Beginner looking for camera recommendation

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Instamatic, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Instamatic

    Instamatic TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I am looking for a point and shoot camera that I can take fishing and hunting with me. I started carrying one five years ago and now my camera is as much a part of my equipment as anything else I carry. I post my photos on forums and I use them on a website that I have. I would like to be able to better capture the flavor the my days in the field.

    My current and digital camera is a Canon PowerShot A75. It is several years old and the counter has rolled over several times so it has served me well and without failing over the last handful of years. I got it for no other reason than my last two film cameras were Canons. I am admittedly a newbie with no knowledge at all on adjustment so the majority of my pictures are taken with the camera set on "Auto". Sometimes when I am outside I might move the setting to "Landscape" but I don't know that I can tell much difference when I review them on my computer.

    The first camera I considered was another PowerShot, the SX100. I know there are smaller cameras around today but I actually prefer something around that size. Compared to my old Sony Mavica FD91 the Canon seems rather small. I know what megapixel means but not how much of a roll the actual count plays in the quality of an image. What I like about the SX100 is the 10x optical zoom. My current camera is only 3x until you start getting into the extended zoom. Once you do that the quality is horrible. Another camera I looked at is the Panasonic Lumix in either the TZ4 or TZ5 model. They don't have the same button layout that I am used to but from looking at them in the store the basic operation seems simple enough for a newbie like myself. If anyone has anything positive or negative I would appreciate your opinion. I would also be very interested in other ideas in the same $250 range as the cameras I mentioned.

    I also have a couple of basic questions about image quality not related to the camera but the storage disk. Will there be a difference in the quality based on what the image is stored on? My Canon A75 uses a compact flash disk but the new cameras I have seen use the SD disks. I have ports for both in my desktop computer and currently keep hard copies of all my photos on compact flash disks. Are they now obsolete? If so I imagine they will disappear from computers in the not too distant future so it might want to also copy them to SD disks or CDs. Any preference between the two? Is there a difference in disc quality? My camera came with a disk with the Canon label but I also have them by Dane-Elec, Patriot, and SanDisk.

    Lastly, how much influence does the photo editing program have in the end result of most pictures I see? My computer came with PictureIt! and I have never tried using anything else. Any good free photo editing downloads to recommend?

    Thanks in advance. I really appreciate any guidance I can get.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    In the $250 range, most of the cameras are pretty similar. Actually, a lot of the parts are shared or made in the same factories etc. I'd suggest getting one that you like, based on actually handling some different ones. Of course, check the specs and look at the ones that fit your wants & needs. I'd also suggest one that has some sort of stability feature, many of them do now. There are a few 'water resistant' digital cameras that should be in that range, that might be good for fishing and hunting.

    As for the memory cards, there really isn't a difference (in terms of quality) between the different formats. Most small cameras have moved to SD cards, but bigger cameras still use CF cards...most 'pro level' cameras still use CF cards, so they probably aren't going away soon....although SD cards are making their way into bigger cameras, so who know what the future will hold.

    You can still get a card reader that will read your cards and not have to worry about them becoming obsolete.

    I wouldn't really say that the actual editing program has an effect on the images...but how you use those programs will make a difference.

    Photoshop is the gold standard for image editing, but it's a very expensive program. I'd suggest looking at Photoshop Elements...it's much cheaper and does most of the same things for photo editing. As for free...a lot of people seem to like 'Gimp'.
     

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