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Camera choices

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by BrownianHeatingTech, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    My digital camera is getting towards the end of its useful life. It was nice when new, but is many years old, and the old 2.8MP image quality just ain't cutting it.

    I'm looking for advice on a fairly decent quality camera in the 8-12MP range. I don't usually enlarge images dramatically, so actual image quality is more important than the strict number of pixels.

    Current camera is a Sony DSC-F505V, and I'm a sucker for good optics, so I want to stick with something that has a decent lens and some adjustability, not a "point-and-shoot" pocket camera. I'm not opposed to going to the SLR route, but it isn't required.

    Price is a concern, as I'm not a professional photographer so, unlike my working tools, I don't actually get any real monetary return on this investment. However, I don't like tools of any sort breaking on me, so quality is still important in the balance.

    I'm hoping to actually come up with a few options, and add them to my "barter" page in case any homeowners need heating work and want to trade a camera. A few options increases the chance that I'll actually find a match.

    Joe

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  2. scfa99

    scfa99 New Member

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    price range?

    i have a Nikon d70s and absolutely LOVE IT. yes it sucks that it doesn't fit in my pocket but even my wife has given up point and shoot cameras.
  3. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Up to $1000, but I'm not averse to buying a used camera from someone who likes to upgrade every couple years, so get a better camera for less money. That's how I got the Sony F505V when I got it.

    Yeah, I think that's what my brother has. I do want to stay above 8MP, though, since I plan on keeping it for a long time and don't want it to be obsolete as fast. I've had that Sony for about 6 years.

    Bah! I've never owned a camera that would fit in my pocket. Before I got the Sony, I was using a Minolta X-370, which I still have, and occasionally use.

    Joe
  4. Metal

    Metal Minister of Fire

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    Anything over 5 MP's and you probably won't be able to tell the difference. A 5 MP will make very good 8x10's and pretty good 11x14's. If you want an SLR I would suggest a Nikon. The D40 would be in your price range, or if you are absolutely stuck on 8+ MP then you could get the D40X for a little more cash (still below your $1,000 ceiling, I've seen them for below $600).
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Brownie, see my other thread about the Sony R1,

    BUT, the camera you have is a GREAT one and you could very well be disappointed by your upgrade (to other types and models).

    I have the newer (relatively) model of your camera, the F707, which I think you could probably purchase used for next to nothing. I would love to upgrade, but after some research I still think I will wait!
    The F717 is similar:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscf717/

    I agree with Metal that in most cases the extra pixels may do little good......so it always depends on how you want to use it. These things are so solid (the old Sonys)!
    I've had a couple more portable units since as 2nd cameras (HP, Canon, Panasonic), but they do not even touch this thing in image quality.

    Here is what I am using to measure that....certainly unscientific. When I take a picture with this camera, I "see" things in the picture that were not at all evident with my naked eye - expressions, moods, colors. I think that might be the holy grail of photography...seeing beyond your own eyes. I see the pic and ask "who took that?" cause it looks like I know what I am doing.

    I looked at those R1 reviews and they all agree the lens itself if worth a couple grand....still, this workshorse wants to keep on going, so it tends to be the only I pick up even though the Panasonic is higher res.

    Two pic enclosed that show the color of the sony......and even though these are extremely low res, the color is pleasing to my eye.

    Attached Files:

  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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  7. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    I've got the Canon S3IS and I have enjoyed using it. The big optical zoom lets me get pics that I wouldn't take if I couldn't get in closer.
  8. FuzzyOne

    FuzzyOne Member

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    Going to a SLR takes some thought. I use a Pentax K10D. I did a lot of research before my purchase and am happy with my decision. But, you really have to want to carry a camera this size around. They are big and heavy once you attach a flash and zoom. Co-workers have been asking for recommendations from me because they know I research before I buy. If they don't want to get into the whole buying experience of a good DSLR outfit, I always recommend the Canon S3IS or newer S5IS, mentioned earlier.

    It's no P&S;and it's no DSLR, but it takes great pictures and has all the control to get creative, with a long zoom thrown in. The site mentioned above....dpreview.com is a valuable research tool. Take a look at it for reviews and specs with sample images. Just do't get caught up in the megapixel race. I had a K100D that was 6.1 and it took flawless pictures with the ability to get 16x20 enlargements. Just remember, the higher the MP, the more noise will be in the pic.

