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  1. #1
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    Default Help Choose My First Real Camera

    I am looking for a compact camera to cover all the bases. I currently have a Nikon Coolpix P50 and it just isn't cutting it anymore. The biggest issues I have with it is the extremely slow flash charge times and the flash hot spotting and messing up the exposure. I have had way too many bad pictures of my 4 year old playing with his cousins than I like, and I am ready to step up my game.

    In all honesty, the camera will most likely be used in an automatic mode 90% of the time. My main uses are going to be kids sports, indoor family gatherings (with high speed consecutive shots being important), and staged architectural/interior design pictures of rooms that my company has done (that is the big monkey wrench).

    I probably missed the boat on a few answers of the questionnaire or put conflicting requirements, so please educate me.

    Thank you,
    Pete

    Now on to the questionnaire:

    Budget
    I would like to stay around $500 but will go as high as $650 if it is needed.

    Size
    Compact SLR size. Bigger than point and shoot, yet small enough to fit a purse or sweatshirt pocket. Something along the lines of a Canon PowerShot G16.

    Features
    How many megapixels will suffice for you?
    I am not sure about megapixels. I want whatever I need for sharp pictures up to 8x10.

    * What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)
    Standard zoom will work for everything except for the interior room shots. I think I *MAY* need a fish-eye lens to capture the whole room in one shot. These type of pictures are going to be a hobby and something that I have a LOT of learning to figure out.

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
    Exposure (contrast, brightness, color saturation) is very important to me. Blowing a picture up to poster size without jaggies is not.

    Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?
    Eventually yes. Immediately no.

    General Usage
    * What will you generally use the camera for?
    Family gatherings indoors with kids running around (fast focus and flash charge is important).
    Pictures of houses. Both interior and exterior. The interior shots are to capture theater design, lighting accents, and interior design of living spaces.

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    No.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    Yes. Especially low light photos of dedicated screening/theater rooms. Typically the lights are off or very low with an image projected on the screen. The goal is to capture design detail and lighting accents without washing out the projected image with too much ambient light.

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    Yes.

    Miscellaneous
    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    No.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    There are three that National Camera Exchange recommended (although I didn't talk to them about theater or interior design photos):
    Canon PowerShot G16
    Olympus Stylus XZ2
    Sony NEX-5t

    (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD):
    Wide Angle
    Built-In Flash (for convenience at family gatherings)
    Tripod Mount and possibly remote triggering or triggering via WIFI camera App
    Hotshoe/Accessory triggers for different flashes.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    The three cameras you've noted in your post are very good all around. The Sony NEX 5T has the best image quality due to its large, DSLR-like sensor. The Olympus and Canon take excellent pictures as well, though they are not quite as good in low light as the Sony NEX 5T. The Sony is a different class of camera than the Olympus and Canon, which are high-quality point and shoots. The Sony is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, which means you have the ability to change lenses. The downsides of the Sony are that additional lenses are expensive and if you use a long zoom lens, the camera/lens combination will be much bulkier than either the Canon G16 or the Olympus XZ-2.

    As far as speed of operation is concerned all three are very quick - much quicker than your Nikon P50. All three have a continuous shooting mode - the Olympus can shoot 5 shots/second (without flash), the Canon 11 shots per second and the Sony 10 shots per second. The Canon and Sony slow down considerably after the first second.

    As far as shooting with a fish-eye effect, the Canon G16 has a built-in scene mode, but the other two do not (though they have lots of cool modes, as does the Canon).

    The Sony NEX 5T is the only one of the three that doesn't have a flash hotshoe, though it has a port for accessing a separate flash (that comes with the camera).

    Here are links to this website's reviews of the Sony NEX 5R (similar to the 5T), Olympus XZ-2 and Canon G16:
    Sony NEX-5R Review: Classy, Compact and Connected

    Olympus Stylus XZ-2 Review

    Canon PowerShot G16 Review: Slight Upgrades, Still a Great Camera

    Here are some sample images from the NEX5R (similar to the 5T), the XZ-1 (similar to the XZ-2) and the G15 (similar to the G16)
    Flickr: Camera Finder: Sony: NEX-5R

    Flickr: Camera Finder: Olympus: XZ-1

    Flickr: Camera Finder: Canon: PowerShot G15
    Last edited by Andy Stanton; 01-05-2014 at 07:59 PM.
    My Gear:
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    Canon Elph 110 HS
    Canon A720IS (retired)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Nice short list. For compacts, also consider a Panasonic LX7. For mirrorless also consider a Fujifilm X-A1 and Olympus PL5.

    In the end you may need more than one camera!

    Kelly Cook
    Olympus PL2, Canon EOS 50D, Fujifilm F45fd, various film dinosaurs

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Thank you for the responses. I was beginning to think multiple cameras would be the best (and most expensive) road.

    Can any of you give me a short primer or point me in the right direction on equipment and features to look for to take pictures like the ones on this site: http://www.elytronic.net/portfolio/ (The owner is a friend of mine, but it is difficult to talk to him due to time zone differences).

