Searching for camera for family use

TonyC28

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As the title suggests, I am looking for a camera for taking basic family photos...i.e new baby, dog, holiday stuff, the zoo. I'd like something that can take good quality pictures that could also be printed out large, maybe 16x20 or so. Fancy features probably aren't necessary but I'll take what I can get. I would like to stay in the under $500 range. I like the idea of something small and convenient but don't want to sacrifice quality of photos if possible. Can anyone suggest a good point-and-shoot, DSLR, or mirrorless?
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,524
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Atlanta
iPhone 7 with 12MP camera that can generate raw or jpg images that you can easily edit in Mac Photos and apps that are Photo Extensions such as: Luminar, Affinity Photo, and many others. There are many apps that will enlarge the file size for making large prints. Shooting family moments is what IOS cameras and Photos are designed for.
 

mofunk

macrumors 68020
Aug 26, 2009
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I have 16x20 prints from my old Nikon D90 that shoots 12mpeg. Anything that is current will allow you to get those big pics. If you go with a DSLR you also would have to think about a lens. Since your budget is $500 you could look into a used body and lens that will give you the all around coverage (18-200mm range). Down side is that it can get pricey if you go new. I picked out two used DSLR from a reputable dealer.

Canon T4i
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/801627643-USE/canon_6558b005_eos_rebel_t4i_digital.html

Nikon D90
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/801628568-USE/nikon_25448_d90_dslr_camera_with.html

Little more in the budget check out the Canon 70D or Nikon 7100

Here is a used Canon 70D body you can pair it with a 18-135mm zoom lens
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/801629050-USE/canon_3814b004_eos_7d_dslr_camera.html


A good point and shoot camera is a nice start away from the camera phones. I've printed some images from my phone and they won't give you the 16x20 prints without some quality loss. Down side to a point and Shoot is you may not get the quality you want when shooting from a distance like at a zoo or fast action.

Canon SX620
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1263878-REG/canon_powershot_sx620_hs_digital.html

Canon G7
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1223211-REG/canon_1066c001_powershot_g7_x_mark.html

Canon 360 HS
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1233591-REG/canon_powershot_elph_360_hs.html
 

v0lume4

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2012
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I second this. I've heard and read great things about this camera. Note: I do not personally own this camera, so I cannot speak from experience. If you ever want to experiment with adjusting ISO, shutter speed, and aperture on your own, the G7X does offer a manual mode, which is really cool. It also has a nice, wide aperture for those delicious, blurry backgrounds.

However, you might not be looking to spend nearly the cost of an iPhone (~$700) on a camera. There ARE cheaper options if you'd like.

-- EDIT --

Here is a cheaper option--
Canon G9X. $400 USD. It appears to be the little brother to the G7X, which I quoted above. 1" sensor and a f/2 aperture. Not bad. Sample images under the review section are worth taking a look at.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0167Q104K/ref=psdc_330405011_t3_B01BV14OXA
 
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Foogoofish

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2011
220
381
London
I'm a massive fan of the Canon 50D - you can get a second hand one off eBay including lenses for your price range.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/canon-eos-50d-Full-Set-up-with-18-200-/272836387544?epid=102631803&hash=item3f8650e2d8:g:I8kAAOSwRFdZr~ew

I'm not suggesting buying that one - but 6300 shutter count!!!

It's a pretty much pro-grade body, super indestructible and will last forever. I can't recommend it enough as a way in to DSLR, I used to get paid to shoot on one before I went to the 5D - so don't worry about any questions of quality.
 

