Help wanted with new camera advice - PLEASE

spurs fan in a coupe

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Happy new year everyone,

I'm off on safari this year and want to get a camera that can capture the best bits but without breaking the bank.

Had a look round a few big name chain stores but have no idea what mega-pixel is excessive or what optical zoom etc. I have no idea what the benefits of SLR are.

I'm sure someone on here can explain in a sentence???

Max budget about £400.

THANKS
 

GazHyde

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It really depends what you are after. If you want something to slip in your pocket then an SLR is not a good idea!

The advantage of an SLR type camera is that you can change the lenses to match the type of picture you are after. A 'compact' style camera will have a limited level of zoom, but will fit in your pocket.

Go for a camera of at least 8-10 megapixel. The more pixels the better the ability to see the detail close up on screen.

Other than that, it's down to personal preference!
 

simonbud100

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Only a thought, but if its for a Safari trip, then an SLR may just be more hasstle than the worth of it. By the time you change lenses for close / long distance shots the scene will probably have changed.

There are some very good compacts out there now that offer 16 x optical zoom, about 14MP and full HD video capture for a couple of hundred quid. Have a look at something like a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20.

I have got a Panasonic compact and I usually manage to take better pictures with it than with my Nikon DSLR (which probably says more about the user than the kit!)
 

SeaSurfer

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We have the Fuji Finepix S5600 and a Fuji Finepix S9000. I find the S9000 hard to keep still on long shots unless i cart a tripod around with me aswell, and find the S5600 a fantastic camera for outdoor and especially long shots and zoom without the tripod.

We also have the Pentax Optio WG1 about £200 with a card, and the great advantage is, it is waterproof, so no worries if its pooring down or if you drop it in water and easily fits in your pocket. It is also excellent on macro for the small wildlife and fauna which you will see.

For Safari out of the 3 i would take the S5600 (think the lastest of that model is now called the S6000) which has a very good zoom which is handleable or the Pentax. The quality of video footage is very good on both and would easily keep in focus if you were to be chased by something s:mrgreen

Prices are around £120/£140 for the S5600 and S9000.

Hope this helps you a bit. I bought the 'Which Camera' magazine which was good
 
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zedonist

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As you are going on Safari, you really need a camera with a good optical zoom, I would rule out compacts and would in my opinion look at either a Digital Bridge or Digital SLR. I would not worry about the size or carrying it about, you are on Safari, so will be in a vehicle most of the time, and it will be the quality that matters, you wont get this with a compact.

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/pro ... /show.html
http://www.jessops.com/online.store/pro ... /show.html

The two above are Digital SLR and as part of the kit come with a very good separate zoom Lens, this is the setup i would use personally, I would purchase a number of memory cards and shoot all pictures in the RAW format for editing later on return.

However I have had great success with bridged cameras (Fuji & Nikon) as they offer the balance of a compact and a digital SLR, the two below have between a 20 and 30 x optical zoom, be wary of cameras that sell fantastic digital zoom rates, this is done by software manipulation of the pixels and not via optics, and ends up with a poor grainy finish:

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/cat ... /Show.html
http://www.jessops.com/online.store/cat ... /Show.html

I am currently using the Nikon D3100 and find it is an excellent camera and more manipulative than my Olympus E500. Both of these cameras I have bought as the kit with a Zoom Lens, it will save you pounds against buying a separate zoom.

I have posted Jessops links, but you should be able to save more money looking on line, Amazon etc, plus Curry's is also a good bet right now, get a managers special etc

Which ever one you choose, remember just like ZRoadster.org, there will be a forum for your camera, have a look at these first before making your final choice, and also for shooting tips.

Alternatively you could purchase one these http://www.writeups.org/img/inset/WLOCK_SSAMR_h.jpg will make your final wall hanging more life like :D
 

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Don't get wrapped up in the megapixel marketing mans dream ie a digital SLR with half the megapixels will give a much better picture than a high mega pixel pocket camera because the sensor is much bigger but the marketing man will not tell you that ;-) plus even a cheap SLR lens will be better than all pocket cameras.

Given your budget and use I would get a hybrid or if you want to spend some time researching get a second hand digital SLR and zoom lens remarkably cheaply eg my old cannon 20d can be had for peanuts on eBay and a mid zoom lens for well under your budget. Remember to factor in a memory card. This as an example would give you better pics than any current compact. I've just given my 20d away to a mate who had a similar dilemma and he loves it.
 

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Good point on the memory card Jonttt. Check to see what type of card it takes, and make sure you take a couple spare. The more megapixels, the bigger the image will be. You don't want to run out of space halfway through your holiday!
 

NeRo

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I buy a lot of my camera bits and pieces from 7 Day Shop
 

spurs fan in a coupe

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Thanks for your help everyone!

I knew I could rely on you guys and gals.

I have been looking for a while and think something like this is a good compromise.

"zedonist" thanks for taking the time to paste up the links I had already found this one

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003 ... d_i=468294

24x optical zoom seems like a good bet, much like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 Digital Camera in Black

you had found, I think this is the sort of thing i'll go for. Now just a matter of taking the plunge or waiting until Vegas in Feb and seeing if they are cheaper in the states, or simply waiting for prices to come down before our trip which isn't for months!

