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Old May 29th   #1
EvilZ
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Amature Photographer's come on in, camera suggestions

So I have a good friend that is really into photography but they just really don't have the money for a camera. They love taking pictures with there phone and actually have taken some pretty neat pictures to only be using a phone. I was just curious if you guys had some entry level suggestions for a camera. I'm looking to spend no more then $300, I'd like something they could upgrade the lens on later down the road once they had the money if they so chose.

I'm looking at Nikon D3000 10.2 MP Digital SLR Camera - Black (Kit w/ AF-S DX 18-55mm VR Lens) anything else that should be on my radar? The cheaper the better but I don't want to buy a piece of junk at the same time either.

Thanks!
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Old May 29th   #2
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Getting a DSLR is pointless unless they already know how to manually set ISO, aperture, and shutter speed (the P, A, S, and M settings on these cameras). Otherwise, I'd get a cheap high-end point and shoot with these options to allow someone to cut their teeth on these options now and then grow into a better camera when they're ready to because newer models will be out.

The Panasonic FZ series is a VERY powerful series of camera, even for experienced users. And they top out at only $500 for top-of-the line brand new. The good thing is that these cameras in gently used condition are dirt cheap for what they are. I recommended an FZ35 to my brother and he's extremely happy with it. Here's one available used in like-new condition for $245:
http://www.keh.com/camera/Panasonic-...991099030?r=FE

The quality difference in the images will only be visible under extreme scrutany, so you're getting 90% of what a DSLR can do at 1/2 the cost. Unless you're a pro needing pro gear for a wedding business or something like that, these will do perfectly fine.

I use two Panasonic FZ20s as workhorse cameras for much of the HCS event coverage. These cameras are nearly 8 years old, but still hold their own against novice shooters with modern gear due to the extremely good built-in Lecia lenses and full manual controls. I can't find any of these right now, but I bought my last one for under $150.
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Old May 29th   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilZ View Post
I'm looking at Nikon D3000 10.2 MP Digital SLR Camera - Black (Kit w/ AF-S DX 18-55mm VR Lens) anything else that should be on my radar?
I just looked this one up and found a lot of them available refurbished--not a good sign. A novice won't notice a malfunctioning camera and that would impede the learning process for sure. Plus, these are pretty expensive for what they are. An 18-55 lens doesn't give you much flexibility to use depth-of-field (bokeh) as a creative option.
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Old May 29th   #4
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For point and shoot, one of the best is the one that I have. Amazon top seller, also does HD video:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Cyber-sho...8322823&sr=8-1

I got lucky and got it on sale for $180.

Here are some pics I took in intelligent mode (some were downsized for display):

http://www.huntsvillecarscene.com/sh...#axzz1wGsKp3qs



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Old May 29th   #5
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AHHH! warn a person before a giant spider seizes my 24in screen.
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Old May 29th   #6
dragginbody87
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Oh yeah, my previous post contains a spider

Scary but harmless golden orb weaver.
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Old May 29th   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWDani View Post
AHHH! warn a person before a giant spider seizes my 24in screen.
lol. What's bad is when you move away from the computer than then see another one.

When I worked at LG Electronics in their call center a few years back (when I would hand-code hsv.streetracing.org during my gaps in work), a spider once crawled onto my desk while I was sitting idle. When I tried to shoo it away, it lunged at me, so I said fine, play it your way, and I let a book drop onto him. So as I looked at this spider's slender black body, I noticed a tinge of red on the abdomen. I quickly pulled up some pictures of Black Widows and found one to match. I told my supervisor that they might want to talk to their exterminating company.

Oh, and dragginbody's camera has very good image quality for a point and shoot. It's amazing what type of tools you can get these days. Most of them are never fully pushed to their limits.

I shot this with my girlfriend's Samsung PL150 handheld:


The same thing on a DSLR would have required a tripod even with image stabilization.
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Last edited by Samir; May 29th at 05:58 PM. Reason: forgot camera part of the post!
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Old May 29th   #8
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It really all depends on how deep into photography your friend is wanting to go... I wouldn't buy a point and shoot if they were wanting to get serious. An iPhone is a point and shoot nowadays anyway with fisheye lenses to boot. If you want more information on a good entry level setup, I can ask my mom to contact you. She runs her own photography business.

