need excellent camera for amatuer photography but still want movie option
I actually really enjoy photography, but I have no experience. I'm probably asking for the world here, but I want a fine camera that takes excellent pictures and that still has movie capability. I thought about letting go of this requirement and getting a dslr, but to be honest, I want the whole package. I want to be able to take one camera with me wherever I go and get great image quality, be able to blow up the pictures to a larger size, and still keep my movie clips. I use them a lot when out snowboarding. And really, I couldn't easily take a dslr on the slopes - I have a canon sd200 and it's nice to be able to just fit it in my pocket. I'd lose that capability with a dslr.
* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.
I'd like to keep it under $400, but for the right camera, I could be convinced to go even a bit higher than, say, $600.
* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?
I'd probably prefer smaller just because I like to take it on the slopes with me. I could definitely go bigger than the canon sd200, but still...
How many megapixels will suffice for you?
7 or 8? I just want really high quality.
* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify)
The more zoom the better. Would prefer ultrazoom.
* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
Do you care for manual controls?
I don't know anything about manual controls. Will this help image quality? Will it slow me down?
* What will you generally use the camera for?
Anything and everything. Snowboarding, sports (football, baseball), still life, scenery (ocean, mountains, cities, buildings, etc.), people - indoors and out.
* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
I would certainly like to. I've tried before with pictures from my sd200, and they turned out horribly.
Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
I'll be shooting all sorts of photos, so probably yes. When it's gray and cloudy on the slopes, I still want to be able to take pics.
Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
Are there particular brands you like or hate?
I like Canon and Nikon, but that's based on absolutely nothing. I would try any brand.
Are there particular models you already have in mind?
I do like my Canon. However, it has one major problem (besides the fact my husband took it out in the rain and it's now ruined). It seems to take a long time to focus. This has really started to bother me lately - it seems to take forever in between pictures. I'd like to be able to snap off pictures quickly. This is actually a huge consideration for me and one of the reasons I considered going to dslr. Can I get this in a non-dslr camera???
(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)
I'd like image stabilization, I guess. I don't even know if my sd200 had it, but it sounds nice. Another thing I liked about the sd200 is that I could buy a custom waterproof case and take it snorkeling. I'd almost say that's another requirement. I REALLY enjoyed being able to take underwater pictures!
Sorry, there is no camera that does everything you ask.
An ultrazoom won't fit in your pocket.
Compacts are generally poor for sports.
Few compacts are good in low light.
Unless your camera has a hotshoe for an external flash and you use it, your indoor people pictures will generally be poor to fair, with red-eye.
Try to decide the 3 most important requirements, and start your search there.
The buyer's guide att the top of this page is a good start.
Pentax K20D/K5/15/21/40/70/10-17/12-24, Sigma 17-70 2.8-4.5/150-500, Tamron 90 Macro/70-200 2.8, Canon SX20 IS/Elph 500HS
(formerly Pentax 50 1.4/50-200/55-300/K100D, Sigma 18-50 2.8/70-300 APO, Tamron 28-75, Viv 800, Tele-Tokina 800, Canon S3 IS, Samsung L210)
For your needs, I would suggest two cameras.
1. Entry level DSLR: Nikon D40, Pentax K100D are both under $500 with a kit lens. Canon Rebel XT is around $500 with a kit lens (the Nikon has the best kit lens of all three).
2. A good point and shoot that's fairly compact. The Canon Powershot A570 IS comes to mind and is well under $200 and has image stabilization and full manual controls.
D80, D300s, Nikkormat EL, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, 55-200mm f4-f5.6 VR AF-S Nikkor, 50mm f1.8 AF-D Nikkor, 80-200mm f2.8 AF-D Nikkor, 135mm f2.8 Nikkor-Q pre-AI, Hanimex 35mm f2.8 doorstop