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Which camera for a novice

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Showing 1-15 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Feb 2012 11:52:54 GMT
KarenM says:
Hi I hope you can offer some help....
I currently have a Samsung NV3 camera, which is a few years old now.
I have never really been happy with it, as I seem to get blobs over the pictures, which I have been told are 'dust particles' being picked up as the flash is too near the lens?
I am planning on getting a new camera for my birthday and am confused about which one to get.
I mainly shoot pictures of my children, family and dog, occasionally scenes.
Do I get a compact, compact systems camera or a DSLR.
I would be gutted to spend a lot of money to get these 'blobs' over my pictures again (and it's not a dirty lens).
Have looked at the TZ20/30 (not yet out), Nikon J1, or GF3.
Willing to spend up to 400
Any advice?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2012 13:03:00 GMT
Are the blobs in tyhe same place on every pic? If so then the sensor is dirty. I've never heard the one about the flash before.
As for the type of camera - that's a big question. Anything with interchangeable lenses will cost you a fair bit unless you go for used. You can get a camera but will you want more lenses? As for compacts - there are many to choose from depending on whether you want quality at all costs or whether you want a big zoom range and so on.
Beware - more megapixels does not necessarily equate to better quality when they are crammed onto a tiny sensor. High ISO is pretty meaningless - it just means the image is amplified more and therefore noisier, generally. Most high quality enthusiast compacts have a 10Mp sensor. Most of those who express views on here aim to use the lowest ISO that will get the pic.
Have you looked at any reviews like dpreview or trusted reviews.

Posted on 18 Feb 2012 13:21:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Feb 2012 13:29:44 GMT
G. E. Hearn says:
Maybe worth taking a look at the Panasonic TZ28, which I'm given to understand currently represents excellent value for money and should do all that you need just fine.
As Dr G says above, a DSLR is the best for quality and will deal with high-speed subjects far better than any compact. But do you need it? And would you be willing to invest the time and money required to get the best out of it? I'd say it would be like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, given your intended uses stated above.

I wouldn't bother with the Nikon J series personally. And I say that as a bloke who mainly uses Nikon, both film and digital. It's very expensive for what is basically a compact that you can buy a few extra lenses for. If you had that kind of money to spend you'd be better off with a Nikon DSLR, even if you only ever used the lens it came with.

Have a look and see what you think. But there are plenty of reviews, and the two sites Dr G has listed above would be a great place to start.

Panasonic Lumix TZ8 Digital Camera - Black (12.1MP, 12x Optical Zoom) 2.7 inch LCD

Posted on 18 Feb 2012 13:28:17 GMT
KarenM says:
Thanks for your comments.
The blobs are in different places, sometimes only one, sometimes 4 or 5. I was told that it was the flash being too close to the lens and picking up dust particles in the air?
I'll check out those review sites, thanks.

Posted on 18 Feb 2012 13:33:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Feb 2012 13:42:33 GMT
G. E. Hearn says:
You're welcome.
The blobs you describe are most likely what digital photographers have nicknamed "Dust Bunnies". They're the bane of digital SLR users. It's basically a tiny speck of dirt on the surface of the sensor.
Like Dr G. I've never heard of the theory of the flash lighting up airborne dust particles either! The flash being so close to the lens causes red-eye, but that's about it.

On a DSLR it's relatively simple to clean sensors out by removing the lens, opening the shutter (Most cameras have a mode for this) and then using a blower to force a blast of air in there with the camera held face-down so that the muck falls out.
On a compact however, it would most likely need a repairman to take it to bits and do it, so would probably prove uneconomic.

Posted on 19 Feb 2012 01:04:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Feb 2012 01:13:30 GMT
X says:
I just had a series of shots with a blob on each. No more self-portraits for me.

For your budget have a good look at a Samsung EX1. The photographic quality is excellent, there's a good selection of "toys" to dial in or not if you just want to rely on the camera's automatics, the lens is excellent, the multi-position screen gives you a way of handling almost every case of glare when aiming, and the logic of use is still typically Samsung so you will find numerous similarities to push your understanding along. I have owned one of these of and only sold it on when it became redundant with the arrival of a direct competitor which I preferred. When you will have exhausted the possibilities of that camera you will be in a better position to move on, and the Samsung EX1 will remain your first choice as better than average, small and neat, back-up camera.

