about cameras

  • so i know this is probably as off topic as it can get but! i was wondering if you could help me decide something. see, i know absolutely nothing about cameras and i wanna buy a good one for $230 or less. 230 is my absolute limit since i can't really afford more than that at the moment.

    i was looking at some powershots and stylus, but i have no idea what the specs mean or if one is better than the other. it's meant as a present to someone who is into photography as a hobby but wants to be able to take decent pics now and then.


  • If you want something small but with full PRO features that you can grow into but that can also be automatic + video and audio, my suggestion would be to look for a used Canon G9, G10, or G11. I'm sure you could get a G9 for @ what you want. I love my G9 and I take is everywhere, even mountain biking etc. The benefit of this camera is it is almost identical in features and layout to the PRO Canon SLRs, so it's very easy for someone into photography to do all the PRO stuff but with a small portable camera.

    Is this person brand loyal yet to any vendor?

    Look at dpreview.com for camera info

    Speaking of cameras, I just upgraded to a Canon 7D from a 40D. If anyone wants to make me an offer on the 40D body, it would save me a trip to eBay.

  • hey bar|none!! thanks for the advice!

    i was looking at the g9 and it does sound sweet! but i heard from the person that is going to get the camera once that she was looking for one that had 3200 ISO. now... i don't really know what that means but it seems that the g9 has up to 1600 ISO? is that really that different? what does this all mean?

  • the higher, the more light sensitive it is...can shoot in darker places. However, the quality suffers and a good camera will shoot a better shot at higher ISO. Juts because a camera says it goes to 3200 doesn't mean it's gonna not look like crap.

    G11 goes to 3200.

    # 10 megapixel 'high sensitivity' sensor, down from 14.7 megapixels
    # Gains ISO 3200 as full setting (Rather than option-limited scene mode)

    Interesting. G10 has ISO 3200 but limited to a single mode. Might be a good compromise and good price used.

    Changes from G10 to G11 "Gains ISO 3200 as full setting (Rather than option-limited scene mode)"

    BTW...megapixels is not a way to buy a camera anymore...the reviews on dpreview are generally spot on.

  • ISO is interchangeable with ASA... has to do with exposure. If you are in low light you need to bump the ISO in order to get exposure... essentially increasing the sensitivity of your sensor

    A problem with ISO is that as you bump it you begin to get digital grain... similar to grain visibility in film.... only issue is that digital grain looks like diarrhea.

    They can claim up to 3200 ISO as much as they want.. but I highly doubt that a $230 point and shoot is going to not look crappy with an ISO an higher than 1000 (and that's pushing it).

    Think of when you try to take a picture at a bar without flash... and the image turns out all red and pixely... that is what your images will look like.

    Now if you are looking at getting into photography you are going to slowly learn that what really matters is your glass (lens). With point and shoot cameras (the price range you are in) you are more or less paying for features... as the lens is stock and not able to be changed.

    People can give you a million and one reviews of all the positive and negatives of all the various point and shoots, but at the end of the day you just need to pick up the camera, take some pictures with it, and see how you like the interface.

    All of these camera's for the most part are going to get very similar pictures... you can have twice as many mega pixels, and a much higher max ISO... but if your sensor is the same size, and the lens is a tiny stock lens, it's empty pixels and useless numbers.

    Pick what feels right, pick the camera that has features you would actually use. Don't get hung up on the numbers.

  • iso is the speed at which the cameras sensor reacts to light.. or how sensative it is.

    the next step after 1600 is 32000. It will allow you to take photos with lower light and/or shorter shutter speeds (to eliminate blur)

    but with the high sensitivity also comes a cost.. if you look at a high resolution full size photo done with a very high ISO it will look very grainy.

  • One thing BarNone just mentioned was that the ISO was 3200 with GAIN...

    that means it is not a true 3200, just software gaining to 3200. Most of these sensors have an actual exposure ISO between 200 - 300.... anything higher is done in software... basically the equivelent of you increasing brightness in photoshop and playing with the contrast (kind of)...

