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What camera?

Discussion in 'Electronic Devices' started by johnyb3000, May 11, 2011.

  1. johnyb3000

    johnyb3000 Loaded Pockets

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    Maybe not exactly an EDC question but I am looking for opinions. My wife and I are not happy with our photographic equipments sharpness so I have returned the canon sx130is and am looking for a new camera. The camera is to be used to document the growth of our new born so it is important. I am leaning towards an entry level dslr but that would take some convincing for my wife. My question is are the entry level dslrs, such as Nikon 3100, Canon EOS Rebel T3, Pentax K-R and the like, worth the extra heft and price tag or do you know of a point and shoot that would come close to the dslrs and give crisp pictures? My fear is we already tried the $200 price range and were not happy. This usually means more money (unless there are hidden gems of technology out there that you can point us to) to get better equipment. Now we are talking about $300 or more on a point and shoot and to my way of thinking is might as well spend the extra money and get some good gear with, when set on auto, will be just as easy for her to use. Modern dslr cameras will fit quite easily into a diaper bag and with a 55mm lens won’t weigh it down all that much. Am I off base here and should go with a different point and shoot or am I thinking clear and on track to photographic and marital bliss?
     
  2. ParTimeBourne

    ParTimeBourne Loaded Pockets

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    I'm in the same position as you and wanting to document the growth of a newborn. I decided against a DSLR as I'm not sure I'd do it justice. I did want a camera though with some manual controls and the possibility that it may ignight my interest enough to serve as a good point and shoot if I went the DSLR route. I've just had too many experiences of paying top dollar for a piece of equipment I don't end up doing justice.

    I did a lot of research with my very very limited knowledge of photography and decided on the Canon S95. Might be worth a look at. It has a reputation, deserved or not, as one of the best point and shoots on the marker and it seems a popular choice for people with DSLRs to use as a lightweight alternative when not wanting to carry a bigger camera.
     
  3. Kjott21

    Kjott21 Loaded Pockets

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  4. mr.hauser

    mr.hauser Loaded Pockets

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    Canon S95 (most compact), Olympuz ZX-1 (better lens), or Panasonic LX-5 (better video) are all great choices for the compact point and shoot with excellent photo quality.

    I'm going to suggest going the route of the high end point and shoots listed above vs. the DSLR because with the point and shoot, you will be more inclined to have it on you at all times, meaning more pictures. You don't want to have to carry a baby, a diaper bag, and an big SLR everywhere do you?

    Your issue before was probably due to low light situations and lack of flash, so the camera is bumping ISO to a high level inducing noise, as well as a slow shutter speed, creating blur. The compacts listed above have fast lenses that will remedy this situation as much as can be expected from a point and shoot.
     
  5. malamalama

    malamalama Loaded Pockets

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    When my kids were born, I went with the point-and-shoot. The pictures were okay and I had no complaints. What happens for me is that after a few years, the focusing on the camera wouldn't be as sharp, so I would go out and get a new one. This was with both Sony and Canon cameras.

    It would be helpful to find out why you weren't happy with your pictures. As mentioned above, lighting plays a big part in the point and shoots. Nowadays, however, I've gone back to a Canon Rebel and am enjoying carrying around a dslr to big events, but bring a point and shoot to other stuff.

    Something else to think about. Although I consider myself a better photographer than videographer, I find myself taking more video than photos. The reason is that it's more fun to give the grandparents a DVD with videos of the kids vs. 4x6" photos. I've recently also learned how to make and export short movie clips, so I've added a bunch of them onto my son's ipod touch. I can also email the short clips, so my father-in-law has a bunch on his ipod as well. Stuff like soccer goals, school performances, etc. You may want to consider video capabilities when purchasing a new camera.
     
  6. johnyb3000

    johnyb3000 Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for the answers. We are going with the point and shoot. Couldnt quite talk her into the top of the line but instead we are going with the nikon cool pix s8100. Good price range and a friend has one and comparing pictures side by side taken on the same day in the same place the wife was happy. I am quickly learning that while I want to go whole hog and get some great stuff what matters more is that mommy is happy. Thanks for talking me out of pushing the dslr. I still have a couple of Pentax k1000 35mm film cameras to make me feel artistic and retro sheik.
     
