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What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi pro

PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2015 3:45 pm
by kelly cross
]Hi I would love to start taking photos on a semi pro basis,wonder what would be best camera/equipment to buy to have good quality photos that could give me a decent platform to progress from?
budget around £1000 would be doable in UK ,also does anyone offer one 2 one or group tuition in uk near lincolnshire would be great ? ps id prefre a DSLR

Thanks kelly
photos are] standard im up to now useing just a cheap £80 camera ,but i really want to turn my passion into my job even just to enjoy it further ,gagging to progress but really unsure what to go for help please x

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 10:11 am
by Libby Rosen
Before I invested in equipment. I would use the equipment you have and invest in Cariens class that starts soon. Then find a successful equine photographer in your area. See if they will let you help them by holding horses and reflectors etc. Spend as much time doing that while on the side studying photography using manual settings. Learn their thought process. Then you will know what type of things a successful photographer really needs vs wants. Your most important piece of equipment will be your trained brain and eye. Your ability to concentrate and think a scene through before the shoot. Good luck. A career in photography is a labour of love.

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 11:33 am
by Sharon Packer
Ditto everything Libby said!! Wishing you the best in your pursuit.

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 1:21 pm
by kelly cross
im in the u.k ,where is the Cairns classes ? thanks both of your replies

can anyone please give me advise to buying a good dslr please thats not too complicated while i learn,im the sort of person that learns through doing it ive over 36 years experience with horses of all levels and have alot ideas to play with,ive worked out photo shoots and directed them before but not been behind camera as photographer so its that side of things i need help with,at this stage xx

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2015 3:09 pm
by Sharon Packer
The key to great photography is learning to use all of the setting of your camera for proper exposure. There is nothing easy about it. Sorry! I use Canon, while many here use Nikon. Those are the two brands I would recommend for action photography. As far as Canon, a decent intro camera is the 7D. I buy used equipment from KLH, B & H, or Fred and have had good success. The basic equine lens is a 70-200mm preferably with an f/2.8. IS is not so important and makes the lens heavier.

Here's Carien's class:

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 6:39 pm
by Barb Young
You could use a longer lens. You are not far enough away from your subject in the photo you posted. See how the head is distorted, compared to the rear end. Tip no 1: stand back and zoom and shoot horses at least at 125 mm.

So maybe start with a longer zoom lens for the camera you have. You have the link to Carien's class online. It will teach you everything you need to know to get you started.

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 3:26 am
by Alexander Batten-Phelps
A few thoughts:

1) As said Canon or Nikon will suit you; they are the leading DSLR lines and both can do equine photography to a very high standard.

2) I shoot canon and know that range better, from them I'd recommend a second hand 7D as good starting point. It's got a very good AF system built into it and the second hand prices are now very affordable compared to new camera prices.

3) A top end and bottom end camera are basically identical in terms of complexity to learn. This is because the core of the camera is identical - its your aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The rest is all support items which can take time to learn, but which are not essential grounding early on. Early on its learning the exposure triangle and metering scenes.
The only "modes" that entry level camera bodies have are the scene modes, of which they have a couple, such as sports, portrait, landscape. They are basically automode (which every DSLR has) but with a weighting toward certain ideal settings; however as you learn you'll quickly drop using those so I wouldn't worry about focusing on an entry level body to get started.

4) Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is an often recommended book for getting started learning about exposure. It has case studies you can try out and goes into good depth for the beginner to get you started. Indeed most photography books are geared more toward the beginner and thus will often cover the same very core basics.

5) Lens wise I would suggest that between 50 and 200mm is what you want for horses in general. That's not to say that range is the total limits, but that its the most versatile. With a £1K budget its tricky since ideally what you want is "fast" lenses of an aperture of f2.8 or wider (smaller f number); which puts forth options such as the 70-200mm f2.8 lenses which most are going to be out of your budget. You could though get a Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 which will fit at around half your budget (the other half for the camera) and that would set you up very well. Sigma makes a very good option but it would use up most of your budget and Canon's offering at the top end is more than double.
Note if you're not shooting action and doing posed shots more then the 70-200mm will stand you in good for that as well (read up earlier where someone pointed out the distortion and getting further from the subject and using a longer focal length in the shot you posted). There are prime (single focal length) lenses which have wider maximum apertures (smaller f numbers) which would be within budget as well (things like an 85mm) however I'd suspect that the zoom would suit you better as a starting point (plus once you go below around f2.8 or f2 in aperture the depth of field gets a lot harder to work with).

6) A few early tips:

a) "Keep the ISO Low" this is a very often used phrase and I recommend you utterly ignore it.
I say that because the field you're looking to go into is going to require faster shutter speeds many times to get shots and often indoors when there will be very little light. If you gain a fear of raising your ISO early on it will hamper you and its something a lot of people new to photography end up with because they "kept the ISO low to avoid noise".

