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Old 02-26-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
Ronald
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Default Buying a New Camera

I want to upgrade and get a new camera but don't know much about what's out there. Right now I just use a point-and-shoot digital camera that came packaged with a printer from Best Buy. I've had it at least three years and have been able to get some great photos, but it's abilities are limited.

Right now I'm thinking I'd spend between $300-500 on a new camera for professional photography (alongside my graphic design/illustration work). It would be great to have features like adjustable shutter speed, manual focus, and other qualities like in film cameras, so I'm guessing I need a DSLR or bridge digital camera. I've used a nice film camera just once for school and am not skilled with using said features but am eager to learn. I know the very high-end cameras cost much more than $500, but I'm curious what's available in that range.

Thank you.
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:12 AM   #2
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Hi, Ronald. We have had several threads here about choosing a new digital camera (or about the factors that might influence your decision). Here are some of them:And do ask questions!

   
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Old 02-27-2009, 02:58 PM   #3
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Take a look at this buydig.com page which I think will give you an idea of what's available in DSLRs--I ordered my Canon DSLR from them and was pleased with their service and pricing.

Note that some of the cameras listed as "refurbished" but don't shy away from those as I've done quite well with refurb'd equipment--my first digital camera and a number of different printers.

refurbdepot.com is a good place to look for refurbish equipment--see the "Product Search" drop down on the left side of the page and select "digital cameras" to see a list of what they have available. I have ordered from refurbdepot and again, been pleased with their service and pricing.

The one problem you will find if you go the DSLR route is that you will begin to slide down that slippery path of being seduced by the different lenses available...also, there is the paralysis by analysis problem once you start researching different cameras....'-}}

Steve's Digicams is a good place to experience paralysis by analysis--note that the site is having problems as I couldn't get the pages to load in Firefox2 but they load fine in Firefox3 and Netscape 7.2 and now the reviews page loaded fine in Firefox2...anyway...the site has lots of useful info...

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Old 02-27-2009, 03:48 PM   #4
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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Another excellent source of data on cameras is http://www.dpreview.com/ which is UK based but gives US prices.

One of the features is the ability to set up a matrix of features -- like WA =<28mm and so on -- and then get a list of cameras meeting all the requirements.

Worth searching their Forums on a specific camera to see what comments there may be.

I use a "SuperZoom" Olympus SP560 which gives me 28mm - 560mm zoom which I like. I use the extreme wide angle a lot when on vacation.

Watch for shutter lag especially on non-dSLR cameras since it can be unpleasantly long and make action pictures difficult.

The Olympus I have now does not have a tilt and swivel LCD panel on the back which is something to go for if you possible can since it makes low or high level shots much easier.

   
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Old 03-03-2009, 01:58 PM   #5
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I also like dpreview.com. They have really consistent reviews; i.e., the same tests on every camera. I have the Canon G1 and G6. They have all the manual modes you might want in a small package, along with the tilt/swivel LCD and a viewfinder. Several of the newer Canons have the same LCD design.

The Panasonic Lumix G1 looks to be very interesting, but is a bit more expensive than your spec.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:20 PM   #6
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Thanks, everyone. I hardly know about the different camera features, so it's hard to research the matter and be willing to spend so much money. I'll try to read up and if I come across any questions, I'll be sure to post.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald View Post
Thanks, everyone. I hardly know about the different camera features, so it's hard to research the matter and be willing to spend so much money. I'll try to read up and if I come across any questions, I'll be sure to post.
It might be helpful if you made some lists:
  • What sorts of pictures you think you will want to take — products or other still-life images; people in repose or doing things; natural situations.
    .
  • How you think your pictures may be used — on the web, in print, whether newsprint or glossy.
    .
  • Your realistic budget (even a range).

Then you could ask for recommendations from the camera buffs here.

   
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
It might be helpful if you made some lists:
  • What sorts of pictures you think you will want to take — products or other still-life images; people in repose or doing things; natural situations.
    .
  • How you think your pictures may be used — on the web, in print, whether newsprint or glossy.
    .
  • Your realistic budget (even a range).

Then you could ask for recommendations from the camera buffs here.
Well with my digital camera, I dislike the fact that (as far as I can tell) I can't take a motion photo without using flash. That is, if something/someone is moving about, it often blurs without flash. I usually prefer a natural photo with no flash at all, which often requires shooting people/objects in stillness or being at somewhat of a distance. A fast shutter speed that can freeze an object in motion without needing a blast of light would be great. This is not to say that I would never use flash; some poorly-lit settings may simply require it.

I also would love to focus manually, particularly with macro photography but for other types as well. My camera has often worked well for macro with the subject 1-2 feet away, but for a more extreme close-up, like an insect, it usually falters.

Better portrait photography is also desired. I often admire band photos in CD booklets, particularly the excellent black & white work by Anton Corbijn, and wish I could accomplish that. I'm referring to a more natural "open setting" kind of portrait and headshots.

Lastly, while not as important as the above, I'd like to work with longtime exposure as in nighttime photos.

As for how my photos would be used, I'm thinking quality along the lines of print advertising, magazines, and coffee table books but also akin to National Geographic, which I often read. That may be a bit broad...
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:36 AM   #9
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I am no expert, but from the list of your requirements, you would be best served by a digital SLR (single lens reflex) with large sensors and multiple lenses to adapt to different circumstances. This would be an investment, but if you do a good job of studying and testing the options, one that could pay for a decade or so.

On the other hand, digital cameras are still in a state of rapid change (though it seems that SLRs are more stable at this point than the point-and-shoot, zooming types). So it may be too early to make a big investment in a pro-quality SLR.

So in that case you might want to find a decent high-zoom non-SLR and see how well it satisfies you, at least for now. You can get quite good ones these days for less than $500, even in the $350 range. And you can find optical zoom of up to 20X (digital zoom is irrelevant; pay attention only to optical).

Our older Olympus (10X optical zoom) does allow for manual focus, produces enough pixels for print magazine quality, has a viewfinder (I find it difficult to focus or compose without one; your experience may vary), but is missing some of the newer features such as shake compensation. (A tripod solves that problem, of course.)

David Pogue covers digital cameras for the N.Y. Times, and I find him to be knowledgeable, able to sort out the useful from the not so useful features. His State of the Art column is worth reading. (The link is to this week’s column, which discusses two new point-and-shoot cameras that have sensors that enhance low-light photography (but that also have a lot of flaws). There are links to other of his columns dedicated to cameras.

   
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Old 08-22-2009, 12:32 PM   #10
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Excellent. Thank you for all the information, ktinkel. This helps put me in the right direction. If/when I have anymore questions, I'll be sure to ask.
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