Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
fireman44
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:49 pm

Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by fireman44 »

Hello everyone. I am looking to purchase a compact camera in the range of $600-$700. I see some good options that had positive reviews on some websites. I am a beginner with camera's and don't have much knowledge with them. So a simpler camera to use would be a big plus. I have a newborn and this camera would be used mostly to shoot him as he grows and my wife would love to take nature photos outdoors. So what I would think I am looking for is a simple, point and shoot ready camera that offers great quality pictures without much tweaking.

Some options I have found in my price range are:

Sony RX100 lll, Panasonic Lumix LX10 or LX100, Panasonic Lumix ZS100, Nixon Coolpix P900, Canon G7 X Mark ll.

Those are the best options I could narrow it down to myself, unless someone can mention anything else that could possibly be better.

Thanks for all the responses and help in making me purchase the right camera for my family's needs! :sharebeer
texasdiver
Posts: 3567
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:50 am
Location: Vancouver WA

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by texasdiver »

We own 3 nice digital cameras but have found that for shooting kids we pretty much only use the iPhones anymore. The camera in your pocket is the one you will use and iPhones have gotten pretty good.

If you are not a serious photographer then there are two reasons to get a nicer camera in my mind:

1. Zoom. Once you start shooting things like your kids soccer game it is nice to have a camera with a better zoom than you can find on a phone. We have a Canon superzoom that is great for sports shots.

2. High resolution digital prints. If you are going to be filling your walls with big prints of your family and kids then a better resolution camera than a phone provides will be nice to have.

Otherwise think about how you will be using and saving photos. 99.999% of our photos never make it into prints. They are just posted to our family photostream so the grandparents and uncles can keep in touch with the girls and also posted sometimes to facebook so the extended family can keep in touch. Otherwise most of the photos I take just get filed away into my dropbox archive. Once in a while I have loaded up digital photo frames with photos for grandma or for my office and that is about it. iPhones work pretty well for that kind of thing.

Any of the cameras you list will be great. But if your main focus is shooting the child then you may want to look for better zoom capacity, especially as the child gets a bit older and is doing sports and other activities.
User avatar
Feb29
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:52 pm
Location: Chicago Area

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by Feb29 »

As a beginner you don't need to spend that much money. You can get a very good camera that fits in your pocket for under $200. Consider the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS. This website has reliable reviews and solid advice:

http://www.consumersearch.com/digital-camera-reviews
Atgard
Posts: 420
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:02 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by Atgard »

In compact cameras, the Sony RX100 is really hard to beat. It has a much larger sensor than most super compact cameras, meaning you can get better shots, less blurry shots in lower light, better action shots, etc. As with any camera, you'll get more out of it if you put more into it (learning more about photography, getting out of "auto" mode, digital post-processing, etc.), but you will get noticeably better image quality than from a phone camera with the RX100 -- especially noticeable in low-light situations (and kids running around indoors qualifies as "low light" here).

Sure, for some the iPhone pics are "good enough," especially if you only look at them on a phone and never blown up on a big monitor or printed. And even if I don't want to print 99% of my kids' pics, I DO want some really nice photos to print, and I do look at most/all of them on a large monitor and the difference in sharpness, noise, depth of field, ability to crop and retain detail, etc. is significant over phone cameras.
squirm
Posts: 3077
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by squirm »

You'll end up using your phone. I was stupid enough to buy all the digital camera toys including a dslr and the compacts... And a pro photo printer... Before my last was born... Guess which camera I use 99% of the time? The phone camera.... Don't waste your money.
User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3536
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by Rob5TCP »

For me, the gold standard for camera reviews has been dppreviews.
One thing to consider, you will probably also be shooting a lot of video with the kids. You want 4k even if you don't have a 4k monitor/TV.
I don't believe the Sony III is 4k.