Now it is true, if the ISO is lower the noise levels on a properly exposed photo will be lower; however if you underexpose and then brighten it up in editing you will get even more noise than if you'd have used a higher ISO at the time and properly exposed the photo.
In addition if you get motion blur because your shutter speed was too slow then you can't fix that in Photoshop*; so often you have to raise the ISO to get that faster speed. On the other hand noise can be dealt with in editing plus when you print or resize for the internet much of the noise will be lost as well.

b) Keep your camera manual in the bag with the camera early on. You'll have a lot to learn so take it slow, but keep the manual to hand so that if you're out shooting and forget something you can check it up there and then. Yes this means early on you might miss stuff as you learn but that is ok and to be expected. It takes time but keep at it and you'll pick it up quickly.

WEX (Warehouse express) - they sell new and second hand and have a huge stock - well recommended.

*In very minor cases you somewhat can; in most cases though it would require hours of cloning and rebuilding of detail and in the end would be closer to doing digital drawing than photography - for practical intents and purposes its unfixable.

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 9:28 am
by Sharon Packer
Back to the speed of the lens, an f/4 is all you need for work in good light. The cost is dramatically less expensive. Ditto the recommendation of reading Bryan Peterson's book about exposure. It is excellent. Add that information to what you will learn about equine work from Carien's class, and I think you will be happy with your results. also offers a wide range of rentals if you want to try the equipment before you commit to a purchase.

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 12:47 pm
by Alexander Batten-Phelps
I think the OP is in the UK so sadly Abes and Borrowlens won't work. I can't recommend any rental companies in the UK (I've not used any nor had reason to). That said I'm reminded about Camera Price Buster
Lists prices at a large number of good retailers and is generally pretty accurate.

I agree in good light f4 is enough; however it really depends what the OP is looking to do. If they are purely going for outdoor posed shots and avoiding any indoor eventing then f4 will work well. Indeed if they are going to write out all eventing totally they could even look toward some primes - A Canon 50mm f1.4 USM and 85mm f1.8 and 100mm f2 are all more affordable and two might just fit into the budget (allowing around half for glass).

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 2:10 pm
by Sharon Packer
OP? Other Person? Official photographer? I thought we were discussing someone who wishes to learn equine photography. My mistake about location. Sorry. I can't speak for the quality, but here is a rental company out of London:

I recommended buying used equipment. I would, however, be extremely cautious of the seller. I would not buy black or gray market equipment. Most of us here have had excellent buys through the following sites:


International shipping is available. Personally, I have had excellent fortune through Fred

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2015 2:43 pm
by Alexander Batten-Phelps
Ahh OP = Original Poster - or the thread starter - ergo the first person to post :)

Grey market depends on the dealer, I've had good luck with grey market in the past without any issues, however some brands have clamped down on it a lot; Nikon USA (I can't speak for the EU division) I know won't even look at any equipment for repair if its not bought within the USA, and that's not just warranty repairs, from what I've heard they won't even repair if you pay them; so you have to ship back to the original regional repair groups or go independent. I think Canon is more lenient or at least have been in the past.

Grey market just means that legally bought equipment enters a territory outside of the normal distribution channels and is generally legal and safe barring the repair/warranty aspects. Black market is a whole other matter and should be avoided for everything (because that's basically your stolen stock or gained by illegal methods).

Ebay can be good for some deals; forums are another outlet though any person to person trades always come with a degree of risk. Always pay via an approved safe method and if using services like PayPal always use the "commercial" option not the "family" option as the former has full consumer protection whilst the latter is just a bank transfer (ergo you can't get a refund).
Local camera clubs are another option and oft have sales or are good to network with incase someone has some gear they no longer want.

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 8:25 am
by kelly cross
Thanks Alexandra ,yes it does matter where iam in the world because i cannot go to classes or to certain shops outside easily iam glad you spotted that as i kept getting my point railroaded of track.

Thanks for the tech info sharon lol

ok basically i need to buy a good second hand camera 7d is good, read manual get out there and try ! thanks

Re: What camera and equipment will be best to start out semi

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 9:45 am
by Sharon Packer
I'm sorry if I were not clear. Carien's class on equine photography is an internet class. You don't have to leave your home. I highly recommend the class for learning how to photograph and how to recognize the correct point in stride for the horse's natural movements. As well, you will learn which photos depict the correct moment of particular horse sports and which images need to be deleted. And just to clarify about that 70-200 F/4, many of us prefer to shoot at f/4-f/5.6 for action photos. Stating that the f/4 works only for posed shots must be a misprint. My first lens was the Canon 100mm-400mm which has an aperture of f/4-f/5.6 at its largest. I used that lens successfully for 10 years until I sold it. Now if I want that reach for action photography, I add a tele-extender to my 70-200 f/2.8, which again decreases the aperture. My advice is to master photography in adequate light first, then explore low light exposures.