Purchase advice - Decorating home with pictures taken
I've spent hours reading various reviews but I'm still unsure what camera to buy. With limited knowledge in this area I'd appreciate any advice you guys can give..

Basically my stituation is this: I'm looking to add some artwork and photographs around my house that I can proudly say I created myself. I'm looking to take tasteful pictures of my girlfriend with most just showing a portion of her (ie. a black and white of her legs crossed, wine glass in hand). I would also love to take some great closeups (ie. flowers, insects), some nice city-life shots and of course the outdoors. Quality is going to be very important as I want to blow up any "gems" and hang them on my walls.

Going with an SLR would clearly be ideal if I was an experienced photographer but I'm not. If I love this "hobby" enough maybe one day I will go that route but for now I am content to buy a camera that can be all-purpose. I want one that I will actually carry around with me day to day..

Some of the camera's I've had my eyes on are the Canon G9, Nikon Coolpix 5100, Canon SD 950, A 720, S5 IS and SX 100. I keep drooling over the G9 and the Coolpix gallerys here but I wonder if those cameras are overkill for me? I know deep down I should probably go cheap with something like an A720 as it's probably all someone like me needs as an introductory camera. On the otherhand the pictures I take are going to be adorning my walls so why not spend a bit more and ensure the quality is there?..

Comments (9)

What is your budget and how big of photos do you wish to hang?..

Comment #1

I will be looking to hang various sizes. I'm not sure on specifics yet but I suppose I would want most to be roughly 12 by 18 or so. I want the option of blowing a couple up very large though without it looking terrible..

As for budget the G9 goes for $500 and that is probably about the max I would want to spend. If their is some sort of amazing camera that an amateur like me could get value out of I will go higher but I'd prefer not to. Mostly that seems to be SLR range anyway and I am not sure I would lug one of those around with me enough to get value (at least not yet)..

Of course if I am spending money needlessly I will definitely go cheaper and could upgrade down the road. Basically between $200 - $500 (Canadian) is what I have been looking at...

Comment #2

Feel free to suggest other options as well as the ones I posted. Those are just the ones that caught my eye and seemed popular...

Comment #3

With a DSLR of any kind you will be able to shoot pretty much auto and get the results you want ( I factoring in that you plan to use these as a basis for art-type pictures - heavy post processing )..

A 6Mp DSLR will give you any print size up to A3 with comfort, and larger (A2 even A1) without any real issues unless people start starring at them with magnifying glasses..

Many compacts can do similar jobs with two provisos :.

(1) They produce noisier images ( or images which have been more heavily affected by noise reduction ). This is especially important if you shoot in low light. This does not mean you cannot print very large, it means that at 100% they are less capable than the DSLRs. This is normally only an issue on very large prints with shots taken at above ISO 200. The Fuji's would be the least prone to noise, the Panasonics the worst. Lot's of people who have Panasonics print large with them, so don't dismiss them out of hand.

(2) The images when viewed at 100% are not as precise, as sharp, as detailed. A 6Mp DSLR will be able to crop down to a quarter the vertical and horizontal dimensions and still print at 8x10. You will not get the same level of comfort from a non-DSLR..

Having said all that here are some possible non-DSLRs with good image quality. They are in no order of preference :.

- Canon G9- Canon A710 IS- Canon A640- Canon S3 IS or S5 IS- Fuji E-900 ( no IS )- Fuji S6000/6500 ( ditto )- Fuji S9100/9600 ( ditto )- Fuji F20/30/31 ( ditto )- Panasonic TZ3 ( daylight / good light / flash / static scenes preferred )- Panasonic FZ18 ( ditto )- Panasonic FZ50 ( ditto, but possibly a little less affected if you shoot RAW ).

If you can find it there is an out of production models called the Sony R1which is a big heavy camera with a fabulous lens and a DSLR sensor. You cannot change lenses but it's a very good lens. It's not, however for action shooting as it is exceptionally slow ( huge RAW files ). I mention it, but the latest kit lenses are a lot better than they used to be, and the R1 is really a specialty thing now..

These would also make excellent general purpose cameras. They have pros and cons so you will need to check them out in more detail..

By the sounds of it you could easily shoot with a tripod, so I'd consider the Canon S3 and S5, Fuji S9100/9600 and S6000/6500 and Panasonic FZ50 These models ( particularly the S9600 and FZ50 ) are excellent choices for studio type work as they are cable an wireless release friendly and have and can use external flashes if you desire. The G9 can also do much of this. The zoom rings and manual focus rings of the S9600, S6500 and FZ50 give them a great DSLR-like feel and really make using them more fun, as long as you don't mind the weight..

Get yourself NeatImage or Noise Ninja regardless of whether you get a DSLR or a non-DSLR - these noise reduction tools are essentials in my book..

Any basic DSLR with a basic kit lens would suit you. If you go this route pick one that 'fits' your hands and feels right when looking down the viewfinder. Watch where your hands and fingers fit and pick a camera which is not cluttered for you, and not too big. It's a tool and it must feel natural. If it does you will work better with it..

It's tempting to try and get fancy lenses straight away. Don't. Use the kit lens(es) until you can find a deficiency with them and know what you need in a lens..

If you get a tripod I'd suggest you grab a basic tripod ( not a state of the art one ) and a cable or wireless release to allow easy and shake free shooting. Note - IS is basically useless for tripod work...

I will say that I'm a great Fuji fan, particularly of the S9600 and shooting RAW with it. I would recommend a camera that shoots RAW ( that's the E-900, the G9, the S6500, S9600, FZ18, FZ50 and the Canon S3, A640 and A710 IS if you use a simple firmware hack called CHDK. )..


Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #4

Sjgcit wrote:.

With a DSLR of any kind you will be able to shoot pretty much autoand get the results you want ( I factoring in that you plan to usethese as a basis for art-type pictures - heavy post processing )..

A 6Mp DSLR will give you any print size up to A3 with comfort, andlarger (A2 even A1) without any real issues unless people startstarring at them with magnifying glasses..

Many compacts can do similar jobs with two provisos :.

I have a Canon A640 P&S, and a Pentax K100d SLR. As stated above the P&S and the SLR will both do well in good light. In lower light conditions any SLR will produce better results than any P&S. The P&S has the advantage of size and weight, the SLR in low light image quality and ergonomics. Some SLR's can be quite compact..

Enjoy whatever you decide upon..

Arrested for laughing and waving a lightmeter...

Comment #5

Also consider the Canon A650IS. This is basically the same as the G9 minus raw capability. The price is much lower. You will really appreciate the 12 mpix when you make large prints. As with the G9 and other point and shoot cameras, you will be limited to good lighting or flash...

Comment #6

Wow what a detailed post. Tons of information here and VERY much appreciated. You kind of have me more confused now (considering an SLR again) but thats a good thing. At least now I have a better idea of what I need..

Thanks a LOT!!!!!..

Comment #7

Isn't RAW important for image quality or not worth the extra cost to someone like me? I would rather do this cheaply but if I have to spend the money I will too...

Comment #8

For many of us, raw is not worth it. First it can take a lot of skill and experience to even reach the level of processing already provided by the camera. Most of my conversions come out considerably worse. I suspect a major component is the software. I quickly found that the free Canon zoombrowser conversions are identical to the camera jpegs. I had even worse results with photoshop elements 5. I am not interested in investing hundreds of dollars in professional level software in the hopes that my skill level and the final product will improve...

Comment #9

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