My niece is starting a photography course at college and my sister needs to buy her a camera.Can I ask for recommendations for where the search for a suitable camera might start ...and new or second hand? Thanks
Best reliable second hand is from WEX in Norwich. Check online in their second hand, try it in-shop if you like or rely on postal and good returns policy. They have a canon 5d in this morning at £215 which is a sound full frame choice for image quality. Couple it with the 50mm f1.8 mk2 @£50 and you've a set up which in many situations will take brilliant pictures. I'm assuming budget is am issue, but wex have plenty of variety.
Should have added - 12 months warranty on wex s/h
Does the course not give some indication on the kit required? I always had excellent service from WEX, including when things went wrong so I think they are a good option.
In terms of camera I would strongly suggest she tries to borrow a few or at least handle them in a shop somewhere. To me the most important thing is you feel comfortable with your Kit. I shoot Canon. It suits me and I like the control setup. Another may find Nikon feels better in there hands. I also know of women photographers who have given up both for Olympus because their cameras are so much lighter.
In short the camera is just a box to catch the light. All i would suggest is.
Make sure it has manual options for settings.
Go for an SLR initially as you will then feel comfortable with most cameras you will end up using
Put your money into good lenses. You could end up using them a lifetime.
Make sure it has a hotshoe and traditional flash sync if possible (Some Sony cameras have bespoke fitting)
Check the USB port works. Canon 5DII ones are prone to get trashed it seems (for tethered shooting)
for Lenses if you go for Primes 50mm is a solid workhorse, 80-100mm about right for portrait type work. My go to lens is the Canon L series 24-100. (Well there abouts before someone comes back saying they don't do one - I use it to earn money not as a bragging piece)
That should be fine. Until she's aware of what everything does, even she won't know what she wants out of a camera yet. And depending on the slant of the course, they're more interested in things like composition that absolute quality.
That said, a prime like the cheapie 50mm f1.8 would be a godsend as it is one of the few cheap lenses that give a noticeable result when you change aperture on crop bodies (the kit lenses like 18-55 for example are already so 'dark' as to show little change when adjusting aperture).
Well firstly i'd go to a shop and physically hold a Canon and a Nikon (possibly Sony)to find out what feels best to her, i personally did that and liked the feel of the Nikon and where the buttons were, i find they feel more solid than Canon's, and then a good second hand source like WEX in their used section