Photography types. Please recommend me a camera for…

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  • Photography types. Please recommend me a camera for…
  • LenHankie
    Member

    ..taking decent pictures of the kids. I’m fed up with all our photos being a series of blurred images captured several seconds after the ideal shot I had in mind.

    Our current compact camera, while great for sunny landscapes and holiday snaps, is clearly struggling with our main subjects – a baby and a toddler, especially indoors or in limited light (which is pretty much 24/7 at the moment.)

    My limited knowledge tells me that I need something relatively portable (so no massive DSLRs, much as I’d like one eventually) with quick start up, a quick processor and a large sensor, but I’m confused after that.. Do I need a bridge camera? 4/3rds? It needs to be simple for my wife to grab and click away without scrolling through endless menus and missing the moment, so some kind of Auto/iA button would be good too.

    Ideally I’d like the end results to be more like something from a DSLR with a fixed lens – but cheating slightly. I’m not really bothered about zoom etc.

    Budget is about £250-300 and I’m fairly happy buying second hand if need be. Any suggestions or recommendations would be great. Thanks

    GaryLake
    Member

    I’m not very clued up on the latest micro 4/3rds etc, but I tend to find the only way to get nice indoor pictures of my family without horrid inbuilt flash is a fast prime (no zoom) lens on a DSLR with good high iso performance.

    Something like a 550D with a 50 1.8 isn’t too bad to lug around and if you teach your wife to just use P mode (mostly auto) and set the ISO to auto, she’ll have no problem using it.

    My son…

    GaryLake
    Member

    I’ve got a 5D for work use but I can’t always bring that home, now that’s nice but deffo not what you’re looking for 🙂

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    A higher quality compact (eg. Canon S95/S100) will get you decent results. Not every time, but when you get it right pics can be mistaken for DSLR pics.
    Such a simple camera to use too – but with decent manual settings if you know how to use them.

    5thElefant
    Member

    I’d look at the Nikon 1 system (J1 or V1) it’s designed for your needs. It was ludicrously expensive when released so they didn’t sell any, but they’ve just knocked 60% off the price and now it’s a bargain.

    The Nikon is the only compact system that offers fast autofocus that will track moving targets – children.

    Fuji X1, has a fantastic point and shoot mode as well as being totally manual if required. World class build quaility and proper camera looks. Love mine.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Nice photo Gary!

    jarvo
    Member

    I’d suggest having a look at some reviews at DPreview.com

    If you want something to pick-up and snap with, then as you say, not a DSLR … I’d also go as far to say “not a 4/3” either. The main different being that DSLR has a mirror movement, where a 4/3 does not. I’d plump for a Bridge Camera.

    You also need to remember that a DLSR or 4/3 are designed to be used ideally in a “Manual” mode. When I first got my DSLR, and even shooting on Auto, I was disappointed with the shots. They are designed to be post-processed on a computer. Crop, straighten, adjust levels etc.

    The modern bridge cameras do all of this for you. Granted it’s based on how the camera thinks you want the image to look. But if you choose a preset, for portrait, landscape, night, sport etc … it makes the necessary adjustments.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Watch out for using 4/3 when you mean m4/3. They’re different systems. 4/3 is a small slr complete with mirror. m4/3 is the mirrorless system.

    4/3 is obsolete though, so could be worth a look second-hand.

    None of the mirrorless systems, including bridge cameras will autofocus well on a moving target (except the Nikon 1).

    cynic-al
    Member

    LenHankie – Member

    ..taking decent pictures of the kids. I’m fed up with all our photos being a series of blurred images captured several seconds after the ideal shot I had in mind.

    Anmy decent compact should be doing better than this, no need for DSLR or £250 budget at all IMO.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    I’d definitely investigate the Nikon J1 and V1 – available for £269 with 2 lenses now I think (after Nikon cashback).

    But otherwise I would look for a very wide aperture (f2 or wider), wide angle lens (24mm equivalent or wider) compact like those found on the Lumix LX5 or LX7 Canon S95 or S100. There are a few others too.

    It’s possible that the Sony DSC-RX100 has fallen into your price range, but maybe not – worth looking.

    Basically, you want to avoid built-in flash if possible, so getting a camera which can take photos in the lowest light possible, is the main difference these cameras can make.

    Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find a compact that takes photos ‘instantly’. So worth investigating shutter lag in all these models.

    Premier Icon andyha
    Subscriber

    2nd hand Calumet

    Get an older model dslr and a 28mm or 50mm lens and start snapping

    Same old, same old recommending my own camera, but my Sony SLT A55 with a 50mm f1.7 is no bigger than a bridge and takes great portraits.

    Compact due to a translucent (rather than flip up) mirror, but a full DSLR in every other sense. And it takes old Minolta glass, hence the wonderful and cheap Minolta 50 f1.7 it wears most of the time. The A55 is discontinued so I’d bet you can pick up a good second hand one for not much money, then ebay for the lens.

