Camera Experts Wanted

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
gardemanger
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Camera Experts Wanted

Post by gardemanger » Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:12 pm

Thanks to a small wholly unexpected cash windfall, I'm considering doing something to upgrade my camera situation. But the camera marketplace has become very confusing in 2015 and I am stone ignorant about cameras to begin with.

Despite this ignorance I have taken many thousands of pictures in the past and I think some of them are actually reasonably good - good enough to please me, anyway. I had to get a digital camera (plain old point and shoot type) for professional reasons in about 2004, and found I really really liked taking pictures. Later I obtained a digital SLR, which I never learned to properly use, so for me it was an expensive, really heavy and bulky point and shoot, though I liked the quality of the pictures. I intended to take telephoto pictures but never got round to buying a telephoto lens. Then I became sick and disabled and my photo output was drastically reduced. Then I dropped the camera and broke it.

Though I don't get out and about much now, when I do, I'd still really like to be able to take good pictures. Even my immediate neighborhood is architecturally very interesting and I often find myself longing to capture something. I have a teeny-tiny compact digital camera now which is "just OK" for snapshots. I guess what I'd say is that I want something a few notches above snapshot quality but at least a notch or two below digital SLR.

So here's my list of needs:
- I want good quality photos with minimal to no post-processing and Photoshop work. I've been trained in how to do it but don't have much current need or patience for it. I don't give two hoots about "special effects". I like composing the shot in the camera and having subjects look vivid and detailed.
- Not looking for "art" photos or huge number of megapixels. Mostly my output will be shared online. I rarely print photos though of course I'd like to retain the option, but I care most about how they look on the screen.
- Need something sturdy to hold, not enormously bulky to carry, and perhaps less likely to break if dropped. My hand strength and coordination are slightly impaired.
- I would really, really like to have a viewfinder, although I realize this may be a lost cause. I'm a disaster at screen-only cameras, and I'm likely to be taking most of my pictures outside in daylight. Even my itty-bitty compact camera has an itty-bitty viewfinder, which is fairly terrible but I still prefer to compose my shots that way.
- I would LIKE to have telephoto capability, somehow. Old info floating in my brain is that "digital zoom" is somewhat bogus, and now I see cameras advertising 35x digital zoom and don't know what to think. I'm not looking to capture birds on the wing, more likely to want to zoom in on something like an architectural detail 3 stories above my head.
- Photo problems I've had in the past that I'd like to correct: blowing out highlights (huge problem with light-colored subjects in bright sun) and other light problems associated with shooting outdoors.

Most common subjects: architecture, city scenes/street photography, nature (mostly trees and parks and vistas and stuff, can't move fast enough to chase wildlife), art and sculpture both outdoors and indoors, cemeteries.

Price range: $200-$300 but please tell me if I'm kidding myself.

livesoft
Posts: 61944
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by livesoft » Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:40 pm

This should be a great thread. We couldn't agree on a simple lens choice recently.

I think you will need to "develop" your digital photos for best results. Minimally, you will need to crop and unsharp mask. I think all other effects should be unnecessary (except for occasional red-eye adjusting). But cropping makes the most difference in photos I see. Whenever I see a photo, I look to see if croppingit differently would make it better. That includes all photos in the media. Most of the time, the photos are cropped well, but sometimes not.

You may wish to start with a small camera such as the Sony RX100 or the Canon S120 or equivalent. These two cameras are fully functional with all the controls that a dSLR has.

I use 3 cameras routinely: Samsung Galaxy S5, Canon S120, and Canon dSLR with good glass. All take great photos, but they all are different. The first two do not have "viewfinders".

Let's see what other have to suggest.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

countofmc
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by countofmc » Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:43 pm

I saw a Fuji X-M1 for $399 on sale at BestBuy, might still be available.

If you don't want to bother with post-processing, I'd look at Fuji and/or Olympus. Best sooc JPEGs in the business, imo.

