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kkw93msu2010

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...and I need some help.

Let me first start off by saying I'm as beginner as beginner gets. Other than my phone, I've never owned a camera . Which brings me here.

My husband and I are stationed overseas and plan to do some traveling in a few months and I'd love a great camera to take photos with. (And have for years and years to eventually take family photos, etc with) The information available is daunting, and I'm left more confused than when I started looking.

I've narrowed it down to a mirrorless, as it's much more compact than a dslr (easy for extensive traveling), but I haven't made it much further. A friend recommended the LUMIX GX7, however, another friend said to not get anything under 20MP with current technology and price.

I've watched about 20 YouTube videos and spent hours reading review sites only to realize there are tons of great cameras, depending on your preference. I am currently restricted to a 5 mile radius with zero camera stores, so what I order will be what I use.

I literally know nothing and could really use all the help I can get. I'd like a quick point and shoot under $1000 that will last year's and years with the options of more lenses, should I figure out what the hell in doing.

Thanks in advance, and Happy New Year!!!
Kim
 

jaomul

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Firstly welcome to tpf. I'm no jenius, I have owned a few cameras.The under 20mp advice is not great. The Linux gx7 is a nice camera. At the moment you can buy an olympus EM5 for small money because there is a mark2 version out. This is a very high spec camera, weather sealed, uses olympus and panasonic m43 lenses which are plentiful and many of very high quality
 

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Well, first of all, unless you do intense cropping or plan to regularly print larger than 12x16, you'll be fine with 12 or 16 mp. Don't stress about that if you really love the Lumix.

From what you've said, I'm not sure you really need a camera with interchangeable lenses...it seems like you want one in case "someday" you decide you need it. The thing is, it's always best to buy what matches your current needs, rather than potential future needs. If your plan is to purchase a camera and not upgrade from the kit lens for three or four years, it might be best to get a compact camera for now and wait to get a mirrorless until you're ready to buy lenses, since there will undoubtedly be newer and better versions by then.

The best travel camera in my opinion is the Sony RX-100 mk III or mk IV. It's a point and shoot, but it has a large sensor with a fantastic lens (it's a Carl Zeiss!) attached. It is a huge step up from a camera phone. It's incredibly tiny and can easily fit in your pocket.

If you have your heart set on interchangeable, I have the Sony a6000 and I love it. With your budget, you can probably afford the camera, kit lens, and possibly even a prime like the 35mm 1.8, which is my favorite...it almost never leaves the camera. It has a larger sensor and will do a little better than the LUMIX g7 in low light situations.

DPReview is considered one of the best digital camera reviewers, so here's their take on the cameras in this price range:

2015 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras $500-800

And if you decide you won't be changing lenses often, here is their list of best travel compacts:

DPReview Recommends: Best compact cameras for travel 2015

If you have more specific needs, let us know! There's no perfect camera, just the best camera for each person's needs. So if there's something you really need your camera to do, let us know.
 
