Complete Beginner, Roughly a Max of 1k$. Comments on a camera?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Leefmc, May 10, 2007.

  1. Leefmc

    Leefmc TPF Noob!

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    Ok, i am a complete beginner to photography. I have no desire to do it professionally, but i am a perfectionist and somewhat of an artist. I see images all around me, and i've wanted to buy a new camera that can truely capture what i see (in combination with RAW images for photoshop).

    However, as said, i am a COMPLETE beginner to photography. I know a few things, but not nearly enough to make an educated decision of a camera over 500$.

    So simply put, i am asking for some opinions for what camera i should buy, while matching some requirements. So.. here goes.

    0.) Digital.

    1.) Video Recording. Now i know you're probably thinking im nuts, but i have a reason. Basically its an addon. My in progress profession, is 3d Animation. I have been trying to find something that can record me doing various actions. However, being that i am somewhat broke, i cannot afford to buy a camcorder AND a good camera. So i'd like to combine them. Now the bigger the resolution the better, but for the most part, any video is better than no video. It will literally just be me acting out infront of it for personal animation reference. I'll be the only one who sees it. In the end, it is required, but the Camera Quality comes first.

    2.) "Super Macro". Sorry for my ignorance, but i have been blinded by commercialism and stupid names. For the longest time i was aware of Macro. Every time i touch a camera in best buy its one of the first things i check. They all roughly seem the same too.. until i tried my brothers little 200$ thin camera. His "Super Macro" beats out most, if not all, of the 800$ Camera's Macro i've tried in stores. So now buying a camera without this "Super Macro" just feels whimpy to me. Its an amazing quality macro, and i would love to have it. Especially if i am forking out $1,000.

    3.) Zoom Stability. I want lots of zoom, but for my uses, i will rarely be using a tripod. So i could ask for lots of optical zoom (thats all in the lens anyway right?), but without a way to steady my hand, its rather pointless. I've seen labels claiming new and fantastic stabilization, but i'll trust you guys to have already weeded through the BS, and hopefully know a camera that really does have good and true zoom stability?




    Well, its late, and i am tired, but i think thats roughly it. I could name optical zoom numbers, RAW Support, or megapixel's must haves, etc, but i think most of those are standard these days. In essence, you get what you pay for. My problem deciding is i have no idea what most of the 1,000$ would be paying for, and so often i hear professional photographers who throughly trust a brand name, because of one thing or another. So its that experience i am hoping to tap into.

    So hopefully this made sense. In the end, i simply have a budget, and i have a few newbie requirements, and i want your opinion on my options.




    Thank you very much for reading, and i apologize for any typos or sentences that don't make sense. Its late, and has been many sleepless nights lately, so im dying heh. Thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    First off, none of the cameras I would normally recommend to you can record video. So that is something that you should think hard about. If you really want a digital camera that can also capture video...you will be compromising image quality.

    Also, the cameras that I would normally recommend, don't have macro modes...but could use 'macro lenses'...but that is a significant added cost...but again, very superior image quality.

    Getting a camera (or lens) with some sort of stability help is usually a good idea, so I'm with you on that one. On the other hand, the bigger the zoom range of a lens, the more the image quality is compromised.

    So...my usual recommendation would be to forget about the silly features (like macro and video) and get a real camera...a digital SLR. The biggest (although not always apparent) difference between a DSLR and 99% of other digital cameras...is the size of the sensor. Most digital cameras (even the 8-10 mega pixel, $500 ones) have tiny little sensors. This normally means that the image quality isn't outstanding...especially at higher ISO settings. These cameras are usually usable up to ISO 400, any higher than that and the images are crap.

    All that being said, it doesn't look like a DSLR fits your criteria very well. So it may be best to look at the 'SLR-Like' cameras. To tell the truth, I don't know much about them...they are all the same to me. I've heard good things about the Canon S#IS series...I think they are on 3...so the S3IS.
     
  3. Leefmc

    Leefmc TPF Noob!

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    Yea i was afraid of that. I honestly don't know what i'll do then, because Camera Quality reigns king on my camera purchase, however i do litterally need some type of video recording. So since i do not want to compramise the integrity of my still camera, i may have to look into getting a full fledged camcorder (since it involves my career), and put off my still camera for a long time.. bummer.


    How much are the lenses?




    So since it looks like #1 just can't happen, i may have to disregard it. But after i sort this video recording thing out, i'll eventually want a camera again (and hopefully its not so long that big new products are released), so more comments are always helpful.

