August 20, 2014, 05:34:09 AM

Author Topic: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.  (Read 1572 times)

cjphotog

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I'm a college student studying photography and I currently shoot with a 5D Mark III and 7D. I'm debating when I get my second set of student loans if I should get a 6D with a 17mm t/s lens and a 14mm 2.8L II or a 1DX? I mostly shoot editorial, architectural, action sports, and night time photography.

I know the 6D has better quality photos at night than the 1DX but I also shoot a lot outside in the cold, sub-zero temps of Minnesota for extended periods of time in the winter, and in some pretty rough shooting situations to land great editorials. Last month I shot a riot and got pushed into a cement barricade by police, ended up getting my 70-200 dented and last summer I broke my 50 1.8 when I went close to a mosh pit at a concert when someone fell into me.

Lens wise I currently shoot a 10-24mm 3.5-4.5, 24-70mm 2.8L, 70-200mm 2.8L IS II, and a 600ex R/T but will have a 16-35mm 2.8L II, 50mm 1.4, 100mm 2.8L IS as well by the time the second set of loans come.

I'm wondering what everyone on here thinks would be the better choice for me? The top of the line 1DX that can handle everything I throw at it or should I get the 6D that's way cheaper and has superior low light technology with the 17mm t/s and the 14mm 2.8 ii lens which will improve my architectural photography and give me more options when shooting?

Feel free to check out my photography at: www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjuhnphotography/

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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 05:16:26 PM »
Why would you take out a student loan to buy a 2nd camera.  That loan will follow you for years.
 
Just get the bare minimum necessary to pay for your schooling.  Don't fall into the easy money loan trap.  My wife had a student loan when she went to school, we were just starting out married life, and the extra payments were a drag.  I had a good paying job as a electrical engineer, so I was able to pay the loan off in a couple of years.  She was very frugal and took only the bare minimum she needed.

neuroanatomist

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2014, 05:28:45 PM »
Don't fall into the easy money loan trap. 

Get the top of the line 1D X, it will cost $13K by the time the student loans are paid off, more if any of the interest is capitalized.

With the income of a fledgling professional photographer, you should have those big loans paid off in no time 30-40 years.

On the bright side, if you default on the loans, all they can do is ruin your credit. 

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cjphotog

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2014, 06:12:34 PM »
So I know there is debt with loans, its not about debt in the future that I am worried about, its about producing quality images and building connections through those images in school so I can make a name for myself, building a business from that. If I can make 20K in college then that 13K of debt becomes what you call, "profit". Its a risk, everything in life is a risk, even that high level college degree because nothing is guaranteed in life.

I plan on starting a photography business and will most likely need to take a loan out to get the gear I need. At least with college loans its at a much lower interest rate and then compiled into 1 payment to make it easier, that's why I want to take out a loan for gear. In the long run I will be better off, and I did weigh my options and decided this would be best for me.

unfocused

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2014, 08:05:41 PM »
Obviously, you're not interested in the advice of Neuro or Mt. Spokane, so I'm kind of wondering why you asked the question.

Let's try another angle or two.

Your photostream is heavy on photojournalism. You have no lens longer than 200mm. In terms of equipment that's where your biggest hole is. If you are hell-bent on going further into debt, get yourself a 200-400 L. At least you should be able to sell it without a massive loss when the loans come due.

Seriously, I'm curious, where are you making that $20,000?

If you are going to rationalize this from a business sense, then act like a businessman and follow the money.

I'd be willing to bet that you aren't making money shooting pictures that require a 1DX. I'd also bet that buying either a 6D or a 1DX won't net you any more profit than the 5DIII and 7D that you already have.

If you are planning to go into business, then do the business-like thing and buy only the equipment that will earn you money.