  • >that means it is not a true 3200, just software gaining to 3200.
    Yeah that is probably true since makes sense to be limited to a mode that shoots JPEG rather than RAW.

    I have a Canon 7D and even though the G9 is quite a few years old now...it is still an excellent camera and I believe the G10 and G11 have become progressively better. Plus it shoots RAW format which is definitely for advanced users.

    Also, I have a few PRO Photographer friends and all the ones that shoot Canon carry one of these around. Even one who shoots Nikon for his pro cameras.

    That says a lot.

  • Let's hijack the thread and talk about our own camera gear!!!

    I have a Nikon d300 with an 18-200 f3.5-5.6 Nikor sexynes

    also have a vintage 1970's Nikon FM with a 50mm prime lens f1.2

  • What, not the 1.2?

  • I had to make some edits... as I always mess up my apertures

    I'm thought it was a 1.8, but it may be a 1.2.... so I'm leaving it at 1.2 and I shall check when I get home

  • I'm JK. I have no idea what a 50mm prime lens on a vintage 1970's Nikon would be. I remember my mom had one and we had a darkroom in the house and that's actually the first SLR I ever used. Pretty sweet. yeah I'm old.

    @i am genko
    Sorry man....not trying to confuse the issue.

  • Don't get me started on camera equipment...

    As far as digital goes, I'll vote +1 for Canon. I have only briefly used their DSLRs (you'll have to pry my large format film cameras out of my cold dead hands) but I have a small Canon point-and-shoot that is five years old and still works very well. The Canon G series is great and has many pro features.

    I wouldn't worry about ISO speeds or even mega-pixel count all that much. Focus on features. Manual settings are a huge plus. Late last year I won a low-end Samsung camera at a raffle and I gave it away it was so crappy.

    +1 for dpreview.com

  • color flash holga, with a 35mm back.

  • i love the hijack! i'm learning a lot that will come in handy eventually! thanks for the advice everyone!

    oh and camera wise... i pack an old teenage ninja turtles sort of rectangular camera... i don't really know anything about cameras, but! i'm looking forward to buy one soon... all of a sudden i wanna start taking pics of my monomes in action...

  • Haha...

    I did a project for a black and white photography class this semester with the monome.

    Took 4 pictures of the monome with a variety of the lights on and created a large Pac-Man and a series of dots that he was eating

  • +1 for used g9

  • Continuing the hijack...

    I have a Nikon D90, the 35mm F/1.8, and the 50mm F/1.4. Those two lenses rock. The 35mm wins the bang-for-the-buck award at just under half the price of the 50mm. But the 50mm has a buttery sweet bokeh. Love that lens...

    I'm looking to add the 12-24mm F/4.0 next. Extreme wide angles are a lot of fun...

    I could talk for hours about this stuff...

  • people seem to know quite a bit about cameras here!
    im going to india this summer and i want a new dslr (i sold my d50) im mainly looking to be able to shoot hd.
    the 550d looks sweet but its overpriced in the UK £900 :O i suppose the 500d will be cheap now and i could get it second hand and get an extra lens. or should i wait till the 550d is more reasonably priced over here. Also had a look at the pentax k-x not as good but cheaper ;) Opinions?

  • I am a little bit of a camera junkie as well. I have a Canon 7D, zeiss contax 35-70mm 3.4 zoom, canon 50mm 1.8 and an assortment of pentax and m42 lenses.

    @dovemouse, the 550D may be pricey but it does represent the most bang for the buck currently. if 24p and Full 1920X1080 is not important to you then the 500D is a beautiful camera. The 500D can do full HD except only at 20fps which is a odd frame rate. There are some beautiful videos out there though using the 500D as the camera. This one is just about the best one of the bunch: http://www.vimeo.com/4717303

    It all comes down to the lens and your eye. The 550D offers pretty much the same video functions as the 7D except for about half the price.

  • wow beautiful video! i have a related question - does anyone know a point and shoot that does awesome HD video?

    i only found the lumix lx3 to fit the bill.. i like it because it can do 2.8 which means bokeh-ness!

    too bad i cant afford a 550D :(

    say, anyone got flickr? add me!