    There are a lot of great cameras and I have no brand loyalty. Just plan ahead or you could spend a small fortune on lenses from some of the big 3.
  9. struggle

    struggle Minister of Fire

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    I bought the new this summer Cannon S5IS and it works great except for one thing. When I bought it the cost was $500 and now they are $400 a few months later.

    We bought it to replace a Kodak which still works great. I wanted something that could zoom in for our kids playing sports and the ability to put a better lens on itif wanted. It also does great video as well which I am sure is limited to card size for length of video.
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My vote goes to the Nikon D40. If you can still find a D50 it will probably be less than $500. Worth a whole lot more than that.

    MP is all marketing hype. 5MP is plenty. Anything more, and it can bog the camera down, or bog down your handling of the images.
  11. kolbyTheDog

    kolbyTheDog New Member

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    I highly recommend the Kodak P880. I bought it just before my first trip to Maui and all the photos turned out great!

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=7373&pq;-locale=en_US&_requestid=19920

    The feature I love the most about it is that it has a manual zoom. Just twist the zoom ring with your other hand, no waiting on motors, which also prolongs the battery life. It also has a 24–140 mm wide-angle lens which is great because you don't have to step 10 feet back from a person to take their picture which I find to be an annoying feature of most other cameras. It is setup just like a SLR so the ergonomics are great. Unfortunately, Kodak discontinued this model and it has quite a following so the price has actually gone up a little. You can get them for around $350.

    I felt like a idiot buying something with the word "Easyshare" in the name, but what's the point of owning a camera that is to complicated to use. I used to have a Sony DSC-770 which also had the manual zoom. But I could never get it to work right and all my indoor pictures looked bad. I can't help but take a good picture with the Kodak.

    Here is a good discussion group on Kodaks and a lot of posts with pics that people take with their P880:
    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1011

    Attached Files:

  12. bbb123

    bbb123 New Member

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    I've had the D50 for a year and my parents have the D80. I'm very happy with the D50 as is my wife. Every person that has a point and shoot camera that uses mine is in shock they can actually take the picture when they want it and not 2 seconds later. The picture of the eagle is on the Hudson River this spring during striped bass season. They nest near there thats a dead herring I threw in river and they spotted several hundred yards away. The dog is a untouched picture the eagle is a crop of original.

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  13. drhiii

    drhiii Member

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    An out there choice, but a Sigma SD14 seems to fit into your description, especially the 'sucker for good optics' line. There have been an SD9 and SD10, and now the '14'. Lots of info on this camera at www.dpreview.com. It has just undergone a price drop at Cameta and the camera that was released around the $1600 range can be had for as low as $650, nib, warranty. And there are variations of kits as well. Ebay and 'sd14' will reveal the Cameta sales. There are some excellent lenses as well as the mediocre ones, but fitted with one of the top lenses, it is a bang up camera. I typically print to 26x30" before I start bicubic upsizing to produce larger images. Some folks are easily going to 6' with the images out of this camera. Too much to detail here, and it is an acquired taste of a camera since it is not mainstream, but perhaps some photos from the link below might reveal what it can do. The following are from the '9' and 10'. And in process of getting the SD14 and will produce out of that as well... if one is about the optics and image, this might be a cool choice, and the price drop is rather cool.....

    http://artists.santuario.com/albums/main.php?g2_itemId=222


  14. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Aye, I bought the S3IS. It's a GREAT camera for the price range/feature set. The newer S5IS adds a few features, but nothing I felt like upgrading for (8MP vs 6, Hot Shoe, larger external display). So you should be able to find some S3IS's for the cheap. I'd have to say one of the advantages of the S3/S5 over some of the others is the fact that is used AA batteries. Most others us proprietary batteries that can be expensive to replace and buy spares. I have 8 Eneloop batteries that I rotate thru my S3 and they give me between 500-800 pictures a set (4).

    You can also get adapters to use various filters and lenses. My wife bought me a 1.5x tele lens and I love it!!

    You can get bogged down in the "Which camera is the best?" debate. Everyone has their favs. (cough S3 ;) ). I would identify the features you MUST have, then compare the add on features. I go to DPR for my camera reviews and info.

