Discussion in 'Tech & Support' started by NOFX, Nov 12, 2005.
You bet. Take the time to do the research on the different features different cameras offer and what they can do, and understand how they would work for you. And, read the reviews of the different cameras not only by the professional reviewers but by regular folks who own them and use them (a good site for this that I forgot to mention is Consumer Review.com ). The best suggestion I can make is to decide on the price range you're willing to spend in and then research cameras in that price range to decide what will work the best for you. Some folks like a solid point and shoot that just works, and some folks like a digital SLR that will let them customize every damn little part of a shot. If you have questions about feature sets that you don't quite know what they're for, post them here and I'll do my best to help.
what are some suggestioned features on a digital SLR you would suggest to someone who has never owned an SLR before?
What lenses would be best for lets say a Nascar race? What about filters? I also intend to take a lot of nature photos with people in them.
The first thing I look for in a digital camera once I've decided on a price range, is image quality. The review sites I mentioned above offer a lot of good comparisons of the various choices that are available and offer sample shots and an analysis of the camera's performance where it comes to image quality, color reproduction and granularity. Some cameras don't produce true-to-life colors very well, and other do it fantastically. And, some have more granularity in their shots than others. I've found that the megapixel count usually has very little to do with the image quality for the most part. Once you get above 5 megapixels or so, it really starts coming down to the technology in the camera.
The second thing I look at is shutter speed. dSLR's aren't as fast as a regular film SLR, for the most part, so paying attention to how quickly the shutter can open and close (or, how slowly it can do so if you're doing time lapse photography) is important. Particularly if you're going to be doing any sort of action shots. If it opens too slowly, you wind up with a lot of motion trails and blur when taking pictures of something moving (such as NASCAR racers). This category also includes wait time when you press the button to take a picture. How much delay is there? I prefer as little as possible. And, how long does it take the camera to be ready to take another shot? Can it take multiple shots in a "burst" mode or not? If you're taking any action shots at all, you'll want one that can take a lot of sequential shots in one run without pausing.
Next, I look at low light performance. I like to do a lot of night shots of cityscapes where there is a lot of odd light exposure. Digital cameras are notorious for having trouble capturing low light shots with clarity. They typically add a lot of blur and extra motion trails (particularly if you're not using a tripod) that you won't normally get with a standard SLR. This is another place the review sites usually offer up some good insight.
Another thing I will look at is the aperature settings. How customizable are they? If you have experience with aperature settings on a standard SLR and like being able to tweak them, chances are you'll want them on your dSLR as well. Or, if you're still learning how to use them, they'll give you something to grow into. I like a nice mix of being able to tweak when I want, but also pull from a selection of presets (panoramic, portrait, macro, etc.) so that I can just make a quick adjustment and then get the shot I want.
Most of the dSLR's at the pro-sumer level offer different lense options. My Canon G5, for example, offers some lense options of it's own as well as an adapter option for the barrell that will let me mount compatible 35mm lenses from other manufacturers. Some manufacturers will only allow you to use lenses they market specifically for their camera. Others don't offer any lens options other than what the camera comes with. At the base, you'll want a camera that has a decent built in optical zoom. Most companies compliment these with a good digital zoom addition as well, so you can get some pretty amazing shots once you learn how to use the digital zoom in conjunction with the optical zoom. As a rule, though, the higher the optical zoom to begin with, usually the better. Of course, for some REALLY high quality zoom shots, you'll want a good optical zoom lens that's made for that kind of photography. A wide-angle or fisheye lens can be a nice addition to your camera bag for nature shots, panoramics, or any kind of photography where you'd like to capture more than a standard lens will. As far as filters go, I don't muck with them much with a dSLR. The beauty of shooting all digital is that you can do whatever filter work you want to in post-production on your computer after you pull the images off your camera.
File format is one of the other things I look at in a camera. Is it a proprietary file format or a standard one? I prefer to shoot in TIF or RAW because they produce the highest quality images with the fewest artifacts and little to no clarity loss when you start tweaking them in Photoshop or whatever program you're using in post-production. However, they also require a lot of available memory, so invest in some additional memory for your camera because the vast majority of the digital cameras out there come with a bare minimum of available memory and you'll fill it up fast if you're shooting at your camera's highest quality.
