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Ask Slashdot: Best Camera For Getting Into Photography?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the those-ones-you-can-throw-out-are-the-best dept.

Media 569

An anonymous reader writes "I've managed to go my entire adult life without owning an actual camera. I've owned photosensors that were shoehorned into various other gadgets, but I've gotten to the point where the images produced by my smartphone aren't cutting it. My question: what camera would you recommend for getting into basic photography? I don't mean that in the sense of photography as a hobby or a profession, but simply as a method for taking images — of friends, family, and projects — that actually look good. That's a subjective question, I know, but I suspect many of you have a strong grasp of price versus performance. For example, when I'm picking a new video card, it's easy to figure out which cards are the best deals for a given price point — then I just have to pick a price I'm comfortable with. I figure a decent camera will run me a few hundred dollars, which is fine. But I don't have the expertise to know at what point spending more money isn't going to do me, as a camera newbie, any good. Any thoughts?"

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Canon or Nikon (4, Informative)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169290)

The Canon or Nikon entry level DSLRs...you can't go wrong, except for the fact they are made for really small hands seemingly. For a little more money, get the next step up from either of those brands so you get a camera body that actually fits average human hand sizes.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1, Insightful)

HFShadow (530449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169318)

He said "I don't mean that in the sense of photography as a hobby or a profession, but simply as a method for taking images" and you recommend an SLR? Seriously?

Re:Canon or Nikon (4, Informative)

nharmon (97591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169370)

SLRs are very forgiving to people who are inexperienced with taking pictures. So yes.

Re:Canon or Nikon (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169724)

The trouble is that SLRs(while undoubtedly extremely capable) tend to suffer very heavily from 'the best camera is the camera you are carrying' syndrome.

By virtue of the more complex optical path, the modular lens options, and the various other bits and bobs that SLRs end up with, they get big enough that 'bringing the camera' becomes a decision, not an automatic thing.

With the fairly impressive capabilities of contemporary point-and-shoots(yes, admittedly, the capabilities of SLRs have enjoyed the same technological improvements, only more so because they have more space and a bigger budget), you really start to hit the wall of diminishing returns pretty quickly(It takes surprisingly few good megapixels to spit out a butter-smooth 8x10, and a 2560x1600 display is only a smidge over 4 megapixels, and those are $1,000+ Serious Screens).

There are some genuinely ghastly point and shoots out there, to be sure, and the weaknesses of the entire genre will start to bite if you need low light performance, run into situations where you need a somewhat atypical lens, or are really serious about your manual settings; but it isn't hard to get a ~$100 P&S that'll happy-snap just fine, or a 200-250 one that will have a nicer optics package, some of the more useful historically-SLR-only features not removed from the firmware(histograms, RAW, some manual options), and generally compete pretty well with the low end DSLR and shitty kit lens of the moment...

Re:Canon or Nikon (4, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169760)

Point-and-shoots can't replicate the quality SLRs because of the lenses. A Rebel + $100 "nifty 50" 50mm lens cannot be duplicated by a point-and-shoot.

Re:Canon or Nikon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169374)

He said "I don't mean that in the sense of photography as a hobby or a profession, but simply as a method for taking images" and you recommend an SLR? Seriously?

If he isn't taking it seriously then why is he wasting our time.

Re:Canon or Nikon (5, Insightful)

spazmonkey (920425) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169394)

You have to understand that for some the gear itself is a religion. They own dozens of camera yet take no pictures. The brand is the thing. Even if OP wanted an SLR, Pentax makes far better entry level/consumer SLR's, and there are other companies as well. The mantra of CANON/NIKON is due solely to the fact they are the only two companies that make full-bore pro level products costing many thousands. Not that that should be relevant to someone wanting a consumer camera, but for the brand worshipers, having one of those two nameplates is the single most important aspect of camera ownership.

Re:Canon or Nikon (2)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169456)

Yes while that is true for the purposes of the discussion we really don't need to go into that.

Re:Canon or Nikon (5, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169576)

Talking as someone who was heavily into amateur photography until a year or so ago, the main reason you see Canon and Nikon "worship" is because they are the only two manufacturers where you can start out with a very cheap DSLR at the low end, and migrate your way right up to the top levels in equipment without ever having to dump your current kit and replace it - you can achieve that steady progression by buying lenses and bodies individually, there is no point to reach where the previous level of kit won't work with the next.

It's really quite a nice position to be in.

Re:Canon or Nikon (-1)

spazmonkey (920425) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169696)

Even that is a fallacy. A myth of marketing. While true that a canon camera lens can be physically be mounted to any Canon, Nikon lens to Nikon body, etc, that doesn't mean they actually work. Many don't. Nikon has all sorts of levels of unintentional physical and intentional artificial firmware locking to prevent their own lenses from working on their cameras interchangeably. Canon doesn't gimp their cameras firmware, but physical issues still apply with lenses not meant to work on the pro cameras due to optical limitations. Even if you have a lens you can keep and move from a $500 to a $5000 body, by that point you ostensibly no longer desire to use those original plastic, slow, $100 amateur lenses on that pro body. The fact of the matter is that you have to dump your initial gear and lenses (often several times) on that upgrade treadmill, same brand or not. Assuming you even are one of the extraordinarily rare individuals that does eventually climb up into owning 5 figures of pro gear. The 'upgrade path' is a myth, and a useless one to almost every consumer even -IF- it were remotely true.

Re:Canon or Nikon (2)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169808)

It's not a myth if you buy entry-level Canon, buy an L-lens for your entry level Canon, then upgrade to a better Canon body. If you jump ship to Nikon, then you just sell your gear on eBay/Craigslist for not much less than you bought if for and start over. Good luck with that if you start with Sony.

Re:Canon or Nikon (2, Informative)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169780)

I suggested Canon/Nikon solely because you can't go wrong. Sure Sony, Olympus, Pentax, et. al. make some good gear, but it's a crap shoot. Plus, with Canon or Nikon, you can see if you like photography, buy some nice lenses, and if you like it, upgrade your camera body while keeping the lenses.

