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January 9, 2013
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A Good Camera on a Budget? (or fix my terrible old one? whichever works)

:iconelyison:
elyison Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student General Artist
Okay, so I want a good quality camera that is handheld. I'm going to mainly be taking pictures of artwork, people, my cat, and figurines/dolls. I'd like for the camera to also be able to take nice motion pictures too (preferably without blur) but that's not my top priority. Most of the pictures will be taken inside. I'd like for it to be no more than $300 TOPS but more around $200?


The current camera I have is a Sony Cybershot DSC-W370. I....don't favor it to say the least. My problem is that it takes terrible grainy, blurry, and non professional pictures and whatever picture is mediocre takes to long to obtain (and is just not worth it). Is there something I'm doing wrong? Or is it just better to get a new camera?



I'm kind of clueless to anything camera so any help would be really appreciated- thanks
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Devious Comments

:iconchevyhax:
chevyhax Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
i got just a eos 1000d ...it is low budged i know but with a good lens it works for me ... with a good lens it makes good photos ...but it is always not only the hardware that makes a good picture ... i also made some photos with my handy and got something I really like and i saw ppl with a 800 euro camera thinking the camera got to make it all for them ...including finding the right motive :D and theire pictures were ...mmmh ... letīs say i never understood why they made a poster from them
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:icononeblacksheep:
oneblacksheep Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I got a Canon 40D for about $300 or $350 (CAD) with less than 2000 photos on it. :)
It may not be the best camera, but the expanded ISO setting on it makes it tolerable indoors.

I suggest looking at used cameras with low actuations. If you buy from a reputable seller like B&H or Henry's then you won't get gipped either.
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:iconjazzdhami:
jazzdhami Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013
Nikon D5100 SLR is really very best for photography.
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:iconelyison:
elyison Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for the awesome suggestions everyone!
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
"Fixing up" a big problem in a digital p&s camera, unless it is an extremely expensive one, is almost never going to be cost-effective, especially if it is a sensor issue. You'd almost certainly do better to get a new camera. $300 will buy you a nice Canon p&s and that is probably where you will find the best compromise of quality, durability, versatility, ease of use and reliability.
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:iconsemioticphotography:
SemioticPhotography Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student Photographer
I use the Nikon D3100 about $800
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:iconjatomlinson:
jatomlinson Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
I use a Canon SX40 HS. It's awesome and if you download some software onto an SD card it's every bit as good as a DSLR that can shoot RAW, have longer shutter speeds, etc.
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
Yes, the Canon Hack Development Kit, it's arguably better than the 10D in many ways, but the lack of proper manual focus can be a PITA in some instances. But, for $300 it's quite a bit of camera.
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:iconjatomlinson:
jatomlinson Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
Lack of manual focus? I have manual focus on every mode.
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
It's technically there, but it's pretty much completely worthless. Between the lack of responsiveness in the controls and the lack of precision, it's best to pretend like the camera doesn't have it at all. The CHDK doesn't change that at all.
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:iconjatomlinson:
jatomlinson Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
I haven't found a lack of response or a lack of precision. Everything I focus on is crisp and clear.
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013
You probably have safety feature involved. It's a 12.1mp camera with a 0.23mp viewfinder. You're not going to be able to reliably place the focus the way that you would be a proper focusing system. It also prevents you from hitting certain distances at all with the focus because it's non-linear and discrete in terms of where you can focus.

The safety function helps a lot, but it's more of a toy feature than something you can count on using.
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:iconjatomlinson:
jatomlinson Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Have you even used one of these before?
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:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013
Yes, and the manual focus is completely worthless. Which isn't a surprise seeing as it's a digital control for an analog tool.

As I stated previously, with that combination of viewfinder and sensor you cannot focus it accurately without the camera doing the work.

If you're getting good results then you should check your settings, because it's probably doing the focusing for you.

That being said, this is a problem on every P&S camera with manual control ever released. There's a reason why high end cameras have you twisting to focus, you have a near infinite level of precision available. Certainly more so than I've ever seen on a camera like this.
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(1 Reply)
:iconhedwards:
hedwards Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013
In that price range, you can probably afford an old Canon 10D, a 50mm F1.8 lens and a memory card. For $300 that's about all the gear you're going to be able to afford if you go the dSLR route.

For $300 you can currently get a Canon PowerShot sx40hs which is actually a fairly decent P&S camera. I've been using it for a year now and the noise levels are fairly low for a P&S camera. Anything under ISO 400 is reasonably usable.
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:iconelyison:
elyison Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student General Artist
I looked at that Powershot and it's basically good for what I'm looking for. Thanks for telling me about the ISO, now I know :/
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:iconsevenphotodfw:
SevenPhotoDFW Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
For that price range, and what your asking for, you will still be needing to stick with a point and shoot. Quick dig around Amazon and I came up with the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP, which seems to take great picture, good video, and all for $229.

Now if you bump up to the top of your price range, you can go for a Micro Four Thirds camera. Think of them as a step between point and shoot and DSLR in terms of quality and features; they have interchangeable lenses, a larger sensor, and usually more features than a standard P&S. Pushing your budget to the max, you can get an Olympus PEN E-PL1 12.3MP, that comes with a kit lens. From there you can buy more lenses in the future, and even better bodies, as the Micro Four Thirds standard means the lenses are interchangeable even across brands.

Now if you drop the video requirement, and go for a used camera, you can easily get an older generation DSLR in that price range, including the camera that took all the photos you see in my gallery, the Canon Digital Rebel XTi, which can be had for around $200-$300 used, and usually comes with both the kit lens, and a few accessories. I have run my camera through roughly 25,000 photos at this point, and it is still going strong, so you would be fine even with such an old camera.

And to completely blow away your budget, you can get a Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2 MP for $430 with kit lens, and it is an entry level DSLR, and also does video. So really it is down to exactly what you are after.
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:iconelyison:
elyison Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for all the information! I think I'm going to stick with a cheaper one because I'll probably need to get a higher professional quality one for school soon anyway (and I'm not sure if I should buy anything too fancy until then because I'm not sure what I'll need). I'll definitely keep these in mind- The Canon cameras look great for what I need!
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:iconmichaelrowlandson:
MichaelRowlandson Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Photographer
give me your cybershot and ill create professional pictures with it. Look at the series digital rev has created on well known photographers with cheap cameras. You will be surprised.
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:iconpepperseeds:
PepperSeeds Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
If you prefer a DSLR and are in NorthAmerica, i don't think a 300$ budget will cut you a good one. I have a cybershot, and agreed, it is grainy. Sadly, if you want to fix it, the parts alone will cost the equivalent of a new (and better) camera. The older the camera you have, the pricier the replacement parts. Get a new one, IMO. get which one? now that, i dunno.
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:iconelyison:
elyison Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student General Artist
Judging from the comments, Canon has some pretty good cameras that are relatively in my price range. Thanks for your opinion-
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