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  1. #1
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    Unable to decide on camera

    As the title says I can't decide on a camera. Unfortunately I have trouble making decisions when there are many many options, and it just so happens there are way to many options for me when it comes to camera so I am hoping to narrow down the list.

    I intend to shoot macro(?) most of the time, more specifically figurines, its a little different but I find it very fun and I feel it still gives me control over the subject without me having to use other people (not very fond at all of taking pictures of people). That is the main thing I would want to focus on, however I would be taking pictures of nature and landscapes when I go on hikes or when I will be traveling to Italy for 3 weeks next year. For me this is a hobby, I currently own a Nikon CoolPix P500 (first camera) and at first I was happy with it but as I have taken more pictures I am just not satisfied with it anymore (Bought in 2011).

    I am for the most part unable to comfortably use the viewfinder due to my glasses, so a good screen would be appreciated and if the screen can be moved to a better angle that is even better (but I feel it is a bonus and so isn't required).

    My I understand that the lens used will be more important than the body overall (misconception on my part?) so if possible I would like the lenses available for the camera in terms of quality/$ within a hobby range kept in mind. I would like to keep the camera cost under $600 if possible and I value a good price to performance ratio.
    It would be nice if in the recommendation you said whether to get just the body and buy a separate lens, or if it would be better to get the kit, practice with it and get a better lens. Personally I am thinking get the kit so that I won't be limited to only macro or the other due to not having enough to get 2 lenses. Compacts(?) are fine with me as long as the price and quality are still good.

    I have been looking at the Canon T3i and the Canon SL1 specifically but with all the cameras out there I can't help but feel I will get burned no matter what I buy (damn personality). I apologize if this is a tall order, if more information is needed I will be glad to provide what I can, I just can't think of anything else that needs to be added at the moment. Thank you all very much for the assistance, it is GREATLY appreciated.

  2. #2
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Unable to decide on camera

    There are lots of choices out there, suited to all sorts of different people. So lets get more information about your needs.

    1. Why aren't you satisfied with your Coolpix? What do you want now that you didn't realise you wanted when you first bought it?
    2. How big are the figurines that you want to shoot? If they are really small and you want the best possible result then you need something a little specialised
    3. How much gear do you feel like carrying around? "Something a little specialised" can be quite large.

    Kit lenses nowadays are excellent value. They aren't solid enough for professional use but for normal snapshooting they the best choice IMHO. For your figurines you might need to add a macro lens.

    The lenses ARE more important than the body because they are a long-term investment. You change the body every few years but the lenses go on and on - as long as you don't change camera manufacturer/systems.

    The most important choice is the manufacturer/system that you buy into. You mentioned Canon DSLR's already. Take a look at Nikon DSLR's as well - Nikon have an excellent 40mm f2.8 Macro lens which is really very affordable (I had one).
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  3. #3
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    Re: Unable to decide on camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    1. Why aren't you satisfied with your Coolpix? What do you want now that you didn't realise you wanted when you first bought it?
    My Coolpix doesn't do well unless I am outside and there is a lot of light or unless the light is close to the camera and the subject. I am also unable to get the focus effect from something like f2.8 because mine if memory recalls really didn't do less than f5.0 or around there. I was able to borrow a Sony a3000 for a few shots yesterday and while I wouldn't choose that camera the better image quality, lighting, and just all around everything really makes me want to upgrade.
    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    2. How big are the figurines that you want to shoot? If they are really small and you want the best possible result then you need something a little specialised
    The smallest ones would probably be around 65mm, most of the ones I have would but around 100-150mm (changes based on stand and whatnot), and then I have the occasional 1/7 and 1/8 scale so around 205mm.
    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    3. How much gear do you feel like carrying around? "Something a little specialised" can be quite large.
    Almost all my figurine shooting is down in-house with the rare exception of doing it at a location. Size does not matter to me at all, most of my excursions are planned and I am willing to suffer the weight as long as I enjoy what I am doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Franglais View Post
    Kit lenses nowadays are excellent value. They aren't solid enough for professional use but for normal snapshooting they the best choice IMHO. For your figurines you might need to add a macro lens.
    I would plan to get a macro lens, I just wasn't sure if it was needed mainly because I wasn't sure if the information I have been able to gather was correct or not.

  4. #4
    Be serious Franglais's Avatar
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    Re: Unable to decide on camera

    The most important difference between the Coolpix and the Sony A3000 is the size of the sensor - the Sony A3000 one is much bigger (APS-C size instead of 1/2.3"). This is important:

    - the image on the bigger sensor is clearer with better tones, so the image is more pleasing
    - the bigger sensor can take in more light so you can go to much higher ISO with less noise. This would help you to do pictures in poor light. To get the best results however you should use a tripod and a slow shutter speed (would also help with your Coolpix)
    - the bigger sensor needs a longer focal length therefore you would get smaller depth of focus, which I think is what you're interested in when you mention f2.8. However the depth of focus at f2.8 at short distances on a 40mm is really quite shallow - maybe too shallow. But that's the effect you are looking for.

    I think that you're right to be thinking about a DSLR like the Canon ones you mentioned earlier. They have a big sensor like the one on the A3000.

    I just checked out a kit lens (18-140) on an APS-C DSLR (Nikon D7100) and the smallest object that I could photograph was 100mm tall. Some lenses focus closer than others, but a macro lens seems like a good option one day (if you don't have one - well you can always crop the image if you need to).

    As for getting burned - that's just experience. You can't always tell exactly what you are going to need. I think I have changed camera systems 6 times over 30 years. I now have two guiding principles:

    1. Stick with number 1 or number 2 in the market. If lots of people buy them then there is certainly good reason
    2. You get what you pay for. Sometimes its better to spend a little more and get something that will satisfy you and that you won't change after 12 months
    Charles

    Nikon D800, D7200, Sony RX100m3
    Not buying any more gear this year. I hope

  5. #5
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    Re: Unable to decide on camera

    Well I ended up making my purchase. I went ahead and purchased the Canon SL1 18-55mm IS STM kit, I chose it over the T3i do to minor system differences though I am hoping that the lack of screen tilt won't be a problem for me. I also purchased some basic lenses to get started, I bought the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II after looking at a large amount of pictures taken with it and thoroughly enjoying their out come and what it can do (it is no macro lens to my understanding, but that is a beast for another time, I couldn't justify getting a $300+ lens off the bat, and the concept of telephoto lens with macro ability kind of scared me off due to a lack of knowledge), I also purchased Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II as I was able to get it for $100 new with buying my SL1, I am hoping that it will work out for my nature hikes and my occasional landscapes.

    I will post back/edit post with how things turn out after I receive them.

  6. #6
    newb MotorToad's Avatar
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    Re: Unable to decide on camera

    Good choice. I was going to suggest a used 40D and a 100 /2.8 macro, around $300 for the 40D and $400 if you can find the 100 mm. I messed around with the STM at the store and I was *very* impressed with the focus motor.

    I don't know how your local craigslist is but I've found here in sfba that it's very easy to find luxury items from responsible sellers. I'd still recommend keeping an eye out for the 100 macro if you can. Canon U.S.A. : Consumer & Home Office : EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM it's one of the sharpest lenses you can buy.
    I took the square root of some negatives and all my pictures came out in the wrong focal plane.

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