Beginner in need of help

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Vark, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. Vark

    Vark TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    I am sure you are probably already tired of newbies requesting advice on camera equipment, but I am simply overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet.

    My name is Sven, I am 24 years old and I will start a small journey soon, which I want to take as an opportunity to get a decent camera (I have been taking pictures with my phone or the DSLR of my father before).

    I want to use the camera mainly for landscapes and portraits, so a decent zoom would be nice, but definitely not necessary. It would be very nice to get decent photos in poorly-lit conditions (evening etc.). Also, as I will probably travel a lot, I do not want to carry a huge DSLR with me all the time, a more compact camera would be good.

    EDIT: A viewfinder in the camera would be nice, though.

    I know enough about photography to not always use automatic mode, but little more.

    My budget is quite variable. It would be nice to get a camera for about 300€ (sorry, european here), but if the price is justified I am willing to spend twice as much.

    At the moment I am tending towards either the Sony Alpha 6000 (I really like that you can change the objectives, although to be realistic I can probably not afford more than the kit one) or the Sony RX100 (I heard that despite the smaller sensor it is really good).

    Could you maybe point me towards a direction where to look and what to look for? Which of the upper two would better fit my needs?
    Sorry for bothering you with these newbie questions!

    Kind regards,
    Sven


     
  2. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hello, and welcome!

    An "entry level" DSLR is smaller and lighter than the "enthusiast level" DSLRs. A zoom lens might not be the best choice for landscapes and portraits.

    Here is one possibility that you can find in Europe:

    Nikon D3300 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black) 1532 B&H Photo

    A fine starter camera for about 380 euros.
     
  3. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi, Sven!

    Which Sony RX-100 are you considering? (There are five models.) I'm guessing the original, based on your budget?

    There are two big trade-offs between the RX-100 and the a6000 with kit lens. The larger sensor and ability to change lenses are a huge advantage for the a6000. The larger sensor, as you mentioned, is better for low light. However, the RX-100 has a much more compact size and it has a zoom lens with a much wider aperture than the a6000's kit lens, which will help in low light. In my experience, the wider aperture will not completely offset the smaller sensor...in low light, the a6000 will do better. But it will help.

    Now, if you can get a prime lens for the a6000 (something like the Sigma 30 2.8 would be a good walking around focal length at a budget price) then that would have a major advantage in low light situations. The disadvantage is of course that it's adding on to your budget and that you would have both the kit zoom and the prime to carry around.

    Both cameras are very popular for travel, and both can do amazing things. Based on what you said, I would lean towards the RX-100. Unless you intend to get very serious about photography or perhaps become a professional, you probably don't need the low light or lens-changing abilities of a mirrorless. If you intend to print 8x10 or smaller and/or post photos to Instagram/Facebook/etc, the RX-100 would be very well suited to your needs.
     
  4. Vark

    Vark TPF Noob!

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    Thank you both very much for your replies!
    I am not a big fan of Facebook etc., my main purpose for these photos is to print them (collect the good ones in a book, and one or two maybe for the wall)

    My main focus is of course the image quality.. I have heard some complaints about the standard (kit) objective of the alpha6000, so I am interested if the image quality of this camera with the kit lens is still better than the one of the RX-100. Right now the alpha 6000 is on sale on amazon (506€ incl. SEL-P1650 objective), which is of course tempting...

    And can you maybe give any information how the Nikon you mentioned compares to the other two? I am sorry if I appear as a total newbie.. :D
     
  5. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Probably it would just be easiest to compare photos and see what works better for you. Here are some photos taken with the Sony a6000 with kit lens: Search: Sony a6000 16-50 pz | Flickr

    And here are some taken with the RX-100 (although some are taken with later models...not sure how to filter those out): Search: Sony RX-100 | Flickr

    Both are very capable cameras. There's a lot of hate out there for the kit lens on the Sony, but it can take good photos, and many of the flaws are automatically corrected by either in-camera or computer software. It's never going to be as good as a prime, and it doesn't show off that stellar sensor, but it works well as a beginner lens to help you learn what you like to shoot. Most kit lenses are pretty unimpressive (and in my opinion, most zooms in general are pretty unimpressive compared to primes.) The lens on the RX-100 is superior, but the sensor could be limiting depending on how low the light is.

    In summary: The Sony kit lens isn't that bad, but if it's the only lens you ever intend to buy, you'd be better off with a fixed lens camera like the RX-100.
     
  6. Vark

    Vark TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much for your help!

    I think although my heart wants to go for the alpha 6000, the RX-100 is the more reasonable choice! You have helped me a lot, thank you!
     
  7. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The a6000 would in my opinion be the better option. The kit lens on cams is often dissed just because you can get better, but a 16-50 lens is handy and you can add others later.

    As you are travelling a micro four thirds camera might be a nice option, they are lighter, and the lenses are smaller. A Panasonic gx85 with a 12-60mm lens should be in around 600 at the moment after Panasonic cashback deal.

    If you were happy to go second hand, you'd do a little better for your money
     
  8. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    RX100 and the A6000 are both good choices.
    Also consider the Olympus OMD EM10 II.
     
  9. Vark

    Vark TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your help! After your input I bought the alpha 6000, both because it was on sale and because the possible versatility appeals to me.

    The images that this camera creates are amazing! Even with the 'bad' standard kit lens it surpasses my expectations by far!

    I have one issue with this camera: As I have a feeling that in the jpeg a lot of information is lost I want to store the images as raw files. When I open those with darktable (I am using ubuntu on my laptop) there are dark corners in the images, which are not shown in the preview of the camera. A quick google search told me that this is due to lens distortion that is corrected (and the rest then cropped) by the camera. Is this correct? (Is this a normal issue with the alpha6000?)

    Also, unfortunately darktable has no lens correction preset for the alpha6000 (or I am unable to find it). Is there a way to circumvent this problem or is there a program that can do the lens correction (ideally for free for ubuntu, but windows is also fine and if paid programs are better its also fine).

    You guys have been a great help for a beginner that is simply overstrained with all the new stuff that is coming!
     
  10. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Congratulations! I also have the a6000, and I love it.

    I'm not familiar with that particular problem. I have the paid subscription to Lightroom, which is generally considered the standard for photographers. It has lens corrections for that lens, so I've never had to deal with that, even with RAW files. You're correct that jpeg files will lose information but should also make lens corrections like that. You could try shooting in RAW + jpeg, so that you have both available to you until you get this issue sorted out.

    I unfortunately don't know much about the lens corrections available with free programs. However, did Sony software come with it? I seem to remember some kind of Sony software for downloading RAW files, and I would think that it would include lens corrections for their lenses.
     
  11. Vark

    Vark TPF Noob!

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    Curiously the lens is available for corrections, but the body is not. Right now I am on vacation and only have my laptop running ubuntu, so software-wise I am limited unfortunately.

    The problem itself only occurs at small focal lengths (16mm-18mm), so I am pretty certain that it is a lens-thing. I uploaded a sample-image that shows the problem:
     
  12. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not seeing the photo, but I'm pretty sure I have heard about this problem before. I've never heard of the software that you're running, however, so I can't really be much help. This forum doesn't have many Sony shooters either, so you might have better luck trying to post this question on a Sony-APSC-specific forum, like this one on DPreview: Sony Alpha / Nex E-mount (APS-C) Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
     

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