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Thread: Camera Upgrade Question/s

  1. #1
    realdereal's Avatar
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    Camera Upgrade Question/s

    I am looking to upgrade (finally) to a new camera. I am clueless as to what aperture, f-stops,
    RAW and the like mean. I have $600-$1000 to spend and currently am using a Kodak point and shoot 12mp.
    I have always dreamed of owning a Canon rebel but my sister's Nikon 5100 took excellent photos this week.
    My friend however had an Olympus point and shoot, I believe, and her pictures were beautiful.

    I really do love the easy mobility of my little point and shoot however I have always loved photography and discovering new ways to enjoy the art. I especially love detailed shots of flowers and plant life with stunning quality.

    I also wouldn't mind professional quality photographs as I have been asked several times to do family shoots but did not, as I didn't feel qualified with my er equipment.

    Well. That's it. When I finally got the funds to actually buy a decent camera I have no idea what to do. Hoping to have some feedback.

    I also sell prints of my small work fairly regularly and am looking to move up a bit on the food chain as well as grow in the photography field. Any advice would be appreciated.

    *Oh yeah- I saw some cameras with 30x and even 50x zoom. Whoa! I wonder if that is truly possible. Can't believe it would print that well off of that kind of zoom.

    And there was some 24mp cameras as well. Was wondering if those would print 20x30 inches with good results. People always want poster sized prints but I was always scared to go higher than 11x14.
    Last edited by realdereal; 13th May 2013 at 01:10 AM.

  2. #2
    CP140's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    You're certainly not the first person to ask those questions Kristen. I'm certainly not the font of all wisdom and knowledge, but I'll take a stab at answering your questions.

    Let's talk brands. Any DSLR camera (Canon/Nikon/Pentax) at a comparable price point with roughly equivalent lenses will produce roughly equivalent images. There will be some cases where one brand may do better than another. In most cases however, it's the photographer that makes the difference.

    Yes there are cameras with 30-50x zoom. Any zoom lens is a compromise however. The greater the zoom range, the greater the compromises. This is why photographers talk about "prime" lenses... one focal length, no zoom and optimized for that focal length.

    Having said that, not all 50mm primes are equivalent. There are very expensive very good primes and some not so expensive, not so good primes.... and every company has produced its share of excellent lenses and it's share of stinkers.

    The resolution of the sensor is important, but is only one aspect of how large an image can be blown up to. A very high resolution sensor paired with a crap lens will not produce the results you want. Conversely, a very good lens paired with a lower resolution sensor may very well give you the results you want.

    My honest suggestion... do your research, decide on a short list of three or four models then go into a reputable camera store and ask to see each of them. Pick them up, play with them and see which feels the best in your hands. Play with the focus ring and zoom on the lens. Which one feels the smoothest and best?

    As for the aperture/RAW/f-stop questions... there are tons of tutorials around on the web... several on this site. I'd offer to explain, but I struggle with those concepts and their application to the real world... as anyone who has seen my photos can attest.

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    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Thanks CP140. I was feeling around those same lines. I have a few that I like and I have been reading these forums for quite awhile now and will keep doing so. Great info and I thank you.
    Last edited by realdereal; 13th May 2013 at 03:21 AM.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    I think you might be on to something; the beautiful pictures have more to do with the photographer than the camera. Getting a more expensive camera may or may not be the best way to go for you to go.

    If you've always dreamt of owning a Rebel, go for it. But you should also resolve to learn what ISO, shutter speed and all of the other controls do for you. Learn about composition and post processing and get out there and shoot lots. Become your own harshest critic when looking over your work and strive to get a better shot next time.

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    It is a bit like buying a vehicle. The hardest thing is to workout what you need (I want a small sports car that will tow a huge boat). Once you manage to figure out what is a viable market segment to purchass in then the difference between models and brands is fairly minor and often personal preference is the main reason for the final choice.

    Unless size is a major consideration I still believe a DSLR is the best option for anyone wanting to take up photography.

