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Thread: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

  1. #1
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    Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Okay, so I'm a PAS photographer with no knowledge of lenses or camera settings. I have recently went into business selling my prints and am looking to upgrade to a "real" camera. I can only spend $400. What is a good starter camera for my speciality, nature photography? I mostly do land/waterscapes.

  2. #2
    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Hello Kimberly, and congrats. on your new business! What point and shoot are you using currently, and do you have any pictures you can post, or a link to some of your pictures?
    Last edited by PhotoRob; 3rd March 2013 at 09:53 PM.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Hi Kimberly...

    In what general geographic area do you live. The prices of cameras/lenses vary greatly throughout the world.

    The prices in the USA are probly some of the lowest, however. it would be impossible to get a DSLR camera and a decent lens for $400 if you are buying new or even reconditioned. However, if you purchase a used camera that is a few generations old, you might be able to set yourself up.

    I would look into getting a Canon 450D with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens and pair that up with a used tripod, The 450D can provide very decent imagery while the 18-55mm f/3.5-6.3 IS (make sure that it ie equipped with Image Stabilization - IS) can if shot around f/8 to f/11 tripod mounted will give very nice results.

    I have looked at the used prices of other Canon DSLR cameras and lenses. Perhaps you could get a Canon 30D with a 28-135mm lens, Again, that lens can produce very nice results if stopped down a bit and mounted on a tripod.

    Another handy accessory for your desired shooting would be a decent circular polarizing filter.

    However, you are working at a very minimum price range.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Fairly recent review of cameras in the sub 500 range:

    http://www.whatdigitalcamera.com/equ...under-500.html
    Last edited by PhotoRob; 4th March 2013 at 01:06 AM.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    If your customers are happy, do you really need to upgrade? To most of us, every type of camera has its place and its uses, and very few of them are "bad." Most of us who shoot with "real" cameras also shoot with P&S fixed-lens small-sensored cameras. There are reasons to use any of them.

    What is it you want your "real" camera to do that your current camera can't? For the type of images you're talking about, small-sensored P&S cameras actually kinda rock. You may not need an interchangeable lens camera--you may just need a higher-end "enthusiast" compact with RAW capability and the PSAM modes. I'd say look at the Powershot S and G series. The S90/S95/S100 or the G15/G12/G11. The used, older generation cameras, can probably be found for about half your budget, assuming you're speaking in US$.

    My other recommendation would be a used micro four-thirds camera, like the Olympus E-PL or E-PM, or the Panasonic GX1, G3, or GF3 (or earlier generations). But your budget will limit you to only a kit lens. And with only a kit lens you may actually be more limited than with a P&S in some ways. You're liable to lose some zoom range, as well as macro capability.

    A dSLR, like a dRebel and kit lens will be equally as limited to start with. But if you can eventually make/save up enough money to purchase more gear, will have the largest system for future expansion into other kinds of shooting.

    But. To my mind, if you don't have a tripod, that's actually where your money should be going, given what you like to shoot. A tripod will open up long-exposure, and night shooting to you, even if your camera is only limited to 15s or 30s exposures.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    There seems to be an opinion amongst the masses that a "better" camera = a "better" image. This is of course total hogwash. A "better" camera is going to potentially be more talented an you might be able to get better pictures. On the other hand if you are primarily a P&S user, you will have a learning curve and it is possible that the quality of your work might go down. It sounds like you are letting your camera make all the decisions for you. A more complex camera will still have a high degree of automation, but will also allow you a much greater level of manual control. In my view, the main reason to get a better camera is when you have run into a restriction with your existing camera that is keeping you from getting the image that you want. If you are happy with what you are doing, why change?

    The budget you are looking at is not going to buy you much more than an updated P&S.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Right now I have a Canon Powershot A2000IS. My page is https://www.facebook.com/#!/BlindFocusPhotography
    Here is one of my favorites:

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    I appreciate the advice from everyone. My current camera has a scratch on the lense, so it is time to upgrade. I am also wanting to capture more action shots, as I want to get into pet photography and sports action. Is there a good P&S for this?
    And you are so right about the learning curve.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Really good, sound advice. I appreciate your honesty and it makes perfect sense. Right now, my camera is not fast enough for what I wanna do...which is pet photography and action sports shots. Also, I LOVE long exposures and night shots, but my camera will not let me set it for that. It is time for an upgrade and I will look at the new P&S before I get too technical for my own good. Again, thank you.

  10. #10
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Sports Action and P&S are generally mutually exclusive!

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Before purchasing any camera- have a complete read of this article-
    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...to-george.html
    It is written with "Tongue-in-cheek" style but has some good points also.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Kim, I had a look at your work.

    Take some advice from an Old Fool: beg, steal or borrow - get yourself a Nikon D600. Find a sponser or any other person prepared to invest in you as a Photographer. Read what you can on the Nikon D600 and you will understand why I say a D600.

    Get yourself a camera!!!!!

  13. #13
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by wobert View Post
    Before purchasing any camera- have a complete read of this article-
    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...to-george.html
    It is written with "Tongue-in-cheek" style but has some good points also.
    Well-written, but I think his point falls apart a bit when one considers that people frequently have no idea how far photography will take them. Sometimes buying gear is an incremental process simply because people couldn't predict their interest skyrocketing. He recommends (and I agree) buying in a way that won't hold you back in the future, or buy new gear to replace perfectly fine, but incompatible, older equipment.

