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View Full Version : Sister's Wedding / Hawaii need camera help~




gammamonk
Feb 28, 2006, 04:24 AM
I'm going home for my sister's wedding this May, and on the way I'm stopping in Hawaii for a few days to check out the Universities. Currently I have a Sony V1 and I love it, but I want something higher end for these events.

I've read tons of posts on here about the Canon and Nikon dSLR's, but I've never used SLR before. Also, for the wedding I'll be "in the wedding" whatever that means, so I don't think I can have a honking camera slung around my neck.

For everyday use, I really want an ultra compact pocket camera too. Something that I can always have in my pocket.

So, I guess I want to know:
1) Everybody's favorite dSLR camera (Let's say around $1000)
2) Everybody's favorite Ultra compact camera (lowish budget)

I have a few gigs of Memory Stick Duo's, but no lens or whatever to keep me with one brand.



cube
Feb 28, 2006, 06:16 AM
For compact, I like Panasonic because they all have optical stabilization and they use SD (although Compact Flash would be better, for a cheap 8GB Microdrive).
But I don't like the noise level.

I don't like Sony because they are too automatic and use Memory Stick.
I don't like Olympus and Fujifilm because they use xD.

In the end, after looking at a lot of compact cameras, optimization tens to lead to Canon. There's no ideal compact.

Abstract
Feb 28, 2006, 06:25 AM
On top of Nikon and Canon, I'd also take a look at Olympus or even Pentax. The e330 or e500 from Olympus in particular. There's one guy who I'm sure can offer you some Pentax suggestions. ;)

By not going with Nikon or Canon, the camera is generally cheaper and so you'll be able to spend more money on better lenses. Some people might argue that neither company has the lineup of lenses that Canon or Nikon currently have, but as a casual photographer who wants something a bit more high-end, how many lenses are you going to buy anyway? Probably 2-3, not 17. Same arguments can be made about the availability of software for Macs (eg: how many word processor applications do you need anyway?). You'll probably find more than you need from Olympus and Pentax.

A friend of mine has a new Olympus (forget the model, but I think it's the E500) and it seems fantastic. I only used it to take 3 photos, but it felt comfortable to use.

COMPACT: The ultraslim, ultraportable cameras are almost all the same nowadays. I'd get one with an optical viewfinder though. Sometimes that LCD will break or screw up, or you'll be running out of battery, and with no viewfinder, you either can't see what you're aiming at, or you can't shut off the screen to save battery life because you don't have a viewfinder to frame your subject.

kwajo.com
Feb 28, 2006, 06:51 AM
On top of Nikon and Canon, I'd also take a look at Olympus or even Pentax. The e330 or e500 from Olympus in particular. There's one guy who I'm sure can offer you some Pentax suggestions. ;)


lol :p well you already made some great suggestions, and really none of the top companies offer dSLRs that would really leaving you thinking you made a bad decision. I'm a big fan of the current Nikon models I think they are very good, and Olympus has the E-500 which is quite good, though I'm not a big fan of the E-330.

But since plenty of people can (and will) give you suggestions about D50s or Rebel XTs, I'll suggest the Pentax *ist DS2. It is very compact, incredibly comfortable to shoot with, but very much full featured, as it offers things like metering that are above its class. It has very good high-ISO too, so if you are caught in a darker situation you can still get some nice shots, a very likely situation at a wedding. One of the reasons it would make a good choice for you is that it has a nice big bright viewfinder, and also there are an enormous number of great old Pentax prime lenses that are perfect for portraits because of their clarity and speed. The kit lens for the DS2 is good also, not just a cheapy thrown in, it can actually produce very fine results, and has a usable focus ring, something some of the competition are lacking in.

