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Camera advice please
Mon 12-Jul-10
1:12 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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I don't know if any of you are photography buffs - hopefully yes.

The quality of the photos on the blog is generally quite poor compared with other blogs and sites. Our cheap little compact is not up to the job, we think.

We have two main criteria:

1 - good low-light performance as the cottage lighting is not great and most of our foodie shots are taken in the evening indoors and outdoors.

2 - movie capability

Our budget is around £300. This is a big chunk for us at the moment so we need to make sure we get the right tool for the job.

My computer mag did a review of compacts this month and plumped for the Canon PowerShot S90

We are not fixed on a compact, so all opinions are welcome.

Never knowingly underfed

Mon 12-Jul-10
1:45 pm
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SandyC
Turkey

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Sat 12-Jun-10
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When Jon invests hard earned money into an item he has no knowledge of he seeks out a specialict shop and asks the top dog "If this was your money, which one would you buy?" We did this with our camera and later a professional photographer saw it and went and bought himself one. That was a while back and new ones have superceded that but it works with other expensive items also.

The more people I meet, the more I love my animals!

Mon 12-Jul-10
2:22 pm
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mike.
Coventry

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If you want movie capability then you are more likely to find that in a compact in your price range. Until recently, only the really expensive SLRs could record movies but they're becoming more common now.

If you want better picture quality and better low light performance, then you are more likely to get that from a SLR than a compact. When we upgraded from a £100 canon compact to a £230 Nikon D40 SLR, the jump in picture quality was very noticeable, despite the pixel count being similar. Of course a more expensive compact would also have been an improvement but since I learnt photography years ago on old manual focus SLRs, I was missing the flexibility and control which SLRs give you.

SLR-type compacts seem to be quite popular at the moment - if they give the features of a compact with the flexibility of a SLR then one of those might be ideal.

I seem to have given vague opinions rather than advice but that's because I'm not familiar with particular camera models apart from the ones we own - and most of those are old and obsolete/faulty now.

The main thing to remember is that pixel count is not that closely related to image quality. I have seen pictures taken with 6 megapixel cameras which are noticeably better than those taken with 10 megapixel. If you can find an on-line review where they let you download some actual images, then you'll be able to zoom in and see how they look.

Visit my blog for food, drink, photography and hamsters.

Mon 12-Jul-10
5:58 pm
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Toffeeapple
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All I can add to that is that I own a Fuji FinePix S5700 which copes with low light and has a movie function, it cost just under £100.00.  As Sandy says, go to a camera shop and ask the question.

I'll try that again!

Mon 12-Jul-10
7:28 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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Thank you very much, Sandy, BobQ and Toffeeapple.

I will certainly go down the route of asking an expert - that seems like sound common sense (and free too).

BobQ - I had seen a similar comment about the pixel count not being a real factor and that some cameras with 4 megapixel resolution take better shots than their 10 megapixel relations. It only matters when you blow them up to big sizes, which we would not be doing. We may opt for an SLR. One issue with compacts is that they are so small that it often feels like there is nothing to hold onto.

TA - I think I will relearn our little camers first and read up on photographic techniques, just to see if quality can indeed be improved with our cheaper camera. Maybe using manual settings.

Never knowingly underfed

Mon 12-Jul-10
7:28 pm
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JoannaS
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We bought our son a fuji finepix on recommendation from a shop, can't remember what model it was now but it did look like this one but he took A level art and did rather well. I do remember it was a neat compact camera that was easy to hold, Ian's is a Nikon SLR but doesn't take video and is not as easy to carry around, does take some good photos but not the cheapest camera around (we bought ours in America though! Enough said as regards prices!) Doh

Mon 12-Jul-10
8:04 pm
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danast
Argyll, Scotland

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Wave I have a Sony DSC-H9.   It is fantastic.  It is idiot proof and has a large screen.  It works well in low light  and has movie capability.  The  only thing I would say is that is not too compact and although not heavy, it does not fit in the pocket.  I have had it about 3 years and I think it cost about £300.  I would definitely recommend Sony.

Old teachers never die, they just lose their class

Mon 12-Jul-10
9:15 pm
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devongarden
Devon, UK

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I went to a camera shop to buy mine, and asked lots of questions. I had intended to get a Sony, as Which rated their lenses very highly, but tried a Canon Ixus 950 IS and fell in love with it--easy to use, fits my hands well, gets fantastic results. I didn't like the Canon Power Shot as much--partly the shape, partly how easy to use, and there was some specific difference I can't remember that meant the Ixus worked better for me. I virtually always use it in manual mode. It has excellent zoom, and takes close-ups very well and very close--I love taking photos of single flowers, like apple blossom, that fill the frame. It does video, too.