DP Previews gives you in an in depth look at the most popular cameras and what he rates as the best in each catergory.
He includes tons of sample prints, plus a good selection of how various video look.

https://www.dpreview.com/buying-guides

This might be his most relevant guide:
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/2017-r ... om-cameras
Liberty1100
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:36 pm
Contact:

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by Liberty1100 »

texasdiver wrote:We own 3 nice digital cameras but have found that for shooting kids we pretty much only use the iPhones anymore. The camera in your pocket is the one you will use and iPhones have gotten pretty good.

If you are not a serious photographer then there are two reasons to get a nicer camera in my mind:

1. Zoom. Once you start shooting things like your kids soccer game it is nice to have a camera with a better zoom than you can find on a phone. We have a Canon superzoom that is great for sports shots.

2. High resolution digital prints. If you are going to be filling your walls with big prints of your family and kids then a better resolution camera than a phone provides will be nice to have.

Otherwise think about how you will be using and saving photos. 99.999% of our photos never make it into prints. They are just posted to our family photostream so the grandparents and uncles can keep in touch with the girls and also posted sometimes to facebook so the extended family can keep in touch. Otherwise most of the photos I take just get filed away into my dropbox archive. Once in a while I have loaded up digital photo frames with photos for grandma or for my office and that is about it. iPhones work pretty well for that kind of thing.

Any of the cameras you list will be great. But if your main focus is shooting the child then you may want to look for better zoom capacity, especially as the child gets a bit older and is doing sports and other activities.
I second this advice. If you want he best photos possible, upgrade your phone to the newest IPhone 7 plus. It has ta new portrait mode which makes more "classic" photos. https://techcrunch.com/2016/09/21/hands ... rait-mode/
jjface
Posts: 3097
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:18 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by jjface »

I've used quite a few of them or similar ones and my daughter is now 5.

I would not rely just on a phone camera. What we did was a team effort. One of us had a proper camera and the other a phone camera. We swapped sometimes. My wife likes to take nature shots as well. So I usually ended up with the phone camera and she the proper one. She started out with a panasonic micro four thirds camera with the 10x zoom and is currently using a canon m10 with a similar zoom lens. Both are easy to use on auto mode and produce fantastic images. They are preferrable to something inbetween in my opinion.

Whilst true that you can't carry around the proper camera absolutely everywhere there are times when a proper camera produces those special images a phone camera cannot match. I certainly wouldn't want to take outside nature photos just with a phone for example. Not fun.

I myself dabbled with a rx100 and a canon g9x mark II and whilst I preferred them over the phone camera it is true it was a hassle to carry for the one carrying the kid or the bags or whatever. So I get where people come from recommending a phone camera. Still I would not want to just have one all the time.

Now if you really just want one then I would consider the panasonic lx100. Fast decent lens with a larger sensor. My wife tried the zs100 was great for kid shots but not really that spectacular for outside nature shots. I don't particularly like the rx100 as sony cameras tend to be a bit cold in color for me out of the box. I don't like the canon models because the one I tried wouldn't let you take photos whilst recording video.

nb no need for 4k. With a kid you haven't time to be downscaling them or anything and some computer struggle to play them.
User avatar
climber2020
Posts: 1594
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:06 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by climber2020 »

Get the RX100. Either the m3 if you need the extra wide angle lens or the m1 if you're ok with a slightly less wide lens and want something smaller and lighter with better battery life. I carry mine around in my front pocket when I travel.

If you plan on taking pictures of your kids or anything that moves quickly, the iPhone is fine if you're outside in bright light. As soon as the light level drops, if you try to shoot anything that moves, you'll end up with a blurry subject.

My favorite aspect of the RX100 is that it has virtually no shutter lag. When you push the button, it takes the picture. Also, focusing is very fast for a non-DSLR, even in the dark when there isn't much light. It doesn't hunt for focus like a lot of other cameras.