*Samir, I hope that was not in violation of any rules. lol
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Old May 30th   #9
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You don't need a DSLR to take pictures of cars. If you plan on making a run at the vast profession of Photography, then you absolutely need a DSLR. Yes P&S cameras are much wider in their range of use nowadays, but you're still limited heavily on lots of aspects. Someone can say all day long that their P&S can do all the things a DSLR can do, but they would be wrong. It might be able to do SOME of the things a DSLR can do, but not ALL. I would try to find a used D40, D40x, D70 or D80 if I had your money restraints. (The D70 and D80 would probably run a little more, but i have seen them go for that cheap, but usually high shutter counts and body only.)They are great cameras for the money. Light weight and compact. Many different lens options and they can be purchased fairly cheap, being as they are getting older now. A D40/x with an 18-105 kit lens from a D90 is a great combo for any occasion, given you aren't shooting low light situations. You won't become a professional wedding photographer with this equipment or anything, but it will get you used to the Nikon interface which is very user friendly anyway. I use a D90 and D700 body with a few different lens options. My main setup is my D700+24-70 f2.8, but you are looking at a little more than 300 dollars for that setup.lol However, and I can't stress this enough, THE EQUIPMENT DOES NOT MAKE THE PHOTOGRAPHER!!!! I have seen people do with an Iphone what some folks can't even do with a DSLR.lol It all comes down to the photographers eye and skill set.
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Old May 30th   #10
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I shoot with a t1i Canon. I wouldn't worry about the amount of refurb 3000's you see....they sell millions of them with no problems. You have to understand that the majority of people don't treat their 500+ dollar cameras as just that...a 500 dollar piece of equipment. They probably only put a couple thousand frames through them and end up dropping it or something stupid.

As far as not needing a DSLR and going for the high end P&S...I suggest not going that route. Get something pretty good with detachable lenses and decent speed to it. Not being able to change lenses is a HUGE crippling factor in those smaller cameras. You can find a used t2i with kit lens for dirt cheap now that the 3's are out. You can find a t1i for even cheaper. You can find 3000's cheap, and 3100's for not a lot more as well.

Buy DSLR, everything else is just a compromise.
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Old May 30th   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragginbody87 View Post
For point and shoot, one of the best is the one that I have. Amazon top seller, also does HD video:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Cyber-sho...8322823&sr=8-1

I got lucky and got it on sale for $180.

Here are some pics I took in intelligent mode (some were downsized for display):
Don't mean to be "mean" but the pictures are not exposed properly, even in intelligent mode. The first one's white balance is off and it's not very sharp. They aren't bad for a P&S but ya...
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Old May 30th   #12
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They want to do more then just take pictures of cars. Currently they're just using there Iphone and it's pretty impressive. All of this is good info and has me headed in a few directions now to do some more research. Thanks!
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Old May 30th   #13
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Also the whole logic behind this was to get something where they could actually learn about photography vs. just pressing a button which is why i was leaning toward a DSLR. Also as for needing a tripod with the camera i mentioned.......the pictures i posted of my car were taken with that same camera with out a tripod and they turned out great I think.
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Old May 30th   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrantH View Post
Don't mean to be "mean" but the pictures are not exposed properly, even in intelligent mode. The first one's white balance is off and it's not very sharp. They aren't bad for a P&S but ya...
But they look exactly like the scene looked to my eyes, so I'm fine with it.

I don't invest much time in taking pics. Other modes on the camera allow for better adjustments.
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Old May 30th   #15
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Originally Posted by SaabStory2.0T View Post
It really all depends on how deep into photography your friend is wanting to go... I wouldn't buy a point and shoot if they were wanting to get serious. An iPhone is a point and shoot nowadays anyway with fisheye lenses to boot. If you want more information on a good entry level setup, I can ask my mom to contact you. She runs her own photography business.

*Samir, I hope that was not in violation of any rules. lol
No violation, lol. Good advice if you're going pro and willing to spend the money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munchie View Post
You don't need a DSLR to take pictures of cars. If you plan on making a run at the vast profession of Photography, then you absolutely need a DSLR. Yes P&S cameras are much wider in their range of use nowadays, but you're still limited heavily on lots of aspects. Someone can say all day long that their P&S can do all the things a DSLR can do, but they would be wrong. It might be able to do SOME of the things a DSLR can do, but not ALL. I would try to find a used D40, D40x, D70 or D80 if I had your money restraints. (The D70 and D80 would probably run a little more, but i have seen them go for that cheap, but usually high shutter counts and body only.)They are great cameras for the money. Light weight and compact. Many different lens options and they can be purchased fairly cheap, being as they are getting older now. A D40/x with an 18-105 kit lens from a D90 is a great combo for any occasion, given you aren't shooting low light situations. You won't become a professional wedding photographer with this equipment or anything, but it will get you used to the Nikon interface which is very user friendly anyway. I use a D90 and D700 body with a few different lens options. My main setup is my D700+24-70 f2.8, but you are looking at a little more than 300 dollars for that setup.lol However, and I can't stress this enough, THE EQUIPMENT DOES NOT MAKE THE PHOTOGRAPHER!!!! I have seen people do with an Iphone what some folks can't even do with a DSLR.lol It all comes down to the photographers eye and skill set.
Some great advice. But like you said, you won't get any of the gear you're talking about in $300. And for that price if someone's not getting some of the features of a dslr when they don't know how to use any of the features of a dslr, it's a cheap way to learn. Then you step up. That's my point. I wouldn't know how to max out the Rebel T2i I use for TopEnd.tv without what I learned on my crop of high-end point and shoots with manual controls. They taught me how to work around equipment limitations.

