Saturday, December 27, 2008

Camera Recommendations?

Ok, so I am tentatively shopping for a new digital camera, which I may or may not buy, depending on how good the sales are in the next few days.

I have a Canon Powershot A95 right now; it's decent, but it's been going for a few years, and I would like a slightly smaller model.

So my question to you guys, is what digital cameras are you liking, and what are they? Please post links to reviews, if you have any of them. Thank you in advance, for any opinions you choose to share! =)

Here's a brief list of some things I'd like to get:

  1. A camera that minimizes pet eye as much as possible. Zoe glows like a demon, in most shots. Red eye, I can fix. Pet eye, is more difficult. I know there are cameras out there that are better than most.
  2. Something with a digital SLR, probably.
  3. I really like the fact that with my current camera, I can flip the LCD out and around, so that I can take pictures of myself. I'd love to have that in the new camera.
  4. Something that takes better video than my poor little camera now. Ideally, I'd buy both a digital video camera and a new digital camera, but money doesn't grow on trees around here. =)
  5. A camera that still lets me take pictures through the viewfinder. I like the LCD screen thing, but really, viewfinders are happier for me.
  6. Something that's not going to break, if I throw it in a purse without a case. Meaning, auto-lens cover, and also, a way to fold the LCD back into the camera (see point #3, about the current rotating LCD which I adore).


Laura K. Curtis said...

The stickler here is probably going to be #2. A good SLR isn't something you can toss into your purse and they've only just come out with the ones that do video, so they're not cheap by a long stretch. I also haven't seen--though I could be wrong--SLR cameras that have the flip-out-and-around-LCD. For SLR cameras, there are Nikons and Canons. (Sure, Sony has them as does Olympus, and a bunch of others, but really, there are Canons and Nikons!)

If you eliminate the SLR part of the equation, you can probably find a bunch of cameras that suit. I'd still start with Nikons and Canons, but those are the ones I've had the best experiences with. I had an Olympus I quite liked but it wasn't hardy.

marikris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cora Zane said...

I can't think of a single small DSLR camera, and the ones that come to mind aren't cheap. I'm actually a fan of a bigger camera, and prefer a Fuji or a Canon.

If you're looking for something small that gets the job done, I'd go for a Fuji Finepix of some type. They're roughly $250.00 and easy to use.

As for the pet eye, that's more of a flash/light reflection thing. Camera's auto red eye detection doesn't work the same way on pets as it does humans. Try angling your camera slightly when using flash to photo your furbabies; that way the light from the flash doesn't hit the eye straight on.

marikris said...

*sorry, I had to delete the earlier post and amend some things*

Hi, Jenny! Laura is right about DSLRs: they're not meant to be tucked in a purse. I'm a photography student and I own a Canon Xti, which is consumer end and relatively cheap. It doesn't have live-view, which I now realized is not what you wanted anyway (being able to see on the LCD what you're taking a picture of), but Canon's newer version, the XSi does, just in case you needed it. It's also consumer end, and pretty much sets the bar. Unlike high end DSLRs, it's doesn't cost thousands of dollars. In fact, it's only about $635 in Amazon, and it comes with the kit lens. I don't know how seriously you want to take pictures, but even consumer end DSLRs are still pricey enough to deter casual photographers. Not to mention it's sizable enough that you'd want to keep it in a camera bag. Also, DSLRs aren't meant to take video, but I think I saw a Nikon commercial (the one with Ashton Kutcher) claiming to have such.

If you *are* just casual, I'd steer away from DSLRs. I used to own a Nikon Coolpix 8700, bought it in 2003 and sold it last year so I could buy my xti. Can you believe I paid almost $1100 for the Nikon back in the day? And it's not even a DSLR lol. I sold it for about $200. Anyway, here's a picture I took with it of my cat in extreme close up:

If you browse that pet gallery, the rest of the pics were taken with the xti. The Nikon 8700 has the flip screen and video mode, and it's really sturdy. Kind of the same size as the xti though. I highly recommend the nikon line, though the 8700 is kind of an old version. However, I think Nikon took away the flip screen off their new Coolpix(es). Anyway, I hope this helps. And don't be fooled by the high resolution of the camera. Unless you're going to print huge, like 20 x 30 inch, 13 mega pixels is too much -_-

About the red eye problem with pets: Cora's right in her post above, and you'd just have to try to avoid light into the pet's eyes. I try not to use flash, and the picture I linked here was done with borrowed soft lights on the side of my cat. However, if you can't avoid flash, then it would help to post process. There are some cheap software that can help with that, like Photoshop Elements, maybe. (I use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, though.)

Miss Lily said...

Hi jenny!