Oh the decisions!
 
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badman gee

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The panasonics are an in between a compact and a full slr I believe.

They get a good write up.

The fz100 has been superseeded by the fz150 around 400 pound on amazon.

There is an offer with Panasonic at the moment, 5 year guarantee.

It could be cheaper elsewhere.

Mark
 

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spurs fan in a coupe said:
Oh the decisions!
Why not wait until you win the jackpot in Vegas ...... ?
Alternatively, if you have identified the make/model you want, it may be cheaper in Duty Free or Stateside.
And FWIW, I'd get a DSLR for the safari :(|)
 
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badman gee

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It's not much more money for a dslr. Best option I think.
 

board

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If you're going to Vegas then here is a big store called frys, if you don't know of it already, which usually has good prices on equipment. Worth a visit anyway if you are there :)
 

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Personally, I'd go or a DSLR. There are too many digital compacts that seem to offer a great deal more than they really do. Don't get confused between optical zoom and digital zoom, which compacts frequently have.

Most DSLR's will have a fully automatic setting so you don't have to worry about all of the other features that are available. Use the camera, practice lots before you go and remember that unlike the days of 35mm photography, seeing the results doesn't cost a fortune in developing and printing. Delete the shots you don't want to keep.

As has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread, get plenty of memory . . . . . cards are cheap at the moment and missing shots because your cards are full is a painful experience.

I know it's a bit more than you wanted to spend, but Jessops have this on offer now, which I think is a great starter package;

http://www.jessops.com/online.store/pro ... romo_1100d

Whatever you buy, enjoy the holiday and take loads of photos. I enjoy looking back on the sights I've seen.
 

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The Sony nex range seem to be getting good reviews recently and have the changeable lenses, not sure on prices tho. I'm a cannon DSLR person so have the lenses for that but it's not something that is easy to cart around as it's very heavy so I think twice before carrying it unless there is a specific need.
 

NeRo

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Mouldy's recommendation of the Canon DSLR is a good choice - the longer focal length lens will be useful on safari

If you decide to take your photography more seriously in the future, you can get another better spec'd body and use those lenses. With the bridge camera you will need to replace the whole lot

What are you going to do with your photos - if you keep them on your computer, them Megapixels aren't important. However, if you intend printing them out Megapixels will be important to get large images

One important thing I always advise people to do, is to hold the camera before buying it. Make sure it is comfortable in your hand and any controls are easily accessible
 

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For the safari I'd take my DSLR as i would want to get the best shots I could. I would probably take the cannon ef 28-300 lens which should keep everything covered both close up and far away without having to keep swapping lenses. It's a bit of a pap lens but would, I think, suit the safari well.

It's a lot more than 400 quid tho but once you have bought the glass it outlasts the body which you can upgrade over time so might be worth considering if you can. There are other makes of lens so something similar in spec should do the job. Have a look out for used lenses too which Jessops and other places carry if you go down the DSLR route as that could get you a better lens for less money.

Before handing over any cash, get your hands on as many cameras as possible to see how they feel. You need to be comfortable with it in your hand. Having something that feels right with the balance and operation is important so you can react quickly when you need to.

I would also keep in mind something with a high frame rate so you don't miss anything. I do a lot of sports photography and wouldn't look at anything less than 8 frames per second. Safari will present similar situations where you have limited time to catch the action so you need to get as many shots in as quickly as possible. As the others have mentioned, get a few memory cards and also it's worth carrying a portable drive that you can copy the card data to. I use one which comes from australia (I'll have to dig the link out) but it has the usual card slots and you add a laptop drive to it. It runs off a battery so you can be emptying one card while shooting on the other. It saves having a bag full of cards floating around and keeps everything in one place so you just plug it into your computer and everything is there.

The DSLR cameras now tend to shoot HD video so if the mood takes you it's worth having that option too so you can have everything in one package.

Sorry for any typos, typing on my iPhone so limited screen size to see everything!

Hope that helps more than hinders! :) I know the lens I mentioned is way over budget but it's the spec I'm really getting at on that one.
 

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board said:
The Sony nex range seem to be getting good reviews recently and have the changeable lenses, not sure on prices tho. I'm a cannon DSLR person so have the lenses for that but it's not something that is easy to cart around as it's very heavy so I think twice before carrying it unless there is a specific need.
Although the Sony NEX range use DSLR sensors, they suffer from the same problem that the majority of compacts do and that is they lack an optical viewfinder. When you try a compact inside a shop, it all appears to be fine, but when you try to compose your photo outside, especially in sunshine it becomes far more difficult to see the screen. It is true that a DSLR will be heavier and more cumbersome than a compact, but given where you are going, getting a worthwhile record of your trip will make it all worthwhile and besides, budget range DSLR's such as the Canon EOS1100 aren't particularly large or heavy.

As far as lenses are concerned, kit lenses (the ones supplied with the camera when you buy a bundle) are usually more than adequate for the beginner and only really need to be upgraded if you decide that photography is for you and you want to take it more seriously.

Give the OP's budget and where he wants to take the shots, I would still recommend DSLR. Spare batteries and memory will be much cheaper from Amazon and when you have chosen what to buy, this site may be useful;

http://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk/
 
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