Another Camera Newbie

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by richard4339, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. richard4339 macrumors 6502a

    richard4339

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    #1
    When it comes down to it, I think I can get good shots, but never know enough about a camera to take a decent picture.

    Anyway, since I went digital, I first got a Nikon Coolpix 2000. Pretty good little camera. Traded up (in theory) to an HP Photosmart R707. My fiancee's got a 6 year old Sony Cybershot which can outshoot both of those cameras.

    So, here's where I stand. I want something simple. I can see the appeal of the dSLRs. I'm getting married next year, and I want a digital camera I can take with me to catch everything. The cameras we have now either miss the moment (HP) and blur the picture, or they don't get any light into the picture (Sony). Either way, the picture tends to get lost. I don't want that. I want a good digital camera that I can use for these situations; spontaneous "kodak" moments that I can't afford to give 10 seconds startup time + 1 second shutter time + 3 second save time + 1 second focus time. Especially on the HP, this happens REPEATEDLY!

    So, I've started my search from the beginning. I like simplicity. I like image stabilization (my hand shakes a lot). I don't think I need a dSLR, but I'm not apposed.

    I've looked at the FujiFilm a610 reviewed above, and it seems like a good camera, just with little to no features.

    The Canon's confuse me completely. I like the Image Stabilization and the DIGIII facial technology. So, from there the SD700, 800, and 850 sound good.

    The Nikon market looks good too. The Coolpix S50 looks cool. I really did love my Nikon.

    Anyone have any tips for someone who simply wants a good camera for everyday use? Basically, I'm getting married soon, and I want a good digital camera that can get pictures of everything that goes on.

    Edit: Wow, my post is really rambling. Does it make sense?
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #2
    Have you looked at this camera:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/

    Just a guess really. I don't have any experience with point and shoots other than Canon's 710IS, which is a pretty nice camera. I don't know about how it performs compared to other P&Ss in terms of shutter lag.
     
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #3
    I think in the point and shoot world there is little that will beat the value to performance of the Fuji F31, as miloblithe suggested. The question is what is your budget, and how interested are you in photography.

    If you're willing to spend $200- $300, there is little that will beat the f31 (or even the older f30).

    If you want to spend the money for some quality images that you will cherish (note the persuasion), there are a number of cameras that will fill the bill. The Canon G7 is an excellent camera, which allows for eventual development of technique, and a little more manual control should you get into photography. Another option is the Lumix (panasonic ) FZ-50. It's a great camera, though in low light conditions it will produce some noise (alright, quite a bit of it).

    As you have asked this question in the photography forum here, where a number of the people posting are either enthusiasts or pro photographers, you will get the answer that is coming- for the best image quality, one which will allow you to develop your skills as a photographer (possibly use the same camera as your kids (when that happens) grow up), and one which will give you more satisfaction than the rest, is an SLR. In the low end there are a number of cameras you can pick, which will shoot better than anything a point and shoot will give you. Olympus had the E-volt 500 with 2 lenses (an equivalent of 28-300mm kit (so like a 10X)) for under $600, and this was before the new models came out. A Nikon D40 can be had for even less than that. Pentax's K100D is another excellent choice, and I would be a traitor if I didn't mention the fact that you can get a used Canon Rebel XT for about the same. If you decide to go the SLR route, and are a bit short on cash (with the wedding and all (trust me I know, I have a year of freedom left)), visit keh.com. Their stuff is very conservatively appraised, and their return policy is stellar.
     
  4. JDN macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Lund Sweden {London England}
    #4
    Just continuing on from the above comments, if you think you would like to try out a dSLR type camera, but aren't sure if you will ever be into photography enough to warrant a body you can change lenses on then there are cameras such as the Fuji Finepix S9500.

    On paper it looks like a decent camera, im not sure what the price would be over in the US but it is very competitive over here in the UK.

    (This is only a suggestion, i have no hands on experience, if anyone knows more about it then feel free to say its crap)
     
  5. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bookshop!
    #5
    Have a look at the S5 IS. I have the S3 IS, and i find it's a great hybrid camera (better than the average P&S, but not quite as good as a dSLR). Have a look at my DeviantArt site for some pics from it.
     
  6. richard4339 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    richard4339

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    #6
    I honestly was hoping I'd get some answers from a broad spectrum of skill levels with photographry here, which is one reason I asked here. And so far, I haven't been disappointed.

    When I was a teenager, I was very interested in photographry, but never got a chance to develop it. By the time I hit college, it hit the backburner. I bought a digital camera, and it all went downhill from there. My original Nikon Coolpix was a wonderful 1megapixel camera, and to this day is probably the best camera I have ever owned. When I worked at RadioShack, I bought the deeply discounted HP Photosmart 707 and have regreted that decision fervently.

