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First camera

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by brendan207@gmail.com, Apr 3, 2014.

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  1. brendan207@gmail.com

    brendan207@gmail.com Member

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    I've only ever used my phone camera for pictures, however I'm planning a trip out west to the Badlands, Yellowstone, and the Tetons this summer so I'd like to get something to get some better shots than my phone would provide.

    My budget is $350 at most, so far my thoughts are either a medium range point and shoot, maybe like :
    Amazon.com: Nikon COOLPIX L830 16 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 34x Zoom NIKKOR Lens and Full 1080p HD Video (Black): NIKON: Camera & Photo

    Or a low end DSLR
    Nikon D3200 24 2 MP Digital SLR w 18 55mm Lens Refurbished by Nikon USA 25492B 001828254927 | eBay

    On the trip, I'd preferably like something to get good shots in bright light and evening, hopefully some good pictures of wildlife! and a sunrise/sunset over the Badlands wouldn't hurt too. I'm also really into astronomy, I'm assuming this is out of my price range, but being able to get some pictures of all the stars that will be out west would be awesome as well, Columbus, Ohio doesn't do them justice at all.

    Thanks for the input in advance, I really appreciate it!
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Neither camera seems 100% suitable for your trip to the Badlands.

    Both Nikons will take good looking pictures in daylight. The D3200 will have an advantage due to its optical viewfinder, which you'll need when shooting in the bright sunshine. But since you intend to take pictures of wildlife you'll need a longer lens than the 18-55mm kit lens of the D3200 - the 34x zoom lens lf the L830 would come in very handy. To take pictures of the stars you'll need to set up your camera on a tripod and set the camera for long exposure - something you can do on the D3200 as it permits you to control shutter speed, but you can't on the L830 because it doesn't allow you to control shutter speed.

    As an alternative to the two Nikons you might want to consider a long zoom point and shoot with a built-in viewfinder. There are many available from different manufacturers. For Nikon the P520 fits within your price range. There's also the Panasonic FZ70 and the Fuji SL1000, both of which have long zoom lenses and viewfinders. Of the three cameras the Fuji SL1000 has the slowest minimum shutter speed, at 30 seconds, which makes it better able to take pictures of stars.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2014
  3. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Very good points by Andy :thumbsup:

    I would like to add that both astrophotography and wildlife shooting are very dependent on weather conditions. While I do not live in that part of the West, I have a strong suspicion that weather good enough for astrophotography will be a lot more iffy than for wildlife. Those SLR-like long zoom cameras Andy suggested are good "trainers" for wildlife, just be sure to get one with a viewfinder. Links for suggestions on shooting wildlife -

    Quick Tip For Spotting Wildlife - PhotoNaturalist

    Wildlife Photography | Nature and Photography

    Quick Tip: Playing It Safe with Wildlife Photography - Tuts+ Photography Article

    Animal and Wildlife Photography - Digital Photo Secrets

    5 Big Tips to add Impact and Variety to your Wildlife Images - Digital Photography School

    Wildlife Photography Tips Part One

    Kelly Cook
     
  4. brendan207@gmail.com

    brendan207@gmail.com Member

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    What do you think about the Panasonic FZ70? Similar specs to the SL1000 but according to (bestbuy), it has a optional 60 second shutter time.
     
  5. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The FZ70's specifications show a minimum shutter speed of 8 seconds, but I see that the camera has a starry sky mode that will let you set a shutter speed of 15, 30 or 60 seconds, which will enable you to take good astronomical photos. I think the FZ70 would be a fine choice for you.
    Here are some sample images:
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=panasonic fz70
     
  6. brendan207@gmail.com

    brendan207@gmail.com Member

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    Thanks for the reply Andy! I'm assuming that even with the shutter at 15/30 seconds, I would only be able to get the brightest stars and wouldn't have a shot at capturing the milky way with the FZ70's light sensor?

    Thanks!
     
  7. brendan207@gmail.com

    brendan207@gmail.com Member

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    Thank you for the reply Andy!
    Do you think the sensor is only capable of getting the brightest stars, or do you think that even with a relatively small sensor, it would have a chance of capturing the milky way?

    Thanks!
     
  8. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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  9. brendan207@gmail.com

    brendan207@gmail.com Member

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    Could anyone recommend me a tripod and remote shutter release if it would work with the FZ70? Do any tripods work with any old camera? I'm hoping to get a relatively light weight one that I could take hiking
     
  10. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    All cameras and all tripods use the same 1/4-20 bolt thread. So yes, you can mix cameras and tripods all you like.

    Kelly
     
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