EDIT: Didn't think of whether you'd consider used. If so, there are two cameras in the market right now that are very interesting to me. The Sony RX10, and the Panasonic FZ1000.

They feature viewfinders, an insane zoom range (up to 200mm in 35mm equiv on the RX10, double that on the FZ1000), and relatively fast lenses (meaning you'll do better in low light).

They also feature 1 inch sensors, which are smaller than the APS-C sensors you'll find in the average consumer DSLR, but quite a bit larger than a cell phone or generic compact camera. I have a Sony RX-100 with a 1 inch sensor, and the image quality is quite amazing for something that size.
Last edited by countofmc on Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
climber2020
Posts: 1059
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:06 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by climber2020 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:44 pm

The only camera that immediately comes to mind that fills most of your needs in the price range you stated is a refurbished Canon G15, which can often be found on sale for $250 on Canon's website. It's one of the few recently made compact digital cameras that still has an optical viewfinder.

It has a small sensor with inherent limited dynamic range, so if you're shooting in the middle of a sunny day and expose for the highlights, your photos won't have much shadow detail, even if you shoot RAW and process (which it sounds like you don't want to do). It does have a very useful live histogram to ensure you get the proper exposure.

User avatar
gardemanger
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by gardemanger » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:05 pm

Thanks for the suggestions so far. No, I'm not interested in shooting RAW, particularly, Never have before. Yes, I can do *some* processing - as I said I have some professional training, know Photoshop, etc. - and I think I could bring myself to crop and unsharp and things like that. It's just that I take tons of pictures and am not going to fuss greatly over each one.

I certainly would consider buying used from a reliable source. I know I may have to yield on the viewfinder, as there are probably good choices out there for me that lack only that option, but it's still a "like-to-have."

User avatar
mbk734
Posts: 460
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:14 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by mbk734 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:37 pm

I would look at a small, lightweight entry level DSLR like a used Nikon D3200 w/ 35mm f/1.8 lens on Amazon. Also consider mirrorless: Sony Alpha Series (A5000) are in your price range. http://www.snapsort.com is great for comparing cameras.
You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 46769
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:39 pm

Take a look at these 2 websites, which have been around for quite some time.

- Ken Rockwell, which I've used when I needed help to decide what camera I should buy. His advice is practical, clear, and to the point.
- Digital Photography Review - if you want technical specs and reviews, look here.

I've been around photography for quite some time, so I put my money on lens quality. However, I also wanted (not "needed") a Nikon D7100 - the latest and greatest at that time. Buyers remorse can last a long time. I had the money. I wanted it. I bought it - new. I'm happy.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

kjvmartin
Posts: 1187
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:57 am

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by kjvmartin » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:46 pm

Refurbished Nikon D3300 runs $369 OTD on Adorama.com. That's what I have.

This includes a nice 18-55mm VR lens. It's small and lightweight as DSLRs go. It is user friendly and allows you to go through a series of graphical interface questions to adjust the settings for your particular situation. Auto mode does well enough, too.

Consumer Reports likes the Canon entry level models better, but (as with most art forms) I think it's wholly subjective.

Mike

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 13479
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Watty » Sat Jul 04, 2015 6:47 pm

Price range: $200-$300 but please tell me if I'm kidding myself.
Not at all, but it would likely be best to get a used camera in that price range to get most of the features you want.

B&H Photo and KEH Camera are two reputable used camera stores that I have used before.

Instead of looking for a specific model I would look to see what they have then check the reviews on DPreview.

http://www.dpreview.com/

I am not familiar with this particular camera but at B&H photo I saw this Canon point and shoot that looked interesting for $130

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/8 ... gital.html

They also have a number of point and shoot cameras for less than $100. These don't have the mega-pixels of the current models but as long as you have at least 5 mega-pixels then you should be find for the casual photography that it sounds like you want to do.

You could also get an older DSLR and lens in your price range if you wanted to.

