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Camera suggestions, or questions I should be asking

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    Camera suggestions, or questions I should be asking

    I have been using a tablet or a phone for all of my photos. But, I think I would like to save aside some money to purchase a descent set up to build off of. And. Go! ( I am a complete novice), so, please feel free to start at the basic level.

    Couple of things. 1st budget. you can go a few hundred to a few thousand. Once that is established, then what are you looking to do? Just cooks, indoor, outdoor, wildlife? I have a Nikon system. Not high end, but versitle as I have about 6 lens. Now some were from my film days. They were compatible with the DSLR. But in the form of camera MCS I bought more when I went DSLR. Now I am going to be prefectly honest with you. I have not pulled it of the bag in 6 months. And I feel guilty for that. But when you have your phone right there to capture family moments, it's easier. If i were to go out in the field for some nature photography, it is the only option. As I said, I am Nikon fan. So if you narrow things i spoke to do, i'll be happy to make suggestions for Nikon.


    • Richard Chrz
      Richard Chrz commented
      Editing a comment
      So, I could imagine going a grand saved for a semi ok body, that I can quickly put a cheap lens on while I save for better lenses that I could later attach to a better body, if I so chose too. 😜

    I’d recommend that you first define what kind of photography you are interested in: some types do better for landscape and others for sports, etc. There is not only the brand of camera, but you’ll also find a lot of discussion about mirrorless vs DSLR. Sites like dpreview have buyers guides that can be helpful, plus you can find pictures you like and see what equipment was used to take them. Good luck!


      2 things to pay attention to, lens compatibility (and price) as well as auto capability. You'll want some good auto features until you dial the camera in. I got a Canon and the auto features and software are great BUT the lenses on the body I got are very limited and it looks like they plan on phasing them out every few years. Other manufacturers are being more generous and letting lenses live longer across generations. You can buy adapters but native lenses are ideal since they focus faster and better.


        The best camera is the one you have with you.

        I first shot with Canon, but as my health declined, I looked for something smaller and landed on Olympus’ PEN cameras, and for the past 5-6 years the OM-Ds. I can’t recommend them, though, as Olympus has announced they are discontinuing their consumer business (they are the world leader in medical imaging). I will say this: when I shot with Canon, I shot in RAW and processed the photos in Lightroom and Photoshop. When I switched to Olympus, I started shooting in RAW, but the jpgs I got from the Olympus processing engine were so good that I stopped shooting RAW, and just shot jpg. The only post processing I do now is the basic stuff: exposure, a little contrast and shadow, etc. The colors and depth are great.

        I have to say, though, 99.9% of the photos I take these days are with the iPad. Because they appear right away on this nice big screen.

        Your photos that you put on FB are pretty good, btw. You have a nice eye for a frame-up.
        Last edited by Mosca; July 30, 2020, 08:51 PM.


          As RichieB said - what do ya want to do with it? I've been shootin' over 50 years starting with film and developing and printing myself. In 2004 I switched to digital. At one time I had more invested in camera gear than in my vehicle... Unless you want to get really serious about photography you'd be better off upgrading your phone. Some phones will do more than the casual shooter needs, and will make calls too. BTW I have lost the drive necessary to do what I did in the past and haven't pulled my camera out of it's backpack in months.

          I have seen to many people get all gung ho about photography and buy some gear only to shoot for a short time and lose interest. The learning curve for photography as a hobby is steep. Not only do you have to learn all the camera stuff, but a ton more stuff to process your digital files.

          Here are two free sites you can check out. Both have user photos posted as well as info on gear and how too:




          Here's one photo from several years ago:

          Click image for larger version  Name:	A07Y5379[1].jpg Views:	0 Size:	288.3 KB ID:	889017
          Last edited by RonB; July 30, 2020, 08:55 PM.


          • Donw
            Donw commented
            Editing a comment
            Great bear photo!

          • Elton's BBQ
            Elton's BBQ commented
            Editing a comment
            What a shot!!

          • Ahumadora
            Ahumadora commented
            Editing a comment
            How did it taste? Was it tough?

          Budget and intended use are the first things to fully nail down.
          This is what I do... I’m looking through a viewfinder or at a screen almost every day.

          If you decide to go the DSLR or mirrorless route, concentrate on lenses. Bodies are almost disposable...but a good lens will last years. B&H and Adorama seem to have decent deals on used lenses...useful if you’ve gone into sticker shock looking at those. (Some can cost more than a decent used car.) Full disclosure though, I’ve never purchased used gear.

          I shot with Nikon for years, when I shot film. My last one was the F4s. I still have it...but these days it pretty much just sits on a shelf with my other antique cameras. C’est la vie. I switched to Canon when I went digital because Nikon was still playing catch-up at the time...at least with regards to professional gear. Anyway, I’ve owned and used 10, 5, and 1 series cameras...and lenses that I purchased 15 years ago still work great today.

          It’s easy to get caught up in “bells & whistles” so it’s important to define your needs vs wants...and what a new camera/system can do that you can’t already do...

