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Photography
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Help with camera option
BillGorm
_VISITCOMMUNITY
New Jersey, United States
Joined: November 02, 2009
KitMaker: 609 posts
Historicus Forma: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2012 - 03:39 AM UTC
My wife agreed it's time to scrap our cheap point-and-shoot camera for a better one. We'll be trading in American Express points, though, so we're limited to what's in their catalog. I've narrowed it down to three:

1. Nikon D3100
2. Canon PowerShot SX30 IS
3. Canon PowerShot G12

Since money isn't a factor in this case, can someone knowledgeable about photography make a recommendation among these three?
jowady
Joined: June 12, 2006
KitMaker: 1,027 posts
Historicus Forma: 38 posts
Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2012 - 01:28 PM UTC
Well, the Nikon is a DSLR, meaning that you can change the lenses out. Click a button, a simple twist and the lens is off, slap another one on. The Canons are what we used to refer to as point and shoot, which these days is something of a misnomer. The lenses are fixed. Now they may have a very wide range, but you will not be able to change that range. Look to the optical zoom numbers, not digital.

The key in a digital camera is the size of the sensor. Bigger sensors, even with a smaller megapixel number, will produce clearer images with less noise. Check out the macro on the Canons, assuming you may use this to photo your models. Don't worry about "focuses down to "x" inches, that really means nothing. Rather look for a macro feature that provides 1-1 (best) 1-2, 1-3, etc. A 1-1 macro produces a lifesize image on the sensor, 1-2 is half size and so on.

Other than that think about the other photography you do in your lives. If you are thinking about making it a hobby, the DSLR might be the way to go and grow, other wise the Canons might be easier from just an ease of use standpoint.

I used to manage a small chain of camera stores (back in the days of film) and in the interest of full disclosure I am a Nikon owner (D90). Hopefully this will give you a jumping off point.
BillGorm
_VISITCOMMUNITY
New Jersey, United States
Joined: November 02, 2009
KitMaker: 609 posts
Historicus Forma: 0 posts
Posted: Monday, April 02, 2012 - 03:11 AM UTC
Honestly, all three of these cameras are WAY beyond what we've used in the past. The camera we're replacing - a low end Canon PowerShot - produced decent close-up photos of my models, but I could never get it to take crisp photos in other environments. Well, my wife dropped it the other day and put it out of its misery.

Do you think either the Nikon D3100 or the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS would really outpace the other model photography? If not, I'll probably go with the Nikon as it offers the possibility for expansion.

What about editing software? With our old point-and-shoot we'd just connect it to our iMac, download the photos, and use iPhoto for basic editing. Is there a reasonably priced photo editing package you'd recommend?

Thanks for your advice.
tread_geek
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 23, 2008
KitMaker: 2,844 posts
Historicus Forma: 1 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - 04:10 AM UTC
Bill,

Basically, the info that jowady shares in his post is very valid, especially about sensor size and the quality of the image. If cost is flexible, I would strongly suggest a true DSLR that is expandable. Also, don't be fooled by the megapixel numbers. The higher the number will not necessarily result in better pictures, especially with a point and shoot. Besides the Nikon you might also look at Canon or Sony (formerly produced by Minolta and bought out by them) entry/mid range DSLR's. Most of these have similar capabilities and your end choice may be how the camera feels when you hold it.

Both my wife and I were devoted Minolta users for years and that is why we each ended up with a Sony. It all boils down to what you want to do and are comfortable with.

As far as editing software goes, that all depends on for what purpose(s) you will be using the camera. As long time Mac users we still rely on iPhoto for the predominance of our basic photo editing. With our cameras you plug a cable into the camera and then attach it to your USB port and the Mac automatically opens iPhoto and asks you if you want to import the pictures. We also have Photoshop Elements for a few capabilities that iPhoto doesn't possess. The Elements software is very reasonable in cost ($80 at the Mac App Store) and we probably don't use one tenth of its capabilities. However, be prepared for a bit of a learning curve.

Cheers,
Jan
jowady
Joined: June 12, 2006
KitMaker: 1,027 posts
Historicus Forma: 38 posts
Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - 02:22 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Bill,

Basically, the info that jowady shares in his post is very valid, especially about sensor size and the quality of the image. If cost is flexible, I would strongly suggest a true DSLR that is expandable. Also, don't be fooled by the megapixel numbers. The higher the number will not necessarily result in better pictures, especially with a point and shoot. Besides the Nikon you might also look at Canon or Sony (formerly produced by Minolta and bought out by them) entry/mid range DSLR's. Most of these have similar capabilities and your end choice may be how the camera feels when you hold it.

Both my wife and I were devoted Minolta users for years and that is why we each ended up with a Sony. It all boils down to what you want to do and are comfortable with.

As far as editing software goes, that all depends on for what purpose(s) you will be using the camera. As long time Mac users we still rely on iPhoto for the predominance of our basic photo editing. With our cameras you plug a cable into the camera and then attach it to your USB port and the Mac automatically opens iPhoto and asks you if you want to import the pictures. We also have Photoshop Elements for a few capabilities that iPhoto doesn't possess. The Elements software is very reasonable in cost ($80 at the Mac App Store) and we probably don't use one tenth of its capabilities. However, be prepared for a bit of a learning curve.

Cheers,
Jan



Elements is good, I use it a lot. Nikon has Nikon Transfer which will allow transfer fro, your camera or card, automatically numbers and places your images in a folder, elementary editing, entering copyright or other info, etc. It comes with your camera for free. Nikon also has Capture NX2 which is a full blown editor, capable of all sorts of digital darkroom stuff, probably not necessary for most photographers. Between your Mac stuff and Elements you should be covered. Hope this helps.