    I guess I'm not sure if I want to go the route of a dSLR or not. I've looked at both a little, and can tell you right now that the Nikon D80 is out of my price range, as is the Nikon D40x (I mention these because my photographer friend recommended both). The D40 would be around the upper end of my price range.

    I looked at the Fujifilm Finepix F31fd just now, and its selling for $230 online in the US. I guess where I lose knowledge on digital cameras now is features of the point-and-shoot styles. From what I've read, does Fuji literally just let you take the picture now? Most things I've read say they've idiotproofed them, which can get frustrating for someone who does want to make changes.
     
  7. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #7
    If you don't think you'll be needing to swap lenses much(that is, you'll buy a DSLR and only get 1 lens for it) you might want to take a look at pseudo-SLR's.
     
  8. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #8
    Price range is important, and further consider your future price range. If you can spend a maximum of, say, $700 now and are looking to spend another $700 over then next year or three, you can build yourself a comprehensive DSLR set up. If you want to buy now and then will have other things to spend your money on for years to come, that point and shoot makes more sense again. One of the main advantages of DSLRs is their modularity, whereas for point and shoots it's their versatility out of the box.
     
  9. richard4339 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    richard4339

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
    The more and more I think about this, and read what everyone is saying, I'm thinking that I'd probably want a higher-end point-and-shoot versus a lower-end dSLR. I'd like to be able to take control of some things that the basic digital cameras are not going to give (which is one thing I've heard about the Fujis, they take point-and-shoot to heart).

    I think I'd like the ability to "tinker" with the settings if I'm doing that kind of photography, but in a situation where I need the point-and-shoot type system, I've got it. As I said above, I'm looking at this for my wedding. I know that I'll hire a professional for the ceremony and reception, but I'd like this camera for everything else so I can try to get at least a few good pictures, which I don't really see being possible with the HP I have now.

    I've looked at the Canon's a bit (note that what I'm saying above is what I can tell from what I've been reading). The SD series seems to be the most popular right now. From what I've read, the SD700 is very good, as are its predesseros, the SD800 and SD850. The 750, however, really goes back to the point-and-shoot style removing the viewfinder and some other similar features. The 800 and 850 both add image stabilization, and the 850 improves the lens that was causing blurry pictures in the 800. The 850, however, goes "slower" between pictures, and has more lag from when you hit the button to take the picture and when the picture actually records.

    I don't honestly even know where to begin to look at the Sony Cybershots anymore, nor the Nikon Coolpix. I'd still be open to any suggestions on models to look at as a starting place, if anyone would like to suggest anything here.
     
  10. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #10
    Agreed. It's odd, after taking 1.5 courses in B&W film photography, I can handle the v basics of a film SLR. Attempted to use my dad's Nikon D80 and was just incredibly flustered.

    I had Canon's S3IS for awhile (sold it to fund the MB :p) and it is a really solid P&S. Gives you the choice to focus on aperture (yay for DoF!), shutterspeed, and I'm sure a ton of modes that I never even touched upon. It's also got solid Image Stabilization (hence, the IS in the model name) which was crucial to me (as my hands always shake), fantastic optical zoom, takes AAs (a plus as I like to travel and would hate to be caught in a different country having to shell out big $$$ to get a specialized battery or requiring adapters to charge a battery), and what most reviewers of this camera have to say-- amazing video capabilities.

    Head into a local camera shop and really take your time to fiddle with some different cameras. G'luck with your search. :)


    :edit: I'm so slow. :eek: I'm glad I just read your post above mine, OP. I agree, when it comes to digital, I think I'd rather not mess with every minute setting and worry about getting the right lens for the job, and having the proper filters and whatnot. So check out Canon's S3IS and it's predecessor, the S5IS. Really nice camera.
     
  11. richard4339 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    richard4339

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    #11
    I'd read a lot of good things about the S3. I'll look at it more closely.

    If I end up going for something on this level, this probably is what I'll get. If I do decide on a smaller form factor, thus far, I think I'll probably look more to the SD series, unless anyone does have any ideas about Nikon or Sony or any others as well.
     
  12. canonwire macrumors member

    canonwire

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #12
    I think the S3 is still a fine camera...you can probably get one for around 300 dollars...its basically the same as a S5 anyways except more megapixels on the same size small sensor (not a good thing)...face detection is a tad overrated as the S3 has pretty good camera IQ anyways (S5 has DIII engine, yes?)

    Anyways, my vote is for the S3. A dSLR would be overkill and would probably provide more fustration then pleasure, at least initially until you get the hang of its controls...

    Take a look at some of the Canon A-series cameras as well...A570IS is around 200 dollars I believe and that is a fine camera as well.
     
  13. richard4339 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    richard4339

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    #13
    I finally got a chance to hold an S3 the other day. It is obviously a very good camera, and appeared to take good pictures (though it is hard to tell with some things, because there is only so much you can take a picture of in WalMart when its on a 12 inch tether).

