Help me choose a new camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by DinoAdventure, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. DinoAdventure macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    #1
    Hello, I'm in the market for a new camera and I am looking for some advice. I currently have an Olympus C-720 Ultra Zoom that is about 4 years old. It's an okay camera, and has been great as far as reliability goes. I haven't had a single problem with it since I got it. I also love the 8x optical zoom, it's been great for formula 1 races. But now that I am trying to use it for more advanced purposes, it's holding me back a bit. Noise is a real problem with it, and now that I'm starting to get a bit into web design and imaging, I need something that can produce higher quality images. I'd also like something a bit smaller and more portable. Right now I am considering the Canon Powershot S80, but I'm kind of unaware of what else is out there. So if anyone could offer me some suggestions, I would be appreciative.

    Thanks
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    Does your camera support Raw image format. I think that model might. This would allow some marginal increse in image quality

    If noise is your primary concern the only cure for that is a CCD sensor that is physically larger. Of course this means the lens is proportionally larger. It boils down to basic physics: If you want to collect more photons (and you can't control the brightness of the subject) then you need a photon catcher with a larger surface area.

    Everyone wants a shirt pocket sized 10X zoom camera with a CCD sensor the size of a 35mm frame. You can buy a camera with either one of these features but not with two of them, let alone all three.

    If noise is the driving isue then you are looking at a DSLR. The Nikon D50 with kit lens is about $650. I've got one of these and recommend it.

    If size is the issue you will have to put up with less optical quality and more noise.

    New "prosummer" Bridge" cameras like the oly SP-350 or 500 are beter then what you have but I doubt they are beter by a large margin the biggest indicator of image quality is the size of the CCD and 1/2.5 is tiny. (why they use "decimal fractions" I don't understand) but the sensor is about 1/5 the size of a 35mm frame, that means 1/25th of the surface area.

    If you are an Oly fan look at the "evolt". With a small lens they are compact and then when you want to go shoot race cars you an put on the large 90-250mm f/2.8 lens
    I prefer the Nikon put we can argue canon/nikon/olympus later

    As I see it you have one basic decision to make first: Do you want a camera with a 6mm wide CCD or a 24mm wide CCD. After yu figure this out the rest is just "details". like what kind of lens is stuck out in front of the CCD and if the camera ues lots of buttons (expensive) or a menue system (cheaper) and the build quality and so on.But you have to choose 24 or 6 first.
     
  3. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

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    #3
    i agree with the above poster. if quality is a concern, get a d50 with the kit lens and a decent telephoto or telephoto zoom for your formula races. for small, nikon offers a 45mm f/2.8 lens the size of a lens cap :eek: with a tessar design.
     
  4. DinoAdventure thread starter macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

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    #4
    Thanks for the insight. I guess I just need to think some more about wether I need portability or pure function.
     
  5. iShane macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I have a Sony Cybershot U and its really fun to play with and stuff if you don't need the megapixels (Its only a 2 megapixel camera)
     
  6. DinoAdventure thread starter macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

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    #6
    2 megapixels won't cut it, my current camera is 3 and it doesn't seem like enough.
     
  7. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #7
    Go to Steves digicams web site, and start researching. Its a great site to get info and good luck. I like Fuji stuff.http://www.steves-digicams.com
     
  8. Kirbdog macrumors regular

    Kirbdog

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    #8
    I personnal use a Nikon D70s but whats good for me may not be the camera for you. (obviously) So here are a couple of my favorite sites when it comes to reasearching gear Digital Camera Review and Ken Rockwell Ken is a Nikon fan but he has some of the best answers for most questions about digital photography.
    Good Luck and let us know what you decided on.
     
  9. DinoAdventure thread starter macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

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    #9
    Thanks a lot for all the help. That digital camera review site has been very helpful, especially how you can compare the cameras side by side. I'm comparing the D50 and the Rebel to my current camera now, very nice to see all the specs laid out right in front of me. :)
     
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #10
    I know it's going to seem ridiculous to you, since we keep suggesting more and more expensive cameras, but either get the D50, or get the Canon 20D. I wouldn't get a D70s, and I wouldn't get a Rebel XT. If you're going to get a D70s, you may as well just save money and get a D50 because there isn't a massive difference overall. The Rebel XT quality and ergonomics and layout isn't good at all, and since the new Canon 30D was announced, you might find the 20D at a reduced price. :)

    Otherwise, just get another big-zoom camera, like a Panasonic Lumix or Olympus. They both offer benefits over others. The Lumix DMC-FZ30 offers a 12x zoom and reaches an equivalent of 420mm, but "this time without the constant F2.8 aperture," according to DPReview. However, I'm sure it still poo-poos all over the cheap telephoto zoom lenses that most people start off with when they get a DSLR like the Nikon D50, so you might be better off with a big zoom. Oh, and camera shaking (and the resulting blurry photos) caused by holding your camera in hand while shooting when completely zoomed in isn't as much of a factor since they have this anti-shake tech in the Panasonics.
     
