Good camera - new baby coming

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DTSC
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by DTSC »

My experience is that size matters. You'll have enough to carry around. After your child outgrows the diaper bag, dragging a DSLR around is just too much of a pain. Smartphones are readily available and do a good job, but don't have a good enough flash for indoor use. Therefore, if I had to do it over again, I'd get a small mirrorless compact DSLR-like camera.
chmcnm
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by chmcnm »

TN_Boy wrote:
JDot wrote: One thing that did surprise me in this thread, is that several people remarked on how they wanted better cameras/professionally taken pictures for maybe once a year 'stand out' photographs or special events etc, but I personally find almost all formal pictures really boring, and a lot of the special event pictures are posed. The candid shots are the ones I find much more interesting.
You have to find a really good photographer who works well with small children. We were lucky to find a local "artist" who was wonderful with picking out clothes and props. She also did black and whites and some "colorized" pictures. She was also able to get them to smile at the right times. Didn't have that staged look like school photos. The pictures went up the day we got them. They're still up 15 years later. Timeless.

As for the camera...it's Tuesday at 6am. You and your wife are getting ready for work. Your 10 month-old decides to take her first steps. What's more likely? Grabbing your cell phone out of your pocket or off the table or going to the family room to get the camera..oh wait..it's upstairs...and the batteries aren't charged.
PFInterest
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by PFInterest »

cell phone. and fix it in post.
happy77
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by happy77 »

Smartphones have killed the camera market and cameras on smartphones are getting better day by day.
Get a good phone (iphone 7, pixel, s7). In my opinion, there is no need to buy DSLR or any other cameras.
And upgrade your phone every 2-3 years.

Nothing can beat a smartphone camera today in terms of availability, portability and usability. And picture quality is superb.
EvelynTroy
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by EvelynTroy »

Congratulations on your upcoming addition to your family. Excellent idea to be thinking about the camera situation.
I'm no big-time photographer - but I do enjoy taking lots of travel pictures.
I totally agree with these points that have been made and additional thoughts:

- Best camera is the one you have in your hand or pocket.
- Big DSLR market has been shattered because of camera phones (example can be seen on TV at any large live gathering - much as I dislike watching Trump rallies you rarely see someone in crowd holding up DSLR taking phots.
- A good quality point and shoot will take excellent photos.
- A point and shoot with a view finder is a must for taking photos outdoors - looking at a phone screen or camera screen in sunlite just doesn't work well.
- If you begin to develop a more serious interest in photography you can learn tons with a point and shoot - shoot in manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, along with a raft of different effects.
- Its not so much the equipment you have as opposed to being able to get the most out of the equipment you have. Example - if you just pick up your phone and click - maybe look on youtube for a good tutorial on using your phone camera and all its features.
This same would apply to whatever camera you might chose. That said, today's camera Automatic setting works really well.

- Sharing your photos, maybe making a photo journal of your baby as she grows would be a terrific project that you and your wife could both participate in doing. You can prepare now - you can begin with any photos you might already have in your phone. Set up a free on-line photo account at Flickr or GooglePhotos, learn how to edit your photos. Pros and Cons of each. Again free photo editing software does a nice job. I use Picasa (now discontinued but still available different places), Faststone is another nice one with tons of features.
I have a basic SmugMug Account ($40) a year which I really enjoy for lots of reasons. I don't do social media like Facebook so can't comment on photos displays using these - millions use Facebook for photo displays so must be something to it.

I diverted from the actual camera recommendation - lots of variables including your budget.
I really like my camera, around $600 a Nikon P900 - a point and shoot super-zoom. Its kind of big and bulky so wouldn't recommend for those quick having your camera at hand shots.
My small point and shoot, now sells around $260 - there are a couple newer models its a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50. I'm happy with my photos.

My photos: https://evsphotos.smugmug.com/
You can see how I've organized them in folders by topics. This is just one example of the many ways to display photos in SmugMug.

Good luck - I've enjoyed reading this discussion - you've received a lot of good ideas. Bottom line my recommendation no need for big, expensive, bulky DSLR cameras with multiple lens' in order to take excellent photos you will be proud to have and to share with family and friends. Either a good quality point and shoot or good quality phone camera will do the job well - just spend some time learning how to use them.
Evelyn
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pennstater2005
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by pennstater2005 »

My iPhone is good for still pictures in daylight. I have a 5, 3, and 1 year old. Any picture I take where the kids are moving, which is every picture, is blurry with the iPhone because it doesn't stop/capture motion well at all as there is no shutter priority mode. So, I end up with a blurry arm or head because kids move.