I've had an original RX100 since 2012, have taken it all over the place with no case and without babying it, and it's still going strong. I expected it to die within 3 years, either due to sensor dust or a stuck lens barrel like what happens to most compacts (they're basically disposable products), but it's been a surprisingly resilient camera and still gets very regular use.
jjface
Posts: 3097
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:18 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by jjface »

My rx100 died after 2 years and I am pretty careful with cameras. YMMV
User avatar
Fletch
Posts: 757
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:25 pm
Location: USA

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by Fletch »

I use my iPhone 7 Plus (and my previous iPhones) literally for all my photo needs. Great still shots, zoom, video. I always have it with me. I love the portrait mode for people shots. I have not used my Canon S95 for several years - great camera but I never had it with me when photo ops came up. Like others, I very rarely print pictures. Save your money on a separate camera that you will likely find bulky and cumbersome to carry around. My two cents.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.
sketchy9
Posts: 188
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:10 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by sketchy9 »

An old saying is "the best camera is the one you have with you". That being said, ask yourself what you are trying to photograph. Phone cameras (and it's not just the iPhone, the Galaxy series is really equivalent), are fine for portraits in good light, and maybe some basic action. Fast action indoors? You'll need to shell out for good lenses and a camera to use them on. Want to be artistic and maybe grow into a hobby? Better lenses will help (but not mandatory).

I think the mid-range of cameras is shrinking. Phones are getting better on the low end, and the high end is occupied by dSLRs. Unless you really need what they can offer, a phone will probably do.
mortfree
Posts: 2488
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by mortfree »

if you want to take pics of little kids, remember that they are always on the move so you want to be sure your camera can handle those speeds. I was finding that the pictures turned out blurry due to sudden movements.

If a compact camera can eliminate that possibility, great.

I got a Canon T5i and use that, but not as often as I should.

Just wanted to share my novice experience.
wfrobinette
Posts: 1430
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by wfrobinette »

fireman44 wrote:Hello everyone. I am looking to purchase a compact camera in the range of $600-$700. I see some good options that had positive reviews on some websites. I am a beginner with camera's and don't have much knowledge with them. So a simpler camera to use would be a big plus. I have a newborn and this camera would be used mostly to shoot him as he grows and my wife would love to take nature photos outdoors. So what I would think I am looking for is a simple, point and shoot ready camera that offers great quality pictures without much tweaking.

Some options I have found in my price range are:

Sony RX100 lll, Panasonic Lumix LX10 or LX100, Panasonic Lumix ZS100, Nixon Coolpix P900, Canon G7 X Mark ll.

Those are the best options I could narrow it down to myself, unless someone can mention anything else that could possibly be better.

Thanks for all the responses and help in making me purchase the right camera for my family's needs! :sharebeer
We have had 3 compacts over the years and since the phone cameras have gotten so good the compacts haven't been used in 5 years or so. 99% is used on the phone. Now we did splurge and get an entry level canon dSLR with a nice zoom lens about 4 years ago for my wife to use. That's what we take to sports and stuff and for the nature shots, portraits, etc.
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5430
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by lthenderson »

I have three compact cameras right now gathering dust in a basket full of other unused electronic things. I either use my iphone or if I want something to enlarge and display or a bigger zoom, I grab my SLR which didn't cost very much more than your budget. Even it doesn't get used as much as it once did a decade ago. Manufacturers already make lens kits that clip onto cell phone to give you more zooming capabilities. In my opinion, compact cameras will soon be on the way of cassette tapes.
wrongfunds
Posts: 2337
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:55 pm

Re: Beginner needs help choosing which compact camera to buy!

Post by wrongfunds »

I went through similar dilemma although my requirement was for travel. Eventually I realized that to be able to beat our existing iPhone7 and iPhone7+ cameras on travel, the only choice was to go with interchangeable lenses camera which costs more than iPhone7 or iPhone7+

I ended up with Sony A6000 mirror-less with kit+zoom lens set.
Post Reply