New camera

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by Erythro73, Mar 22, 2014.

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  1. Erythro73

    Erythro73 Member

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    Hi,
    First of all, thank you for providing such a useful resource. Thank you for your time.

    I've used a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W80 for quite some years now, and I'm ready to move to a new, better camera. I'm going on a trip in Portugal and Spain this summer, and I would be happy with an overall better camera.

    Please note that I'm quite a beginner, so I might be misusing some words, but here are my answers to the short questionnaire:

    Budget : 350-400$ CAD before sales tax. Can stretch A BIT .
    Size : I'm looking more on the compact spectrum, but I might be misinformed. It's alright if it doesn't fit in my pocket, as I can carry it around my waist (with a case) or in my backpack, but I prefer something not overly large, heavy or bulky as I would be carrying it around all day.

    How many megapixels will suffice for you? As long as it looks alright, I don't really care. I mean, my previous camera had 7.2 MPX and I never complained about it.

    What optical zoom will you need? My previous camera had a 3X zoom, and it satisfied my needs most of times, although I would sometimes have prefered a higher zoom. Let's say around 5X?
    How important is “image quality” to you? 9-10
    Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)? That is something I absolutely want to learn. Sure, automated features can be quite handy when I have 20 s to take a photo before my SO pull my arms to get away, but I want to learn and use those manual exposure modes. I'm a physicist and I can handle the science behind it, so this is doubly interesting for me to learn those things.

    What will you generally use the camera for? General usage, definitely not pro or semi-pro usage. I'm going to Europe this summer and I want to take nice looking pictures. I also love to take picture while hiking in mountains too. I like to take pictures of friends, family, pets :eek:. I don't regularly take out my camera.

    Will you be making big prints of your photos or not? Nope, just small prints.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? Yes. In bars, or in some buildings/castles/museum in Europe, which can often times be dark.

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos? No.

    Are there particular brands you like or hate? Not really.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind? No, I'm lost here. I feel like I don't know enough about the camera market to find the perfect match for me. Does DSLR requires me to bring around 20 lenses a day or does it come with an all-around good lens? Are they really that much more bulkier than compact cameras? What do I really need? AAARRGGHHH.

    Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD) Well, a problem I had with my previous camera was that I was often limited by the small horizontal angle of my camera. So I guess I would want a wider angle.

    Can you help me please?
     
  2. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    A DSLR would meet your needs for image quality and using manual controls. It does let you use numerous lenses but its standard 3x zoom lens is good for most things and you can always buy other lenses (long zoom, other specialized lenses) if you need them. Even if you do buy several lenses you wouldn't have carry all your lenses with you - only those you think you'd need for the photo session. For the price you want to pay I found a couple of good DSLR's available which include their standard lenses - the Canon Rebel T3 and the Nikon D3100. The downside is they may be more bulky than you really want.

    A smaller camera with DSLR image quality is sometimes referred to as an MILC - mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. They have become very popular in recent years because they are smaller than a DSLR and usually cheaper. Like DSLR's they come with a standard lens and you can buy additional lenses if you want. I found three in your price range - the Nikon 1 J2, the Olympus E-PL3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3. The Nikon is the smallest and lightest but its image quality may be a bit behind the others. The Olympus has a flash hot-shoe so it can accept a separate flash, but it lacks a built-in popup flash. The Nikon and Panasonic have a built-in flash but lack the hot-shoe.
    Here are sample images from all three:
    Nikon 1j2
    Flickr Search: nikon "1 j2"

    Olympus E-PL3
    Flickr Search: olympus "e-pl3"

    Panasonic GF3
    Flickr Search: panasonic gf3
     
  3. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    Your requirements are kind of all over the map. So the ultimate solution might actually be two different cameras! Which is not that unusual, lots of enthusiasts shoot with more than one camera.

    A DSLR with the usual 3X kit zoom is fine for everyday snapshots. There are now 6X zoom lenses to replace the old 3X, but they do make the camera heavier by quite a bit. Ideally, for an extended tour of Europe I would want to pack 3 or 4 lenses, which take a good sized camera bag. But for most day excursions I would be able to predict just which lenses work best, and cut that load back to just a couple of lenses.

    Now we have the new mirrorless type cameras. These also use interchangeable lenses, exactly like a DSLR, but everything, including every lens, is quite a bit lighter in weight. Thus these are becoming more popular for travel.

    There certainly are good advanced compact cameras, and SLR-like ultrazoom bridge cameras, that get the job done with a single, built-in lens. You seem keen to learn advanced camera control. While the compacts do have these controls, such controls are more pleasant to exercise with a bridge camera, or DSLR, than with a compact. With regard to these controls, the mirrorless cameras kind of fit into the gap between an advanced compact and a DSLR.

