Camera recommendation for non-photographer for small business.

My brother is looking to get a camera for his stone masonry business (think mortarless high end stone work, not brick and block work) so he can take pictures of his work when jobs are complete. The majority of the work is outside residential work. He also does inside jobs as well such as fireplaces. Normally I'd just go and shoot the pictures for him, however he works anywhere from 2-3 hours away from where I live so it's not really time effective. My plan is to teach him some basic techniques when he visits so he can take better pictures then he can with his iPhone (I think some basic technique could just help with his iPhone pics, but DLSR will be better quality) Also these are mostly for his website, but he may want to print a hard portfolio as well to show architects as well.

So he's got a budget of $1,000 for a setup. As most forum readers know I shoot Nikon so I was thinking it might be easiest to stick with a Nikon so I'm more familiar with the controls (I have a D810 though so may be different enough anyway.) My first inclination was to perhaps get the D5500 with a kit lens and a flash for right around $1,000 with the current sales.

That being said I'm open to other options beyond Nikon if say a mirrorless might make more sense or even a point and shoot if the quality is there.

Camera size might be a consideration so he takes it with him all the time. He usually has his truck though so might not be a huge issue.

VR or image stabilization would be awesome as I don't see him buying a tripod and taking the time to use it.

Easy to use in terms of transferring images. Good SOOC JPGS might also be worth considering, not sure I see him editing RAW unless he ships them to me for post processing.

Something I can get a decent wide angle for. It would be nice to not only show his work, but perhaps in the context of the landscape as well.

Can mount a flash for indoor photography.

Thanks in advance! I usually am looking at (drooling over) higher end Nikon stuff so I'm a bit overwhelmed with the options so any help is greatly appreciated.


  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,117Member
    edited November 2016
    If you want a high end compact, I would go with a Sony RX100 of any generation actually, which puts you between $300 and $800, depending on which generation you get and whether you get a refurbished camera or not.

    I will say that the camera isn't really great for action, and the menu is not intuitive at all. But, I don't think your friend will be using it for those reasons and it gets great results.

    I really wanted to stick with Nikon too, but I'm personally not too familiar with the Nikon offerings.
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Nikon D3400 one lens kit. 18-55 will cover 99% of what he does. @DaveyJ uses his in the field all the time. Nearly indestructible and easily replaced. Has green auto mode and a built-in flash. Will blow away iphone. Kit on sale for $499!
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,154Member
    Ironheart said:

    Nikon D3400 one lens kit. 18-55 will cover 99% of what he does. @DaveyJ uses his in the field all the time. Nearly indestructible and easily replaced. Has green auto mode and a built-in flash. Will blow away iphone. Kit on sale for $499!

    Yes, there is very little downside to this recommendation.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,176Member
    I was helping a guy the other day to take some photos of his products.. You know "the teach a man to fish technique"... and he had the Nikon D3300 and that folding kit lense. nice and compact. really a very nice kit and very capable... (once he understood some basic settings and what they really mean. :-) ) The much maligned "P" Mode helped so did auto ISO.. especially with his frustration of the popping up pop-up flash :-).

    Another thing is the Auto WB was bad for him and probably for your brother too as it messed with the colour of the product.

    I got a nice lunch out of that :-)

    Only other thing I like to add is the Dynamic Range of the Nikon DSLRs with the Active D-lighting setting should give your brother's product shots, in the harsh outdoor lights, a significant advantage over the smaller sensors or the SonyRX.

    Have fun deciding.. Any of the current Dxxx range would be very very nice for his work, especially if he is interested in other things besides just product shots.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,995Member
    Why waste money a D3300 is cheap at present maybe even a refurb. KISS. If he is doing interior flash make sure you tell him to only do landscape to avoid side shadows.....and set it all to auto iso A mode and screw the sharp up to +7 at least.
    He can also do quite good videos with this camera ..pan s-l-o-w-l-y no need for a tripod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,197Moderator
    Lots of good advice above. Either go with your own suggestion or the cheaper 3xxx with the latest kit lens. Plus maybe consider saving money on the body but get an ultrawide zoom as space is sometimes a problem.
    Always learning.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    A Canon M3 with the 11-22mm, plus a small flash (either Canon or 3rd party) with bounce head. You really can't beat Canon's SOC JPEGs, and the M3 is pretty compact, has very robust metallic construction and, thanks to its tilty touch screen, is very user friendly. The 11-22mm must be best UWA zoom lens for the money out there right now, it's amazingly compact, razor sharp and stabilized to boot. Get the M3 with the kit lens to cover most shooting needs, it's probably the best 18-55mm out there, too. Should all fit within your $1K budget.
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