I know that 24-70 2.8 is a pretty penny. But well worth it if you're having to do pro-level work day-in day-out without compromise. And it really does come down to the person behind the tool. No different than the driver behind the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrantH View Post
I shoot with a t1i Canon. I wouldn't worry about the amount of refurb 3000's you see....they sell millions of them with no problems. You have to understand that the majority of people don't treat their 500+ dollar cameras as just that...a 500 dollar piece of equipment. They probably only put a couple thousand frames through them and end up dropping it or something stupid.

As far as not needing a DSLR and going for the high end P&S...I suggest not going that route. Get something pretty good with detachable lenses and decent speed to it. Not being able to change lenses is a HUGE crippling factor in those smaller cameras. You can find a used t2i with kit lens for dirt cheap now that the 3's are out. You can find a t1i for even cheaper. You can find 3000's cheap, and 3100's for not a lot more as well.

Buy DSLR, everything else is just a compromise.
I would worry about the refurbs. I've seen lower end Nikon's not metering correctly between the three different metering modes. Kinda hard learning what that feature does when the camera doesn't work correctly. Having a correctly calibrated and operating tool is important when trying to master that tool. It takes a pretty high defect rate for something to be sold new and refurbed side-by-side.

I disagree with the non-dslr route for someone moving up from a phone or other non-adjustable point and shoot. Having shutter, aperture, and ISO controls is a night and day difference than without. And cutting teeth on these settings on a $200 or $2000 camera is the same. Most point and shoots have built-in lenses with far wider range than the usual 18-55 55-250 kits that are included with $700 dslr kits. And you don't have to swap lenses or lug them around--a big factor when the learning process can be pretty daunting to begin with. Having to lug gear and swap lenses just adds to the overhead of the learning process.

Getting anything less than a dslr may be a compromise, but getting more than you need at that moment is a waste of money too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrantH View Post
Don't mean to be "mean" but the pictures are not exposed properly, even in intelligent mode. The first one's white balance is off and it's not very sharp. They aren't bad for a P&S but ya...
True, but look at the price for that extra 10% improvement. There's probably in-camera adjustments for the white balance, but to get a sharper picture, you'd need a macro lens on a larger sensor body (dslr) which would run more than that whole camera. For a beginner would that really be worth it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilZ View Post
Also the whole logic behind this was to get something where they could actually learn about photography vs. just pressing a button which is why i was leaning toward a DSLR.
That's what I got from your post, and for this, a high-end point and shoot is the way to go IMO. If they get good with it and like it, move to a dslr--and a better one at that since they know exactly what they want and need. Otherwise, sell the camera for barely any loss or keep it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilZ View Post
Also as for needing a tripod with the camera i mentioned.......the pictures i posted of my car were taken with that same camera with out a tripod and they turned out great I think.
Tripods aren't usually necessary except when the shutter speed is too slow. Then stabilized lenses or a tripod helps. That's what I was trying to illustrate with that image. A lot of point and shoots have modes that compensate for this, so you can get shots that are relatively good without all the heavy-duty gear. I used the 'firework' mode on my girlfriend's camera and forced the flash to be off. Because that's a stabilized program in that camera, it digitally removed the shake while taking the image, resulting in that image straight out of the camera. It's not perfect by any means, but impressive for a camera without any manual controls. I could have gotten something even better with my Sony, but not without a tripod.
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Old May 31st   #16
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http://huntsville.craigslist.org/pho/3004302798.html
Not a bad deal. I have never actually used the on camera flash on any off my cameras.lol This has the D80 Kit lens with it as well.
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Old May 31st   #17
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http://huntsville.craigslist.org/pho/3004302798.html
Not a bad deal. I have never actually used the on camera flash on any off my cameras.lol This has the D80 Kit lens with it as well.
Not a bad deal at all, especially with an external flash. That's an area I haven't started playing with yet. I picked up an Olympus external flash a while back that still goes for more than I paid. I'm sure it's not the greatest flash, but I don't need that starting out learning.
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Old May 31st   #18
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We have 2 SB800s and 1 SB600. They all work great on and off the camera!
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Old May 31st   #19
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I hear about those all the time. Seem to be the workhorse equipment for pros.
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Old May 31st   #20
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Well I am definatly not a pro, but I guess I have equivialent equipment!lol
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