TonyC28

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Thanks everyone. Great input so far. I'm starting to wonder if a good quality point-and-shoot might be the way to go. I'm very much a beginner and have only been using my iPhone to take pictures for several years now.
 

mollyc

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Aug 18, 2016
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My biggest issue with a P&S (or a phone camera) is that there is always a shutter lag. Unless you are shooting outdoors, you will very nearly always have blurry photos because there is always a delay from pressing the shutter to when the photo is actually taken and then you get camera or subject shake. When I was pregnant with my almost 12YO daughter, I did a lot of research and settled on an expensive ($1k ish) hybrid that was to allow me the ability to shoot manually but gave the convenience of a P&S. Almost every photo of her is blurry....it just didn't do well indoors. Flash forward two years when my son was about 6 weeks old and I decided to upgrade to a full dSLR and even shooting in auto, the images were so much better because there was no shutter delay. That alone for me was worth the added expense. And then of course I decided to learn manual and here it is an ungodly amount of money later in camera bodies and lenses and switching platforms, and I would give almost anything for those first two years of my daughter to be in focus.

I've not used a micro 4/3 and don't know anything about them, but if size is an issue, I'd look at one of those (plenty here have them, I prefer my big Nikon SLRs), or an entry level dSLR with a 50mm lens. I don't personally think a P&S has a huge quality advantage over the iPhone, other than perhaps an optical zoom.
 

TonyC28

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My biggest issue with a P&S (or a phone camera) is that there is always a shutter lag. Unless you are shooting outdoors, you will very nearly always have blurry photos because there is always a delay from pressing the shutter to when the photo is actually taken and then you get camera or subject shake. When I was pregnant with my almost 12YO daughter, I did a lot of research and settled on an expensive ($1k ish) hybrid that was to allow me the ability to shoot manually but gave the convenience of a P&S. Almost every photo of her is blurry....it just didn't do well indoors. Flash forward two years when my son was about 6 weeks old and I decided to upgrade to a full dSLR and even shooting in auto, the images were so much better because there was no shutter delay. That alone for me was worth the added expense. And then of course I decided to learn manual and here it is an ungodly amount of money later in camera bodies and lenses and switching platforms, and I would give almost anything for those first two years of my daughter to be in focus.

I've not used a micro 4/3 and don't know anything about them, but if size is an issue, I'd look at one of those (plenty here have them, I prefer my big Nikon SLRs), or an entry level dSLR with a 50mm lens. I don't personally think a P&S has a huge quality advantage over the iPhone, other than perhaps an optical zoom.
Great advice. Thank you. We have a baby on the way and that's the main reason for the camera so I definitely want the best pics possibly while being sensible with the budget.
 
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mollyc

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A cheap dSLR on auto will give you better photos than an expensive P&S. :) I learned that the very hard way!
 
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Foogoofish

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Jun 12, 2011
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Thanks everyone. Great input so far. I'm starting to wonder if a good quality point-and-shoot might be the way to go. I'm very much a beginner and have only been using my iPhone to take pictures for several years now.
Beginner is not a status, it is a time period. You then become intermediate, and then advanced.

I don't mean to sound patronising (honest!!), but I have sold myself short a few times thinking a less complicated product is better because I was just starting at something. Auto mode is great on DSLR's - you can then move on from there when you are ready - but you can't move much on from a Point and Shoot.

I agree that the photographer is the key, but if you want to be able to really get into photography, I don't believe a Point and Shoot will ever fully satisfy you.

But that's just my opinion...
 
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Fishrrman

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Feb 20, 2009
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If you decide on Canon, go to canon.com and check out their factory-refurbished cameras (and lenses). Sometimes very good prices, and the stuff comes with a 1-year warranty.
 

TonyC28

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Beginner is not a status, it is a time period. You then become intermediate, and then advanced.

I don't mean to sound patronising (honest!!), but I have sold myself short a few times thinking a less complicated product is better because I was just starting at something. Auto mode is great on DSLR's - you can then move on from there when you are ready - but you can't move much on from a Point and Shoot.

I agree that the photographer is the key, but if you want to be able to really get into photography, I don't believe a Point and Shoot will ever fully satisfy you.

But that's just my opinion...
You're so right. I always regret "cheaping out." Btw everyone, I'm showing this thread to my wife when I buy the camera and I get in trouble.
 
