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09/26/2002 02:03:50 PM · #1
Hello everybody,

I have long had the desire to play as a photographer but never had the monetary situation to pursue it in the way that I wanted so basically I have almost zero experience. See, I don't have any real NEED to shoot pictures. I don't have any family I particularly want to capture on film. I don't view pictures of past events I've experienced with any particular nostalgia. I have zero practical reason to explore photography at all.

But...

I do love good photography and I am almost constantly seeing things in my day to day life from slightly skewered perspectives that I REALLY want to capture and play with and eventually hopefully share. I've had friends who are photographers and occasionally I've pointed out some of these perspectives and they've all said the same thing, "sounds great, so go ahead and shoot it". Hehe, but I haven't because the investment in starting to shoot has always been too high for me.

Well, digital photography seems to be a nice way to get started. Yes, there will be a nice upfront cost but I can shoot and play to my hearts content after that relatively cost free. After visiting this site, I have had a flare up of "want to share" like you wouldn't believe and I also have a bit of funds to be able to start my new hobby.

My question is, which camera to buy. I know that no one can give me the answer to this but they can give me suggestions. With these, I'll hopefully be able to feel good about whatever it is I finally buy :)

First thing I need to do is tell you exactly what I want to do with this camera and why and how I want to use it so here goes.

1. I don't want point and shoot. This is useless as I have nothing I particularly need to shoot. Anything I shoot will be for the sake of shooting so if it goes bad, no biggie.

2. I want the camera to be able to teach ME. What I mean is, I need an camera that can DO a significant number of effects and techniques but requires me to learn about what I want to do and think about setting up the shot so that I learn something and when I eventually get a cool shot I will cherish it.

3. Finished quality is nice but I don't feel I need top of the line now. I just need the finished product to be good enough to encourage me to keep going. If I happen to get good enough to need a better quality output I'll be glad to buy it then. Still, I don't want something that the final product is hopelessly doomed because the image is fundamentally hardware flawed.

4. I have some cash but am not rich. I'd like <1000 bucks but if the best camera for me is 1050 don't neglect to mention it :)

In less list form, I want a learning device. I don't care about instant gratification or getting the best shot out of the box. Actually, if I have any talent at all I'd eventually love a camera like that but for right now, I want to know how it's done and that means hands on. I won't get discouraged if I suck this way. Hey,I imagine that the process of learning that will be fun in and of itself.

I won't be pissed if I suck and I lay a grand on a camera that I just don't have the knack to get good pictures with. If it realistically lets me learn this and have fun doing it the money will have been well spent.

Anybody have any suggestions??


Ps - what I most want to shoot is man made objects without man ( actually non moving landscapes or objects in general apply. I'm less interested in "live" subjects but not morally opposed to such things; just not yet ). I really love to humanize inanimate objects or even better, present them in a way that hints that they indeed have a life or at least are a vital part of reality and are for the most part ignored. I'd like to be able to shoot them in a way that others can SEE what I am talking about because trying to tell them this tends to make them think I'm crazy :)Hey, I may BE crazy but if so, it's fun to be so :)


* This message has been edited by the author on 9/26/2002 2:09:14 PM.
09/26/2002 02:09:20 PM · #2
If you are willing to spend $1k, I would highly suggest going NOW and looking for the Sony DSC-F707 on sale somewhere since it has been discontinued. Or, you could look for the new F717 that will be selling for $999.

If you want to see the results of some of the 707 work, look around this site... I and several others here are using it...

The Sony S85 and S75 are 4mp and 3mp versions instead of the 5mp. My girlfriend uses the S75... I think it was $499.

also, go to DPREVEW and read some of the reviews on the various models... that's a great place to 'shop' without leaving your desk...
09/26/2002 02:12:02 PM · #3
I've been very happy with my Canon Powershot S30, and it's well under the $1,000 you're hoping to spend. It seems to be a very good camera for those who want to use the "Auto" features, as well as those who want better control of shutter speed/aperatures, etc.

