Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jul 13, 2010, 8:29 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Default Best camera for family

Hi,
I am making myself crazy looking for an upgrade to our Nikon P&S. I seriously considered stepping up to a DSLR but 2 things hold me back from taking the leap--number one, I have two small children and I can't imagine adding a big camera bag to my haul of stroller, diaper bag, toys, carseats, etc. Secondly, I just don't have the time right now to sit and read a lot of instructions and I feel the DSLR learning curve would be a bit steep. Basically, I want to take beautiful pictures of my children and want a higher quality of photos that my basic P&S gives me. Friends of mine have both the Canon SX120 and the Nikon P100 which I like, but I'm not "wowed" by the quality of the photos. Do I need to step up to a DSLR to get high quality photos of active children? I love the photo quality they offer, but just don't seem practical right now. Can you recommend a camera that I can put in my diaper bag but will give me great photos? My budget is around $400. Thank you!
readermom is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jul 13, 2010, 8:46 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 584
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by readermom View Post
Hi,
I am making myself crazy looking for an upgrade to our Nikon P&S. I seriously considered stepping up to a DSLR but 2 things hold me back from taking the leap--number one, I have two small children and I can't imagine adding a big camera bag to my haul of stroller, diaper bag, toys, carseats, etc. Secondly, I just don't have the time right now to sit and read a lot of instructions and I feel the DSLR learning curve would be a bit steep. Basically, I want to take beautiful pictures of my children and want a higher quality of photos that my basic P&S gives me. Friends of mine have both the Canon SX120 and the Nikon P100 which I like, but I'm not "wowed" by the quality of the photos. Do I need to step up to a DSLR to get high quality photos of active children? I love the photo quality they offer, but just don't seem practical right now. Can you recommend a camera that I can put in my diaper bag but will give me great photos? My budget is around $400. Thank you!
Welcome to the forum.

It seems you have three options. Buy another P&S, a bridge camera or face
the learning curve and buy a DSLR.

Panasonic and Canon make some very good P&S cameras. The
TZ10 (ZS7 in US) is pretty good. See the recent review on Steve's.
The Previous TZ7 (I think this is the ZS3 in US) is very highly regarded
and is arguably as good as or better than the TZ10/ZS7.

The Panasonic FZ38 (FZ35 in US) is one of the best bridge
cameras currently available. It would be a step up in image
quality from a P&S. It is almost as big as some of the smaller
DSLRs, but it still offers a size advantage because you won't
have to carry extra lenses. This model is due for replacement
soon.

You don't seem too keen on a DSLR so I won't bother to
start the usual Canon/Nikon/Pentax....... debate for now...
corkpix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 2010, 9:34 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Absolutely, a dSLR and associated paraphernalia will add to the bulk you already lug around. But let me say that, at this point, if you're still lugging around strollers and diaper bags, it's likely that the advantages of a dSLR won't be apparent for some time to come. It's only when they've outgrown car seats that you'll need the extra features and capabilities of a dSLR, if ever. So, for now, you might be better off with a good P&S camera.

And I'd like to correct a misconception it seems you have. The learning curve for a dSLR isn't any steeper than it is for a P&S digicam. It does, however, go a lot higher. In other words, it won't take any longer or be more difficult to learn the same things on a dSLR as on a P&S, but you can learn a lot more with a dSLR than you can on a P&S ... if you choose to.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; Jul 13, 2010 at 12:12 PM. Reason: multiple
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 13, 2010, 11:41 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

readermom-

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

Let's see if we can get to the root of the problem, before suggesting a series of new cameras. What Nikon model do you currently use? And what is it that you do not like? Is physical camera size a priority? Do you use any of the manual modes, or are you using the automatic mode?

