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Please help! Camera recommendation Watch

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    I'm not a photography student, but really love taking pictures and want to get into it a lot more.

    I currently have an Olympus Camedia C-460 zoom del sol digital camera, which is very good for what I have needed it for. However, I'd really like to get a more 'professional' camera - one that has different focus effects, lighting effects etc.

    A friend of a friend has just bought the Olympus Pen, and her pictures are just like the sort of thing I'd like to do, though I appreciate that camera is wayy out of my price range...

    ...so I was hoping for a little advice/recommendation - are there any cameras that do the sort of thing I'm looking for (like the features of the Olympus Pen - the best way I can describe what I'm looking for as I don't know the technical terms!), yet would be ideally around the £150 benchmark??

    Thank you!
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    I'm not a photography student, but really love taking pictures and want to get into it a lot more.

    I currently have an Olympus Camedia C-460 zoom del sol digital camera, which is very good for what I have needed it for. However, I'd really like to get a more 'professional' camera - one that has different focus effects, lighting effects etc.

    A friend of a friend has just bought the Olympus Pen, and her pictures are just like the sort of thing I'd like to do, though I appreciate that camera is wayy out of my price range...

    ...so I was hoping for a little advice/recommendation - are there any cameras that do the sort of thing I'm looking for (like the features of the Olympus Pen - the best way I can describe what I'm looking for as I don't know the technical terms!), yet would be ideally around the £150 benchmark??

    Thank you!

    Have you done any research into what you can get for that money? I would suggest that you do becuase it's unlikely you will find anythign that matches what you want for £150. You might find a Canon powershot campact that can do some of the things or you could maybe buy an old film SLR.

    Good luck.
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    (Original post by Sammydemon)
    Have you done any research into what you can get for that money? I would suggest that you do becuase it's unlikely you will find anythign that matches what you want for £150. You might find a Canon powershot campact that can do some of the things or you could maybe buy an old film SLR.

    Good luck.
    Thanks for your reply... No, I haven't really done much research - I've tried looking around amazon and looking at reviews, but to be honest I don't really know how to go about looking for a camera - I read the technical jargon but as a non-photographer, I don't really know what it all means anyway!

    That's why I wanted to ask 'the experts' on here - for example; if I'm looking for a camera that has different focus-effects, what would the technical jargon for this be?

    I'll have a look into the Canon powershot compact and the film SLR, thanks.
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    Thanks for your reply... No, I haven't really done much research - I've tried looking around amazon and looking at reviews, but to be honest I don't really know how to go about looking for a camera - I read the technical jargon but as a non-photographer, I don't really know what it all means anyway!

    That's why I wanted to ask 'the experts' on here - for example; if I'm looking for a camera that has different focus-effects, what would the technical jargon for this be?

    I'll have a look into the Canon powershot compact and the film SLR, thanks.
    For your focussing effects, I presume you mean you want to manually focus and have a shallow depth of field.

    You need an SLR for this kind of thing and your budget will only stretch to film. Try to get an olympus OM-2 or OM-4 off eBay with a 50mm f/1.8 kit lens. This should do the trick, but remember you will be using film, not digital, so look into it first.
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    [QUOTE=Sammydemon;29111590]For your focussing effects, I presume you mean you want to manually focus and have a shallow depth of field.

    QUOTE]

    I'm not sure (sorry, I'm really not clued up on this, am I?!) - basically, what I'm looking for mainly is to be able to have a focused foreground, with a blurred background, for example...
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    Thanks for your reply... No, I haven't really done much research - I've tried looking around amazon and looking at reviews, but to be honest I don't really know how to go about looking for a camera - I read the technical jargon but as a non-photographer, I don't really know what it all means anyway!

    That's why I wanted to ask 'the experts' on here - for example; if I'm looking for a camera that has different focus-effects, what would the technical jargon for this be?

    I'll have a look into the Canon powershot compact and the film SLR, thanks.
    Maybe you are talking about the "depth of field" or DOF.

    About your camera, I would narrow down your choice to 2 or 3 brands. A film camera can be a choice, but for your budget, the only place to look for one is eBay, hoping in a good deal. So here I will assume you want to go for a compact digital camera.