Posted on 21 Feb 2012 20:48:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Feb 2012 20:53:13 GMT
About two months ago I was roughly in your position Karen. I wanted a serious upgrade. Up to then I was pretty crazy about and still very much love the Canon 610/20/30/40. They are gold! Love the vario-display, AA batts, tons of tweaks,effects,shooting options and best of all their old and pretty cheap. Alas, my love for them goes on as I keep them around the house to shoot pics of my kids. But back to my recent situation. I did a lot of looking around and found this machine best suited my needs.
My criteria were basically, DSLR-like camera (Bridge camera, as they are known), AA batts, great pics, tons of features, manual controls and not too expensive.

I looked at a of Canons Hs-30, Panasonic z-something, Nikon p5000, and some others but had to keep looking and finally arrived at the Pentax Kx.

Cnet and a few others sealed the deal for me.

I picked up a white one, with 18-55mm lens (had only 1400 shots) for about $370. I've had it for two weeks now and have read and brushed up how to use it properly and will say that so far so good. Pics are great, I'm still working hard on manual controls, as there are a lot and I like to play with em, and it's not too complicated though demands some input and work when tasked. I wish you good luck. I had some runners up, like a Canon 2ti (rebel, spensive), but that was too much for my plate.
Hope this and others input helps!!

Posted on 22 Feb 2012 21:20:32 GMT
Ben says:
get the Panasonic lumix tz20 its great and easy to get to grips with the only down side is that it has poor quality in the dark

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2012 21:27:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Feb 2012 21:29:00 GMT
Hi Ben,
That's what the reviewers said too. It's interesting that you agree with them.
Jasmine likes hers though (see the thread about auto scenes - maybe reflecting different styles of photography?

Posted on 22 Feb 2012 23:06:13 GMT
Hi Karen,
The 'blobs' could well be to do with the flash. They are quite well documented and happen particularly with digital compact cameras. They occur when the flash light bounces off airborne dust particles back into the lens. They can be seen with compact cameras because of the small sensors these cameras have and their resultant large depth of field (ie virtually everything in focus all the time); think of dust lit up in a room by sun streaming in through a window.
As for a camera, tough choice as there are so many. I work in the photo retail trade and obviously get asked a similar question all the time. If you wanted quality images with the option to expand/develop then compact system cameras (SCS) are ideal. The Olympus Pen Mini E-PM1 (about 310 after current cashback promo) is really very good; blistering fast focus to capture moving subjects with 5 frames/sec, excellent image quality, simple to use but also with huge expandability with extra lenses, flashes, viewfinders etc if you wish. And of course it films in HD.

Try this link,

I don't think you need the impressive zoom of the Panny TZ's or indeed any travel zoom camera but if that's the path, then also look at the Sony HX9.

Regards, Mark

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Feb 2012 20:03:53 GMT
Jasmine says:
Regarding the TZ20 reviews on the picture quality in the dark I think it depends on many things.

I would never expect a compact to be as high quality as a properly set up and used DSLR, (but I do expect great photos to look at by eye, not for professional print or to study at high magnification)

You have to use the right setting on the camera the 'magic' handheld setting is brilliant for low light spontaneous photos such as at outdoor restaurants, the beach by night etc, I still need to play more with manual settings for slow exposure and tripod use. A number of people have mentioned to me about the bad night shot quality but when I ask if they tried it they all say they read about it or that they were told by a friend. It is true that Panasonic upped the pixels for no good reason other than marketing but I, personally don't have any issues with the quality

I think with the things the OP wants to do there are a lot of cameras on the market which would work, the main criteria for me was small size but good zoom which is why I bought the Panasonic, with 400 and if you feel you will have a larger camera on you for those moments you want to catch a shot then trade up to one of the cameras advised above that will give you the best flexibility.

Also go to a shop and handle the cameras as this also ruled out some I was looking at as they just did not fit my hand comfortably.

Good luck

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2012 17:47:53 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 24 Feb 2012 19:35:41 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2012 17:58:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Feb 2012 18:04:27 GMT
I would get a good second hand Nikon D40 easey to use once you master the basic settings gives you a good start into DSLR's with out the exepence. A full D40 kit comes with two lenses 18-55 mm DX + 55-200 mm and you shound get some change out of 300 from Ebay or Amazon

Posted on 24 Feb 2012 18:50:09 GMT
X says:
...if a DSLR is the appropriate "destination" for the person concerned...

Posted on 24 Feb 2012 21:46:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 24 Feb 2012 21:53:16 GMT
G. E. Hearn says:
The D40 is a great bit of kit and very, very small. it's testament to how good they were that they still fetch 300 on Fleabay when I bought mine (brand new with the 18-55 lens) as a kit from Amazon in 2007 - For 250!
Anyone wanting a great performing camera on a budget would do well to consider a good D40...
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Participants:  9
Total posts:  15
Initial post:  18 Feb 2012
Latest post:  24 Feb 2012

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