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View Full Version : Lost in the world of digital photography... I urgently need some advice ;)



Big Mike
06-01-2007, 02:03 PM
Hi, and first of all thanks for wasting some time on this thread.
I just recently discovered my love for photography, and am very seriously considering buying a camera for both my birthday and for Xmas. This is sort of my first true step into photography.
So here comes the questionnaire:
Budget

* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera?
The budget is approximately 600 $.

Size

* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?
I would prefer a large camera, with one of these SLR-like cases.

Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you?
I need a minimum of 5, and I think I won't need more than 8.

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify)
I would absolutely go for Ultrazoom, since I've been having problems with the lousy zoom of our family camera. (a Canon A70 with 3x opt and 9.2x dig.:o)

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
10 Image quality is extremely important to me.
Do you care for manual controls?
Yes, manual is a must have.
General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for?
Sports photography, Portraits, Macro... I want to try everything.

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
I'm not really planning on it, but I hope so.

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
Yes.

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
I want to take lots of sports and action photos.

Miscellaneous

Are there particular brands you like or hate?
I have been concentrating mostly on Canon until now, but I'm open for new Ideas. You got more experience than me, I'm sure.

Are there particular models you already have in mind?
Yes. I've considered the Canon Powershot S3 IS and S5 IS.
Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)
Yes. Image Stabilization is definitely necessary, just as much as the Rotating LCD. (One of the reasons I've been thinking about the S3 and S5)
Hotshoe is not really necessary, but I won't say no to it. Wide Angle (as an extra lens + adapter like the WC-DC58A) would also be pretty cool, but it's no must have...

Hope anybody has some suggestions, or experience with the S3. (S5 would be a little hard to have experience with...)
Now I'm just waiting for you replies. Thanks for your time.

mitka
06-02-2007, 01:18 AM
well, i'm not a professional. in fact i'm in the same boat with you..
i'll just tell you my research results, maybe will be usefull.

i had the same criteria, maybe i'm not planning to do sport pics a lot, but definitely will be some.

so i considered 4 cams:
panasonic lumix fz8 and fz20
canon s3 is
fuji s6000

recently i've excluded panasonics for the really bad sensor feedbacks. rest are brilliant for me.
fuji is more bulky with no image stabilisation, but it takes great indoor pics with great sensor performance. image stabilisation is no problem when shooting sports, as far as i know.
canon has image stabilisation, with definite noise starting from 400 iso and especially in low light.

i've decided for canon, because fuji is too big for me to carry around, has exciting features to get closer to photography tricks, and has really nice quality outdoors.

hope my comment was helpful a little, more advanced photographers will give more detailed explanaition i think. so let's wait for them to respond:)

AlexMonro
06-02-2007, 02:05 AM
Just a comment about Image Stabilisation.

IS is really only useful if you're shooting stationary subjects at long zoom in low light. If your subject is moving, you'll probably want to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion, which will also freeze any camera shake, and if the light is low, you'll need high ISO sensitivity to achieve this.

So if any of the sports photography you're planning is likely to be in low light (indoor, under floodlights, or maybe even on an overcast day) a camera like the Fuji S6000 with no IS but good high ISO is likely to give you better results than a camera with IS but noisy high ISO.

The fast shutter speeds can help freeze camera shake even for shots of static subjects, though possibly not quite as well as a good IS system. Also, there are some artistic effects, e.g. showing moving objects blurred to give a feel of speed, which need IS, or a tripod.

Big Mike
06-02-2007, 03:01 AM
Well, I think I'm not only going to focus on sports photography. I also want to try and get good macros, and probably also some good lowlight shots.
As I said, I'm going to be trying everything.

toriaj
06-04-2007, 12:12 AM
Mitka gave you a great list of cameras. Go to the store, play around with them and see which one feels best to you. You'd be satisfied with any of them.

Vich
06-04-2007, 12:33 AM
Just a comment about Image Stabilisation.

IS is really only useful if you're shooting stationary subjects at long zoom in low light. If your subject is moving, you'll probably want to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion, which will also freeze any camera shake, and if the light is low, you'll need high ISO sensitivity to achieve this.

So if any of the sports photography you're planning is likely to be in low light (indoor, under floodlights, or maybe even on an overcast day) a camera like the Fuji S6000 with no IS but good high ISO is likely to give you better results than a camera with IS but noisy high ISO.

The fast shutter speeds can help freeze camera shake even for shots of static subjects, though possibly not quite as well as a good IS system. Also, there are some artistic effects, e.g. showing moving objects blurred to give a feel of speed, which need IS, or a tripod.
True theory for short lenses. If you're up to say, 200mm (equiv) then you need about 1/250th for a clean shot without IS. Non-sports action is stopped by 1/125. Plus; even at 1/250th, it's easy to get some camera-shake - particularly on these tiny cameras with no inertia to hold them still.

So; IS will give you 1/500th clarity (shake wise), while just using about 1/125th ... still plenty to stop motion such as a graduate walking, party talk, even kid learning to swim.

Also; some motion blur (by the subject) can be a good thing in some cases. Like a dancer who's arms and body are blurred but face is still, it tells the story of the nice trick they perform.

Just my .02

Majik_Imaje
06-05-2007, 06:42 PM
I would Pick one camera with one lens and learn how to master that. before you go packing your trunks with all that stuff you want.

Just my opinion.. if you start jumping aournd with all that stuff.. uh uh .. wrong concept, wrong approach..

I would like to stick you in an empty room.. with nothing.. and one camera that can magically produce 8 x 10s so you could slide them under the locked door of the room I have placed you in.. I would not let you out of that empty foom.. until you learned how to create "art"!

first you have to learn how to LOOK and see, normally....

when a child is born.. they want to jump and run.. but that takes time.

learn how to look and see FIRST.. with your eyes.. then use one lens to portray what you see..........in that empty room!

when you can do that.. then your ready to ........."walk"!

Big Mike
06-22-2007, 01:27 PM
Hi, first of all thanks for the replys.
I've decided against the panasonic models, because they simply don't feel right to me. I've been able to try out the Fuji s6000 (or was it the s6500? I'm not quite sure:confused:), and I found a new hot candidate: the EOS 400D, (the XTI Digital Rebel) I tried it out, and it gave me this "WOW" effect. I haven't been able to try the S3 or S5, because the only shop in the area that sells them doesn't permit it...:mad:
So right now I'm stuck with the Fuji, the EOS and the S3/S5. My choice would be the EOS, but I'm not sure if it isn't a bit early for a D-SLR.

LeeSC
06-23-2007, 09:06 AM
I own an S3 and would recommend it under the right circumstances. If you plan on using the camera in full auto, the S3 is not the camera for you. To me (and just about everyone else), the S3 performs VERY poorly in auto mode. BUT, if you plan on learning how to shoot in Av, Tv or M mode, the S3 is a great little camera.

I recently picked up a 350D to get my feet wet in the dSLR realm. The more I use the 350D, the more I appreciate the S3. DSLR's are very nice, but understand they have a HUGE price (as well as weight!). The $800-1000 cost of the body and kit lens is just a drop in the ocean. Decent lenses start at several hundred dollars and high quality ones sell for thousands. Remember that you will need a variety of lenses to accomplish different types of photography.

The S3 offers near dSLR quality with the ability to macro or zoom in a nice little package.

The negatives to the S3? As stated above, lackluster auto mode. The S3 also doesn't perform very well in lower light situations. I believe some of the Fuji models perform better in low light than the S3. Oudoors, I don't think there is a point and shoot that can compare to the S3.