Another thing too look at is ease of use, particularly where the on-screen menu's are concerned. Being able to easily navigate it and make whatever setting adjustments you want to get to, easily and quickly is important. If it's confusing, you wind up missing shots while mucking with the settings. Or, worse, you get confused about the menus and wind up deleting every shot on your camera (I have done this before and boy will it piss you off. Thankfully, there are some utilities out there to rescue images off of a camera disk if they've been acidentally deleted).
A boot mount for an external flash or other accessory can be a good thing to have on a dSLR as well.
And, finally, comfort. How does it feel in your hand. Do the buttons feel logical where they are at for you? Is it too heavy? Is it too big or too small? How would you feel about lugging it around with you?
That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. Maybe I'll think of some more once I've had some more coffee. Let me know if I can answer any other questions. I'm by no means an expert where photography and dSLR's are concerned, but I've got a little bit of experience.
Bought my digital camera after Christmas sale! Its a Koda 5.0 Megapixel that I bought for only 70 bucks!
the one i use for my work is a fujifilm finepix s5600, great wee camera
cost around £300, light weight, easy to use. plenty of modes and functions
5th Generation Super CCD HR sensor
5.1 million effective pixels
10x optical zoom
Real Photo Technology and ISO 64 1600 sensitivity range
Anti-Blur Mode to minimise blurring from photographer and subject
Highlight Warning function to alert users to overexposed areas of an image (in playback)
High quality video recording at VGA and 30fps
Rapid start-up time of 1.1 seconds and shutter lag of 0.01 seconds
Automatic pop-up flash
JPEG and RAW file format
Versatile manual functions including manual focus and exposure
I love my Canon G5 for Digital SLR stuff, but it's a bit too bulky to lug around to events and outings around town and with friends and such, so I started researching subcompact digital cameras. I want something very small and tiny that will easily fit in a pocket and not a big hassle to carry around. I also wanted something fairly simple in the way of point and shoot, but not necessarily completely stripped down feature-set wise, and image stabilization was a must since these smaller cameras tend to lend themselves to a fair bit of shake during handheld shots. The one that keeps coming up for me is the Canon SD700 Digital Elph. I've played with a couple at different stores and have been impressed with the feature-set, quality of construction and usability. It's also gotten GREAT reviews and is a nice size. It's got a metal casing and feels sturdy as well, which can be a problem with digital cameras. And it's pretty stylin', to boot:
Anyone have any experience with sub-compact digital cameras that they'd like to share?
I have an Olymus mju (pronounced 'mew') series. Comes with all the bells and whistles of other digital cameras with an added feature: all-weather. The seams are water-tight, so you can take pictures in the middle of a rainy day or in cold and snowy conditions. I believe this to be a rather significant feature because most digital cameras are susceptible to damage in varying weather conditions.
Can't take underwater pics, though. You have been warned.
Oh, within the Olympus family, only the mju series are weather-proof.
My wife has a little Olympus digital camera (can't remember which model). It's been a pretty good little camera, but it's starting to do some odd things like it doesn't like to close it's lens sometimes when she closes the cover (I've never liked the mechanism where you have to shut the cover against the lens in order to trigger the lens to shut, actually). The new camera we'll be getting will enable us to retire that camera, I think.
My Olympus doesn't have any problems at all. And I've been having it for a year now.
Olympus mju 410.
My wife's oly is about 2 1/2 years old or so. Keep an eye on the lens closing mechanism. It can become problematic over time. It does take good pictures, though.
By that time, I would probably need to upgrade from the current 5MP, anyway.
I got rid of my Olympus and got myself a Ricoh Caplio R6.
7.1MP with 7x zoom and kickass macro mode.
Why was this thread bumped, anyway?
depending on how much money you're willing to spend, i'd go for the Canon EOS Rebel XTi.. 10.1 megapixel & compatible with a million lenses..
well, i clicked on the "last page" link of the forum and psoted on the last thread!
It also depends on what you're going to use the camera for. The Rebel is a great digital SLR but it's also big. If all you're looking for is a small little point and shoot that you can pack around in your pocket then that's not a good fit as far as cameras go. Right now, for a little P&S camera like that, the Canon PowerShot SD850 IS Digital Elph is a great option. 8.0 megapixels, face tracking, optical image stabilization, zoom, a ton of shooting options, fast response and an optical viewfinder in addition to it's 2.5" screen (the majority of these little "elph" style cameras only have the screen and no viewfinder so you're forced to eat up your batteries just to shoot pictures; the screen can also be problematic for that in direct sunlight).