Digital Camera recommendations

Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: europachris On: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:36 pm

I'm looking for recommendations on digital cameras. We currently have an ancient Sony DSC-P30 1.3 Megapixel camera. Yes, 1.3. But, I've always been impressed with the picture quality and sharpness as long as I don't go past 5x7 on the print size. It has a large, good quality lens, so it makes the most of what it has. But, it is indeed starting to show it's age and obsolescence. It has taken all of the pictures I've posted here, for better or worse.

I also have a much more ancient Canon FTb 35mm SLR that I enjoy playing around with that really takes amazingly sharp shots, and dug it out the other day to run some film through it and have it processed and scanned into digital format at the lab to see how that looks.

Anyway, dilemma #1 is to go with either a point and shoot digital or more of the SLR style. I'm a quality freak, and most point and shoots have such tiny lenses as to be really poor. If your lens is junk, the rest of the camera won't matter. But, an SLR is larger, etc.... So, we all want the lens of an SLR with the size of a little point and shoot - which bends the laws of physics.

Dilemma #2 is just sorting through the vast array of cameras available. I've had excellent luck with Sony, and used a Canon that I liked a lot (Powershot A530 or something like that). But there are just tons of them out there. What's really good?

I see cameras now with 12 megapixels. Is this for real? Are they truly 12 MP or are they 6 MP and interpolate the rest into a 12 MP shot? Are we getting into diminishing returns with this size of picture?

Thanks!
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: bksaun On: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:54 pm

My girlfriend is a pro photographer, she said the Canons are some of the best equipment they use. And yes we are seeing diminishing returns with megapixel size. (Marketing according to her).


She said buy the best you can reasonably afford (SLR) and don't look back. Most will take better pictures automatically than
you can.

BK
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: jpen1 On: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:07 pm

I'll have to talk to my photogrpher buddy but I know the D-200 nikon is a good bet for an SLR. I think it is a 10 or 12 megapixel. I heard nikon came out with a 16 megapixel before christmas but I haven't seen it yet. There is a sort of crossover camera made by sony it has a very good lense for a point and shoot. It is an 8.1 mega pixel cyber shot series with a 15X optical zoom and the pop up flash is good to 60+ feet which is very good for that type camera. I think best buy carries them and they run about $450. I know consumer reports rated them really well last year but since I haven't used one I am only going on reviews I have read. I am using a high end point and shoot Kodak which has a 10x optical lens and it does very well but the flash needs more range. I guess that is what the 35mm SLR with the 70-200mm lens is for :D .
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: av8r On: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:42 pm

europachris wrote:I'm looking for recommendations on digital cameras. We currently have an ancient Sony DSC-P30 1.3 Megapixel camera. Yes, 1.3. But, I've always been impressed with the picture quality and sharpness as long as I don't go past 5x7 on the print size. It has a large, good quality lens, so it makes the most of what it has. But, it is indeed starting to show it's age and obsolescence. It has taken all of the pictures I've posted here, for better or worse.

I also have a much more ancient Canon FTb 35mm SLR that I enjoy playing around with that really takes amazingly sharp shots, and dug it out the other day to run some film through it and have it processed and scanned into digital format at the lab to see how that looks.

Anyway, dilemma #1 is to go with either a point and shoot digital or more of the SLR style. I'm a quality freak, and most point and shoots have such tiny lenses as to be really poor. If your lens is junk, the rest of the camera won't matter. But, an SLR is larger, etc.... So, we all want the lens of an SLR with the size of a little point and shoot - which bends the laws of physics.

Dilemma #2 is just sorting through the vast array of cameras available. I've had excellent luck with Sony, and used a Canon that I liked a lot (Powershot A530 or something like that). But there are just tons of them out there. What's really good?

I see cameras now with 12 megapixels. Is this for real? Are they truly 12 MP or are they 6 MP and interpolate the rest into a 12 MP shot? Are we getting into diminishing returns with this size of picture?

Thanks!


I'm been shooting semi professionally since I was old enough to buy a Canon EOS T90 and have had more cameras than I'd like to reveal, but I may be able to give you a little information that might help. I switched from medium format to digital back when the Olympus C2020Z came out. Wonderful camera...wish I still had it. Sold it to a friend who still uses it daily.

Canon, Nikon, Olympus...in that order.