I would just look to see what they have in stock for Nikon and Canon Point and shoot cameras

You should also check to see if they come with a battery and charger or not. You may need to buy those and a memory card separately. You may be able to get then for less on Amazon by buying some generic brand but you will need to make sure that you are buying the right size.

navyasw02
Posts: 208
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:38 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by navyasw02 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:02 pm

A used Olympus PEN should fit the bill and fit into the price range. I bought my EPL-1 a few years ago for about $200-300 to use as a diving camera. If my housing leaked I wouldn't be out a huge amount of money. These things take great pics, I took one to China in 2008 and had no regrets about how the pics turned out.

User avatar
Crimsontide
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:32 pm
Location: DFW Metromess

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Crimsontide » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:34 pm

mbk734 wrote:I would look at a small, lightweight entry level DSLR like a used Nikon D3200 w/ 35mm f/1.8 lens on Amazon. Also consider mirrorless: Sony Alpha Series (A5000) are in your price range. http://www.snapsort.com is great for comparing cameras.
I just bought a Nikon D3200 a couple of days ago from Amazon, it will be my first DSLR, can't wait to take it on vacation in a few weeks :happy

countofmc
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by countofmc » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:39 pm

navyasw02 wrote:A used Olympus PEN should fit the bill and fit into the price range. I bought my EPL-1 a few years ago for about $200-300 to use as a diving camera. If my housing leaked I wouldn't be out a huge amount of money. These things take great pics, I took one to China in 2008 and had no regrets about how the pics turned out.
If OP can stretch budget a bit, doesn't even have to go used. The E-PL6's regular price is $299 right now on basically any retailer website. That has to be one of the best values in photography right now. I just didn't recommend it because OP wanted a viewfinder.

EDIT: Actually, for some reason I was thinking $399. At regular retail that camera DOES fit in OP's budget.

wolingfeng
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Syracuse, New York

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by wolingfeng » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:52 pm

My wife started with canon t3i, it's a wonderful beginner dSLR. Lens wise for what you want to take, their kit lens (I think 18-55mm) is a good start as well. Or if you could spend a bit extra, get the 50mm for 80 dollars to start. It's probably one of the best value lens you find, takes really sharp picture with nice bokeh. Of course it's a prime and you kind of have to walk around to find your best shot, but in a way it makes you think how to be a better photographer.

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3096
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Rob5TCP » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:10 pm

If you wish to keep it simple, some of the better (as mentioned earlier)
compacts can produce quite nice photos. I use the Canon S110 and may upgrade to one Sony RX100 (or newer)
eventually.
Megapixels are almost meaningless today. 12MP seems the minimum -- unless you want to blow up to 16 x 20
tons of megapixels adds very little. Some important factors are sensor size, processor and lens quality.
Canon and Sony seem to be among the best with the very compact camera. If you have the funds, the
better Sony have a 1" inch sensor. Larger sensor size means much better low-light photos. I am not sure
which cameras have a viewfinder. DPPreview should give you all the needed info.
Hard to go too far wrong with Sony/Canon.

User avatar
gatorman
Posts: 2493
Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:35 am
Location: The Swamp

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by gatorman » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:28 am

This Nikon superzoom isn't the latest/greatest, but the price is in your range and the extreme zoom capability would allow you to zero in on architectural details:
https://www.google.com/shopping/product ... 4?q=refurb nikon superzoom&biw=1280&bih=553&dpr=1.25&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.&tch=1&ech=1&psi=gPaYVbSZAYSdsAXSqbWICw.1436087990214.3&sa=X&ved=0CCUQqA0oAGoVChMIx9Kjh9XDxgIVCXetCh2wqgKB&prds=hsec:reviews

Take a look at it to see if it might work for you.

gatorman

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3096
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Rob5TCP » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:19 am

One of the cameras mentioned earlier was the Sony RX100
I noticed it's on sale at NewEgg for $352.
It's a bit higher than your range - but might be worth the extra money.
Through July 11th.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 63M2MZ7758

I've listed some of the more relevant specs: this is a pretty compact camera that you can easily take with you;
One BIG con for you is no viewfinder; that is unfortunately rare.