Then there's the whole used market advantage for Canon and Nikon. It's much easier to find good used gear for Canon and Nikon than it is the other brands.

Re:Canon or Nikon (5, Informative)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169404)

The problem with non-SLRs is that they seemingly all suck when it comes to turnaround time between pictures, and their autofocus is universally slow -- if you have ever had experience with manual focus. A decent 35mm film SLR from the 80s with TTL exposure control, IMHO, outperforms pretty much every point-and-shoot when it comes to how quickly you can retake a previously set-up picture. Most of them, at least with experienced operator, will outperform even starting from scratch (focus way off, aperture/iris way off, etc).

Entry-level SLRs seem to be really a class above point-and-shoots, especially that you regain control of the focus adjustment and aperture. This really is a make-or-break when taking multiple pictures of the same subject, like you often do (bits are cheap!).

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169546)

Entry-level SLRs seem to be really a class above point-and-shoots, especially that you regain control of the focus adjustment and aperture. This really is a make-or-break when taking multiple pictures of the same subject, like you often do (bits are cheap!).

What about the "superzoom" class of cameras? You can get cameras in this class with excellent lens systems (but not swappable) and with control over aperture. They just don't have manual focus.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

ewilts (121990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169686)

Actually the superzooms these days do have manual focus if you want to use it. I've been pretty happy with my Canon S5 IS and my wife just ordered me an SX40 for Christmas. I don't use the manual on my S5 often but it's nice when I do need it. Some objects just won't focus automatically.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169692)

Entry-level SLRs seem to be really a class above point-and-shoots, especially that you regain control of the focus adjustment and aperture. This really is a make-or-break when taking multiple pictures of the same subject, like you often do (bits are cheap!).

What about the "superzoom" class of cameras? You can get cameras in this class with excellent lens systems (but not swappable) and with control over aperture. They just don't have manual focus.

DSLR has in general two advantages over superzoom: manual zoom, which is much faster and accurate, and a bigger sensor. A bigger sensor means that it catches more light when using the same diafragma. A bigger sensor has one disadvantage: superzoom is not possible or lenses are much bigger. Take the Sony NEX-5 with a 3x zoom - that zoom lens alone is 3x bigger than your average superzoom.

Re:Canon or Nikon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169694)

Entry-level SLRs seem to be really a class above point-and-shoots...

This is true of SLRs and point-and-shoot cameras in the same year. Point-and-shoot cameras today have quality, software, and features that are on par or better than some SLRs from previous years.

I've never had a slow P&S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169734)

I may not have the option to take 3 frames in a second as an automatic feature, but the idea that the camera is "slow" is respectfully nutty. Clicking and holding the button down easily takes 2 a second, and if I'm wrong, no less than 1 a second. I mean good heavens man, how old was the P&S or what sort of SD card were you using to conclude that?

Re:Canon or Nikon (2)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169810)

The submission mentions "price versus performance", and for that reason, even though I'd like to own some SLR, I still stick with my Canon Powershot (SX100, was ranked "superzoom" when I bought it for its 10x optical zoom). And I'm still happy with it. Point-and-shoot + manual modes/settings for experienced users + CHDK firmware mod [wikia.com] for (lots of) additional features. IMHO. if you go for CHDK support you'll definitely get a decent camera at a decent price, with the added feature that if you really get into it and need more/better/more flexible features and settings, CHDK will keep you busy for a Long, Long Time [wikia.com] .

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169504)

Yes. Even the cheapest SLR will produce good quality photos even if you know nothing about the technical details and never bother to learn.

If your price range is at all close to $400-$500, go ahead and get an SLR. Personally I have had good experience with a Canon Rebel.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169736)

Yes. I am. You don't learn anything about photography using point-and-shoot. A used Rebel costs less than many point-and-shoots.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169786)

He was recommending a DSLR, not an SLR (i.e., digital, not film). Canon/Nikon entry level DSLRs offer an immediate jump in image quality because they have far better lenses than any point and shoot, and you don't ever have to take them off their automatic mode that's as point-and-shoot as anything smaller.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169390)

Agreed. You cannot go wrong with Canon or Nikon. My family have a Canon compact and a Nikon SLR. Both are super for their class.

On the other hand, for a newbie, I am not so certain that the difference between the brands (Sony, Panasonics... lots of them) are that great anyway. For a few hundred dollars you should get a decent compact.
Just remember to get a memory chip with some capacity. Look at price per capacity, but I assume a 4 GB should cost next to nothing these days, and it will keep more than a thousand images.

Re:Canon or Nikon (4, Informative)

quarterbuck (1268694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169410)

That or Micro four thirds/ Micro four thirds.
Two things to consider when trying to learn photography are 1) Interchangeable lenses and 2) Getting the largest possible image sensor you can get (Noise decreases with image sensor size, not with megapixels).
Micro four thirds (or similar formats from Sony/Samsung) have a larger sensor than a typical point-and-shoot. So they work better in low lights and generally have a higher Signal-to-Noise ratio.
Olympus EPL line is a pretty good and cheap micro 4/3 camera. Sony makes their NEX series which are the full blown APS-C (DSLR) sensors squeezed into a small camera. Olympus and Panasonic both make micro-4/3 cameras, so the lenses are easier to come by. Also they can use adapters for various other kind of lenses. On the flip side, the micro 4/3 sensor is only 60% or so in size compared to a DSLR sensor.
All the above also have pre-set modes to increase/decrease brightness, contrast etc. -- they are useful to start. Once there you can set the camera to full manual and learn the physics part of photography. I've been told that Samsung makes the easiest to use interface , but I have never used it.

Re:Canon or Nikon (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169432)

Do not buy a DSLR unless you must have changeable lenses. Compare the weight of a DSLR to a fixed lens camera. The best camera to start out is the one that will always be with you.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169444)

+1. Entry-level DSLRs are bulkier and a bit more expensive than point-and-shoots and ultrazooms, but the difference in price is not that great. In return for the investment you will get something the small stuff lacks in: larger image sensor. In image quality, size does matter.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169636)

larger image sensor. In image quality, size does matter.