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kkw93msu2010

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Well, first of all, unless you do intense cropping or plan to regularly print larger than 12x16, you'll be fine with 12 or 16 mp. Don't stress about that if you really love the Lumix. From what you've said, I'm not sure you really need a camera with interchangeable lenses...it seems like you want one in case "someday" you decide you need it. The thing is, it's always best to buy what matches your current needs, rather than potential future needs. If your plan is to purchase a camera and not upgrade from the kit lens for three or four years, it might be best to get a compact camera for now and wait to get a mirrorless until you're ready to buy lenses, since there will undoubtedly be newer and better versions by then. The best travel camera in my opinion is the Sony RX-100 mk III or mk IV. It's a point and shoot, but it has a large sensor with a fantastic lens (it's a Carl Zeiss!) attached. It is a huge step up from a camera phone. It's incredibly tiny and can easily fit in your pocket. If you have your heart set on interchangeable, I have the Sony a6000 and I love it. With your budget, you can probably afford the camera, kit lens, and possibly even a prime like the 35mm 1.8, which is my favorite...it almost never leaves the camera. It has a larger sensor and will do a little better than the LUMIX g7 in low light situations. DPReview is considered one of the best digital camera reviewers, so here's their take on the cameras in this price range: 2015 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras $500-800 And if you decide you won't be changing lenses often, here is their list of best travel compacts: DPReview Recommends: Best compact cameras for travel 2015 If you have more specific needs, let us know! There's no perfect camera, just the best camera for each person's needs. So if there's something you really need your camera to do, let us know.
Well, first of all, unless you do intense cropping or plan to regularly print larger than 12x16, you'll be fine with 12 or 16 mp. Don't stress about that if you really love the Lumix. From what you've said, I'm not sure you really need a camera with interchangeable lenses...it seems like you want one in case "someday" you decide you need it. The thing is, it's always best to buy what matches your current needs, rather than potential future needs. If your plan is to purchase a camera and not upgrade from the kit lens for three or four years, it might be best to get a compact camera for now and wait to get a mirrorless until you're ready to buy lenses, since there will undoubtedly be newer and better versions by then. The best travel camera in my opinion is the Sony RX-100 mk III or mk IV. It's a point and shoot, but it has a large sensor with a fantastic lens (it's a Carl Zeiss!) attached. It is a huge step up from a camera phone. It's incredibly tiny and can easily fit in your pocket. If you have your heart set on interchangeable, I have the Sony a6000 and I love it. With your budget, you can probably afford the camera, kit lens, and possibly even a prime like the 35mm 1.8, which is my favorite...it almost never leaves the camera. It has a larger sensor and will do a little better than the LUMIX g7 in low light situations. DPReview is considered one of the best digital camera reviewers, so here's their take on the cameras in this price range: 2015 Roundup: Interchangeable Lens Cameras $500-800 And if you decide you won't be changing lenses often, here is their list of best travel compacts: DPReview Recommends: Best compact cameras for travel 2015 If you have more specific needs, let us know! There's no perfect camera, just the best camera for each person's needs. So if there's something you really need your camera to do, let us know.
 
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kkw93msu2010

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Thank you!

I am looking to have the ability to print large pictures. I would be happy with the ability to print a fantastic picture of 36" X 36". However, in an ideal world, I would like to print larger. Do you think a camera with a fixed lens would be good for that? The size of print and desired image quality is the main reason of looking into mirrorless cameras.
 

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Above recommended the sony A6000. I recommended that camera to a guy on the form here a few months ago and he's very happy with this. The reason I said the em5 was primarily because yo want it for travel (its small and weather sealed)

Printing big- will you actually print 36 x 36 inch prints?

In theory you need 300 pixels per inch for a great print, but larger prints can be less due viewing distance. 10 years ago billboards were done with 10mp or less.

In reality with software and proper technique, I don;t think a 16mp camera will hold you back. I recently seen a 6mp photo printed a metre wide. Up very close of course flaws were detectable, but as a hanging large print it was great
 
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kkw93msu2010

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Above recommended the sony A6000. I recommended that camera to a guy on the form here a few months ago and he's very happy with this. The reason I said the em5 was primarily because yo want it for travel (its small and weather sealed)

Printing big- will you actually print 36 x 36 inch prints?

In theory you need 300 pixels per inch for a great print, but larger prints can be less due viewing distance. 10 years ago billboards were done with 10mp or less.

In reality with software and proper technique, I don;t think a 16mp camera will hold you back. I recently seen a 6mp photo printed a metre wide. Up very close of course flaws were detectable, but as a hanging large print it was great



Yes! I know that's a large print, but I paint and my canvases are usually atleast 36". I really enjoy large pieces of art and being able to hang something that large of the Eiffle Tower or the Colesseum just seems beautiful! Thank you for all the help! I have looked at the A6000 extensively and, this may be dumb, but there is no EVF? If I'm correct, you can put one on the camera, but that's adding to the bulk. I may be critiquing every part of each camera, but I will never get to hold it, until I have bought it.
 

cherylynne1

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The there are two things that affect the ability to print large: sharpness of the photo and megapixels.

If you take a blurry picture, it doesn't matter how many megapixels you have, the picture will look bad. Taking sharp pictures is the result of good technique, understanding exposure, and using light to your advantage as well as the quality of your lens. As far as megapixels, yes, for 36 x 36 at least 20mp is recommended. However, a sharp 16 mp picture will look better than a blurry 24 mp picture.

Also, when you print something that big it's pretty rare that you will have your nose an inch away to look at it, in which case the slight pixelation from having not quite enough megapixels will be irrevelant.

