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Old Jun 23, 2008, 7:33 PM   #1
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My wife and I bought a Nikon D 40 X after doing lots of research on digital SLR's. We have 3 kids with the youngest born just 3 months ago. We take lots of pictures of our children both active and portrait type pics (close up, head and face shots).

My wife and I are both really dissatisfied with the auto settings of our Nikon so I have set out to learn how to customize settings to get the pics that I want. My wife, on the other hand, has come to the conclusion that she does not have the time or the energy to invest in this camera to get the kind of pics from it that she would want.

So what I really need are suggestions for a digital 9-10 mega pixel, high zoom camera that has really strong auto settings for both indoor and outdoor pics. My wife has pretty lofty standards when it comes to lighting and sharpness butdone with auto settings as much as possible. We are considering something like the Sony DSC H50 but are open to any and all suggestions that anyone would be willing to offer.

I know this is a difficult problem to find the ideal solution to, but thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Old Jun 24, 2008, 7:13 AM   #2
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Unfortunately there is no camera you can buy which is going to solve your problems.

My suggestion is that you put a lot of effort into learning how to be a better photographer. You carry the camera and take the pictures. And by the sound of it, you really need to get your skill level up because otherwise you're going to get it in the neck. :-)


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Old Jun 24, 2008, 7:25 AM   #3
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In reality if you can't get good images with the D40x, it's not the camera. There is a bit of a learning curve associated with DSLR's, but with practice and a little bit of study, the D40x should do everything you need. It's image quality will exceed any point and shoot digicam on the market. Besides, if you're not willing to invest any extra time in learning the craft, you won't do any better with a point and shoot camera.
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Old Jun 24, 2008, 7:30 AM   #4
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lavender_mommy wrote:
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So what I really need are suggestions for a digital 9-10 mega pixel, high zoom camera that has really strong auto settings for both indoor and outdoor pics. My wife has pretty lofty standards when it comes to lighting and sharpness butdone with auto settings as much as possible.
No camera is going to give great results in indoor lighting unless you use an external flash, or buy a very bright lens and spend some time learning how to use it.

If you want to stay mostly with Auto settings, the camera you already have has a good reputation in the entry level dSLR category. My guess is that you're trying to use it in artificial lighting without a flash and getting blurry photos with an orange color cast (the Auto White Balance doesn't work well in most artificial lighting with most cameras). So, use a flash indoors or set your White Balance to match the lighting (for example, Tungsten). But, you'd probably still get blurry photos without a flash (as you will with other cameras using their kit lenses).

Your best investment is probably going to be an external flash like the SB-600. That way, you can bounce it for a more diffused light source, with more of the room illuminated (versus the more focused light of a camera's built in flash).

Perhaps I'm mistaken about the issues you're running into... So, you may want to post some samples of images you don't consider to be good enough. That way, members can tell you why they're coming out the way they are and make some suggestions.

If you're using Windows, try the free Irfanview. After you open an image, select "Image>Resize/Resample" and make the width around 640 to 720 pixels wide for posting. Leave the Preserve Aspect Ratio box checked. After you click OK, use the "File>Save As" menu choice and give it a new filename and save it as a jpeg files (leaving the box you'll see come up checked to retain the EXIF). I'd set the Quality slider you see come up at around 80% to keep the file size within limits.

Then, when you make a post, you can attach the photo using the Browse button you'll see when entering text in a new post.

Chances are, you'd have the exactly same issues impacting the look of photos taken in the same conditions with another camera model (and if you go with non-dSLR solution, the results may be even worse, depending on what you're shooting).

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Old Jun 24, 2008, 9:22 AM   #5
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I agree with the above: if you cannot get the pictures you want with the camera you have, there is learning to be done and/or additional lenses/flash units to buy. A different camers is unlikely to help.

lavender_mommy wrote:
Quote:
...
My wife and I are both really dissatisfied with the auto settings of our Nikon so I have set out to learn how to customize settings to get the pics that I want. My wife, on the other hand, has come to the conclusion that she does not have the time or the energy to invest in this camera to get the kind of pics from it that she would want.
...
If you are willing to spend time on the images while your wife is not, set the default to JPEG+RAW. That means when she shoots, there will be a RAW image available to be able to adjust the white balance easier than doing so with a JPEG.

Another advantage of using JPEG+RAW is that you can experiment with settings and be able to recover if you pick something very wrong.

For softness, you might find that experimenting with the camera's sharpening settings will help. Be very careful not to overdo it, though if you are shooting JPEG+RAW you will have an escape
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