This is a simplification that is not always true. What you want is a sensor size that is properly matched to the lens. In SLRs, cheaper bodies have sensors that are smaller than the total image projected onto the focal plane, so that light through the lens is wasted. If the sensor size is properly matched to the lens, you will get the best quality.

So, yes, if you buy an SLR, probably sensor size matters, but what is more important is matching the sensor size to the lens system.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169452)

A problem with DSLRs is that you wont have it with you when the photo opportunity presents itself.

For a compact camera, I'd look at the size of my pockets to find how big it can be and then find the one at that size with the largest sensor, not minding the pixel count as much as sensor size and see if I could afford that one.

Ability to shoot in some RAW format would be a definite plus also, in my opinion, in case I accidentally take a photo that I should be able to make look as good as possible.

RAW will let you take pics without the blurring (or whatever it is) of jpeg compression and also the camera won't be "developing" the image with any white-balance set, which can throw away a lot of useful information if it happens to be wrong.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169742)

I forgot one thing: A lens with as wide an angle as possible (within limits).

If you're going to take pictures of people indoors, you will fit more of them and the room if you have a relatively wide lens. I'd sacrifice zoom-ability for a wider starting point, like about 24 mm (equivalent to about 35 mm, iirc, on old-school cameras).

Then I'd grumble when I want to take a picture of that squirrel a few meters away, though.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

Pneathery (1949818) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169534)

You can't go wrong with the Canon Rebel, as a matter of fact the newer ones also shoot he video that is good enough to shoot a hd tv show (one entire season of House was shot on one, and I just worked a movie that quit shooting last week "Arthur Newman Golf Pro" and they were using one in addition to some VERY expensive cameras. But the downside to these cameras is the cost of the lenses. You can easily tie up thousands in lenses for a three hundred dollar camera. I bought my wife one, and have personally hit that wall hard. I however use a Panasonic Lumix and have gotten some AMAZING shots with it. Plus it truly is designed as a point and shoot, as opposed to the Cannon which takes ALOT of skill, experience, and just dumb luck for me to get the same outcome. The point and shoot quality out of a true dslr camera isn't where it's at, they are designed for you to adjust everything for every shot, while the Panasonic I use will allow me to do either and has ALOT of settings in between as well. Good luck! And don't forget a tri pod. It makes those night shots turn out sooo much better. I love going to the beach at night with the Panasonic on a tripod and choosing the star setting and leaving the aperture set for 30 seconds to get great star shots!

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

johan_from_cape_town (1142715) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169722)

I would recommend the Canon Rebel T3/ 1100D. The fact of the matter is you get all the "settings"/options to play with that real photographers get so that you can actually learn about taking photographs. From a theory perspective you can do pretty much anything with these cameras, and if you really get into it you have a upgrade path. There are also other pluses to DSLR: 1) AMAZING battery life (if you use the optical viewfinder instead of life view). On a trip to Japan I took 1000 photos over two weeks without requiring a recharge. 2) Optical view finder is the bomb. It actually makes it possible for you to see the result much better. 3) They use AF sensors instead of trying to use digital processing to determine focus point. Much easier to get the right focus. 4) You have an upgrade path if you like it - including lenses. The best thing is that I can actually loan lenses from my camera geek friends every once in a while, including telephoto lenses - and it works fine on my camera. 5) you do get a satisfying THUNK sound each time you take a photo when the mirror moves out of the way, instead of an electronic "click" noise you get with point and shoots.

Re:Canon or Nikon (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169812)

I'd say the opposite: anything that is a few hundred bucks but not a full DSLR. That level of technical sophistication is wasted unless you know why it is needed in some situations, and even then it's not mandatory just capture an image. Hence it's better for a novice to go with a pocket camera. In fact, it can be better for advanced and novice users alike:
  • Easy to carry anywhere: more opportunities to take photos
  • Less expensive/lighter weight: fewer worries about the hardware
  • Fewer functions to fiddle with: fewer distractions from the goal of taking a picture

There are many good pocket cameras that take good quality pictures, in general it should be enough just to pick a price point, and go with recent models from known brands: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Panasonic, Olympus, and a few others.

I should point out that the size of the camera is very important. If you ever have to think "should I take the camera or not", your camera is not the right size for the job.

"that actually look good" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169292)

You're going to need Skill, which is currently sold out everywhere. :(

Re:"that actually look good" (3, Insightful)

Dan Dankleton (1898312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169604)

That's a mantra that people keep trotting out... but when I went from point'n'click to an entry level SLR the difference in picture quality was huge. A great photographer can take great pictures with any camera. A poor photographer won't take better pictures with £5000 worth of equipment than they do with £500 worth. But for a beginner photographer, the difference between a camera phone and a reasonable camera is astounding.

Re:"that actually look good" (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169758)

On the plus side, it is asserted that "The secret to good photography is lots and lots of bad photography" and digital shooting has made lots and lots and lots of bad photography cost virtually nothing...

Canon 600D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169294)

Start with an DSLR.

Engadget just did a review (4, Informative)

HFShadow (530449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169302)

http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/25/engadgets-holiday-gift-guide-2011-digital-cameras/ [engadget.com]

If you just want to snap pics, go for the lumix. If you want low light photography, I'd go for the s100.

Re:Engadget just did a review (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169572)

Dang, beat me to the link! I was just reading that :) I totally agree with your recommendations.

Re:Engadget just did a review (2)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169744)

I've owned a Canon s95 for a year, and that's the precursor to the s100, and I give it a solid thumbs-up for these reasons off the top of my head:

- Affordable in that once paid for, you don't need more accessories, mostly. Well okay I bought an eye-fi card and love the wireless workflow it brings.
- blue-jeans pocket-able
- on 'Automatic' every photo 'works' and looks good. Great for n00b owners with little time
- nice manual controls for when you have more time to play and learn.