  7. malamalama

    malamalama Loaded Pockets

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    Good call.
     
  8. UnivTex34

    UnivTex34 Loaded Pockets

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    If you dont know about Micro Four Thirds cameras, I would look into them....

    Near point and shoot body size, DSLR sensor, and interchangeable lenses....

    All for a very Good price....

    Matter of Fact, you can get the same kit I have, the Olympus E-PL1 on amazon for $399 with the standard 14-42 mm kit lens....
     
  9. caemgen

    caemgen Loaded Pockets

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    my $0.02...

    in my experience a good dslr w/ a decent write/buffer (ex. nikon d200) & a fast lens (ex. nikkor 1.4 50mm) is the way to go for fast moving (kids are wicked fast) / sensitive subjects. with a fast enough lens you will be able to capture the "planned" & "unexpected" shots without having to use a flash. and in most cases, unless you have the proper setup or you are trying to compensate for a strong back-light, i'd go sans flash, that way there is less chance of a "blown-out" "deer-in-the-headlight" look or waking/freaking out a sleeping subject. keep in mind though, dslr-wise, there is a size & weight issue, as well as, a bit of a learning curve.

    ...as for "point & shoots" - in my experience i only use them on static subjects under decent lighting conditions or when weight/space is a premium.
     
  10. Evilbunny

    Evilbunny Loaded Pockets

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    try the canon g4 .
     
  11. Otown

    Otown Loaded Pockets

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    I use a nikon D90 w/ 50mm 1.4 lens (upgraded from a d40)90% of the time. It was a little strange to get used to carrying at first but man am I glad I did. Not only did I love photographing my newborn son with it, but gained a new interest in photography as a whole. The wifey carries a canon S95 which is a stellar little point and shoot.
     
  12. johnyb3000

    johnyb3000 Loaded Pockets

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    The nikon coolpix s8100 came in today and I played around wit it a bit and think I can live with it. A bit smaller than the canon sx130is and the menus seem more intuitive. Snaped some pictures off my deck and while I think I can do better once I learn the controls I am happy with the results.

    Peak One ( I know it is nota very original name, they are numbered to peak 9 down by breckenridge)
    [​IMG]

    Buffalo Mountain, my favorite climb in the area.

    [​IMG]

    Using the optical zoom closing in on the left edge of the cirque on buffalo
    [​IMG]
     
  13. coyote

    coyote Loaded Pockets

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    i've been a photo pro for 45 years. i've used all brands but mostly stick to nikon DSLRs these days.

    like your wife, mine is always trying to find a small camera that takes great images.

    she loves using budget DSLRs and over the years has owned a Nikon D40, D40x and D60. they all take great photos.

    she carries them for a while and decided its too big/bulky to lug around. i then sell it and we try all kinds of minis. any brand, from $100 cheapies to $800 pro-back-ups. a rough estimate is we've tried three to four dozen different cameras in recent years.

    she dislikes having to compose at arms length using a rear LCD and finds the lack of stability shooting that way leads to images that are less sharp.

    so she demands a viewfinder.

    the few P&S models with optical viewfinder have pretty crappy finders, and even if they have one they're are almost getting as big as a DSLR (like the canon G12 or nikon P7000) (the fiji X100 might be ok, but she won't carry a "too valuable" $1200 camera all the time)

    so we tried electronic viewfinder (EVF) models. most recently it was what you had, the canon SX30 IS.

    "love the zoom, hate the handling and hate the blurry electronic viewfinder. its got awful shutter lag, too many menu levels, buttons i'm always hitting by accident, slow to start, and except for being able to really zoom in and show things, the detail/quality is just so-so"

    so once again she wanted to go back to a "real" camera, a DSLR. got her a D3100. best budget camera she has tried to date. and with either the kit zoom (18-55), or even better, a fixed 35 1.8G prime lens, she's again taking great photos. and by carrying it with either of those lenses, the kit isn't much bigger than the SX30 IS.

    yet it doesn't have a wide-range powerful zoom like smaller sensor cameras have. no big deal! image quality is so good that, even in very low light at high ISO, extreme cropping isn't a problem, except for big enlargements. besides, how often does the average shooter really need a 840mm (35mm equivalent) lens?

    thus, there is no single answer, but none of the smaller sensor cameras have given her (or me) the clarity, sharpness, latitude of the DX sensor. not to mention handling and composing ability.

    as much as we'd both love to lighten the load and carry a little camera, we've found nothing that compares to a DSLR.

    best of luck!

