This is going to be my 1st camera so I'm looking for something for less than $600(VR lens will be nice )
I feel I just wasted $275 2 months ago on a new Canon power shot ELPH 500HS. quality of the pix aren't better than my old Canon SD1100 IS(even under auto setting the 1100 takes better pix)
I like to hear from forum members .not a big fan of "paid reviews" sites
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First thing you should know with digital the camera is the media you have to get a new camera to improve the picture quality of your images. That can get pricey and leave you wanting, unlike film. So you better know ahead of time what you will be doing with it and choose a model that will suit your needs. Even as a beginner you have an idea whether you have an interest in nature photography and will be trekking to take the shots or you have children sports events to immortalize...
Much of the money in DSLRs is in the lens, once you've put together a lens system you'll want to stick with the same brand camera for your next camera. In the past some manufacturers have shown they were willing to abandon their loyal customers by making their new cameras incompatible with their old lens and flashes. This is where a standardized lens system like the micro four thirds is nice. Then there's the people that go to BestBuy and get a DSLR and an 18-200 (10x) zoom lens they stick on the camera and never remove. Or, the kits that include two lens to covers that range. Using crappy lens on a DSLR is no better than buying a high end compact like a Canon G12.
Just my 2 cents, here's an actually useful guide on buying a DSLR. And check out their review page, the complete reviews include comparisons between different camera models.
Last edited by nic2k4; 19th Jul 2011 at 11:53.
sorry I forgot to mention the Camera is going to be used mainly for kids,indoors,weddings(not many),and later for kids sport events
I wouldn't give brand recommendations, all cameras have their highs and their lows, you have to balance them for your needs and budget. That's why you should check out the reviews at DPreview. I can tell you that Canon has the lion share of the market, just look at what camera people around you are carrying. Sony and Pentax DSLRs have VR built into the camera body so you get VR for all your lens. A couple things to watch for, the cost of batteries and get something that uses SD memory cards.
At +-$600 your choices boil down to the Nikon D3100, the Canon T1i, the Sony A390L or the Pentax Kr. Each is a compromise in one way or another, to get a really balanced mix of features and performance you'd have to spend upwards of $800.
The Nikon D3100 is an easy recommendation because its sold everywhere and often put on special sale. It is a comfortable camera to hold, carry and use: much better "hand feel" than other cameras in this price range. Image quality is excellent for stills. The included 18-55mm Vibration-Reduction kit lens is considered the best available of these four cameras, later on you could opt for the phenomenal $219 Nikkor AF-S 35mm f1.8, a very fast "normal" lens which is great for low-light action, kids, and many wedding setups. A notable drawback of the D3100 is a rather stupid design decision by Nikon that forces some not-brilliant settings when the camera is used in full-on "AUTO-everything" mode, chiefly involving ISO, flash and AF. These problems disappear if you run the camera under Program, Aperture-Preferred, Shutter-Preferred or Manual. If you don't mind shopping for a used camera, you can get a great bargain on the earlier D40. Its an astoundingly good entry-level DSLR that came with an even better non-VR 18-55mm kit lens, which blows the doors off any other kit lens and many very expensive "pro" lenses. I find myself grabbing the D40 more than any of my other cameras, even when I want to use old manual lenses from the film days. There were two version of the D40: original 6mp D40 and later 10mp D40x. The 6mp D40 is widely considered the better choice. A mint D40 with 18-55mm AF-S lens can often be had for $350, check camera dealers, eBay and Craigs List.
The Canon T1i is comparable to the Nikon D3100 in nearly every aspect except the kit lens, the Canon 18-55 is notoriously crummy. Whether you would notice depends on how skilled you are as a photographer: careful operation of the camera can get decent results, casual or sloppy use may give you soft images. The Canon bodies don't get interesting until the more expensive T2i, the T1i is cheap and thats about the best you can say for it. If you like Canon system, save a bit more until you can afford the T2i. The 50mm f/1.8 lens at $100 is a nice upgrade over the iffy kit zoom and would make a good portrait/wedding/sports lens.
The Pentax Kr is an excellent choice if you're not the kind of person to get caught up in the Nikon-Canon hysteria: Nikon and Canon are the "pro" systems so they get all the attention, but if you don't expect to later move up to a $3000 pro body they have no advantage over Pentax, and Pentax has some nice aces up its sleeve like built-in VR for all lenses, a somewhat better-quality range of inexpensive lenses, and ability to use standard AA batteries as well as the usual proprietary rechargeable battery pack. Pentax has been quietly improving its budget DSLRs year after year but gets very little press anymore outside of Asia, where it remains a very popular and respected brand. The only issue with a Pentax in North America is the camera and lenses will have very low resale value if you suddenly decide you need to trade for Canon/Nikon later. Pentax does make some very advanced higher-end bodies, so you could easily stay within the Pentax system as you move up.