    Also, keep in mind the difference between P&S;and dSLR's. 2 ENTIRELY different beasts :)

    Well, that's my .02



    PS- Here's a link to my Picasa web gallery. All pictures were taken with the S3
  15. dlcampbe

    dlcampbe New Member

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    I got tired of carrying all the gear, lenses, etc for my Minolta SLRs. So, now I have a Nikon Coolpix P4 that fits right in my shirt pocket. It is 8MP and has a lot of features that work well for me. I Took plenty of pics of our new Harman XXV.

    Attached Files:

  16. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    BrownianHeatingTech,

    Been a photographer since 1982. I've used a Sony F707 for 6 years......I have a Nikon D80 package now.....the image quality is unreal in comparision....I'd recommend the D40/D40x only if the items listed below are a concern in your purchase.......

    Here is a what seperates the Point and shoot's from DSRL's.

    A DSLR :
    Lets you control DOF "Depth of field"
    Has better image quality due to it's larger "APS" sized sensor
    Has much better High ISO quality
    Has no shutter lag
    Has much better Flash options
    Has AF points
    You can change lenes

    Here are some pics from my D80

    Attached Files:

  17. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I have an Olympus C5050-Z and I love it. One of the great things about this camera is the aperture is huge compared to other digital cameras under $800.00. I can shoot flash pictures in a pitch black room and they come out like daylight. In fact the pictures of my woodpile in my sig were taken at night. It's an F1.8 lens but my only complaint is that there is more shutter lag compared to newer cameras. Since I don't do much action shooting it works out okay for me.
  18. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking I may (against my previous better judgment) lean back towards the DSLR option.

    I always wanted to take the time to experiment when I was using a film SLR years ago, but the cost of developing a lot of bad pictures kept me "playing it safe" with my settings. If I get a DSLR, I can play around with things, and just delete the ones that turn out bad.

    I'm going to have to read the responses on this thread carefully, although I'm liking the Sigma for its image sensor, which has a lot of appeal to the geek in me :)

    Joe
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You can do a lot with the shutter, Joe. There's plenty of geek potential with a DSLR and as you point out, you can experiment all day long and it won't cost you a dime. There are some pretty sophisticated controls on my D50. The white balance option alone allows you to mimic a wide variety of film types with the push of a button. Like most things electronic these days, there are far more features than the average user would ever use.
  20. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Lots of cameras have full "manual" features and are still not DSRL.

    I did a lot of manual exposures on my F-707 because I used to fiddle with a lot of 360 degree and object photography....even tried one of those "one shot" 360 degree mirror things which allow you to shoot upwards and take one panorama.

    Reality - though, is that I have had my camera for 5 years and have used anything other than auto (or other "scene" settings) about 6 times!

    Probably the most I would think about manual and experimenting....is when I was shopping for the camera! After that, I would point and shoot.....

    As far as Geekdom- I just ordered my new Mac Pro with 8 cores, so that should be able to satisfy my "geekish" side.
  21. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    I hate you Craig.... >:-(
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Damn....the thing is heavy! I thought it was a wood stove....had to skid it down the steps.

    Not installed yet. I know it is going to make the web seem slow.....

    Now that's a computer like the old days....some heft to her!
  23. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    We also have a Canon Powershot S3 IS and we love it. Takes great pictures, quickly. Don't have to wait for it to think like I have had with other cameras. I put a 4GB card in it which will hold like 1000+ pictures or 15 minutes of movie with stereo sound. Even the wife with her shaky hands can take good pictures with it because of the image stabilizer
  24. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    I'm giving my thumbs up to the Nikon D80. DSLR is the only way to go. Appears there's been a couple threads in different forums on cameras. You've probably already seen the following thread, if not, take a look. I've added my initial thoughts on my new camera there.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/12455/
  25. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    After going to Norway and Patagonia with a non-SLR digital camera and being incredibly frustrated that I couldn't do more with it in such amazing scenery, I went for the DSLR.

    To really take advantage of the imaging capability of the larger DSLR sensor, you need to plan on some serious money that can cost as much as the camera body itself for lenses - esp. if you want zoom lenses. On the other hand, you can get some excellent prime lenses for not a lot of money. The cheap zoom "kit lenses" shipped with the cameras found in best buy, etc. are junk - get the body on its own and do some research online. Canon has a more comprehensive set of lenses from consumer to high end professional than any other manufacturer by leaps and bounds - there will be something that works for you.

    I also made some comments on the thread referenced above as well.

    -Colin
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