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Author Topic: Which camera to buy?  (Read 850 times)

steve-n-sueC

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Which camera to buy?
« on: July 04, 2018, 08:19:06 AM »
We are going to scratch off one of the big items from our bucket list this fall, by attending the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  That said, I want to buy a camera instead of trying to take amazing pictures with my cellphone. 
My requirements are:
  Digital
  $200 range or less
  must take videos
  comfortable size
  tripod mount
I am sure that all of the experts on here will have their own "favorites".  I am interested in hearing from you.

Thanks
Steve-n-Sue
   


   
Steve-n-Sue
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docj

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2018, 09:35:35 AM »
There's no question but that a better camera would help with photos at the Balloon Fiesta; most of the real good photo opportunities require a good telephoto lens.  The cameras on the higher end phones are pretty good, but none of them truly provide an excellent telephoto experience.  As someone with a PhD in physics and optics, I could go through a long explanation of why a tiny lens can't ever duplicate the results of a large one, but I'll skip the details for this post.  But, unfortunately, the advent of pretty decent cell phone cameras has really decimated the "point and shoot" camera market which is where your $200 budget would put you.   The number of point and shoot cameras being sold these days is much smaller than it was a decade ago.

Personally, I carry a Canon T5i DSLR with an 18-400mm zoom lens, but that's not going to fit into your budget.  You might want to look at the mirrorless cameras being sold by Sony and many others.  They have many of the attributes of a DSLR in a smaller, slightly less expensive package.  However, I'm not sure you'll be able to stay within your budget.  I did look at Amazon's listings while writing this response and I noticed that there are a number of vendors selling "gray market" (out of geographic region with no warranty) for prices as low as ~$350.  There's nothing wrong with going that route as long as you understand that you can't get the device repaired under warranty, but the probability of needing repair probably isn't all that great.
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jymbee

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2018, 09:40:45 AM »
At a two hundred dollar price point your choices are going to be pretty limited. Might try searching for some used cameras-- there's a lot of good buys out there in the used market.

We are going to scratch off one of the big items from our bucket list this fall, by attending the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  That said, I want to buy a camera instead of trying to take amazing pictures with my cellphone. 
My requirements are:
  Digital
  $200 range or less
  must take videos
  comfortable size
  tripod mount
I am sure that all of the experts on here will have their own "favorites".  I am interested in hearing from you.

Thanks
Steve-n-Sue
   


 

Larry N.

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  • Westminster, CO
Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2018, 09:45:12 AM »
Your price range limits what I otherwise would recommend. But although I've not looked into cameras like that, I'd suggest at least a 10 to 1 (or more) zoom lens and minimum of 5 mp (megapixel) resolution. One with a viewfinder* (not just a video screen on the back) would also be my preference, but those are getting harder to find in that price range. Depending on your needs, I'd also consider whether it should be pocket size (zoom is really limited on most) or whether a strap around the neck (or a camera bag) is an acceptable means of transport.

Jymbee makes a good point too, about looking at used cameras (sometimes they're pricey, sometimes you can find a good bargain) at various camera dealers (big box stores rarely carry used).

Generally, though, Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax and Sony are among the better brands.


* I prefer a viewfinder because I don't have to worry about the sun washing out the scene and because bracing the camera against my head makes for a more stable platform than holding it at arms length to see the screen on the back
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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blw2

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 03:05:22 PM »
it's been 6 years now....wow it's had to believe it's been that long ago...
anyway, I bought myself a birthday present of a Nikon Coolpix P510
Being an old film SLR camera guy I wanted a DSLR, but the price of the body + lenses to get a good one was too high....so the Nikon was a compromise.

I have been extremely surprised and happy with it.  Good photos in my opinion.  It has a really good lens for what it is. Seems like a pretty big objective lens to bring in lots of light
the numbers...42x F3.0-5.9 optical zoom lens (24-1000mm equivalent)
On the 24mm end it's plenty wide IMHO (my go to lens back in the days of film was a 28-70 zoom, I found the 28mm useful). 
The long zoom telephoto 42x optical is staggering.  Like a telescope.  I'd think it would be great for the balloon festival....long reach lenses are useful at airshows anyway, so I'd think the same there...

No longer made of course, but I bring it up just a a possibility to look into that 'class' of cameras.  I don't even know what it's called...kinda like an SLR but the lens isn't removable....
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allenb12

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2018, 06:31:13 PM »
Refurbished Canon PowerShot SX530 HS for $192.00 direct from Canon with a one year warranty.  Equivalent to a 1,600 mm zoom.  We currently have three Nikon DSLR and many lens from a fisheye to 300mm.  This camera is a very close second and certainly a lot lighter to carry around and much cheaper.
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jackiemac

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2018, 08:21:10 PM »
No expert but if you get handheld make sure it is optical zoom....
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Larry N.

