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Amateur Photographer in need of advice!

Discussion in 'Photography & Camera Basics Forum' started by CitizenErased, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. CitizenErased

    CitizenErased New Member

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    Hi All,


    Apologies in advance for such a long post


    I am off to South Africa for 6 months from June and am finding it extremely difficult to decide which camera would be best for me. I have not done much photography at all, but after a recent trip to Zimbabwe, one of my biggest regrets was only having my smart phone and so have decided to invest in a camera.


    I have decided on a bridge camera for ease of use and price. Would people agree this is the best option?


    Also, how important is weather proofing going to be? So far I have only managed to find one bridge camera which is advertised as weather proofed!


    Finally, any recommendations on cameras you may have used for wildlife photography/ safaris etc would be greatly appreciated! Finding it extremely difficult to know what suits my needs best.


    p.s. At this moment in time, I am swaying towards a Panasonic Lumix fz300/330 (this being the only weather-proofed one I have seen so far), and getting a tele-conversion lens for extended zoom. What are people's thoughts on this?


    TIA! :)
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Here a lot

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    Have you considered renting bodies and lenses and then deciding what to buy later after you have handled them more?

    PS you could also go second hand. MPB the forum sponsor is very good.
     
  3. CitizenErased

    CitizenErased New Member

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    Oooo, no I hadn't actually. I didn't realise that was an option to be honest. What places can you do that from?
     
  4. rebel06

    rebel06 Without a cause Moderator

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    Possibly purchase a camera (possibly used in good condition), something like the Canon powershot G3 X seen here .. https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...stem-cameras/canon-powershot-g3-x/sku-819893/
    Or possibly a better choice would be the Sony RX10 .... https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equi...stem-cameras/sony-cyber-shot-rx10/sku-809965/
    They both will give you 24mm for wide angle views and up to 600mm for wildlife shots as well as video, and no need to swap lenses over.
    Do you have a camera club near you that you may be able to go to and seek some advice and possibly get to handle and feel the cameras.

    Paul
     
  5. MikeB

    MikeB Always on Premium Member

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    I agree that using a bridge camera is your best option. If photography is not a hobby that you wish to pursue and you simply want to capture memorable moments while on holiday then a bridge camera or even a high end point and shoot will work well.

    There are a few trade-offs to be aware of - compromises that have to be made.

    The cameras with larger sensors tend to produce higher quality images but will cost more. Cameras with smaller sensors will cost less but are more convenient to carry.

    The more pixels per square millimeter, the greater the impact to image quality. For example 18megapixels on an APS-C size sensor will tend to provide better image quality than 18megapixels from a 1/2" sensor - the smaller sensor has more megapixels per square millimeter. The more total megapixels, the larger the print.

    A smaller sensor allows for a greater range of focal lengths than a larger sensor. For example the Nikon Coolpix P900 has a focal length range of 24mm - 2000mm (equivalent) - it can do this because the sensor size about 1/2" whereas the Sony Cyber-shot RX10 III is 24mm - 600mm (equivalent) with a 1" sensor and the Canon G1 X Mark III with a APS-C sensor has a focal length range of 24mm to 72mm(equivalent). Lenses have to be larger for larger sensors, as lenses get larger they become more difficult to manufacturer, become larger, heavier, and more expensive.

    The more expensive cameras have the very useful electronic viewfinders (EVF) in addition to the rear mounted LCD screen, some do not. Even the quality of the EVF differs from camera to camera. The more pixels and the faster the refresh rate the better.

    Some bridge cameras provide a full range of exposure options where you have complete control of the camera functions - these are more expensive than simpler cameras with more automation. Being able to same captures as raw files in addition to JPEGs usually makes the camera more expensive but provides greater flexibility for producing better images.

    If you're planning on shooting fast moving subjects then you need a camera that can autofocus quickly and that requires better and faster internal computation. Computation capability is another cost driver.

    Finally, the better the camera build - how durable it is - the higher the price.

    So the best camera for you depends on what you are shooting, how far away the subject is, what capabilities the camera should have (exposure control, autofocus speed) and how much you are willing to pay.
     
  6. Ozzie_Traveller

    Ozzie_Traveller Old Hand Premium Member

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    G'day CE

    As a Panny user from way back - with the FZ-200 as one of them, I reckon that your choice if the FZ-300 is perfect. Without doubt it is the best superzoom / bridge camera on the market, via its superb constant-aperture F2,8 lens, its full range of available settings, and both 'easy' and 'professional' settings for those who want to get deeper into the camera's operations

    As Mike says - there are some compromises with the small sensor [smaller than "professional" digital cameras], but this should not bother you at all.

    As to telephoto accessory lenses .... NO !!
    One of the beaut things of the Panny system is that if you choose to downsize your megapixels a bit [from "Large" to "Medium"] the zoom automatically extends from 24x to 32x without any loss of image quality. Panny does this via in-camera digital zoom plus extra "stuff" in the image processing so that the end result is still good enough for a 12" x 18" print on the lounge room wall

    The FZ-300 also has some excellent video options if you choose to do some, along with a feature called "4K photos" where you can grab an image from a video clip if you want, along with some super-fast shooting at 60 frames per second, where you also can select the 'best' frame from a bunch of frames shot as that super-fast speed

    Hope this helps - come back with more Qs as they arise
    Phil
     
  7. Ozzie_Traveller

    Ozzie_Traveller Old Hand Premium Member

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    G'day CE

    #2 reply

    Three yrs ago my spouse took her FZ-200 and did a 21-day safari tour of Africa - several countries + game reserves etc. She came home with around 4000 images and after a lot of examination and selection of images, produced a beaut A4-sized coffee-table book showing around 120 of her best images. Beaut, sharp well exposed images of all the big-5 animals plus the people and all the other stuff one sees as a tourist

    She commented at the time about others in the game-park tour vehicle with their nikons / canons / big-SLRs plus their 400mm to 600mm long and expensive lenses and heavy camera bags. She was there with a "simple" camera whose lens provided very similar results to cameras + lenses costing 5x to 10x the cost of her camera.

    Phil
     
  8. Andy 0

    Andy 0 Always on

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    Hi Citizen Erased, you've had some very worthy advice here.

    Muse fan by any chance?
     
  9. Ozzie_Traveller

    Ozzie_Traveller Old Hand Premium Member

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    G'day CE

    #3
    Whatever camera + lens kit you end up with, I also suggest you pack
    a) a small pocket-sized 'table-top' tripod for travel-group selfies and other generic stuff,
    b) a telescopic-collapsable monopod with 'ball & socket' head for use in small spaces like the game park tour vehicles, and
    c) a small bean bag [or a pair of woolen socks rolled up tightly] for resting the camera on when you can't use anything else ~ it will absorb vehicle engine vibrations if you are in a parked vehicle with the engine still running

    Having the camera resting on the monopod will avoid much of the wobble one gets when using large zoom settings when shooting animals some distance away

    Hope this all helps you :)
    Phil
     
  10. nanhi

    nanhi Member

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    Hello Erased Sir, DSLR cameras are so cheap today you could pick up one for under US $ 400 to 500 brand new with lens. Or better still buy a used Pentax K-5 / K-5 II / K-5 IIs for peanuts and a used Tamron 18-300 lens again for peanuts for a great photographic experience. The K-5s are the smallest and lightest weather proof stainless steel and magnesium DSLR body in the world with a quality score better than the full frame Canon D5 Mk II see DxO Mark report.
     

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