A professional calculates the return on his investment and only buys what he can earn money from. Compare ownership to rental and determine which one returns more.
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BL

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2014, 08:49:39 PM »
There's good debt and bad debt.  That's probably a great place to start as a mental exercise before spending a dime.

good debt = anything you need but can't afford to pay for up front without wiping out cash reserves or liquidating all your investments.  In cases where debt makes sense, only take loans for which you can afford the monthly payments. 

bad debt =  debt you've taken on for things you don't need and can't afford (e.g. 12fps vs 6fps)  the worst form of debt being credit-card debt, since it usually carries the highest interest rates.

But it sounds like you'll be pulling in $20k so why bother with loans?  Get the 1DX after you get paid and avoid the months or years of accrued interest.

As far as gear goes, I think you are more than equipped for paid work.  two bodies, 24-70 and 70-200, 600EX, etc.  As a student, you have better gear than my buddy who shoots portraits and weddings 4-5 times a month lol.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2014, 08:59:18 PM by BL »
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neuroanatomist

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2014, 11:07:59 PM »
So I know there is debt with loans, its not about debt in the future that I am worried about, its about producing quality images and building connections through those images in school so I can make a name for myself, building a business from that.

There are certainly some situations in which a 1D X would allow you to 'produce quality images' that you could not produce with a 5DIII.  But honestly, those situations are few and far between.  Action sports might qualify, but 6 fps is plenty fast (especially compared to when I shot action sports with an SLR…you see, once upon a time there was this thing called film, and a little lever on top of the camera, and your frames per second – or seconds per frame as the case may be – was directly related to how fast your thumb could move that little lever…but I digress).

The bottom line is that if you cannot produce quality images with a 5DIII, 7D, and several excellent lenses, neither a 1D X nor a 6D and a few more excellent lenses will help you.

Are you sure your motivation isn't something like:  "But some of my friends have a two full frame bodies, and some of them have a 1D X.  I need to keep up…?"
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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2014, 11:07:59 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2014, 11:17:36 PM »
Unfortunately, many schools do not prepare a student for the realities of business.  You will need $250K income in order to be able to keep $60K after expenses and taxes.    Advertising, studio rent, gas, insurance, taxes, office assistant, shooting assistant, it all adds up.  You might be doing jobs with under the table pay right now, but you cannot do that and get big dollar accounts.
 
Do you have a business plan?  Do they even help you make one in your school? 
 
No one gets ahead in photography without having a business plan, you will suddenly find your self in deep debt with bills you can't pay. 
 
First build your business plan, don't put in anything wishful or any wild assumptions.  Review it with your bank and see how much they would loan.  Probably not much.

distant.star

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2014, 09:42:48 AM »
.
To the older and occasionally wiser folks here, I think your question looks badly focused. Here's my advice...

You are learning photography -- with the intent to make it a life's work apparently. The most important lesson you can learn is to overcome limitations. This is the constant challenge of photography. No budget ever imagined will get you the equipment you need to overcome all challenges. Someone will walk in front of you just as you're about to shutter button the greatest shot in the history of humanity. You'll be forced to shoot something in harsh, midday sun with no shade anywhere. You'll have to get a shot in the dark and without flash or artificial light. You'll be asked to do a professional portrait at a client site with no studio lighting, no assistants, no light modifiers, etc., etc. You'll do your best work, a true masterpiece, and a client will hate it and tell you to do it over or you don't get paid. You might have to shoot pictures while people are shooting bullets at you! Maybe the payment for a big job comes in late and you can't pay your rent or the bank shuts down your line of credit. These are the real working challenges of the professional photographer. Again, learning to use what you have available to overcome challenges is the most important lesson in a photography education (perhaps more so than in most professions).

You currently have good equipment tools. As others have suggested, if you can't overcome present challenges with what you have available, maybe more tools isn't the answer you need. Unfocused seems to have spotted the one equipment area where you may need real reinforcement. Otherwise, you may want to think about accepting the challenge of doing more with what you have.

I think most of the advice so far is urging caution about student loans, and that's worth listening to. Personally, I believe the student loan thing has become a nearly criminal enterprise. As I've said in things I've written on the subject, we used to nurture out young people, now we prey on them.

