Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Time for a new camera - help!!

Okay, I am still working on cleaning up our Fiji vacation pictures and I will be back in blog-world soon!  I have just been seriously enjoying the time off of work and spending the days lounging with friends and sue me =)

For my first post, I would like to request the assistance of my photographer friends.  While we were in Fiji, our "fancy" camera broke.  And by "fancy" camera, I mean our point-and-snap, not really that fancy camera.

So now it's time to purchase a new one and I'm not so keen on just getting another point-and-shoot.  My opinion is that if we're going to spend money on an actual camera, we should get something that's better quality than my camera phone.  I have the new Samsung Galaxy S3 (love it!) and the camera on this thing is if we get a new camera, it needs to be worth the money and worth hauling it around. 

Our previous camera spent most trips tucked into it's travel case, because the quality of photograph wasn't really better than my cell why even bother with the extra electronic device?

This is where I need your help!  What should we get?  Please please help.

The camera we recently had was the Nikon Coolpix S220.  I think I bought it because of the Ashton Kutcher commercials...oops.  I ended up HATING it and I vow to never purchase another camera like this again.  Here are a few of my "must haves / complaints" from my recent camera experience...
    • - The Nikon took amazing landscape photos, but the indoor pictures were awful.  Indoor photos always ALWAYS came out with a yellow tint.  Always.  We messed with settings, adjusted the flash, and the best we could come up with on indoor photos were over-or-under-exposed, still slightly yellow images.  I want this camera to take beautiful indoor photos with "as true to life" colors as possible, as well as amazing landscape/outdoor pictures.
    • - I'd love an auto-focus but would like the option to switch to manual focus (I know nothing about photography...I assume those are different things!).
    • - Marc says we don't want a digital zoom but an optical zoom.  Again...I'm ignorant about cameras/photography...
    • - We want this to be affordable.  I'm not interested in becoming a professional photographer, but I want to be able to go on trips and take decent pictures of us, family, friends, babies, mountains, dogs, get the idea. savvy friends...can you help?  Essentially, we need a step up from a point-and-shoot, but not quite as fancy as something you professionals use.  Does a camera like this exist?  What are your suggestions?

Your assistance and advice is much appreciated =)


  1. You can jump up to a DSLR which is probably what you view as a "pro" camera. You can change the lenses out. They produce great photos but I think its somewhat a waste of $$ if you plan to just shoot in auto. Canon makes a great camera. They have some cameras that look like the big nice DSLR cameras but the lens is fixed. They are at a price point between a point and shoot but not a DSLR. If you decide on a canon dslr I can give you some more specific advice.

  2. I have had my Canon for maybe 3 months now and I am still learning on it but I love it. I wanted a DSLR because I take tons and tons of pictures and I was interested in learning more about settings and I wanted to see if I had more of a photographers eye. I was in the same boat as you. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a new camera but I finally did and I will never go back.

    I have a Canon DSLR Rebel (I don't know the model number) and it really is great. I don't think you can go wrong with a "fancy" camera. Just know that you will need to put forth some effort to figure out the manual settings (if you want) but the pictures are night and day compared to a point and shoot. I haven't taken that many indoor pictures where I didn't use a flash (you don't have to use one with a DSLR...weird!) so I can't really help you with exposure there. But I do take pictures all the time of a bitty kiddo and they turn out great (I usually have to turn the camera onto sports mode so that I can get continuous shots of him since he moves ALL THE TIME).

    You will want to get a different lens for it though. The one that comes with it is terrible. I asked for one from Amazon that was only $100 and probably the best money spent in a long time. I am sure there is an equivalent Nikon version if you like Nikons. I have always had Canon so that's what I will have for ever.

    I hope this helps a little bit. If you want a point and shoot, maybe try a Canon? I just think you should get a DSLR if you are going to only be spending $200 more for one. I also got my camera second hand, so I really don't know how much they retail for. Longest comment ever!

  3. Writing from the Nikon camp, I don't think you can go wrong upgrading to a DSLR. That's going to have all the features you want and more. While more isn't ALWAYS better, it is with cameras. I have a Nikon D5000 that is now 2? 3? years old and it doesn't disappoint. There are lots of newer model Nikons that are probably the same price point.

    Remember, with these cameras, the settings: shutter speed, aperture, white balance, focus area and ISO are going to drive the clarity and color in indoor vs. outdoor photography. I can still get VERY bad indoor action shots, even with my fancy camera "wearing" its best, super duperest (is that a word) lens. But, it's my fault, not the camera's.

    These cameras come with pretty decent manuals, there are TONS of books and Pinterest also has some great photog sites/tips. You Tube videos are also your friend.

    If you decide to go DSLR, it will usually come with a *standard* 18-55mm lens. You will be tempted to buy another one because you'll want the crisp focal image, fuzzy background (bokeh), but wait and try a friend's zoom lens (55-200mm or 75-300mm) I successfully rented a CRAZY zoom lens from for a week to shoot one of Sean's baseball tournaments. Great way to try new lenses at a fraction of the cost (lenses often cost more than the camera, btw).

    Good me if you want some Nikon specific tips.

    Just took Longest Comment Ever Award away from your friend Kristyn. :)


  4. I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say you might not need a DSLR. Unless you are really thinking about getting into photography and learning how to properly use the settings (which isn't easy)I think they are too cumbersome. They are heavy and inconvenient for taking snapshots of your experiences. Think about it, are you likely to pull out a giant camera at a party to take pictures of your friends? Probably not because you wont even bring it with you! Sure, you can use your phone camera but you'll still have the indoor lighting problem. Or, if you are thinking about using it while traveling, how do you feel about looking like a super tourist with that giant thing around your neck or in a backpack? Besides, DSLRs only take better pictures than point and shoots IF you know how to use them. And if you don't really know how to use them, the pictures can easily come out worse!

    In my opinion, I think you should consider getting a point and shoot that takes high quality low light photos. I have the Sony Cybershot and it takes phenomenal indoor photos without a flash (I'm 100% anti-flash photography). I bought it a year or so ago so there might be others out there that take great low light photos as well.

    There are also in between cameras now that are a step up from the point and shoots but really compact. I think they are called compact systems with interchangeable lenses- check out this article
    I haven't ever used one but that may meet your needs as well.

    Lastly, I always check consumersearch for their recommendations on specific brands. They have great buyer guides for most categories. So they may also be of help to you.

    Ok, that's my two cents. Take it or leave it. Good luck!!! :)

  5. I agree with Crystal. If you don't want to spend time learning how to use a dslr, or don't want multiple lenses, they make cameras with good zooms and some manual settings still. I have a 7 year old Sony that takes gorgeous pictures, has a 12x optical zoom, but only 6 mega pixels, since it's so old. The zoom lens retracts all the way into the body. I think they still make this style but with more mps. They also do have cameras now with compact bodies and some interchangeable lenses. Never of these will fit in your pocket, but are smaller than a dark. And that Nikon, I have the same one. Probably turned me off Nikon for good. If you want a pocket point and shoot, you can't beat most of the Canons.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Damn auto correct. Never= neither. Dark=dslr

  7. If you shoot in auto on a Dslr your pictures might look the same as a point and shoot which is why its a waste if you aren't interested in the manual settings. Also keep in mind the image quality will come mostly from your lens and not the camera body.

    I use both. I love my Dslr (and photography) but I have an Olympus point and shoot. It's from their tough series. It's water proof, you can drop it, freeze it, sand proof etc.


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