    -coyote

    .
     
  14. gundam83

    gundam83 Loaded Pockets

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    Canon S95 is the current top dog in point and shoot. If you can swing the extra size and price look into a micro four thirds camera. The Panasonic GF1 is on sale right now for $500 at adorama and comes with a 14-42mm kit lens (although that kinda negates the compactness). You can always get a 14mm or 20mm prime lens but it'll set you back an additional $3-400. If bulk and size is less of a concern look at a budget dslr like the rebel xs which can be found under $400. Also, with kids, it's better to have a camera with faster continuous shooting because your kid's not going to sit there and pose for you as you try to get the perfect shot.
     
  15. Red Horn

    Red Horn Loaded Pockets

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    What did you not like about your Canon?

    I had their first SD carded camera, Think was SD 200 and got solid use out of it for about five years. As a replacement the SD 1300i was under the tree in December. As a versatile always have with me camera it is great and exceeded the 200's performance easily. The SLR's will always out perform a pocket camera. IMHO they also have a much steeper learning curve. Add to that the slippery slope money wise once you start adding lenses and for capturing all the newborn moments the compacts make sense.
     
  16. coyote

    coyote Loaded Pockets

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    i think canon P&S models are the best of the breed (and the ones you named are stellar), but any mini P&S can't compare in handling because of their tiny buttons, menu-driven controls and arm's-length framing.

    and i humbly disagree that a modern DSLR is harder to use for non-photo buffs, photographing family, who just sets things on AUTO. just point it and shoot.

    and because the DSLR is so much faster, it allows us to capture the decisive moment as we see it happen, verses missing action shots when using P&S cameras that require a lag time between hitting the shutter and when it goes off.

    later, should they wish to understand all the other functions, adjusting the controls of the DSLR is usually easier to understand and locate.

    i also think most folks can get by just fine with a single basic "kit" zoom lens, unless they find they "need" something additional. even as a pro, i do all my shoots using just two lens. and it would be only one if i didn't have to have a super-wide for interior enviromental images.

    ken rockwell (well-known on-line photo-guru) spends everyday shooting his kids and says he is happy with nothing more than a basic budget DSLR body and a fast 35 prime lens. i couldn't agree more.

    and another good reason for the faster DSLR is as gundam83 pointed out: "...with kids, it's better to have a camera with faster continuous shooting because your kid's not going to sit there and pose"
     
  17. maded

    maded Loaded Pockets

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    Just to get off the beaten path here, have you considered a video camera? My wife and I are also expecting our 1st-born and while we already have a Canon EOS500D (Rebel T1i to you), I am also thinking about getting a little personal camcorder with built in solid state memory. This way we can capture the giggles and chuckles of interaction (and moving forward the running about and screaming!).

    I know we can already do all this with the DSLR, but pointing a 1kg DSLR may not be optimal.

    Just some thoughts!
     
  18. gisborne

    gisborne Empty Pockets

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    Sony DSC-TX

    This to me is the best real "everyday carry" camera around.

    It's a super-compact folding-lens camera. But it has:

    - 4X zoom
    - drop resistance
    - waterproof to 10'
    - HD video
    - idiot-proof panorama, which is quite a lot like having a 10mm lens
     
  19. Lateck

    Lateck Loaded Pockets

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    Something I have not seen addressed. Power supply! For a EDC camera or device I would look at what is the battery?
    I have made sure that my cameras use "AA" batteries... I can get rechargeables or I can just stop at almost ANY store around the globe and get "AA" cells....
    Where factory batteries you are stuck to re-charging them and that could take an hour or if your out in the wilderness longer ;-)
    Olympus and Fujifilm make great "Bridge" DSLR like cameras and even Super-Zooms that use AA's and I think Pentax makes a full DSLR that uses them too.

    Good Luck,

    Lateck,
     
  20. captainamerica

    captainamerica Loaded Pockets

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    I only use Powerex AA batteries in our Canon SX110 and they are truly the longest latest we've tried.