Note the s100 has better image stability and zoom than the s95 but I am still amazed at how well mine does, even under street lights. I enjoy setting zoom maxed out and try photos that should not develop, but do. As a web developer I really enjoy the videocamera, and will probably buy a s100 not because I need a new camera, but because the s95 is so nice, I'd like another one like it for a 2 camera video recording setup (with the eye-fi wireless transfers).

Cheap Digital SLR (2)

nharmon (97591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169316)

Buy a cheap digital SLR, cheapest you can find, and then invest your money in lenses as you progress.

olympus sz-30mr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169320)

I'm in the same boat, did some research on dpreview.com and other sites and found that the olympus sz-30mr is a compact camera with an optical zoom found on more expensive dslr's or dslr-like cameras, is about $300 - $350 less than the dslr's, and will fit in your pocket or in small bag that you can carry around your wrist. I ordered it earlier this week.

Make sure you have it with you. (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169332)

A good cell phone camera... honestly. The best camera you can learn with is one that you will always have on your person. The latest cell phone cameras can make some really beautiful images: http://prometheus.med.utah.edu/~bwjones/2011/06/time-and-space/ [utah.edu]

When you are ready to go beyond framing and composition, then step up to a basic SLR like a Canon Rebel or a Nikon D40.

Re:Make sure you have it with you. (2)

moonbender (547943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169750)

Beautiful images... in thumbnail sizes... if the lighting is generous.

They are better than nothing in a spot, but if you're expecting to take photos, say on a trip or family photos, a good compact P&S will give you a better shooting experience and far better results, while still being pocketable. A decent compact with at least some manual settings is also a much better way to learn the basics than a smartphone camera.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300HS 12.1 MP (1)

S810 (168676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169340)

Canon - PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1-Megapixel Digital Camera

Model: PowerShot 300HS
5x optical/4x digital zoom
2.7" color TFT-LCD display
1080p HD video
Face detection

This one has one of the best overall positive customer reviews of any camera oout there and it is $229

Snapshots? Canon SD. (3, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169352)

Canon Ixus (or PowerShot SD in the US) is a really easy and good snapshot camera. Cheap, too. If you point it at things and click, you'll get decent photos most of the time. They're also easy to carry everywhere.

That's the right sort of camera to learn composition and take pictures of everything and see what you can do with it and so forth on. Once you're sick of its limitations, go to a DSLR. Do not start on a DSLR, it's what you get second.

Re:Snapshots? Canon SD. (2)

semi-extrinsic (1997002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169566)

Actually, you want the PowerShot line, which gives you the option of using manual controls. This is essential for learning and improving your skills.

Re:Snapshots? Canon SD. (2)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169776)

Mm, you could be right there.

A second-hand older Ixus is cheap enough to do things like put CHDK [wikia.com] on it and get quite a bit of that fine control.

the best camera (5, Insightful)

Imabug (2259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169356)

is the one that you carry with you.

for a photography newbie, i'm of the opinion that the specific camera doesn't really matter. They're all more or less the same anyway. what's most important is finding one that you'll want to carry around with you and use. the more you use it the less newb you'll become over time. you'll learn things and by the time you're ready to upgrade you'll know what to look for.

Re:the best camera (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169582)

Adding to this, there ARE bad cameras in that some of the cheaper models won't let you manually adjust any settings.

Whatever you buy, make sure its got at LEAST some kind of Program mode, if not Shutter/Aperture Priority and Manual modes.

But make sure it's a camera you can easily take with you, too. A bulky SLR camera, while definitely full of the above-mentioned features (and then some!) isn't something you can just grab and go, or throw into your bag on the way out the door. A mid-high end point&shoot camera is most likely what you need.

For an ex-girlfriend (yeah yeah i know) a few years ago, I got her a Fujifilm EXR F70. It appeared to be great bang-for-buck and was small enough not to inconvenience her, and had all the manual modes if you choose to use them but decent enough auto modes so that you didnt have to. It seemed to have very good low-light (ie, high ISO) performance too, which makes it "easier" to take better pictures even when lighting conditions aren't ideal. Her ability to turn out decent pictures vastly improved after she read the manual.

I'm not saying buy that camera, but these are the kinds of things that differentiate a useable camera from trash.

Re:the best camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169586)

+1

I spent a year backpacking around the world, and there are plenty of time I wish I had had one of my fellow travelers SLRs for some really crazy shot. Of course they did too, because they left it back at the hotel because no one wants to lug a full camera bag around for a night out. Something that fits in your pocket, something that you don't mind carrying, is far more valuable to the casual person than any of the above posters who say SLR or die.

Re:the best camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169614)

I have had very good luck with a 10 megapixel Samsung SL2.

Cost about a $100 (2009) and is small enough to carry on your belt.

Best option IMHO was the built in rechargeable battery.

I'm sure the newer ones are even better.

Re:the best camera (4, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169634)

Yes and no.

You should at least pick a camera with the option of full manual control and a good picture quality in automatic mode.
When the last one sucks you quickly lose interest!

I would suggest one of the top of the line compacts of Canon or Nikon, new serves no purpose except poser status and maybe warranty.
I can strongly recommend the Canon G-series like the G10 or the Nikon P5000, others mentioned the Lumix series but I hate their low-light noise reduction.

Re:the best camera (2)

cachimaster (127194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169662)

is the one that you carry with you.

That's why I have a Sony NEX. Small size, but giant DSLR-like sensor (APC-C actually better than some Canon DSLRs), 1080p stabilized Video that doesnt sucks. Manual controls and modern interface that even has simple tutorials (has a moder cpu with linux inside). Quality is great. All-metal.

Battery kind of sucks, but then I have an older NEX 5 model.

Re:the best camera (1)

Stone316 (629009) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169802)

I second this one, the camera you have with you is the best one. Its very true, you never know when that "moment" is going to happen.. My iphone 4s takes great pictures outdoors.. Low light and indoors aren't the greatest but what do you expect from an LED flash and pinhole lens.

