Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

Recommend a camera?


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Carl Miller

Carl Miller

    Screenwriter



  • 1,461 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 17 2002

Posted February 10 2011 - 03:38 PM

Haven't used a camera in about 10 years other than an old very basic Kodak digital. We just moved to the beach and I'd like to take some photos of the beach, sunrise/sunset, the night sky etc.


Maybe I'm researching in the wrong places, but the blogs of reviews I see are either way over my head, or just seem to be ad based sites where every camera gets 4 stars.


I have a price range of about $300-$350, and would like a decent zoom so I can take some pictures from our terrace which has an ocean view but not so much that camera shake becomes a major issue.


Can anyone recommend a camera that might fit my needs and be good for a virtual newbie?


Carl

#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,097 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted February 11 2011 - 01:32 AM

At that price range you are pretty much out of the realm of DSLRs.  Which means you are consigned to digicams.  Most of these are designed for the mass market, are slow to focus, have questionable optics which market ridiculous zoom ranges and megapixels over image quality.  I'm sure others can help you sort through the noise of millions of choices there, but I'm not in that market.  For my nephews I simply went to Costco and got the latest $100 special and they were thrilled with it.


If you want, however, a quality tool, you are going to need to pay a little bit more for it.  And you will likely sacrifice some pocketability to get there.  If that sounds intriguing Check out the Nikon P7000:


http://www.dpreview....ews/nikonp7000/

http://theonlinephot...09/nikanon.html

http://theonlinephot...uces-p7000.html

http://photofocus.co...ew-conclusions/


Ken Rockwell is an idiot sometimes but this info seems ok:

http://www.kenrockwe...olpix/p7000.htm


The Canon alternative is the G12:

http://www.kenrockwe...ompacts/g12.htm


I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

Scott Merryfield

    Executive Producer



  • 10,662 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 16 1998
  • LocationMichigan

Posted February 11 2011 - 02:35 AM

I am no expert on point & shoot digital cameras, either, as my focus is more on dSLRs. However, I have read lots of good things about the Panasonic Lumix p&s cameras, so you may want to check out a Panny model that fits into your price range along with the ones that Sam suggested above.


The Canon Powershot G12 that Sam mentioned is a very well-regarding point & shoot. I am not sure if it can be found within your stated budget, though. I thought those were going for over $400, but I have not looked in quite awhile.



#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,097 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted February 11 2011 - 03:04 AM

right now the P7000 is $379 on Amazon and the G12 is $429


I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Tony J Case

Tony J Case

    Screenwriter



  • 1,735 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 25 2002

Posted February 11 2011 - 04:40 AM

I'm not much help here since my experience with cameras in your price range is several years out of date (although I was really happy with my Canon PowerShot S3 IS from a couple of years ago) I do have a bit of input. I've heard very good things about the Kodak Easyshare Touch:


http://store.kodak.c...uctID.222432900


I've not actually put my hands on one, but it might be worth taking a look at.


(On the other hand, I could recommend a really awesome film camera for about 50 bucks! :) )



#6 of 24 OFFLINE   Carl Miller

Carl Miller

    Screenwriter



  • 1,461 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 17 2002

Posted February 11 2011 - 11:53 AM

Thanks guys! I'm not ready for DSLR. It would be much more camera than I know what to do with. I'll definitely check out the links provided and the models mentioned. I appreciate the input!


Carl

#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

Cees Alons

    Executive Producer



  • 18,668 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 31 1997
  • Real Name:Cees Alons

Posted February 12 2011 - 02:51 AM

I bought my daughter a Kodak last year, together with one or two quite useful accessories. She made some terrific pictures during her vacations. Last month I gave her a "digital picture frame" as a birthday present (and I had to put a lot of photo's in the internal memory of it, after some processing), so I know how excellent those pictures actually were - a bit to my surprise.



BTW, 2 x 4Gb SDHC-cards is preferable to 1 x 8Gb card, although possibly slightly more expensive.



Cees



#8 of 24 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,874 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted February 12 2011 - 09:40 AM

Did Kodak really improve all that much in this market segment?


Their digicams had seemed like complete toys that catered to pure snapshot usage for well over a decade since these things started going mainstream.  I never bothered to even check them anymore when asked for recommendations -- just doesn't seem worth the effort.  Considering them at all seemed almost like considering buying a phone based on its camera capabilities -- actually, I'd argue the phone camera might be more useful in some cases these days...


_Man_


Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#9 of 24 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,874 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted February 12 2011 - 09:52 AM

Carl,


Before you dismiss going DSLR, you should probably give some thought to how likely you'll end up wanting to go that route instead in the forseeable future.