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by PeteW; 01-07-2014 at 07:04 AM. Reason: I changed the link to the company website instead of his Facebook Account

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteW View Post
    Thank you for the responses. I was beginning to think multiple cameras would be the best (and most expensive) road.
    For what you want out of a camera I don't see that you need multiple cameras.

    If you want the best possible picture quality within your budget you can't go wrong with the Sony NEX 5t.

    If you prefer an excellent compact camera that uses only one lens and has a viewfinder and a built-in fish-eye mode, you can't go wrong with the Canon G16.

    Can any of you give me a short primer or point me in the right direction on equipment and features to look for to take pictures like the ones on this site: elytronic - Custom Integrations (The owner is a friend of mine, but it is difficult to talk to him due to time zone differences).

    Thanks again.
    The pictures on your friend's site don't indicate the camera that was used but both the NEX 5t and the G16 can take pictures.of similar quality.
    My Gear:
    Panasonic FZ28
    Canon Elph 110 HS
    Canon A720IS (retired)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteW View Post
    Thank you for the responses. I was beginning to think multiple cameras would be the best (and most expensive) road.

    Can any of you give me a short primer or point me in the right direction on equipment and features to look for to take pictures like the ones on this site: elytronic - Custom Integrations (The owner is a friend of mine, but it is difficult to talk to him due to time zone differences).

    Thanks again.
    Sorry, but there will be no "short" primer on taking interior photographs like the ones on that blog. To duplicate that you will need an interchangeable lens camera with an ultra wide angle lens (UWA), lights (video lights are easiest), and RAW post processing. About as far from "auto mode" photography as you can get. The least expensive UWA is the one I use, the Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, which can be fitted to crop sensor bodies by Canon and Nikon. On my Canon this is 35mm eqv 16-32mm, Nikons will be 15-30mm. It's hard to find this lens used, new they are around $500 (for the lens only). It's not hard to find nice used Canon or Nikon bodies for around $300. Otherwise, the widest angle zooms for compacts are 24mm (35mm eqv), which is why I suggested the Panasonic LX7.

    So now you know why I suggested that two different cameras will be needed! Links to more info -

    An Introduction to Architectural Photography - Digital Photography School

    8 Tips for Taking Interior Shots Like a Pro

    http://photographyforrealestate.net/cameras/

    http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-pho...s/video-light/

    Kelly

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Taking good looking interior shots requires some skill, but you don't need pro-quality equipment.

    Here are some interior shots taken with an older NEX camera, the NEX 5, and a Powershot G camera, the G12. Some of them are quite good.

    NEX 5
    Flickr Search: "living room"

    G12
    Flickr Search: "living room"
    My Gear:
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by KCook View Post
    Sorry, but there will be no "short" primer on taking interior photographs like the ones on that blog. To duplicate that you will need an interchangeable lens camera with an ultra wide angle lens (UWA), lights (video lights are easiest), and RAW post processing. About as far from "auto mode" photography as you can get. The least expensive UWA is the one I use, the Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6, which can be fitted to crop sensor bodies by Canon and Nikon. On my Canon this is 35mm eqv 16-32mm, Nikons will be 15-30mm. It's hard to find this lens used, new they are around $500 (for the lens only). It's not hard to find nice used Canon or Nikon bodies for around $300. Otherwise, the widest angle zooms for compacts are 24mm (35mm eqv), which is why I suggested the Panasonic LX7.

    So now you know why I suggested that two different cameras will be needed! Links to more info -

    An Introduction to Architectural Photography - Digital Photography School

    8 Tips for Taking Interior Shots Like a Pro

    http://photographyforrealestate.net/cameras/

    http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-pho...s/video-light/

    Kelly
    Thank you! That is exactly the type of post I was hoping to get. By "Short Primer" I meant a jumping off or starting point to get started realizing everything that I don't know I don't know.

    That information coupled with the flicker links that Andy Stanton posted will help me see the limitations of some of the fixed lens cameras.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help Choose My First Real Camera

    Of course this all hinges on exactly how professional you want your images to appear. The ones on that site you provided are quite professional.

    Kelly

  10. #10
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    Default Help Choose My First Real Camera

    As you might have guessed I have not purchased a camera yet.
    I have decided to up the budget a bit and jump into the interchangeable lens mirrorless camera pond.

    I upped the budget to $750 and am now strongly considering a Sony NEX 6 or Olympus E-PL5.

    Does anyone have thoughts between the two of those (both should have a good used lens market with a mount adapter). The NEX6 is technically a better camera by specs, but has a proprietary lens mount and proprietary hot shoe. While he Olympus lacks a built in flash and view finder. I felt more connected to the Oly because of the manual zoom vs the motorized zoom ring on the NEX, but my wife prefers the Sony.

    My head is spinning with specs and reviews so I know I need to stop reading and start shooting to learn. I am stuck on the ledge someone please give me a push.

 

 
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