  • @pirxthepilot:

    I wouldn't expect great bokeh out of the lx3. Despite the 2.8 max aperture, the small sensor size is going to maximize the depth of field at any focal length and aperture. You might get a slight bokeh effect, but the infinity focus point on those small sensor cameras comes up real quick...

  • most photos on monome.org are with a canon 40d. stretta has several posts about cameras, worth a search.

  • i've spent last fortnight looking at the 550d option.
    the 50mm 1.8 is a must ;) but i'd want to go wider and a lot closer (IS on the zoom for video stabilization)

    so i was thinking
    18-55mm kit lens (i know...but its cheap)
    50mm f1.8 (of course)
    55-250mm (for some zoooom with IS)

    luckily i found a package that does the job!

    what do you reckon?

    EDIT: woah! Didn't know digitalrev were hong kong based. £145 for import handling! no thanks.

  • I reckon you've got the right idea!

    IS is important when it comes to video. I have found that it's really tough to hold it steady enough to remove completely the micro-vibrations that come from the cameras pivot point. Enough that I'd recommend building yourself a shoulder rig or just something that widens the pivot range. There are ones out there that are available to purchase but many of them are exorbitantly expensive! I understand that people say that Zacuto is the best but I can't justify spending the money. Here is a great video that details building your own: http://www.indymogul.com/backyardfx/episode/BFX_20091207/diy-camera-stabilizer-filmmaking-tips-backyard-fx

    There's actually quite a few good tutorials out there for DIY stuff in regards to DSLR cameras.

    Also, I find that when shooting video in broad daylight it's hard to get focus by looking into the LCD. That is where you might want a viewfinder attachment. Zacuto of course makes the ultimo version but it's not worth the price. I have the hoodman hoodloupe and unfortunately I can't recommend that one either. I wish I could but it's just that you need to be looking directly down the center of that eyepiece to get any focus on the LCD screen. The LCDVF is the middle ground on this one: http://jag35.com/lcdvf.html
    and might be the way to go.

    Of course all this stuff is optional. I hope you enjoy the new camera!

  • I love my little Lumix zs3.

    great for taking HD videos (720p), and the .mts files can be uploaded straight to vimeo with no conversion!

    it has a fairly wide lens, and it can zoom fairly far as well (12x (25-300mm)), but it's all automatic for the most part. I really like the panoramic mode -camera shows me a partial on screen preview of last shot so i can line up the next.

    unfortunately it was recently discontinued, and replaced with the zs7 - a camera with manual modes, and GPS, but with questionable IQ according to various forums i visited...

    I would love to pickup a DSLR in next couple of years, but for now I'll stick with this little guy i can pocket.

  • well, since we're out of topic ..

    any clues if these modern HD cameras can "stream" their content to an attached PC ?
    exactly like you used to do with firewire, where the audio + video were captured and "streamed" to the computer, so you could run the video recorder on the computer side.
    I have a project where I must record video this way, but I can't figure if these new firewire-less devices can do that ... considering HD needs more bandwidth ... considering most models ditched ieee1394b for USB-2 ...


  • @rud, I believe so but I can't verify it. I know that with the 7D and 500D both have a miniHDMI out on the side of the camera. Professionals use it to send to a monitor while shooting. So by that assumption, you most likely could record the stream into a computer.

  • @egon77: this seems wrong. the signal is in theory already DATA, so why convert to an image to re-encode after .. ?
    and HD grade live streaming cards are all > 1200$....
    and afaik, miniHDMI/HDMI do not work as capture devices on PC's -yet-
    .. so there must be some other way ..
    at least i hope ;)

  • The nikon camera's allow the Live View image to be sent to the computer over usb at a resolution of 640x480 or something along those lines

    Unfortunately USB is not fast enough to stream a full HD image from the camera.

    I recently downloaded the D300's SDK and am going to attempt to stream the Live View image into max... whether or not this will be successful is very much up in the air.

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