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    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Alright- I guess I could sum it up like this:

    A. Fun (I mean- works like a point and shoot-simple to work with while I learn)
    B. Easy to use (Click- Wow it's in focus)
    C. Could pass for professional portrait photographs (If I do my part )

    So does that scream any model or not in a SLR?

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    CP140's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Pretty much any "entry level" DSLR will have an "Auto" mode. This mode defaults the camera to a "Point and Shoot" like mode.

    At the same time, that DSLR will probably have a plethora of modes (including all out manual) that will let you take more control over what the camera does.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Quote Originally Posted by realdereal View Post
    Alright- I guess I could sum it up like this:

    A. Fun (I mean- works like a point and shoot-simple to work with while I learn)
    B. Easy to use (Click- Wow it's in focus)
    C. Could pass for professional portrait photographs (If I do my part )

    So does that scream any model or not in a SLR?
    Part A and Part B of what you want can be provided by any camera ranging from a Point & Shoot right through a high end consumer DSLR.

    Part C, no, that simply does not happen, unless as you put it "do your part". That is the hard part in photography and doing your part requires lots of knowledge and lots of practice. Buying a more expensive camera does not teach you about composition, dealing with the quality and quantity of light, how to pose your subjects, etc., etc. Your higher end camera has the potential to give you a lot better image than a point and shoot because it has superior optics and electronics. but it does not automatically produce better pictures.

  9. #9
    CP140's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Part A and Part B of what you want can be provided by any camera ranging from a Point & Shoot right through a high end consumer DSLR.

    Part C, no, that simply does not happen, unless as you put it "do your part". That is the hard part in photography and doing your part requires lots of knowledge and lots of practice. Buying a more expensive camera does not teach you about composition, dealing with the quality and quantity of light, how to pose your subjects, etc., etc. Your higher end camera has the potential to give you a lot better image than a point and shoot because it has superior optics and electronics. but it does not automatically produce better pictures.
    Very true... I have a pretty decent DSLR (Pentax K-30) that is (way) more than a match for my skills as a photographer. My teenage son was using a Nikon P+S a couple of years ago and getting way better images than I am today. Why? ... because he could intuitively see the image he wanted to capture and manipulated the camera to get what he wanted... I almost regret "selling" him my K-r....

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Let me give you another point of view. If you have never used a DSLR before, they can be very daunting and intimidating and you will never get beyond auto. The amount of choices that the camera can perform can be overwhelming. My suggestion would be to get a high quality Point and Shoot, something like the Canon G15 or G1X. If you can outgrow these cameras, then you will know what kind of DSLR you will want to buy. If you have your heart set on a DSLR, look at something simple like a Nikon D3200 (I am not as familiar with the Canon line). If you are serious about photography, it is not only the camera. There is the whole area of post processing. I would highly recommend learning Lightroom. There are many books and videos to help you learn that. Cameras with 50x zoom will have very small sensors and might not give high quality pictures. It would be helpful to understand what having a large sensor means relative to picture noise and quality. You might want to also think about having a good tripod and ball head. If you don't understand all these photographic issues, don't rush in and get everything all at once. You will be overwhelmed and then frustrated. Try and take small steps and get a full understanding before going on to the next step. Good luck on your journey, I am sure you will enjoy it. As you can see, there are many people willing to help you along the way.

  11. #11
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    You said your sister's Nikon took great photos but did you take them or her? Why not borrow her camera for a few days (you really need a few weeks) see how you like it, same goes for the Olympus?

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Hi Kristen,

    As you will already have realised, there are almost as many opinions as there are contributors

    I'm in the "buy an SLR" camp. That's where you will have the space to grow as your expertise grows.

    Here's my offering. I'm a fairly experienced though not tremendously accomplished photographer. I have a Canon Rebel (a T3i, aka as a 600D in Europe), which I've had for 18 months or so. It is an excellent camera (as are the other equivalents mentioned) and more than capable of taking excellent images. Don't worry about the mp count for printing, it is certainly sufficient for anything you describe.