Honestly, anyone who's seriously considering one of the higher end compact digicams *should* at least understand the differences before deciding it's not time to go DSLR yet.  The leap is not quite as huge as one might assume -- and it's not like you cannot use "Program" (or the other semi-auto) mode to get similarly good results on a DSLR while you take your time learning up on things.  Most folks don't actually go full manual (forgetting about the AF aspect for the moment) most of the time anyway.


Don't let certain snooty DSLR users (not that there are any here of course) scare you away from even giving careful consideration on the matter before deciding.  They don't require a permit and bonafide photography lessons for you to own and operate a DSLR -- certainly no more so than one of those higher end compacts. Posted Image Posted Image


As long as you go into these things w/ realistic expectations/understanding and a commitment to learn to get the results you want, you shouldn't worry too much about which way you go.  Not like a cheaper compact will automatically give you great results either if you don't know how to use it...


Cheers!


_Man_


Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted February 12 2011 - 03:00 PM

Olympus EPL2, and set it on auto:

http://www.amazon.co...BRJO/?tag=e--20

~$400


It has a larger sensor than the snapshot junk that is similarly priced. The sensor is not quite as large as a DSLR's sensor, but, as you are not seeking a DSLR (and don't need the complexity), that is what I would recommend for pictures that will be superior to any snapshot camera, while still being cheap, and, when set on Auto, easy to use.


I've been following the development of this new market for a few years now -- a market of cameras for people who want better than snapshot quality, but don't want the bulk or complexity of a DSLR. It has been an amazing two years in particular, as several companies have started aiming for this new market, and the Olympus EPL2 camera gets consistently fabulous reviews, as did the EPL1 before it (but the EPL2 has improvements). Plus is has a retro 1960s look to it which is quite nice.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


The small zoom lens it comes with, which is labeled as 14-42mm is equivalent to about 28-84mm on an old 35mm camera. That's a good wide side for those beach landscapes, and 84mm is a good portrait zoom length. Here's an angle view so you can see if the lens is too bulky for you:


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted February 12 2011 - 03:20 PM

And I want to urge you not to buy any camera that has a tiny sensor, typically identified in small print as one of these: 1/2.5, 1/1.8, 1/1.7, 1/1.6.


Here's a chart of image sensors from Wikipedia showing you why all compact cameras are terrible:


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Those tiny ones in the lower left corner? That's what you need to avoid. No matter how many megapixels they slice out of that sensor, it is still smaller than your pinky fingernail, and is inherently crap.


The Olympus EPL2's sensor is the red box (the one identified as Four Thirds System). A nice size, for good images. About the size of a postage stamp.


The boxes identified as APS-C are what DSLRs use -- bigger still, but, out of your price range.


So don't waste your money on anything that promises the world but only has the same tiny sensor that other compacts have.


"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#12 of 24 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,097 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted February 13 2011 - 06:07 AM

Didn't realize the EPL2 was down to $400 with lens, that's worth consideration I guess.  I have my heart set on a Panny GH2 once they become more reasonably priced =)


Just remember 2 things going this route:  ZERO pocketability and loss of an eye level viewfinder.  You only get a viewscreen to look through.


I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

Sam Posten

    Executive Producer



  • 17,097 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 30 1997
  • Real Name:Sam Posten
  • LocationAberdeen, MD & Navesink, NJ

Posted February 13 2011 - 06:11 AM

Man, dude, your link goes to the EPL1 not the 2.  The 2 is still $600...

http://www.amazon.co...4/ref=pd_cp_p_2


http://theonlinephot...mpus-e-pl2.html


I lost my signature and all I got was this Nutter t-shirt


#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted February 13 2011 - 06:19 AM

Aw crap. Well the EPL1 is almost as good, and certainly one he should get.


Video commercial:

http://www.amazon.co...ref=ent_fb_link


The EPL3 is due later this year so the EPL2 *should* be dropping in price soon...


"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Carl Miller

Carl Miller

    Screenwriter



  • 1,461 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 17 2002

Posted February 13 2011 - 08:35 AM

Thanks again guys. I'm reading up on all that you've directed me toward.


Man, I had read the basics about different classes of cameras and pretty much decided that I want something better than a pocket sized point and shoot but not at the level of DSLR. However, I didn't realize how far the prices of entry level DSLR's had dropped. My basic situation is that I really don't know how much I will get into photography. My kids are in college now, and I've got more free time on my weekends. Since we moved there have been a few dozen times already I've been standing on my terrace looking at the ocean or a sunrise or sunset and thinking to myself that I wish I had a decent camera. So I don't know. It could end there, I might get bored, or I might find it something I'm really interested in learning more about and doing more with. Hard to say.


Will, thank you for the sensor info...it helped clarify a few things. The EPL1 looks like it would suit all of my needs and give me plenty of room to grow. I'm a little bit concerned about the criticisms regarding its menu if you want to dig more into manual settings but the reviews for it are consistently good and the size is definitely right.



