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Old Aug 24, 2011, 10:39 PM   #1
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Hi all,

Found your forum while staying up the last two nights researching a camera to replace our Canon SD1200. What I've mostly learned is how how much I don't know.

Here's the deal. Our miracle baby is due in october and we don't want to miss anything. I would like to figure out what type of camera I should buy and start zeroing in on a model.

Needs:

Great automatic mode. While my wife can play around with the Pentax K1000 I had in high school, she refuses to learn how to use anything techy or gadgety. I can get her to use basic settings, but that is about it.

Highest quality pictures I can afford. We'll be mostly shooting family album type pictures and indoor ability is a priority.

We're not rich, but I'd rather spend money then regret it when our baby pics are blurry. I wouldn't spend 1500, but could be convinced to approach 1,000. That said, I'd prefer to stay between 300 and 500.

I can't decide if we need DSLR, one of those mirror less 4/3, or a high quality point and shoot.

Thanks,

-James
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 10:59 PM   #2
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well for indoors, the body will run you 500. For a point and shoot the olympus XZ-1 is the best you can get for low light, but it still fall short of being high quality in that environment.

The DSLR is the best option for low light shots. Something like the canon t2i kit and the ef 50 1.8 and a good flash would be the way to go. But that will mean allot of learning on how to deploy flash photography. Without the Flash, the t2i an the 50 1.8 is a very good combo, but you will have to accept thin dof at times. And again more learning.

On the m4/3, the epl-1 form olympus is a pretty good deal. It is almost as good as the larger sensor dslr in low light. And you can add a panasonic 20 1.7 which makes for a good low light lens with a very nice focal length for that purpose. The kit and the lens will keep you under the 1000 mark. The new epl-2, and ep-3 are very nice camera also. But they will go over your budget when adding the low light lens option. Also the olympus has a excellent full auto mode and a very good iauto mode if you wife wants to get a bit more advance but still want to stay auto.
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 11:30 PM   #3
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I have a Canon G10 and love it for outdoors and bright light use. It isn't great for low light; its replacements (the G11 and G12) are better in low light, but IMO still inadequate. I don't know what Nikon have at that price point, but the Canon T2i would undoubtedly be capable of giving very good low light performance. You'd have to go up in price a great deal to find a Nikon (the D7000) that came close to the T2i in resolution. I have heard that Sony DSLRs often have good low light performance, but I don't have first-hand experience and I'm biased against Sony!

You're wanting to do something that many cameras can't do very well, because it is intrinsically difficult. If you want to take good low-light pictures you'll have to do some learning. But trust me, it'll be worth it. I haven't used a T2i, but I do have its "grown up" version the 7D and I was very agreeably surprised how well it performed when I just set it to fully auto. I'm sure the T2i will do the same, so although there'll be quite a long learning curve it needn't be too steep.
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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I would look at the canon g11 or g12 good in low light and easy to use or you can go to creative modes as well
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 11:16 AM   #5
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I don't find either the G11 or G12, both of which I have used, to be adequate in low light, albeit they are better than the G10. In good light both are IMO inferior to the G10, which is why I still have mine.

For low light the T2i is a MUCH better bet.
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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If you want to take good quality family photos indoors - external flash is the way to go - even with a DSLR. Canon & Nikon have pretty solid TTL flash implementations. So you might want to consider the cameras in those systems that have hot shoes. I don't recommend relying on available light photography for family photos no matter what camera you have. I use a professional canon 1d for my family photos - but the external flash is the key. I'd look around for sample images from folks that have taken photos with cameras like the g11 or g12 with an external flash mounted. I suspect the quality will be more than acceptable - and better than entry level DSLRs without flash.
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 11:30 AM   #7
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This picture was taken with my G10 using the onboard flash

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Old Aug 25, 2011, 3:59 PM   #8
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For the same price as the g12 and a canon 430 exII, I would with a epl-1 and a metz 44 AF-1. If you were going with a external flash system. They are about the same price, and the m4/3 will give you better results with dof and IQ
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 5:21 PM   #9
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James6,

As a general overview . . .

dSLR - has the biggest sensor, which, in general, allows it to capture better quality low-light pictures. And in general, the image quality will be better than a point-and-shoot. You might be limited by the kit lens in zoom capability, but you always have the ability to add another lens. They are big and bulky. And because you have so much control with them, I know I spend too much time fiddling around with settings. I keep saying to my friends that I sometimes think I'd be happier with a good advanced point-and-shoot and just junk my dSLRs and they keep telling me I won't walk away from the quality of the images I get from a dSLR. And they're right. If you get a dSLR, get it soon and start using it a lot. Learn now, before the little one arrives. That way you can hit the ground running as soon as the little one arrives.

m4/3 - has a slightly smaller sensor, but I guess all the other advantages of the above.

Advanced Point-and-shoot (Canon G12, Nikon P7100, etc.) - Has a smaller sensor, so its not as good for low-light pictures. But as pointed out above, you can use flash. These are super fun cameras with the option to have a lot more control over them than standard point-and-shoot cameras. I think the biggest advantage of these cameras is the hot-shoe, which as pointed out above, would allow you to use an external flash, which does really increase the quality of pictures, and let you get into directional or off-camera flash. One of my buddies has the G12 (after I told him about it) and another buddy has an EX 430 external flash. When we all get together, I put them together and I am floored by the clarity of the pictures from the G12 with an external flash. (I'm a pixel peeper.)

For what you want to preserve, memories of your new born, and the fact that dSLRs / m4/3 aren't that much more expensive than advanced point-and-shoot cameras, I would suggest you consider getting the dSLR / m4/3. Even the entry-level cameras, like the Canon T3 or Nikon D3100 or m4/3 equivalent will get you amazing pictures.

The only thing will be being limited to the 18-55mm lens. But you can opt for an 18-70mm or 18-105mm lens to start out with.

And once you want to put the icing on the cake you can get that external flash.

Take care, Glen
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Old Aug 25, 2011, 7:05 PM   #10
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I wasn't expecting such thorough responses. You guys rock. I just skimmed what everyone wrote and now I'm going to go back and study.

What's the deal with the Canon s95? I came upon David Pogue's love letter to it last night.

James
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