Whether you're a newbie researching digital SLR cameras to get into nightclub photography or a nightclub photographer looking to upgrade your camera body, I hope to cover the basics of what you need to help you decide which digital SLR camera body to buy.
Please note that I'm a Canon user, but there's usually an equivalent camera in other brands. When I shot film, I used a Nikon SLR camera body, but I chose Canon when I switched to digital because Canon was the first one to have a digital SLR that cost below $1,000.
The first digital SLR camera that I bought was the original Canon Digital Rebel that came out in 2003. I bought it brand new with a kit lens for $950. Looking at it now, this camera didn't have as many features as entry level digital SLRs these days do. I guess one thing to keep in mind is that good photography doesn't necessarily depend on the best camera gear, but the photographer behind the camera. Having better gear does help a lot though! :)
Basically, there are three levels of camera bodies: pro, prosumer, and entry. With all the different choices and different models, how do you find out which one is the best option for you? Let's figure it out.
Let's take a look at the following factors and see which DSLR would fit your needs the best.
- Special Features
Choose a PRO level digital SLR body if:
- you're willing to spend at least $4,000
- you don't mind carrying around 3lbs for long periods of time
- you want a lot of megapixels (16 to 21 megapixels)
- you want a camera with a 1.3 crop factor or a full frame
- you want a camera with a fast autofocus and burst rate
- you're going to shoot other types of photography professionally
- you plan on keeping the camera for a long time
- you want a rugged camera body with weather sealing
If you're just starting out as a nightclub photographer and you're not doing other types of photography (portraits, weddings, events, sports, etc.) professionally, then I suggest looking at the PROSUMER digital SLR camera body instead.
Pro level DSLRs have a lot of features so the learning curve may be a bit higher than the prosumer and entry level DSLRs. They're very rugged and weather sealed so you don't have to worry about them getting banged up or guests accidentally spilling drinks on them. Since pro level camera bodies don't get a newer model every year, plan on keeping it for a while. It will also take some time before you outgrow a pro level DSLR.
PRO level digital SLR bodies and accessories I recommend:
- Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
- Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
- SanDisk Extreme 32 GB Compact Flash Memory Card
- Canon LP-E4 Battery Pack
Choose a PROSUMER level digital SLR body if:
- your camera body budget is between $1000 and $2500
- you want an average size camera body
- you want a lot of megapixels (15 to 21 megapixels)
- you want a camera with a 1.6 crop factor or a full frame
- you want video and live view
- you're an advanced hobbyist or just starting out as a pro photographer
- you're thinking of upgrading your gear within the next couple of years
A prosumer level DSLR camera body would probably meet all your needs for nightclub photography. It's a nice balance between a pro and entry level DSLR.
PROSUMER level digital SLR bodies and accessories I recommend:
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- Canon EOS 7D
- Canon EOS 60D
- Sandisk 8GB Extreme CF
- Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack (for the 5D and 7D)
- Canon BP511A Battery Pack (for the 50D)
Choose an ENTRY level digital SLR body if:
- your camera body budget is between $500 and $900
- you want a small and light camera body
- 10 to 18 megapixels is enough for you
- a camera with a 1.6 crop factor is okay with you
- you want video and live view
- you're pretty new to photography
- you're upgrading from a point and shoot
- you don't have much experience using SLRs
If you have to choose between getting a better DSLR camera body or a better lens, get the entry level DSLR and buy a better lens.
ENTRY level digital SLR bodies and accessories I recommend:
Other accessories I highly recommend:
I use the Black Rapid Strap RS5 because it has compartments for extra storage. It has zippered pockets with a phone compartment roomy enough to accommodate even larger smart phones. The zippered pockets can hold extra memory cards and business cards.
I actually put my extra batteries in the phone compartment instead of my phone. I don't like having a bunch of things in my pockets and I also don't like carrying a camera bag with me when I'm shooting at nightclubs so this camera strap is perfect for me! Get one for yourself and you can thank me later.