    In regards to some of the terms you used.. Is single-lens reflex (SLR) correct? Also, what is ISO (The Name is fine, so i can wiki it)? Even though my dreams of getting everything in one product (and ofcourse justfying purchasing 1grand worth of mostly hobby hardware right now) are sort of smashed for the moment, i'd still like to educate myself a bit more and get opinions on various products.

    So more comments about good companies, and in your opinion, required features for semi-high end cameras would be awesome.


    Thanks!
     
  4. zioneffect564

    zioneffect564 TPF Noob!

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    Well they just came out with a canon powershot s5 IS. It is currenty $500 and it looks like exactly what you're looking for. It has the Super Macro mode you were talking about that gives it the ability to focus from 0cm. It has RAW support and can capture video at 30fps. It has 12x optical zoom with built-in image stabilization and the stabilization works with video too. Canon's IS is one of the best image stabalizers out there i dont know about on point and shoots but on there lenses its great.

    There are a couple other things you didnt mention you wanted that the camera includes... It has a hot shoe mount for use of an external flash it supports the speedlights 220EX, 430EX, and 580EX. It has a suprising 1.5fps until the card is full when taking pictures. It also has all of your beginner digital slr funtions and modes i will list the modes below. As for funtions it has white balance settings, Metering, ISO, Exposure compensation, and exposure bracketing.

    All in all it seems like exactly what you're looking for and with half the price tag. If you would like to check out the review you can go here
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0705/07050703canons5is.asp#images
    Also you can probably find it in best buy or wolf camera, if not adorama and B&H photo will carry it.

    Here are the modes that i was talking about.
    • Auto
    • Program AE
    • Shutter Priority AE
    • Aperture Priority AE
    • Manual
    • Custom
    • Portrait
    • Landscape
    • Night Scene
    • Sports
    • Stitch Assist
    • Movie
    • Special Scene
    • Super Macro
     
  5. zioneffect564

    zioneffect564 TPF Noob!

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    Well you beat me to the post but i'd have a look at that camera up there and go test it out in the store.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    It's the sensitivity of the sensor...it's pretty much the same as film. ISO 100 is 'slow' which is best for landscapes (tripod) or bright sunny days. ISO 400 is 'faster' and is better for action shots or darker situations...but there is more noise/grain. ISO 800 is 'fast'...good for actions shots or when it's darker...but a lot more grain/noise than 100.

    If you do ever buy into an SLR system...you will soon learn that the lenses are just as or more important than the camera...and the prices vary from $100 to $10,000. The good news is that DSLR cameras and especially lenses will hold their value very well. A $1000 lens could probably be sold for $800-$900, even after years of use. A $500 digi-cam, on the other hand, will loose most of it's resale potential within a year.

    Either way, I think you are on the right track getting a proper video camera and then waiting to get a proper still camera. For a lot of people, an all-in-one works...but if quality is your priority, then get the right tool for the job.
     
  7. Leefmc

    Leefmc TPF Noob!

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    How much of a downgrade is that compared to something (just picking it because of the pricetag) like the Nikon D40 or D80, or perhaps a Canon Rebel / Canon 30D?
     
  8. JDS

    JDS TPF Noob!

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    I'm guessing the 'downgrade' is to the Canon s5 IS? As Big Mike already pointed out, the Point & Shoot cameras (Which this one is, technically) have smaller sensors, and thus give lower quality images. A Canon Rebel, Rebel XT or XTi will give you much 'crisper' images, especially if you get good glass to go with them.

    If you go with the s5 IS, you'll be limited in what you can do with the lens as well. Yeah, it'll zoom a long ways, and take 'super macro' shots, but a lens with that range doesn't provide the clarity of a lens that's more built to a specific task (macro vs. telephoto, etc). There will be a few attachments you can use on the s5's lens, but none will go near as far as the options you have for a dSLR.
     
  9. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    My advice is to check websites like Dpreview.com and have a look at some of the image comparisons they do on cameras like the S3IS. While image quality is important, it may be the case that the image quality is fine for your needs - not everyone wants to blow their shots up to poster size.

    If so, then get the camera with the feature set you need. It's a compromise, but everything in life is a compromise - the trick is to compromise the stuff you don't care as much about.

    (And when we say that image quality is higher on a DSLR - in my view that's because a DSLR has really good image quality, not because the S3IS or equivalent look bad. Many shots taken with that type of camera look really quite good, I think - it's not like you're going to be looking at a grainy mess, trying to figure out who that blob next to Aunt Martha was.)
     

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