I was in the biz and then left for corporate life for several years, and now I'm making plans to get back in the game and open a new studio. I'm researching cameras and trying not to drool all over myself, but it ain't easy. I'll be doing weddings, portraits, etc., and I was looking at the Canon 1Ds and D40, then I started looking at the Hasselblad H3 systems. My thought was to get the Hassy and then also the 1Ds as a backup solution. But is this overkill? Maybe I should just go with 2 of the Canons? I'm not rolling in green stuff, but I want to make the right investment right out of the gate. Any advice is appreciated. Gene
Forget the D40, an excellent camera on which to learn, but not really anywhere close to the others mentioned. Consider also the Nikon D3, which is to be released next month. Early reports praise its low light quality, important if shooting weddings in dark churches where flash is not allowed. The reasonably priced D300 should make a nice backup camera for it, and the two can be synchronized to produce the same "look". Reviews should be hitting the sites in about a month.
Above all, for a purchase this significant, once you have read the reviews and pondered the specifications, go to a camera store and handle the merchandise. A camera that seems to always be fighting you can make life miserable for a working photographer. Bring a nice big memory card along and shoot some shots on RAW, then go home and process them to get a feel of what daily life will be like. All are fine cameras, but the best is the one that fits you most comfortably.
I think very likely current demands in wedding photography and portraiture would be very well accomplished with the latest Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III with its 21 megapixel full frame sensor, I doubt little advantage, and less flexibility, would be gained with the Hasselblad, especially for the much larger hole it would put in your pocket.
For back-up and possibly grabbing quick candids on the fly, the new Canon Powershot G9 12.1 megapixel compact might very well be a less costly advantage over the 40D.
Thanks for the input guys. I was a little hung up on what most pros were using these days in the digital realm. I know it isn't like the old silver halide days In the old days you shot medium format because of the quality difference, but if the pixel count is similar between the 1Ds at 21 megapixel and the Hassy 3D that's 22 megapixel, I'm thinking it may be overkill to even think about $23,000 for the Hassy! (Gulp!) Times have changed and I'm playing catchup fast!!
I think a poll of wedding photographers will result in them not wanting to use a 21 megapixel camera for weddings because a 10 megapixel camera will do just fine. The thought of using twice the disk space and twice the processing time on a weekly basis will keep them away from shooting that large a file.
I think very likely current demands in wedding photography and portraiture would be very well accomplished with the latest Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III with its 21 megapixel full frame sensor.
Maybe this photographer does not plan on shooting the average schlock that satisfies typical customers of WPPA members, but a more demanding clientele on Long Island or Beverly Hills.
My approach is to give people a final product that I would want to be given with a quality that is the best I can provide, regardless of the price tag. To me it isn't about whether I'm in Beverly Hills or Mayberry (Shazamm!). Based on what I see some local "pros" charging and then seeing their end results, I sometimes question why anyone would use them. Their aspirations to mediocrity are not going to dictate my push for perfection. If the customer can't see the value in their purchase and feels that their nephew Billy with his point and shoot digital camera could have done just as well, then a serious disservice has been done, in my mind anyway. My goal is to give people a product they are pleased with at a price they can afford. And if it doesn't please me, it's not good enough. And even if it does please me, I'm still going to ask "Is there anything I could do next time to make it better." Hopefully with this philosophy, the customers will see the difference and vote with their dollars and repeat business.