traveling, be carefull, the smart ones fool the less smart ones!!! ;-) Kurt

  • Canon 5d mark 2 $1529 on amazon bnew.

  • Nex-7 is also amazing for still photography, RAWs are great. Its size is even smaller than GH2's. I don't know anything about AF lenses for Sony E-mount, I use my Nex-7 only with old MF lenses. It is big step up from the Nex-5 I wouldn't consider that one at all. I agree about GH2's stills are not nearly as good as videos, I prefer even GH1.

  • @markussen, thanks for you advice on Addis Ababa and I look forward to that trip and new experience. The occasion is not mine just trying to help. "You can be met by quite high expectations here" What do you mean by that?

    Otherwise that, I have settle for the Pentax K-5 with kit 18-135, kit 55-300 and Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8.

  • In M4-3 there are interesting options: the E-PL5 is as good as the E-M5 and costs half, use the same sensor, I have read that has slightly better dynamic range. The E-PM2 equally and according to DxOMark test has less noise than a 7D. From Panasonic the GX1 is a good camera. The new G5 by the test I have seen is a good still camera, provides good colors and has a good dynamic range is not as sexy as the E-M5, but some say you have a camera with similar features in half, but do not have a stabilizer in the body. Furthermore, the lenses that you will take advantage, you would have small and agile bodies, but of course not if you want a traditional DSLR.