Decent camera before July (budget: £500)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Fed, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Fed
    macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I'm in the market for a decent camera - at least, from the perspective of someone totally new to photography. It can be purchased any day before the second week of July and will be used for travelling and family events. I figured, the longer I wait, the more chance of a bargain on this season's cameras or the chance to buy a better/newer camera released sometime between now and July.

    I plan on budgeting around £500 or so for it. I don't really mind what kind of camera it is, so long as it doesn't take a proper photographer to snap decent pictures with it. Of course, I'd like to humour myself by playing with some of the advanced features that are probably well over my head and I'm willing to learn.

    I currently use a Panasonic compact camera which is good. But with the purchase of an iPhone 5, it's practically redundant now (except the zoom which I never really use). I just want to take good pictures with real colours and clarity (whatever that means).

    Could you please provide some insight on suitable cameras for my needs: one that offers a balance between ease of use and advanced features to tickle my geeky side, one that won't advertise me as a paparazzi and isn't too ghastly looking.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    kylera

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    #2
    I too am more of a dabbler in photography, and after research, felt that the Sony NEX series was up my alley. Why don't you check that out?
     
  3. Fed
    thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I was eyeing up the NEX series. I spotted this one. It looks ideal due to the flip-up LCD screen. I usually travel with my other half and finding someone to snap a picture of the two of us can be difficult. Is it due for an update anytime soon? Trying to avoid products which may get a significant upgrade in the near future and determine what's on the market. I'm very impressed that the first reply to this thread recommended the camera I was looking at. Will it take good pictures with relative ease?
     
  4. macrumors 603

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    #4
    In Q3. The NEX series have a one-year life cycle, with Sony announcing new models every July / August and their hitting the shelves around October..

    It will - it's a decent camera. BTW, what lens do you plan to purchase? If you often take self-portraits together with your wife, 28mm (equiv.; that of the 18-55mm kit zoom) may not be sufficiently wide (and the 16mm prime isn't particularly good). Then, you might want to consider the NEX-6 and its 16-50mm zoom. The kit is somehwhat more expensive than the NEX5R (even if you purchase both the 16mm and the 18-55 for the latter) and has basically the same IQ; however, it's significantly better-featured (e.g., EVF) and, assuming you use the 16-50, more compact and you can avoid having to swap lens when you need 24mm equiv. (The 16-50mm is far smaller than the 18-55.)
     
  5. macrumors regular

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    #5
    Decent camera before July (budget: £500)

    [​IMG]

    Sorry, couldn't resist :D



    Sent from my iPhone 5 using Tapatalk 2
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    tgara

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    #6
    You might want to consider any of the Olympus PEN or OM-D cameras. These are the newest trend, mirrorless so-called "four-thirds" format. Many pros are using these as second or personal cameras, as alternatives to the larger, heavier dSLRs. Compared to dSLRs, they are lightweight, compact, much less expensive, and take pictures every bit as good as the SLRs. They also use interchangeable lenses, so you can have some variety and creativity in your shots. From a business standpoint, these cameras outsell dSLRs in Asia, if that means anything.

    http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/pen-omd/e-pl5.html
     
  7. macrumors 603

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    #7
    Yup, Oly's m43 cameras aren't bad. However, for 500 pounds, the OM-D is impossible to get and it's the only Oly m43 camera that has comparable IQ to NEX cameras, assuming the lens delivers the same quality (the Sony 18-55 or the 18-200 aren't bad; the 16 is definitely worse. There's no true test of the new 16-50 (the new NEX6 kit lens) yet.). On the other hands, if one doesn't need as efficient image stabilization / low-light performance, old Pen models can be had for even 100-200 pounds.

    Speaking of lens, probably the biggest problem with m43 is the lack of a decently-priced but still high quality (ultra-)wideangle (24mm) lens. All traditional kits (those of both Oly and Pana) start at 28mm equiv. (Not really the best for self-portraits.) Pana's 12-35 absolutely excellent (starting at equiv 24mm) costs around $1000. (It's a MUCH better lens than anything wideangle zoom existing for the NEX system.) Oly's 12-50 kit isn't expensive (around $300) but its IQ is considerably worse than even NEX's lens - and it's pretty slow even when wide open.

    If the somewhat larger size isn't a problem and I needed to pick a m43 model, I would also take a look at the Pana GH2. It has considerably better IQ than any Oly m43 cameras (except for the OM-D, of course) and can be had for relatively cheap now with the GH3 out.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Vudoo

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    #8
    I just picked up the Sony RX100. One of the largest sensors on a point and shoot and I still can put it in my jean pocket.
     