The Sony A390 body has built-in VR for all lenses, like the Pentax, plus a very nice fold-out LCD screen which can come in handy for sports and action shots. The kit lens is about average, not as bad as Canon but perhaps not quite as good as the Nikon or Pentax. The Sony is reputed to be a good camera for capturing children, due to the way its AF is programmed, but AF performance also depends on the user so YMMV. Personally I find the Sonys a pain to handle with twitchy controls, so-so grip and terrible tiny viewfinder size. They are often put on sale at chain stores like Best Buy, in tandem with the Nikons and Canons: go play with all the demo cameras to get an idea of their handling differences.
The Achilles Heel with all these DSLRs is going to be the AF speed when tracking fast-moving children: if you think getting a DSLR will magically make your kid pics much sharper and clearer, think again. Kids are a bigger PITA to photograph than NFL sports: if you rely exclusively on the camera to nail focus on your kids you're bound to be disappointed. With some practice, and changing camera settings so that AF is limited to using the center focus spot in the viewfinder, you can learn to "team" with the camera to nail focus consistently, based partly on your own smarts and partly on the AF. For better or more natural low-light shots without flash, upgrade to a fast 35mm or 50mm non-zoom lens later on. Forget about video features with any of these cameras, its usable but not outstanding. Great video capability runs over $1000.
One last thought: if you can possibly stretch your budget to $850-900, consider looking at the Nikon D90. This was one of the hottest cameras of the last few years, with very fast AF, nice large clear viewfinder and semi-pro construction. It sold last year for $1500 but is now being slowly phased out at a price of $709-850 for the body only. If you pair a new D90 body with a cheap second-hand non-VR Nikkor 18-55mm lens from eBay you would have a killer combo (people often sell mint-condition 18-55 to finance a wider-range zoom).
Last edited by orsetto; 19th Jul 2011 at 14:09.
Your advise is very good. I just wanted to add a few things. If the OP wants to shoot video, some of the cameras you mention won't work. I don't think the Nikon D40 does video. I'm in the Nikon camp because, like you said, my lens collection is Nikon. I would say without reservation, Canon does better in the video arena.
In the mid-range cameras I would not get a Nikon d90 when for a few hundred more you can get a d7000. The d7000 out performs the d90 by a good margin. Having said that, if video is the focus, in the same price range, I would get a Canon 7D. The Canon 7D and Nikon D7000 are extremely close in quality. I'm not a fanboy of any brand, I just stick with Nikon because of my lenses.
NOW, having said all of that. For a beginner, I would definately get the Nikon d3100 because it's feature packed for the price, does video, and offers a big selection of lenses.
I'm not just making recomendations from specs I read. I have used a d3100, d7000, and a 7D with some real hands on shooting. They are all nice cameras. The d3100 lacks many features to bring it to its price range, but it's still an excellend shooter.
I own 2 video cameras.Canon HV-20 and Panasonic HDC-TM55K.it's a nice feature to have,but no a deal breaker
update the list lol
I saw the D5000 for less than $600 at bestbuy.no VR on the lens though
Last edited by MJA; 19th Jul 2011 at 16:08.
I'll recommend a leftover or slightly used Fuji S100fs. The newer HS10/HS20 models add nothing useful to the mix (I'm talking real world, not spec sheets). I own an S100fs and also the previous model (s9100/s9600). Both are the best cameras I've ever owned (and I also have a DSLR Pentax which I'm looking to sell). Having gone down the road of SLR (40 years ago or more) and DSLR (the Pentax), I realize now it's a scam to get you to buy lots of lenses. Both Fujis have long lenses built-in (28-300 on the S9100, 24-400 on the s100fs) and you never have to worry about dust finding its way into the camera body when you change lenses (because you don't change lenses!). I get great performance from both cameras, can shoot either RAW or JPEG, can use external flash if I wish, and they're both very well built and reliable. I'd buy them again. When I had the opportunity to jettison my 35mm equipment, I did so in a heartbeat. (I also don't miss my old C330 Mamiya and 4x5 Calumet.)
edit: Yes, I know top-notch Nikons will take better pictures but "kids, indoors, weddings" is what MJA is shooting. You just need a really powerful flash for the weddings (and reflector).
