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Good Affordable Digital Camera

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Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby pork50 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:19 am

As I was scrolling through these amazing pictures in the Photography Board, I decided I want to try and move away from the 90$ cameras bought at Costco. I am looking for a good digital camera, that is preferably under 350$. As of now I am barely an amatuer photographer, and would like to become better at it. Thanks for the help...Pork50



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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby oldranger » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:52 am

Last year I killed my panasonic p&s and then purchased a Canon S90 it has been replace by the S95 that has the additional capability of shooting HD movies. Both cameras have a slightly larger sensor than most p&s cameras and have the added benefit of shooting raw format if you want to maximize your ability to control your photo and photo processing. i suspect that it would be a good transition camera if you start getting serious about photography. The automatic/and scene modes work great for us amateurs. The S95 normally sells for $399 but you may be able to find a better price on the internet.

The one problem with the S90/95 is the limited telephoto capabilities. For 99% of my shots that is fine but for wildlife it is frustrating to take a pic of an interesting critter only to have a pic of an almost indistinguishable spot in the photo. I am even considering taking my S90 and my wifes Panasonic on my trips this summer so I can have a camera for wildlife pics, too.

If you are tough on stuff you might consider the several point and shoots that are designed to be somewhat shock/water resistant. I'm sure the pros can give you more detailed and knowledgeable info but this is the perspective of an old duffer that depends more on luck than skill in his photographic endeavors.

Mike
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby fishmonger » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:02 am

point and shoot, or SLR (interchangeable lens)? There is a significant difference just by design - size of the sensor, etc - all that makes a huge difference even if megapixels and other specs sound similar.

Not sure if you can get a point and shoot with a larger sensor within your price range, but a used or refubished DSLR should be within reach. I bought a refurbished Nikon D40 with 18-55mm VR lens for less than that $300. A nice new Olympus micro Four Thirds point and shoot will cost significanlty more (cheapest I can find is $379 at Fry's for an older model http://www.frys.com/product/5975294) and it won't take better images than the DSLR, but may be a lot easier to use and weighs less.

take a look at the sensor diagram in this wiki article
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Thirds_system

size matters in digital cameras - noise, light sensitivity, depth of field, less dynamic range, etc - all those things are affected by the base technology behind the lens.

here's a review for the Olympus E-P1 - probably the point-and-shoot I'd pick in your price range
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympusep1/

For DSLR, I'd dig up a used or refurbished D40 and the 18-55mm VR lens from Nikon. Cheaper, less megapixels, but takes great pictures for the money.
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:55 pm

Hi Pork50

Get a decent point & shoot, check out http://dpreview.com, in the review
section there are some good reviews on cameras, get a camera according to your
personal experience level, and personal needs ( a lot of people buy camera's or functions
they will never use).
That said, learn the basics of photography, because no matter how good your camera
equipment is, you need to understand the how's, and why's behind taking a photograph.
Check out the articles on photography at http://Ronbigelow.com for some basic's.
And when you finally do decide on a camera, learn how to use it, don't use the full auto
function, you need to be in total control of all the decision, and not the camera.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby oldranger » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:57 pm

Maverick wrote:
And when you finally do decide on a camera, learn how to use it, don't use the full auto
function, you need to be in total control of all the decision, and not the camera.


but mav when you do that it is no longer point and shoot!

Mike :-k
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:57 pm

I have an Olympus Stulus Tough 8000. I went with it because of the underwater capability. Also, when landing a fish with one hand, I really don't have the time to set up and take a perfect photo. You still have to practice with your cam beforehand and play with all the settings. There are some aspects on the 8000 in manual mode which are far better than the auto modes, but for underwater (yes, it knows when it's underwater) the auto mode works just fine.
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:50 pm

Advice to any photography novice interested in learning more: Buy a mid priced digital compact and NOT a DSLR or highest end compact digital camera as the depth of their menus can be too cryptic and complicated for a novice. First learn to use the regardless often considerable features of a compact and how that relates to capturing images by not using Auto mode. Just learning how to edit photos on a computer correctly takes time. Often a novice buys too much camera and then never leaves Auto mode leaving 98% of their capability unused.

