Canon Camera for a Beggining Hobbyist

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by FleurDuMal, Jun 1, 2006.

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  1. macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #1
    Hi everyone.

    I'm just beggining to get into photography as a serious hobby, and though it was about time I plumped for a decent quality digital camera.

    In my own mind I have narrowed it down to either the Canon A700 or the Canon SD700 (called the IXUS 800 here in Blighty for some reaons :confused: ). I'm particuarly impressed with the A700's 6x optical zoom, however the SD700 has image stabiliser, which I understand is very useful at high levels of zoom?!

    My needs are not professional. I see this camera as lasting me between one and two years as I develop my skills and begin to yearn for something perhaps more sophisticated (I don't know exactly what the difference between point-and-click and SLR is, but I gather that SLR is very much for the expert). Being a bit of a novice at the moment, I need something thats user friendly (but needn't be idiot-proof). Size is not a major concern - if I get a better quality photo from something a bit bigger, I'll sacrifce size.

    I hope I've provided enought info above. I basically want to know whether, on those criteria, whether I should be go for the A700 or SD700, or even look at something completely different :eek: .

    Oh, and my price range is around £300.

    Thanks for your help everybody!
    Tom
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

    Joined:
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    #2
    Hi FleurDuMal, my problem was similar to yours - a beginner wanting to be a bit more :D

    I've just bought a Canon IXUS 55 (from Amazon for £175), and I've been happy with the pictures so far, some pics of mountains, flowers, trees, etc; and some at a concert - which have come out very nicely :)

    It has a decent zoom, 5megapixel, different settings - digital macro, nightime, etc.

    Might be worth considering?
     
  3. macrumors member

    Zweben

    Joined:
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    #3
    I say the Canon S3 IS. http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=13077

    I recommend this camera to a lot of people, and I think it would be perfect for what you want. It's much more capable than a tiny point-and-shoot for a serious hobbiest, but it's much cheaper than a full fledged SLR. It has an amazing zoom (12x optical) PLUS image stabilizing, so it's the best of both worlds.

    It's much larger than the cameras you were looking at, but if you really expect to get seriously into photography, this is going to be small compared to SLRs that you're going to be looking at eventually. And with the increased size, you get better optics and better image quality. It is also going to offer much more flexibility than a tiny point and shoot, but isn't going to overwhelm you with controls like a full fledged DSLR.

    It's about £239, so it's in your price range. I highly recommend it, and so does DP Review.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons3is/
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #4
    Thanks for your help guys!

    This S3 IS actually looks quite interesting. So, if you know, what are the differences betwen this and the SD700/A700? Given that those two a slightly more expensive, then I guess there must be some sort of sacrifice?

    Thanks.
     
  5. macrumors 6502a

    macOSX-tastic

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    #5
    i second that option. i have the S2, which is a slightly less capable, but still has all the major features (damn UK prices:().

    its fantastic, and has a great super macro mode.

    a bigger lens helps, and the 12x optical ensures no loss of quality.

    its also a fully fledged Moviecamera.

    S
     
  6. macrumors member

    Zweben

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    #6
    The main sacrafice is compact size.
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    macOSX-tastic

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    #7
    this is true.....but if you are a photo hobbyist, its kind of irrelevant if you want the best results. point and shoots are more casually based.....thats the way it tends to unfortunately.

    S
     
  8. macrumors regular

    backupdrummer

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    #8
    Wow, after reading the Dpreview.com review of the S3. I now know what camera I want for Christmas.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #9
    Thanks for your help everyone. I think the S3 might just have won me over, given its unanimously positive results.

    The next dilemma is whether I bother buying the Photoshop CS2 software, wait for CS3 (I'm getting a Macbook), or dishonestly appropriate CS2 then buy CS3 when it comes out :p :confused: ...
     
  10. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    Good. ;)

    I'd suggest the Canon S2 IS, or the newer S3 IS. The S2 is cheaper and offers pretty much the same as the S3, although the S3 is the newest version. I have never seen the "A" series cameras, but they're slightly smaller than the "S" series, but the difference is the Image Stabalization on the S2 and S3. Yes, all these models are a bit bigger than an IXUS, but generally there's a tradeoff between size and quality. There's a reason the super-thin cameras cost just as much as the larger cameras. The thin cameras aren't a free lunch.