    Gear of the Year in DP

    Best budget DSLR
    Nikon D3200
    or Canon 650D
    Best Full frame
    Nikon D600
    Mid-range
    Sony SLT A65
    or
    Canon EOS 7D
    Loads o Money
    Canon EOS 5D Mkiii
    or
    Nikon D800
    Best CSC
    Olypus PEN-PL5
    Best Compact
    Fuji X10

    5thElefant
    Member

    Which ones (or one) costs less than the OP’s max budget of £300? 😉

    GaryLake
    Member

    Anmy decent compact should be doing better than this

    But you missed…

    especially indoors or in limited light (which is pretty much 24/7 at the moment.)

    Even a mid-range DSLR sucks in these conditions without a very expensive fast zoom, or limiting yourself to a prime lens. In my pic above, I was probably shooting at ISO1600 (bearable noise performance on a 550D) and probably at 1.8 (only top end compacts allow for that), and still battling 1/50 shutter speeds. And he wasn’t even moving.

    MrSmith
    Member

    something with face detection, it’s defiantly going to help unless your kids are pig ugly and the camera has trouble picking their faces up

    stumpy01
    Member

    What Alexsimon suggested.

    I reckon you want a compact with a wide aperture like the Panasonic lx5/7 Olympus xz1 etc.

    Just be sure to check how the aperture varies throughout the zoom range. A lot of them only hold a wide aperture at the wide angle position. As soon as you zoom, it closes up. My P300 is 1.8 at it’s wide angle, but even the slightest zoom sees it close up. At full zoom it ends up at 5.6 or something.

    You need a surprising amount of light to get a fast shutter speed. Indoor situations generally aren’t well enough lit to enable high shutter speeds.

    When looking at a particular camera, also look at it’s high ISO performance, as thus will help you get higher shutter speeds, but will increase the noise levels…

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Which ones (or one) costs less than the OP’s max budget of £300?

    Hmm.. that’d be none of them!

    GaryLake
    Member

    I reckon a 650D with a 40mm pancake prime would be brilliant Family camera but £££ 🙂

    Probably get my suggestion for £300

    natrix
    Member

    I’ve got a Fujifilm compact with an EXR sensor. When it is in EXR mode, if you point it at a person it detects a face and goes into portrait mode, if it is close to something it goes into macro mode, so basically you don’t have to select the ‘scene selection’ it does it for you. Like having ‘auto’ mode but better 😀

    binno
    Member

    Get a light weight cheap slr and a decent (again no need to be heavy) fast prime lens, 50mm f1.8 or so will do. They start around the £200 mark and are quite small and fairly light weight. Don’t be put off my the features and manual options, they make it much easier to use IMO.

    SLR’s have fast on/off and no shutter lag (or very very minimal shutter lag). I’ve yet to try a compact that does not suffer from shutter lag (time taken between pressing the shutter and capturing the image).

    stumpy01
    Member

    50mm indoors is a bit long for general indoor pics of the kids I’d have thought, unless the OP has large living spaces or only wants head/shoulder shots.

    75mm equivalent on a crop sensor…

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Get a light weight cheap slr and a decent (again no need to be heavy) fast prime lensaround the £200 mark

    Suggest a specific camera & lens? I might be interested in that, if such a thing exists!

    5thElefant
    Member

    Sony a200 £149 + £7.50 postage
    Minolta 50mm f1.7 £70 + £8 postage

    You could get both for less easily enough.

    As it’s a Sony you get in body stabilisation too.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    I’ve got the Panasonis LX3. Not sure what the latest version is, LX7 I think. It’s great indoors without a flash. There’s a dial on the top to pop it into auto mode. takes great picture and there’s room to have a play with the setting if you want to get creative. Fits in a pocket, too.

    5thElefant – Member

    Which ones (or one) costs less than the OP’s max budget of £300?

    You know you always go in a shop, be it bike or gadget, with a budget of £300 and spend £600.

    Me i’d buy this CANON £437

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    The 650D is -way- more camera than you need. But if you do decide to go Canon, there’s a cashback offer running on some models atm.

    http://www.canon.co.uk/wintercashback/

    flannol
    Member

    I am a photographer (proof)

    Reading a few replies here compelled me to create an account and reply.

    I suggest you buy an SLR. Not a ‘high end compact’ or 4/3rds camera. Get an SLR. The ‘bottom end’ canon/nikon SLRs are incredible these days.

    I didn’t want to get technical but it’s important you understand the technicalities of why it is happening……
    Your pictures are blurry because you are trying to do something wich exceeds the capabilities of your camera. It is trying to compensate for this by opening the shutter for longer, which means that the shake of your hand, or the movement of your child, becomes a factor. Unfortunately SLRs still have these constraints: While an SLR’s low light capabilities are going to be a lot better than your current camrea, it is still going to get to the point where it is restricted in the same way your current camera is: by your lens’s maximum aperture (which is the hole, or ‘aperture’, inside the lens can only open so wide, letting in only so much amount of light). This is where, as people are mentioning, buying a ‘fast’ ‘prime’ lens comes in, because the standard (…cheap) lenses you get with SLRs in fact have similar maximum aperture constraints as your current point&shoot camera – they’re great for bright daylight use but not great for low light.

