Photo Lesson Overview on CGIPix.com

CGIPix is an observation that Nikon, Canon and the rest no longer make cameras,
they make computers that you can attach a lens to.
Here is a basic overview of what it takes to create good, better or best pictures, you decide how much effort you want to put into your pictures.

The basics of photography, all on one page:

Professional Setup for Wedding Photographers

One time I was talking to a photogrpaher, and they told me they had decided to get into wedding photogrpahy because it was one of the cheaper businesses that can be started, while having a good profit potential. After thinking about it, there is a lot of truth in it. WHile it's not cheap to buy a full ensemble of gear to shoot weddings, it doesn't involve renting spaces, lots of employees or a lot of capital investment in equipment.

Here is a rundown of the basic equipment needed to shoot a wedding succesfully.

Wedding Photography Basics

You are going to need multiple camera bodies, backup lenses and equipment. Notice the multiple, it's bodies, not body. Every wedding shoot will have the potential for something to go wrong. Worst case scenarios are the bride or groom doesn't show up, a memory card gets corrupted or lost, camera gear gets stolen or weather and light don't cooperate. For this reason, you really need multiples of everything to shoot a wedding.

Camera Bodies

For weddings, you need to have a completely professional camera, full frame sensor, high ISO capability. With Nikon, you are looking at a few D3x, D3s or D3 bodies, and possibly a D700. Of the 4 choices, my personal preference would be fo 3 D3s bodies, or 2 D3s and a D700s as a backup. If budget is more of a concern, then 3 D700s bodies with grips attached would be an alternative. I prefer to keep the cameras identical, easier to deal with settings if they are all the same.


Lenses

Essential lenses are:

70-200 F2.8
24-70 F2.8
14-24 F2.8
50mm F1.4

Some good extra lenses to have, in order of importance:

60mm F2.8 Micro
85mm F1.4
16mm F2.8
105mm F2
135mm F2
300mm F2.8

Flash Equipment and Light Modifiers

Primary Flash Units
Battery Power for Flash Units
Light Modifiers
Flash Brackets
Flash Meter and Light Meter
Color Meter (optional)

Additional Equipment



Another good point for Nikon is their new flash units use their Creative Lighting System, where you can trigger the flashes remotely from the built in flash on camera, and have multiple flashes fire. This saves you a lot of time, trouble and money hooking up cords, purchasing flash sensors, and taking flash readings.

Canon cameras are great, they have a high frames per second shooting rate, and the cameras are solid. The Canon cameras have extremely fast auto focus lenses.

Sony cameras are the Minolta camera designs, rebranded and redone. They are great cameras, and cost less than Nikon or Canon.

Fuji cameras use the same lenses as Nikons, cost less, and have a different sensor in them that some people think are great.

Olympus and Pentax are two cameras I've never owned. They look solid, and some people will swear by them.

What it really comes down to is using one, seeing what you like, and sticking with it to learn photography.

Another consideration is what your friends are shooting, if you purchase a similar camera, you have more lenses around.

For professionals in the film and manual focus days, the choice used to be Nikon. Almost everyone used Nikons, so if you were at a pro event, you could get lucky. One time a newspaper photographer asked if I wanted to use his 600mm F4, with a 1.4 teleconverter while he went to grab some wide angle shots. When someone asks if you want to hook up to a 5,000.00 lens, you say yes. In the 2 rolls I shot with it, managed to get one ad shot and one editorial shot.

Currently, a lot of pros are using Canon, because the autofocus lenses are faster. Some pros are switching back to Nikon, as their lenses are now equivalent to Canon for auto focus speed.
If you have aspirations of going pro, then your choices are really limited to Nikon and Canon. That doesn't mean the other cameras are less quality, it's just that you need to think about interchangeability in the field.

For digital cameras, I use the Nikon D300. The Nikon D70s was my first digital, and it is a great camera, except the frames per second is too slow for sports and action. The Nikon D300 has great color rendition, fast auto focus and a high frame rate. It also has the advantage of metering correctly and displaying the F-Stop with manual focus lenses. But, like I said earlier, put any camera in a photographer's hands, and it will produce good images.

Point and Shoot Cameras

It's funny, but I'll be lugging around a 600mm F4 lens, with a D300 hooked up to it (about 16 pounds of camera and lens, at a cost of around 5,500.00), and invariably, someone will ask me which is the best point and shoot camera.

Honestly, those things confuse the heck out of me, "What button is it you push to make the shutter fire?"

Of all of the P and S cameras, the Sony's are really good. Nikon and Canon make professional gear, Sony is a consumer electronics manufacturer. If you're buying pro DSLR, Nikon or Canon, if you're buying consumer P and S, Sony is the company. I've used a few Sony P and S, and they were pretty good.

Here are some samples from the Photo Galleries:

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