    You're a hobbyist, but you're going to want a lot of manual controls eventually since you'll realize you can't just shoot everything in AUTO mode, and that's where the S2 or S3 IS will shine. Anyway, the IXUS lines have manual controls, but not nearly as much as the larger cameras. The larger cameras are also easier to hold and keep steady, important at night. Some of the smaller cameras also don't come with a viewfinder (that small glass window that you look through), which is useful when you take photos at night since using the LCD generally doesn't keep your hands as steady as when you press the camera against your face and shoot.

    And if you're willing to look beyond Canon's S2/S3, look at some Nikons, Olympus, and Panasonic Lumix cameras. These companies can offer very very nice cameras. I use my uni's Canon S2, and it's just unusable at ISO 400, and will be even worse at the ISO 800 that the S3 is capable of.

    Yes, and probably the manual features. They both probably offer manual features, but I can guarantee you that the settings will be harder to change on the IXUS, since you always have to go through the menu to change anything. At least the A700 probably has a jog dial.
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

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    #11
    I would seriously consider a DSLR, if you pln on making this a serious hobby the you will probably outgrow a point and shoot in no time. The Rebel XT is a great starter camera for you, it has a FULLY AUTOMATIC mode so you can shoot and let the camera do all the work for a while wile you learn.

    Consider it, you wont be sorry.
     
  12. macrumors G4

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    #12
    I've seen a number of used Canon Rebel XT sell for price within your budget. Certainly you could get a 300D with change left over. ANY DSLR, even the previous model Canon will work much better for your needs then a small point and shoot. You could likely even find a 350D. There are many places to look. Here is one place that is very trustworthy and has "everything" but is not known for low price. Looks at them is a good way to set an upper bound on the price of used gear. www.keh.com

    Not only does the SLR offer better image quality it handles faster and allows for so much more control and expandabilty.
     
  13. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #13
    There is a reason that since the original S1IS, that this series is hard for resellers to keep in stock.

    You may want to wait till Lightroom comes out for sale and use your current PS version to make adjustments that Lightroom does not.

    Good advice, but for some size is everything. I have both the XT and the D50 (a better value in terms of $ at this point IMO).

    As much as I love the S2/3 Is cameras, they lack built-in wide angle FOV. For many shooters out there that does not matter. That is why I shoot DSLR's. Though my Panasonic LX-1 is starting to become my favorite camera when I want light and easy.

    For those that don't need RAW file support the Panasonic FX-01 and Leica C-lux1 are looking to good options for us wide angel photographers.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #14
    Hmmm...you offer an interesting alternative :) . I would go for a second hand Rebel XT (I think its more commonly known as the 350D in Europe, though I might be wrong...) BUT I'm scared of picking up such a camera and then realising I have no idea what to do with it :eek: . If anyone could introduce me to some sort of book for DSLR's which they'd recommend for beginners I'd be grateful (though I am naturally technologically savvy, so it needn't be for 'idiots').

    Also, I'm still not 100% sure what the exact difference between a DSLR and a point and shoot are (mainly because I've never used a DSLR). I get that there are greater option with lenses, and that you get RAW images which I don't think you get with a point and shoot, but beyond that I'm clueless :rolleyes: .

    Also, if I buy a DSLR like the Rebel XT, do I then have to buy a load of accessories to make it usable?! Coz that'd really be pushing the cost up.

    Thanks for your help guys :)
     
  15. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    In my opinion, you'd be just as happy with a Canon S3. I know people will push you towards getting a DSLR. I want to as well. :p When/If you outgrow it, then you outgrow it. No big deal. Sell your used S3 IS in 1 year if you come to the realization that you want more. Just realize that you may never need more than an S3.

