Gransnet forums


Looking for a camera..

(20 Posts)
Aka Sat 30-Nov-13 11:14:32

Are there any amateur photographers out there? I'm looking for a new camera for Christmas. Don't mind a compact or DSLR. My price limit is £400 but if I can get a good one for less that's ok.
Picture quality and ease of use are most important. Also as it's mainly for capturing 'that moment' something very fast. Ease to download, possibly WiFi ?, but I'd also like to be able to use it to capture some of the birds that visit my garden.

Any suggestions would be really welcome smile

Aka Sat 30-Nov-13 11:15:47

PS I've looked on the Internet, but there's a bewildering selection, so a personal recommendation would go a long way.

Mishap Sat 30-Nov-13 11:42:46

Don't panic - I used to work as a photographer and it all depends on what you want to do with the end product. Do you want high quality prints, or are you more likely to share online?

Cameras have moved on so fast and my advice would be to go for whatever gets you what you want with the least trouble!

Compact cameras are cheap, easy to use and have good picture quality, but not such good zoom quality if you want to get close-up.

DSLRs are a total pain for the sort of family or holiday photography that most people want to do. Whilst it is nice to have some sort of greater control than a compact can offer, having to change lenses to go close or distant is a nuisance. I stopped using a DSLR even when I was working professionally as I was usually photographing film shoots and had to seize the moment when a good shot materialised - no time to faff around with lens changing.

What you need is a "bridge" camera: DSLR quality with ease of use. They have come down in price remarkably, produce excellent prints quality, give you control if you want it but have various auto functions if you are in a hurry, generally have good zooms and no lens changing needed! Look for a good "optical zoom" quality on the details - some have enormous "digital zoom" which gets in close at the expense of picture quality.

If you go out and buy "Which Digital Camera" they will review them all and usually have a section for bridge cameras.You can lso research bridge cameras online. Having chosen which one you want, then shop around online as it is a competitive market and you can often get a good price. If you find one you think looks like what you want, post on here and I will let you know what I think.

One other factor to consider is power source. I have one camera that works on ordinary AA batteries, so if I run out of power with the rechargeable AAs when I am out and about I can just buy off the shelf to keep me going.

If you are taking family photos, make sure you put the red-eye facility on when using flash, and - a little tip here! - if you still find the flash too harsh (with a too bright picture and harsh shadows) lick a cigarette paper and stick it to the flash - works like a charm!

Also think about weight - do you ant something heavy hanging round your neck?

My two bridge cameras are an Olympus (which is very old but I love it and it's an old friend of mine) and a Fuji.

ffinnochio Sat 30-Nov-13 11:49:45

How long is a piece of string? Yes, there's a huge range but if you want a 'snapper' that fits in your pocket, I would recommend a Canon S110 or Canon S120. I've had a older model of this for quite a few years, and although I would love to have a more advanced camera one day, this serves my purpose very well. I've been able to take some great photos with it.

Here's the review:

or there's this review:

Happy hunting.

I lust for a Lexus.....

Ceesnan Sat 30-Nov-13 12:11:45

Aka I have a bridge camera, a Fuji FinePix S which I have found to be perfect for my needs it's a couple of years old now and I have never had a problem with it, it has an 18x zoom and 12 MP spec and is quite light to handle, but certainly doesn't feel flimsy. I paid about £130 for it, when it was on offer at Argos.

Granny23 Sat 30-Nov-13 12:50:03

DD2 who studied photography at college before moving on to video and film, has two very expensive cameras (bought with staff discount when she worked she worked for Jessups part time during her student days). However, they are hardly ever used these days as she finds that the quality of the pictures taken with her latest mobile phone is more than adequate for most purposes.

Maniac Sat 30-Nov-13 13:19:08

First digital camera bought 2004 was a Pentax Optio 50.
My current camera bought 3 yrs ago is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30
and I'm delighted with it .
Bought from Amazon!! for around £130 its nearly always in my pocket.
I take landscapes,people, close-ups of flowers and insects indoors and out.
It was recommended to me by a member of our local camera club.

