Hi guys, 

I am a complete newbie to stop motion however my partner has been doing it for years but she has never been able to afford her own dslr (she has always borrowed one from uni). 

So for Christmas this year I wanted to buy her one but I have absolutely no idea what kind of dslr is good for stop motion. She uses the program stop motion pro so I want to get a camera that is compatible with that program. 

From the research I've done apparently Canon is better than Nikon and I've been looking at the Canon EOS 1300D but I also heard the "Rebel" line isn't all that good for stop motion, so should I not buy a new 1300D but instead maybe a second hand Canon that will do a better job ? ( I heard the 50D is apparently very good) 

My budget is about $800 Australian dollars. 

Any help would be really appreciated. 

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I have no idea what prices are like in Oz, but it strikes me that $800 will buy you quite a lot of camera.

I use the Rebel T31 (600D), no longer made, but I think there's the 650D and 750D. These cameras are all excellent for stop motion. Peter and the Wolf was made with this type of camera, so it's not true that the Rebel series isn't good for stopmo.  I also use my 600D for live action filmmaking, and it works very well for that. A friend brought his 550D to do some filming recently, and we discovered that the difference between them was that you don't have any sound recording controls on the 550D. So the cheaper the model you go for, the more restricted the choices are for whatever you do.

I also have a Mk1 7D, which is a metal-bodied older camera, very robust and likely to last much longer than the plastic-bodied 600D. I picked up the 7D secondhand for £400 on Ebay. But I was very careful only to buy a camera with a low shutter count, i.e. below 10,000. There are a lot of ex-professional cameras for sale with big shutter counts (50,000 ++) and I wouldn't touch them. Also they are likely to have had a tough life.

For the $800, if you go for a quality secondhand camera body, you could possibly also get a manual lens. These are the best for stop motion, and are not too expensive. I have gradually bought a series of prime lenses, but find the Nikon 55mm AIS a great lens. I also use a 35mm a lot and 28mm and 24mm too. Don't buy cheap lenses or any with malfunctions or fungus inside. Nikon, Olympus and Vivitar are what I have stuck to. You will also need some cheap metal adapters from ebay to fit the lenses to the camera. Best to get one for each lens.

But if the budget is straining and you want to get a lens, a standard zoom will do the job, and there are lots of them available at very low prices - I got an Olympus zoom for £16! Not a bad lens at all.

See other threads about getting vintage manual lenses for stopmo, and also this video:


What a lucky lady, I am sure she will be thrilled with your gift, and you can get her more lenses for future Christmases!

Oh....and don't forget the mains adapter for the camera. Buy a generic one, not the overpriced Canon offering.

Just had a quick look on Ebay, and there are 650D bodies going for around £250 in fairly mint condition. 

Assuming 2Aus$ = £1, then that leaves you with a decent amount to put towards a lens, so I think my post is not unrealistic. Good luck!

Thanks so much for the great advice.

I have just had a quick look on ebay as well and I definitely think I am going to go for the 650D body and hopefully the Nikon 55mm. 

However I do have one question about the lens. I noticed in the video you linked that he is talking about the 55mm f3.5 micro but when I google Nikon 55mm ais lens it automatically comes up with the 55mm f2.8 micro, whats the main difference between these ?

Hi Alex

The difference is how wide the aperture will go at its maximum. So someone buying the lens for live action might want one that opens as wide as possible to get the most light in.

All this is irrelevant for stopmo as you generally use long exposure times and therefore can use a lens with whatever aperture opening you want according to the depth of field you require. So the f3.5 is likely to be cheaper, but it is just fine for stopmo. I have the f3.5, and it is my favourite lens.

Can I suggest that you also get a cheap UV filter to put over the lens, to protect it from dust and dirt? The diameter is 52mm. And while you are at it, if you are getting the lens adapter, get a Canon (-fit) rear lens cap, so she does not have to take the adapter off each time she puts it away.

One more thing: I can't recall where I read it, but there was a strong recommendation to go only for an AI or AIS lens, not the pre-AI sort. I think it was because the quality of the glass is better. Anyway, here is a pic of the AI lens, identical to what I have.


And here is one of the pre-AI version, which looks different - wider aluminium ring etc etc.:


I don't know enough about lenses to know exactly what the differences are, but can vouch for the AI f3.5 as a good piece of kit..... Have just done a little search, and apparently the early f2.8 lenses had some issues with oil seeping onto the aperture ring blades, which would be really bad news. Reviewers say that the f3.5 is at least as good as the 2.8, certainly at the mid range of aperture i.e. f8. One even states that this is the lens against which others get measured! BTW 'Micro' stands for "Macro' in Nikon-speak, which means it is able to do the sort of v shallow depth of field shots as seen in e.g. Street of Crocodiles from Brothers Quay. 

While I am trawling ebay, here's a link to the sort of adapter ring you need: 


Don't go for the fancy ones which connect the electronics. The whole point of these old lenses is that they don't connect, so there are no flicker problems from the aperture ring.

And this is the mains adapter for a 650D:


These generic ones seem to vary a lot in price, but mostly show the same picture for all, so I imagine they are advertising the same thing. There is a little box that fits inside the camera instead of the battery.

Hope that helps.

Here's a link to a review of the lens, and a historical overview of the different versions. It looks like the pre-AI version had slightly different optics, but it doesn't appear that there was much to choose between them.


AI refers to 'Aperture Indexing' which as I understand it was done via a link between the lens and the camera. So with a Nikon lens on a Canon DSLR, this becomes irrelevant. Therefore, unless someone here can tell me otherwise, it seems that pre-AI lenses are probably just fine too.

Likely too much information, but it seemed worthwhile trying to find out.

And, to answer your actual question.... Nikon made an AI f 3.5 55mm, but did not make an AI-S version except in the f2.8. Hence your Google issues.

I use a Canon Rebel 3ti and it does pretty well. It's not as nice as the top of the line stuff, but I got it for a fraction of the price and it has been great for my needs.  

Simon thank you so much for all the information, you've literally answered every question I had about everything and more. Honestly thank you so much for all the help. 

I'm surprised by how cheap some of the add on's are for the lens and camera body, especially the Nikon 55mm f3.5 lens its pretty damn cheap for such a good lens. 

Also Adam thanks for the extra bit of advice, I think I've made my decision on what I need to get her and what not :) 

Make sure the lens is in good condition. The things that are not acceptable are scratches on the lens elements, oil on the iris blades and fungus inside the lens. A decent camera dealer will give a report on the condition. In the UK the lens goes for about £120.

You are welcome to the advice. It gives me great pleasure to imagine your partner opening such a fantastic present on Christmas day!

Just want to throw in my 2 cents on cameras: In my experience, Canon Rebels have been the best value for shooting stop-motion. There's no difference as far as image quality goes when compared to the more expensive cameras. I've shot many professional projects on my Canon 450D- which I bought back in 2009.

What you're paying for on an expensive body are things like durability, fast autofocus, fast burst mode, etc. - all the things that are useless when locked off on a tripod shooting stop-mo in a controlled lighting environment. All that said, if you're using the camera for regular outdoor photography too, that's a different case. But for stop-motion only, anything more than a Canon Rebel is too much.

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