    The reason the S3 IS is such an incredibly popular camera is because amateur photographers who have no intention of switching lenses all the time can get great photos and manual controls from it. The S3 gives you a 12x zoom lens, giving you a lens that's incredibly flexible in almost any situation. More importantly, it gives you "IS"....or "Image Stabilisation," which means some camera shake (unsteady hands) won't cause blur. Therefore, you won't need a tripod to get sharp photos at 12x zoom, either. If you didn't have IS, you'd have to get a tripod, or prop your camera up against a flat object, or keep your hands impossibly still to consistently get sharp photos at 12x zoom. A DSLR lense with IS built-in will cost you more than the Canon S3 entirely!! :eek:

    If you get used 300D or 350D, the lens it comes with is probably gonna be that dreadful 18-55 mm (3x zoom) cheap-o lens. With that lens, you're almost guaranteed to be required to get other lenses to get the type of photos you want. Otherwise, a 350D + the kit 18-55 mm lens is just like a bigger S3, but with a 3x zoom rather than 12x, and no IS feature. :p

    The reason dSLRs are better, and will be what you want if you decide to throw a lot more time, money, and effort into photography, is that you can switch lenses to fit the things you enjoy photographing. If you have no interest in switching lenses, then get the S3. However, if you buy the dSLR, your DSLR will make the S3 IS look like a big joke in terms of capability and quality once you start getting decent lenses (for like £200-500 each).
     
  16. Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #16
    Abstract, are you secretly getting paid by both Canon and Nikon for all your posts on MR?! :p
    Thanks for posting all of that. I've been reading this thread just for kicks, but that's really good info, Abstract. I've often wondered myself if I would ever outgrow a P&S, much less something along the lines of the S3-- it's nice to hear from someone that photography isn't always about an SLR. :eek:
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    #17
    I definitely agree with what Abstract has said. Changing lenses does not suit everyone, but if you're serious about photography, you would be best served by getting an SLR body, and using different lenses for different projects. You don't need to buy all the lenses at once, buy them gradually as you need. True, the main downfall with DSLR is the image resolution and how quickly the technology changes. What was top of the line 2 years ago is barely available now (3 megapixel is now 6). But if you plan correctly, and stay with the same manufacturer, your lenses will work with whatever new camera body you buy.

    Yes, if you buy a point and shoot now, you can sell it later. But if you're serious, why waste the time and money learning a P&S. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a DSLR have a higher resale value than a P&S?
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

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    #18
    Surely the pace of technology is the same for both DSLR and P&S? What was top of the range three years ago for P&S is just as dated as three years old DSLR equipment? Anyway, I'd have to be very naive buying into technology expecting it to last forever; I fully accept that there would be a three/four year cycle if you want to keep up.

    In my mind there are two conflicting considerations dragging me both ways:
    -In favour of getting DSLR is the fear that if I get a P&S I will quickly grow out of it (especially as I really fancy the idea of doing macros), or buy it and quickly get frustrated at its poor quality in certain circumstances.
    -In favour of getting a P&S is the fear that just too steep a learning curve is involved in getting to grips with a DSLR. Also the cost of buying lenses on top of the body. If anyone could recommend me some versatile beginners lenses, I'd be grateful.

    I'm also considering taking an evening/weekend photography course at London University of the Arts, if this is of any important to my purchase?!

    Thanks again for your time guys.
     
  19. macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #19
    I bought a Canon G5 back in 2003 when I was thinking I was going to get more into photography. I REALLY wanted a DSLR, but Canon didn't have one out yet. The Digital Rebel came out three months after I bought the G5 which pissed me off, but it's just like computers, things are always changing.

    In actuality, I love my G5 since it's easier to toss in a bag and I don't have to worry about which lens to bring. I think the S3 IS would be a great choice for now. Learn on it and then step up to a DSLR. I'd hang onto the S3, though, because there are times when it's handier than a DSLR.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    #20
    Another vote for the S2 or S3

    My wife and I simply love our S2. The 12X zoom and image stabilization are great assets. Since the S3 was released the S2 has come down in price dramatically. Looking around you can get it from a reputable source for about $320. The S3 will set you back and additional $150 or so. Be sure to check if (for you) the added features are worth the added cost. The camera has a plethora of manual controls and works fine in point and shoot mode. With a fast 2GB SD card the high speed shooting mode and movie mode are excellent for the price. We were considering the Rebel XT but decided that we were not yet advanced enough photographers. Plus, as was mentioned before, good glass is a must for any digital SLR, this was money that we simply did not have. We still carry our S400 Elph if a realible snapshot is all that we require. Cheers. :)
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