I have too many cameras. A canon rebel Xsi with a number of lenses, a Canon S3, my wife has a small Canon ELPH or whatever they are called. I have 2 waterproof cameras.

So it depends on what I want to take a picture of. If I know I am going out to take pictures, say a birthday party or the local tulip festival, I bring my Rebel. If I am going to a concert I bring my S3 because it has a long zoom and isn't considered a professional camera (ie detachable lense) so they let me bring it in. My wife's small Canon ELPH I bring with me when I know I may be somewhere I want to take pictures but not entirely sure or where I don't want to lug around a big camera.. ie, the local museum i've been too a dozen times before.

The trade between point and shoot and a DSLR really comes down to recycle time, focusing, low light and changing lenses. Point and shoot are good for quick decent shots.

So which camera you are interested in really comes down to what you want to do with it. You mention family, friends, etc but thats pretty vague. Say you have kids, and you want to take pictures of them playing sports, then your probably going to want a DSLR. You can get away with a point and shoot but your not going to be happy with it. If they are in alot of school plays your going to want to find one with a good zoom and low light conditions.

You sound like your going to be a casual user, not looking to use any advance features such as setting the shutter speed, aperture, etc.. so I would go with a small point and shoot with a decent zoom just in case.

So Canon - PowerShot SX230HS, or a NIKON - Coolpix S8200.. You can get them on sale now for around 200$. Go to the store, see how it feels in your hands, if it feels "too big", ie that you won't take it with you, then go with something smaller like a Canon - PowerShot ELPH 300 HS.

If you stick with a name brand like Canon or Nikon in the 150-300$ range then you'll be happy with the pictures.

You're going to need: (1)

planimal (2454610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169384)

a fixed gear bike, ironic t shirts, and an immediate hatred for anything popular.

Canon T3i (1)

djdbass (1037730) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169388)

I bought a Canon T3i several months back. It takes great pictures and my photos get compliments. Couldn't be happier!

Decide on features first (1)

travisco_nabisco (817002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169408)

If you don't think you will get really serious about photography, then skip the DSLRs.

Once DLSRs are out of the picture you have to decide what kind of optical zoom you are looking for. Up to about 10x optical zoom can be had on a reasonably compact camera, anyting over that you are likely getting into the mega-zoom class of cameras that are quite deep because of the monster lenses on them. I have a Panasonic Lumix FZ-18 with a 18x optical zoom and find that the camera really is just a bit too big to carry around all the time.

If you want some of the more custom controls, such as manual focus, you will be looking at the higher end of the Nikon Coolpix range, or the Canon PowerShots. I personally have been looking at the Nikon Coolpix P7100, and while it is not a small camera, it is also not a huge camera, but it has a great feature set and a slightly larger sensor than the pocket sized cameras.

All of that to say that you really need to decide what features you are interested in first, then you can start doing full research. I found Digital Photography Review [dpreview.com] to be a good reference.

Annie Leibowitz sez (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169414)

Just start taking pictures with your camera phone.

It isn't the camera (1)

dschl (57168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169426)

It's the person behind the camera that matters. Get some training, read and learn the basics, and most importantly, practice.

photo.net is a good starting point.

Any recent DSLR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169434)

As someone who just purchased an entry-level DSLR, I was in much the same boat. After many, many hours of research, I finally ran across a little gem on in a forum post. It went "any recently made DSLR will be good enough for you."

So stop worrying and pick any brand of entry-level DSLR. Same the money on the camera to pick up the lens and filters you'll need/want down the road. They're where the real cost is, anyway.

Books and buy used. (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169440)

Start with some books on photography. "The digital photography book" 1,2 and 3 by Scott Kelby helped me a lot. This assumes you want a DSLR. You might start with a point and shoot. There is a great market for used photography gear. Buy used and learn as you go.

Canon P&S (1)

erotic_pie (796522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169450)

You can never go wrong with a Canon point and shoot. I would look in to an older G series on the used market if you want a bargain. The G9 model and up are absolutely fantastic cameras for the money.

Exilim High-Speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169458)

As a geek, you will not regret the 1000fps high-speed video, and the burst modes help make up for low skills. It's no dSLR, but it's awesome as a mid/high (depending which model) P&S, which sounds like what you want.

Are you running out of news stories to post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169460)

Im only asking since the last 10 stories on the /. main page are posted by you.

Bollocks! (-1)

tburke261 (981079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169470)

Next on Slashdot....best typewriter for getting into writing? Best paintbrush for getting into painting?

Olympus isn't too bad. (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169480)

Olympus' "Four-thirds" system is supposed to be great for n00bs at giving better color toward the fringes of the image, though it gives more noise at higher ISO levels. I use the Evolt E-510 and it's pretty decent. There's a "micro-Four-thirds" system that's supposed to be better but I have zero experience with it.

A cheap P&S around US$150 (2)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169482)

Fujifilm, Canon and Panasonic all make fine point & shoot cameras that will get you decent results without too much futzing about with the settings.

I recommend going to a proper camera store and playing around with them for a bit to see which interface(s) you prefer, and buying that one. Don't get too caught up in megapixel numbers or video resolution specs, concentrate on the one you think you'll actually use.

Canon 1100D DSLR (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169486)

I have the Canon 1000D It has all the functions a newbie could want, has 10 megapixels (the 1100D has 12 I believe) and of course is a DSLR.

I have a friend who exhibits photography and he told us this was the best camera for a new amateur. When you get a camera, you will want to play with the buttons, features, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and eventually you may want to buy a 200 or 300 mm zoom. As an Example, I have had mine for less than a year and from knowing NOTHING I now take lunar photography and just purchased a 1000mm reflecting lens... about the most extreme lens anyone I've showed it to has ever seen! :) But, of course the 1100D and 1000D have a 'full auto' setting. Point and click. The pictures are fantastic.

And best of all, unlike normal digitals, DSLR's hold their value for resale far better.

