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Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 857090
United States
01/04/2010 04:57 PM
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Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Anyone have any suggestions for a decent digital camera for amateur digital photography? I am not sure I will really get into photography so I'm thinking more along the lines of a good one to start with. Any suggestions on books or websites for the hobby?

I am into backpacking and I wish to master plant identification. I figured digital photography would be a good hobby to go along with this. I could take pictures while backpacking and also take pictures of plants I wish to identify or have identified.
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 05:00 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
the best thing about amateur is that you'll grow, so dont buy crap...

go to the store, best buy or wherever they have them displayed, and play with them.

i sold cameras for years, and have been doing this for WAY too long, and what i told everyone was "the best way is to get to know the camera, fuck around with it, see how it feels to you"

if its comfortable and easy to navigate, its the one for you.

asking for the best digital camera is like asking ernest hemingway what kind of typewriter he used.


anything over 6 mp will do you JUST fine...dont be fooled. megapixels are a consumers biggest mistake, they mean NOTHING.

my personal pick for any amateur is the rebel xsi kit, plus an extra lens, either a 250 or 300 mm lens.

the basic filters: UV, polarized, diffusion.

extreme III memory card for speed and temperature withstanding. and a nice bag..


edit: nikon vs canon is like ford vs chevy...i only say canon because the accessories tend to run more inexpensive, compared to nikon. plus i'm a canon guy....;)

Last Edited by Fletch on 01/04/2010 05:02 PM
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 848933
United States
01/04/2010 05:02 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Anyone have any suggestions for a decent digital camera for amateur digital photography? I am not sure I will really get into photography so I'm thinking more along the lines of a good one to start with. Any suggestions on books or websites for the hobby?

I am into backpacking and I wish to master plant identification. I figured digital photography would be a good hobby to go along with this. I could take pictures while backpacking and also take pictures of plants I wish to identify or have identified.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 857090

If you want to do this I would suggest a water proof point and shoot with a good macro lens. A SLR (single lens reflex) with not hold up to the abuse that back packing will create. Also look for an aspheric lens if you want a better quality print.
[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Pentex had a nice one for film but for digital I would have to search the market place.
Ricfly52

User ID: 709239
United States
01/04/2010 05:06 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
I have a simpe point and shoot Canon SD960. You can get a water proof set up for it. It is easy to use on auto, but has many optional manual shooting modes. I think I paid around 250-300 US dollars for it. It might be less now since it has been out for about 6 months now.
Fishing and skiing keeps me a little sane.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 848933
United States
01/04/2010 05:07 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Good advice Fletch, the "hand" of the camera is really the most important. If you fight the camera you will find no joy.

I am a Nikon guy that switched to Fuji when I went digital. I like the ruggedness of the Nikons. If I where to get in to something tame like wedding photography or portraiture I would use cannon though.

A slr as you suggested though I would think would be too much of a hassle for an amateur who is backpacking. Imo.
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 05:07 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
on the contrary 848933....an slr would hold up better with proper storage. .much better bodies than point and shoot/compact cameras. get a decent slr backpack. very lightweight slingpacks are out there.


as for best macro lenses, dpreview.com

Last Edited by Fletch on 01/04/2010 05:08 PM
Fletch

User ID: 824929
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01/04/2010 05:09 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Good advice Fletch, the "hand" of the camera is really the most important. If you fight the camera you will find no joy.

I am a Nikon guy that switched to Fuji when I went digital. I like the ruggedness of the Nikons. If I where to get in to something tame like wedding photography or portraiture I would use cannon though.