Another suggestion is the Pentax *ist DL. While it might be harder to find (it is being phased out for the DL2, which is mainly a cosmetic upgrade), in many places it can be found for $500 or below, and while it cuts a few corners (such as having a penta-mirror instead of a pentaprism viewfinder) it has the same image sensor as it's bigger brother and even the Nikon D70. I've seen many photos from this camera and it is very good, nothing budget about it.

whatever you decide, remember to have fun shooting. get a nice big flash card, or several smaller ones, and just snap, snap, snap to your heart's delight. These sorts of events are once-in-a-lifetime, you might as well take the photo instead of risking not having the moment captured.

homerjward
Feb 28, 2006, 06:58 AM
^^what kwajo said^^
personally, i have a d50 and i'm very satisfied with it. sure, it could use iso/wb in the viewfinder, mlu, cf instead of sd, etc. but it's still a great cam!

btw, depending on what you're doing (like whether you'll need a really long lens on the dslr, or a fisheye, or fast primes) have you looked at the sony r1? it's got most of the image quality of a dslr, and a big sensor, and a fast lens, in an all-in-one body that takes memory sticks you already have.

btw, what's penta-mirror vs. pentaprism?

cube
Feb 28, 2006, 07:25 AM
btw, what's penta-mirror vs. pentaprism?

A penta-mirror is a cheaper and lighter, but less bright, replacement for a pentaprism.

gammamonk
Feb 28, 2006, 08:28 AM
Thanks for all the advice everybody. I'm looking at the E500 that Abstract recommended on Amazon right now, but I'm a little confused about the lenses. Can someone give me a quick overview of the difference between 12-54mm and 40-150mm etc? Say I only want one lens right now, which type do I want? What do the numbers really mean?

gammamonk
Feb 28, 2006, 08:33 AM
... have you looked at the sony r1? it's got most of the image quality of a dslr, and a big sensor, and a fast lens, in an all-in-one body that takes memory sticks you already have.

I did look into it actually. It looks awesome, but since it's the same price as an SLR and the same size more or less, it seems better to get something that's more expandable with new lenses if I get bored later.

GoCubsGo
Feb 28, 2006, 08:41 AM
rule #1: NEVER buy a new camera just before you go on a trip. Your photos will turn out fine, but you will soon learn the controls of your camera and be bummed that you didn't use them on your trip.

rule #2: NEVER buy a new camera just before you leave for above-mentioned trip to photograph a wedding.

As far as cameras go. I love the d70, but I hear the d50 is a great prosumer dslr. On the flip side there is the canon 20d which is an amazing beast in itself. There are really only two camera options out there right now and those are it. Unless you want to start talking about large format.

Dave00
Feb 28, 2006, 09:11 AM
The first consideration for any camera is what you're using it for. There's no way you're going to want to take a DSLR to the wedding. It's too much to lug around, and you're always going to be worried about leaving it anywhere, which will be a problem if you're in the wedding. For pictures of the rest of your trip, a DSLR might be nice. But a disaster to take to a wedding.

I happen to love the Canon line when it comes to compact digital cameras. Flagship of the smaller full-function cams is the SD550. However if you think you will be taking alot of low-light photos (for instance, at a night-time reception indoors) you might want to look at the Fuji F10/F11/F30 series. They take good low light photos without a flash, which often is useful at weddings when flash photography is prohibited. The F30 will be my next compact camera once it is released (after having used the Canon digital elph series through several models). If portability is at a premium, you might want to look at the ultracompacts. Clearly they don't take the same quality photos, but they're much easier to put into a shirt pocket or small purse.

cube
Feb 28, 2006, 09:34 AM
Thanks for all the advice everybody. I'm looking at the E500 that Abstract recommended on Amazon right now, but I'm a little confused about the lenses. Can someone give me a quick overview of the difference between 12-54mm and 40-150mm etc? Say I only want one lens right now, which type do I want? What do the numbers really mean?

A main factor in choosing an SLR is the lenses available. Don't buy until you have investigated thoroughly the alternatives, which includes seeing what lenses third-party manufacturers have for the system considered.

Lately, Canon is usually coming up with some unique stuff before Nikon. Some people prefer Nikon glass.