I prefer the Canon CMOS sensor over the Nikon as I think it's warmness makes a better image for my clients and myself. This is personal preference and you should look at both. The Canon S3 is considered by many to be the perfect compromise between a P&S and a DSLR. The newer S series are improved even on the S3. Unless you truly have a desire to send more on glass than the camera and want to tote a larger, heavier body and at least on other lens, I'd say look hard at the S series Canons. I currently have 3 Canon DSLR bodies and many lenses, yet I find myself grabbing either my wife's Canon 510 or my daughter's 410 when we go somewhere. I just don't want to haul the big boys out. If you feel you want the extra creativity you can get from an SLR body, look hard at the Canon Digital Rebel series. The newer XTi DSLR are nearly the same as the 30D and 40D for a lot less money. Many of my friends who shoot professionally have a few XTi bodies as backups. They shoot with a 1 series, but use the XTi for sports or a second shooter at an event.

Go and actually touch the cameras you think you like. For me, the ergonomics of the camera are very, very important. I add a battery grip to all my bodies as I often use big lenses such as my Sigma 50-500 "Bigma" or a 70-200 2.8 and I feel the grips fit my hand better and the extra weight better balances the camera with the heavier lenses. You may like the Canon's features, but the feel of the Nikon may fit you better. Also, play with the menus and controls. This is where going to an established camera shop can really help. If you can find a salesman who really knows the cameras you can find out pretty quickly if one brand has a control layout or feature tree that fits the way you think better. This is important stuff. I've had a few friends switch to Nikon for the control reassignment flexibility that was missing on some of the Canons. I don't see it as an issue, but you may.

Look here:

http://www.dpreview.com Read the reviews carefully. Don't read the forums...until you have it nailed down to one or two cameras. There is much vitriol spewed and hand waving on those forums that can skew your thinking. Als check out Steves digicam http://www.steves-digicams.com/ Both sites give about the most unbiased, comprehensive reviews you'll find anywhere.

As far as megapixels....you already know the answer. Anything over 2MP is overkill for pretty much anyone other than a pro. If you're not printing over 8 X 11, you simply do not need more than 2-4 MP. Sensor pixel density is also important here as many camera models (Fuji for example) will claim higher pixel count, but they are reducing the pixel size to allow for higher pixel count on the same size sensor. There are still plenty of sports photographers shooting with 2 MP Nikons and getting published. MP is marketing...plain and simple.

There is so much more, but I think you have all the info you need to make an informed decision. Research data is plentiful on this topic. I strongly recommend you do most of your research "hands on".

Let me know if I can assist in this.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:20 am

I'll give my three recommendations, Canon, Canon and Canon. :D

If you need somewhere online try here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

-------------------

On a side don't consider anything about the video capabilities as you can buy the cheapest mini-DV cam on the market and get better video. Don't fall for the 2 in 1 deal, it either performs one or the other well or performs both poorly.

MP is marketing...plain and simple.


Guess that depends on the camera, if you get good Canon DSLR with good glass those MP's will make a world of difference. Having said that 4-5 MP is about equivalent to a 35MM and is more than sufficient with a good camera and glass. My sister in law has a Canon 1D Mark2 and that has phenomenal clarity, this sample here for example was only a 4MP shot, Unfortunately I don't have the original, you can't see it here because the image is so small but about 100 yards back is chainlink fence, in the origianl you were able to see the wires.
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Two things to avoid, some will have astronomical amounts for mega pixels but they achieve it through resampling and/or they have digital zoom also achieved through resampling. Both of these can be done with software and with the right software a lot better results. The only zoom that matters is optical zoom.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: europachris On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:36 am

Wow! Thanks for all the information! This is great stuff. I'll take this and begin my trek camera nirvana!
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:30 am

Richard S. wrote:Two things to avoid, some will have astronomical amounts for mega pixels but they achieve it through resampling and/or............


Let me elaborate a little, we'll take this piece of junk for example:


http://www.aiptek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=R-PKDV58&Category_Code=DC1&Store_Code=AS





Max. Resolution up to 6 Mega-Pixel:
Equipped with 3 mega pixel CMOS sensor, the still image resolution of the MPVR is enhanced to 6 mega pixels. Macro lens enables high quality close ups. Print 4" x 6", 5" x 7", or even 8" x 10" photos!


These types of cameras when they came on the market would emphasize the large resmapling they could do, one i saw actually claimed something like 10MP yet was really just 1 or 2. Something like this is probably good for kid but it's really nothing more that toy good for neither video or video. Stick with the name brands and don't fall for the hype. They do make a HD camcorder version suprisingly has gotten some pretty good reviews but its downfall is that it uses flash memeory which isn't very good unless you plan on toting a computer around with you to transfer because it holds very little video.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: WNY On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:06 am

We have the Canon EOS Rebel Digital (Since we already had all the 35mm lenses, flash, etc..) It's 7 Megapixels and seems to work quite well for our applications/ametuer photo stuff we do with a 2gb card that holds 800 pics at med. (2460x2200) resolution. We also have a small pocket Nikon Cool Pix that 3.2 Megapixel that does very well for a small camera also with a 512mb card. There is so much out there, hard to keep track of everything. These work for our everyday needs.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: av8r On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:09 pm

Richard S. wrote:
Richard S. wrote:Two things to avoid, some will have astronomical amounts for mega pixels but they achieve it through resampling and/or............