A slr as you suggested though I would think would be too much of a hassle for an amateur who is backpacking. Imo.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 848933


you may be correct, depends on his backpacking load. the xsi is a great, small compact amateur slr...

if you want smaller point and shoot, canon g9 or g10 are fantastic.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 857090
United States
01/04/2010 05:11 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
WOW! I got some good answers here that sound informed. Thanks guys/gals!
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 05:13 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
If I where to get in to something tame like wedding photography or portraiture I would use cannon though.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 848933



i was pentax for film. pentax zx50 was a rugged companion when i went out for hikes...canon when i went digital, for the same reasons you mention, wedding photography.
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 05:14 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
WOW! I got some good answers here that sound informed. Thanks guys/gals!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 857090




you're welcome. glad to see when people are exploring their creative side through photography. nothing is more expressive, its the only way for people to truly see through your eyes.

but now you have to come back and show us the photos..
SickDaveMondo

User ID: 512195
Canada
01/04/2010 05:15 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
I recently got a Nikon D5000 and would highly recommend it. Got 2 lenses with it, a 18-105mm zoom for outdoor and a 35mm for indoor. Both AF-S series lenses, so you get to choose how complicated you want things to be. If you set to auto, the thing takes awesome shots without worrying about all the fancy settings (which I am currently learning how to use). It has a small body for an SLR, is pretty rugged and also does HD video @ 720p. So no need to buy a camcorder either! Spend a bit extra whatever you decide, and really consider an SLR so you can change lenses and accessories.

SDM
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 651287
United States
01/04/2010 05:16 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Pentax ist DS

You can get one 'new' for a song with an 18-55mm zoom...

Find an old SMC 50mm to use for your closer in pics...It will act like a 75mm due to the differences between digital and film, and will be clearer/crisper than any current digital lens...The old film lenses will only work on manual focus settings, but the glass is far superior...
ZTE

User ID: 779033
United States
01/04/2010 05:16 PM

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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
It really depends how much you want to spend.

And even so, you don't have to spend massive amounts at one time. My first camera equipment purchase was $1200. But now I've got about $20,000 worth of equipment. However, there are a good "hiking" cameras in the $200 - $300 price range if you don't want to spend much money (and keep up with lenses and other accessories).
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 838773
United States
01/04/2010 05:17 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
i always laugh at "photographers"

its not a legitmate skill or art

no one can even tell the difference between a decent digicam on Auto mode and someone who set up a shot for hours beforehand...

its a total rip off career / hobby.
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 05:21 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
i always laugh at "photographers"

its not a legitmate skill or art

no one can even tell the difference between a decent digicam on Auto mode and someone who set up a shot for hours beforehand...

its a total rip off career / hobby.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 838773





"set up the shot"
[link to farm3.static.flickr.com]

[link to www.stevegoslingphotography.co.uk]



"auto mode"
[link to 30gms.com]



enjoy your kodak, skippy
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 857090
United States
01/04/2010 05:24 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Could someone please make a list of general qualities I am looking for in a decent digital camera for my specified intent? And please forgive me, but what exactly does SLR stand for, so that I can do some research on it?

So far I know, that it is suggested that it is:

Waterproof
SLR
Over 6 MP
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 05:29 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
slr is the "pro" type camera, with the interchangable lenses.
slr is single lens reflex. theres one fixed lens (removable), passes through to the mirror inside (dont touch that...).
provides better quality images due to a better (most of the time) image sensor.



the other is a point and shoot/compact/fixed lens camera. still great, but lacks depth.


finding a waterproof slr isnt going to be.

other key things to consider:


FPS:
if you plan on getting creative with speed, maybe something over 3.5 fps (frames per second). stores more images in the buffer, meaning faster saves to memory card.


Higher ISO:
all SLR's are going to have incredible manual controls where you can set shutter speeds and ISO.
something with a high ISO is great. 3200 ISO would be ideal, but remember, the higher the ISO setting you use, the more noise (grainyness) you'll get when you zoom on the photo. ideally, use less iso and leave your shutter open longer.


hmmm...what else am i missing...
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 857090
United States
01/04/2010 05:44 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
slr is the "pro" type camera, with the interchangable lenses.
slr is single lens reflex. theres one fixed lens (removable), passes through to the mirror inside (dont touch that...).
provides better quality images due to a better (most of the time) image sensor.



the other is a point and shoot/compact/fixed lens camera. still great, but lacks depth.


finding a waterproof slr isnt going to be.

other key things to consider:


FPS:
if you plan on getting creative with speed, maybe something over 3.5 fps (frames per second). stores more images in the buffer, meaning faster saves to memory card.