I check the Forum at least once per hour so you can be assured of a rapid reply. With the information requested, I believe we can solve the problem rather quickly.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 2010, 8:08 AM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Default

Thank you for your suggestions. Looking around at different reviews, it is becoming clear that the photo quality that I am looking for really puts me in the DSLR category. Are there any DSLRs that are easier to travel with than others? Is there a particular carrying bag to look for that will make the camera more portable?
readermom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 2010, 9:48 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

With a budget of $400, your dSLR choices are limited. In addition, you'll be constrained to the 18-55mm kit lens, which is a 3X zoom, but it starts off wider than the 3X zoom lenses on P&S digicams, which means that it doesn't go as long.

Adorama sells factory refurbished dSLRs from multiple manufacturers, but they only sell Canons with anything longer than the 90 day store warranty. Reburbished Canons get a 1 year store warranty, which is as long as the factory warrranty on new cameras.

For $399.95 (plus shipping, handling and tax), Adorama sells a 10MP Canon XS with the stabilized kit lens. The only other options in your price range are a 10MP Nikon D3000 with the stabilized kit lens for $399.95, and the unstabilized 10MP Olympus E420 with the kit lens for $299.95.

Buying a dSLR is a long term commitment. Once you own the camera, you'll start accumulating lenses and accessories for it. When it comes time to upgrade, your choices are limited to cameras of the same brand so you can continue to use the lenses and accessories you already have. At this point, I think it would be a mistake to chose a dSLR system based entirely on your budget constraint. If there isn't more than a little wiggle room in there somewhere, I suggest you stick with a P&S for now.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; Jul 14, 2010 at 9:50 AM.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 2010, 10:06 AM   #7
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Also - it is worth mentioning that a DSLR doesn't guarantee you quality shots. You can take bad shots just as easily with a DSLR as you can with a digicam. The path to quality photographs lies in learning photography - learning about exposure, composition and when to insert yourself into overriding what the camera thinks it should do. A DSLR offers more potential, but out of the box on full auto the only places you'll see a dramatic improvement is if you take high ISO shots and you'll immediately see an improvement in responsiveness. But otherwise the quality of an individual photo won't be a dramatic improvement. That's true with digicams, superzooms, whatever. But, a lot depends on what your goal is with regards to quality. It is tough to say from what you've given us whether the quality you're after requires the technical capability of a DSLR AND learning more about photography or whether learning more about photography and a newer digicam will meet your needs.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 14, 2010, 10:49 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 350
Default

Personally I think, if you're planning on using a dSLR on Auto, you may not find that you get the image quality you are hoping for (and seeing in reviews). I'm am currently switching over (had a dSLR for 2 weeks now), and some pictures are good but many are decidedly NOT. It is not a simple switch, to me. A dSLR does not act like a P&S even in Auto mode, in some ways.
The one major advantage a dSLR has over a P&S is the response time, though...you're more likely to miss a shot with a P&S because of the delay from pressing the shutter to the picture actually being captured. I found with my dSLR that I had the same problem in low light, however, unless I prefocused the camera. If I just picked it up and tried to snap a picture, it didn't take it right away (it was evening so it needed a flash).
What I'm trying to say is there's going to be a learning curve if you get a dSLR, in my opinion. Not to mention the budget issue. So you might be better off with a good P&S that responds fairly quickly.
javacleve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 15, 2010, 2:21 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Tullio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 7,370
Default

DSLRs can be a huge disappointment if you set your expectations too high. Most DSLRs won't produce perfect images without some sort of post processing and just because they have an AUTO mode, it does not mean you'll obtain the best results in it. DSLRs are not for everyone. People have the impression that any DSLR will outperform any P&S and I don't believe that's the case at all. There are some very good P&S out there, which are capable of producing DSLR-like images.
__________________

Tullio
Tullio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 15, 2010, 10:37 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

I still believe that the best way to solve your problem and maintain your sanity and budget is to begin with analyzing what is going wrong with your current Nikon Coolpix camera.

Tulio makes an excellent point. DSLR cameras are not perfect and they do require post processing of all images. While DSLR might have an "Automatic Mode" that do not mean it work well at all.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:15 PM.