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Recommend a good digital camera

ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
edited January 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey H/A,

In the coming months I'll be moving across the globe, and would like to document my trip. I already have a 4.0 MP Kodak camera, and while it does the job, the pictures are noticeably "amateur" looking. I will be visiting a lot of historic and beautiful landmarks over the next couple years, and I'd love to be able to take pictures with really high quality. I'm by no means a professional photographer, but I would say I have at least a beginner's knowledge with SLR etc.

I've found a few cameras, but as I am not plugged into the photographer world I'm not sure which models I should be looking for. Mainly I want a camera with 10 MP and a good lens/zoom. My budget is around $300-500 give or take, depending on how much of my funds I want to move around. If anyone has a good experience with a camera in that price range that churn out really beautiful pictures, I would love to hear about them.

Thanks!

PSN: Soultics
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Posts

  • SixSix Caches Tweets in the mainframe cyberhex Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Not sure why 10Mp is your target. More MP just means you can print bigger pictures, not necessary better quality.

    That said, the Canon XS and Nikon D40 D-SLR kits are in your price range. They come with serviceable lenses, and of course will take higher-quality lenses when you're ready to upgrade.

    Six on
    can you feel the struggle within?
  • ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Six wrote: »
    Not sure why 10Mp is your target. More MP just means you can print bigger pictures, not necessary better quality.

    That said, the Canon XS and Nikon D40 D-SLR kits are in your price range. They come with serviceable lenses, and of course will take higher-quality lenses when you're ready to upgrade.

    Ya, the D40 was one of the cameras I had been looking at. As for the 10MP, it's probably not as important as I said in the OP. I'm still stuck in the mindset I had when I was dealing with 1MP vs. 2-4MP way long ago. the 6MP with the D40 would do me just fine.

    How would you compare the Canon to the Nikon?

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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I have an 8MP Canon Rebel XT, it's pretty sweet. I'm assuming that the newer Rebels are just as good.

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  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Any of those DLSRs will serve you well. You should really consider buying some books on photography though, as sharpening your skills will do a lot more for improving the quality of your shots than a new camera will. I recommend Understanding Exposure and Learning to See Creatively.

    saltiness on
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  • Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Are you sure you want a DSLR? They are a real bitch to carry around all the time, even when you're going about your hometown - on a trip, you really have two choices:

    1) Take cataloging it very seriously and haul a DSLR system around that weighs a lot, costs more than its weight in gold and that you will never not have under lock and key.

    2) Pick up a nice compact that fits in a pocket and take a snapshot every now and then.

    If you go with 1, you'll likely get superior images. However, you'll also probably find yourself worrying about capturing the sights you see rather than enjoying them. If you half-ass it with 1, like by picking up an XT and a pair of kit lenses and never taking it out with you because it weighs a kilo, you'll end up with either no images or a few images that will be technically equal to the images you produce with a nice compact.

    I'd really highly suggest looking at option 2 and picking up something like a Canon G9. The Luminous Landscape did a neat review of the G9 where a fellow took it and a small but still comprehensive Leica kit with him on a trip to Japan.

    If you do have your heart set on getting a DSLR system, I'll toss up a few points when I get home this evening.

    Disclaimer: I haul ~3kg of cameras and lenses with me everywhere I go and would totally go with option 1 should I manage to score a trip around the world, so it's not that I'm adverse to the idea of heavy cameras altogether.

    Dark Moon on
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  • ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I don't mind carrying the camera (I used to carry my dad's old Rebel XOS around), but I would probably be more worried about security. I guess I have a stigma for handhelds, since the 4 or so I've owned in my lifetime haven't really given me pictures that I'd like.

    I'll check out that G9 you (Dark Moon) recommended and read up on it. I wouldn't say I'm 100% set on DSLR, but if I went with a more portable camera then it'd have to make a strong case for itself in terms of quality.

    Thanks for the help so far, everyone. I'll be reading up on all these today; however, if there's more recommendations out there (or tips, or "you're doing it wrong"s) then I'd like to hear those as well. :)

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  • ToefooToefoo Los Angeles, CARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Just finished reading the G9 review Dark Moon linked, and I think it's hooking me. I'll have to check out stores in my area to see if they have one I can look at, but that was a very strong case for a handheld camera.

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  • Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Excellent! Besides that review, I've also heard good things from my cousin, who I got to purchase that camera for her bumbling about the Netherlands and several trips to South America. It's as solid as lump of granite and the build tolerances are just spectacular - and, with the G10 out, you can get one for a pittance.

    It'll be especially useful for when you're out shooting in the street. People take notice when you pull out even a small, prosumer DSLR because they look fancy, but with a compact no one will take any notice at all. It'll reduce the chances of you getting mugged for your gear and, if you do lose it, it's only $380 or so and the entire kit can be replaced in a single trip to any electronics store.

    Consider also getting a small tripod of some sort. A GorillaPod or other micro tripod will be really useful in low light scenes and will allow you to do really cool stuff with lamplit streets at night. If you only shoot during the day, you're only getting half your experience!

    Be sure to post your results in the photo thread in the AC when the trip starts.

    Dark Moon on
    3072973561_de17a80845_o.jpg
  • SixSix Caches Tweets in the mainframe cyberhex Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I've never heard anything but good things about the G cameras. If you're not ready or willing for whatever reason to take the plunge on an slr, I would agree the G9 is a great choice.

    Six on
    can you feel the struggle within?
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