If you look at Sigma, Olympus seems to be the least supported system.

Related to the lenses, the sensor crop factor is very important. The Olympus you are looking does quite a bit of cropping more than Nikon or Canon, so wide angle range will be more of a problem. Canon is making full-frame cameras more affordable, and Nikon has no plans to go full frame, so the safe bet here is Canon (buy a cheap body today, buy lenses, upgrade to full-frame tomorrow). Of course, if you buy "digital" lenses for Canon, you are not future proofing anything.

weldon
Feb 28, 2006, 10:30 AM
I happen to love the Canon line when it comes to compact digital cameras. Flagship of the smaller full-function cams is the SD550.
I am a Canon user as well. I've had their SLR cameras for about 20 years now and have a couple lenses and will likely buy a digital SLR body at some point. If you're serious about going with a dSLR, I would buy the least expensive body (Rebel XT?) and invest the rest of the money in better glass. In a few years, you'll be able to upgrade the body to the latest thing and the good lens will still be a keeper.

The advice was different for film SLR's because the bodies didn't change much (10 models over 50 years). You would buy the best body you could and build up your lens collection over time. Now, the bodies are eclipsed by the newer sensors every few years, but good glass is still good glass.

As for compact digital cameras, I've been using Sony digital cameras for 5+ years. For ultra-compact to compact, I've read good things about the new sensors in the DSC-T9, DSC-P200 and the DSC-W7. If you don't mind the slighly larger size, I think the W7 is a nice little camera with classic styling. The T9 is great for something you can stow in your pocket and forget about entirely until that moment you want to snap a shot.

I'm switching to the Canon SD-550 this week, partly because of a sale that Amazon is having on the Canon. You might even qualify for the free trial on Amazon Prime and have it shipped two-day service for free.

For your specific situation, I would ask...

Do you see yourself as a member of the wedding party, dancing around and being in the middle of all the activities with your sister (compact) or as a guest that is there to help record your sister's day and all of her, and her husband's, friends for her album (dSLR)?

There's a big difference between throwing a compact in your pocket to take some candids and lugging around a dSLR to set up shots and compose interesting images that will go into an album.

Also, some of the review sites that I trust...

http://www.dpreview.com/
http://www.steves-digicams.com/

ChrisA
Feb 28, 2006, 08:06 PM
So, I guess I want to know:
1) Everybody's favorite dSLR camera (Let's say around $1000)
2) Everybody's favorite Ultra compact camera (lowish budget)
.

On the DSLR side, look at the LENS. You will be buying a body and a lens and you get to select each one independently. A lot of resellers will be selling "kits" of one lens and one body at slight discount and a lot of the kits will include the absolute lowest price lens that will fit on the body just so they can offer a low "kit price" Just keep this in mind when shopping. A Lens can cost more than the body. Up to serious four figure price and some sell for $100.00.

once you buy a body and lens you are pretty much commited to one company. The next body you buy will be one that fits your lenses and of course the next lens you buy would have to fit the body. Basically you choose Canon or Nikon. Whichever you buy will determine what you buy over then next many years. So think "long term".

I like the Nikon D50 and the Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 lens The D50 is typically sold with a cheaper "kit lens". but even with the better lens is still well under $1k

Of the Canon DSLRs you budget says "350D body" But I don't like the lenses that would keep the total package under $1K. You'd need another $200 or $400 or settle for lower end optics.

Canon makes some nice point and shoot cameras. The "SD" Series looks good.

Abstract
Mar 1, 2006, 03:18 AM
Thanks for all the advice everybody. I'm looking at the E500 that Abstract recommended on Amazon right now, but I'm a little confused about the lenses. Can someone give me a quick overview of the difference between 12-54mm and 40-150mm etc? Say I only want one lens right now, which type do I want? What do the numbers really mean?

For a wedding, I'd say go with the 40-150 mm. With lots of people around, you may not always be close to the bride and groom and so you may need to zoom in lots to get a closer shot of them.