    What I recommend you are: Sony, Canon and Panasonic, with a fourth being Casio Exilim series. The reason is that they are all reliable, widespread and have a good quality/price ratio, even if Sony tends to be a bit more expensive.

    First of all, I would recommend 10-12 megapixels maximum, in order to avoid too much noise at low ISO ranges (never mind the jargon, let's just say that the photo would become too grainy and "dirty" especially in the dark areas). The equation more megapixels=better pictures is simply false. Actually, the opposite tends to be true, especially in compact cameras.

    Second, a good lens is paramount: Leica (Panasonic) or Carl Zeiss (Sony) are among the best. Make sure the optical zoom is also good: 4x, 5x or more are pretty good values for that price range.

    Since these compact cameras don't usually have a viewfinder, make sure the rear display is large and bright enough. Handling the cameras in this respect is paramount, and if you can see the display in broad daylight, even better.

    I would encourage you to shortlist the cameras yourself down to 3-5 models, so we can be of further assistance once you let us know which ones you picked.
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    I'd be inclined to look at the Fuji SLR-esque cameras, like the S2500 at that kind of budget. I haven't used one for a long time (I've got my dad's kicking around somewhere) but they do give more options, such as aperture priority which you don't get on most compacts. They've also got a decent size lens, rather than the tiny little things found on a lot of compacts.

    BTW if anyone wants to contradict me feel free - I've not used a compact for a long time so I'm not an expert. I managed to get my dSLR with two lenses for £179 brand new
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    I'm not sure (sorry, I'm really not clued up on this, am I?!) - basically, what I'm looking for mainly is to be able to have a focused foreground, with a blurred background, for example...
    You want an SLR with a fast lens then, not a compact. You might get an older lower end DSLR for £150, but you are looking at another £70ish for a 50mm F/1.8
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    I'm not a photography student, but really love taking pictures and want to get into it a lot more.

    I currently have an Olympus Camedia C-460 zoom del sol digital camera, which is very good for what I have needed it for. However, I'd really like to get a more 'professional' camera - one that has different focus effects, lighting effects etc.

    A friend of a friend has just bought the Olympus Pen, and her pictures are just like the sort of thing I'd like to do, though I appreciate that camera is wayy out of my price range...

    ...so I was hoping for a little advice/recommendation - are there any cameras that do the sort of thing I'm looking for (like the features of the Olympus Pen - the best way I can describe what I'm looking for as I don't know the technical terms!), yet would be ideally around the £150 benchmark??

    Thank you!
    Well I don't know what features you're looking for, but I bought this camera only today.. The saving is pretty immense.

    edit: This (as well as most digital compacts nowadays) has a manual focus, so you can get those sharp foregrounds with blurred backgrounds. This, or the TZ10 (which just gives you GPS features and minimally better specs) are better than a cheap SLR

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    (Original post by Architecture-er)
    Well I don't know what features you're looking for, but I bought this camera only today.. The saving is pretty immense.

    edit: This (as well as most digital compacts nowadays) has a manual focus, so you can get those sharp foregrounds with blurred backgrounds. This, or the TZ10 (which just gives you GPS features and minimally better specs) are better than a cheap SLR

    Thanks for the recommendation - have read the info it gives, and it does sound really good. And the example images show the focus-blur effect I am after, like you say, with the use of the manual focus.

    Just two more questions!

    1. did this camera come with a decent memory card or did you have to buy one?
    2. I was also just looking at the Canon Powershot http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-PowerS...3723024&sr=1-5 - which would you all say was better?

    Thanks so much for everyone's help - really appreciate it.
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    Some of the Fujifilm cameras are good for the money. Also if you're wanting that 'look'.
    http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/fujifil...61649-pdt.html

    Though you're compromising on the lens quality (hence the price). Panasonic and Sony do better lenses.
    The Panasonic posted above is such a popular and decent camera for the money.
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    Thanks for the recommendation - have read the info it gives, and it does sound really good. And the example images show the focus-blur effect I am after, like you say, with the use of the manual focus.

    Just two more questions!

    1. did this camera come with a decent memory card or did you have to buy one?
    2. I was also just looking at the Canon Powershot http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-PowerShot-Digital-Camera-Megapixel/dp/B00400OK5C/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie= UTF8&qid=1293723024&sr=1-5 - which would you all say was better?