I just got a digital camera for christmas actually so I could take massive amounts of picture and video of my pets. It's an Olympus FE-370. Very small, pocket sized. It doesn't have the viewfinder or the flip out LCD (Which I guess the view finder is harder to find these days, I miss it). But it takes great video, and if you buy the memory card, up to 2 hours before you have to unload it. It also has this picture function called Candlelight that doesn't shoot off the flash and comes out wonderful even in a poorly lit place. I have a black cat named Jack and he's a pain to take pictures of cause he squints at the flash or has the glowy eyes and doesn't show up real well if I don't use a flash. Now with this camera, I've got tons of cute pics of him by the christmas tree. My husband I guess really researched it. Hope this helps!

Jenny Rappaport said...

Oh wow, thank you for all the wonderful comments so far! I have a bunch of things to think about now, and do research on. =)

Marjorie said...

I don't use a digital. I use a Fuji 1000 Flash disposable and have them developed and then scan the photos to my blog. Most of the photos on marjorie-pentimentos were taken during the 1940s and 1950s with a Brownie. They scanned quite well. Even the photobooth photos are clear.

Julie Butcher-Fedynich said...

Jenny, If you want good pics of the pets try a Sony cyber-shot. We got Mom one for xmas and she's been taking pics of the pets like crazy. We haven't had one red eye. It does a little flash, then another when it actually takes the pic. It's not as slim as some, but the view screen swivels and you could put it in the pocket of your jeans. Very user friendly and pet happy. I don't know anythig about slr or any of that but the pics are nice.
my 2 cents


laughingwolf said...

i just got me dslr... a canon eos digital rebel xsi, not too expensive, but i bought a tele lens too, as part of the bundle... and a gadget bag to hold everything in one place

from online advice, also got a copy of 'the canon eos digital rebel xsi/450d companion', by ben long, well worth the $25

for video clips, i still use my older panasonic lumix dmc-fx10, tiny thing, but comes with a leica lens

Rachel said...

My Dad-the-camera-geek and my Husband-the-camera-geek said that you should make a pinhole camera. Barring that, there are point-and-shoot digitals that you can get an accessory flash for that you can point towards the ceiling to avoid pet eye.

Rachel said...

My Dad-the-camera-geek and my Husband-the-camera-geek said that you should make a pinhole camera. Barring that, there are point-and-shoot digitals that you can get an accessory flash for that you can point towards the ceiling to avoid pet eye.

Jenny Rappaport said...

How does a pinhole camera work?

Jarucia said...

Hi Jenny,

The others are right to say steer away from DSLR's. They're bulky and expensive and it sounds as though your picture taking tastes tend toward casual.

If you really like the camera you have now, but want the newer model then go with the Canon PowerShot should give you what you're looking for in features and size.

If you're willing to give up the flip screen for better photo quality and the stabilizer you mentioned, go with something from the Cannon SD line. I bought the SD870 IS in the spring and love it! Unfortunately, no view finder. However, some of the slightly older models as well as the SD890 do have the view finder.

I'm partial to Cannon, with Nikon being of second choice, but you can't go wrong with a Cannon.

A pin-hole camera...a sealed box with a pinhole on one end and photographic paper on the inside. Uncover the pinhole, light goes in through the hole and the inverse of the object is captured on the paper.

A think that was a bit of a joke from the camera-geeks.

Jenny Rappaport said...

My picture taking tends towards the cat, vacation pictures, convention pictures, and family gatherings.

I suppose that is casual, but I do like to take pictures, because they're neat.

I also take a lot of pictures of yarn. And knitting. A macro function of some sort should probably go on that list (does that come standard on most cameras?).

I still have a working film camera, a lovely little thing from Minolta that I bought in 1999, and which served me faithfully for six years. The cost of film developing finally did it in for me, but it works with Kodak Advantix film (Is that what it was called? Do they still make that?), and I managed to get some very, very lovely photos with it.

I might have a working 35 mm camera around somewhere too, but it's not practical for everyday picture taking and blog/Flickr posting.

Rachel said...

Scheherazade said...

You're not going to find an SLR with an auto-lens cover - I don't think they exist. However, the difference in basic photo quality between an SLR and a regular digital camera is enormous, and for me it was definitely worthwhile to make the upgrade. You can always stick a clear filter over the lens (costs about 10 bucks) for when you throw it in your purse, so that if anything gets scratched it's the cheap filter, not the expensive lens. I prefer this to a lens cap because if you want to take a quick photo you don't miss the moment and accidentally take a picture of the back of your lens cap.

I use a Canon EOS 30D. All the cameras in the EOS series, including the Rebel, are great, and you can get them for fairly cheap on Amazon now. Buying the newer versions will just cost more and not make a huge difference.