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Bart Kela

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Beginner is not a status, it is a time period. You then become intermediate, and then advanced.
Not true. Beginner is a competency level, not a time period. You can be a beginner/novice all your life if you do not learn.

Some people do not learn and are horrible photographers even after doing it for many years. Look at the garbage on Facebook. If you have owned a smartphone or camera for years and your photos still suck, it is definitely not the equipment.

I don't mean to sound patronising (honest!!), but I have sold myself short a few times thinking a less complicated product is better because I was just starting at something. Auto mode is great on DSLR's - you can then move on from there when you are ready - but you can't move much on from a Point and Shoot.

I agree that the photographer is the key, but if you want to be able to really get into photography, I don't believe a Point and Shoot will ever fully satisfy you.
It's really up to the individual to guess how much long-term interest he/she will have in photography. Like any other activity like playing a musical instrument, snowboarding, cooking, carpentry, etc., there are commitments in both time and money. You can buy better equipment and lessons with money, but you still need to have some ability or skill, and an ability/interest in improving what you do. Some people have this, some do not.

Some people are lousy cooks all their lives whereas others become great cooks. And you can still do this on an inexpensive apartment style electric stove with only a handful of utensils and equipment.

Some people are happy documenting their life with their smartphone cameras. A few want the fancy dSLR and an array of lenses. Others might want some of the telephoto and wide-angle capabilities of a point-and-shoot camera, but easier to pocket than a dSLR.

At some point, the OP's baby will be old enough to be in activities that require a telephoto capability in whatever tool he is using to record the event. It's really up to the OP to decide if now is the time to buy into a dSLR system which will allow for telephoto lenses in the future, something he may not really need in the first few years of his child's life.

If the OP has other photographic interests apart from family life, these should also factor into his decision on equipment purchase, in the short term as well as in the future.
 
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TonyC28

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I keep seeing Canon EOS T6 come up while I'm researching this stuff. I'm assuming it's as cheap as it is for a reason. Anyone know anything about that particular camera?
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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As the title suggests, I am looking for a camera for taking basic family photos...i.e new baby, dog, holiday stuff, the zoo. I'd like something that can take good quality pictures that could also be printed out large, maybe 16x20 or so. Fancy features probably aren't necessary but I'll take what I can get. I would like to stay in the under $500 range. I like the idea of something small and convenient but don't want to sacrifice quality of photos if possible. Can anyone suggest a good point-and-shoot, DSLR, or mirrorless?
Just want to touch on that "16x20 or so." There are factors that can prevent making a satisfying enlargement of that size, regardless of how good the camera is - camera shake/movement being the #1 cause. Other significant factors are focus/sharpness and noise; those factors are more directly linked to hardware.

Nearly any modern camera can auto-focus with acceptable accuracy, but the better the lens, the better the over-size enlargement. Noise is a factor that is addressed by the quality of the camera - this is one of the primary reasons people get larger-sensor cameras, and lenses with wider apertures.

Altogether, how you use your tools is as important as which tools you own. I'd wager there's a fair bit you can do to improve your iPhone images, without spending more than $50 on a tripod. Learning to make the best of what you have is a skill that translates well to whatever camera you use. Learn to recognize what you can do to improve your current shots - it'll also make it easier to choose whatever camera you get next.
 

kohlson

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Apr 23, 2010
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I have a Sony a6000 with 16-50 kit lens, which I take backpacking in the high Sierras (it's small and light). On one such outing I did not take a tripod, shooting everything by hand. Our daughters wanted prints of some of their favorite shots, and I had them done as 12x18 metal prints. I'm happy with the results. The a6000 is probably available for your price range, though is not the current model. A slightly steeper learning curve than a P&S, but with a few quick settings will automate picture taking. But the Canon and other models mentioned here are also good. Keep in mind the old saying (The best camera is ...) - learning to get good with your iPhone is a good investment.
 