    For more specialized missions, DSLR and mirrorless can take wider angle lenses than you get with a compact or bridge camera. And DSLR can take faster (in terms of light gathering) telephoto lenses. The telephotos in particular can get quite expensive.

    I would suggest spending some time in a camera store handling these different size cameras, to see what your personal limits really are.

    Kelly Cook
     
  4. Erythro73

    Erythro73 Member

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    Hi,
    Many thanks to both of you for your replies.

    After reading both of your answers, I guess the reasonable choice for me would be to concentrate my researches around the mirrorless type of camera. They seems to fit my need in terms of size and using manual controls. I somewhat like the idea of interchangeable lenses because it offers more versatility. I could supplement it with lenses for wider angle or better zoom.

    I'll definitely go in-store, following the suggestion of Kelly, to get a good feel of the different types of cameras. I'll keep in mind to try DSLR (the Canon Rebel T3 seems bulky, but otherwise like a very good deal).

    There a sale at Futureshop, and, after talking with my SO, my budget got extended by about 50-100$. Is the following a good choice? Sony Alpha NEX3NLB 16.1MP Compact System Camera With 16-50mm & 55-210mm Lenses : Mirrorless Cameras - Future Shop
     
  5. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The NEX 3N is very good if what you want is essentially a snapshot camera with great image quality due to its large APS-C sensor. But the NEX 3N is probably not a good fit for you as you seem to want something more sophisticated, with the ability to play with manual settings. While the NEX 3N has manual controls adjusting them means accessing the menu, as the NEX 3N lacks a control wheel.

    As an alternative I recommend the Fuji X-A1. It's available at Future Shop at the same price as the NEX 3N, though the Fuji deal lacks the long lens. But the Fuji has the large APS-C sensor plus a control dial, a flash hot-shoe and built-in WiFi, all of which are missing in the NEX 3N, and the Fuji has a better LCD screen. The Fuji X-A1 has been getting terrific reviews.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2014
  6. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Andy. Both on the limitations of the NEX 3N and the suggestion of the Fuji.

    A few more thoughts: The smallest true DSLR is the Canon 100D. Unfortunately it may be over the budget here. Linky -

    We Go Hands-On With the World's Smallest DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel SL1

    While not a true DSLR, the Panasonic DMC-G3 looks a lot like a DSLR, and shares most of the operating characteristics. This is an older Panasonic, which puts it easily within your budget. Easy to find these in the USA market, but that might not be true for Canada. Another Linky -

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Review

    Step back to a used camera, instead of buying new, and your options, within budget, should really open up. I buy most of my cameras and lenses used, for the savings.

    Links for more threads on camera selection -

    http://forum.digitalcamerareview.com/what-camera-should-i-buy/45148-new-gp-camera-baby-way.html

    http://forum.digitalcamerareview.co...-need-some-advice-buying-my-first-camera.html

    http://forum.digitalcamerareview.com/what-camera-should-i-buy/73448-black-white-viewfinder.html

    Kelly
     
  7. Erythro73

    Erythro73 Member

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    Thank you again for your answer! It's hard for me to tell which camera "really" lets you play with its manual settings.

    I've just looked at reviews for the Fuji X-A1, and it seems very good indeed. However, at this price, I might not have the budget to buy additional lenses (400$ for a long lens is expensive). The lens in the kit seems to be wide-angle, which is something I'm looking for, but would it be good as a general, all-purpose lens?
     
  8. Andy Stanton

    Andy Stanton Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    The kit lens is the Fuji XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS zoom, a very fine lens which is equivalent to a 24 x 75mm lens on 35mm film cameras. Yes, this is a wide angle lens but it also zooms to the equivalent of 75mm which makes it as versatile as a 3x zoom compact point and shoot camera. Eventually you may want to purchase the long zoom Fuji XC 50-230mm F4.5-6.7 lens, which is somewhat expensive, but it's not an essential purchase.
     
  9. KCook

    KCook Well-Known Member

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  10. Erythro73

    Erythro73 Member

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    Thanks to both of you!

    I've read KCook's thread about lens ressources and it really helps! I've bookmarked them.

    However, if I'm not mistaken, with Fuji's X-A1, I must buy Fuji X-series lenses and I can't buy Nikkor or other brand. Fujifilm X-series - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    So I've got two options right now : I can buy a less expensive mirrorless camera, like Panasonic GF3, Nikon 1j2 or Olympus E-PL3, and save a bit for a longer lens, which I might not even need (I'll see), or I can go for the better camera, which is Fuji AX-1, and wait a year before buying a longer lens if I want/need one later.

    I guess I'll have to go in-store to see, as KCook's suggested. And I'll keep my eyes open for used cameras.
     
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