Lumix LX-5 (1)

kytreb (2508498) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169506)

My sister is big into photography, and she kind of passed on the hobby to me. I am not nearly as hardcore as her, but I was looking for a decent camera I could take good looking photos with. I could creatively experiment with it, and i could also rely on it to take quick good looking photos. I did not want to be burdened with a massive camera body or a set of lenses, but I wanted some versatility.

After a bit of shopping, I found my way to the Panasonic Lumix LX5. It's great. Compact. ($370) I take it everywhere when I travel or when I want to snap a few shots of my friends. I don't take it to the bar, mind you, but I do take it to picnics, sports, etc. I walk around town with my ipod in my ear and experiment with some artsy shots too.

There is also a great book called The Photographer's Guide to the Lumix LX5 published by The White Knight Press. It covers all of the basics of photography and how to manipulate the camera with all of it's functions. A PDF version is available for under $10 through the publisher's website. I am partial to the Lumix LX5, but honestly all of the cameras that are covered by that publisher would fit your requirements in my opinion. (Except for the Leica, $$$$$)

Lumix LX5, Fuji Finepix X100, Canon Powershot S95, Nikon Coolpix500 (a bit bulky)

Definitely subjective, but... (3, Interesting)

forevermore (582201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169508)

Other than the quality of the sensor and the photographer, there are two things that contribute to a photo looking "good": lens diameter (collects more light) and number of lens elements (fewer is better). Going from a pinhole-sized smartphone lens to just about anything else is going to be a major improvement. Personally, I use a Canon DSLR (mostly because I like Canon, and it fit all of the lenses from the 35mm system it replaced), but I also carry a Panasonic Lumix "super zoom" point/shoot. It takes great photos (and video), and still fits in a pocket (it was better than the point/shoot Canons of the time). Their micro-4/3 systems with interchangeable lenses are also good. These systems (I've also heard good things about Sony's) offer a pretty nice quality/price balance between traditional point/shoot cameras and DSLRs, too. But as others have said, you should probably bulk up on your photo knowledge, too. Understanding stuff like shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, rule of thirds, etc. can go a long way to making better photos, even with a smartphone camera.

Depends on how many lenses you might want. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169512)

If you go with Nikon, the Auto Focus lenses tend to be higher since the motor is in the lens, rather than in the body. So if you plan on having 10 lenses, you add additional cost to each lens.
I have a Nikon D3100 and love it. It great for easy point-and-shoot as well as full manual.
The Canon T3i is a fantastic choice if you can afford it. It would be my choice if money were no object.

iPhone 4s (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169516)

The 4s is finally to the point (in terms of noise and dynamic range) that I think it's stilly to think about getting any other consumer compact.

As another poster said the best camera is one you have with you, and since you will probably always have a phone... also something to consider is that over time more features will be added to that "camera" in a way that simply is not true of other normal consumer cameras.

Other than that the only other real choice is what you said you do not want - a "serious" camera like the Sigma DP-2, that takes pictures that have amazing quality but require you to really be more serious about the photography.

Canon S100 (4, Informative)

richardtallent (309050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169520)

It's a newer camera, great mix of features (including 1080P video and GPS geo-tagging). As a professional photographer, I'm a Canon fan-boy. (Nikon is good too.)

DP Review is a great geek-compatible site for camera reviews, here's their take:

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/canons100/

I was in the same boat (2)

Chilijohn (988655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169538)

Get a Canon Powershot SX150. It's about $200 if not less online. I got myself a Canon Powershot SX110 a few years ago for the exact reason you describe. The SX-series is one of the least expensive digital camera lines that allows you full manual control over ISO, aperture & shutter speed, which allowed me to learn the practical differences amongst the various combinations of settings. You also get a nearly ridiculous stabilized zoom range of about 20-250mm (12x), which allows you lots of flexibility in composition. Unfortunately the camera doesn't tell you the focal length so you'll need to learn to read the zoom bar to do the conversion in your head, but the info is stamped in the EXIF metadata within the JPG. I've since stepped up to an entry level SLR having discovered I like photography as a hobby, but the great thing is that the SX remains useful as a compact camera. You won't want to lug the bag everywhere. Another plus is that the SX's run on 2 AA's so if you get some nice NiMH rechargeables you're set for general use and in a pinch any drugstore at a vacation destination will get you running again.

What I did... (2)

Nexzus (673421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169548)

If you want a bit more options than a simple point and shoot, but don't want the full complexity of a DSLR, go for the middle and get a long-zoom point and shoot.

They have the options (aperature, shutter speed, ability to optically zoom to 300mm+ ranges) that the DSLRs have, but without the inconvenience of carrying around a bunch of lenses.

Then once you're comfortable, step up to a consumer level DSLR.

I have a Sony H5 for essentially kicking around with (and that I learned on), and a Sony A55 with an 18-55/F4 kit lens, a 55-200mm zoom telephoto lens, and a 35mm/1.8 prime lens for low-light situations, when I want to try to get really good pictures. Carrying around all that is usually impractical, so I only bring it when I purposefully want good pictures, and not just snapshots.

I'm by no means a good photographer, but I've been very happy with the results of both setups.

One thing really matters: shutter delay (4, Informative)

gaijin_ (134592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169554)

If you want good pictures of children. It is really only one thing that is important and that is the delay from pressing the button to taking the picture.

I got a D40 from Nikon just when they released it four years ago and have gotten tons of great pictures with it.

It has a rather small sensor and not that many functions, but the shutter delay is measured in milliseconds.

any camera will do (1)

heitikender (655816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169556)

It's not really camera, it's you. My friend is photographer and takes better pictures with Nokia 2110 that doesn't even have a camera than me with Canon Hypermax Red 4K Turbodigital Pro+. It's the moments to grab, not technology. No camera makes you a better (or worse) photographer. I found that iPhone 4S + Instragram works best for me.

Nikon D7000 (1)

Ikkyu (84373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169558)

I was in the same boat 4 months ago, a nikon D7000 was the right choice for me.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC TZ-10, -20 or (sans GPS) -18 (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169562)

Sturdy, pocket-size compact with 1-lens-fits-most needs, GPS, etc.