Let me elaborate a little, we'll take this piece of junk for example:


http://www.aiptek.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=R-PKDV58&Category_Code=DC1&Store_Code=AS





Max. Resolution up to 6 Mega-Pixel:
Equipped with 3 mega pixel CMOS sensor, the still image resolution of the MPVR is enhanced to 6 mega pixels. Macro lens enables high quality close ups. Print 4" x 6", 5" x 7", or even 8" x 10" photos!


These types of cameras when they came on the market would emphasize the large resmapling they could do, one i saw actually claimed something like 10MP yet was really just 1 or 2. Something like this is probably good for kid but it's really nothing more that toy good for neither video or video. Stick with the name brands and don't fall for the hype. They do make a HD camcorder version suprisingly has gotten some pretty good reviews but its downfall is that it uses flash memeory which isn't very good unless you plan on toting a computer around with you to transfer because it holds very little video.


Fuji did this a few times. They actually once recalled and/or had retailers put a sticker on the box stating that the MP listed on the box was incorrect. They used NBP interpolation to double the MP of the sensor via software. Really gave them a bad rep that they still endure even now to some degree.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: daveuz On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:53 pm

My father has a few Canon point and shoot cameras. He likes them alot.
daveuz
 

Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: daveuz On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:55 pm

I took this the other day with a Canon A630. I just went in the yard clicked a few photos and this came out real nice. I did fix the color a bit in the "edit" fuction. Use the little Magna glass icon under the photo to see how much detail the photo has (click again while on the photo to make it even larger).
Last edited by Richard S. on Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: <removed dead link>
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: europachris On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:06 pm

That's really very nice - I was expecting a 'better' camera on those shots than a point and shoot.

I've looked at the Canon Powershot A720 IS, Canon Powershot SX100 IS, Canon S3 and S5 IS, and Sony DSC-H3 today. I like the S3 and S5, but I feel they might be too big and bulky for 90% of the shooting we do, and my wife really wants to keep it simple so she can just grab the camera and take a shot whenever.

The DSC-H3 and the SX100 are both nice, but I don't care for the Sony menu system. I am partial to Sony after having had one for so long, and I do like the InfoLithium battery setup they use. Yes, it's proprietary and expensive, but the batteries last for years and the shooting performance is great (lot of shots per charge).

So, I suppose what I'm really looking for is a top notch point and shoot with a good lens and not a bunch of 'fluff'.

Heck, I have a buddy with a mint Sony DSC-S85 4MP camera from 2002, same vintage as ours, that he'd let me have. All things equal, how much have digital cameras improved since then? Has the image processing, etc. really gotten better or is it more of just a "I have more megapixels than you" kinda thing?
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: av8r On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:23 pm

You'll really appreciate the IS. I'd strongly recommend it. The newer cameras are faster. Much less shutter lag (a HUGE deal) much faster post processing, fast bus speeds for faster writing to the cards, better auto focus (especially the Canon), better white balance, better compression, I could go on. That being said, you may find a 6 yr old camera does what you need. I will pay a lot for no shutter lag and fast processors. Makes a good picture a great picture IMO.

If he'll give you the old one, take it for a few weeks and try it out. Then go buy the Canon and use it for a week. I'll bet you will keep the new one.

Also...batteries are cheap, plentiful and reliable now. I buy batteries (LiPo) for my DSLRs on ebay for around $4-$5 piece. They last for many hundreds of shots and recharge quickly. The Sony infolithium is a neat gadget, but not really worth the extra IMO.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: europachris On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 7:48 pm

Good points, av8r. Just like PCs, the 'stuff' going on behind the scenes has dramatically improved over the years, as you state, and while vintage analog technology like vacuum tubes for audio can't be beat, vintage digital technology just goes obsolete......

That pretty much narrows it down to the Canon Powershot A720 IS or Canon Powershot SX100 IS at this point. Down the road I'd like to get a 'real' dSLR, but for the basic kids birthdays, vacations, and general snapshots, a good point and shoot is really what I need. Our son might be getting big into soccer over the next few years, so a fast camera with good zoom glass would be nice then.
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Re: Digital Camera recommendations

PostBy: av8r On: Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:03 pm

Don't be afraid to buy a used DSLR. I've sold nearly all my old units on ebay. All were pristine and sold for about 50% of new 2-3 yrs old. Lots of folks rotate every few years and you can get a great deal if you look.
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