The Fuji looks like a nice Cam,but Fujifilm Finepix S200EXR cheaper than a used S100FS(one guys is asking for $1000 on amazon lol)
what I don't understand is with the old cameras I owned I never had an issue with auto P&S. from my first digital camera a Kodak DC3200 1MP to Canon power shot A60(I wish I can fix it), Power shot 1100IS.
feels like the more MP they squeeze inside the new cameras the worst the pix gets
Last edited by MJA; 19th Jul 2011 at 17:33.
The Fuji looks like a nice Cam,but Fujifilm Finepix S200EXR cheaper than a used S100FS(one guys is asking for $1000 on amazon lol)
Its really hard to choose a camera without playing with it first, and most stores have awful return/refund policies if you end up hating it after purchase. Best Buy and Wal*Mart are probably the easiest about returns/exchanges, you may want to shop there to be safe. Recommendations are difficult: you might be better off with a non-DSLR P&S, but the good ones today cost as much as a DSLR and the bad ones are terrible.The Panasonic G and GH line is an excellent compromise between P&S and DSLR, with great video and AF, but again pricey for what you get and not everyone loves them. Based on cameras I've used myself, and feedback I've gotten from a couple photojournalist friends, I'd have to suggest auditioning the Nikon D3100 first and then explore other brands if you hate the Nikon. The D3100 is the most foolproof choice at this price level and the kit lenses are better than average.
The worst thing you can say about the lower-end Nikons is they're "boring and don't have great video". Canon tends to more "love it or hate it" reactions: my friends who worship Canon and would not be caught dead with any other DSLR invariably own the much more expensive mid to high end models costing $1000+, they also use the much more expensive pro-caliber lens line. Canon's cheaper DSLRs are an acquired taste and the cheaper Canon lenses vary between "adequate" and "deplorable". Most photographers wish Sony would just go away and Pentax is many years from its heyday. The D5000 you found on sale at Best Buy is a good deal, the non-VR lens is actually a bit better than the VR and VR isn't all that helpful in 18-55 anyway (I get usable handheld shots down to 1/4 second with a D40 and 1/8 on a D7000 using non-VR 18-55). The D5000 is a bit more advanced and a little more rugged than the D3100, it also has a great fold-out tilt-swivel LCD.
Last edited by orsetto; 19th Jul 2011 at 20:20.
Regarding Fuji: As far as prosumer cameras are concerned, they are clueless. They don't ask anyone what they want nor need; instead, they do incredibly stupid things like move from a 24mm wide angle to a 30mm in order to move the telephoto to 720mm from 400mm. I ask you: Who would ever buy a 30mm lens? Who could even shoot with a 720mm lens without a 40 pound tripod on a windless day? Then they add more pixels (which, yes, degrades the image and adds more time to write the RAW file to the card) and increase the time it takes to lock in the auto-focus. Technology for technology's sake. This is a company is desperate need of Steve Jobs. Heads need to roll at Fuji (assuming they can be extracted from their behinds).
All the above being said: The S9100 and S100fs are the best of the bridge cameras; IMHO, better than anything else currently available and, for my needs (non-pro), better than a DSLR because I'm never caught without the "right" lens on my camera.
Thank you guys for help.
lets say the DSLR camera recommendation is taking care of .I still need a P&S handy for fast shooting anything for less than $200?
sample shot from my Canon ELPH 500 HS (took the pix when I picked my daughter up from daycare)
Your Canon ELPH 500 HS is a $200 camera. If you want to upgrade you'll have to spend more. $400 will get you a Canon s95, which is what I wish I had.
Wow, that ELPH sample really doesn't look so good: I see why you're disappointed in it. Seems overexposed and soft, hard to tell if its a setting you could change. There are so many P&S cameras I wouldn't know where to begin suggesting one, everyone I know uses a different brand/model and they all have issues: none are ideal. I'm still using an "ancient" 3.2mp Nikon CoolPix 3500 as my pocket camera. Its slow as death to start up and autofocus, with a good 10 second delay before you can snap a picture, but the results are still better than anything I've seen with a newer pocket camera.