  9. macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Nikon v2 or j2
    Very small, great iq a d super fast autofocus
     
  10. macrumors regular

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    #10
    Sony RX100; small enough to take anywhere, good enough image quality to not leave you disappointed.
     
  11. Fed
    thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I haven't given much thought to the lens. I believe Amazon UK provides the SEL 18-55mm lens so I'd probably see how that works when it arrives. I think some research into lenses is in order but what would you recommend if I did buy the NEX5? But, now that you've mentioned the NEX6, the EVF wouldn't go amiss. I was slightly concerned about investing £500 into a camera and then being letdown by the LCD screen under direct sunlight. However I probably couldn't justify the extra expense as I'm already at the top-end of my budget. Unless, of course, you can justify the extra features against the £200ish extra?
     
  12. macrumors 603

    blueroom

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    #12
    Unless you plan on getting more lenses the Sony RX100 is one of the best P&S cameras out there, also very portable.

    That said, I have a NEX-5N and it's fantastic and flexible but on a recent trip to England I swapped lenses and got some stubborn pollen on the lens (photos in my blog). The NEX are small and the newest powered zoom kit lens is very compact, the NEX 3N has this new lens, the 5R has the old kit lens.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

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    #13
    If you're not prepared to figure out how to take a decent photo, there's no point getting anything more than a decent point and shoot.
     
  14. macrumors 603

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    #14
    Then, maybe the 3N would be a far better choice - after all, it will be offered at less than half the price of the NEX-6 kit. And the NEX-3X series' image quality isn't much worse than those of the higher-end NEX cameras - and MUCH better than any P&S camera, even including the RX100.

    ----------

    Yup, it's very good. Too bad it starts at 28mm equiv - it's THE issue that made me not buy it but wait for the successor and, in the meantime, stick with my 24mm Pana LX 7.

    ----------

    Now that Sony announced the 3N, take a look at it: it's cheap and has the 16-50 kit lens, while maintaining the traditionally good image quality of all NEX cameras. Particularly when it comes to low-light performance, in which it's much better than any m43 camera or the Nikon 1- or 2-series (only considering mirrorless, compact alternatives).
     
  15. macrumors demi-god

    glenthompson

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    #15
    There are questions you need to ask yourself first. What type of photos do you intend to take? Are interchangeable lenses a requirement or will a reasonable zoom work ok? Do you need excellent image quality for making large prints or will they only be used on-line? Do you want full creative control over the image or are you willing to let the camera do the work?

    Use the time to think about it and it will give you a better idea of what models to consider.
     
  16. macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Also, one piece of advice: get your camera early enough before your trip so you can play with it, learn how to use it.

    Don't wait too long for a "good deal" or the next new thing to be released. There are always deals, and always something new just over the horizon. Get something that will work for you, and give yourself time to learn with it.
     
  17. macrumors 603

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    #17
  18. macrumors regular

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    #18
    if you don't need a DSLR then I would buy another Panasonic.
    Amazon USA has alot of deals for the Panasonic GX1, GF3 and GF5s (GX2 and GF7 is coming), maybe Amazon UK is going to follow, check it out.

    I think these Panasonics are also easier for video then a DSLR.

    http://www.43rumors.com/
     
  19. Fed, Feb 27, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013

    Fed
    thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Pending more reviews of this camera - I think it's the one for me. Sony's UK website now have the pricing which is very reasonable. It comes on its own with a default lens for £399.99, then £599.99 with an even better lens. Can anyone provide some insight on the camera lens rule of thumb? Is it usually better to buy the lens you want at the start or over the course of time? Do lens prices usually decrease or are their bundles usually value for money? I plan on keeping this camera for many years so don't want the start off one the wrong foot.
     
  20. macrumors 603

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    #20
    If the £399.99 kit includes the 16-50, then, you won't really want to purchase the other two kits. I assume the other two include the old 16mm and the 18-55 kit prime / zoom. (They surely aren't the 18-200 superzoom - it'd be MUCH more expensive.) There isn't much point in getting those old kit lens if you have the 16-50 - the latter is far smaller and has appr. the same IQ as the 18-55 (and much better than the old 16mm prime).
     
  21. Fed
    thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21

    Sorry it's only two kits:

    http://www.sony.co.uk/product/nex-3/nex-3nl

    http://www.sony.co.uk/product/nex-3/nex-3ny
     
  22. macrumors 603

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    #22
  23. Fed
    thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Thanks for the input :) Can you provide a link to the 18-200m superzoom?
     
  24. macrumors 603

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