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Old Apr 8, 2010, 5:22 AM   #1
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Hello friends! Its good to find Steve's forum for photography. This is my first post here today.
I am a beginner and know next to nothing about photography but am very very interested in it. The best camera that i have ever used is a sony cyber shot and desperately want to upgrade to a better, bigger , camera that can provide a good picture quality. I am basically fond of aquarium photography and use my camera on vacations and get togethers other than that.
I am not able to decide on which camera to go for. The ones i have on my mind are Canon G10 or 11, Nikon P90, canon S90, sony HX 1 or 5, Canon D1000, Nikon D3000.... yes, u got it. This is my problem that i have whole market on my mind. Please please please help me out. Thanx in advance.
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Shriyans
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 11:02 AM   #2
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shriyans-

Welcome to the Forum We're delighted that you dropped by.

Let's focus on your needs more precisely. It appears that aquarium photography is your highest priority. Then the usual family, vacation and holiday photo are on the second priority tier.

To do really good aquarium photography, which will require higher ISO settings and a clos-up ability, we need to eliminate a couple cameras from your list that cannot do aquarium photos well. So scratch the Canon G-10, and the Nikon P-90, both do poorly at higher ISO settings.

The best camera of the group, at the lowest cost, than can do aquarium photography well without adding special lenses is the Canon G-11. So keep the G-11 in mind. Both the Canon XS or 1000D and the Nikon D-3000 are DSLR's. They will require a special macro or close-up lens to take those good aquarium shots so that will add anywhere from $250 to $400 to the kit cost for a dedicated macro lens for either of those two cameras.

So right now either the Canon G-11 or the S-90 models are possibilities. The Sony HX5 which can also operate at higher ISO settings is a "maybe." Please keep firmly in mind that in a well lighted aquarium tank, you will need rapid, accurate focus, high ISO settings for faster shutter speed to stop the action of darting fish, and the ability to do close-up photos.

Check out the Canon G-11, and the S-90 cameras. Then check-out the Sony HX5 camera. Among those three cameras, by personal choice would be the Canon G-11. The G-11 has an articulated LCD screen which could make things easier for your aquarium photos and your other photos.

I own the Sony HX5 camera, so I have attached a sample macro or close-up photo for your reference.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 12:21 PM   #3
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Welcome...

While you gave a list of cameras, what is your budget?

When you mentioned aquarium, what type - fresh or saltwater. If fresh, yes you will need close-focusing or macro capability to take pictures of tetras and the like, but salt water, those below were taken with a 55-200 telephoto lens on a Nikon D40 (predecessor to the D3000). It was not by choice to use that lens, but I was 3 rows back where they group people up as they wait to get on the Staten Island Ferry. The reason one needs to be close are more related to minimizing reflection glare, plus you need a camera that can handle low light as flash would just reflect back at you. Some P&S do have low light capability and that is something you would want to pay attention in to. DSLR's, as a rule have much greater low light capability, but nothing is guaranteed. The reason I included the last on to give an idea what noise will do. I didn't do any post-processing but was handheld 200mm 1/60sec at the minimum 5.6 aperature.

Wish I could find some older ones that were taken at the Tampa Aquarium and I could get right up to the glass. Those were taken with the normal 18-55 lens, or perhaps my wife's old P&S Sony.

When you narrow it to two or three, go in, handle them in the store to see which one you feel most comfortable with. Good luck.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 4:03 PM   #4
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You can use a dslr with the kit lens to shoot your aquarium shots. Here is one at 1000iso, f4, 1/30sec. I used the 18-55mm stock lens that comes with the canon. But a macro lens would give better results. Since aquarium will be hand held, you will not need to get a true 1:1 macro lens. That will bring you to the lower cost macro zoom lenses like the tamron 70-300mm LD DI II which is about 150 dollars for either the canon or nikon. The reflections is a bit of an issue. Using a circular polarizer may help if you care shooting close up to the glass.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 11:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for the excellent photo samples, tizeye, and shoturtle-

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 9, 2010, 2:38 AM   #6
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First of all thank you very much for the warm welcome Sarah
@Sarah, Tizeye and Shoturtle - I appreciate the prompt and helpful replies. Now many of the cameras have been ruled out and I am left with G11 and S90 other than the DSLRs. I would like to bring it to your knowledge that I have used a canon D1000 sometime back but unfortunately it wasn't with me for a long time as my friends and relatives kept borrowing it and then one day I gave it to one of my cousins. I was comfortable using the D1000 but couldn't understand all the features as it was my first DSLR and I have never been into advanced photography. What would you say if I buy a DSLR and get the supplied 18x55 lens replaced at the time of purchase? If yes then which lens should I go for and would it be a wise decision to buy a DSLR looking at me as a beginner?
Thanks for the beautiful sample photos everyone. I have atleast an idea of the results now.
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Old Apr 9, 2010, 3:52 AM   #7
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hello
Maybe consider the Panasonic LX3 in the equation with its fast f2.0 lens.
Just a thought !!
Lee.W
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Old Apr 9, 2010, 6:14 AM   #8
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I have 2 suggestions, both different approaches to your interests. So far you have been somewhat toggling between a high end point and shoot and an entry level DSLR to varying extents.

Lee's suggestion was an LX3. This would be a wonderful p&s to consider. It has a fast f2 Leica lens, which means it is great for low light levels for aquarium shots. It runs about $400 and is a wonderful camera, and does low light very well. It has image stabilization and a way to attach a polarizing filter to help with your aquarium shots. It does not have a lot of zoom capability, but it does have a very good wide angle lens. Its much smaller than a DSLR (fits into a jacket pocket) but with all the manual capabilities. Sorry for no aquarium shots but here are a few LX3 image threads that may help....

