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Getting Started - Do I need a new camera?
I am sure this is the kind of lame question the experienced people dread, but I'll ask anyway!.

I want to get started into some artistic (as a hobby) photography. I currently just have a Casio Exilim Z70 tiny thin camera that we bought to take pics of the kids. It is 7 MP with 3x zoom and very little manual control. I basically turn it on and it is in auto mode and I take a picture. Is that enough to get started? I've been looking at some P&S cameras with manual settings. Would something like the Canon A720IS or the SX100 be a good "starter" camera? Or should I just practice some technique and composition with my current camera until I figure out what I am missing?.

Thanks for any advice. If you can recommend a good $200-$350 camera that would be good for a total novice, please do so..

Thanks...

Comments (12)

The Canons are good camera's. I always feel that a great picture can be taken with any camera, I have seen amazing shots done with camera phones. If you feel limited by the camera that you have then upgrade for sure..

Otherwise the best advice I have heard is from Joe McNally I don't remember it wor dofr word, but it goes like this: If you want more interesting pictures, put yourself in more interesting places..

Good luckBenhttp://www.b3nbrooks.com/blog/..

Comment #1

This is how I started - with a Canon a570 and chdk. The chdk allows you to add advanced features such as raw, live histogram. The a570 is cheap, takes good pictures and has manual exposure controls. The a590 is the updated version of the 570 but I don't know if the hack has been developed for it yet. I decided to go with a less expensive camera in order to have more money for a dslr..

Another approach I'd highly recommend (and prefer as compared to my comments above) is to get an inexpensive dslr - Nikon d50 refurb, D40, Pentax k100super and just start learning on a dslr. You could probably find something around $400 - $500. You'd have a better learning tool, better pictures, and you wouldn't be doubling up on the P&S...

Comment #2

Ben Brooks wrote:.

I don'tremember it wor dofr word, but it goes like this: If you want moreinteresting pictures, put yourself in more interesting places..

"If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough."- Robert Capa.

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream..

Comment #3

If you are serious about wanting to learn photography, then you absolutely need a camera with manual controls. (In fact, IMO, you should only use manual until you understand it well enough to manage more automatic modes wisely.) The fact that you already aknowledge that is a good sign that you are indeed serious..

I started with a Fuji S602 which had full manual exposure modes and a good metering and AF system. (Good for a P&S/Prosumer) I literally wore that camera out. It died on my sister about a month after I moved up to the D70. While I learned a lot with that first camera (~$600 at the time) if I knew then what I know now I would have spent the money for a DSLR and never looked back..

Having said that, your milage may vary. Your budget simply may not allow that at this time, we've all been there. But do, by all means get as much control as you can. I can't reccommend P&S cameras because I haven't kept up with them, but I can say that if you are serious, give a DSLR some serious thought..

But of course, do your homework there too. *grin*Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream..

Comment #4

ChefZiggy wrote:.

Serious, give a DSLR some serious thought..

But of course, do your homework there too. *grin*.

Do you really think she'd have to do her homework on the dslr? Just get one that fits in your budget. The way I see it you can get one (with kit lens) for under $500 primarily as a learning tool and you're not really invested in a brand...

Comment #5

I appreciate the advice..

I understand that a dSLR is where it's at for high end photography, but I have a hard time justifying the costs for hobby use. What makes a Nikon D40 or Canon Rebel XT with a 55mm lens for $500 any better than a Canon S5 for $300 or a 720IS for $180? With the cheaper cameras I get the most of the manual controls, better lens range and more megapixels, right? I don't get interchangeable lenses, but the fixed lens has most of range I can afford to buy on an SLR already. It seems like if I bought a cheaper SLR, by the time I knew how to really use it, it would be too outdated and I'd have to upgrade anyway. The $500 SLR models are already over 2 years old as is. Am I way off base? Why is the SLR so much better, even with way lower specs?..

Comment #6

In my opinion (obviously) it is. Comparing the relatively inexpensive cameras you mention (or more advanced P&S cameras) to even the low end DSLR's, the DSLR's would likely win out in several areas. Low light/high ISO shooting for one. Response time and DOF control for others. General ergonomics is yet another. IMHO.

I'm not saying that you can't learn a lot with a P&S. I did. I'm just saying that if you are truly serious about learning and enjoying photography, then you will likely end up with a DSLR eventually anyway. Why not skip a step?.

