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Approaching graduation; Is this a good time to buy a DSLR?

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Cody Tucker
Approaching graduation; Is this a good time to buy a DSLR?
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:17:00 am

I am in my last semester of undergraduate studies, where I plan to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in TV/Film Production. If everything goes as planned, I hope to attend graduate school and receive a Masters of Fine Arts in Film. In the meantime, I want to start building up my own collection of video equipment that will help me build experiences in pre-and post-production. For the last year, I've had my sights set on a Canon DSLR, namely the Rebel T2i. At the beginning of summer, I had almost gathered enough money for one; but since the DSLR market is changing (and improving) so rapidly, along with lower costs each year, I decided to hold off and see what was coming.

Do you think now, or the next few months, would be a good time to buy a DSLR camera? I realize that I also need to consider the costs of lenses, tripods, lighting, and editing, which are all things that I'm looking into. If I bought a T2i, I would primarily use it for web-based shorts along with some experimental work to help further develop my skills. I will also consider shooting weddings and the like to help recoup the costs of equipment and maybe even make a some money on the side. Any words of advice and consideration would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks


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Micah McDowell
Re: Approaching graduation; Is this a good time to buy a DSLR?
on Aug 30, 2010 at 5:46:24 pm

I bought a camera (Panasonic DVX100) when I started college, allowing me to use it for all of my class work and make a bit of money with occasional side projects. It was a complete life saver for scheduling, especially if your school has a relatively small amount of equipment to check out as mine did (and assuming they would allow you to use your own equipment). However, before purchasing, make sure you're going to have a use for the camera and that there's no situation where it will just sit on the shelf. As you've noticed, the cameras are obsolesced quickly.

I now own a T2i and it's really incredible for the low price; if you're technically inclined you can install the Magic Lantern alpha firmware that came out this month (http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_Lantern_Firmware_Wiki) and extend the usability of the camera a great deal.

Another tip; don't skimp on your other gear (tripods/lights/mics) since you'll probably be using them much longer than the camera itself. This is especially important for lenses on DSLRs. Good lenses won't depreciate much (some even gain value over time), so don't be afraid to spend money on good ones.


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Todd Terry
Re: Approaching graduation; Is this a good time to buy a DSLR?
on Aug 30, 2010 at 7:45:41 pm

I won't give a vote for or against any particular camera...

But I will offer this piece of advice based on a couple of decades+ in the business...

You can "wait yourself to death" killing time for that next great camera that is "just about to come out." It happens over and over again. I know one guy who has been waiting about six years to spring for a much-needed camera purchase, but he refuses to commit because "I hear Canon's going to release such-and-such next spring..." or whatever. That's just the way it is. No matter what you buy, when, or how soon... there will ALWAYS be something better down the road. I've bought many pieces of gear only to later say to myself "Darn it, if I had just waited..." but that never gets you anywhere and I eventually had to learn to break that way of thinking.

If you can afford it now... buy it now. You can't shoot anything, improve your technique, learn new skills, or make any money with the camera you don't have yet. And yes, there WILL be a better one later on... that's guaranteed. You just have to get over that part.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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