Higher ISO:
all SLR's are going to have incredible manual controls where you can set shutter speeds and ISO.
something with a high ISO is great. 3200 ISO would be ideal, but remember, the higher the ISO setting you use, the more noise (grainyness) you'll get when you zoom on the photo. ideally, use less iso and leave your shutter open longer.


hmmm...what else am i missing...
 Quoting: Fletch

Thank you. I am writing all of this down. Your experience in this matter is extremely helpful.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 853408
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01/04/2010 05:45 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
nikon d3000
Fletch

User ID: 824929
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01/04/2010 05:53 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
you're welcome, glad to help....

i'm trying to thing what else is important to tell ya..


image stabilization:
optical stabilization is better than digital. optical ANYTHING is better than digital. (on compact point and shoots, you'll see digital zoom next to optical zoom. optical is your true zoom, digital is an enhancement on what already there, like zooming in on an image on a computer. it gets grainy and shitty really fast.) but i digress; a tripod is an excellent accessory, because image stabilization can only do so much, and a tripod is true steadiness. there are different weights to them, just depends on how sturdy you think you need it. try it out at the store before you buy. if they dont let you try, go somewhere else, go somewhere passionate about photography.


lithium batteries:
any SLR comes with one. it lasts roughly 200 shots per charge on an SLR, but it depends on your features. pick up an extra battery. the only difference between the brand name and the generic is the maximum power output.


cleaning supplies:
yes, get them. a lens pen, a squeezeball hand blower, a cleaning cloth, and some solution. dust on the lens is the number one complaint. especially dust on the sensor inside.
NEVER, i repeat, NEVER spray canned air at, into, or around your camera. it will leave a mess because of the liquid, and mold, and ruin your camera.

the extra warranty:
yes, you can see, i sold these. haha. GET IT ONLY, ONLY IF IT COVERS ACCIDENTAL HANDLING!!! sure its 150 bucks, but your camera was 600+, and if you drop it, you're FUCKED. the accidental droppage coverage WORKS, and many times they'll outright replace the camera on the spot. plus they usually include cleaning and maintenance for free. ask sales associates in stores you go to.
and yes, buy from a store. if you have a problem, usually if they are passionate, theyll help you out long after you buy the camera.
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/04/2010 06:00 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
more considerations:

most digital SLR's now are coming out with HD movie mode. yeah its neat, but will you really use it? HD eats up your memory card fast...


more on memory cards:
most SLR's also now are going strictly SD (secure digital) rather than compact flash (the really big ones):

there are 3 speed types of memory cards,

normal, ultra 2, and extreme 3 (also extreme 3 pro)


its all about speed and classes.
the class depends on the speed/buffering. class 4 and above are ideal. class 6 if you can. should tell ya right on the front of the package what speed it is.

normal: average speed
ultra 2: faster, double the speed roughly...
extreme 3 (extreme III):best buffer for fast shooting, holds up in colder/hotter temps for better storage time.
SickDaveMondo

User ID: 512195
Canada
01/04/2010 06:07 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
more considerations:
most digital SLR's now are coming out with HD movie mode. yeah its neat, but will you really use it? HD eats up your memory card fast...
 Quoting: Fletch

I use my HD movie mode all the time, but I also use that for work. I think it's a good option since it eliminates the need for a separate movie camera. Plus I can take a shitload of video on a 16GB card (which are pretty cheap now too). I usually only take a 2-3 minute video anyway, I hate long boring home movies!

SDM

Last Edited by SickDaveMondo on 01/04/2010 06:07 PM
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 857090
United States
01/04/2010 06:08 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
Hey!