Just spent a week looking at specs and reviews for current compact digitals with extra zoom then bought another camera for my collection, a Canon SX130 IS. My fifth digital camera since the turn of the century. Doesn't replace my Canon G10 but rather complements it. Note the 14.7mp G10 is much too complicated for a novice, a medium weight much more powerful camera, the best around for close up work. But the G10 only has a 5x zoom and VGA NTSC video while the 12mp SX130 IS is 12x (35mm equiv 28mm>336mm) and has 720p sized HD video capture. The simple function of the SX130 IS is however a good choice for a novice because it has shooting modes a novice can learn from like P (programmed AE), T (shutter speed priority), A (aperture priority), M manual. Can set a number of non Auto parameters including manual focusing. There are other mid range cameras for every brand that have such functions. I bought the SX130 IS at Amazon for a measely $194 and would advise keeping at or below that price range. In a couple years after coming up to speed move up to whatever.
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby Mike M. » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:12 pm

. . . what SSSdave says, but keep in mind one of the Achilles heels of many point and shoot cameras: very limited battery life in terms of shots per charge. Every major manufacturer has a few solid offerings in the mid to upper end of the P&S category; most, though, rely on proprietary batteries that won't get you beyond 300 - 400 shots.

Here's a taste, from a recent review of Olympus' new prosumer P&S model:

Canon PowerShot S95 -- 200 shots
Nikon Coolpix P300 -- 240 shots
Olympus XZ-1 -- 320 shots
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 -- 400 shots
Samsung TL500 -- 240 shots

That's pretty crappy performance, so be aware of the limitation. A few years back the market was full of good P&S cameras that used AA batteries, with much better battery life. No longer. There are a few AA driven cameras still out there, but not many -- you have to look pretty hard to find them.

Mike
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby fishmonger » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:01 pm

Mike M. wrote:. There are a few AA driven cameras still out there, but not many -- you have to look pretty hard to find them.


good point. I have a slightly nicer version of this one for light pack trips
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona570is/

the 590is what I used for almost all the photos on this trip - ran for 1000 frames+ on two AA lithiums. Can find it for $50 on ebay

http://didnt.doit.wisc.edu/outdoor/gallery/JMT2009/
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby SSSdave » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:16 pm

What Mike says is true about digital camera batteries especially compacts. The solution is rather simple though raises cost and carrying weight on the trail:

Buy a few spare batteries and remember to religiously charge them right before any backpack.

Also have a 12v DC to AC converter for a vehicle cigaret lighter socket, that one can plug their battery charger into and thus charge batteries actively during road trips. Two years ago I met an in anguish botanist gal visiting Carrizo Plain National Monument at the peak of an outrageous spring wildflower bloom. She had a G10 camera like mine but her one battery charge had long gone. I told her about my converter and charger but could not wait around to help her out as it was late Sunday afternoon and I had a long drive back home with work the next morning.

I've always had at least 3 or 4 spares even for my G10 which has a hefty 1500 ma-hr battery. For we are backpackers that go places where one cannot charge batteries so having extra batteries is especially important. Almost every person I've backpacked with on week long trips the last decade even though carrying one or two spares has run low on battery capacity and had to limit picture taking. For those of us that take our battery operated toys into the wilderness, the better system is one which uses as few different types of batteries as possible so one can move them around. My external flash, light meter, pocket one-cell flashlight, headlamp, and the new SX130IS all take AA batteries and are all high end NIMH. Thus buying a camera that uses AA's has real value for a backpacker.
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby rlown » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:31 pm

I have 5 bats for my olympus. all numbered. all charged before a trip. i use them as a cycle when they finally die. These batteries weigh .75 oz so, i'm not seeing the problem with carrying lots, esp when it's cold. my AA and AAA are heavier for the other stuff.
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Re: Good Affordable Digital Camera

Postby Mike M. » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:05 pm

The thing is, if you can find an AA powered camera (Canon used to make some good ones), you don't have to fool with multiple sets or with a solar charger. One set of four "Energizer Ultimate Lithium" batteries will last you over 2,000 shots and they do not degrade in cold weather. They are also very light in weight. I take along a spare set, but have never had to use it, except last year when my bro hijacked my camera when his DSLR broke -- he and I then proceeded to take almost 5,000 shots on two sets of batteries. That second set is still in the camera (a Canon A620), still going strong. I used it last night at my son's high school graduation. These batteries may not be the most eco-friendly (they are disposable, not rechargeable), but they are the cats meow if you are a long distance hiker. (Don't buy the "Energizer Advanced Lithium" batteries -- they cost less but provide half the energy.)

Mike
Last edited by Mike M. on Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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