Knowing this however I still use the iPhone for the majority of pictures I take. Lately I've been keeping the DSLR on the desk in the living room with the 18-200mm lens attached and an extra battery charged as the difference between the quality of my iPhone versus my DSLR is crazy especially indoors and in lower light situations. I have an external flash, Nikon SB 400, bounced off the ceiling for a more natural lighting look to the photos, versus flash directly on the subject and boy what a difference!

My goal is to use the DSLR as much as possible especially indoors/lower light situations and continue using the iPhone when outside where lighting is less of an issue. Where the iPhone really shines for me is taking videos. I have a dedicated Panasonic camcorder which I no longer use.
“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson
TN_Boy
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by TN_Boy »

happy77 wrote:Smartphones have killed the camera market and cameras on smartphones are getting better day by day.
Get a good phone (iphone 7, pixel, s7). In my opinion, there is no need to buy DSLR or any other cameras.
And upgrade your phone every 2-3 years.

Nothing can beat a smartphone camera today in terms of availability, portability and usability. And picture quality is superb.
Portability, and availability, yes. For the other points, well, not really :-) Picture quality is nice with good light in the latest smartphones.

And smartphones have/are killing the point and shoot market.

But they are not killing DSLRs and such.

There is plenty of reason to buy a better camera if you want quality shots in a more challenging environment (you might not! That's okay!). I'm looking at a picture I have of a sea gull skimming the waves I took earlier this year. The picture was taken late afternoon in decent, but not extremely bright light. The bird's head and body are pretty sharp, even with the picture enlarged on a big monitor (the water behind the bird is softly out of focus as I set the aperture wide open); there is a touch of motion blur in the wingtips because the shutter speed was only 1/1250 (I should have set ISO to 200 or 400 instead of leaving it at 125, the base ISO for this camera, to get a higher shutter speed). I was zoomed to 400mm (16x). Shot in RAW mode, post-processed in Lightroom.

I could no more have gotten that shot with a smartphone, for several reasons, than I could have sprouted wings and followed the gull along the beach. My camera has a 1 inch sensor; most point and shoots with smaller sensors would have struggled a bit with this shot (the shutter speed would have been lower, or the ISO much higher, plus the autofocus on my camera is faster than most smaller cameras). A good DSLR with the right lens on would have gotten a better picture (if I had the shutter speed right, though the slight wingtip blurring works out okay).

But back to the OP, if one isn't interested in photography as a hobby, I'd say go with the best smartphone you can. There will be lots of so-so pictures mixed in with some good ones, but that's okay. In bright even light, you're good. The further from that ideal you get, the more the smartphone will struggle.
Nearly A Moose
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by Nearly A Moose »

kjvmartin wrote:We bought a Nikon D3300 and a 35mm prime lens with the idea of "saving money" on professional pictures. It works for the bokeh effect your wife wants. The entire package around Black Friday was $299 for the camera + kit lens and then around $130 for the 35mm fixed lens. This was a refurbished model via Adorama. There is a newer D3400, but I didn't think it was worth any uncharge.

It's an art which will take some study and research if you want consistently good pictures. We still use iPhone 99% of the time and I question the amount of money we've allegedly saved by buying the DSLR. Babies are often "cute" for very brief moments of time when you'll struggle to get your phone open before it's over.... let alone find the DSLR, turn it on, focus, etc.
I have this camera as well, and it's a great beginner DSLR. I make a point of putting on the coffee table like its decoration to make sure I use it a lot. For babies, you need a camera that is fast from turn-on to first photo, and you need a fast autofocus. It also helps to be able to take a long burst that you can then go through to find the best shot when the little guy is (hopefully) napping. The D3300 has a nice portrait mode that does a pretty good job of getting that bokeh effect, although you can certainly learn to do it manually.

Im very much an amateur, and I find that a professional still does a noticeably better job than I do - that's because there is so much more to photography than just a sharp lens and large mirror (although they do help). But, my "normal/daily" photos are tons better with the D3300 than with my iPhone or the still-decent point and shoot I used to use. As I recall. The newer D3400 model doesn't do anything materially different, so look for a good deal on the older model. Also, KEH.com is a good place to shop for used lens and cameras with a reasonable level of assurance you're not getting ripped off (which you of course pay for).
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.
wrongfunds
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by wrongfunds »

Our babies are now adults but I too had an itch to get "better" camera than our iPhone7 and iPhone7+ for travel. I ended up with Sony mirror less with two lens kit (about $1000 when everything added up) and just used it on our fabulous AZ/UT National Parks trip.