$210-250, incl S&H, from Hong Kong [via eBay].

This question has been asked, and answered... (1)

bware (148533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169568)

in 25 easy steps:

at The Online Photographer [typepad.com]

Consider a sony alpha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169588)

I recently went through a similar exercise. The vast majority of the opinion was to focus on a canon or a nikon. I ended up getting a sony alpha due to the very, very fast continuous shooting (10 fps) and video (60 fps hd), at a similiar price to the CaNikons (~1000). Downside is less lens availability; however i'm likely only to own less than 3 lenses. Ever. When doing your evaluation, I'd be sure to include this with the big 2.

One with manual control options! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169596)

I did some fabulous Photography when i got my first Point-and-Shoot from Kodak. It had a manual mode, that allowed me to control some of the basics like aperture, focal length, exposure time up to very high values, ISO (i think).

I got very creative and made some photos that i still marvel at today, even though i now have a professional DSLR with a collection of quality Lenses. So what hugely matters in my opinion is imagination, a camera that gives you a good degree of control, and a mindset of focus on the subject(s) and framing thereof, no matter your environment, even at the risk of looking like the stereotypical Japanese tourist.

If you decide to go DSLR right away, i would recommend the APS-C models of Canon and Nikon that you can gradually extend with better (upwards compatible) lenses.

Happy shooting.

You're not ready for a DSLR. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169602)

Those recommending otherwise aren't thinking this through. You've gone your entire adult life without a camera. You're used to your camera substitutes fitting in your pocket and that's how you should start with a real camera. The idea otherwise, that you will be instantly alright with carrying a DSLR is folly. You don't have the habits for a DSLR, you won't feel right, etc. My point is, you won't use it. It'll sit on a shelf. Sure as hell it'll take great photos the day or two you mess around with it, but after that, shelf time. I've seen it too many times before.

Start small. Grab a good point-and-shoot. I recommend a Panasonic Lumix with a wide-angle lens, high optical zoom and GPS. In particular, the DMC-ZS10. I'll admit I don't personally own one, but a friend of mine just picked one up and I've been amazed by what he's been able to pull off with it. That's the way to go. If not that camera, one like it. Something that will fit in your pocket - so you can make a habit of having it with you.

Then after a couple years after you've become used to a camera as a separate object, and have experience with having an actual camera, you'll have both the habits and the knowledge required to choose something better, whether that is another point-and-shoot or a good DSLR.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169622)

You can't know what you want before you try something out, so get something you will like even when you've figured it out, at minimal cost.

Nikon D80 (~200USD on ebay) + Nikon 50mm f1.8 AFD ~100USD (optionally Nikon 35 f1.8 AF-S DX or Nikon 35 f2 AFD for more crammed indoor)

Then, for good looking photos of family, you need a flash and you need to bounce it off some white surface to diffuse the light, so, get e.g. Nikon SB-24 or SB-25 that have plenty of power, for about 60USD second hand on ebay. If you really want to push it, get a pair of Cactus V4 TX+RX (~50USD) for reliable off camera flash triggering. To do it a bit over with studio like photos, get also dual mode reflective/shoot through umbrella for about 20USD and a Manfrotto flash stand (these are studio priced at about 100USD but worth it).

To make the flash work, it needs rechargeable AA NiMH batteries, around 2011 there is one sort that kills others for flash usage, the Sanyo XX 2500mAh. Don't even think about other batteries. And a charger, something like MAHA 8xAA.

This doesn't belong on /. (0)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169656)

Am I the only one who thinks questions like this one don't belong here? Go to a consumer's website or a decent website about cameras and leave Slashdot for the News for Nerds and the Stuff that Matters.

Point and Shoot (2)

WillgasM (1646719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169660)

It sounds like you just want a good point-and-shoot camera. I suggest something in the Canon SX line. I have an SX130is that does everything a novice would need. Good resolution, good image quality, and a decent optical zoom. I've owned a couple in this same line (one got left in Vegas). A brand new one will run around $250, or you can usually find last year's model for under $200. I got both of mine on sale for around $170. I've looked into the bigger SX30 or SX40, but for that price you might as well buy a cheap rebel DSLR (which is what I'll get next time).

Go by features (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169666)

You want an SLR to change lenses, get high quality lenses, and be able to screw on filters. You also get a standard hot shoe with these, so you can attach larger offset flashes.

You want the time between pressing the button and the shutter snapping to be as short as possible. Film cameras are instant, digital cameras often have some lag. Some cheapo and phone cameras have over a second of lag, totally unacceptable.

You want an all-manual mode. You'll need that if you're actually interested in what F-stops and shutter speeds do, and what they can do to give you exactly what you want in your photo (control over depth of field for example).

Don't go just by pixel count for digitals. All else being equal, a larger CCD means a higher image quality, higher pixel count on the same size CCD means lower quality.

Difficult to recommend (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169668)

My parents bought me a film SLR when I was a late teen. I learned a bit about taking pictures. When the early, crappy by today's standards digital cameras appeared I got one because I hated to wait for film to develop. At my home we've had a series of point and shoot digital cameras, some good and some not so good. A little over a year ago I bought a used Nikon D40X DSLR just to see if the larger, more full-featured camera would work for me. I knew it would be less convenient to carry than a point and shoot, and a custom battery might also be a problem, but I figured if the experiment failed I could resell the DSLR without much loss. I love my D40X! I can shoot hundreds of photos in a week on one battery charge - 1 charge during a 1500 photo 10-day trip recently. When I turn on the camera it's ready to shoot immediately - no lens motor moving around before it's ready. The focusing system is better in my opinion. A zoom lens zooms by hand, which I prefer to the buttons on the camera. Besides the bulk I have a lens cap to deal with again - still odd. I miss being able to record the occiassional video because the D40X doesn't do video. But to recommend something I would have to know you. A DSLR is costly and bulky, but the results are very good, but if you won't bother to use it then it's of no value. Decide what you'll use most frequently and take photos! I wish I had my D40X while my son was growing up.

