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Thread: Recommendation for High Quality, Consumer Digital Camera

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Recommendation for High Quality, Consumer Digital Camera

    Hi all,

    I am looking for recommendations for a high quality, consumer-level digital camera.

    First some background: our first camera after we were married was a Nikon 35mm film SLR camera. We absolutely loved it, never even bothered switching it from "automatic" mode and with Kodak MAX 35mm film in it, it took flawless photographs, including in low-light situations.

    However, we wanted to go digital. We initially bought a 4MP Panasonic Lumix which we used for casual photography, but we found it quite slow to take (there was a 0.5-1 second lag between depressing the shutter button and the camera taking the photographs, sometimes shorter or longer depending on how quickly the autofocus could act) and occasionally had problems with motion-blur in our photographs.

    We then decided to go the whole hog and, after hearing people rave about the Canon EOS 350, we bought the newest model, the Canon EOS 400D, for over $2000.00.

    Unfortunately, we have been very disappointed with it. In it's "automatic" mode, we are unable to force the flash on or off, having to rely on it's own light detection. Photogrpahs in low light conditions are often blurred and out of focus, and grainy. Even photographs in good light are sometimes blurred or slightly out of focus. We have been told it is a fantastic camera for an enthusiast, but we are not photographers and we need something that will just work on auto without having to rely on manual settings or post-processing.

    So, I am looking for recommendations for a new digital camera. Our needs are thus:

    1. "Consumer-level" - I think one of the reasons our Canon was so disappointing was that the "automatic" mode left a lot to be desired. I am led to believe that "consumer" level cameras are designed for people who like automatic, and therefore, automatic modes are more flexible and more reliable;
    2. Quick to take - I need a camera that is quick to take when I press the shutter button - preferably, instantaneous, like our Nikon 35mm camera is almost every time.
    I don't really mind whether it is an SLR or not - in fact, after our latest experience, I'm a bit turned off digital SLRs as they seem to be aimed squarely at professional photographers in studios!

    Does anyone have any advice?

    Regards,



    Michael

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Melb - where my coolness isn't seen as wierdness
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    Default

    Michael, I have a Sony H5, which is an advanced compact, which is between a compact like the Lumix and the SLRs like the Canon. It is great in auto mod, but has enough play in it to customise it if you want something more advanced, such as adding telephoto, wide angle or macro lenses, or using filters. In medium/low light it can take a fraction longer than I'd like to click, but in good light it's fast as I need it to be. The H5 is a couple of models ago so this is something they may have fixed since then, I don't know. You can force the flash off, you can turn the preview off for less time between shots and it takes photos in B&W and sepia. I don't like that you can't take photos in RAW format, but I can live with that. The newer models are far more schmick so may be worth a look at maybe if that's the way you're leaning?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Default

    Michael it's a shame that you aren't happy with the camera. From what I've heard it's brilliant and I know there are a few about here who use the same one or it's younger sister. A few times looking about on photography forums I've been tempted to change to Canon

    I have a Nikon D70s and it's got a terrific auto mode.It's almost DH proof but he still manages to take disasterous photos with it. I'm sure it's to do with him not taking any notice of what the grid in the viewfinder is doing or which sections are highlighted. If I'm not happy with what the camera has decided is the main subject I take my finger of the button and half depress it again or zoom back a bit and try again.


    I'm sure you can turn off the flash if you don't want it to fire even with auto mode. Another way to prevent the flash firing is to try a mode such as sports which uses a higher ISO. The flash won't fire at all on mine when I use it. Even if I want it to.
    With my Nikon I can use the auto focus but have the camers in manual mode so I choose my aperature and s/s. This is good when I don't want to waste time focusing.
    The other thing that could be causing an issue with pics being out of focus is what the camera chooses the aperture to be in auto mode. Is the whole pic out of focus, or is the foreground/background the only part in focus? The AV mode will let you select the aperture so you could make it f18 so it's a nice deep depth of field and let the camera do the rest.

    The problem as I see it is that you will get shutter lag with the majority of the p&s digital cameras and that is what you want to avoid! Even my dad's top of the line fugi finepix one has shutter lag and that one has semi manual functions. When I use it it drives me bonkers and Dad is always getting pics of the back of the kids heads.

    What is your film slr? Mine is an f65 and I just love to get it out and use up a roll of film. I miss the sound of the film rolling on

    Not sure if I've been much help. Hopefully on of the Canon girls can give you some ideas.

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