Is it possible to take great shots with a low-quality camera?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by keller, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    Is it possible to take good shots (especially of landscapes/outdoor scenery, or local city-based photos) even if your camera is low-quality, and you lack the accessories (ie. specialised lens, large flash, etc)? By "good" I'm referring to the photos in travel magazines and books.

    My budget isn't really large, perhaps $300 at max for a digital camera. At most I'll be looking at around 4-5MP, a little optical zoom, without any other accessories.

    I don't suppose there's any cheaper methods of taking photos, such as substituting household objects for the accessories?

    What about if I decrease the image resolution (take it down from 800X600 to 680X480)? Will that help to improve the photos, or can people tell the difference?
     
  2. RickyN29

    RickyN29 TPF Noob!

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    Well it depends on what you want to do with those "great shots". If you want to print 8x10's for framing, then you are going to need at the very least a 4 MP camera because you need the higher resolution so that the prints do not appear grainy or rough.

    You can definitely take great photos without all the specialized gadgets, it will just take trial and error to get the shot right (same goes if you DO have all the gadgets)

    You will definitely want to take all the photos at the highest resolution the camera offers.

    Might I make a recommendation? Canon just released the PowerShot S2 IS, therefor, the price of the S1 IS has dropped incredibly. You can find them for $200USD. 3.2 MP, Digic Processor, 10X Optical Zoom, Optical Image Stabilization, fully auto or fully manual. Great camera, I had one for a few months and just sold it to get the S2.

    Best of Luck
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    It all depends upon how you define 'great shot'.
    If you define it in terms of technical quality then you are going to be struggling.
    If you define it in terms of image content then you can take great shots on a home-made pinhole. It's not what you've got, it's how you use it.
    I doubt if worries concerning technical quality ever entered the minds of people like Henri Cartier-Bresson. And I have known people who had the best equipment money could buy and who still produced garbage.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    HCB said

    "Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important."


    Alex Majoli is getting famous using an Olympus digital point-n-shoot. I'm sure there are others.

    http://www.magnumphotos.com/c/htm/TreePf_MAG.aspx?Stat=Photographers_Portfolio&E=29YL53UIH@2


    The 2 biggest problems that I usually have with inexpensive point-n-shoot cameras isn't image quality, but the lack of direct control (exposure, focus, etc...), and a flash that is too close to the lens.

    If you really need high quality on a budget you might add a film SLR to your bag. There are many good, but older models that go for less than $50 on the used market.
     
  5. AlmightyWa

    AlmightyWa TPF Noob!

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    Yes yes yes, completely possible!!!! The camera (4mp digital)that you're talking about is more than low quality, and a few years would have been considered state of the art! But the photo's haven't changed in those few years.

    Don't listen to the companies who convince you you need a digital SLR to take great pictures, great artists don't go out a buy new gold plated brushes every three weeks. It's all marketing aimed to sell cameras not to make your pictures better.

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm
     
  6. amoki

    amoki TPF Noob!

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    The so-called "good photos" of yours... those are more or less still pictures, which shouldn't present too much of a challenge to any digital camera these days. As long as you stick to branded items (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Kodak... you'll get the idea) that have been reviewed on the Net before, you should be fine. (There are a lot of other things to consider - lens quality, MP, interface and control etc, but when you're operating on a tight budget there's not much room for negotiation.)

    Decreasing image resolution DO NOT affect the image quality. The resolution refers to the size of the picture taken in the camera: this affects 2 things: 1) The size of the picture on your memory card and 2) the size of the picture itself. No 2 affects print size of course. However, as a rule of thumb, try not to save on memory cards - very often there's only 1 chance to get your shots right. MPs on a camera refers to the maximum size you can take: on a 0.3MP the maximum you can take is about 640X480. The more the MPs, the bigger the picture (the higher the resolution) you can take.

    The S1 IS, aforementioned, is actually worth considering. The IS part refers to Image Stabilisers, which more or less means the camera will compensate for your camera's movement if you accidentally (or clumsily I might add) moved your camera during shooting... many a shot of mine was ruined due to camera shake (gr...) if you are looking for a camera for casual (and domestic :p) purpose perhaps that camera is a sound choice. It could be way too much for your budget... but remember that you're going to settle on something you're going to use for the next 4 years or so. It's nice to settle for the S2 because there's quite a lot of improvement done to it compared to the S1 IS, but you'll be all right even with the S1.

    As for the rest, the others are trying to point out one thing: great pictures come not because of the equipment, they come from your knowledge, skill and how good are you at seizing oppurtunity. The former bought by money, the latter learned from people like those from here :hugs:

    P.S - be very careful on which website you buy your product from. I've been in your shoes before ;). If necessary, check with the folks here before you buy, we're always happy to help.

    Alternatively, buy from BH Photo Video or Freestyle. They're great people to buy things from, and their prices are standardized. If you find aything cheaper than theirs, be extremely careful.
     
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch TPF Noob!

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    Same with instruments, I suppose. A $2000 guitar may sound like crap in the hands of a soul-less player, whereas a $50 pawn shop find may sound wonderful in the hands of someone who 'knows how to use it'. Personally, I like it when bands use non-traditional instruments. I am immediately turned off when I see/hear a band playing Fender Strats or Gibson Les Pauls. Silly, isn't it?

    So, I say buy what you can afford and start shooting!
     
  8. warped_baller

    warped_baller TPF Noob!

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    Consider film:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...190&is=USA&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation
    Its $200 with a lense and its autofocus. Its a beginner camera and sounds like it would work for you but its film.

    Digital:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...013&is=REG&addedTroughType=categoryNavigation
    read reviews first tho. I havnt yet but its looks pretty good spec wise and Nikon has great stuff.
    Look into the Cannon Powershot series also.

    If you are going to print your pictures over 5 x 7 you need 4 or 5 megapixels so that your grains and such doesnt show up. Read a lot of reviews from different sources because sometimes company employees post to so yea.
    Hope it helps.
     
  9. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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