Our marketing team is looking to purchase a camera to take pictures at events. What is a good quality camera that won’t break the bank? Yes, I know smartphones have good cameras, but they want an actual camera.
What is your budget for 1 - 2 cameras and lenses? Its easier to give suggestions if you have a known budget.
Just to confirm: You are only looking at taking pictures and not video? This makes a big difference in what you choose IMHO.
As @Akash_Rastogi eluded to lenses make a huge difference especially for photography vs. videography or the ability to do both.
I infer that you don’t want to mount the camera on the robot. You do need to have a budget as suggested and consider what you are going to do with the pictures. A camera such as
Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Digital Camera is roughly $500 and records still and movie pictures at a high enough resolution to blow up to make nice team photo posters for the walls. It’s light weight and has a decent optical zoom.
We are looking to mainly do pictures. If it does videos that’s ok as well, but we are mainly looking for pictures.
Budget wise we don’t want to spend a ton of money. I’d say no more than $500, but less is better.
I’ll second the pitch for a point and shoot like the Canon PowerShot if you want something that is almost as easy as phone photography but will give you a better lens and slightly more controls to fiddle with.
There are also entry-level DSLR cameras just under that $500 ceiling if your team wants something they can build on over multiple seasons by building out a lens collection but that get’s expensive quick. There is also a pretty lively market of second hand camera gear that you can usually get for slightly cheaper but that can take time and effort.
(Those first two links are to Wirecutter guides which should have more information on the different form factors as well as recs for ones to get. I work for Wirecutter but didn’t work on these particular guides.)
Honestly… a pixel 7a?
I’d get a Powershot SX740. You’ll be able to zoom in on your robot when you’re in the stands, still get the entire field into the picture, and it will do 4K video.
This is what we purchased at the end of the season. Good luck.
Camera EOS 2000D (Rebel T7) DSLR Bundle: Includes 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom Lens + 32GB Memory Card + Backpack + UV Filter and More https://a.co/d/2h9f4e0
If it’s just for some quick shots here and there, and occasional video, I’d second getting a smartphone with a good camera. Maybe used with no cell plan.
Otherwise I’d check out used gear. Better to get the best camera and lens that $1000 could
but buy LAST year, than the best camera and lens that $500 can buy new today.
I think the big question will be are you looking at taking pictures of your robot on the field?
If not this really simplifies things and I’ll agree a smart phone is fine.
However if you are looking at a robot on the field there’s three things you will really want to consider: Optical zoom, stability and motion capture.
At a $500 price range, a point and shoot from the major companies will give you the optical zoom you probably want, but you will get less on the stability (which can be mitigated with a tri or mono pod) and motion capture or post-processing capabilities.
I’ll agree with @Zook here. I think a used mirrorless or DSLR with a lens that has around a 180-300mm zoom capability may be your best shot. You’ll probably be able to find a better deal on a DSLR new or used than a mirrorless.
Here’s a Rebel T7 new that includes a 18-55mm and a 75-300mm lens for $549.99 at BestBuy . I would prefer something with a flip out screen (like the i series) but I think fits well into your price point and is a great ‘starter’ camera.
My team has a lot of different cameras, and so I’ve gotten to use a lot of different cameras. I personally use a Canon m50 mk1 I picked up used for around 300 USD + a second lens for 179 USD. Lots of our media team has Nikon Z50s, which cost a bit more, but people seem to like them. We also have DJI osmo pockets, which are 350 USD. All of them work great for recaps, and are reasonably cheap. Not a professional, just what we use.
You’ll get more bang for your buck if you go used. I’d suggest finding a Canon SL2 with kit lens on ebay, prices range from $300-400. It has 24mp and does 1080p 60fps video if that is something that would interest you (as opposed to the Rebel T7 which maxes out at 30fps at 1080p). If you have extra budget, an upgraded lens will impact your image quality much more than a better camera body, any Canon EF mount lens is compatible.
We’ve used the SL2 + Kit lens combo on 624 for years and it’s worked very well given the price.
A lot of the replies so far are pretty good for your budget. Though if your marketing team expects to improve your capability/quality of content over the long term, future-proofing is important, and some options might not have that. In that case, I would avoid point and shoots as they offer essentially no roadmap, and good phone cameras are pretty darn close to even the best point and shoots.
This is a solid deal. If/when your marketing team finds they would like an upgraded camera body, the 18-55 is still useful with this T7. The 75-300 is a full frame lens, which offers a lot of potential for upgrading.
Almost all my gear is used. I’ve used Ebay, but YMMV from buying directly from the previous owner. Check out mpb.com and lensrentals.com. They will buy used gear and give a rating on the condition of an item before you buy it. BHPhoto and Adorama have this as well. (You can save a good amount of money if you don’t mind cosmetic defects!)
For 500USD (~680CAD) I’d probably recommend going used.
I’d don’t personally shoot canon but it seems like most people do so I’ll use it as an example. I’m not a videographer so I unfortunately can’t really comment on that.
(Basing this off of ebay sold/completed prices) You can get a used semi-pro body like a Canon 7D or 70D body only for ~350-400CAD. If you plan on shooting video I’d recommend the 70D over the 7D as it uses “Dual-Pixel AF” during video compared to the slower “Contrast-Detect AF” used in the 7D.
I’m a big fan of the 50mm prime lenses as they tend to be pretty sharp, fast (large aperture), and give a pretty good perspective for FRC assuming you’re given field access at events. I shoot 99% of my events on one. The “Canon EF 50mm” should run you ~80CAD, leaving at least 200CAD left over.
In terms of zoom lenses I’d recommend going for the telephoto “EF 55-250mm STM” (make sure it’s the newer STM model) which is useful for photographing while you’re in the stands, or for getting a much closer perspective while in the stands. It also features Image Stabilisation compared to the much cheaper “EF 75-300mm” which is pretty useful to have on a telephoto lens.
Alternatively, if you’re not interested in a telephoto lens, I’d recommend going with the SIGMA/Tamron 17-50mm 2.8. These lenses have a pretty useful “general purpose” focal length, similar to the 18-55mm bundled with most cameras, but have a much faster aperture (better subject separation/low light performance) and are generally much sharper.
Good luck and I wish your marketing subteam a bright future!