DSLR Camera recommendations?- Grad student in need of help!

So I go to a school where theres not much guidance or help... anything would be muccch appreciated!!

I am looking to buy a new camera, and was thinking about getting a dslr like Nikon D3000 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens/// to do it...I have an old nikon but the auto setting kick in and the battery dies right away and I don't know too much about all of the technical terms, I haven't had a photography class since my undergrad. I have a camcorder as well but I like to be able to change the lighting and I don't know how to upload the photos or videos onto my computer. I have a mac and a pc. I bought the mac so I can basically do stop motion.

BASICALLY....

I am trying to make stop motion films of sculpture, and i want to be able to change the settings of the camera (zoom, light, etc) and keep them that way for as long as I need be. I am in graduate school right now. Any suggestions on a good camera for this? I have been looking on Amazon and craigslist for something under $400

THANKS SO MUCH!!!! XO

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What hook-up method did you use for your powershot, Bobby?

I have one Canon Powershot S3 I believe, and I've been told a way to hook it up very unconventional, which I forgot now after I purchased the Canon T3i and remains dusty in some box ever since. But it could be nice to use them both: one for experiments, one for the full lenght film.

Bobby McCarty said:

I have been using a Canon Powershot S5iS for some early test shots as it's been a considerable while since I did anything with stop motion at all, so I have been testing whichever software will drive the camera until I know which one to use. This camera (not DSLR) obviously has the potential to deliver some very pleasing results if I can get the right combination of software to capture and animate but getting the balance right is no easy thing, especially working on a budget of... well, £0. But, as has already been said by grecodan a few comments up, its good enough for a non-professional.

Although my test video is not very good quality here, I know why that is and should have no problem fixing it if I use software designed for stop motion (the test was more an experiment into how natural movement should look) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nGNflm8vvk

I wouldn't recommend this camera outright, but something in its 'ball-park' has got to be enough for an enthusiast animator in as much as the camera is good enough for an enthusiast photographer. Hope something there helps!

So far I have used a standard usb data cable so I can control the camera using Canon's Zoombrowser EX application on my PC. I'm assuming I will be able to do the same with most decent stop motion programs, It's just getting hold of them thats the issue.Hope that answers your question.

I couldn't tell you if this would work with Dragonframe or SMP or any other 'proper' program because I have stopped myself from trying. I mean, what good would it do me to know that my ideas could become animated if only I could afford the hundred-odd quid to get the program, having no disposable income can be a real git sometimes. Up until now I have settled for doing everything for free, but these limitations are really starting to bother me now. You should give it a go in some experiments though, see if you can get it working for some ground breaking, unconventional stop motion!

Metalmadcat said:

What hook-up method did you use for your powershot, Bobby?

Hello fellow grad student!

I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel XSi, which I bought off eBay for $400 two years ago, which probably means they've come down even more in price since then. It works with the software DragonFrame and can be controlled through the software (shutter speed, apeture, etc.) if you do keep the original auto lens, you will get flicker, but that can be reduced with an AE plugin if necessary. Make sure you switch the focus to "manual".

I also recommend getting an AC adapter for your camera--do NOT use batteries!! Having to change the batteries in the middle of a shot is very bad, as you will bump the camera. You want to eliminate that as much as possible. I'd also recommend getting sandbags for your tripod; if you do bump the camera, it is much less likely to move.

I use the Canon Rebel xsi, EOS 450D also. I recently bought Dragon Frame and now have the live feed, its a great combination. So far I haven't had the flicker trouble that others have described, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't ever happen.

Jeff

StopMo Nick - I've been reading up on lens adapters and looking around for one that adapts a Nikon AI-S 35-135mm MF lens to a Canon EOS Rebel T2i (550D). Most of the ones I've seen are priced at $100-200:S What should I be searching for on eBay to find one in the $20 price range you mentioned? 

Thanks! 

- Carla

Hi Carla,

I think those expensive ones would have electronics to allow the camera to control the lens.  We don't want that for stop motion, we want to set it manually and know it will stay there.  So the simple cheap ones are ideal for us.

I looked in eBay USA, selected the "camera lens adapters and mounts" section.  This one came up on the first page, priced at US $7.30 Buy It Now, with free shipping from China:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-Lens-to-Canon-EOS-EF-Mount-Adapter-65...

I don't know what the black stuff around the outside is - plastic?   I'm not sure, this one might be too cheap... hang on,  just read description lower down on the page, and it says metal, so probably ok.  It wouldn't cost much to try it.

Further down but still on the first page, there is one that looks like mine, all silver metal, also priced very low at $7.36 with free shipping, so maybe that's what they are selling for now:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-F-Mount-Lens-To-Canon-EOS-EF-Adapter-...

That is the one I would buy since it looks just like the one I already use.  It says it is made of brass, so it would be chrome plated I guess.  I like them saying a specific metal, not just "metal".  

Moving on to the second page or results, I find another one priced at $9.96, plus $1.99 shipping.  It says it is copper, but that is unlikely, it is probably brass which is an alloy of copper, but harder and more suited to machining camera parts.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mount-Adapter-Ring-For-Nikon-Lens-to-Canon-...

Like the first one with the black ring around the outside, it has a black tab that mine (and the second one) lacks.   I don't know what it is for.  I don't see any reason to pay more for this one.

Further down on page 2, this one is still only $9.82 with free shipping, but is "AF Confirm" - it has electronic connectors to allow the camera to control the autofocus.  This is not a good thing for animation, so even if it works I would definitely not get this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AF-Confirm-Nikon-AI-AF-Lens-to-Canon-EOS-EF...

I got to page 4 without finding any priced at $100 or so.

Thanks for the help, Nick! Hadn't found the second one previously, and it's good to know what to look for, what to avoid, and what's been tried and true. 

-Carla

Hello, perhaps a t3i? Canon with stock lens, works great for me. I Use dragonframe with my 7 axis Robot and it work awesome because I use the motion controller with it.

What program did u grad from?

Thanks

Mike

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