The most popular P&S among my friends/family are the Canon S90 and similar-looking Panasonic models: they like the big LCD, slim pocketability and the lenses (esp the fast lens on the Canon). OTOH they bitch constantly about distortion and missed focus, as well as poor low-light performance. Just like the DSLRs, go to Best Buys enormous demo table and play with a few to check handling, then buy one with a return/exchange guarantee if you don't like the pix. In the $200 price range, the recent Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8 seems like a good bet at the moment, its reputed to be very quick in operation and AF ("good with kids"). Its not as small as an S90 or an ELPH but is supposedly more reliable and usable. I'm considering replacing my dying old Nikon CoolPix with this Panasonic DMC-Z58 once I test it and see if the speed and PQ claims are true. Perhaps you should try one before looking into DSLRs?
Last edited by orsetto; 20th Jul 2011 at 11:57.
I feel like I flushed $275 down the toilet.
too under Auto setting
BTW.my local Walmart and worst buy don't carry Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS8.
Check out dpreview.com to compare models. I'm highly impressed with the image quality of the s95 and its performance in low light (from samples on dpreview).
The image above has a lot of barrel distortion too. Cute kid by the way.
My kids are fast little critters. I definately need a quick startup and quick AF to capture that action. None of my pocket cams do well in this area. Usually for fast moving dogs and kids I try to use my DSLR. I usually end up running video with my P&S when things are moving fast because the AF and exposure speeds are not up to the task for still shots. It's REALLY nice to have HD video on my DSLR.
The Canon s95 P&S has some advanced featues which give you DSLR-esque control, RAW stills, and HD video. It's like the swiss army knife of compact cameras.
I'd rather shoot video with my cheap Canon or Sony point-and-shoot sometimes, which lacks rolling shutter problems.
Or get out one of my actual video cameras.
Still cameras were, and still are, made for shooting still images.
Canon built-in flashes are notorious for being too bright. That's why I don't have an Elph for my pocket cam. It does shoot really nice video, which is why I bought one for my mom.
A good used SLR would be my suggestion. A Nikon D200, for example, is an excellent shooting camera.
This is what I shoot with currently: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SQKVD0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thdifa-20&link...SIN=B002SQKVD0
Batteries alone are $110 each.
2 moths mortgage payment lol
what do u use for a pocket Cam LS ?
"Yeah, but SLR video shooting is like comparing dog poo to cat poo. It's still poo."
You have a flare for drama. It's not that bad. Though I tend to agree that a good P&S eliminates several video problems which plague DSLR. I have a very old 7mp canon elph which shoots fantastic SD video. No autofocus or rolling shutter flicker with P&S shooters. But the image quality of video from my DSLR tugs my heart strings. I'm waiting for a mirrorless micro 4/3 that does 1080 60p from Nikon, then I'll have my cake and eat it too.
Also the Canon s95 allows for flash power adjustments.
Works nicely. Nice ISO 3200, similar to D300. I went for metallic black -- not blue, and certainly not pink! It has several bad reviews on Amazon, but many of them are from from idiots. (Abusing the camera, mostly. Cameras don't belong in sand, purses, etc.)
mirrorless micro 4/3
2 pix under "kids and pets" auto flash
does it take good indoor pictures of kids ? if you have any .lol
funny thing I bought my sister Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W330 5 months ago.lol
the w290 doesn't support SD card right?
kids & pets and portrait both auto flash
I strongly suggest you take a look at dpreview.com (I have no affiliation). They put most decent cameras through their paces and show example shots.
Thanks for the rolling shutter tip.
Also, I agree, for an inexpensive P&S the Sony DSC-W*** series have great specs. I never went Sony because of the propritary memory issue. The newer DSC-WX10 and WX9 support SD cards though and aren't too much more $
Then there is the Cybershot DSC-HX9V, which looks to rival the Canon s95, but it's out of your target price.
The Canon S90 and its newer replacement the S95 are among the more interesting compacts to come out in awhile, but at $379 (discounted!) they can't be recommended to the casual shooter on a tight budget. They have nice features like a programmable control ring and very fast wide angle lens, and they've recently been the pocket camera of choice for owners of Canon DSLRs and the affluent with $400 burning a hole in their wallet. But along with inflated price they have other drawbacks. Canon has a poor track record of the collapsible lenses on its compacts getting unrepairably stuck after a year or so: tolerable on a $99 or $159 camera but not at $379, don't know if I'd risk it. The two owners I know of with S90s complain of other issues: the PJ says the low light ability of the fast lens is not as good as you'd expect combined with the sensor, and distortion at the wider faster end is pretty strong (the amateur says the pictures she gets are no better than other cheaper cameras she's owned).
