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Camera for Hobbyist looking to go pro
Hi I've always been interested in digital photography and photo editing. Mid course through my first semester in college I decided I'd like to turn photography from just a hobby into a possible career choice to help pay for the rest of my studies and hopefully carry on to after I've attained my degree. Currently I use a kodak 10.1 mp compact basic point and shoot that has little more than basic features. Since I do plan to move from just casual shots of friends and nature and such I believe I need a new camera. I don't think I'm ready for a standard DSLR since with my current budget as a college student I cant afford an expensive camera as well as all a lens set and accessories. Just for an idea of what I'm looking for here are some of the shots I'll be using it for:.

Sunsets/Landscapes (preferably good quality in both day and night)PortraitsCasual use like on vacation or out with friendsUpscale events (weddings/awards dinners)Studio Work (maybe...).

Some criteria I need advice on:.

MP count, I know sometimes higher mp makes more noise so I'm not sure what I sould be looking for since I plan to make prints of quite a few pictures; most camera's I've considered are either 8 or 10 mp.

Battery type, Normally I dont have a problem with recharchable batteries btu I don't like being limited to havint to recharge instead of tossing in a few AA's is it worth it to get Recharge and get an extra one to carry around or go the route and keep using replacable AA's ? .

SLR-like (such as Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 and Olympus 560 UZ) or an upscale compact camera (such as Canon PowerShot S5 IS) ??.

And finally what camera do you recommend? I'm open to any brand as long as it fits the criteria and isn't too expensive (I'm currently looking at $500 or less for the camera itself and nor more than 150 on basic accessories if needed).

Camera's I've considered:.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18Olympus 560 UZCanon Poweshot S5 IS.

Thanks for all the help, I know I asked a lot...

Comments (9)

First of all, if you are a very talented photographer with a great eye for composition and a wonderful imagination, if you have already won photographic competitions and sold prints, if you have a good basic understanding of the principles of photography, if you always use your current camera set to manual because you need the extra control that manual gives you, then ignore everything else that I am going to say. If not, read on..

You need a reality check. There is an enormous gulf between somebody who has played around with a digital point and shoot and somebody who can make money out of photography..

Go onto the Samples and Galleries forum and have a look at the typical quality of work. Note that most of the posters on that forum do not make money out of photography..

Look at few professional wedding photographer sites. Look at some sites of professional landscape photographers. These people do make money out of photography..

Go back and look at your photographs. Decide how big the gulf is between them and you..

Now, if you just want a better camera so that you can improve your photography, re-post taking out the first 5 or so paragraphs. Just ask what camera you should buy..

Buy some books on photographic technique and take a photographic course. Take lots of photographs. Enter them into competitions to get some feel of how good your photos are. See if your familty and friends think that they are sufficiently good to frame and put up on a wall. Maybe try to sell one or two..

When your photos start to approach the quality of top amateurs or professionals, think about trying to make some money out of it. Then the really difficult part starts, working out exactly how to make money.Chris R..

Comment #1

Excellent post Chris.

Chris R-UK wrote:.

First of all, if you are a very talented photographer with a greateye for composition and a wonderful imagination, if you have alreadywon photographic competitions and sold prints, if you have a goodbasic understanding of the principles of photography, if you alwaysuse your current camera set to manual because you need the extracontrol that manual gives you, then ignore everything else that I amgoing to say. If not, read on..

You need a reality check. There is an enormous gulf between somebodywho has played around with a digital point and shoot and somebody whocan make money out of photography..

Go onto the Samples and Galleries forum and have a look at thetypical quality of work. Note that most of the posters on that forumdo not make money out of photography..

Look at few professional wedding photographer sites. Look at somesites of professional landscape photographers. These people do makemoney out of photography..

Go back and look at your photographs. Decide how big the gulf isbetween them and you..

Now, if you just want a better camera so that you can improve yourphotography, re-post taking out the first 5 or so paragraphs. Justask what camera you should buy..

Buy some books on photographic technique and take a photographiccourse. Take lots of photographs. Enter them into competitions toget some feel of how good your photos are. See if your familty andfriends think that they are sufficiently good to frame and put up ona wall. Maybe try to sell one or two..

When your photos start to approach the quality of top amateurs orprofessionals, think about trying to make some money out of it. Thenthe really difficult part starts, working out exactly how to makemoney.Chris R.

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Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #2

Why not buy a manual film slr with the standard 50mm lens? Most, if not all, pros started with film slrs. They dont cost that much in ebay nowadays..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #3

First off, I have to agree with much of what the first response said/.

If you are going to do this as a pro, you will need to go to an SLR. There are some P&S cameras that do a credible job in brighter light but when the light gets difficult, the photo quality goes down the tubes. For $500, a K100D or K100D Super will get you a serious enough camera. You will then need to work on lenses down the road..

If you want to go the P&S route, skip the big zooms and look at a G7, G9, A640, A650 or even a Samsung NV15...

Comment #4

I totally agree with the comments made before, especially the one of Chris..

If you go DSLR: It is not so important which camera (body) you take now, concentrate on the lenses. Which lenses will you need for your purposes (Even though you can't afford them yet)? Then have a look at which brand has these lenses. And then look for a camera. The point is, you are not deciding for a camera, but for a system. The camera might change in a few years, the lenses will last a lot longer..

There is no need buying a new camera, especially if budget is low. Invest your money in good lenses (used or new) and get a used DSLR. And: Do you really think you need more than 6MP?.

If you don't want to go DSLR, but have full manual control and a DSLR-feeling I would have thought of Fuji S9600/S9100 (or s6500/s6000) or Pansonic FZ-50. (S9x00 and FZ-50 can handle external flash)..

But consider that for the things you mentioned you will need a tripod and flash. For "studio work" you need a lot more which you won't be able to afford with your budget..

If you really want to take photography serious, get a used SLR (doesn't have to be digital!!!!!) and two prime-lenses. Buy books, visit workshops/courses and learn..

It's not the camera that takes the pictures, but the person behind the camera: YOU. A DSLR offers you more possibillities, but if you are not able to make good pictures with a P&S you won't be able to do it with a 5000$ DSLR...

Comment #5

Thanks for your comments. While I am not truly a novice I have not entered competitions but I have made prints which friends and some photography professors said they are of good quality to be sold but obviously I can always work more on technique and such. I have always had an eye for composition..

I have already as you suggested looked at the sites of professionals and even spoken with a few to get pointers and such. I have used the manual features on my camera bu I don't feel that I as much control as I would like that's why I am considering the options of getting a new one..

I understand that is is hard to make money in the field but I am willing to take the risks but I am making sure to study different styles such as landscape, potraits, as well as looking into photo journalism..

I guess I made myself seem to naive with my first post. I'll just repost with a general what should I buy......

Comment #6

The best advice is to gain practice with your camera. I have done work in clubs, bars and for the student newspaper. Its ideal practice for your camera skillsIts just a camera...

Comment #7

Thanks but this thread is no longer needed. I started one with my more direct question of which camera is the best choice for me... I know I need more practice but I'm looking for a camera w/ more versatility anyways.....

Comment #8

Listen to it with care, a "pro" is always open to advice from those with more experience...

Comment #9

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