Basically, the numbers mean this: 12-54 mm means that the focal length of the lense can be adjusted from a minimum of 12 millimetres to a maximum of 54 mm. Ok, so big whoopdee-doo, right? In english, short focal lengths provide wider shots. Use any digital camera and zoom all the way out. You can see more because you're zoomed out. That's what 12 mm is. The smaller that value is, the wider your shot can be. A 12 mm lense will probably take a photo with an angle of around 75 to 90 degrees. Ever wonder why you see some photos out there that seem "wide" (eg: like a widescreen TV's screen)?? It's because they have a lense that has a really short focal length, say 12 mm on a dSLR.

The 54 mm is the most it can "zoom in," so to speak. This isn't much. It's like the reach that a typical "3x Optical Zoom" camera has. If you use a plain old 3x optical zoom camera, and you use it to zoom in as much as possible, that's what 54 mm is similar to in the DSLR world.

With a 40-150 mm lense, you can't get wide angle shots like you could with a 12 mm lense, and while this may seem important if the church is beautiful, I think you'd miss more shots by not having a lense that has a focal length of at least 100 mm. It would let you "zoom in" much more. On the other hand, the f-number is usually very large at 150 mm focal length, which is bad in low-light conditions. The f-number is an indication of how wide the "aperture" (ie: the opening/hole at the front of the lense that lets light pass through it) is with respect to the lens' length --- the smaller the number is, the larger the aperture is. So f/2.8 is better under dark conditions than a lens that says f/5.6 because the hole is larger (I know that it technically isn't, but work with me here! ;) ).

If the lens says 40-150 mm, f/3.5-5.6, it means that at 40 mm focal length, the maximum aperture size is f/3.5, while at 150 mm, the maximum aperture is f/5.6. So in this example, the relative hole size is smaller at 150 mm than it is at 40 mm, so the lense is better at 40 mm in low light conditions than at 150 mm.....a bit of a drawback of using a large zoom lens. For that, you'd need to use a longer shutter speed (eg: 1/20 seconds) and a tripod to make sure photos don't end up blurry because of your hand motion. Of course, a tripod won't help you if the bride and groom are moving quickly, since they'll probably help blur the photo as well. :o

I'd still go with the 40-150 mm lense, but never use it beyond 100 mm or so so that I can get a maximum aperture size that lies somewhere between f/3.5 and f/5.6, because I doubt the lense would be useful at f/5.6 if the place isn't lit properly.

-hh
Mar 1, 2006, 06:15 AM
One thing I'll add is that if you're planning to eventually have both a compact P&S and a dSLR, it is very "nice to have" the same type of flash media work in both.

Classically, most dSLR's have used Compact Flash (CF) for their media type, which would suggest getting a P&S with CF.

The bad news is that it seems that CF is becoming rare in P&S's (the other form factors styles are generally smaller, so it helps the manufacturer to shrink the camera size).

The good news is that flash media continues to get cheaper. "slowest" 1GB is now around the $50 mark, which on a P&S (which only shoots JPEG's) will take a good number of images.


-hh

gammamonk
Mar 1, 2006, 07:58 AM
Thanks for all the information. I'm a bit overwhelmed to say the least. I went to Tokyo today to check out some cameras first hand. The Canons didn't have Rebel and 20D branding, but "EOS Kiss." They were actually branded after the band Kiss. wtf? Anyway, the feel of them were really flimsy and the lenses were cheap looking and awkward. I was pretty disappointed...

There were some Nikon cameras that seemed pretty sweet, but they cost more like $1500.

