I would like to grab a nice camera soon to start taking pictures of my life (the gf says we don't have enough memories). I would like a camera that can take some really nice photos but I don't want to get into the realm of professional cameras with the big lenses and all that. Mostly because I have no idea how to use them, they cost a lot, are big and tend to require further investments (Aperture, lightroom etc).
Essentially I am looking for something in between a $200 point and shoot and a $1000 dslr camera.
People seem a bit "religious" about camera's at times.
I had a Pansonic FZ-50, which is deemed a "bridge" camera. It has some of the features of an SLR (many of them in fact), but can also be used as a basic point and shoot. So I could get "fancy" for that artistic shot, or just turn it on and shoot as needed. I LOVED that camera, but in the end upgraded to an SLR.
However, despite the dramatic difference in image quality between the bridge camera and an SLR (and don't be fooled, SLRs really ARE spectacularly better), I got some great shots out of the bridge camera too.
I also keep a little pocketable Casio too. I've always found it handy to have a couple of cameras for different situations.
I would consider how you're going to be using the camera. Carrying it around? Need to keep it in a jacket pocket? Think about any size requirements first, there's no point in having a really awesome camera but not using it because it's too chunky.
As mentioned by Howard2k the Digital Camera Reviews site is the place to go. You can't really go wrong with Canon or Nikon, and Sony, Pentax and Olympus are coming on strong right now in the SLR market.
For 'Point and Shoot' I like Canon, for SLR's I like Nikon. Narrow the list down to three or so and visit your local camera shop. How the camera feels in your hand is very important.
And, as Howard2k, mentions the megapixel number isn't the most measure! Size, low light ability, ruggedness, etc can be way more important. My Canon SD450 (5 megapixels) performs great for a point and shoot!
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Panasonic DMC-LZ7 digital camera in "like new" condition. Features 7.1 megapixel sensor, 2.5 inch LCD display, 6X optical zoom, optical image stabilizer, intelligent ISO control, 30 frames per second movie recording and many more features. Uses two AA batteries, included with charger. Also included is a genuine Panasonic hard case shown in the photo. Comes with memory, manuals, CD in the original box. Have original bill of sale showing the camera was purchased for $300.
at $140 - hard to go wrong.
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Bridge cameras are very popular since the offer the nicest blend between a compact camera and a full size SLR.
If the same retailer sells brand "A" for $400 and brand "B" for $300 - there is usually a reason. Manufacturers have to cut corners to get the cost down. You usually get what you pay for.
If your girl friend is going to be using the camera as well, I would suggest you check out the Panasonic TZ5 which is smaller than most bridge cameras. This camera offers a 10x zoom lens - which is enough magnification for most situations and the lens starts at a 28mm wide (35mm equivilant). The wider angle lens is better suited for indoor and scenery photos.
The Panasonic TZ5 is generally better built (metal body) and comes with a Lithium-Ion battery & charger. Most bridge cameras utilize a lot of plastic in their design and most use AA Batteries to help keep the cost down.
Make sure the menu system makes sense to you, make sure the buttons/controls make sense to you.
I picked up a cheap ($99) credit card sized Casio, thinking it might have a specific 'on-the-go' use for me- I underestimated. The Casio has been a fantastic addition. I take it everywhere, just as I take my wallet, money, and keys. I take many more pictures than I normally would, and I am always surprised by the quality and performance. I literally just point it and shoot. I would never bother hauling around my Canon like that.
And now, I find myself using the Casio as a test shooter or for a comparison shot against my Canon.
I discovered I really like a (small, single) rechargeable proprietary battery over a handful of heavy AA's. I discovered I should never have purchased a camera that has the memory card slot in the same compartment as the batteries, and definitely not located on the bottom of the camera- where it is totally inaccessible when mounted to a tripod.
I absolutely LOVE my Canon IS S3 -- best $200 I *ever* spent on a camera (my blog, below, has links to my image galleries so you can see what it can do). In addition to being a very well-balanced "not pro" camera, it's amazing amount of optical zoom (12x on mine, 20x on the newest one) will astound you. It can even be hacked to shoot in RAW format, and I have to say I was also surprised by the VERY high quality video and stereo sound the thing can do as well!
The IS S5 was even better and I'm sure the SX10 is better still. If you can find an IS S5 on sale, I would definitely grab that puppy!
I've been selling camera for the past 10 years and here are some of the questions I usually ask my clients and depending on that I usually find what they want There is no one camera for everyone
- do you have children
- do you plan on having any
- would you consider yourself a nature person
- would you consider yourself a social person
- would you consider yourself a sports person
- are you a perfectioniste
- are you gonna print at home or in a lab or never print at all
- what are your hobies
- what was the last camera you had even if it's a 35mm
- what are your likes and dislikes about your last camera
- What type of pics do you plan taking
- do you travel
- what type of travel Cuba in the sun or Europe backpacking
- your age
I thing if you answer all those questions should be able to give you an answer
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