Now sorting through thousands of snaps and comparing the photos, I realized that Sony took marginally better pictures but watching it on 50 inch monitor, it would be pretty much impossible to pick them apart. The Sony took the pictures the way things were in real life. On the other hand, iPhones took them the way I envisioned them! For example. the sunset/sunrise photos from iPhones had better overall color etc. I understand that iPhone photos looked more artificial but there is no doubt that as far as the "smartness" of the camera is concerned to take "what I mean" pictures, Apple beats Sony.

I also realized that changing lenses on the mirror-less is still pain. I only did it couple of times. You have to be extremely dedicated photographer to swap lenses or you need to know beforehand that most of your pictures you will need that specific lens e.g. African Safari or something like that.

Somebody mentioned the seagull picture taken with the 400mm lens which could not be taken from iPhone. But we are talking here OP's baby here. Can you envision any scenario where the baby would be so far away as to need 400mm lens?

I searched for long time to find better camera without going too big but the real life experience suggests that for vast majority of cases, iPhone7Plus is good enough for people who are NOT in to photography. If OP is asking question, it is given that (s)he is not one in to it. Recommending DSLR is quite irresponsible advice.
TN_Boy
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by TN_Boy »

wrongfunds wrote:Our babies are now adults but I too had an itch to get "better" camera than our iPhone7 and iPhone7+ for travel. I ended up with Sony mirror less with two lens kit (about $1000 when everything added up) and just used it on our fabulous AZ/UT National Parks trip.

Now sorting through thousands of snaps and comparing the photos, I realized that Sony took marginally better pictures but watching it on 50 inch monitor, it would be pretty much impossible to pick them apart. The Sony took the pictures the way things were in real life. On the other hand, iPhones took them the way I envisioned them! For example. the sunset/sunrise photos from iPhones had better overall color etc. I understand that iPhone photos looked more artificial but there is no doubt that as far as the "smartness" of the camera is concerned to take "what I mean" pictures, Apple beats Sony.

I also realized that changing lenses on the mirror-less is still pain. I only did it couple of times. You have to be extremely dedicated photographer to swap lenses or you need to know beforehand that most of your pictures you will need that specific lens e.g. African Safari or something like that.

Somebody mentioned the seagull picture taken with the 400mm lens which could not be taken from iPhone. But we are talking here OP's baby here. Can you envision any scenario where the baby would be so far away as to need 400mm lens?

I searched for long time to find better camera without going too big but the real life experience suggests that for vast majority of cases, iPhone7Plus is good enough for people who are NOT in to photography. If OP is asking question, it is given that (s)he is not one in to it. Recommending DSLR is quite irresponsible advice.
I mentioned the 400mm lens and the seagull in response to a poster that said they could no reason to *ever* buy a dSLR. And I was giving one example of a shot you can't get with a smartphone. No, the baby won't be that far away now, but once the kid gets older and plays sports and such the limitations of no zoom on the smartphone will make a difference.

I have a "bridge" camera with a 25-400mm zoom and a 1 inch sensor. The sensor is much bigger than the one in smartphones and most point and shoots, smaller than the one in your Sony or a dSLR. I too hate changing lens, but 25 to 400 covers most of what I need.

The Sony might have options to control how the camera processes images when creating the jpeg. My camera has things like "natural," "vivid" etc which will affect how the pictures look. I don't use those modes since I process the RAW images and get the look I want (and fix things like shadows and such that are too dark).

But I also said I'd just go with a smartphone for somebody didn't want to learn more about photography.
wrongfunds
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by wrongfunds »

But I also said I'd just go with a smartphone for somebody didn't want to learn more about photography.
Exacly! Even though the Sony I purchased is very easy to use as is, to really get 100% out of it needs lot of understanding of the camera capabilities and numerous options in the menu systems. Heck, I even purchased a thick book dedicated to this particular model (Sony ICLC-6000) to learn about it capabilities. I consider myself pretty fluent in the tech and in photography world but still the learning curve to take better pictures than iPhone with this Sony is steeper than I expected.

If you have $1000 and your choice is to purchase iPhone7plus with 128GB storage (or eqvt smartphone) *or* DSLR/mirrorless at the same price, there is no question in my mind that for OP and people asking similar question here on BH, the answer would be always the smartphone. You can no longer purchase a better overall point and shoot camera cheaper than a great smart phone.

This is one of those "if you have to ask", the answer is "always smartphone" type of question in this forum. If you know enough to ask this question in say DPreview forum, then answer could be different.

Something else I just thought about. Within couple of generation of next smartphones, they will have ability to incorporate higher focal length lens in to the phone. This technology exist today and there are few startups using multi lens multi sensor cameras, although the price point is just out of the reach for them to be successful. iPhone7+ already has 2 lenses in it. There is no reason why it will not get extended in few years. The point being when OP's kid is playing soccer, the smartphone at that time would be capable of long reach to get that kick captured! No reason to buy DSLR right now if the picture is 5 years away.

