It was way too fucking long, so I summed it up. Original tutorials:
- Basic notions before buying (part 1/3)
- Gear advices, and recommendations (part 2/3)
- Settings, shooting and post process (part 3/3)
Also, I’m mostly focusing on photo. Most of those cameras can also do decent video stuff, but it may require more or less effort depending on gear (especially on the focus matter). For video only stuff, a camcorder is a good option, the price is decent (still a couple hundreds euros though) and it’s lightweight, but I can’t help mush as I have low knowledge on those.
I will focus on two kinds of cameras, each of them got different sensors (the thing that take the photo):
- Full frame: full size sensor of 24x36mm. Every focal lenght and aperture is based on full frame perspective.
- APS-C (or crop body): smaller sensor, with a crop factor. A full frame is x1.6 bigger than a Canon APS-C and x1.5 bigger than a Nikon or Sony one.
- Less light in an APS-C: you usually have one stop less of light, it’s like going from f/4 to f/5.6.
- Tighter focal lenght: you will see less from a same distance, it’s like zooming in, a 70-200mm lens will become something around 112-320mm.
- So, Full frame in general are better, but also more expensive, but some modern APS-C behave really well against some full frames.
Focal lenght: This is the range of a lens basically. The higher the number, the closer you can look at something without moving.
Aperture: It’s the opening inside a lens that let the light go through. The aperture can also be called f-stop, and is mentionned on the lens by “f/x”, x being a number. You can have lenses with fixed aperture (ex: f/2.8) or variable aperture (ex: f/3.5-5.6). The lower the number, the bigger the aperture. (f/2.8 is better than f/4 and fixe is better than variable).
ISO: This is the light sensitivity. When you go up, the image get brighter, but noise increase as well. So, it’s about finding the compromise. ISO performance is important for K-Pop.
Shutter speed: It’s the time the mirror of the camera stays open to capture the light. The shutter speed has to be changed depending on what you shoot. Dance performance ? It has to be faster, so you can freeze the moment like this. However, in this picture, speed is too slow so the hand is blurry. Note: 1/30 is slower than 1/100, and 1′ is one second.
Used cameras: look for the shutter count (number of photos total taken). Cameras have a lifespan expressed by this shutter count, so if too high, it will be cheaper but more prone to failure. Most cameras have between 100k and 150k shutter count lifepspan.
Warranty: depending on where you buy the product, it’s either white market or grey market. White is national retailer, and grey is export. Grey is cheaper but you won’t be able to claim the warranty to Canon, Nikon or whatelse. The seller can have his own warranty though.
Batteries: It’s important, get at least one other battery if you’re using a DSLR, and a couple more if using mirrorless. (a battery grip is also a possibility)
Memory cards: get cards that your camera can use, and get a reader for your computer so you can export later on. Be wary of norms, most cameras can’t use UHS-II for instance. Get enough storage, as well as a back up. The storage depends on your style, more spam, more storage. I spam, I need a 256GO card. (and I got another 256GO back up).
Tripod/monopod: A tripod is a stand for your camera to rest, this is an extremly convenient item and I suggest you to buy one if you can, they are especially useful in fansigns. The tripod will allow you to reduce the shake since you don’t have to carry your camera anymore. A monopod has the same purpose but it’s on one leg instead, so, less stable as you can’t just leave the camera there, but you’re more mobile so if you have to move, it’s good.
All prices are grey market and new. I suggest you to buy grey market lens, and white market body.
For older model, getting used is also a possibility, but you have to test the product. Price only inclides body and lens combo. Also, never buy the kit lens.
If you want to shoot video, Sony is clearly the best, Canon is also great (especialy the models with dual pixel technology), Nikon is meh…
Always invest more in lens rather than camera body, image quality rely more on lens.
Under 400€: Canon 60D + Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
Under 600€: Nikon D3400 + Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR
Under 1000€: Nikon D3400 + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD A009
Under 1200€: Canon 800D + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD A009
Under 1500€: Nikon D610 + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G1 A009
Under 1800€: Canon 6D + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
Under 2000€: Nikon D610 + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
Under 2500€: Nikon D750 or Canon 6D Mk II (if video) + Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 A025
Under 4000€: Sony A7 III + Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS
White balance: Auto
Exposure composition: it’s the black and white +/- symbol combo. Put at -0.3 if shooting raw. 0 if shooting Jpeg.
- 1/125 for posing idols, where the subject will freeze himself for a shot time
- 1/200 and 1/250 for talking and reaction capture, slow paced stuff in general
- 1/400 and 1/640 for dance performance.
Aperture: Always lowest possible. (unless under f/1.8 then it depends)
File: Raw. And if you are not spamming and got double cards slot, Raw + Jpeg
Focus mode: Ai Servo / Continuous focus / Face dettect / Eye focus
Button configuration: Choose a button to put the AF-ON as it is more convenient than pushing halfthrough the trigger button. A button that is under the thumb and is usually not active much.
Video settings: shoot at highest resolution with highest bitrate everytime. Prioritize resolution over fps. Make sure your memory card can handle it, especially in 4K where it’s very demanding. The shutter speed needed:
- 25fps = 1/50 – 50fps = 1/100
- 30fps = 1/60 – 60fps = 1/120
Shooting mode: Choose continuous high speed shooting. When you keep the trigger button pushed, it will keep shooting.
Advices on how to use the camera
Try not to fill the buffer everytime. It’s the amount of pictures you can take before your camera slow down.
Learn how the focus work, this is the most important thing I would say, a slightly dark or overexposed image can still be corrected, but if your photo is clearly out of focus, nothing can be done. Example of me fucking up.
It’s better to shoot wider than too tight, as you can still crop afterward. (understand, shoot 135mm more often than 150mm for instance).
It’s fine if your subject is a bit far, when using a 70-200 on a full frame, it can happen quite a lot, as long as the picture is fine and in focus, you will be able to crop and get a good picture afterward. For instance, in this screenshot, you can see the original photo on the left, and the crop on the right side, you can see that the quality is still there (the ISO 125 is helping, that’s for sure, but still).
Don’t spend all your time on your camera, you also want to appreciate the interactions and the performances, it’s nice that you want to capture the moment, but don’t forget to live it as well.
Make a back-up of your files. Make one copy on one hard drive and another copy on another hard drive.
Organize your folders from the very beginning.
I use a software called FastStone Image Viewer to select the pictures I’m gonna share, and I copy them on a separe folder.
Once it’s done, I put them through Lightroom to edit everything and crop/resize/watermark the whole batch. I usually don’t go through Photoshop, unless it’s really necessary.
Darktable, Rawtherapee are good free alternatives to Lightroom. Gimp is a free alternative to Photoshop.
Most people don’t leave twitter, so you can just upload your pictures there. However, the photos can’t be very big, so if you want people to have higher resolution photo, you are gonna have to use alternatives, like googe photo, flickr or even imgur.