• More imaging power, less space
• 20.2 effective megapixels 1.0 inch-type Exmor CMOS sensor
• High-speed BIONZ imaging processor
• Extra-wide F1.8 aperture
• Bright Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens
• Fine-tune images like a pro
• Movies at the touch of a button
• High quality Full HD 1080i video clips
• Zoom range to 3.6 OPTICAL (corrected from digital earlier)

At Amazon it's $450; with 4 1/2 stars with 550 reviews. Here are some of the more helpful reviews
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DSC-RX100-Se ... B00889ST2G


I am adding a big caveat: though the offer is from NewEgg and I find them highly respectable
The vendor they are selling this for is called ValueBasket and there is little about them.
Last edited by Rob5TCP on Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

livesoft
Posts: 61944
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by livesoft » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:40 am

^It appears to be an older version of the RX100, too.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
gardemanger
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by gardemanger » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:08 am

As a reminder, I specifically stated at the outset that I do not want another DSLR - too much bulk for me, and I'd like as much zoom capability as is practical to achieve without having to swop out lenses. Is "optical zoom" still preferable to "digital zoom"?

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3096
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Rob5TCP » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:11 am

One other caveat - there are a number of respectable places that give good Canon prices
(Adorama / B&H)
there is one that has a reputation for bait and switch
Abe's of Maine:
From Canonpricewatch - the story about Abe's
I would avoid. Their "low" prices do pop up on some searches. Turns out those are import prices
and then you get a phone call with a hard sell. Both on Sony and Canon cameras.

http://www.canonpricewatch.com/blog/201 ... retailers/

User avatar
Rob5TCP
Posts: 3096
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:34 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Rob5TCP » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:14 am

gardemanger wrote:As a reminder, I specifically stated at the outset that I do not want another DSLR - too much bulk for me, and I'd like as much zoom capability as is practical to achieve without having to swop out lenses. Is "optical zoom" still preferable to "digital zoom"?
Optical zoom is to be VASTLY preferred. Digital zoom is the same as cropping. Optical zoom uses the lens to get closer. You want optical zoom.
Digital zoom is almost worthless (except for cropping).

Below is a sample of digital vs. optical zoom and what might be the effect of losing some clarity with a digital zoom (depending on the degree of zooming).

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/t ... al-zo.html

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3556
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Ged » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:32 am

Rob5TCP wrote:
I am adding a big caveat: though the offer is from NewEgg and I find them highly respectable
The vendor they are selling this for is called ValueBasket and there is little about them.
Not likely to be an authorized dealer, you may not get a warranty from a place like that.

User avatar
gardemanger
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by gardemanger » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:33 am

I have certainly dealt with B&H several times before over the years and would probably hesitate to deal with any other vendors for used cameras. I used to work with a business in NYC that had dealings with B&H and I know their reputation is second to none.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 12872
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Toons » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:46 am

My 2 cents worth :happy

"The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is a case study in what kind of image quality people need for a camera. It's designed to offer the best of both worlds and, for some people, it will. For the social media addict the GC2 lets you use a big zoom lens in your favorite Android apps, with image quality that will be acceptable for sites that considerably downsize photos, such as Facebook. If there's a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby, sharing is as easy as you'll find."