That brings up a good question, Fletch.

What about performance in cold weather? How well will I be set for taking photos in the winter? Do these cameras come with ratings on what temperature range they will continue to operate properly at?

I live in a State where I see normal temperature ranges of probably -10 to 100 Farenheit throughout the year, with an occassional extreme low or high range of as much as -20 to 114 farenheit. Of course, I will probably only really do any photography between 0 and 100...
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 857090
United States
01/04/2010 06:10 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
more considerations:
most digital SLR's now are coming out with HD movie mode. yeah its neat, but will you really use it? HD eats up your memory card fast...

I use my HD movie mode all the time, but I also use that for work. I think it's a good option since it eliminates the need for a separate movie camera. Plus I can take a shitload of video on a 16GB card (which are pretty cheap now too). I usually only take a 2-3 minute video anyway, I hate long boring home movies!

SDM
 Quoting: SickDaveMondo

See, I was debating shooting pics or video. Are there any good combo cameras of the two or should I just pic which one I will do?
Greenhorn

User ID: 857192
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01/04/2010 06:13 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
fUJI FINE PIX 10 MEGAPIXEL

I grew up shooting with the standard pentax K1000 both color and B/W film. With digital you have MUCH more flexibility and they are tiny these days. My lil fuji even takes decent video. Here are some pictures I took over the past year. I think it was worth it. Ignore the first few orbs if you are a head in the sander.




edit: they are about $149 or less now.

Last Edited by popcorn on 01/04/2010 06:13 PM
Fletch

User ID: 824929
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01/04/2010 06:18 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
gotta go there OP, maybe someone can take over for me!

you'll just see battery power/lenght decrease a little bit in the cold weather, other than that, dont get snow in the camera! haha
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 848933
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01/04/2010 07:43 PM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
I personally own a fine pix point and shot, and this is the camera a grab for fun when I do not get too serious. birthdays and x-mas and such. I think they have the best senors on the market and I use the Fuji s3 for serious work.

Cold from my experience really only matters with the batteries.. If you are in the extreme cold keep three sets of batteries. One set in camera two as close to you body as possible for heat. Rechargeables work best for cold, but like Fletch says lithium batteries are preferred for most occasions.

Cameras are basically a light tight box that exposes film (sensor), so what you want for bells and whistles are up to you. In digital the sensor is everything though, this is why I like Fuji, they think out of the box and their senors works like film and blend the colors of the pixels in a way that people are familiar with instead of the boxiness of other senors grain(pixels). That being said though most sensors pick up so much information that by the time you print you need a trained eye to see the difference.
Fletch

User ID: 824929
United States
01/05/2010 09:53 AM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
any update there OP?
Xare

User ID: 739683
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01/05/2010 09:55 AM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
I got a 10 megapixel Canon power shot A480 for 110 bucks from Newegg.

Pretty nice little camera, it can take video / sound and it has Super Macro too.
Anonymous Coward
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01/05/2010 10:12 AM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
I have a Canon Power Shot SD 1000 7.1 Mega Pixels Zoom lens 3X. I bought it several years ago. It is pretty inexpensive, but I have been very happy with it. If this is a new hobby, you may want something similar to start with. You can switch modes from automatic to manual and it has tons of features. You can change speeds manually or set it for automatic.

I took some pretty nice photos over New Years Eve of of the flames of our bonfire, close ups of the firework explosions, and one of an explosion in the bonfire from someone throwing a dud bottle rocket in it!

I'm waiting for a mod to approve the smiles that I uploaded of the photos just mentioned. I took them with the camera I mentioned above just to give you an idea.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 856872
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01/05/2010 10:17 AM
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Re: Camera For Amateur Digital Photography?
from high to low in price...

[link to www.bhphotovideo.com]

[link to www.bhphotovideo.com]

[link to www.bhphotovideo.com]

[link to www.bhphotovideo.com]





GLP