You also mentioned RAW and editing on the computer. Isn't that even bigger hurdle to cross for OP? I have not yet got in to shooting RAW as I do not have the time and the expertise right now. Hopefully, at least having the capable camera would let me get in to it as I get more familiar with the camera.
TN_Boy
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by TN_Boy »

wrongfunds wrote:
But I also said I'd just go with a smartphone for somebody didn't want to learn more about photography.
Exacly! Even though the Sony I purchased is very easy to use as is, to really get 100% out of it needs lot of understanding of the camera capabilities and numerous options in the menu systems. Heck, I even purchased a thick book dedicated to this particular model (Sony ICLC-6000) to learn about it capabilities. I consider myself pretty fluent in the tech and in photography world but still the learning curve to take better pictures than iPhone with this Sony is steeper than I expected.

If you have $1000 and your choice is to purchase iPhone7plus with 128GB storage (or eqvt smartphone) *or* DSLR/mirrorless at the same price, there is no question in my mind that for OP and people asking similar question here on BH, the answer would be always the smartphone. You can no longer purchase a better overall point and shoot camera cheaper than a great smart phone.

This is one of those "if you have to ask", the answer is "always smartphone" type of question in this forum. If you know enough to ask this question in say DPreview forum, then answer could be different.

Something else I just thought about. Within couple of generation of next smartphones, they will have ability to incorporate higher focal length lens in to the phone. This technology exist today and there are few startups using multi lens multi sensor cameras, although the price point is just out of the reach for them to be successful. iPhone7+ already has 2 lenses in it. There is no reason why it will not get extended in few years. The point being when OP's kid is playing soccer, the smartphone at that time would be capable of long reach to get that kick captured! No reason to buy DSLR right now if the picture is 5 years away.

You also mentioned RAW and editing on the computer. Isn't that even bigger hurdle to cross for OP? I have not yet got in to shooting RAW as I do not have the time and the expertise right now. Hopefully, at least having the capable camera would let me get in to it as I get more familiar with the camera.
I still think you can buy a better camera than even the best smartphone for less money. The fz1000 I own is cheaper than a iphone 7s with a lot of memory for example. And I believe I can get much better pictures with the fz1000. But taking pictures is a hobby of mine, so it makes sense to buy a dedicated camera.

Longer lenses on smartphones will address part of the zoom issue. But there is also a sensor size issue. The bigger the sensor, the better the thing will work in low light. The bigger the sensor, the bigger the lens needs to be. If the sensor is small, low light capability simply won't be as good. And there are other issues making "smartphone for all photography" a little problematic. Using a viewfinder to track moving objects is a lot easier for me than holding up a phone. All those knobs on a DSLR make it much faster to adjust aperture, ISO, burst mode etc to get the picture the way you want it (if you have a DSLR and shoot in automatic mode, you are throwing away much of its power). But yeah, smartphones will continue to eat into other camera sales as their capabilities increase. Incidentally I don't use zoom on just far away things. Zooming on something not that far is very useful to get a "tight" shot of something interesting.

Processing pictures in RAW mode is a (moderate) learning curve that no sane person would undertake merely to take pictures of their kids :-) That said, you can get a LOT more out of many pictures if you start with the RAW image and process it, rather than use the JPEGs. This surprised me, but it's absolutely true. I will say Lightroom is much easier to learn than something like Photoshop. And Lightroom helps you organize photos.
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Triple digit golfer
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by Triple digit golfer »

All,

I know it has been almost two months, but I wanted to say thank you to all of you for your suggestions and insight. We decided to go with the Panasonic Lumix FZ80. I admittedly don't know how to use it yet, but my wife has learned some things and is very happy with it. Coming from a guy who has never used an expensive camera, the zoom is absolutely incredible!
c1over8
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by c1over8 »

Very interesting thread, thanks everyone.
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whatusername?
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Re: Good camera - new baby coming

Post by whatusername? »

MPAndy222 wrote:I would recommending going with an entry level dslr and a prime lens. For example - you can get a canon rebel t6 and a 50mm prime 1.8 lens for ~$600. Else you could get an iPhone 7 plus and get the same effect as they have two cameras
The best camera is the one that you have handy. It doesn't matter how "good" a camera is unless you have it out and ready when little junior is being cute. That said, the above advice is pretty solid if you're looking for a DSLR, but I'd go one further and look at good condition used Canon camera bodies at Adorama or BH Video instead of buying new. The lens he mentions - a Canon lens nicknamed the "nifty fifty" - will sell for about $125 (supercheap for a lens) and will absolutely give you the bokeh effect your wife wants and good crisp images.
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