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  • Westminster, CO
Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2018, 08:51:16 PM »
No expert but if you get handheld make sure it is optical zoom....
An excellent point, Jackie. Electronic zoom loses sharpness quickly, worse as you zoom in.
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steve-n-sueC

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2018, 12:33:17 PM »
Refurbished Canon PowerShot SX530 HS for $192.00 direct from Canon with a one year warranty.  Equivalent to a 1,600 mm zoom.  We currently have three Nikon DSLR and many lens from a fisheye to 300mm.  This camera is a very close second and certainly a lot lighter to carry around and much cheaper.

Thanks for all the replies, especially allenb12. I looked at the Canon PowerShot refurb that you recommended and it looks very good for the $$.  My only concern is that it is an electrical zoom, which a couple of others do not recommend. But the reviews I have found are good, and I'm probably gonna pull the trigger on this one.

I will post my results once I get it and have time to try it out.

Thanks to all
Steve-n-SueC
Steve-n-Sue
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docj

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2018, 06:42:10 PM »
Thanks for all the replies, especially allenb12. I looked at the Canon PowerShot refurb that you recommended and it looks very good for the $$.  My only concern is that it is an electrical zoom, which a couple of others do not recommend. But the reviews I have found are good, and I'm probably gonna pull the trigger on this one.

An electrical zoom is just a way of selecting smaller and smaller sections of the CCD and blowing them up to fill the frame.  Your picture quality degrades as you zoom because you are using fewer and fewer pixels in the picture.  Unfortunately, that's all you can do with inexpensive cameras that use tiny lenses with only a few optical elements.  A true optical zoom lens is a complex computer-designed device with typically 15 or more optical "elements".  No offense intended but the zoom lens I'm currently using with my DSLR cost >$600 and that's not considered a lot.  You're not likely to find that in a $200 camera.
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Larry N.

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2018, 08:37:37 PM »
To take doc's comment a tad further, the electronic "zoom" is just the same as taking a "normal" picture (not zoomed), selecting a small piece of it, then blowing it up to the same size as the original. But the specified Canon model apparently has a 50X optical zoom (plus 4X "digital"), so as long as you stay in that range (and for most things you will), you'll have decent quality pictures without the graininess or pixelation.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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  de N8GGG

docj

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2018, 10:51:17 PM »
To take doc's comment a tad further, the electronic "zoom" is just the same as taking a "normal" picture (not zoomed), selecting a small piece of it, then blowing it up to the same size as the original. But the specified Canon model apparently has a 50X optical zoom (plus 4X "digital"), so as long as you stay in that range (and for most things you will), you'll have decent quality pictures without the graininess or pixelation.

Here's a review of it. I would be concerned about the lack of an electronic (or optical) viewfinder.    I would find it awkward to have to use the LCD display when the zoom was fully extended.  It won't be the easiest thing to keep your subject in the picture.  Have fun with it. https://www.pcmag.com/review/333007/canon-powershot-sx530-hs
Sandie & Joel

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8Muddypaws

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2018, 11:19:03 PM »
An electrical zoom is just a way of selecting smaller and smaller sections of the CCD and blowing them up to fill the frame.  Your picture quality degrades as you zoom because you are using fewer and fewer pixels in the picture.  Unfortunately, that's all you can do with inexpensive cameras that use tiny lenses with only a few optical elements.  A true optical zoom lens is a complex computer-designed device with typically 15 or more optical "elements".  No offense intended but the zoom lens I'm currently using with my DSLR cost >$600 and that's not considered a lot.  You're not likely to find that in a $200 camera.

I think on the Canon you'll find that electrical zoom means that you push a button to zoom in and another button to zoom out, a motor actually moves the optical elements to accomplish it.  I used an SX model as my pocket camera until last year.  It made good JPG images but would not shoot a RAW format.  I replaced it with a mirrorless SLR.

What you're referring to above is electronic zoom.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #13 on: Today at 02:42:35 AM »
There are three types of zooms. Electric, mechanical and digital. All bridge cameras have electric zoom. That simply means a motor is used to move the lens. As Larry explained the number of pixels used in the image remains the same. A digital zoom reduces the number of pixels as it zooms in electronically and pixelates the image. The only way you can get a mechanical zoom is to get a dinosaur DSLR. That is all that they use is a mechanical zoom. So to recap, DSLRs use mechanical zoom, bridge cameras, pocket cameras and cell phone cameras use electronic zoom and some of them use digital zoom. You can use mechanical zoom and electronic zoom without issue. With digital zoom you get pixelization. Here is a great image to show the difference between digital and optical zoom:
« Last Edit: Today at 02:44:51 AM by SeilerBird »
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jymbee

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Re: Which camera to buy?
« Reply #14 on: Today at 09:55:35 AM »
,,, get a dinosaur DSLR.

Ouch!  ;)