    Two things to note: A prime lens means that it is only one focal length – you can’t zoom in or out… you have to physically move. Most prime lenses are also quite ‘zoomed’, (not very wide angled), unless you spend incredible amounts of money you can’t really get around that one. ‘Fast’ is referring to the size of the aperture, a ‘fast’ lens means that the aperture hole is large – letting in a lot more light.

    If you buy a Canon SLR I’d recommend this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-EF-50-1-8-Lens/dp/B00005K47X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357743177&sr=8-1

    If you buy a Nikon SLR I’d recommend you buy this:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-AF-S-35mm-f1-8G-Lens/dp/B001S2PPT0/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1357743184&sr=8-10

    They are both prime (the canon is zoomed to 50mm, and the Nikon to 35mm – which gives you a wider, more natural angle)
    They are both fast – f1.8 lets in a hell of a lot more light than the standard lens that will come with your SLR & the lens that is on your current camera.

    All SLRs in the price range you are looking at perform exactly the same way as your current point and shoot camera does – fully automatically. You just point and click. The only difference being, you’re doing it with a much higher quality camera. You don’t have to be scared just because they are ‘professional’ cameras.

    Can I suggest (once you have your SLR, otherwise it’ll not make much sense) you watch this video – it’s just basic rundown on proper focusing technique – something which will also really help you get better pictures of people who don’t like to sit still! 😉

    DSLR Camera Focusing Tips for Beginners

    EDIT:
    Also p.s. buy new. Don’t buy second hand. For all you know it has had 90,000 clicks (shutter mechanisms don’t last forever). Also a £300 new SLR will take better pictures than a £1,300 SLR from three years ago. Will also be warrantied. Just buy new.

    badllama
    Member

    FFS just set the camera you have to sports mode as blurry kids seem to be the issue. That will save you learning about shutter speeds etc…

    IF you WANT a DSLR get a 550D I’ve used them for professional jobs without issue. Best camera for the money IMO.
    Throw images from 550D and 7D’s in Lightroom day in and day out and you cannot tell the difference between them (I shoot both). 😀

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    One other thing to bear in mind; I hear on the grapevine that Jessops are about to go pop, so keep an eye out for bargains.

    Reading a few replies here compelled me to create an account and reply.

    Welcome aboard.

    ericemel
    Member

    I would get the cheapest Nikon DSLR with a 35mm f1.8

    or the canon equivalent.

    flannol
    Member

    Welcome aboard.

    Thanks! Hi

    damo2576
    Member

    Sold all my cameras and roll with a Panasonic GF1. Go anywhere do anything camera with the 20mm lens and shooting raw will give most DSLRs a run for their money.
    Worth a look. Most important thing about a camera is taking it with you.
    Interesting take on it

    USER REPORT: The Panasonic GF1 – A Landmark Camera by KJ Vogelius

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    I’d love a GF nd 20mm lens.But not for moving subjects.

    I think DSLR and 35mm f1.8 lens is the best bet

    But you’ll need to go used to be in budget

    hint the way to make sure tha camera hasn’t shot 95,000 shots is to ask

    I think a 50mm lens is just to zoomed in for it to be your only lens

    damo2576
    Member

    I’d love a GF nd 20mm lens.But not for moving subjects.

    Curious why you say that re moving subjects?

    MrSmith
    Member

    I am a photographer (proof)

    Everyone’s a photographer these days, you just need the word ‘photographer’ after your name 🙄

    peterfile
    Member

    Everyone’s a photographer these days, you just need the word ‘photographer’ after your name

    I don’t know. I tried to start my own photography company, but it attracted a lot of unwanted attention 🙁

    kuman
    Member

    As already suggested nikon dslr + 35mm F1.8 would be best if you are on a budget or 28mm f1.8 if you can spend a bit extra. If you can justify spending £1000+ you could get second hand full frame d700 + 35mm f2 ( this is what I use 90% of the time for family snaps)

    Premier Icon djflexure
    Subscriber

    I’m not a photographer, but I do have kids, and had the same sort of thoughts a few years ago. There are a couple of types of shot I commonly take. The posed portrait and more candid ‘action’ shots. I found that having an SLR with decent long lens was the best solution. I can get good posed shots with a range of cameras, but I needed decent kit and a longer lens for the rest. It is a pain to carry about but that was the price I paid.

    If you can justify spending £1000+ you could get second hand full frame d700 + 35mm f2

    Coincidentally, took these earlier today with a D700 and 35mm f2 lens 🙂

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    damo2575

    because its contrast detect autofocus

    My DSLR will lock onto a moving subject and track it as it has phase detect AF

    I’ll admit to not having used that exact body and lens, but I have used lots of contrast detect camera and AF tracking is poor to non existant

    But please don’t the wrong way I would swap my DSLR and kit lens for a GF1 and 20mm in a heart beat. I would rather have a more portable camera

    In the longer term I’m hoping that the things like the latest NEX will have better Af tracking and be small

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