Are you happy with your camera?

RoseScope(5)September 30, 2005

If you decided to buy new photo camera what will be your choice and why?

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Herb

That's a hard question to answer. Mostly it'd depend on how much I wanted to spend!

If you're looking for camera pricing, descriptions and ratings, you'll find this site very useful -

http://www.steves-digicams.com/

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 12:33AM
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RoseScope(5)

Thank you Herb for your answer and link but I am still kind of confused. There is a variety and not only in prices. What feature of the camera maybe is more important than another? What would you like to improve in your camera  get more pixels or bigger of zoom?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 1:25AM
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gldno1

Check out the Photography forum. A member there advised me when I bought mine. Price definitely was important to me. She said mega pixels were important if you wanted to print photos, more mps means larger and clearer prints; quality of pictures is directly related to the quality of the lens. I am definitely an amateur but used this as a kind of guideline.

Now I am interested in bird photos and am going to get a camera with an internal stabilizer. Zoom photos are just slightly out of focus if you don't use a tripod on other types of zoom.

Hope this helps a bit. I have a Canon A60 and love it.
My next is going to be the Canon S1 IS.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 6:19AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

I have a Canon A75 (3.2 mega-pixels, 3x optical zoom) and I'm happy with it. It has a good macro mode which lets me take shots of plants and insects. The pixels are enough to print excellent quality 4"x6" prints and to print with good quality up to 11"x8". I would suggest that 3 mega-pixels is sufficient for almost any amateur needs and that other features are more important. More pixels are fine if they come with the camera you want, but don't pay extra money just for pixels and remember that more pixels means you'll need more memory.

I would look for a better zoom and image stabilisation in my next camera. An extra 2x optical zoom is equivalent to a digital zoom requiring four times as many pixels and there aren't many 12 mega-pixel cameras in my price range! I would look for better flash metering, one thing that is poor on my camera. More generally, look at how fast and effective the auto-focus is, check the lens quality at a review site, and play with the software (unless you'll only ever use it with a docking printer). Personally I hate the Canon camera software and the TWAIN driver is just barely adequate to get images into my own image processing program. Also, just occasionally I'd like to have RAW, or at least lossless, images and the Canon only gives me JPEG.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 9:53AM
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Herb

I agree with Shrubs n bulbs about zoom being just as good, in many ways, as extra megapixels.

I also like image stabilization - but don't expect too much from it. I have a Canon S1IS & while the IS system helps a bit, it can't cope with camera shake at lower shutter speeds. The camera I had before this one was an Olympus C2100UZ - and I think the Olympus' image stabilization system worked just a little bit better - but maybe that was because the Olympus was a good deal heavier. The heavier the camera, the less prone it is to camera shake. If I'd narrowed the choice to two cameras, I'd probably go for the heavier one.

My Canon has 10x zoom (so did the Olympus) - and that is really good to have.

I agree too with Shrubs n bulbs about lens quality. I like the Steves Digicams site for its sample pictures. I like to look at the shots of the red brick schoolhouse because the better lenses show the lettering on the traffic signs more clearly.

Another thing - I like a camera that I can get a proper grip on. Some are so small that instead of holding it in your hand, you really have to hold it with your fingers. It's like taking a picture with a matchbox - and that makes it even harder to keep the camera still when you press the shutter.

When I bought my Canon S1IS I don't think the Panasonic Lumix FZ10, FZA15 or FZA20 were available, or I might have considered one of them. A friend of mine has one and it seems very good.

And now Canon have the S2IS. That's attractive as well & I think it has a macro (close-up) function that the S1IS lacks. On the other hand, to get better close-ups with my S1IS I just took a lens out of an old pair of garage sale binoculars & fixed it in a tube to attach to the camera. It works O.K. for me -

Click to see

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 12:39PM
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gldno1

Herb, I'm worried. I thought all the hype about the S1 IS and S2 was about the internal stabilization. If I just use the auto feature and click using the zoom, will I get good shots?

I haven't bothered with the manual settings......being somewhat, ok, very camera challenged!

gld

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 12:52PM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

One of things that a really good camera does is take good pictures in difficult conditions. Almost any camera can take decent pictures in good conditions. When it is a bit dark the exposure is longer and camera shake shows up more. Or the aperture is wider and a poor lens hurts the image quality. On a moving subject, a slow auto-focus means you miss the picture or get a blurred picture. With complex situations like back lighting, black and white backgrounds, or a mix of near and far subjects, poor cameras pick the wrong exposure or the wrong focus.

