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Kids, kids, kids
I have read this web site until I am dizzy and I still don't know which way to go. So, I'm going to put this age old question out there and beg for your mercy, kindness and sage guidance. Here goes:.

I am looking for a camera to do just one thing...take pictures of my kids. That means indoors, outdoors, up trees, on the soccer field, in the woods, in the pool, in school events, running, jumping, sleeping, good light, bad light, upside down, backwards...you get the idea..

The history when my first son was born, we were using a Fuji Discovery P&S film camera and my beloved, refurbished Olympus OM-1 that I purchased during an astrophotography phase. In order to quell the complaints of "when can we see some pictures," I moved on to a Canon G2, which we loved, except for how sssslllloooowwww it was (my now seven year old son, however, loves it)..

My wife, not a photography enthusiast by any means, wanted something smaller, so we moved along to a Fujifilm F10. It served us reasonably well until it recently became unreliable. Frankly, I was never in love with the photos this thing took. They are fine snapshots, but they always seemed to be lacking a bit of character to me..

Now I need the one camera to rule them all:.

1) Easy enough for the wife to grab and shoot; sophisticated enough for someone who likes to dabble with the finer controls..

2) Flexible enough to shoot the kids wherever they are and doing whatever they are doing..

3) It doesn't have to be the tiniest camera in town, but I am not looking to pack up a bulky kit every time I walk out the doorour camera goes everywhere. By all means, recommend a dSLR if you think that's the way to go, but please keep in mind that I can guarantee that 95 percent of the time I'm walking out the door with only one lens..

4) Durable The G2 is dented, but fully functional. The F10 dented and occasionally functional. The OM-1well, actually, that's undented and it has got be thirty years old. But, like I said, the new camera needs to go everywhere..

I spent a good two hours at B&H in NYC this week fondling every camera imaginable, but I am no closer to a decision..

So, I am looking to all of you out there who are living this life, where every moment is to be captured and cherished...on pain of severe spousal-induced agita. Share with me your good decisions and mistakes. I need to stop thinking about this and move on with my life..

Thanks!..

Comments (9)

G9.Or Canon S3 IS.

I'm affraid none of modern digital cameras can get close to older ones in terms of reliability (cheap materials, parts, electronics, buttons)http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #1

I would favour a dSLR because your kids' speed will mean shutter lag is a problem with any other camera. Also the low light ability will be useful..

So any base dSLR, maybe I would suggest the Nikon D40 + 18-135 lens kit, or with the 18-200VR. Fine in auto for snaps but fully manual when you need it..

But whichever body feels good to you and your wife when handled in a store: Canon 400D, Pentax K100D would be the other candidates..

Alex..

Comment #2

Thanks for the replies..

I realize that quality isn't what it used to be, particularly at the consumer-oriented equipment level. Sort of makes one hesitant to spend in the $700-$1000 range you get more features, for sure, but if the camera isn't going to survive, sort of defeats the purpose..

The D40x packages look appealing, but I wonder whether a so-called bridge camera like the Panasonic FZ18 might get me close. Are these cameras significantly slower in terms of time to focus and grab the shot than an entry dSLR? I love the idea of the D40x, but, I'm going to really have to sell my wife on the added bulk, need for external flash, etc..

Thanks...

Comment #3

I'd suggest that you get two cameras:.

1. A DSLR with a fast lens and an external bounce/tilt flash, for taking pictures around the house (where you'll often encounter low light)..

2. A point-and-shoot in the 5-7 megapixel range that's you can carry everywhere in your car's glovebox (or that your wife can carry everywhere in her purse)..

Think of them as different tools, like a hammer and a screwdriver. You wouldn't expect a hammer to turn screws, or a screwdriver to pound nails.....

Comment #4

I know what you meanI also shoot mostly our kids. You might like the Canon S3/S5 or the Panasonic FZ-18 (which I just bought)..

The FZ-18 handles greatsize, buttons, menus the best of what I looked at. I use mostly program or shutter priority mood and it's still so easy. I liked the IQ better on the FZ-18 a little better than on my friend's Canon S3, and my sister in law's Sony H9 (both soft)with a little in-camera adjustment, the FZ-18 great at ISO 100-200. I don't love it at ISO > 200, but none of these cameras do well at higher ISOs, for that you need a DSLR, right?.

With regard to shutter lag, I spend half my time with the shutter button halfway down, waiting for the right shot, to get around shutter lag...maybe I've just learned to compensate? Burst mode could be a little faster though...

Comment #5

With regard to shutter lag, I spend half my time with the shutterbutton halfway down, waiting for the right shot, to get aroundshutter lag...maybe I've just learned to compensate? Burst modecould be a little faster though..

That's exactly right. 'Shutter lag' is mis-named - nearly all of the delay is 'focus lag' which the camera autofocuses, and then fires the shutter. The way to avoid this is, as you say, to pre-focus by pressing the shutter button half way down, and then waiting for the right moment before pressing the shutter completely, when the shutter will fire almost instantly. This is particularly important for kid shots as the right facial expression may not last long so you want the camera to respond instantly when you need it. This technique works with compacts and DSLRs alike, and I always use it..

FWIW: I think the Nikon D40 + 18-135 (as someone above suggested) would be good for your purposes..

Best wishes.

Mike..

Comment #6

I use these two types of cameras for my 9 mo old daughter...it works well..

We keep the P&S in the diaper backpack so it is always with us. Some of my favorite shots are with the P&S taken by my wife..

A good fast prime and an external flash are also great recomendations..

Despite the brand wars you can get great pics with any DSLR...find the system that's right for you..

#1 rule...have fun and post shots .

Don..

Comment #7

Thanks for the input everyone. I know about the half push for focusing, I think I am just looking for a more responsive overall solution..

I think the dSLR is the way to go. I'm leaning toward the Canon, mainly because I already own a Speedlite 420ex flash (bought with my G2). Save a few pennies that I can put toward glass...

Comment #8

Sorry but there is no such camera and lens combo. Look at what people use to shoot stadium football (the equivalent of running after kids). High end gear and BANKS of the stuff..

For example, I keep letting myself get roped into shooting other folks' two year olds. Bare minimum rig for me is a D200 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens along with an assistant using a reflector/gobo chasing the little terrors through the local park, herding them toward the "money shot" locales. About 3-5 grand right there and I still struggle. It's a really tough challenge.-Kent..

Comment #9

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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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