I don't miss the capability of my SLR which I thought I would, and the portability and light weight makes up for the gain in photo quality I might get from an SLR.

Tue 13-Jul-10
9:36 am
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ep
Bulgaria

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I have a Sony Cybershot 13.6 mega pixels and I rate it....in fact my last three have been Sony.  Point and shoot.....suits me and if you are blowing it up...put the picture into Word or the likes, print screen on it and then paste and crop, you can have it as large as you like and you lose nothing....Whistle Whistle

Who lives long sees much : The diary of my life in Bulgaria

Tue 13-Jul-10
8:05 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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Thank you very much, Joanna, Danuta, Barbara and Elsa for describing your cameras. All of that useful information goes into the mix. Your recommendations are valuable and I would like to trial some of those (or similar) models if we can find an accommodating camera supplier who would allow us to try several models before we buy.

In fact, that has given me an idea. We might approach suppliers to see if any would be willing to do just that in exchange for a good review blog post. Happy to pay for the camera (discount very welcome) but we would highly value a good service for this kind of quandary.

F told me last night that our cheap compact has no manual mode. You have to choose one of the Auto settings. I think that says it all. New camera required. Serves me right for never having even opened the manual - F does all of the photography these days.

Never knowingly underfed

Wed 14-Jul-10
9:49 am
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JoannaS
Latvia

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On the OU the photography group often recommended Jessops as a fairly good shop where you can get to handle all the cameras but I am not sure you would be able to take them out. You never know though.

Wed 4-Aug-10
11:35 pm
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bobbyW
Suffolk

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Thought I'd put my pennyworth in.
I have three main cameras, a pocket compact, bridge Camera and a DSLR, the latter being the more expensive.
The pocket camera is a Fujifilm F470, 4 years old and the one I use most for internet photographs including the pie photo elsewhere on this forum), It has pre set scenes for various conditions and a limited manual mode. I upgraded to a new model but sent it back as it's not in the same league.

The bridge camera is what I would suggest for your needs, again my one, a Fujifilm s8100 is now discontinued, but the bridge has one lens capable of landscape, telephoto (18xoptical zoom) and super macro captures to 1cm. A choice of auto, or semi auto in aperture mode, shutter priority or full manual plus a good scene menu for all light conditions with or without flash, there is also video recording.
The latest incarnation is the s1800 Prices from £150.

The DSLR is nice, a Sony Alpha, but very expensive when you start buying lenses.

I never use flash with any of the cameras, using a tripod (or mini tripod with the compact) self timer, and a little tweaking with google picasa, I have a difficult task identifying which camera took any of my photos.

"I THINK MY GUARDIAN ANGEL DRINKS"

Thu 5-Aug-10
10:21 am
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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Thanks for that update, Bob. Was it you who linked to this site on the myfinepix.co.uk forum?

Many thanks if so.  we have had about 25 visitors come from there.

An unexpected expense has hit our camera purchase plans. It means we had to shell out about £400/mth from June to Sep. Still, it gives us more time to explore options and models.

Never knowingly underfed

Thu 5-Aug-10
11:59 am
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bobbyW
Suffolk

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I did Danny, also linked on the 365campingcaravanning forum so there may be a few from there too.

Re the photo's on yor blog, your camera is quite capable, the results just need a little tweaking with the software. I'm not sure if this is what you mean but I copied the berry photo from your blog (hope you don't mind), with an old photo editing program I did two operations to achieve what I consider to be an acceptable result as seen in these two pics.

 Image Enlarger

 Image Enlarger

The first operation was "auto adjust" the second was "sharpen", that's all.

"I THINK MY GUARDIAN ANGEL DRINKS"

Thu 5-Aug-10
12:38 pm
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Danny
Scarborough, England
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Wow. That's a significant improvement, Bob. Fiona has Photoshop Elements, which should easily be capable of replicating what you did. She used to be a graphic designer so knows her  way around such software. I am surprised she has not achieved a similar level of quality as you have done. Probably a time thing.

I want to learn more about digital photography and improve my own shots. Are there any sites or books that you would recommend as a beginner's starting place?

Never knowingly underfed

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