Canon S90/S95/S100 (1)

tonytnnt (1335443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169680)

Or the rough Nikon equivalent of the P300 if you can give up RAW support (but it's a nice option to have.) I have a Canon S90, and my friend has an S95. I have another friend (pro photographer) with a Canon G10 (in addition to dSLRs.) He pointed out to me that the best camera for taking pictures is the one you take with you, and for me lugging around a body+lenses was just going to be too much of a pain. The S90 fits into my jeans pocket if I need it to, and a coat pocket or cargo pocket with ease. It has a lot of options, including manual focus, manual aperture control, and shutter speed. It's not quite as versatile as a dSLR, but it's got more than enough features for me, and when I'm lazy I can throw it into auto and take great pictures. Don't let the 10 megapixel image sensor fool you -- it's as much or more about sensor size than it is about megapixels. Basically by using a larger image sensor, you have lower pixel density, increased area to focus the light on, and the end result are pictures that have less noise. It's also better in low light -- I used my S90 inside a lit cave on a tour type thing (there was dim lighting) and was able to get decent pictures without the flash on the low-light setting while hand held. If I'd had a tripod I could have set the shutter speed to stay open longer and gotten spectacular shots.

DSLR is the way to go (2)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169712)

As long as you don't need a camera that fits in your pocket, a low-end DSLR is probably exactly what you're looking for. Even a lowly $400 Nikon D3100 has a sensor size and resolution that camera fanatics could only dream about 15 years ago. And if that's out of your price range, you can do much better shopping refurb or used equipment (I paid ~ $250 for a D40x two years ago when I was in a similar situation as you).

Why DSLR? Because it (1) has a big sensor and (2) compatibility with hundreds of lenses. Bigger sensor = more light captured = easier to take good photos with less skill. And even the low end Nikon lenses give pretty good results with the new VR (vibration reduction) feature. Seriously, my photo quality went way up when I ditched the cheap pocket cam. I'll never go back.

Get an 18-55mm lens (probably will come with the camera) and a 55-200mm lens (around $120 online), and you'll be set for just about anything except low-light and indoor sports photography.

In terms of brands, I went with Nikon just because I was familiar with them, but the Canon stuff is functionally equivalent.

buy the largest sensor your budget will allow (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169714)

And get it in the form factor that works for you. A lot of people are going to recommend dslrs, but those are quite large, and you can get something like the olympus x1 with a decent sized sensor and still have it fit in a pocket, so that you are much more likely to actually have it with you when you want to take a picture.

Two suggestions (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169720)

1. Something good that you will actually carry with you. The micro-four thirds system has a good ecosystem of cameras and lenses that combine being reasonably small with reasonably good.

2. If you go with a DSLR, get a good prime (fixed length rather than zoomable) wide aperture (light opening width - the thing that looks like f/x.y. Lower values of x are better). Both Canon and Nikon have excellent F/1.8 50mm lenses are very reasonable prices. The fixed length means that you'll have to work harder at composition rather than just being able to wing it, which I think develops good habits. They are also less likely to break (fewer moving parts) and are very sharp (having a fixed length makes it easier to create sharp lenses).

Depends on what you want to photograph (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169764)

There are lots of things one can photograph without needing anything special. It's certainly possible to take a striking photo even with a cell phone [flickr.com] . It can look good, if the conditions are right.

Now, that's assuming you don't have special needs. If you want to take photos in challenging conditions, you probably want to get a DSLR. Challenging conditions include: low light (that includes indoors), things that are very far away (say, wildlife photography), things that are very small [wikipedia.org] , long exposures [wikimedia.org] , when you want a shallow depth of field [wikipedia.org] , and situations that require something better than the on-camera flash.

You can try to do most of that with a point and shoot, but even if you choose your composition wonderfully it still won't look very good. DSLRs produce much better results, and also have the huge advantage of being able to choose the lens. I think for most basic things the actual DSLR isn't all that important, as you already gain a huge amount of flexibility from just being able to use a different lens.

It doesn't matter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169774)

http://www.binaryemulsion.com/wordpress/gear/which-dslr-should-i-buy/

Lots of things you can buy. Don't. (2)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169794)

From what you've said, it sounds like you're dangerously close to being bitten by the equipment bug.

Don't.

Every amateur photographer goes through this phase - thinking "if I only owned X, my photographs would improve immeasurably". Some never get out.

Every photographer who is in this phase is wrong.

What you need to do is learn about composition and light. Get to the library, hit up Amazon and learn about what makes a good photograph. Expect to take tens of thousands of photographs while you're learning - and accept that you'll never stop learning. Accept that of the thousands of photographs you'll take, possibly 5-10% will be halfway decent and maybe 1-2% will be so good you'll seriously consider having them printed to put on the wall.

It's not the camera as much as the user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38169806)

Some of my best pics were taken with an all-manual Pentax MX with a broken meter. My main camera is a Panasonic Lumix with 6x optical zoom. It is small and light. Takes great macro shots, though is still suffers from shutter delay like most point-and-shoots.

Micro 4/3 is the best balance between point-and-shoot and interchangeable-lens cameras. DSLRs are more versatile, but I prefer a lighter camera.

One of my favorite cameras is a Canon RC-701, a pre-digital still-video camera with an incredible set of lenses. Too heavy for daily use however.

Canon S95 (2)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 2 years ago | (#38169816)

The S95 is fast, light, and cheap (especially since the S100 just came out) and takes very good pictures. It also gives you as much manual control as you want to start with - you can do aperture priority, shutter priority, adjust ISO, manual focus. And it will do RAW mode. Or you can start with just putting it on fully automatic and working on your framing and composition first (which you should do).

If you really get into it you can put a custom ROM on it which will give you even more control like manually specifying shutter speed and aperture at the same time (manual mode).

After spending some time with this then maybe you'll want a DSLR, but I wouldn't start with one.

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