    Thanks so much for everyone's help - really appreciate it.
    Normally cameras don't come with memory cards, unless you are buying some bundle. So check if your shop has this option, otherwise go for brands like Kingston or Sandisk, that are pretty reliable. Don't exaggerate with the GB's: 8 would do. Flash cards tend to break down like any other device, so instead of buying a 16GB and risk losing all of your photos, better you get a couple of 8 GB's, or 4x 4GB's and so on...

    About the Canon camera, it seems to have good specs, even if it is a bit bulky and weights over 300g with batteries. If you don't mind this, you can seriously consider it. The good of this camera is that it allows for a full-manual mode, with which you will be able to control how your "make" the picture, not just how you take it. The Panasonic model you mentioned is a safe bet, it takes pretty good photos and acceptable videos. It tends to have some noise in low light, but that can be controlled to a degree. it weighs around 100g less than the Canon, which can make some difference to your hands after a day spent out shooting.

    If I had to pick one, I would say go for Panasonic, because it is better built, even though Canon is also good.
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    Thanks for the recommendation - have read the info it gives, and it does sound really good. And the example images show the focus-blur effect I am after, like you say, with the use of the manual focus.

    Just two more questions!

    1. did this camera come with a decent memory card or did you have to buy one?
    2. I was also just looking at the Canon Powershot http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-PowerS...3723024&sr=1-5 - which would you all say was better?

    Thanks so much for everyone's help - really appreciate it.
    It didn't come with a memory card, but I got this one because I wanted to splash out a bit, and got this to read it quickly.
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    (Original post by dshadow)
    Maybe you are talking about the "depth of field" or DOF.

    About your camera, I would narrow down your choice to 2 or 3 brands. A film camera can be a choice, but for your budget, the only place to look for one is eBay, hoping in a good deal. So here I will assume you want to go for a compact digital camera.

    What I recommend you are: Sony, Canon and Panasonic, with a fourth being Casio Exilim series. The reason is that they are all reliable, widespread and have a good quality/price ratio, even if Sony tends to be a bit more expensive.

    First of all, I would recommend 10-12 megapixels maximum, in order to avoid too much noise at low ISO ranges (never mind the jargon, let's just say that the photo would become too grainy and "dirty" especially in the dark areas). The equation more megapixels=better pictures is simply false. Actually, the opposite tends to be true, especially in compact cameras.

    Second, a good lens is paramount: Leica (Panasonic) or Carl Zeiss (Sony) are among the best. Make sure the optical zoom is also good: 4x, 5x or more are pretty good values for that price range.

    Since these compact cameras don't usually have a viewfinder, make sure the rear display is large and bright enough. Handling the cameras in this respect is paramount, and if you can see the display in broad daylight, even better.

    I would encourage you to shortlist the cameras yourself down to 3-5 models, so we can be of further assistance once you let us know which ones you picked.
    Thanks so muh everyone for your replies. I've had a look at your suggestions, and have narrowed it down to these three:

    - Panasonic Lumix TZ8 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-L...3725956&sr=8-1

    - Fuji S2500hd http://www.amazon.co.uk/eHome-Bundle...3753406&sr=8-1

    - Canon Poweshot SX130 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-PowerS...3723024&sr=1-5

    Which do you think is best? Thanks!
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    About my comments on Canon and Panasonic, see comment #12 above in the thread.

    About Fuji, that is a great camera, that belongs to a slightly different class, compared to the Panasonic, and it's more similar to the Canon. You can consider it a middle way between compact cameras and the so-called DSLRs with interchangeable lenses.

    The pros of Fuji are essentially three: a good image stabilization system, that should compensate for a not too steady hand, a great optical zoom compared with the other two cameras, and in general a number of features that are "dummy-proof" so that it would be quite easy to get great pictures from almost any shooting session -provided you read the manual first!

    Fuji is a good camera, suitable for beginners, but it's bulky and quite heavy to carry around. I would not recommend it to a girl, especially given that convenience and small size are usually most desired camera features on girls' part.

    The main cons seem to be mainly two: annoying noise in low light conditions and a very limited manual controls' range (for example, only two apertures available, limiting your freedom to obtain good "off-focus" effects).