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    #21
    Well, you would need at least 1 lens for it unless you bought one with the kit lens already included. Lenses can be expensive, but you dont NEED to buy 10 lenses to use this camera and get great results. Start out with the XT and the kit lens, then maybe you can purchase the 50mm 1.8 ($75 US). If and when you decide to grow in your skills you can always purchase mre lenses and accessories for the camera, if you are happy with what you already have then so be it. I would hate to see someone with a new interest in photography buy a point and shoot and six months later realize they need something more. Canon gives you a pretty decent manual with the camera to learn the features, as does your local library or the
    Internet. What I like best about a DSLR is the immediate reaction the camera has when I take photos, no lag time and you use the actual viewfinder not the LCD to set up shots. You can be much more creative in shooting with the DSLR. I am not saying the point and shoot cameras are useless they are great if you just want to take pictures at a few events a year, but IF you plan on getting serious in photography and want total control over your work then you need a DSLR.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Black&Tan

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    #22
    Excellent point. On the P&S, you need to use the LCD to view your shot. That defeats the purpose of seeing the aperture readings in the viewfinder. On the SLR, what you see in the viewfinder is what your lens sees.

    My old photo professor (film days) said the P&S were not geared for the degree of experimentation that you'll want.

    In regards to the technology curve, my point was that in 3 years, your P&S camera will be very dated. But the DSLR will still be valuable to those who want to experiment with lenses, apertures, and open shutter photography. And when you're ready to move to a newer body, you can still use the same lenses you've already bought.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 68000

    FleurDuMal

    Joined:
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    #23
    Well, I'm pretty much decided on a DSLR, and a 350D at that. Even if the learning curve will be quite steep, I know that if I work hard on it and dedicate time I will get to grips with it. Although I've heard some pretty negative things about the 'kit' lenses, I'm willing to gloss over that and go for them as they seem a cheap way of getting to grips with DSLR photography.

    However, what the 'kit' lenses actually are confuses me as I've found many packages with different sets of lenses. I've found many bundles and would be grateful if you guys could comment on which of these bundles sound like a good deal (all of these come with the 350D, obviously):
    -EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens, Eye Cup EF , Wide Neck Strap EW-100DB II , Body cap RF-3 , CR-2025 lithium battery (for WL-DC100) , Battery charger CB-5L, Battery pack NB-2LH, Interface cable (IFC-300PCU) , Video cable (VC-100), Power cord (for UK), Lens cap E-58 - £476
    -EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 USM Silver Lens, Canon Outfit Bag - £530
    -EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens, EF 55-200mm lens, BG-E3 Battery Grip - £686
    -EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM LENS, Rechargeable battery (NB-2LH), Charger (CB-2LTE) , Eyecup EF, Camera cover (RF3), Neck strap (EW-100DB II), Accessory voucher book, USB & Video cables , CD ROM software , User guide - £950
    -Alternatively I could buy the body separately for £442 and go and buy other lenses...

    Ta muchly everyone :)
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

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    #24
    This package seems to be a decent deal, the lens has IS which is awesome.

    -EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM LENS, Rechargeable battery (NB-2LH), Charger (CB-2LTE) , Eyecup EF, Camera cover (RF3), Neck strap (EW-100DB II), Accessory voucher book, USB & Video cables , CD ROM software , User guide - £950

    It is more expensive but you are getting a wider range in the 17-85 and it has IS. Another lens you may want to look at to start out is the 28-135 IS, this is a nice lens for everyday shooting and it also has IMAGE STABALIZATION.

    Dont fear the camera, just shoot and learn, you can always delete the images and start over, it's not like film where you have to pay to see your shots and if they are junk you lost money, all you lose with digital is time.
     
  25. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    Lets get several things straight, because I don't want you to walk away with any misconceptions.

    All cameras take photos, and the quality of the photos depend on how good a photographer YOU are. I can give you the best paint brush in the world, but can you produce the nicest painting?
    You can produce the worst photos of all time with the best camera. No offense, but BakedBeans and several other members at MR would generally get better photos using an S3 than you can with a DSLR. Give me a nicer camera than the one I have now, and better lenses, and I'll still produce the amateur photos I'm producing today. :p

    Photographers take the photos. The camera just catches whatever it is you are seeing.

    Oh, and if you want to take macros, Nikon does this better. Even their P&S cameras are supposed to be great at this, from what I've read here.