    I honestly loved it. I thought that all of the features I tried out worked well, it was fairly intuitive (I was able to get pictures taken, which is not bad considering I just picked it up). But, I guess I'm being biased... I feel like if I'm going to spend that much for a camera in that form factor, I might as well go all the way for a dSLR. Does that make sense?

    I've compared it to the SD850 as much as I can, and I really can't see too much of a difference. I've read all kinds of info on the 850 "blurring" and bending straight lines in images, especially along the sides, and I've read that any digital camera on the low-end is going to be extremely grainy when you go above ISO200. So, if I'm out looking for a point-and-shoot level camera, what should I be looking for? Is there any point-and-shoot that is going to perform even on the level on the S3, or am I just fighting a lost cause?
     
  14. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bookshop!
    #14
    In Australia, the difference between a S5 IS and a 400D is about $800, so there is a fair bit of price difference. I don't know what the pricing structure is like where you live, though.

    Reviewers say the S3 or S5 is the best P&S money can buy. You'll have a hard time finding something better without spending a few hundred more.

    take a look at my deviantart page to see some pics from the S3. You can download them in full size as well :)
     
  15. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #15
    It makes a little tiny bit of sense-- if you don't factor in the cost of decent lenses. ;) And filters. And a really good protective bag for your gear. So no, it's not truly fair to compare a nice, semi-advanced P&S to a dSLR in terms of the initial upfront cost.

    Shrug. I had an older Canon Elph series s400. My ex and my sister both have the SD400. Yes, they're slightly cheaper than the S3IS, yes they're sleeker and more compact, yes they can take great snapshots-- but personally? They're not worth it to me. I love the IS. I love the 12x optical zoom of the S3. I love the ability to emphasize aperture v shutter-speed. I love the video mode-- that alone makes the S3 stand apart from almost any other P&S. I love that it takes AA batteries. Fantastic for trips in case batteries wimp out, they're a heckuva lot cheaper to buy on the spot (or do what most folks should do, invest in a decent set of really nice rechargeable AAs). Shrug. But that's just me. :eek:
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #16
    Be careful. I believe one of those cameras can shoot at wider angles than the other. If that's the feature you want on your honeymoon, I'd likely get the camera that can shoot wider. I don't know which one is which, but it's definitely a feature I'd want in a p&s camera, personally.

    Also, I'd look at the Fuji F31 like everyone else. Best image quality from a p&s, bar none. It lacks IS, but quite honestly, since it can take photos at ISO 400 (and sometime ISO 800) with more detail than many p&s cameras at ISO 100, you don't need IS. Shoot at ISO 400, and you're going to get better "image stabalization" than the Canon can offer.

    Proof?

    Fuji F31fd at ISO 800 vs. Canon SD800 IS
    Canon S3 IS at ISO 80

    The Fuji butchers the Canon IS800 IS when they're both set to ISO 800. If you compare the Fuji F31 to the Canon S3 IS, the quality is comparable but only when the Fuji is at ISO 800, and the Canon is set to ISO 80!! The Fuji is a tad bit noisier (it's great, but it can't perform miracles), but it's also sharper. Make the image a bit less sharp, and the noise levels would be similar, as would detail. Anyway, the Fuji is picking up more than 8x more light (3+ stops), and yet the noise is essentially as good as that from the S3 IS, and that is supposed to be a "high end" point and shoot. Use any Canon at ISO 100, 200, 400, etc, and the Fuji would kill it.

    The Canon SD800 and SD850 are going to be similar to the S3 IS in image quality, and are much smaller.
     
  17. tsk macrumors 6502a

    tsk

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #17
    I'm a bit late to the discussion, but if I was recommending a camera for you, I think I'd say the S3 (or perhaps the S5). I have the S2 and it's a nice camera.

    The one thing I'll say is the higher ISO settings suck on the S2 or S3. High ISO is anything higher than ISO 100. I'm not sure if you care about the higher ISO settings, but if you do, spend some time investigating the issue. I'm not sure how the S5 compares in this respect, but I would read some reviews.
     
  18. form macrumors regular

    form

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2003
    Location:
    in a country
    #18
    I have no recommendations in the prosumer range (Powershot S3/S5, Cybershot H9/H7, etc.), because they don't fit my uses, and none of them produce what I consider acceptable results at high ISO settings. However, if I had to choose, I'd probably go for a fuji model.

    In the compact model range, I first would personally buy a fuji finepix f31fd before any other because I appreciate the high ISO and low noise. I am not after a compact camera with a great burst mode, and I don't generally have a use for short, limited movies; I would much rather use a camcorder instead. The finepix f31fd has Av and Tv, if you want those. My second preference would be canon powershots. My third, possibly sony, and nikon fourth. I would not buy casio, panasonic, samsung, kodak, olympus, etc.

    Try looking at reviews at www.dpreview.com www.dcresource.com or www.imaging-resource.com

    I'm a dSLR user, freelance local photographer.
     

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