As far as the fixed lens in the RX-100 IV goes: in this case, yes, the lens will be fine for that. The lens on that camera is very high quality, probably more high quality than you could afford to purchase with a mirrorless kit in your current budget. It can take beautiful photographs in the most common focal lengths and open up to very wide apertures. Yes, it has only one lens, but it's a very very good lens, much better than any kit lens. Now, if you know that you will need either wider or longer lenses in the near future, then it's not right for you. But if you're mostly doing pictures of buildings, sunsets, landscapes, and people, it would be a good choice. And it does have 20 mp. Watch some of the promotional videos or video reviews of it. Pros tend to purchase it as a camera to work as a companion to their large kit, so they can have high quality photos when they're unable to lug around their DSLRs.
 

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I think you're thinking of the Sony 5100, which has no EVF. The Sony a6000 has one. That's the camera I own, so I know it definitely has one.
 
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kkw93msu2010

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I think you're thinking of the Sony 5100, which has no EVF. The Sony a6000 has one. That's the camera I own, so I know it definitely has one.
Thank you! I've looked at wayyyyyyy too many cameras. Lol
 

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It's definitely overwhelming, especially when you can't walk into a store and touch them. Definitely better to overthink every detail than to just grab the first thing you see.
 
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kkw93msu2010

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The there are two things that affect the ability to print large: sharpness of the photo and megapixels.

If you take a blurry picture, it doesn't matter how many megapixels you have, the picture will look bad. Taking sharp pictures is the result of good technique, understanding exposure, and using light to your advantage as well as the quality of your lens. As far as megapixels, yes, for 36 x 36 at least 20mp is recommended. However, a sharp 16 mp picture will look better than a blurry 24 mp picture.

Also, when you print something that big it's pretty rare that you will have your nose an inch away to look at it, in which case the slight pixelation from having not quite enough megapixels will be irrevelant.

As far as the fixed lens in the RX-100 IV goes: in this case, yes, the lens will be fine for that. The lens on that camera is very high quality, probably more high quality than you could afford to purchase with a mirrorless kit in your current budget. It can take beautiful photographs in the most common focal lengths and open up to very wide apertures. Yes, it has only one lens, but it's a very very good lens, much better than any kit lens. Now, if you know that you will need either wider or longer lenses in the near future, then it's not right for you. But if you're mostly doing pictures of buildings, sunsets, landscapes, and people, it would be a good choice. And it does have 20 mp. Watch some of the promotional videos or video reviews of it. Pros tend to purchase it as a camera to work as a companion to their large kit, so they can have high quality photos when they're unable to lug around their DSLRs.
Wow! This sounds fantastic! I love the idea of the fixed lens, less to lug around and less for me to break. I would MUCH rather buy a fixed lens that is good, than an interchangeable lens that is mediocre. I'm definitely looking for that fine line between quality and all purpose.
 

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First of all, welcome aboard and good luck in your beginning journey with photography. It can become a a rewarding and lifelong passion if you stick with it.

The thing to remember at this stage since you are just starting out is that any worrying over this camera or that one is really not necessary. Your current skill level, or lack of it, will level the playing field for any cameras you are considering. Each of the models that myself or others here recommend in this thread will be possess capabilities far beyond your current ability to exploit, and will still have plenty of room to grow into in the years to come. In other word you wont be out shooting any of these cameras any time soon. Heck, I have been shooting for almost ten years and my Sony a7 is still a better camera then I am as a photographer.

With that in mind it will come down to ergonomics, cost and lens selections. Here is a basic rundown of your major options with some generic info. I will also include used options as well as new since buying a pre owned camera makes a lot of sense for a new shooter. It can save you money on a body which leaves you more cash for lenses (its all the about the lenses, bodies come and go) and can reduce your investment if you choose not to stick with photography. KEH.com is a great place to buy used with a no questions asked money back return policy in the first 14 or 30 days (cant remember exactly.)

FUJI- Great cameras with a absolutely wonderful lens selection, especially affordable prime lenses. All their cameras are APSC sized sensors, which means they are the biggest you can get in a mirrorless short of going Full Frame. Some models to look at here are the new XT-10, a fairly small and retro SLR styled body with many of the abilities of the top of the line XT-1 with only a few corners cut here and there. You can probably squeeze out one of these with a single lens for around a grand, maybe a tad more. For used options there are the XE-1, XE-2 or even the X-Pro 1, which still might be found new for very little money since the X-Pro 2 is right around the corner. These three options are styled like classic rangefinders instead of like a traditional SLR. My only issue with the XE's and X-Pro is that they don't have tilting back screens. But if this isn't an problem they are excellent cameras and can be found used relatively cheaply. Pop on the new Fujinon 35/2 prime lens on any of these bodies and you have a wonderfully compact, powerful imaging tool. Oh, some of the Fuji's come with great weather sealing and some of their lenses do as well.

