I thought to post some photography related links that I use when researching new gear or point people to when asked what camera to buy.
Obviously each persons requirements for camera gear will be different which is why I think these links could provide good starting points for research. With everything online these days it’s near impossible now to try out gear and software before you actually buy it. Forums and reviews seem to be replacing the in-store experience. Often disregarded though is the ergonomics of a camera which is why borrowing or renting first maybe a good idea. Unfortunately there aren’t really any great camera stores in Sydney anymore, and you are just as likely to buy photographic gear at JBHIFI as much as anywhere else. SunStudios in Alexandria, Sydney stands out as a great place to try out Broncolor lighting and Canon gear, especially now they are owned by Canon Australia.
My advice is to buy instore and pay alittle bit more. Why? So you can test the gear before you buy. It might sound strange that large camera companies like Canon, Sigma and Nikon have lax quailty control, however I have personally seen many of the same lenses perform with great variance. The last Sigma lens I bought was after I tested 3 copies of the same lens instore…. two were sharp enough to buy and one was lousy. I usually take a laptop and shoot tethered when I buy a lens so I can see up close in detail how well the lens is performing on my camera. And yes the body too can be out. I recently returned a Canon 5d markiv as it back focusing massively! Here’s a link to my website blogs
http://www.dpreview.com/ offers forum style reviews and in depth independent tests on nearly all consumer any many high end cameras. A good place to start for most peoples needs.
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php is great place to go if you are into scientific analysis of higher end cameras and lenses. Without consideration for ergonomics, the site does get into an amazing amount of detail concerning tonal depths, MTF charts, discussions on true ISO etc. It also has a very easy to use comparison tool for many popular cameras and lenses. Interesting to see how very expensive cameras and digital backs actually under perform in some areas than more common and much cheaper 35mm cameras! I would recommend any serious photographer to understand MTF charts when buying lenses. Googling MTF charts helps here.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com world famous camera shop and now even cheaper with the falling USD. Worth a visit if you are in NY in only just to see all the goods being sold whizzing around on an automated train like system above your head. I use the site to get an idea of prices and range of products.
http://www.yodobashi.com/ The Japanese B+H, however, their main store takes up nearly two blocks and boasts around 11 levels of camera related gear. The website is always worth a look to see what is new, quirky and potentially not available anywhere else. (a web translator helps!). If you ever go to Japan then going there is a great experience… if you have a day or two free. Jenn and I flew there to buy my medium format gear as it was sold under a different brand name…Fuji instead of Hasselblad! And at about half the price, hence the flights hotels and food was all free ( I guess). Who knew Fuji make most parts in a new Hasselblad these days? A highlight for me would have to be the year round digitalised christmas carols being pumped out of the stores inhouse speaker system, adding to the surreal experience while you are in this digitised maze. Another highlight was drinking in a hotels sky bar in a nearby suburb and seeing the lights from Yodobashi lighting up the sky like a mini fireworks show….both highlights form a love hate feeling due to it’s extravagance. I hear the store lights are now rated “gloomy” due to the earthquake and resulting nuclear power shutdowns. Will the Godzilla of camera stores ever be the same again?
http://diglloyd.com/index-free.html offers independent reviews on some gear and gear related topics. Again a little on the nerdy side but breaks it down some technical aspects more than DXOmark.
http://www.pdnonline.com/ is perhaps the largest of photography magazines that with the webolution has become a great online resource covering anything and everything to do with photography. Unfortunately membership is the only way to unlock some of the meatier articles.
I hope that helps…. and if you can’t be bothered reading online then simply just buy the heaviest camera or lens you can afford! 90% of the time it’ll likely be better.
Featured image was taken on a buying trip Japan.