But if you're willing to spend $1,000-ish, you'll undoubtedly find some cameras with something better to offer. But if you don't mind only spending $499-ish, go for the Canon :)
09/26/2002 02:13:41 PM · #4
Originally posted by JohnSetzler :
If you are willing to spend $1k, I would highly suggest going NOW and looking for the Sony DSC-F707 on sale somewhere since it has been discontinued. Or, you could look for the new F717 that will be selling for $999.

If you want to see the results of some of the 707 work, look around this site... I and several others here are using it...

The Sony S85 and S75 are 4mp and 3mp versions instead of the 5mp. My girlfriend uses the S75... I think it was $499.

also, go to DPREVEW and read some of the reviews on the various models... that's a great place to 'shop' without leaving your desk...



Thanks John for the quick reply. I will look into the models you have just suggested. Actually, I first went to DPREVIEW and without any guidance it overwhelmed me. I plan to read their reviews on any suggestions made here. Again, thanks.
09/26/2002 02:15:01 PM · #5
Originally posted by alansfreed:
I've been very happy with my Canon Powershot S30, and it's well under the $1,000 you're hoping to spend. It seems to be a very good camera for those who want to use the "Auto" features, as well as those who want better control of shutter speed/aperatures, etc.

But if you're willing to spend $1,000-ish, you'll undoubtedly find some cameras with [i]something
better to offer. But if you don't mind only spending $499-ish, go for the Canon :)[/i]

Oh trust me, I wouldn't mind :) Thanks.

09/26/2002 02:15:05 PM · #6
I just want to re-iterate that DPReview is an invaluable resource. Read both "the professional" reviews AND the users' reviews.
09/26/2002 02:16:13 PM · #7
Excellent... Let us know what you find and what you buy... :)
09/26/2002 02:31:31 PM · #8
Told yah I'm weird. First notable point from the review of the Sony DSC-F707 ,

People's normal initial reaction to the F505 / F707 design is one of amused bewilderment, but after they hold it themselves and start shooting they soon realize that the idea of cupping the lens in your left hand and using your right to control the camera is quite natural.

That actually seems quite natural to me. I am thinking but I cant be positive that I got this from the movies. Isn't this generally how this has been portrayed? Am I missing something?
09/26/2002 02:37:16 PM · #9
Originally posted by Axxon:
Told yah I'm weird. First notable point from the review of the Sony DSC-F707 ,

People's normal initial reaction to the F505 / F707 design is one of amused bewilderment, but after they hold it themselves and start shooting they soon realize that the idea of cupping the lens in your left hand and using your right to control the camera is quite natural.

That actually seems quite natural to me. I am thinking but I cant be positive that I got this from the movies. Isn't this generally how this has been portrayed? Am I missing something?


HERE are two photos of me (and my bigass bald head) shooting with the F707... my girlfriend took these last Sunday... lol

09/26/2002 02:39:55 PM · #10
I had very similar requirements when I started. I found the canon
G2 to be an excellent camera for learning. The swivel LCD screen
helps a lot if you are doing 'odd perspective' shots too, as you don't
have to get your head down there!

Canon have just announced the G3, so G2's should be getting cheaper..
I bought mine for about $700 a year ago.

www.dpreview.com and www.imaging-resource.com are good sites with
very comprehensive reviews.

A good dose of technical ability on the computer side will help a
lot too - much of the work in getting a really good picture happens
after you upload it to your PC (although a lot goes before too)

The G2 has a good mix of 'auto features' and full manual control that
I liked - also uses a more standard memory format than the Sony 707
(that was about the only reason I chose the Canon instead of the Sony
when I bought mine)

Look at my gallery if you'd like to see what I've managed to get the
G2 in the 9 months since I started this compelling hobby!

Some other thoughts:
you don't just need to buy the camera, you will probably quite
quickly want larger memory and a tripod would certainly be about
the best investment you could make for taking better pictures.

Also, online reviews are great, but you really need to get one of
these in your hands before you decide to buy it. I was very set on
a Nikon coolpix 995 for several weeks. Right up until I actually
got one in my hands and I hated how it felt. Now you could
very well love the swivel body - but you have to see them 'in person'
before you buy - even if you buy on-line in the end.


