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Camera advice

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,614
922
Seattle
I needs a new one. Sort of on the fence between a good point and shoot or going for a relatively entry level SLR. I'm mostly not too worried about shooting high speed moving stuff, more landscapes/documenting travel etc. Obviously the portability of the point and shoot is a plus but I do have some interest in learning what I'm doing (I currently don't really) and trying to up my photography game to the point that I could really take advantage of a more serious camera. Thoughts?
 

Quo Fan

don't make me kick your ass
I shoot Canon, and I tell everybody the same thing. Get to a camera store and hold every camera you are interested in, and buy the one that feels "right" to you. Remember, when you enter the DSLR market, you are more buying into a lens system than a body. The body will depreciate much more rapidly than the glass.

All the entry-level DSLRs are good, and can do almost anything the pro-level bodies can. There are some advanced point and shoots that can do a lot of things a DSLR can.

If you are truly interested in learning more about this hobby, join a camera club and learn from the more senior members. A good club won't judge you on the type of camera you shoot with, only on the images you produce with it.
 

Damo

Short One Marshmallow
Sep 7, 2006
4,604
20
French Alps
I have a big camera with big lenses. All of it is damn heavy and stupidly expensive.

I want a good point-and-shoot like the Canon G12 (or whatever number they're up to now) for carrying everywhere. After all, by far the majority of my photos are taken with my iPhone because I have it with me.

A top level point-and-shoot will take nearly as good a photo as my 1D, but will miss the depth of field and perhaps the image quality of my lenses...

I went on a photo shoot with Victor Lucas and all he used was a point-and-shoot. They still made it into Dirt.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
Yep, go into a store and hold some cameras. Canon and Nikon are the big 2, there is also Sony, Pentax, etc. All can take pics. Some are better for stills, some are better for video, some are easier to navigate, some are weatherproof, etc.

Think about your needs, hold the camera in your hands then go read some reviews/specs before you drop the cash. Sales people won't tell you everything.

Try dpreview.com - they have a review for most everything.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,668
418
NC
If you buy a DSLR, I'd seriously consider saving ~$200 in your budget to buy a decent quality P&S. I bring my SLR almost everywhere but there are places where you just can't smuggle in the big camera body, and a little point and shoot is a good substitute.

Cell phone cameras are getting better but still aren't as good as a dedicated P&S, especially when it comes to the flash.
 

JustMtnB44

Monkey
Sep 13, 2006
777
63
Pittsburgh, PA
A few months ago I was in a similar situation; I wanted a camera that would take high quality pictures but I'm not serious enough to want a DSLR, and I wanted a camera that could fit in my pocket. I had an old Canon S1 IS for a while, and it had good optical zoom and decent quality pics with manual options. But it was just a little too big to fit in a pocket, which made me not use it as much as I would have liked to. When the S1 finally died I bought the Canon S100 which is one of the best P&S out there, while being easy to carry around. So far I'm happy with it, although I don't take advantage of many of the features, I still like the option of having them. Plus the large aperture (f2.0) makes low light pictures so much better than any other P&S I have used.
 

bean

Turbo Monkey
Feb 16, 2004
1,338
0
Boulder
I have a big camera with big lenses. All of it is damn heavy and stupidly expensive.

I want a good point-and-shoot like the Canon G12 (or whatever number they're up to now) for carrying everywhere. After all, by far the majority of my photos are taken with my iPhone because I have it with me.

A top level point-and-shoot will take nearly as good a photo as my 1D, but will miss the depth of field and perhaps the image quality of my lenses...

I went on a photo shoot with Victor Lucas and all he used was a point-and-shoot. They still made it into Dirt.
Take a look at the Canon S110 or whatever the current model is. Image quality is nearly identical to the G series, you get a similar level of control, and it's actually compact camera. I had a G11 for a couple months and found that it was big enough that I didn't want to carry it anywhere that I didn't want to take my D200. Very disappointing because I'd wanted one for years.
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
2,358
243
A few years ago I was using point and shoot Canon's but went to a lumix because of how good they were with minimal light and the wide angle lens. It has been a good camera, decent shots, easy to use but the newer LX7 smokes it in every way.
I have a Lumix GF2 arriving in the next day or two, this is just really a gap filler til I can afford the the GH3 but I purchased the GH2 mainly for it's video qualities.

Oh the Canon GX1 is a horrible camera for user friendliness and won't do macro's but it does quite well in low light but still I'd never pay for one.
 
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H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
I have to toss in my Nikon opinions here...


Entry level, go with a D5100 or D3200, or if you can spring it, the D7000's are flying off the shelves cheap because an update is due for that model.

Nice thing about the D7000 is plenty of external controls, and it works (and meters) with lenses that are decades old, which means garage sales are your playground. The base model Nikons (D40, D60, D3100, 3200, 5000, 5100, etc) only work properly with newer "G" type lenses.

Avoid the Nikon "1" series. They are fvcking toys.


I would also take a serious look at Fuji's X100 (fixed lens compact) or the X Pro-1 or XE-1 (mirror-less interchangeable lens bodies). Image quality with these cameras is top-notch.
 

AngryMetalsmith

Business is good, thanks for asking
Jun 4, 2006
14,691
2,440
I have no idea where I am
I have to toss in my Nikon opinions here...