    DSLRs just happen to have greater, or lets say "finer, more precise controls" over certain settings (eg: shutter speed) than the S3. The learning curve for an S3 and any DSLR is almost identical because you have to understand what these settings are to use either camera in MANUAL mode. ;) They're both cameras, and have the same physical limitations.

    The main difference is in the lenses (and the controls). With DSLRs, you get a lens based on what you'll be photographing. It offers you the chance to get another lens that does the job better than the lenses you already own.
    With the Canon S3, you get a very flexible lens that can zoom in and out a lot, and can be used in 95% of situations very well. It's a single lens that gets you good results. Your DSLR will also offer you lenses that handle 95% of situations very well, but you'll probably need 2-3 different lenses with different focal lengths to do so, hence the popularity of the S3. :eek:

    A DSLR may have the ability to take better photos, but if you don't have money for lenses (do you have future plans?), then a 350D with 18-55 kit lense probably won't be as useful as the S3 is for you.

    Then yes, get the DSLR.

    A "kit" doesn't imply something negative. A kit is like a "starter kit" --- it's another word for "package". They package a camera and a lens together. Canon's kit generally bundles the 350D with the cheap 18-55 mm lens for those who don't have Canon lenses already and are starting out. If Canon wanted to bundle a camera and a GOOD lens together, they could.

    What will you shoot?
    If you're starting out, get a DSLR from the company that offers you the lenses that you think you'll want in the future. Canon does sports very well, but I don't shoot sports. :p I also think the 350D is too small and feels cheap, and I wasn't fond of the ergonomics, so I went with a Nikon D50 even though I originally wanted the Canon 350D.

    The main reason I bough a Nikon 5 months ago was because I knew what sort of photos I liked (landscapes and macros), after doing some research on companies and lenses, I already knew what lenses I eventually wanted (a wideangle lens, a macro lens, and the 18-200mm VR-II (Nikon's equivalent to "IS") for every other situation, a lens that Canon simply can't match right now). Olympus or Pentax also make great cameras that offer a LOT of features, and probably have the best price/performance ratio, so if cost is a concern, then....

    From these 5 possibilities, I'd get the 18-55 mm, and the 55-200 mm. Even though they aren't great lenses, at least you have them when you need them. What's worse, a photo taken using a bad lens, or not being able to take the photo you wanted to at all? ;) You can't even tell what sort of lens you used to take a photo unless you were an absolutely ace photographer.

    The 17-85 mm lens, and the price you're looking at for the lens is probably brilliant. It would make a fantastic lens for general use......something to use on your DSLR most of the time. However, if you decide that you love shooting landscapes and macros, then you just spent A LOT more £££ on the 17-85 mm IS, which isn't the best for EITHER situation. :rolleyes: I have a small, thin P&S camera for family gatherings, friends, parties, etc. I don't use my DSLR for general photos of friends and family. Most of them are actually intimidated by the size of the bloody thing when I try to take their photo! :p

    If you wanted to shoot landscapes and macros, you'd be better off getting the 18-55mm kit lens for general photos, 55-200 mm to shoot things far away, and use the £270 you saved towards a Sigma 105mm macro lens, and eventually a wideangle Tokina 12-24 mm lens for landscapes. You'd still have the 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm as well. (Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina offer cheaper alternatives that are sometimes 99% as good as the ones from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, etc)

    If you find that you want to shoot macros and portraits, then you can use the £270 you saved to buy a single 105 mm f/2.8 lens from Canon/Sigma/Tokina, which can be used for both macros AND portraits. ;)

    If you find that you're shooting children's school plays, concerts, etc.... in low light situations, an 85 mm f/1.4 lens (or lots of other lenses) that lets a lot more light in (much more light than the 17-85mm) is better.

    My point is that you don't even know what you want to shoot yet, so why invest in something now?

    Better lenses?
    And the fact about "better lenses" is that even if you were to take a photo using the 18-55mm rather than an expensive £700 lens, most people wouldn't even be able to tell you the difference by looking at the photo. You might be able to tell the difference if you took a photo of the same object using each lens, printed both photos out in a large format and held them side by side, but otherwise, don't worry about it. It's just that some lenses are better at not producing "flares", "chromatic abberation", "vignetting", etc, than the cheaper lenses. An expensive lens will also be slightly sharper, but whatever.
     
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