My SIL has recently taken up photography and never does things by half.
He bought an expensive SLR camera and is now doing a 2yr photography course.He expressed surprise at the quality of my pics. especially close-ups.
I recently did a 5 wk evening class on 'Getting the most from your compact camera' -learnt a lot but my efforts compared favourably with rest of the class.

Aka Sat 30-Nov-13 13:58:11

Thank you all very much smile

How nice to come back cold and muddy from the allotment, change into clean clothes and sit down with a mug of builders-brew strength tea and read your replies.

These have convinced me a compact will suffice for my needs. I'll chase up the various links why I thaw out.

Mishap Sat 30-Nov-13 14:01:08

Good decision - the compacts (and indeed mobile phone cameras) have come on technically by leaps and bounds - and you can pop them in your pocket. Hope you find one that you like.

annodomini Sat 30-Nov-13 14:41:24

My last camera was a cheap 10 megapixel Casio with both manual and digital zoom. The latter worked amazingly well before my hands got shaky. But it wouldn't keep its battery and memory card compartment shut so now I have a compact Fuji Finepix with 16 megapixels and 10x optical zoom. Its battery life is nothing like as long as the Casio's, but otherwise doing well.

berdie Sat 30-Nov-13 17:27:41

I've had a Samsung WB5000, now for 12 months or more, I go photographing ships in all locations, both close up in locks and in rivers at some distance. If you want a good, reasonably priced camera, with good zoom, the ability to snap pictures of children, flowers, butterfly's etc, I would recommend this model, as a general purpose camera.

ps Sat 30-Nov-13 18:26:30

I'm a Nikon man myself and believe their optics are a cut above the rest but will add that Canon too produce good cameras. All I would say is take your time, establish what kind of photographs you will be taking for most of the time and what kind of image quality you wish to achieve. Then research and choose what's best for you. You will have the camera for a fair amount of time so it's wise to choose carefully in order not to be left wanting at a later date.

Aka Sat 30-Nov-13 20:48:42

I'm taking all this on board. Many thanks again.

Galen Sat 30-Nov-13 21:26:21

I'm delighted with my Panasonic bridge camera.

Flowerofthewest Sat 30-Nov-13 22:47:45

the cheaper but still very good quality Sigma lenses are compatible with Nikon. A friend has just bought a Fuji Bridge camera and swears by it. I am looking for a bridge camera with a view finder. I find view finders easier to use than the other option.

Flowerofthewest Sat 30-Nov-13 22:48:32

Have just found out that Sigma also do lenses for Canon so that widens the choice

Mishap Sat 30-Nov-13 23:12:08

Some cameras give you the option to swap back and forth from viewfinder to screen at the press of a button I know this, because I keep pressing the darned thing by mistake!

Ceesnan Sun 01-Dec-13 07:32:34

My Fuji FinePix has the option to swap to the view finder from screen.

mrsmopp Mon 30-Dec-13 10:28:28

I love my Panasonic lumix compact camera as it has a lens with a good zoom and also wide angle which is very useful too. The pictures are pin sharp and I've has some enlarged to A4 size with great success. It also does movie clips. The particular model has been superseded now, but if you look in the Panasonic shop you can see the latest models. Just tell them what you want it to do. You will be pleased with the price too - you'll get plenty of change from your £400.
Do let us know what you decide!

gangy5 Mon 30-Dec-13 12:29:03

I also have a Panasonic lumix Z series and am very happy with it. I chose it partly for the fact that it has a Leica lens. Pictures are nice and sharp - infact I had a family group enlarged to poster size just recently and it is surprisingly sharp.

If you like fiddling it has many options to fiddle with. Like Maniac I also did a course on getting the best from your conpact camera. To be honest it was very informative about all the available variables with the camera but I have to admit to taking the easy way out and leave it on automatic most of the time.