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...ght-photo.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...a-sunsets.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...t-imagery.html
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...ego-night.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

The other idea is a Pentax KX DSLR with the 18-55 kit lens. By DSLR standards it is small, compact and relatively simple camera to use. It is an excellent general purpose DSLR, with wonderful low light capability with its high ISO speeds (ability to take images in low light situations) and in body image stabilization (which also helps in low light situations) that stabilizes any lens mounted on the camera body. The kit lens is very good, one of the best kit lens available from any of the camera makes. It runs about $500 (camera body and kit lens) from a reputable retailer.

http://www.amazon.com/Pentax-K-x-2-7.../dp/B002OEBTC8

Overall, it is pretty difficult to go wrong with digital camera today, especially for general photography.

hope that helps....
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Old Apr 9, 2010, 8:26 AM   #9
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ahhh where to begin...but, frankly, I dont think you can go wrong with any of the. Each has different strengths.
First, on the entry DSLR's listed, forget about body only and getting a different lens. They come in a package in a single box, so working with a retailer switching components around may be difficult in a small camera shop and impossible in a big box store. Frankly, the kit lens will definately serve your needs...and if need something in the future, it is possible. That's the advantage of the DSLR (in addition to some other advantages, like the larger sensor).

The G11 and S90 are excellent choices, as is the Panasonic LX3, but would lean towards the Canon models due to Panasonic's exceptionally short 60mm zoom range. Even the kit lens on the DSLR's exceed it at 85mm plus you can get another lens if you need it, where you are stuck with the Panasonic. The panasonic does have a marginally larger wide angle 24 vs 28 on the other models. The LX3 was so good that it virtually forced Canon to resurrect the "S" line

While not stated as a need, an advantage of each of these cameras (including the Panasonic) over most P&S is the ability to depart from JPEG and shoot in RAW. As you get away from the camera and enter the world of post processing with relatively inexpensive software, this is a huge advantage. Think of it like the cameras. All of the cameras will take pictures in full (or programed) auto with the option for manual control if you want it, likewise, they will take perfectively acceptable JPEG pictures, but you do have the expandable option to RAW if you want.

Between the S90 and G11, frankly it is a tossup. The S90 is more compact - almost elph size, with a lot of feature packed in and commendable low light performance. The G11 does tend to excell on the low light performance, and have a few more features but with more weight/bulk.

In the DSLR, again a tossup between the Canon and Nikon. Pentax, on paper, also there, but that is just it - "on paper." I can't find them locally (Orlando) and other people in other large cities have noted the same in other posts on this forumn. It is unfortunate that you had an 'intimidation factor' when you owned a 1000D as the entry level class DSLR, manufacturers try to make it a smooth transition from the P&S world. Nikon, when they first introduced my DSLR (D40) which the D3000 evolved (and improved) from gave the camera to residents in a small South Carolina town as a marketing stunt to show how easy the camera was. Nothing says you HAVE to go to manual and use all the features with any of the cameras, including the S90 and G11. Stay in auto or programed modes until you feel comfortable. One potential advantage the 1000D has over the 3000D is the inclusion of live view. I generally discourage the use of live view, but it is a nice option to have in certain situations - but not a deal killer.

To illustrate how easy the DSLR is to use, my wife's 3mp Sony died in Sept and I got her a small Canon elph for Christmas several years ago. (Part of it was my evil plan that I needed a small camera to take on my 50 mile bicycle rides). She is not particurally adept with technology. During the interum, she used my D40 and like it so much she considers it "hers" and made me return the elph. While I have since added a D90, I still need a small camera for my cycling and had looked at the LX3, but didn't pull the trigger due to the zoom range (and super-zooms had other issues). To me, the S90 looks inviting.

I would suggest going into the stores and physically play with them. Perhaps, several stores so don't appear to be a pest with "extended" playing with them. See which ones feel best to you. One that hasn't been mentioned in the DSLR is the Sony A230 and A330. Good cameras, and I think the A330 just adds live view, but as I played with them, the way Sony cut away the grip with that 45 degree slant, only accomodated 2 finger of my moderate size hand - and it felt uncomfortable. That's what I mean by play with them - not only the grip, but location of controls. See which one you prefer.
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Old Apr 9, 2010, 8:48 AM   #10
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If you want to get to know dslr shooting better check out steve's knowledge center here. And you may want to visit www.dslrtips.com Also do you have a budget in mind. I would help with suggestions also on a good camera that matches your need.


With the stock lens, it is actually a very good and useful lens. I have many lenses for my 500D. But the kit lens do find allot of uses, as it is a decently wide angle lens. And is pretty sharp also. I would not replace it in the future. If you do want other lenses. It would help if we knew what else you like to shot besides the family thing and aquariums? The canon 450D is a bit better camera the the 1000D. So you may want to look at that over another 1000D.

You may want to add the canon ef-s 55-250mm IS lens. It is a good long zoom lens, and takes very good photos. I have this lens also and another higher lens. I find the 55-250mm to be almost as good as my higher end zoom, and it is very light weight so it make a good travel lens. And it is a very good price point lens, about 250 dollars for a lens with IS. Not to bad.

I think the S90 and G11 will give you the highest imagine quality from a point and shoot or bridge camera with the larger sensor. But if you want high end imagine quality a DSLR is really the best option. But they require a bit of learning. Also the LX 3 is a very nice bridge camera also. You can do allot with it. But as it has a sensor the is way smaller then a dslr, like the s90 and g11.
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