Carl

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

Cees Alons

    Executive Producer



  • 18,668 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 31 1997
  • Real Name:Cees Alons

Posted February 13 2011 - 08:58 AM

If you're really considering the E-Pl 2, then, well even for the sake of the price think again.  Posted Image



Cees



#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted February 13 2011 - 09:42 AM



Originally Posted by Carl Miller 

Thanks again guys. I'm reading up on all that you've directed me toward.

...
Will, thank you for the sensor info...it helped clarify a few things. The EPL1 looks like it would suit all of my needs and give me plenty of room to grow. I'm a little bit concerned about the criticisms regarding its menu if you want to dig more into manual settings but the reviews for it are consistently good and the size is definitely right.



There are cameras with worse menus, I assure you! :) The Sony NEX series is renowned for having the worst menus ever invented by a committee of Japanese engineers ever. So, don't fret!


"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

ManW_TheUncool

    Producer



  • 5,874 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 18 2001
  • Real Name:ManW

Posted February 13 2011 - 12:28 PM

Carl,

Let me ask you these things.

Are you the kind of person that likes to explore stuff, try different things, demand a certain level of quality and tend to have a good idea what you want and tend to persevere in getting it? A little bit (or a lot) of a perfectionist perhaps?

OR do you tend to be satisfied w/ something that's "good enough" for most people?

Do you often get a strong nagging feeling that slow response times, mediocre AF, lack of quality options (of all kinds), etc. tend to ruin your shooting experience or the results you get?

Do you want certain characteristics like a strong separation between what's in focus and what's not? The ability to shoot w/ indoor lighting w/out always resorting to (anemic) on-camera flash? Fast enough AF for tracking moving action? The list goes on...

If the majority of these things describe you (other than the "good enough" thing), then I would strongly encourage you to seriously consider going DSLR.

Take your time to find out more before deciding since this is probably not an urgent need. But if you're gonna spend that much, then it's certainly worth your while to look more closely before deciding.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend the micro-4/3 route unless you *REALLY* know what you're getting into.

Otherwise, if you just want something quick and simple and don't want to commit to anything, I'd recommend going w/ something cheaper and more pocketable instead. You can always add something much more substantial (and more advanced) later to go along w/ something very pocketable and not feel like you wasted good $$$. Very many people who go the DSLR route do also end up w/ something very pocketable as well.

And it's not like you cannot get pretty good results w/ something inexpensive and pocketable for what you've mentioned so far. Often, it's just a matter of knowing how to get the most out of whatever camera you happen to have -- unless you have specific requirements that exceed a compact digicam. Don't let gear lust and such drive you to overkill on the camera. OTOH, don't just settle for a compromise that you know you'll likely regret either.

_Man_


Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Will_B

Will_B

    Producer



  • 4,733 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 06 2001

Posted February 13 2011 - 02:53 PM

And let's add, try to go to a camera shop where you can hold these cameras in your hand. I myself almost got a DSLR that was one of the smaller DSLRs in existence, but when I held it in my hands I knew it was just too large. (That's what she said?). And I've held small cameras that were too small for my hands. It's a Goldielocks situation, where you need to feel the cameras yourself to know which is right for you.


And don't forget the resale value of cameras is usually pretty great if they are recent cameras, so you'll probably be safe for a half a year or so if you decide to resell.


"Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted." -Krysta Now

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Tony J Case

Tony J Case

    Screenwriter



  • 1,735 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 25 2002

Posted February 13 2011 - 07:42 PM



Originally Posted by ManW_TheUncool 


Honestly, anyone who's seriously considering one of the higher end compact digicams *should* at least understand the differences before deciding it's not time to go DSLR yet.  The leap is not quite as huge as one might assume -- and it's not like you cannot use "Program" (or the other semi-auto) mode to get similarly good results on a DSLR while you take your time learning up on things.  Most folks don't actually go full manual (forgetting about the AF aspect for the moment) most of the time anyway.



Truth. I picked up my Canon Powershot S3 just on the cusp of DSLRs becoming really consumer affordable, and I sunk a ton of cash into extras and lens adapters and whatnot when what I should have done was hang on to my moolah and saved it for my Rebel XSi. It served me well at the time, but in hindsight it would have been smart to make the leap instead of dicking about.


***EDIT***

Oh, and whatever you do, dont buy into the megapixel arms race. Once you start getting past 10 or 12 megapixels, It's all snake oil and bullshit - and in fact can be detrimental the bigger you go. Each one of those each of those itty-bitty pixel sensors that make up the Megapixel? They generate heat - which translates into noise in your picture (think film grain, but ugly instead of organic). The more they cram into a small space, the more heat it generates and the more noise you could wind up with. So these 18 and 24 megapixel cameras? I wouldn't touch 'em with a 10 foot pole.