At the end of the day, a tripod is the best solution but I know that 99% of my pictures will be taken without one so any form of image stabilisation is better than none. You simply can't hold the camera still enough at 10x zoom except on the very shortest exposures in the very best light. I think this is any area that is now improving dramatically and I'm suprised that it isn't better. Image stabilisation on video cameras now is superb and I would have thought they could do it on a still camera.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 1:04PM
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Herb

I've had astonishingly sharp pictures from both my Canon S1IS and from my Olympus C2100UZ when hand-held and used at their maximum 10x zoom - but at the same time I think the exposure times were quite short, like 1/100 second or less, which helps. On the other hand held exposures of 1/20 second and longer still need either a very steady hand or better still a tripod.

This discussion has given me an idea - I'm going to give the IS system some help. I'm going make a fairly heavy weight - at least as heavy as the camera itself - that I can attach to the camera using the camera's tripod bushing. Then I'm going to try some hand-held shots to see if I get consistently sharper pictures.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2005 at 3:01PM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

If I had the $$$ to spend the Canon EOS 20D would be my first choice. But my limit was $400 or less. I used www.dpreview.com for reviews. I especially like the comparison pages.

I chose an Olympus C-3020 (3 mp) for my first digital. What I love: adjusting the red/blue, the good overall color and ease of use. What I dislike: soft focus. I assume the same red/blue control is offered on later models of the Comedia line.

Now I have in addition a Canon A95. The sharpness of pics is better but it is 5 mp instead of 3 so they should be. Its LCD screen flips out and turns which I'm still adjusting to. I understand a lot of people like this feature. What I don't like: the software.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 4:44AM
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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Iris, thanks for reminding me. Anyone who likes to take shots at unusual angles will appreciate the swivel screen. The A75 doesn't have it, luckily I am fairly agile and am often to be seen lying on my back trying to shoot a dangling flower!

Anyone who is a hamfisted klutz will, I'm sure, break off the swivel screen in a matter of weeks :(

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 6:25AM
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tngreenthumb(z6 TN)

It really depends on what you want to use it for. If all you want are quick snaps in good light, then almost any point & shoot camera will do. (And 6MP is plenty for prints up to 20"x30". I have several hanging on my walls now.)

For challanging situations, the pack gets a lot smaller. But for true versatility in all situations, it's gonna cost you. For one thing, no one consumer camera can do it all. Period. Even a DSLR (which I have) requires different lenses and filters for wildly different lighting situations. Add to that artificial lighting (flashes) and you can see why I said it's gonna cost you.

The true key to it all is to learn more about taking a photo than pointing the glass end towards the subject and pushing the shiney silver button. Not meaning to sound condescending, but that's the basic fact. If you don't understand the basics of exposure and the relationship between aperture and shutter speed then you will get a lot of disappointing shots. However, once you learn WHY a shot turned out bad, you can learn how to do it right.

True, there will always be situations that you might not be able to get a good picture. But the more you understand about how photography works, the easier it will be to identify those situations in advance and plan accordingly. Like carrying a tripod in your car at all times. (I do...)

I am a frequent reader and poster on dpreview.com and I see the same thing over and over....people buying a new camera because they think it will "do it" for them. Then being disappointed that it doesn't work any better than their old one. Wonder what didn't change?

Image stabilization, for example, is a great tool, but it's not a magic bullet. Given the choice of IS (or VR in Nikon lingo) or a good tripod, I'd pick the tripod every time. But since that's not always practical, I also have one image stabilized lens and am loooking at getting another one. (Longer zoom.) That doesn't mean the tripod is going in the yard sale though.

Hmmm...reading back over this I'm afraid I may have comme off a bit strong. What I'm saying is that you should make sure your camera is truly limiting you before looking at a new one. My first camera was a Fuji pro-sumer model that I bought because it had full manual control. I WANTED to learn the basics. I switched it to manual and left it there for several months. Only when I understood the choices the camera would make did I feel comfortable moving into ANY auto mode.

And yes, I am VERY happy with my camera....

Click to enlarge in a new window.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Heatherz5

I have the Canon S2 IS and I really like it. I am still trying to learn all the different functions though. Some pictures turn out great, others not so good to say the least. I like the image stablization feature. It has 12x optical zoom which was a feature I wanted also. My last digital camera only had 3 optical. I also enjoy using the super macro mode which allows me to get as close to the subject as possible. I am having trouble understanding the regular macro mode and how it works though. This camera is much heavier than my last one. I also use the tripod quite a bit but have gotten some really nice shots without it.

I really think for the price, I got a great camera. I spent HOURS and HOURS at Steves digicams and dp review and other sites, researching cameras before I made my choice. I am happy with it.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2005 at 11:48PM
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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

I have the Panasonic Lumix FZ20 and like it. I wanted a camera with a longer telephoto, IS, and with the option of manual controls. It is a larger camera, so that may be a drawback for some. I still have a lot to learn about it, but I think it will satisfy me for a long time.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 12:52PM
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RoseScope(5)

I just want to say THANK YOU to all authors who decided to add a comment to the subject matter. I think it was great and healthy discussion with plenty useful information.
Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 9:31PM
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