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/samsung-galaxy-camera-2

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Galaxy-Ca ... C200ZWAXAR
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 7470
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:12 am

gardemanger wrote:I have certainly dealt with B&H several times before over the years and would probably hesitate to deal with any other vendors for used cameras. I used to work with a business in NYC that had dealings with B&H and I know their reputation is second to none.
I've dealt with B&H and they are very good (but your mail person will curse you if they have to deliver the catalog). I have also been well-treated by KEH, both buying and selling used gear.

tibbitts
Posts: 7816
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:21 am

My thoughts:

1. Don't settle for a camera without a viewfinder.

2. For a fixed lens camera look for a 24/25mm wide-end, not 28mm.

3. If you get a camera that offers raw, select raw+jpg. Storage is cheap and you can't go back and recreate raw if you decide you want it later, maybe years from now. I say this especially because you're concerned about blowing out highlights. You can sometimes recover more data from bright/dark areas with raw.

Used cameras and lenses can be ok, but new or used, you have to be prepared to test thoroughly within the free return period. There's a lot of sample variation in lenses, particularly. Even with new, you sometimes have to go through multiple copies to find a good one. I'm not sure if that's because lens designs have advanced more rapidly than manufacturing technology, or because a lot of us were too cheap to shoot ten rolls of test chart images back in the film era, and therefore never knew how bad our lenses were. But it's a huge problem in the digital era.

btenny
Posts: 4471
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by btenny » Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:50 pm

I have a Sony DSC-HX100 that is wonderful and meets your specs I think. It is a "hybrid camera" that is sort of a point and shoot but bigger and lots more features like 30X zoom, good viewfinder, carl zeiss lens, very good flash, etc. See below for full specs. I bought mine about 3 years and it does good pictures of lots of things except wild life at extreme zoom.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydschx100v

A used version of this camera is $100 or so from several places on the internet. Lots of people buy cameras like this and replace them every few years with a newer version.

The new version of this camera is a DSC-HX300 and it costs around $400 new. See here.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BEH ... M0A0M1N7TT

http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-cyber-shot-dsc-hx300/

mlipps
Posts: 890
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:35 am

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by mlipps » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:01 pm

I have the original Sony RX 100 and I love it. The newer model with electronic viewfinder may fit most of your needs, although it's a bit above your requested price range. The one caveat I would give is that the optical zoom is pretty limited. For my purposes I haven't minded much but I did regret it when we went on a wildlife tour in Peru last year and I couldn't take good pics of the animals. Aside from that though, it has served me very well and may be worth considering for your situation as well.

countofmc
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by countofmc » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:17 pm

gardemanger wrote:As a reminder, I specifically stated at the outset that I do not want another DSLR - too much bulk for me, and I'd like as much zoom capability as is practical to achieve without having to swop out lenses. Is "optical zoom" still preferable to "digital zoom"?
I mentioned some of the longer zoom "bridge" cameras, but those can be almost as bulky as a small DSLR, so maybe not the best choice for you.

Honestly, the aforementioned RX100 is probably the best option. It can be had in your price range. The zoom range goes up to 100mm (in 35mm equiv), and the image quality is frankly unmatched in a camera of its size.

User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 4160
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Kenkat » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:24 pm

I have a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS that I like a lot, meets many of your requirements and is in your price range. It is a couple of years old so there may be an equivalent newer model or sometimes you can pick up a bargain on the slightly older models.

111
Posts: 210
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:20 am

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by 111 » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:02 pm

I have a Sony RX100 II and love it. We also have a DSLR, but it is so heavy to lug around that we rarely carry it. As the old saying goes: "The best camera is the one that you'll use."

tibbitts
Posts: 7816
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:43 pm

countofmc wrote:
gardemanger wrote:As a reminder, I specifically stated at the outset that I do not want another DSLR - too much bulk for me, and I'd like as much zoom capability as is practical to achieve without having to swop out lenses. Is "optical zoom" still preferable to "digital zoom"?
I mentioned some of the longer zoom "bridge" cameras, but those can be almost as bulky as a small DSLR, so maybe not the best choice for you.