I wonder if anyone who has owned a dSLR for say 2 years and has taken 5000+ shots, do you experience stuck or dead pixels in your sensor? I've owned 2 digital cameras, a Kodak (ugh) and my current Sony V1. They both after time and huge photo counts have accumulated bright dots in certain spots on every shot. A little photoshop can fix it if it's an important shot, but it's annoying. Do you see that kind of thing on high end equipment?

gammamonk
Mar 1, 2006, 08:00 AM
I found the "Kiss" camera on amazon.co.jp (http://www.amazon.co.jp/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007VRPYQ/qid=1141221556/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/503-3279395-1751119)

Is this the same as the Rebel?

kwajo.com
Mar 1, 2006, 09:03 AM
I wonder if anyone who has owned a dSLR for say 2 years and has taken 5000+ shots, do you experience stuck or dead pixels in your sensor? I've owned 2 digital cameras, a Kodak (ugh) and my current Sony V1. They both after time and huge photo counts have accumulated bright dots in certain spots on every shot. A little photoshop can fix it if it's an important shot, but it's annoying. Do you see that kind of thing on high end equipment?

i've had my current Pentax for 8-9 months and have taken over 3000 shots with no sensor problems at all, other than dust. I don't expect you to have trouble with any of the dSLRs out there, they are all pretty much a reliable bunch.

and I agree with you, to me the consumer-level Canons all feel plasticy, hollow and cheap. the Nikon D50 is similar but better, the D70 is very solid and well built as are the Pentax models. I haven't tried the newest Olympus models but the E-1 was a tank, so hopefully they've kept up the quality since then.

as for the person that made the comment about flash memory, that is a good point, especially if you alreayd have an investment in one type or another. One of the strong suits in my decision to stay with Pentax when I finally went digital (other than having a bunch of lenses already) was that it used SD cards, of which I already had a number from other devices. Saved a nice bit of change by not buying new flash cards and picked up some filters instead :)

ChrisBrightwell
Mar 1, 2006, 09:30 AM
1) Everybody's favorite dSLR camera (Let's say around $1000)Canon's Digital Rebel XT, hands down.

2) Everybody's favorite Ultra compact camera (lowish budget)Canon's Digital ELPH line, hands down. :)

(I'm a bit of a Canon fan.)

The ultra-compact will set you back $400 or so, but it's handy to have. If you're willing to get something a bit larger, prices will fall pretty quickly. I've got a dRebel XT and a PowerShot A95. I might sell the PowerShot and pick up an older digital ELPH, though. *shrug*

Also, keep your cameras away from the beaches, unless you're in the market for a new camera. The sand and salt in the air are bad enough to do some pretty serious damage to almost any digital camera ... especially if you start swapping lenses on the dSLR at the beach.

NinjaMonkey
Mar 1, 2006, 11:28 AM
I just bought an Olympus E500 dual lens kit a few weeks ago and it is a great entry level dSLR. It also has the benefit of taking both Compact Flash and xD cards, so if you buy a small point and shoot camera that uses xD you can swap cards if you need to.

I looked at the Rebel XT and it felt cheap and the kit lens wasn't as good as the Olympus. The advantage was that you are buying Canon so you have lots of lens choices.

The Nikon D50 is also excellent. But I got a better deal on the Olympus.

gammamonk
Mar 1, 2006, 06:39 PM
I just bought an Olympus E500 dual lens kit a few weeks ago and it is a great entry level dSLR. It also has the benefit of taking both Compact Flash and xD cards, so if you buy a small point and shoot camera that uses xD you can swap cards if you need to.

I looked at the Rebel XT and it felt cheap and the kit lens wasn't as good as the Olympus. The advantage was that you are buying Canon so you have lots of lens choices.

The Nikon D50 is also excellent. But I got a better deal on the Olympus.

I fould the E500 on Amazon with 2 lenses pretty cheap.

Olympus EVOLT E500 8MP Digital SLR with 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 & 40-150mm f/3.5-4.5 Zuiko Lenses- Olympus
$848.94
- Quantity: 1


Does this look like a good first dSLR?

kwajo.com
Mar 1, 2006, 07:00 PM
the thing I don't like about the E-500 is the viewfinder. it's small, dim and not good for manual focusing, all things a viewfinder shouldn't be.
if you can live with the viewfinder go for it, but I recommend checking one out in person first if possible

EDIT: it's not as bad as I make it out to be, I'm sure for many people it is fine, I just happen to like great viewfinders because i focus manually most of the time

gammamonk
Mar 1, 2006, 07:14 PM
the thing I don't like about the E-500 is the viewfinder. it's small, dim and not good for manual focusing, all things a viewfinder shouldn't be.