And again, everyone is different and this is just my opinion and worth every penny you paid for it. *grin*Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream..

Comment #7

Another great "trainer" cam for low bucks is the Fuji S700 -.

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Fujifilm/fuji_finepixs5700.asp.

Kelly Cook..

Comment #8

Yes, you will learn more with a dSLR and manual controls. Yes, you will be able to shoot in lower light. Yes, it will have less lag so you will be able to get action shots better. Yes, a dSLR will exersize your neck muscles more than a camera that fits in your pocket..

There is one issue a dSLR will not help at all with: composition. I suggest that you spend some time in the library looking at books of photos by the masters. Try to figure out what makes the photo great. Things like lying on your belly to shoot, perhaps climbing a tree. Figuring out where to stand when you push the shutter release is more important the what gear is attached to that button..

More than a new camera, I'd suggest getting a *GOOD* tripod - one that will outlast several cameras. Beyond stabalizing your camera better than any camera or lens can do, it will slow you down. It will force you to think about what you are doing..

In addition, I'd suggest that you spend some time learning how to use a photo editor. That knowledge will serve you well no matter what camera you have..

If you have an unlimited budget, ignore everything I said...

Comment #9

Tkbslc wrote:.

I appreciate the advice..

I understand that a dSLR is where it's at for high end photography,but I have a hard time justifying the costs for hobby use. Whatmakes a Nikon D40 or Canon Rebel XT with a 55mm lens for $500 anybetter than a Canon S5 for $300 or a 720IS for $180?.

What makes the d40 or xt better than the s5 or 720 is IQ..

With thecheaper cameras I get the most of the manual controls, better lensrange and more megapixels, right? I don't get interchangeablelenses, but the fixed lens has most of range I can afford to buy onan SLR already. It seems like if I bought a cheaper SLR, by thetime I knew how to really use it, it would be too outdated and I'dhave to upgrade anyway..

I have a Nikon d50 and it's not out dated in the same way that computers and other electronics become outdated and obsolete. The newer models have some refinements but nothing that would in any way limit or hinder a beginner to photograghy..

The $500 SLR models are already over 2years old as is. Am I way off base? Why is the SLR so much better,even with way lower specs?.

The dslr is better because of it's ability to produce better quality images. The dslr may have "lower specs" (for example less pixels) but the dslr specs are of a higher quality (dslr pixels are bigger than P&S pixels)..

Anyway - the s3 is a great camera and you could learn alot from it as you could from the a720. I just thought I'd throw out the idea of a dslr because the upper end of your budget was nearing dslr territory..

I think you could do a lot with a P&S and as some one said part of your skill building could include post processing which isn't dslr dependent...

Comment #10

The S5 is a great camera to start with. My wife has been using hers for a year and I just bought one to go along with my DSLR cameras. When you learn more and feel like you still want to carry on with the hobby then advance to a DSLR..

Tkbslc wrote:.

I appreciate the advice..

I understand that a dSLR is where it's at for high end photography,but I have a hard time justifying the costs for hobby use. Whatmakes a Nikon D40 or Canon Rebel XT with a 55mm lens for $500 anybetter than a Canon S5 for $300 or a 720IS for $180? With thecheaper cameras I get the most of the manual controls, better lensrange and more megapixels, right? I don't get interchangeablelenses, but the fixed lens has most of range I can afford to buy onan SLR already. It seems like if I bought a cheaper SLR, by thetime I knew how to really use it, it would be too outdated and I'dhave to upgrade anyway. The $500 SLR models are already over 2years old as is. Am I way off base? Why is the SLR so much better,even with way lower specs?.

After 53 years of photography, I shoot for memories, not perfection. - Ron_M...

Comment #11

Thanks for the tips everyone. I find myself really liking the feel of larger cameras like the Sony H50 and the Canon S5 (I stopped by the store to test some cameras tonight). But then you are right, for $100-$200 more I can have a lower end DSLR like the Rebel XT or the D40. The CHDK hacks on a $150 Canon 570 look fun too, though. So I guess it is $200 for a little Canon to get me buy for a year, or $500-600 for an SLR..

As far as editing software, that is one area in which I am moderately proficient. I have just used other people's images instead of my own...

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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