    Your next question will be, which lens? For your budget, it would make sense to get one of the kit lenses with the body. Since you seem to have a variety of interests, the 18-135 would seem to make sense - though I am not an expert on Canon kit lenses, they seem to be reckoned good value for money.

    That lens with a T5i would put you at the top end of your budget, maybe a little over. You could save around $200 by buying a T4i with the same lens, and to be honest, there is very little difference between the two models (check dpreview).

    Your next question is likely to be something like, now I've got this new camera with all those buttons and wheels, where do I start. Best make that a new thread, and be prepared for even more ideas.

    Have fun, whatever you decide,

    Dave

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    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    CP140- About Autofocus. I heard that not all models come with autofocus, I think one of the Nikons I was mentioning does not so the reviews said you needed a lens with focus... (?)

    Thank you everyone for your feedback. I do believe I will go with a DSLR Nikon or Canon with the idea in mind to upgrade my point in shoot in the future.

    And now to just figure out what exact model. I think I will just go try them out in store and see how they feel and that may help.

    I know I'm not ready for the pro series' but I really do want to try and learn more while using one of the "bridge" cameras.
    I'm not sure if I'm ready for the bridge camera yet but I'm doing it

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    I think it's ideal for someone in your situation to buy a used camera for several reasons. For the most part (not always), you get more for your money. You didn't mention shooting action photography, so you won't be constantly releasing the shutter; it won't matter that your used camera has a moderately high shutter count. You want to make portraits that look professional, so you'll eventually need to spend more money on lighting and accessories; saving money by buying a used camera could be helpful.

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Quote Originally Posted by realdereal View Post
    I heard that not all models come with autofocus,
    The motor that automatically turns the lens that makes autofocus possible is always built either into the camera or the lens. If you buy a camera that doesn't have that motor, you will need to buy a lens that does. If you buy a camera that does have that motor, you can use a lens whether or not it has that motor. That's true for Nikon and I assume, though don't know, for any major brand.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 13th May 2013 at 11:57 AM.

  16. #16

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    It just now occurred to me that, considering that your sister uses a Nikon camera, you might want to go in that direction unless there is a compelling reason not to. The two of you could share lenses and, perhaps even more important, knowledge about the Nikon system.

  17. #17
    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    My wife is using my previous camera- Rebel T2i. While she enjoys it, her criteria is the same as yours, Kristen that you listed in post #6. I think my wife would enjoy something like the Fuji X100 more. Something a little more compact, takes excellent images and is fun to use. That could be a good stepping stone towards a more professional camera if you end up going there. Im even thinking of maybe getting one as a back up camera when I want to carry less in certain situations, and a camera my wife may enjoy carrying around more?

  18. #18
    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    Thanks Mike- I was actually considering buying used and looking around on CL and such for awhile yet I do like the idea of having the model my sister has as she is able to share some info as well.

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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    I don't think it's important to have the same model as your sister for either of you to reap the benefits of each other's knowledge. It's more helpful that you would both have the same manufacturer's system.

    Depending on the model that you purchase if it isn't the same as your sister's model, the cameras might share most of the same menu items though some of them might be accessed in different menus. Similarly, one particular capability might be easily and quickly controlled using a dial or button on the back of the camera and another camera might more laboriously require you to navigate a menu to access it. There will also be some differences in capabilities, some of which may be important to you and some may not. All of that is easy to sort out by conducting a search of a particular capability in each camera's manual downloaded as a PDF.

    Considering that you look forward to making portraits, you might want to purchase a camera that allows you to use the camera to fire flash units and control their settings even though the flash is not mounted on the camera. Some Nikon cameras do that and some don't. The cameras that do have a Commander Mode when configuring flash settings.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 13th May 2013 at 02:31 PM.

  20. #20
    realdereal's Avatar
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    Re: Camera Upgrade Question/s

    I think I have it down to the Canon T4 and the Nikon 5200.
    I am just upset because I have literally wanted a Rebel since my old Walmart photography days (sigh)
    But the clear winner it seems is the Nikon 5200 [I love megapixels] Don't know why.

    What to do-What to do.
    I think I'll go down to the camera store down the street today and feel them out like you said.

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