          I have friends that have Rebels...but I honestly find them confusing. In making them “easy” to use, they removed most of the buttons, knobs, & dials that I use daily. LOL So for ME, they’re not intuitive in the least. I also found them to be very small and almost toy like. With THAT in mind, I would suggest picking up and handling a couple cameras on your shortlist. Ergonomics can play a big role in your experience and willingness to use it. I’m so used to using BIG cameras that most mirrorless bodies feel completely awkward and uncomfortable. I regularly carry 1-2 bodies and at least 3 lenses...usually 4...plus filters, extenders, extension tubes, extra batteries...yada yada yada.

          So yeah,
          Lenses/Lens Selection
          Needs vs Wants


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            Being used to older 35mm SLR's and now DSLR's the past 15 years, I also find my daughter's mirrorless Sony A6 to be almost too tiny to be comfortable for extended shooting. I like something I can wrap my right hand around at least.

          • surfdog
            surfdog commented
            Editing a comment
            Yep...even if using a 5 series, I NEED to add a battery grip or it just feels really odd.
            And tiny.

          A camera is just a box of parts unless it is in your hands and being used so determine what you want to shoot, and then find the camera that you won’t think twice about keeping with you all the time.
          While I have bags full of Canon bodies and lenses which I need for bear photography, an Olympus is my “pocket‘ camera since I wouldn’t think twice about taking it with me all the time when ever I go anywhere because it was so small and yet takes fantastic photos. But as RonB pointed out if Olympus is discontinuing their prosumer lines then I wouldn’t recommend investing in that line either.
          I am quite amazed at how far phone cameras have evolved so you might seriously look into just upgrading your phone and investing in a few accessories to make your photography easier. After all, your phone, if you are like most people today, will always turned on and in your pocket when you need it.


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            My iPhone 11 takes amazing photos, and other than not having a continuous optical zoom like my Nikon, is the better camera from the perspective that it is ALWAYS in my pocket. My DSLR and a bag of lenses, flashes, etc, is not always gonna be with me...

          Two ways to go in my opinion here. You either go traditional DSLR (think Nikon DX or Canon EOS here), or the newer mirrorless cameras, where the Sony A series (A6, A7, etc) is pretty good. Both directions give you the important option of interchangeable lenses, accessory flashes, movie as well as still mode.

          I am personally partial to Nikon, and still have some Japanese Nikoor (Nikon's lens brand) lenses, before even Japan shifted their optics production to China, Malaysia, and other places. My daughter has a really nice Sony A6 with several lenses. The mirrorless cameras are much smaller and lighter is their chief advantage.

          Either way, you will also need probably a couple of lenses, but can start with a general purpose zoom that goes from wide angle to mid-length telephoto. For my Nikon that would be something like an 18-55mm. Zoom lenses are not the best for low light unless you break the bank though, so I also have prime lenses such as a 35mm F1.8 and 50mm F1.8.

          All that said, the last use my Nikon saw was for some pictures of a "drive through" wedding shower back in March/April, as my iPhone 11 camera is just much more convenient for day to day use.


            I have used 35mm cameras, Sing Lense Reflex film cameras, and Digital versions for fifty years now. Except for vacations I almost always use my iPhone these days. As someone mentioned above define the type of photos you want to take first and perhaps how often you will do it. It can be a little like a case of misguided MCS. You purchase a cooker you hardly ever use. In the mean time, if you haven’t already done it, explore the versatility of photo taking on your phone or tablet. The possibilities and versatility on phones and tablets get better and better every year.


              I would add more important than the camera is learning the fundamentals of composition and light. If you have mastered those then moving on to a more versatile camera makes sense. Otherwise work on the basics of composition and light and you might be more than happy with the pics you can get on your phone.
              Last edited by LA Pork Butt; July 31, 2020, 08:22 AM.


                If you are shooting something like sports or grandkids moving quickly, I would recommend a DSLR for the fast shutter speed. I had an Olympus non-DSLR and missed some great shots of whales surfacing because of the shutter speed. Same for pics of the grandkids. No issue for the Nikon (still great after 9 years).

                Other than that, a high end Apple or Samsung phone should satisfy most of your needs.

                Agree with everyone above. Tell them how much you want to spend and what you will be shooting and they can give you the best advice.


                  I understand the impulse but... think about it. Above you mentioned dropping a grand on a body with a cheap lens until you can upgrade. To me, this is precisely the inverse of what you should do. Good lenses are more important than a body that will do everything under the sun.

                  Along with what kind of photos and a budget, think about your intended use of the photos. If you want to print things, great cameras with higher resolution are a must. But for posting online, much of that resolution will be lost and other things become more important (dynamic range, etc).

                  If you're actually ok with the quality you get from your phone camera but want better capability lens-wise, something like the Moment lenses might be worth playing with https://www.shopmoment.com/lenses/

                  This is a really good overview of what you can do with a smartphone camera to enhance it. it's a 7 minute video and while the specifics are a little out of date (it's from 2017) it's still good info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkPter7MC1I
                  Last edited by rickgregory; July 31, 2020, 12:48 PM.


                    I’ve had a variety of cameras over the years with one consistent thing among them....I never used them.
                    Been to some beauty places and the cameras at home, in hotel room outta film, memory full, batteries dead .
                    Got rid of the big artillery and brought a Sony zoom camera used for $100 or so thinking its easier and smaller.
                    Think its in the bedroom somewhere.
                    Someone earlier said phone camera’s have come a long way and they’re right.
                    I’ve always got my phone on me, it’s always charged and has plenty of memory.



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