    The choice should be driven, in my view, by what features are more important to you: if you want to "learn" how to take photos instead of letting the camera do all the dirty job, then this model of Fuji is not probably for you. If you crave for convenience and light weight, go for Panasonic, that takes great photos and it's however packed with features.

    You might also want to consider some alternatives to this Fuji model, like: Olympus SP-800UZ, since you mentioned this brand above, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 and Nikon Coolpix P100, all belonging to the "super-zoom" hybrid class of cameras.

    If you can go to a shop and try a few of these cameras, that would greatly help your choice, because an important condition for camera purchasing is that you "feel" it, to the point that it becomes an extension of you, somehow.
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    (Original post by dshadow)
    About my comments on Canon and Panasonic, see comment #12 above in the thread.

    About Fuji, that is a great camera, that belongs to a slightly different class, compared to the Panasonic, and it's more similar to the Canon. You can consider it a middle way between compact cameras and the so-called DSLRs with interchangeable lenses.

    The pros of Fuji are essentially three: a good image stabilization system, that should compensate for a not too steady hand, a great optical zoom compared with the other two cameras, and in general a number of features that are "dummy-proof" so that it would be quite easy to get great pictures from almost any shooting session -provided you read the manual first!

    Fuji is a good camera, suitable for beginners, but it's bulky and quite heavy to carry around. I would not recommend it to a girl, especially given that convenience and small size are usually most desired camera features on girls' part.

    The main cons seem to be mainly two: annoying noise in low light conditions and a very limited manual controls' range (for example, only two apertures available, limiting your freedom to obtain good "off-focus" effects).

    The choice should be driven, in my view, by what features are more important to you: if you want to "learn" how to take photos instead of letting the camera do all the dirty job, then this model of Fuji is not probably for you. If you crave for convenience and light weight, go for Panasonic, that takes great photos and it's however packed with features.

    You might also want to consider some alternatives to this Fuji model, like: Olympus SP-800UZ, since you mentioned this brand above, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 and Nikon Coolpix P100, all belonging to the "super-zoom" hybrid class of cameras.

    If you can go to a shop and try a few of these cameras, that would greatly help your choice, because an important condition for camera purchasing is that you "feel" it, to the point that it becomes an extension of you, somehow.
    Thanks so much for your advice - I've decided to go with the Panasonic TZ8 Just one final question, sorry, I've noted on the amazon.co.uk reviews that the video feature seems to require a class 4 SD card...I've found one that's a class 4 and is 4GB - how many images would you say this ought to hold, for this 12 megapixel camera? I believe the camera has a built in memory of 40MB...how many should this hold?

    Thank you
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    (Original post by singerpianist)
    Thanks so much for your advice - I've decided to go with the Panasonic TZ8 Just one final question, sorry, I've noted on the amazon.co.uk reviews that the video feature seems to require a class 4 SD card...I've found one that's a class 4 and is 4GB - how many images would you say this ought to hold, for this 12 megapixel camera? I believe the camera has a built in memory of 40MB...how many should this hold?

    Thank you
    As a general principle, the maximum number of images that a flash card can hold depends on two factors. First, obviously, the maximum capacity of the card itself, in your case 4GB (if you also plan on shooting some videos, maybe a 8GB SDHC would be more appropriate) and second, the "space" occupied by each photo you take. This space is determined by the "resolution," that is, how large your picture will be once processed by the camera, and the format of the photo itself, whether RAW or Jpeg.

    Assuming the simplest scenario, that is, Jpeg at maximum quality and 12 Mp (basically the maximum resolution that your camera can support) I'd say several hundreds, realistically around 700-750. This threshold can be lowered if you start shooting RAW (a format for images that allows you to edit them later in programs like Photoshop and correct many imperfections and mistakes) because raw photos usually take more space on your SD card.

    The manual of your camera can be more specific on the matter, anyway.

    I strongly recommend you never reach the full capacity of a SD Card, because this might make it subjected to failures.

    Also, especially if you don't plan on editing your photos, and therefore shoot in Jpeg format, try not to go full 12.1 megapixels, but keep it around 8-10. This will slightly improve the quality of your photos, by containing the so-called "noise" that usually manifests itself in the form of grainy color particularly visible in the dark areas of the picture and in low light conditions. And, of course, your SD card will contain more images!

    If I can be of further assistance, don't hesitate
 
 
 
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