  11. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #11
    Your portability point is a good one. Some of my best pictures over the past few years have been with a well traveled Canon digital elph s400 - the pre-SD compact 4 MB compact flash Elph. 9/10 of great photos for me is having a camera with me in the first place. That said, I'm finding that DSLRs are great.

    I tried an S80 and found some significant vignetting at the 28 mm setting, so I returned it to B&H. Someone on this forum told me that they had that problem and it was more pronounced that it should have been and they had it into Canon for service. So I don't know if it was a solvable issue. Other than the image problems (which were a show stopper for a camera), I really liked the design of the S80.

    My old Elph has died - an E18 error after too many trips to sandy places, and I'll replace it with another pocketable p&s (to be clear, I like having a P&S and something larger, but the P&S historically gets more use because it's with me more often) - most likely the new Elph 700 IS - which has image stablization and a host of settings that were absent from my old Elph, including things like grid lines on demand, white balance control - presets and custom, exposure compensation, evaluative, center and a flavor of spot metering, and 2.1 fps - all in my pocket... fantastic. http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelTechSpecsAct&fcategoryid=145&modelid=13019

    For the middle of the road between a DSLR and a P&S, perhaps something like the new Canon S3 IS would work for you? http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=13077
    I have a friend who's had good results with his S2 IS. The camera is small enough to fit in a loose jacket pocket (it's not tiny like an Elph, but it's not as big or heavy as a DSLR like the smaller D50 or RebelXT/350 either); the large lens retracts into the body; see in hand photo from dpreview of same-size silver S2, attached), but has a great lens (assume it's the same as the lens on the S2 that I thought did a nice job with a 36 to 432mm range) with a 12x zoom and you'd still keep digicam functionality if that's important to you. DPreview doesn't have a review of the new S3 yet (just announced in Feb), but it does have a review (highly recommended) of the S2: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons2is/. The sample images look nice, as one would expect from sample images, I suppose: http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=SampleImagesAct&fcategoryid=144&modelid=13077 $499 from B&H, with their estimated availability stated as May for the S3 (no way to tell if that's an overly conservative projection except to google and see if others are predicting earlier availability).

    Good luck.

    LG
     

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  12. mintlivedotcom macrumors regular

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    Apr 21, 2004
    #12
    I am totally going to order the new Canon S3 and give my beloved S2 to either my stepson or my parents. The S2 has been my favorite all-around camera so far. Check out heroldshangout.com to see all the photos and movies that have been taken with my S2.
     
  13. Kirbdog macrumors regular

    Kirbdog

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    #13
    I totally agree that there is little difference between the D50 & D70s. But one of those differences is a big one if you need remote flash capability. The D50 does not have Command Mode for remotely firing Nikon strobes.
    Good write up on this here
    If you don't use remote flashes you can ignore this.
     
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #14
    Coming from a 4 year old Olympus, I don't think he needs remote flash, which explains my suggestion. ;)
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    Right, from what I understand, the D50 does not have the same flexibility in controlling the SB 800 speedlight as the D70 or D70s does. Apparently there is no "Commander mode" in the D50. Another difference, which may not be important to some people just coming off a P&S, is that the memory card for the D50 is SD, whereas the memory cards used in the D70, D70S, D200 and D2x are all CF cards. If you've already accumulated a nice collection of CF cards it can be expensive to have to suddenly switch and add a few SD cards. This in and of itself is not a deal-killer, of course. Personally I feel that CF cards are sturdier and less likely to be misplaced or lost.

    Also, and I'm not sure about this, but I think another difference is that in the D50 there is no DOF (depth-of-field) button, whereas this is a feature which is appreciated by many photographers, especially with certain lenses or under specific shooting conditions.