Anyway, given all that, I'll finish with a quote from David Henry Thoreau:

"What everybody echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. What old people say you cannot do, you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new."

Walter: Were you listening to The Dude's story? Donny: I was bowling. Walter: So you have no frame of reference here, Donny. You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...

mrzero

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2014, 11:09:32 AM »
So I know there is debt with loans, its not about debt in the future that I am worried about, its about producing quality images and building connections through those images in school so I can make a name for myself, building a business from that. If I can make 20K in college then that 13K of debt becomes what you call, "profit". Its a risk, everything in life is a risk, even that high level college degree because nothing is guaranteed in life.

I plan on starting a photography business and will most likely need to take a loan out to get the gear I need. At least with college loans its at a much lower interest rate and then compiled into 1 payment to make it easier, that's why I want to take out a loan for gear. In the long run I will be better off, and I did weigh my options and decided this would be best for me.

Well, you should be worried about debt in the future, because you're piling it on and photography is an industry with very low entry-level earnings.  That is just a fact.  And student loan debt is the absolute worst kind because you can't discharge it in bankruptcy (in the US, at least, I don't know about other countries).  Also, if you earn 20k in college, the 13k debt is not "profit."  The "profit" is how much of the $20k you have left over after paying off your debt and the cost of doing business.  The thing about profit is, you'll have more of it if you have less debt to pay.  Besides, if you are earning $20k selling photos in college, then you can put that income (after taxes) into gear once you've earned it.  Then you can prove to everybody here how wrong we were.

The advice people are giving you is very sound.  You have gear that can make excellent images, but the thing that makes spectacular images is you.  So, take the gear you have and put in the time and sweat to make fantastic images and you'll earn your connections anyway.  Nobody is going to care how many camera bodies or lenses you have right now.  If you make the bank, then buy whatever you want.  But if you don't, at least you won't have to work the electronics counter at Wal-Mart to pay off your student loans.

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2014, 02:29:01 PM »
Try to make friends in other disciplines, you won't be jealous of their cameras and you'll save some money.

Seriously, I'm (really really) not earning a living from photography, but I am quite sure that you should be able to go through a college photo program with a 5D MkIII and a 7D. If I was in your shoes, I'd even consider renting exotic lenses when needed instead of buying them. At worst (or best...), I'd think of selling the 7d while it still has value and replace it with a 6d as a second body.

Also consider this, go past the headline and see how many winners did with equal or lesser gear to yours.
http://www.thephoblographer.com/2014/02/18/canon-1d-x-dominates-world-press-photo-2014-list/#.U3O0dCia-oS

Best regards,

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2014, 03:18:46 PM »
Seriously, I'm (really really) not earning a living from photography, but I am quite sure that you should be able to go through a college photo program with a 5D MkIII and a 7D.

I am also trying to figure out what type of college photography course of study would need something more than a 5d mark anything and a 7D?
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Sporgon

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2014, 03:22:49 PM »
Seriously, I'm (really really) not earning a living from photography, but I am quite sure that you should be able to go through a college photo program with a 5D MkIII and a 7D.

I am also trying to figure out what type of college photography course of study would need something more than a 5d mark anything and a 7D?

I'm trying to figure out how I didn't manage to make $20,000 a year from my college Photog days !

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2014, 03:22:49 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2014, 03:30:33 PM »
Seriously, I'm (really really) not earning a living from photography, but I am quite sure that you should be able to go through a college photo program with a 5D MkIII and a 7D.

I am also trying to figure out what type of college photography course of study would need something more than a 5d mark anything and a 7D?

I'm trying to figure out how I didn't manage to make $20,000 a year from my college Photog days !

You probably didn't get paid for NOT posting photos from wild parties on the internet :D

AcutancePhotography

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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2014, 09:34:20 AM »
I'm trying to figure out how I didn't manage to make $20,000 a year from my college Photog days !

It's your own fault for destroying the negatives showing the Dean with that Co-ed and the Goat.  ;D
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Re: College student needs help deciding what camera body to get.
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2014, 09:34:20 AM »