SONY- As it has already been said the a6000 is one of the best deals going right now in APSC sized cameras. It is a stupidly capable camera for very little money. One issue with Sony (although this is changing) is their lens lineup isn't as fleshed out or as well thought out as some of the others. But don't let this stop you as they should have focal lengths to cover most of what you would ever shoot. And as with any mirrorless camera you can adapt old film lenses to use on this for some wonderful results. Please take a look at the following flickr folder of mine. It is from the older Sony NEX 7 of which the a6000 is the successor. All of these photos were taken with adapted film lenses. This type of photography is not for everyone but it is an option if you are so inclined. But it will give you an idea of what is capable with the a6000.

NEX-7

The ergonomics of the Sonys are quite different from the Fuji. They have a more modern design with a larger grip and have very little 'retro' styling about them. The Fuji's on the other hand look and handle exactly like old film SLR's and rangefinders. Myself, I prefer the older style especially since it usually places all the buttons and dials on the body that one normally controls the basic camera functions with, like shutter, aperture and ISO. One thing to note is that most Fuji lenses have an actual aperture ring on the lens, which is hard to find in this day and age and a welcomed feature. On the Sony you control the aperture on the body.

MICRO FOUR THIRDS- These are cameras put out by Panasonic and Olympus and they share a sensor size and mount so that lenses are interchangeable between brands. Keep in mind that the sensor is a bit smaller then the APSC sized cameras listed above and this can have some effect on the image size and noise. Of course, having said that, my local camera store has photos in their shop several feet in length that were shot on M4/3 and they printed them this large just to show how big of a print can be gotten from such a small sensor. I don't personally know a whole lot about individual models of this type, but I can tell you they have an absolutely GREAT lens lineup and most of the bodies have great weather sealing built in. They are the camera line that stays truest to the mantra that a mirrorless camera should be small and portable. The bodies from Panasonic and Olympus come in both modern and traditional (read retro) styles so there are many options to choose from. Would I personally shoot with one of these cameras? No, but that is due to my adaptation of film lenses and my love of bokeh. The smaller a sensor is the more it impacts the 'apparent' focal length of adapted lenses (field of view) and it also effects the amount of depth of field (bokeh) at a given aperture. For instance, my Canon FL 55/1.2 gives me a truly narrow DOF on my Sony a7 because it is a Full Frame body and the lens stays a 55mm. On a M4/3 body this same lens would have the field of view of a 110mm lens due to the crop factor and also have the equivelnt aperture of between f/2 to f/2.8, so I wouldn't get that super creamy background I love so much. This isn't going to be a huge thing for you since you are starting out, but just something to consider since if you end up sticking with photography then the decisions you make now can effect you options down the road depending on what you end up shooting.

Well that's it in a nutshell. There is a lot of information to consider when getting into photography but just remember what I said earlier. Any of these cameras and lenses are capable of world class images and what you get out of them will be far more dependent on your skill as a photographer as opposed to individual features of any given camera. A competent photographer should be able to pick up any camera and make compelling and beautiful imagery. But it takes years of shooting and a good understanding of the basics to get there. Photography is like anything else and it requires practice, practice, practice to find your 'eye' and to 'get good'. Hardly anybody picks up a guitar and is immediately able to join a band and start playing beautiful music. It takes dedication and a love of the art to stick with it. Photography is no different.

Hope this helps.
 

cherylynne1

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Just to be clear, mirrorless cameras are better cameras, but only when combined with good lenses and the knowledge of how to use them. I just think they might be too much for someone who's never had a camera and frankly, probably isn't even sure if photography will be a lifelong pursuit.

The RX-100 would make a really nice natural bridge from camera phone to higher photography. It's a great gateway drug, you could say. You can learn manual modes and shoot in Raw if you decide to get into heavy editing. Actually, since you mentioned you're a painter, digital imaging might be really enjoyable to you. It's sort of where photography and illustration meet.

It will probably take a few years to really outgrow it, and at that point, you'll know exactly what you want in an interchangeable lens camera. I'd advise you to start saving now, because once you start down the camera/lenses/flashes/accessories road, it's a money pit that never seems to end.... :)
 

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