* This message has been edited by the author on 9/26/2002 2:40:19 PM.
09/26/2002 03:07:14 PM · #11
Don't overlook the Dimage 5, 7 and 7i. The zoom is excellent. I only paid $500 for my Dimage 5 and it has almost every manual feature you can imagine plus a manual zoom. The slow focus is one of the complaints from these, but it does also have manual focus.
09/26/2002 03:21:44 PM · #12
Gordon, we are indeed kindred spirits. I love what I have seen so far but let me state this; Presents II is an exceptional example of what I want to do. Great job!

One question. Why did you off center him? I'm not criticizing at all but I can't see the difference in this case between a focus or a situational shot. You had the vision. Why did you want him uncentered??
09/26/2002 04:03:03 PM · #13
Originally posted by Axxon:
Gordon, we are indeed kindred spirits. I love what I have seen so far but let me state this; Presents II is an exceptional example of what I want to do. Great job!

One question. Why did you off center him? I'm not criticizing at all but I can't see the difference in this case between a focus or a situational shot. You had the vision. Why did you want him uncentered??


They were half done as samples for a friend that was looking for
advertising shots for her business - the space was for ad copy.

Also it made it a bit more dynamic, least that was how I felt about it.
09/26/2002 04:30:30 PM · #14
I absolutely love my F707 but a couple other good choices may be the Nikon Coolpix5000 or 5700 or for a little less money, the Olympus C-4040 or C-5050. I have read and heard good things about these cameras. Remember there are advantages and disadvantages to an electronic viewfinder compared to an optical viewfinder. I personally like the EVF the best because you can see exactly what you are getting and all of the camera info is there to see. A big selling point for me with the Sony is that it has an extremely longlasting info-lithium battery that tells you the amount of battery time remaining. I rely on it a great deal.

T
09/26/2002 05:22:53 PM · #15
I am the happy owner of the canon s30 since 3 months even if now I would like to be able to do more 'mqcro' shot and have a longer zoom.
But otherwise .. I like it A LOT.
I use to read reviews at dcresource.com as well.
Keep the size of the camera in mind .... if it matters to you. and the s30 is 500$ official price
09/27/2002 11:07:36 AM · #16
Thanks everybody for your input. In the end it was a fierce battle between the sony and the canon g2. I went back and forth. Read way too much on them last night. Went and held them today.

In the end the G2 won out. I've just gotten home with my new baby and so far am very happy...and with a whole lot to learn. Yes, I've taken my first picture and for a first picture with an unfamiliar, heck lets be honest here, this is the first camera I have ever OWNED, the picture came out looking ok. Thats a good camera there :)

Well, off to play. Wish me luck and I'll take any advice or encouragement I can get. Bye and thanks again.

09/27/2002 11:14:12 AM · #17
We'll look forward to your entries, Axxon! Have fun.
09/27/2002 01:05:43 PM · #18
i have an Olympus E-10 that i love. i'm not sure what the price on it is any more. it is probably around a $1000. i like the fact that it feels like a 35mm slr. it is a bit bigger than a lot of the digital cameras out there. i just love the feel of it.
09/27/2002 01:45:29 PM · #19
Axxon ... Dell has the G2 for 700 I think and they have 10% off until the 30 I think amd you save the tax and right now ground shipping should be free.check it
Lionel
09/27/2002 01:50:25 PM · #20
oups sorry .. I did not rread you already got it. Have fun with the G2, it 's a great camera and try to submit when you feel ready
Good luck
lionel
09/27/2002 03:28:28 PM · #21
Oops, too late, just saw that the G2 was already bought. Oh well, maybe someone else can use this info FWIW...

Here is a starting point, hope it isn't too lengthy. Bear in mind that it represents what I know about these cameras and is subject to error and omission, though not on purpose as I've tried to be unbiased. Deciding on a camera is really a tough decision as the top models are all very close, each with it's good and bad points.

