Please help a non photographer buy a camera

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Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 2:51 pm

I know this topic is well and truly done to death in these forums just like the please help find a tent topics but even after my extensive research I am still at a loss as to whats going to work for me. So I am hoping I can suggest my criteria and some of you 'photographers' or more experienced people in this field can make some suggestions for me.

Firstly, I am not a photographer. I do not even show a small amount of talent, unlike my wife who can at least compose a shot better than me, although I do tend to be better at accidentally getting some nice longer exposed shots or some creative dof shots but all that is when using our DSLR.

I cant use our DSLR when bushwalking because it is too heavy, too bulky and I would no doubt wreck it with wet weather.

I currently just use an iPhone 6 which at times takes some nice pics (good enough for a hack like me) but only when the lighting is good, but I am obviously lacking the features I want in a camera in regards to being able to change the exposure time and dof etc.

So, my criteria for a camera is it must be lightish, smallish, have some sort of weather resistance if thats even possible, have some or all of the features a DSLR has in regards to being able to manually control it. Perhaps interchangeable lenses but this is not critical providing the zoom is usable and not some crappy pixelated rubbish. And of course the image quality in low light must be a step up from an iPhone 6!

I am hoping I don't need to be spending $1500 so hopefully there are some point and shoot or mirrorless cameras these days that will work for someone like me???

Any help is really appreciated so please give me some ideas and perhaps explain why??
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby CasualNerd » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 3:05 pm

I spent ages making the same decision before a big holiday a year ago, and went with the Sony RX100m3. There's an m4 out now which is even better in many opinions.

Small, light, heaps of features, still takes amazing photos on full auto settings. Great battery life, I've had it out in drizzle, snow etc and never had a problem though I'm probably lucky so far. Low light performance is amazing !

Unfortunately no lenses to change, only 3x optical zoom, relatively expensive I think about $900.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby GPSGuided » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 4:21 pm

Three things.

1) iPhone 7+ is coming and it'll have a dual lens feature for added focal length with quality.
2) Manual exposure control of the iPhone camera can be easily achieved using Apple's default camera app or a third party app for pittance (eg. Camera+). You can do this now.
3) An iPhone holder (tripod) that allows you to do longer exposures. You can also do this now for a tiny bit money.

If these are not good enough then by all means consider a standalone camera. So many out there. At the end of the day and irrespective of how you decide, watch a few Youtube videos on photography techniques. Worth it.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby Mark F » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 4:31 pm

I believe cheaper p&s cameras are now line ball with mobile phones so they are disappearing quite fast from the market. The Sony already mentioned is very good and I would suggest looking at the Panasonic LX100, a bit bigger or the LX7 which I use. I can only comment on the LX7 which has a couple of quite interesting features which I think are also available on the LX100. It can take filters (esp a polarising filter) which is really useful for outdoor photography and it can vary the aspect ratio of the pictures from 1:1, 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 which provides different framing for your shots.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 4:51 pm

also comes down to how fussy you are about image quality.
rx100 is the best compact camera on the market for image quality. but you can get better quality in bigger form factor cameras.
the rx has limitations in low light as well. i got a micro four thirds olympus for better low light performance and lens quality, but its bigger, but not as big as an slr but close in image quality, and it's weather sealed.
when i'm less fussy i take the rx
have a look at mirrorless interchangeables and see what you think about the size and weight.
go to a shop and look at the size of the various cameras. note their models and look up image samples online.
also how much of a zoom do you want, super zoom cameras give you that but they dont have as good an image quality as a lot of other cameras
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby richd » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 5:02 pm

I have an olympus micro four thirds also and very happy with it. I have never owned a dslr but the one's i looked at when i was looking for a camera were quite a bit chunky compared to the olympus
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby RonK » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 5:14 pm

DanShell wrote:Firstly, I am not a photographer. I do not even show a small amount of talent, unlike my wife who can at least compose a shot better than me...

You are not on your own there Dan - creativity is a gift bestowed on only a few.

You'll likely get best results by keeping things simple - learning the basic rules of composition is easy enough for a start, and will produce an immediate result. I found Digital Photography School an excellent resource.

A Sony RX100 or similar will give you very satisfying results and won't distract you with unnecessary technicalities until you choose to explore them.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby RonK » Mon 28 Mar, 2016 5:32 pm

Mark F wrote:...I would suggest looking at the Panasonic LX100, a bit bigger or the LX7 which I use. I can only comment on the LX7 which has a couple of quite interesting features which I think are also available on the LX100.

Panasonic dropped the bundle with later generations of the LX - I have an LX3, the forerunner of the prosumer compact genre, but thought the Sony RX100 a more worthy replacement.

However the new Lumix TZ110 has certainly piqued my interest as a potential successor to the RX100. The TZ110 has a 1 inch sensor and 10x zoom for a focal length in the range of 25mm-250mm which may address the one weakness of the RX100. I'm waiting with for DPR tp produce a full review.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 9:38 am

Thanks very much for the replies so far.

It is all very confusing for me. My wifes 'research' is telling her to buy cameras like the Canon EOS M3 or M10. They have interchangeable lenses and are mirrorless, whatever that means.

So ho do cameras like those stack up to the ones already mentioned in this thread?? From what I can tell the one already mentioned appear to be good point and shoot cameras where as the mirrorless seem to be a small version of a DSLR??