Entry level, go with a D5100 or D3200, or if you can spring it, the D7000's are flying off the shelves cheap because an update is due for that model.

Nice thing about the D7000 is plenty of external controls, and it works (and meters) with lenses that are decades old, which means garage sales are your playground. The base model Nikons (D40, D60, D3100, 3200, 5000, 5100, etc) only work properly with newer "G" type lenses.
I've been looking at those models as well, because I have a AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens that I can use to shoot my work. I tried both the D5100 and the D7000 to see how they felt in my hand. Auto focus is not supported on the D5100, but no biggie. Manual focus is preferred for macro work.

The D7000 fit better, felt more durable due to the magnesium body, and had a larger view finder. While there seems to bee a lot of similarities in the two as far as image quality goes, the D5100 just didn't excite me and would probably live in the studio only being used to shoot jewelry, never to see the outside. But, the D7000, oh there's lust in my eyes for sure. I could see doing a lot of shooting of things larger than the palm of my hand with that body.

There are some screaming deals right now like you said, but is there going to be a new D7000 is the near future ?
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
There are some screaming deals right now like you said, but is there going to be a new D7000 is the near future ?
Note that aside from the lens compatibility, the D5100 can do everything the D7000 can do, you just have to dig into the menus to do a lot of it. It just lacks a built in focus motor for older AF lenses. The sensor and image pipeline are identical, so you can expect identical image and video quality (but not identical AF performance...)

That said, yes the D7000 should have a refresh soon, as well as the D300s, which pros and semi pros who shoot DX format have been screaming about for awhile now.
 

HardtailHack

used an iron once
Jan 20, 2009
2,358
243
I missed out on the GF2 they sold out and didn't remove the listing but I did just order a Lumix DMC-GH2, they are getting old but they are pretty awesome for video.
 

mrbigisbudgood

Strangely intrigued by Echo
Oct 30, 2001
1,382
3
Charlotte, NC
Have you ever bought a factory refurbished body or lens from B&H or Adorama ? I've had good experiences with B&H but know nothing about Adorama. Only purchased new though.
I have a refurb 50D from Adorama. I've put 20,000 shots on it with zero issues. I've bought stuff from Adorama since and have had only good experiences.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,614
922
Seattle
Haven't pulled the trigger yet, but having done some shopping I'm leaning Nikon D5100.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
Haven't pulled the trigger yet, but having done some shopping I'm leaning Nikon D5100.
How much you want to spend, and how much are you willing to spend?

The D5100 has the same sensor as the D7000, but the D7000 is a much more flexible camera. It will meter with just about any Nikon lens from the last 30 years or so, it has AF fine tuning, better build quality, nicer grip, more external controls, etc. Same guts, much better wrappings.

They are going for a song now because of the release of the D600.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,614
922
Seattle
I was planning on spending ~600. I could go as high as say a grand if there's a good reason for it, but for my level of amateurism I'm skeptical that I'd notice a huge difference. Then again, I don't know a ton about camera gear so maybe I'm wrong. From what I've seen, the D5100 can be had for about 550 with an 18-55mm lens, the D7000 is at least 300 more. Is it really worth a 50% premium as a first SLR for a novice?
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
I was planning on spending ~600. I could go as high as say a grand if there's a good reason for it, but for my level of amateurism I'm skeptical that I'd notice a huge difference. Then again, I don't know a ton about camera gear so maybe I'm wrong. From what I've seen, the D5100 can be had for about 550 with an 18-55mm lens, the D7000 is at least 300 more. Is it really worth a 50% premium as a first SLR for a novice?
Well on one hand, depending how deep you get into it, the D7000 will work with many more lenses, including being able to correctly meter with some fantastic older manual focus lenses. This means you have decades of used glass to choose from. It also lifts a bit of the gear ceiling, you may not want or need another camera for many years. (just in case you suddenly become an "enthusiast")

On the other hand, if you are not one to dive too deeply into things and you want a good DSLR, it's hard to go wrong with the D5100. It will take excellent pics, just with a bunch more diving into menus to tweak things when you feel like driving instead of letting the camera do it.

Image quality wise, if you put the same glass on either with the same settings, you would never tell the difference.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,614
922
Seattle
Thanks. Good food for thought. I'll go find a D7000 to play with, and keep mulling it over before I do anything. Not in a huge hurry to buy, I'd rather take the time and get it right.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
I'll go find a D7000 to play with
Yep. Don't underestimate the value of ergonomics. Actually holding it can make/break a decision.

Also, for reference, go hold a Canon 7D, etc.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,668
418
NC
I'd tend to learn towards more "pro-style" ergonomics if you think you'll grow into it.

If you're not interested and just want to point the camera and hit the go button, an entry-level DSLR will work great, plus it'll be smaller and lighter.

I bought my girlfriend the D40x because that's how she uses the camera - great eye, but she doesn't really want to dig around and tweak settings before each shot. I thought we'd use her camera when we went places that I didn't want to haul the much-heavier D300.

It hasn't really worked out that way, mostly for ergonomic reasons. I just can't hit the settings I want to change on the fly, even after several years of owning it, and that puts a serious crimp in my being able to use it comfortably. Of course, I could set it back to auto and use it like it's designed, but that's not really where I'm comfortable.

Just something to think about.