Cameras that I think are well worth considering:

Fuji 602 – Good: Very good image quality. Low cost ($550 - $600 from reliable Internet dealers). Lots of manual controls. 6x Zoom from 35mm to 210mm. Well built. Uses AA batteries and has long battery life. Only 3mp, but can output a 6mp file that rivals many 4 & 5 mp cameras. Compact size, but very comfortable to hold. Uses compact flash & supports microdrive AND can use SmartMedia. Bad: Requires an adapter to use filters. Smaller CCD than D7i/Hi, 707/717, & 5700. Images have very saturated (almost exagerated) color (like fuji film), some don’t like this. Has a bit of barrel distortion at wide angle.

Minolta D7i – Good: Sports more controls than any other camera in its class. Very good image quality. Reasonable cost (around $700 - $800). Uses AA batteries and has reasonable battery life. 5mp 2/3” CCD same as used on 707/717 & 5700. Great zoom range 28mm – 200 mm. Fast lens f2.8 – f3.5. Manual zoom ring control (mechanical link) and manual focus ring. Accurrate color (considered the most accurrate by many). Fast low light focus. Uses compact flash & supports microdrive. Threaded lens for using filters. Viewfinder swivels up/down for easy targeting. Larger size closer to a 35mm or DSLR with good ergonomics. Bad: Requires an adaptor to use studio or non-dedicated external flash. Battery life, while not terrible, is not as good as the others.

Minolta D7Hi – Good: Has everything good that the D7I has plus… Has a PC Sync connector for studio and non-dedicated flashes. Has slightly faster auto focus and less shutter lag. Large buffer for fast shooting. Can shoot 3 frames per second and allows more shooting as the buffer gets emptied to the compact flash. Better hand grip. More user memories for custom settings. Black matt finish (looks more professional in the opinion of some). Bad: battery life is the same or only slightly improved over the D7i. Cost more.

Sony 707 – Good: Very good image quality, the sharpest images of any camera in its class. Reasonable cost (around $700 - $800). Good battery life. Decent zoom range 38mm – 190mm. Very fast lens f2.0 – f2.4. 2/3” CCD same as used on D7i/7Hi & 5700. Full manual controls including a manual focus ring. Focus assist lamp that allows camera to focus even in complete darkness. Camera body swivels up/down for easy targeting. Threaded lens for using filters. Unique ergonomics that some love and others hate. Bad: Unique ergonomics that some love and others hate. Cannot be attached to non-dedicated or studio flashes. Colors not always accurrate, reds sometimes exaggerated. Propiretary memory stick memory only available up to 128Meg. Proprietary battery is expensive for a spare or replacement.

Sony 717 – Good: Has everything good that the 707 has plus… Has a hot shoe compatible with non-dedicated flashes and can fire studio strobes (protector needed for the studio?). Improved viewfinder. Manual zoom ring control (electrical link). Improved autofocus time and less shutter lag. Bad: Still uses Sony memory stick and expensive battery. (cost more?).

Nikon 5700 – Good: Very good image quality. Lots of manual controls. Has a hot for the Nikon flash (but doesn't do flash zoom). Same viewfinder as the Fuji 602 & Sony 717. Outstanding 8x zoom range from 35mm - 280mm. Uses compact flash compatible with microdrive. LCD screen pulls out and swivels nicely. Good ergonomics. 2/3” CCD same as used on 707/717 & D7i/7Hi. Decent battery life. Bad: Problems focusing in low light. Mediocre lens speed F2.8 – F4.2 lens. Flash shoe requires an adaptor for non-dedicated flashes and is not voltage protected for studio strobes. No threads for using filters :-(


I think that you should be looking down the road to the things that will likely become important to you as you become more familiar with your camera and photography in general. Here is my list:

1) Image quality - Good images at the size you intend to print at. This will also dictate how many pixels you need.
2) Creative control - Ability to manulay select aperture, shutter, and focus.
3) Zoom range - Since all consumer cameras have non-replacable lenses, consider that you are stuck with what the camera supports. Some allow add-on lenses, but they are a pain to use and not always cheap.
4) CCD size - This will in part determine how much DOF (Depth of Field) you get for a given focal length and aperture setting. It ties in with creative control. A 1/2" CCd (usually on a 2mp and some newer 3mp cameras) will have so much DOF that you will virtually never get a blurred background. Unfortunately, only the the top of the line consumer cameras have a large enough CCD to even begin to get a shallow DOF.
5) Advanced controls - White balance, saturation, exposure compensation, RAW output, etc.
6) Auto focus speed.
7) Low light focus ability. Some have a focus assist lamp for low light conditions (707, 717). The D7i/Hi boost the CCD sensitivity so it does well too. Rumor has it that the 5700 falls down in this area and the fuji isn’t as good as many had hoped for.
8) Support for an external, non-dedicated flash and studio flashes.
9) Lens threaded to accept filters.





* This message has been edited by the author on 9/27/2002 7:26:25 PM.


* This message has been edited by the author on 9/27/2002 8:46:38 PM.
09/28/2002 03:12:23 PM · #22
Ok, I know that this no longer belongs here but I want to have some closure with this topic.

Here is the first picture that I have taken that I am proud of. I took it at work last night and I really like how it turned out. I've been picturing this for over a year since I first noticed it and am happy it is my first effort.

//mywebpage.netscape.com/Axxib/pinoccio.jpg

Advice shamefully and seriously solicited.

One more thing, book learning vs community college stuff. Your opinions/ experiences wanted.

Understand that I'm moving off topic. I'll move further discussions to the proper place. I am justifying this post because I'm including a link that shows what one day with the camera can do as a sort of visual guide for total newbies like me.

ps - sorry about forgetting the html code to make this a link. Could anybody quickly give me a how to do?

* This message has been edited by the author on 9/28/2002 3:14:13 PM.
09/28/2002 04:23:45 PM · #23
That's not a bad start to start with something 'special'. I do n ot know if you can do it but I would :
- focus more on the 'nose' of pinoccio.
- Remove or atenuate the shadow (add more lights around the object if you can)
- Reduce the very bright reflections
Good luck with the G2
Lionel
09/28/2002 04:40:27 PM · #24
If you guys/gals are comfortable with EBay, I would suggest looking there. I purchased quite a few accessories from a company called 47st. Photo - and was very pleased... below is a link to a brand new DSC-F707 with quite a few accessories:

Sony DSC-F707



JB


Originally posted by JohnSetzler :
If you are willing to spend $1k, I would highly suggest going NOW and looking for the Sony DSC-F707 on sale somewhere since it has been discontinued. Or, you could look for the new F717 that will be selling for $999.

If you want to see the results of some of the 707 work, look around this site... I and several others here are using it...

The Sony S85 and S75 are 4mp and 3mp versions instead of the 5mp. My girlfriend uses the S75... I think it was $499.

also, go to DPREVEW and read some of the reviews on the various models... that's a great place to 'shop' without leaving your desk...


09/29/2002 05:58:02 AM · #25
Originally posted by lionelm:
That's not a bad start to start with something 'special'. I do n ot know if you can do it but I would :
- focus more on the 'nose' of pinoccio.
- Remove or atenuate the shadow (add more lights around the object if you can)
- Reduce the very bright reflections
Good luck with the G2
Lionel


Lets see:

1. I can certainly try to focus more on the nose. I was doing that actually when I hit upon this shot and I was happy enough with my luck to stop while I was ahead :) Should be fun to experiment some more with this.

2. I was going to say that this one I can't do but I hate saying I can't. It closes off the creativity as the issue becomes closed in the mind. I will say instead that I have no practical ideas of how to pull this off. Pinoccio is on the door of a stall in a public restroom. There are no nearby outlets for electricity and I don't have an external battery powered light. I don't know of any way to enhance the light that currently exists there either. This one needs some more thinking by me. I could pull the door off the hinges and move it into better light. Propping it up against the sink would allow me to play the flash from the left against the harsh overhead bulb. I don't know if it would help or not though. In any case, it doesn't seem wise :)

3. Reflections eh. Hmmm....naah, better not :) Actually, I hadn't noticed how bad this was. I don't know how to try and fix this but I'm sure it's doable. This will be a good way to start learning some valuable techniques. I'll have to get on it.

Thanks for your input.
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