    Uh....Ken Rockwell....uh....well, let's just say that many photographers take some of what he writes with a grain of salt. I do think it is good to read his opinions but I would not consider him the "be-all, end-all" authority. Thom Hogan is another good source of info, as is Ron Reznick. If you're trying to decide about lenses,there is a longtime Nikon shooter named Bjørn (and I don't remember his last name now) who has an excellent website with comparisons of most of Nikon's lenses.

    Yes, there is something to be said about the portability factor. When I went out to SF in January I had my D200 and a couple of lenses and also a P&S Fujifilm E900. Most of the time I used the D200, but there were several occasions when it was just easier and less obtrusive to pull out the Fujifilm and shoot with it. At home, I like to carry a camera with me most of the time and so usually have a P&S stashed in my purse or bag...at least I get the shot, even if it's not going to be quite the same as it would be if I had the D200 with me!
     
  16. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #16
    Nice reference Clix Pix - I googled Bjorn and nikon and found the site:
    http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zoom.html
    Very useful summaries of lens performance
     
  17. DinoAdventure thread starter macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

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    May 13, 2005
    #17
    How much do lenses usually cost for D-SLR cameras? I'm going to be in college soon so I know that money is going to be tight, and I probably won't be able be able to afford many lenses if they are real expensive.
     
  18. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #18
    Yep, that's Bjørn's site! He has an amazing collection of Nikon lenses and has the expertise to appropriately evaluate each one.
     
  19. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #19
    Costs vary, depending upon the manufacturer and the type of lens. One can purchase reasonably-priced "consumer" lenses for significantly less than "professional" lenses, and also third-party lenses with the popular mounts can be had for less than the brand-name lenses. That is, Tokina, Tamron and Sigma all put out lenses for Nikon and Canon which are less pricey that the same size or type of lens would be in those manufacturers' own lines.

    Easiest way to find out prices: go to the website of any photography shop, run a search on particular lens sizes and types in which you're interested and you'll see for yourself. Lens can range in price from a couple hundred to couple thousand dollars....
     
  20. DinoAdventure thread starter macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

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    #20
    Ok. I was a little freaked out when I checked froogle for Nikon lenses, and saw a bunch of $500 to $2000 dollar lenses :). Right now I am leaning towards the D50 with 18-55 mm lens. Seems to be too be the best DSLR bang for my buck, and 700 bucks is about my max budget. But I really won't know until I go to the camera shop this week and try 'em out.

    Thanks again for all the help everyone.
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    Sounds good! However, if you can afford to do so, I'd get the 18-70 lens that is the kit lens for the D70/D70s..... it's got a little more "reach" to it and is also slightly higher quality than the 18-55, from what I've been told.

    That is excellent that you're going to a local camera shop and handling all the cameras before you make your decision.
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #22
    Actually, the 18-70mm you're talking about is much better than the 18-55mm. And even compared to other non-kit lenses out there, the 18-70mm lense performs well in comparison. If you can get the D50 and the 18-70 mm for a reasonable price, get that instead. Otherwise, the 18-55 mm and 55-200 mm sounds like it would be great for someone like you, and that 55-200 mm would probably only cost you an extra $100-150 or so, and will probably serve all your needs if you ever need to zoom in on something far away.
     
  23. revmac macrumors newbie

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    Mar 14, 2006
    #23
    Again, I tried many cameras... You cannot beat the D50. If you question me, check this guy out... www.kenrockwell.com

    go to his search bar and put in D50. He gives a great review on the D50 and compares it to the D70.
     
  24. DinoAdventure thread starter macrumors member

    DinoAdventure

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    #24
    Well I went to the camera shop today, tried out the D-50 and the Rebel. I like the feel of the D50 a lot better, the Rebel feels too light and doesn't fit my hands very well. The prices were quite steep at the store, so I'm going to order it online. B&H has the best price I've seen so far: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...s&Q=&sku=420992&is=REG&addedTroughType=search

    But I'm going to keep froogling for a while until I find the best price.
     
  25. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

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    #25
    B&H is going to be pretty close to rock bottom and at the same time still reputable (an actual new camera from an authorized Nikon dealer). You'll find it cheaper, but if it's significantly cheaper, you 1) may not get the camera; 2) may get a refurb unit sold as new; 3) insert other parade of horrible possibilities. Resellerratings.com is a good resource to check on-line camera places. There are several scam shops out there, so my advice is find the right balance of reputable and cheap.

    Good luck with the new camera.
     

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