I've been debating the pros and cons of the S90/95 since it came out and still can't make up my mind: its appeal lies in the controls and lens speed being similar to traditional cams, but it doesn't quite deliver what it promises. For $279 I might have grabbed it without a second thought, but $379 is a bit much. The more advanced models with "fast" lenses perversely seem to have the most problems, even the expensive ones. I came thisclose to putting a deposit on the wildly overpriced Fuji x100, because in theory it would be able to replace my DSLR for walkaround and most travel use. Unfortunately it turned out to be a real lemon and Fuji is being none too swift about sorting the problems, so I'm glad I didn't bother.
If you're willing to deal with online vendors, B&H, J&R, Staples and Amazon all carry the Panasonic DMC-ZS8 (Amazon is cheapest and has easiest return policy). As LordSmurf mentioned, buying a DSLR used is also an option- several Amazon vendors offer the Nikon D40 with 18-55 lens "like new in box" for well under $400. I cannot recommend the D40 highly enough- I love mine. I originally got it as a stopgap until I could afford a "pro" Nikon that meter-coupled with my old lenses, but by the time I bought the "pro" body I'd already long since learned how to use old lenses on the D40 manually (and of course it works great with its auto AF-S lenses). Great little DSLR: handles like a dream, weighs nothing, and not so expensive you're afraid to take it out of the house. Its really spoiled me for any other "affordable" camera. D3100 is similar but newer and more MP, D5000/5100 is bigger with fancier processor and LCD.
Last edited by orsetto; 20th Jul 2011 at 16:50.
Thank you guys for the help.
I will check dpreview.com on the weekend(kids don't let me do anything during the day ) I tell you the truth I still feel little bit lost lol .I really need a camera that can take nice Pix indoors,kids .I don't want them to curse when they grow up
orsetto I never bought a camera from a B&M store.Amazon,onecall,J&R,Crutchfield,buydig,,
Last edited by MJA; 20th Jul 2011 at 16:52.
"Then there is the Cybershot DSC-HX9V, which looks to rival the Canon s95, but it's out of your target price."
Yup, I have the Cybershot DSC-HX7V. A little cheaper than the 9V. I bought it for the great burst mode as I take photos of horses moving and it does a super job of recording 10 photos very quickly so that I can pick the best one. Also has a superior panorama mode. Does 3D also.
I went to Walmart after work this morning.They carry few Sony P&S budget cams like DSC-H70 and other lower end models. They feel like cheap light plastic and made in China(500HS feels like a tank and made in Japan lol).I took few shots inside the store but I couldn't if the pix are good or not since there is no PC,TV to watch/download to. I will go back on the weekend to check again
by the way.amazon is selling the H70 for $192(black) free shipping no Tax and Walmart $229 plus Tax
The damn budget gets you every time!
I own the Nikon DX40 DSLR and absolutely love it. I take with me on bike rides to the forest preserve, on the boat while the family wakeboards and tubes, parties, etc. You cannot beat the speed of capturing the moment on a dslr the same as a point and shoot. People are intimidated by lenses and settings, but honestly a few tutorials online for most situations will give you the info to get started. I have had this camera for almost six years--started by taking my son's soccer pics during high school. Best money I ever spent--if I divide my investment cost into six years it isn't that bad. I have a 18-135mm lens, 55-200 lense and a 70 to 300 lens (don't use this much). Most of my pics are action--my 3 dogs, my kids and their friends on the boat, some nature stuff.
I did just buy the NikonD5100--figured good anniversary present--here honey look what you got me...after 21 years this still works. Very impressed with it--good weight like the Nikon DX40. Easy to use. Came with 18-55 lens. I will still not part with my Nikon DX40--it's my backup and well I love that camera.
I did buy a point and shoot for hubby for fishing on his boat. Went with the Panasonic Lumix waterproof one--ok we hardly use this camera. Few times I did-well just disappointing. Hard to go from DSLR to Point and Shoot--seems slow--I like a viewfinder eyepiece not looking at a live view--especially cause I am over 40 and prob should always be wearing my glasses if I want to see.
I would definitely recommend a "kit" that has a lens or two--splurge. I just got mine with 18 months free financing at best buy. I do have the money, but why not use theirs? I also checked the internet price for Best buy and it was different than what store price card said--they matched what I found. Walmart did have the best price--but then Best Buy went down to same price. Honestly don't be intimidated by DSLRs. They are simple to use--plenty of resources online to teach you--video on youtube, etc.
Good luck and Hope this helped.