Honestly, the aforementioned RX100 is probably the best option. It can be had in your price range. The zoom range goes up to 100mm (in 35mm equiv), and the image quality is frankly unmatched in a camera of its size.
It's important to understand that the RX100 versions 1 and 2 are completely different cameras from the version 3. Only the version 3 has a (built-in) viewfinder, and you're going to have trouble finding that in the target price range. The version 3 is much more expensive, but unfortunately having a viewfinder is worth it. Partly you need the viewfinder for bright sun, and partly you need it for holding the camera still when it's dark.

The viewfinder in the version 4 is supposed to be even better, but it's even more expensive.

Topping out at 70mm (equivalent) isn't the most inspiring telephoto, but you do get the 24mm wide end on the newer models.

countofmc
Posts: 512
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:03 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by countofmc » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:59 pm

tibbitts wrote:
countofmc wrote:
gardemanger wrote:As a reminder, I specifically stated at the outset that I do not want another DSLR - too much bulk for me, and I'd like as much zoom capability as is practical to achieve without having to swop out lenses. Is "optical zoom" still preferable to "digital zoom"?
I mentioned some of the longer zoom "bridge" cameras, but those can be almost as bulky as a small DSLR, so maybe not the best choice for you.

Honestly, the aforementioned RX100 is probably the best option. It can be had in your price range. The zoom range goes up to 100mm (in 35mm equiv), and the image quality is frankly unmatched in a camera of its size.
It's important to understand that the RX100 versions 1 and 2 are completely different cameras from the version 3. Only the version 3 has a (built-in) viewfinder, and you're going to have trouble finding that in the target price range. The version 3 is much more expensive, but unfortunately having a viewfinder is worth it. Partly you need the viewfinder for bright sun, and partly you need it for holding the camera still when it's dark.

The viewfinder in the version 4 is supposed to be even better, but it's even more expensive.

Topping out at 70mm (equivalent) isn't the most inspiring telephoto, but you do get the 24mm wide end on the newer models.
I am very aware of the differences between all 4 models, if this was directed towards me. Version 1 is really the only one that (brand new) is even close to OP's price range. I do not think the RX100 III makes much sense for him because I'm thinking even 100mm equiv might not be enough for OP, and now you are down to 70mm.

sawhorse
Posts: 2939
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by sawhorse » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:55 pm

gardemanger wrote:Despite this ignorance I have taken many thousands of pictures in the past and I think some of them are actually reasonably good - good enough to please me, anyway. I had to get a digital camera (plain old point and shoot type) for professional reasons in about 2004, and found I really really liked taking pictures. Later I obtained a digital SLR, which I never learned to properly use, so for me it was an expensive, really heavy and bulky point and shoot, though I liked the quality of the pictures. I intended to take telephoto pictures but never got round to buying a telephoto lens. Then I became sick and disabled and my photo output was drastically reduced. Then I dropped the camera and broke it.
What lenses do you have?

What SLR did you have? They vary a lot in size. Would a small SLR be good enough?
- Need something sturdy to hold, not enormously bulky to carry, and perhaps less likely to break if dropped. My hand strength and coordination are slightly impaired.
- I would really, really like to have a viewfinder, although I realize this may be a lost cause. I'm a disaster at screen-only cameras, and I'm likely to be taking most of my pictures outside in daylight. Even my itty-bitty compact camera has an itty-bitty viewfinder, which is fairly terrible but I still prefer to compose my shots that way.
- I would LIKE to have telephoto capability, somehow. Old info floating in my brain is that "digital zoom" is somewhat bogus, and now I see cameras advertising 35x digital zoom and don't know what to think. I'm not looking to capture birds on the wing, more likely to want to zoom in on something like an architectural detail 3 stories above my head.
- Photo problems I've had in the past that I'd like to correct: blowing out highlights (huge problem with light-colored subjects in bright sun) and other light problems associated with shooting outdoors.

Most common subjects: architecture, city scenes/street photography, nature (mostly trees and parks and vistas and stuff, can't move fast enough to chase wildlife), art and sculpture both outdoors and indoors, cemeteries.