Sorry for such stupid questions but ill eventually get my head around it. And none of the cameras mentioned so far are weather proof are they??
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 9:45 am

" mirrorless seem to be a small version of a DSLR??"

pretty much. some mirroless have smaller sensors and lenses as SLR's , some have the same. they may have less functionality, which shouldnt be a problem for what you want.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 9:47 am

wayno wrote:" mirrorless seem to be a small version of a DSLR??"

pretty much. some mirroless have smaller sensors and lenses as SLR's , some have the same. they may have less functionality, which shouldnt be a problem for what you want.


Thanks wayne but you do they compare in image quality especially low light to the point and shoots already mentioned in this thread?
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 9:51 am

generally better. look at the F values lenses have, the lower they can go the better in low light, around F2 is pretty good for instance. it will give a range.. often printed on the lens ring. but larger sensors are better as well. APS'C are the bigger ones, then micro four thirds next, tehn one inch smaller. most compacts are in fractions of one inch
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby Nuts » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 10:11 am

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.43.03 AM.png
Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.43.03 AM.png (44.56 KiB) Viewed 36920 times


I don't have the best history with carrying electronics so went with Nikon AW1. Its waterproof and I dropped it in a river, shockproof and I dropped it on and dinged the lens end.. :roll: The kit lenses are ok, some great fast add-on lenses
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby RonK » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 10:13 am

wayno wrote:generally better. look at the F values lenses have, the lower they can go the better in low light, around F2 is pretty good for instance. it will give a range.. often printed on the lens ring. but larger sensors are better as well. APS'C are the bigger ones, then micro four thirds next, tehn one inch smaller. most compacts are in fractions of one inch

Perhaps, but most people won't be able to tell the difference unless it's pointed out to them in a side-by-side comparison.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 11:27 am

Thanks. I think one of the weatherproof Olympus range or the Nikon AW1 is winning my race at this stage. Im sure either camera would be better than me so its just a matter of finding the one with the best specs i think.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 11:30 am

i think only the olympus EM1 and 5 are water sealed, but not waterproof
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 11:48 am

wayno wrote:i think only the olympus EM1 and 5 are water sealed, but not waterproof



Yeh water resistance is all I need not necessarily water proof. I just want to be able to take it out on a rainy day without stressing too much about wrecking a $1000 camera.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 12:06 pm

olympus wins on image quality, but theres a lot of fidlly buttons on it you have to watch or you can accidentally hit.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 12:08 pm

wayno wrote:olympus wins on image quality, but theres a lot of fidlly buttons on it you have to watch or you can accidentally hit.


Thanks Im considering an M5 mk11 but it may come down to what I can find at the right price. I think an M1 would still be a better camera than I am a photographer so I might be better off just getting one of those second hand perhaps.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 29 Mar, 2016 12:14 pm

the olympus em5 mk 2 you're paying extra for sensor shift technology you wont use unless you're shooting with a tripod, the mk1's should be a lot cheaper second hand. i got mine for half price new when the mk 2 came out
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Sun 03 Apr, 2016 2:44 pm

Thanks for all the advice I'm now the happy owner of an Olympus M5 mk2 and a good quality 14-150 lense :)
It's a nice camera and this lense is amazing, far better than I'll ever be a photographer.

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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Sun 03 Apr, 2016 2:54 pm

+111111111111111111
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Mon 04 Apr, 2016 6:59 pm

Olympus make great lenses, they dont get any sharper than their pro lenses.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby Aushiker » Mon 04 Apr, 2016 7:07 pm

DanShell wrote:Thanks for all the advice I'm now the happy owner of an Olympus M5 mk2 and a good quality 14-150 lense :)
It's a nice camera and this lense is amazing, far better than I'll ever be a photographer.


Welcome to the Olympus family ... as a OM-D EM-1 user I am sure you will be pleased with your OM-D EM-5ii. There is a really good MU43 forum which you might want to check out. It can be found at https://www.mu-43.com/forums/
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby Aushiker » Mon 04 Apr, 2016 7:07 pm

wayno wrote:Olympus make great lenses, they dont get any sharper than their pro lenses.


which are also weather sealed IIRC; a nice match for the EM-5 ii.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 05 Apr, 2016 10:43 am

Aushiker wrote:
DanShell wrote:Thanks for all the advice I'm now the happy owner of an Olympus M5 mk2 and a good quality 14-150 lense :)
It's a nice camera and this lense is amazing, far better than I'll ever be a photographer.


Welcome to the Olympus family ... as a OM-D EM-1 user I am sure you will be pleased with your OM-D EM-5ii. There is a really good MU43 forum which you might want to check out. It can be found at https://www.mu-43.com/forums/


Thanks Ill go and check it out.

We were talked into buying the lense we got. The sales guy was telling us how good the glass was inside and how much better it was than the stock 'package' lense. I admit we also liked the idea of having such a large focal range for everyday use.
But since getting home and really starting to understand the camera and the lenses that are available I am wishing I bought a pro lense straight up. Again Im not sure an average hack like myself can do any of the lenses justice but I am after nice crisp sharp images and in a lot of cases in lower light situations.
Im sure the lense we got will be good but I think the pro would have been better.
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 05 Apr, 2016 10:53 am

Take it back and swap the lens. In n.z. you can claim its not suitable for your purposes and the law says they have to refund
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby DanShell » Tue 05 Apr, 2016 11:01 am

I can definitely take it back. What do you recommend as a good all round lense?

This is what we got.

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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby richd » Tue 05 Apr, 2016 11:05 am

12-40mm pro lens is a good all round lens! You should be more then happy with the em5ii Dan
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Re: Please help a non photographer buy a camera

Postby wayno » Tue 05 Apr, 2016 11:21 am

I have the 14-40 pro. Its faultless. Sharp as they get. 2.8 f stop. Outstanding macro ability and in low light.
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