View Full Version : Camera help please, around $500

04-03-2010, 10:48 PM
I'm a college student, and I wanted to get my first camera. I need something that has really good optics (beautiful vibrant high-contrast pics in many lighting conditions). Would like to have manual controls so I can have full control over how i'm shooting something. Don't care about video. Here is the information:

Budget: around $500, the lower the better of course

Size: Does not matter, preferably relatively portable that I can easily put in my bag (like the Canon G11). Most DSLRs are too huge, can't really put them in your bag or take to a party.

Features: How many megapixels? Don't really care how many megapixels, as long as image looks relatively nice and optics are beautiful. In fact i don't want crazy megapixels because the images will take a lot of room (based on what I read)

* What optical zoom will you need?: Zoom not important. I like a closer vantage point for a closer shot.

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10): 10 - Most important thing, the higher the better. beautiful vibrant high-contrast pics in many lighting conditions

Do you care for manual controls? I would like manual controls, with an option for automatic in case I need a quick shot.

General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for?: Shooting friends, landscape, nature, will take it on my trips when traveling.

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?: Definitely not, I will likely keep them on my computer. Maybe sometimes make a small print to send to parents.

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?: Sometimes, would be nice if it was decent in low-light conditions.

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?: Definitely not.


Are there particular brands you like or hate?: Not sure, but I think Nikon and Canon are the best, correct me if i'm wrong.

Are there particular models you already have in mind? Was looking at Canon Powershot G11, not sure though. It's a bit fancy with the flip LCD screen, not sure how well it shoots, and love its manual controls

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD). Not sure.

04-04-2010, 12:33 AM
The Canon S90 should be good very good in low light because it has a relatively large sensor, but does not have a long zoom or rotating LCD, and therefore is fairly pocketable.

There is a review of it in the reviews & info section at the very top of this page.

Note that "vibrant high-contrast colors" are controlled by adjustments in the camera settings, not so much a lens function.

04-04-2010, 01:25 AM
Either the Canon S90 or Panasonic LX3 would probably work well for your needs.

04-04-2010, 08:25 AM
Would Canon S90 be able to shoot picture similar quality to these (in terms of lighting, contrast, etc..):






Low light:

These are done with a nikon SLR and a non-professional shooter. Or is it too much to ask for from a non-SLR? Is it a matter of just adjusting settings?

Also, what are your thoughts on the Canon G11? or G10?

Thank you very much! Sorry, I have a lot of questions.

04-04-2010, 09:49 AM
The Canon G-11 will easily approach the quality, sharpness, vibrancy, and contrast of the selected Flickr photos. The Sony A-230 or Nikon D-3000 will do the same.

Sarah Joyce

04-04-2010, 05:36 PM
I wonder how those photos look so good.
Is it a specific lens people use? A specific setting.
It has so much vibrancy, sharpness and contrast. It's incredible. So you say it's possible to take shots like that without DSLR camera?

04-04-2010, 05:56 PM
I wonder how those photos look so good.
Is it a specific lens people use? A specific setting.
It has so much vibrancy, sharpness and contrast. It's incredible. So you say it's possible to take shots like that without DSLR camera?

Those photos have the saturation setting turned up so high that the colors glow. This doesn't provide a very good representation of the actual scene (the orange shirts in particular jump out as unnatural), but it certainly gives some visual punch.

In short, you don't need a dSLR to do that. In fact, many point & shoot cameras are tuned for the same aesthetic, because it makes a dramatic first impression on many people.