That sounds pretty important... I'll have to try and check out one in person. The store I went to yesterday had security wires on the camera and lens, and no memory cards, so you couldn't really use the camera in store.

Abstract
Mar 1, 2006, 10:28 PM
Thanks for all the information. I'm a bit overwhelmed to say the least. I went to Tokyo today to check out some cameras first hand. The Canons didn't have Rebel and 20D branding, but "EOS Kiss." They were actually branded after the band Kiss. wtf? Anyway, the feel of them were really flimsy and the lenses were cheap looking and awkward. I was pretty disappointed...

There were some Nikon cameras that seemed pretty sweet, but they cost more like $1500.

The Nikon D50 should be even cheaper than the Canon "Kiss" you linked to, which appears to be the same as the 350D/Rebel XT. And yes, consider an Olympus as well.

gammamonk
Mar 2, 2006, 06:44 AM
I guess now I'm leaning toward the E500 mentioned above. The feature / price ratio seems unbeatable. As soon as I can, I'm going to check out out in person. I might have a chance this Sunday.

NinjaMonkey
Mar 2, 2006, 11:47 AM
I guess now I'm leaning toward the E500 mentioned above. The feature / price ratio seems unbeatable. As soon as I can, I'm going to check out out in person. I might have a chance this Sunday.

The viewfinder is a little small and dark but I haven't found it to be much of a problem. You can also buy a magnified eyecup from Olympus, I know Amazon sells it.

gammamonk
Mar 3, 2006, 01:29 AM
For compact ( ... ) I don't like Sony because they are too automatic and use Memory Stick. ( ... )

Concidering I have a ton of Memory Sticks already from my Sony V1, that's not an issue. Do you really think they have fewer manual options as compared to a canon etc?

gammamonk
Mar 3, 2006, 01:32 AM
The viewfinder is a little small and dark but I haven't found it to be much of a problem. You can also buy a magnified eyecup from Olympus, I know Amazon sells it.

So you've had your E500 a few weeks now, right? Could I trouble you to post a sample pic? Or if it's too big, maybe you could email one to me?

Awesome username by the way.

NinjaMonkey
Mar 3, 2006, 07:33 AM
So you've had your E500 a few weeks now, right? Could I trouble you to post a sample pic? Or if it's too big, maybe you could email one to me?

Awesome username by the way.

I sent you a private message.

If you want a good review check dpreview.com they have a very complete look at the E500.

gammamonk
Jun 5, 2006, 02:27 AM
Update after the wedding.

It turns out that I was in the wedding party, and couldn't bring a camera at all. However, my sister's new husband's father runs a small wedding photography company. (I'd never met him before the wedding) He agreed to show me the ropes, and make me an employee! So I'm going to be taking pictures for a living! I'm feeling a little underqualified, so I'm studying up-- and I'm looking into the camera I'll need to buy. It's a "use your own equipment" kinda deal, so I need to invest in a nice camera and some accessories.

He said a Canon 30D would be the minimum camera. Need a big flash, lots of memory, a couple lenses, and a second-source flash on a stand thing. The entire description was pretty vague. I kinda let on that I know more than I do.

I have until August to learn to act the part.

Any advice?

ChrisBrightwell
Jun 5, 2006, 02:32 AM
Any advice?Get the 30D and some decent glass ASAP and shoot as many photos as you can stand to shoot.

Get ahold of a good photo management app (iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, etc) and use it to review your work. Make notes on what you've done right and wrong. Show him your progress and ask for tips/hints/etc.

Read up on the technical aspects of photography and try to work a little bit of technical knowledge into each shot.

Most importantly ... Have fun.