    Kim, I'd recommend saving up a while longer. Barring a truly spectacular deal, any DLSR you can buy for $400 is a DSLR you'll wind up replacing soon after. This may be a tough pill, but try to save about $1,000, then go for something near the top end of the consumer range (currently, the Canon 60D or T4i), and a non-kit zoom lens like the Canon EF 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 USM. That combination will cover a very broad range of uses for the money. Remember that any Canon EF-S (as opposed to Canon EF) lens you purchase will not be compatible with truly top-of-the-line cameras if your work gets that far. Looks like you're off to a good start.

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Love the article! Very helpful...and true. I think I will take the advice and just wait. I am however, in need of a camera without a scratched lense so I am going to spend about half my budget to get a new P&S for the meantime. Thanks

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Thank you Andre for your compliments; however, I live in a very small community and would have no idea how to get a sponser. In this area, there are at least 10 professional photographers (but I am the only one doing nature shots). I would like to go into pet photography because no one is doing that either, but am embarrassed to show up with my little handheld camera on "photo shoots". I am going to start saving pennies at a time, but I will get myself a good camera one day. Thank you again!

  16. #16
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Yup. For the pet/action stuff, you'll probably want an interchangeable lens camera, and you're going to need a bigger budget.

    But in the meantime, as you're saving, here's some stuff you can think about playing with on the software/processing side (apologies if this is all old news).

    1. The CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit).

    This is a free firmware add-on that can be loaded onto the memory card you put in the camera. It does not alter the camera's actual firmware, but does depend on a specific version of the Canon official firmware being resident in the camera. The big big feature that CHDK can give to a consumer digicam, like your A2000IS, is RAW capability. You could shoot RAW with it, which would be bypassing the in-camera processing and messing about with the data yourself. You can save the files in-camera in DNG format.

    2. RAW Therapee

    This is a free cross-platform application to do RAW conversion. Sort of an open-source Lightroom alternative. If you're a Linux or OSX user, you could also look at Dark Table.

    3. The Gimp

    Another free cross-platform application to do more lower-level post-processing. Sort of an open-source Photoshop alternative.

    4. Hugin

    If the Gimp, Canon Photostitch, and Microsoft ICE can do all the panostitching tasks you need, then you don't need to go here, but if you want to do some fancier stitching (say, HDR and stitching together), this may be the tool you want to mess with. I'm a pano fool, and I love doing 360s and 360x180s. I eventually went to PTGui, but this is the open source free alternative.

    5. Qtpfsgui (aka "Luminance HDR").

    HDR? As a landscape photographer, you want to play with it. Just trust us on this. This ain't Photomatix, but at least it's free. You could also try exposure fusing with enfuse in Hugin.

    ------
    There is one possible camera you could think of getting with your budget that can shoot fast action and would be nicer than your A-series, but I really don't think it's the answer you're looking for. I only point to it because you may not have run across it in your research. And that's the Nikon 1 system. It will earn you absolutely no respect from other photographers, and possibly a few Ashton Kutcher jokes. It's a tiny, interchangeable lens mirrorless system. The sensor is 1" format (2.7x crop factor), so about halfway between P&S sensors and a dSLR sensor. And the thing is a mad fast-action camera. Both the first generation cameras, the V1 and J1 have been discontinued and replaced and the V1 was going for $350 around Christmas time (down from $900 initial MSRP). You can probably play with one at your local Target.

    The lens selection for the system is tiny. For landscape shooting, it's not as good as a dSLR. It's still only 10MP. But it's loads above your current camera in terms of controls and capabilities. And it can shoot at 5fps (that's dSLR speeds) in normal shutter modes, 10, 30, and 60 fps in electronic-shutter modes, and it autofocuses as fast as dSLRs (at least in good light). The weakness here is that you'd also need to buy a $250 longer lens. Which puts you outside your budget and probably locks you into a very limited system (which is why most of us wouldn't recommend it). The 10-30 kit lens is the "equivalent" of a 35mm film lens of 27-80mm. To put this in perspective, the lens of your A2000IS has the film "equivalency" of 36-213mm.

    I don't really recommend you go this path, but felt you should at least know it was there if you honestly couldn't wait and wanted to blow the $400 right now. [But as Lex said, anything at this pricepoint is likely to be more of a compromise than you want to make.] And while dSLR shooters have all been dissing the 1" format sensor in the Nikon 1s, those same folk are fawning all over it in the $600 Sony RX-100.
    Last edited by inkista; 6th March 2013 at 12:14 AM.

  17. #17
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by thekimberlysmith View Post
    Thank you Andre for your compliments; however, I live in a very small community and would have no idea how to get a sponser. In this area, there are at least 10 professional photographers (but I am the only one doing nature shots). I would like to go into pet photography because no one is doing that either, but am embarrassed to show up with my little handheld camera on "photo shoots". I am going to start saving pennies at a time, but I will get myself a good camera one day. Thank you again!
    Go to http://www.crowdtilt.com/ and create a campaign to raise money for your camera gear / business.

    I'll kick in the first $10 (every bit helps, right?)

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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoRob View Post
    I'll kick in the first $10 (every bit helps, right?)
    Agreed - $20 you've got. Go for it Kim.

  19. #19
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    Wow, thanks guys....but I went ahead and spent the extra money. Just yesterday, I purchased a Nikon D3100 with the 18-55 Nikkor VR, a tri-pod, and a camera bag. I'm so excited!

  20. #20
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    Re: Canon Girl Seeks Camera

    lol, how cool are you? Thanks, but I finally saved enough and purchased a Nikon d3100 yesterday!

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