charlyham

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2012
157
28
As the title suggests, I am looking for a camera for taking basic family photos...i.e new baby, dog, holiday stuff, the zoo. I'd like something that can take good quality pictures that could also be printed out large, maybe 16x20 or so. Fancy features probably aren't necessary but I'll take what I can get. I would like to stay in the under $500 range. I like the idea of something small and convenient but don't want to sacrifice quality of photos if possible. Can anyone suggest a good point-and-shoot, DSLR, or mirrorless?
I was looking last year for the same thing you are. I ended up buying a Nikon d3300 bundle with two kit lenses on sale for under $500. The d3300 is the previous entry level camera from Nikon. The latest entry level is the d3400 and the only difference is the d3400 has built in wireless so you can send photos to your phone or tablet. The d3300 has a wireless accessory you can attach and is sometimes offered as a free option at B&H Photo (mine was). The kit lenses seem more that adequate but after you get used to how the camera works and realize the potential of the better lenses, you will be tempted to buy the better lenses. For that reason there are a lot of kit lenses on Amazon/ Ebay for small $ in case you want to go with just the basic camera and lens and then get a kit zoom lens cheap.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&O=&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876,{creative},{keyword}&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiKTDs9uT1gIVHksNCh25oAR-EAYYAiABEgLUqfD_BwE&is=REG&m=Y&sku=1023353
 
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jerwin

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Jun 13, 2015
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As the title suggests, I am looking for a camera for taking basic family photos...i.e new baby, dog, holiday stuff, the zoo.
Always bring a telephoto lens to the zoo, or face disappointment. ("Why does the lion look so small?")

A nice 300-500mm equivalent works well-- the exact focal length depends on how large your sensor is.

(That's on the order of 10X-20X if you opt for a superzoom P&S.)
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
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Tony C28 wrote:
"I keep seeing Canon EOS T6 come up while I'm researching this stuff. I'm assuming it's as cheap as it is for a reason. Anyone know anything about that particular camera?"

You might also investigate the Canon SL2.
It costs a little more, but not really that much more.

It's quite new and very well received.
One of the most compact DSLR's around.
 

JoeRito

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2012
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New England, USA
I'd look at a gently used Pana Lumix LX100. Fantastic quality images in an advanced PNS. There's a reason it has such a huge following, its a classic camera.
 

mofunk

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Aug 26, 2009
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Americas
I didn't mention the Nikon entry level because you could spend the same amount on a slightly used D90. Better image quality with a lot of room to grow. The best images I got from my phone were printed to 5x7 prints and the images were taken outside.


Buying a camera is a BIG headache. LOL I'm happy I found one where it hit a lot of must haves for me. I'm not one to buy something and then a year later buy the next thing that comes out. If you are serious about using your camera a lot, you might want to increase your budget. Maybe ask some friends that are local, and play with their camera to see what you like most. My friends told me to look at Canon vs Nikon to start. Canon makes some great Point and Shoots. Nikon has great DSLR cameras with a larger selection of lenses. Canon entry level DSLR have more bells than Nikon. Bottomline both will take a photo..its just finding the one that fits you best.
 

TheDrift-

macrumors 6502a
Mar 8, 2010
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FWIW my simplistic take would be this...

Point and shoot
lightweight easy to use poorer IQ. Lens cannot be altered. Very little equipment available.

DSLR
Heavy. Best IQ, lens can be changed to suit conditions. Good supply of equipment for main brands, tripods, flashes modifiers etc

Mirrorless
Some where in-between.

There are of course exceptions etc e.g. Some of Sonys mirrorless produce some great IQ.

Someone mentioned earlier that the best camera is one you have with you...this is great advice. Buy something you love to shoot and forget the tec specs.

If you want to learn more about photography then maybe look at a cheap DSLR and invest in some courses/classes. Something like a canon 500/550d or what ever the Nikon equivalent is.

Fuji/pany/olly/Sony all make great mirrorless

For pos I'd look at the Sony rx100 series or maybe wait for the LX200 rumour has it it could be later in the years (they have said this for the last couple of years tho!)
 
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