Camera advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by zeeflyboy, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. zeeflyboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2009
    Hi guys,

    I'm after a little advice regarding what camera I should purchase if you'd be so kind...

    First about me - I'm okay at pointing a camera, still have much to learn about the details of real photography though! I own a tired old Lumix dmc tz1 point and shoot which does a good job but I want something much better.

    The impetus for me looking at a new camera now specifically is a trip to south Africa at the end of October for which I'd like to pick up a new camera. Beyond that though I would love a great quality camera which can also manage at least 720p video at 30fps. Portability is high on the agenda too, it'd be great if I can stuff the camera in my flight bag for those opportunistic shots that often arise when overflying the alps at sunrise for example!

    To that end I've been trying to figure out what to get to best serve my needs, and thought I had settled on the panasonic lumix dmc gf1 with bundled 14-45mm lens which seems to tick all the right boxes. It is even due for release early October just in time for my holiday... Must be fate right?!

    Well anyway, I found that for around £630 in the uk, but then I took a look at the canon EOS 500D at the same place for £600 with an 18-55mm lens included. Am I mad for getting something like the GF1 instead of the 500D at that price? The main thing with the GF1 is the portability factor and ease of using it as a point and shoot when I want to, but the 500D seems to be much more camera for the money if you know what I mean.

    So any advice? Maybe even a cheaper model I haven't considered that would allow me to buy a second lens for those far away safari shots?

    Thanks a lot guys!
  2. rbownes macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2008
    You should decide whether you want video or photos. I dont think you will find something that will do both (really well) in a small portable package.
  3. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    If you intend to take pictures of animals, anything less than 200mm is almost a waste of time. 400mm works better. My dad took pics with a PnS and in all of them, you have to look hard to see what was supposed to be in the picture. Basically none of the animal shots he took were worth having. On the plus side, you aren't allowed out when the light is bad, so you could get away with a cheaper long lens. If animal shots are important to you, this has to be a part of your budget.

    I would be very concerned about hanging your hopes on a camera that is released just before your trip. It may not be released in time and you/the rest of the world may not have had time to find it's idiosyncracies and how to deal with them. Expensive trips are not the place to be testing new gear. Just my .02
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First off never take a brand new camera on a trip like that. shoot 1,000 frames near home with it first. When you get the new camera make some self asignments, shoot 100 frames for each, run those through whatever process you use to correct and crop and evaluate your work then do it again.

    It is better to take the camera you know and trust and have experiance with then to take a brand new un-known. So if you want to buy something don't wait to long. Give yourself enough time to shoot a lot of frames under different conditions.

    Video is hard to do well. Or I should say it is hard to shoot video that others would want to watch. Unless you can do that now don't think you can learn in a few weeks. Stick with stills if that is what you already know.

    Which still camera? Deside on which is "primary " the rip itself or photography. I think SLRs are for people who think first about the images and then think about where and when they will go to make those images. They will leave the house with images in their head and ideas baout how to cpture those images. But if you want vacation snapshots of things you happen to see get the P&S. Get a good one. I won't say which is "good" but the way to know is to look at the lens. Quality optics matters more than anything else in a P&S.
  5. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    First, the advantage of getting a dSLR is the ability to utilize the manual modes and other special features that require some knowledge of photography beyond "pointing a camera". Just getting a dSLR without that knowledge will do nothing to increase the quality of your photos, especially if you're just talking about using the kit lens.

    Second, portability and image quality are (mostly) mutually exclusive. High quality equipment is always big just due to the laws of physics. You'll have to decide whether having a dSLR is worth losing a large amount of portability compared to a PnS in the context of still having a lot "to learn about the details of real photography"
  6. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    What do you intend to shoot mostly? If it's wildlife then your options aren't good...

    Video from any DSLR is going to be a big compromise that makes a portable video camera a better option. Everyone's idea of portable is different, but if you're looking for small, then you're not likely to get what you want in one package.

    14-45mm isn't a great range, even on a small-sensor camera for the types of photography I'd want to do- so you should look at that as well as the largest aperture the lens will do and how it performs at high ISO. But I'd be very wary of taking a brand new model to a different country.

    Again, not a great zoom range for distant subjects.

    A good lens for safaris is likely to be more than your entire budget- and decidedly won't be very portable. I'd recommend renting and factoring in rental cost and insurance.

  7. TH3D4RKKN1GH7 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 25, 2009
    Instead of telling you how you don't really need a DSLR or should practice before taking one on a trip, I'll address the matter at hand. If you want a DSLR and want to do video there are only a handful of options and none of them are really cheap. There's the Nikon D90, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D5000, Nikon D300s, Canon Rebel T1i, and soon to be released Canon EOS 7D.

    Now these are all pretty good stills camera, some much better than others but they can take a nice image. The best video cameras out of that bunch are the 7D and the 5D, but one is unreleased and the other is 2700 without a lens. I don't know what your budget is you can get an T1i or 500D or a D5000 for around 730-800 bucks on

    The next step up would be a for stills would be either D90 or D300s. D90 actually has pretty poor video so I'd actually ignore it and move to the Canon EOS 7D which is 1899.99 with lens. On Amazon the D300s lists as 2600 with the lens I hope that's not true, cause that is WIDLY overpriced for such hardware but idk.

    But yes it is possible to get nice video out of a DSLR. If you want pro video and great stills you're only real option is either a 5D or a 7D. The others can do video but you wouldn't use them on a proper production. There's also the Lumix GH1 which isnt really a DSLR but takes decent pictures and great 720p video.. not so much 1080p. That's around 1500.

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