Price range: $200-$300 but please tell me if I'm kidding myself.
Any camera I can think of that would fit your desires would be over that price range once you mentioned indoor shooting. That is where the higher end cameras really prove their worth.

For high architecture, you'll want a good lens. The kit lenses tend to have too much barrel distortion. I recommend buying lenses used.

You'll want something that shoots JPG+RAW so you can fix the blown highlights if necessary.

The "prosumer" cameras with mega zooms, in my experience, produce poor quality photos at high ISOs. Then again, its been years since I've tested one.

tibbitts
Posts: 7816
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:59 pm

countofmc wrote:
tibbitts wrote:
countofmc wrote:
gardemanger wrote:As a reminder, I specifically stated at the outset that I do not want another DSLR - too much bulk for me, and I'd like as much zoom capability as is practical to achieve without having to swop out lenses. Is "optical zoom" still preferable to "digital zoom"?
I mentioned some of the longer zoom "bridge" cameras, but those can be almost as bulky as a small DSLR, so maybe not the best choice for you.

Honestly, the aforementioned RX100 is probably the best option. It can be had in your price range. The zoom range goes up to 100mm (in 35mm equiv), and the image quality is frankly unmatched in a camera of its size.
It's important to understand that the RX100 versions 1 and 2 are completely different cameras from the version 3. Only the version 3 has a (built-in) viewfinder, and you're going to have trouble finding that in the target price range. The version 3 is much more expensive, but unfortunately having a viewfinder is worth it. Partly you need the viewfinder for bright sun, and partly you need it for holding the camera still when it's dark.

The viewfinder in the version 4 is supposed to be even better, but it's even more expensive.

Topping out at 70mm (equivalent) isn't the most inspiring telephoto, but you do get the 24mm wide end on the newer models.
I am very aware of the differences between all 4 models, if this was directed towards me. Version 1 is really the only one that (brand new) is even close to OP's price range. I do not think the RX100 III makes much sense for him because I'm thinking even 100mm equiv might not be enough for OP, and now you are down to 70mm.
Sorry, it was directed towards the OP, because it's very non-intuitive that a feature as fundamental as a viewfinder would vary between minor revision numbers of the same model.

shelanman
Posts: 458
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:35 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by shelanman » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:18 pm

I have a Canon S100. I have been really happy with it. I wish that it had a longer zoom, but its the best small camera I've ever used.

It does well.for a tiny camera in less-than-bright light. I really wish the battery life were better, that it had a real viewfinder, that it had a bit more zoom, and that it were faster to shoot.

The S120 looks like a small evolution of the S100, and is probably really nice too.

User avatar
gardemanger
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:06 pm

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by gardemanger » Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:32 am

Thanks all for your input so far. I am reading and evaluating all the responses. Thanks especially to those of you who have up-to-date information on current technology. And I've looked at enough new cameras so far to induce a state of moderate to acute Camera Lust...

At the moment I'm feeling very attracted to the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX300 which is of course above my stated price range BUT BUT BUT IT HAS 50X OPTICAL ZOOM! Having telephoto capabilities without having to swap out big, heavy lenses appeals to me very much. I like to travel light, both by preference and because of my physical limitations. It irritates me a lot that I fumble and drop things so often, but at least a camera as a unitary object can be firmly attached to your body by a strap. If I have to stand around faffing with switching lenses and a big camera bag not only am I imperiling expensive equipment, but I'm no longer having fun.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 12872
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Camera Experts Wanted

Post by Toons » Mon Jul 06, 2015 9:12 am

Having been a fan of the Sony Exmor Sensor for quite a while ,I have more than a few cameras and the
Sony DSC-HX1 that I purchased about 5 years ago (that I have taken thousands of pictures with)is still one of my favorite cameras,picture quality still amazes me.I think you have zeroed in on a fine choice :happy

Image

Image

Image
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

Post Reply