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Thread: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

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    Default I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    Background
    I'm what you might call a professional hobbyist. I don't earn a living from photography, but I do want to produce quality results.

    Way-back-when I owned some nice SLRs and got quite into the whole thing. After too many lens repairs due to putting the camera into the stowed luggage on planes (I know - stupid. I got tired of taking my camera on board. Back then it was so damn heavy and bulky).

    Now I'm really just into "capturing the moment" and "memory pics". Having said that I want to be able to do the following (well):

    • low light
    • macro
    • short DOF (portraiture)


    Not as important as the above, but adding to the enjoyment:

    • bulb exposure - does any Compact have this?!
    • 180 degree adjustable viewfinder - I loved this on my 10 yr old Canon! I used it all the time. However I've discovered very few Compacts have it and even fewer are available where I live. I've fatally accepted my new camera with be without this lovely feature.


    Questions
    1.
    One thing my 10 year old (now dead) camera couldn't do was focus and take images quickly. The focusing and processing time, when I compare to friends cameras, was snail pace. Is this problem now largely solved i.e. I don't need to worry as modern cameras are speedy? If it is still a problem, what stat am I looking for as I can't identify any camera specs that directly talk about this.

    2.
    Image storage (on the camera). I'm quite confused by the options. Is this a factor?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Mark

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    There are a wide range of digital cameras available. You have three basic classes - point and shoots (from very small to SLR-size), compact mirrorless interchangeable lens (MILC) (small but with the ability to change lenses) and digital SLR's. While there are some excellent point and shoots, in general you'll get better image quality and performance from compact MILC cameras and DSLR's. In general the more expensive the camera, the better the image quality and performance.
    Now I'm really just into "capturing the moment" and "memory pics". Having said that I want to be able to do the following (well):

    low light
    macro
    short DOF (portraiture)
    All good cameras will do well in those areas.
    Not as important as the above, but adding to the enjoyment:

    bulb exposure - does any Compact have this?!
    180 degree adjustable viewfinder - I loved this on my 10 yr old Canon! I used it all the time. However I've discovered very few Compacts have it and even fewer are available where I live. I've fatally accepted my new camera with be without this lovely feature.
    Bulb exposure mode is found in all DSLR's, most MILC cameras and a few of the more expensive point and shoots. Viewfinders are found in DSLR's, a few of the MILC cameras and some of the point and shoots but I don't know of any that are adjustable.
    Questions
    1.
    One thing my 10 year old (now dead) camera couldn't do was focus and take images quickly. The focusing and processing time, when I compare to friends cameras, was snail pace. Is this problem now largely solved i.e. I don't need to worry as modern cameras are speedy? If it is still a problem, what stat am I looking for as I can't identify any camera specs that directly talk about this.

    2.
    Image storage (on the camera). I'm quite confused by the options. Is this a factor?
    Most camera reviews mention focus time, sometimes referred to as shutter-lag, and processing time, sometimes called shot-to-shot time. Most cameras do well in those to areas, some better than others.
    In the early days of digital cameras images were often stored in the camera. Now they are almost always stored in memory cards. You can buy memory cards with a wide range of storage capacity and speed.

    Are you looking for a particular brand of camera, size, price range?
    Panasonic FZ28
    Canon Elph 330 HS

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    short DOF (portraiture
    This depends of various factors, but the two biggies are sensor size and f-stop ratio. Bigger sensor gives greater background blur. So most pro portrait photographers use big full frame cameras. Tiny compacts, with tiny sensors, are about hopeless here. With the advanced compacts it is now common to find lenses faster than f/2, that does help them. ILC bodies, both mirrorless and DSLR, come with f/3.5-5.6 "variable aperture" zoom lenses. Which are less than ideal for portraiture, due to that modest aperture. But since these are interchangeable lens cameras, there are faster lenses available for separate purchase. The prices of these lens cover a wide range, depending mostly on the brand of the lens and the age of its design. Long winded way of saying that a little market research is in order to determine what camera will meet your portrait needs. And the more demanding that need is, the more $$ it will cost.

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

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    Thanks for the posts folks. Not to denegrate your post Kelly which is much appreciated but Andy - that has to be one of the best responses I've seen. I have a huge variety of interested and spend a bit of time in forums because of this. Great response.
    Thanks both of you for the time.
    I'm trying to pinch pennies and keep thinking that's a daft idea when it comes to buying a camera. I was hoping I could get some good portraiture from a compact i.e. short DOF, but it seems that's unlikely. This would be outdoor natural lighting, not studio lighting I might add.
    I had thought of cheating (terribly) by using a zoom and being away from the subject if necessary with the compacts. Not ideal.
    I'll definitely keep a closer eye out for the better f-stops. Full frame is gonna be outside my price range.
    Also because I'm in Turkey my choices are rather limited. Oddly the best rated cameras aren't available at the bigger stores here, and I'm wary of comments by pros that talk in details about how the camera takes pictures i.e. the lense/technology type behind the scenes which I believe makes a big difference.
    Ugh.
    In summary it seems I"m looking to spend about $300 which is peanuts for a camera...oh well.
    Thanks again

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    In summary it seems I"m looking to spend about $300 which is peanuts for a camera...oh well.
    Thanks again
    I don't know what's available in Turkey but in the USA for under $300 you could purchase a nice point and shoot in the DSLR-style (with manual exposure controls and a viewfinder) with a long zoom lens. Look for the Pentax X-5, the Nikon P510, and several Fuji cameras (SL1000, S8200, S8300, S8500 and several more). Here are some sample images:
    Pentax X-5
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=pentax+x-5

    Nikon P510
    https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=r...t=nikon%20p510

    Fuji SL1000
    https://www.flickr.com/search?sort=r...=fuji%20sl1000
    Panasonic FZ28
    Canon Elph 330 HS

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    I had thought of cheating (terribly) by using a zoom and being away from the subject if necessary with the compacts.
    Good thought, actually. Using one of the milder telephoto focal lengths is common practice for outdoor portraits. Not only will this blur the background more (like the bigger cameras), it will also narrow down how much background appears in the photo. That is often a good thing outdoors, as it can be tough to find an outdoor background that is not cluttered with stuff you don't want to detract from the portrait. You can shoot useful portraits up to about 200mm (full frame eqv.).

    The classic 75-135mm portrait range is more for indoor settings, where you have complete control over the background stuff.

    Kelly

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    Wow the responses on this forum really are good.
    My bad - I implied but didn't explicitly state that I'm after the less bulky option - a compact.

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    Default Re: I Know What I Want but the Modern Specs are a bit Confusing

    Quote Originally Posted by modene1 View Post
    Wow the responses on this forum really are good.
    My bad - I implied but didn't explicitly state that I'm after the less bulky option - a compact.
    I assume you want a small, pocketable camera with a long zoom lens. For under $300 I like the Canon SX600 and the Sony WX350. The Sony has a slightly longer lens (20x vs 18x) but the Canon has better image quality (in my opinion). The Sony has superior battery life - twice as much per charge as the battery that comes with the Canon.
    Panasonic FZ28
    Canon Elph 330 HS

 

 

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