the quality of the camera

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by maria, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have now a Fuji Finepix which some called "compact camera" - it has indeed no dettachable lenses and such, but it is better and bigger than the ones you put in your pocket - it was also more expensive.
    The discussion started when I put photos of challenging weather - with nice weather everything was fine.
    I was told to return to my Praktika (film camera) which does better photos - however, with the Praktika if you did not make all settings well, the result is even worse than with the digital camera.
    Some other friend of mine told that film cameras don't come even close to digital when it comes to quality of the scanned image.
    Also, digital has some advantages, like you see the preview of what you shot and can take another photo if needed, it is cheaper (no costs for film, development, scanning - there is just the accu you need to reload), you don't run out of films when travelling and so on.
    I was thinking that maybe since my Fuji Finepix is already 5 years old to buy some better digital camera - but somebody told me a good camera is 6000-12000 euro.
    Also, I don't know how important is the camera for the quality of your photos - the same friend above told me that the quality of a novel does not depend on with which typing machine was it written with - it depens on what subjects you photograph and with which responsability.
    What to do?
    thank you
  2. You need a better class of friend. Whoever told you a good digital camera is 6000 euros or more is talking
    out of his tripod socket. A good camera can be had for under 100 euros. A great one can be had for under
    1000. Since only you know what sort of camera works for you, only you can decide which is the right one
    for your needs.

    I would say that for convenience, digital knocks film into a cocked hat. Quality-wise it doesn't really
    matter - either can give you high-enough quality images as long as you do your part. Camera quality is
    important only in as much as it meets your minimum requirements, but ultimately where you point it has
    far more effect than what you point. Use whatever you like, just so long as you use it. :)
  3. "Some other friend of mine told that film cameras don't come even close to digital when it comes to quality of the scanned image."​
    Avoid "versus" arguments: this recording medium vs. that recording medium; my brand vs. your brand. Versus debates are reminiscent of the quip attributed to George Bernard Shaw: "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."
    Instead, consult photographers who are capable of making good photographs with any type of camera or recording medium.
  4. Johannes: is it the lens which also deals with the issue of light in the photos?
    Thank you
  5. The quality of the photo has little to do with the camera. The quality of the camera has everything to do with the camera.
    The camera does not matter. Many photos become world wide sensations overnight via the web because they have captured something great. The camera that captured them is almost never even asked about. There are a gazillion photos taken by the world's best cameras that are for all the world to reject as boring nothing. Emotion filled photos are not the result of a mechanical device called a camera.
    If your concern is good quality for enlargement prints or enlargement via crops, battery life, shutter click life, lens interchangeability and life etc, etc, etc, then you want to start talking cameras seriously. If all you want is stunning awesome photos then use what ever you have.
  6. SCL


    I think your friends are well intentioned, but really clueless in understanding your concerns. Yes more technically advanced or higher quality or better designed cameras can technically produce photos which may be more versatile in their ultimate use. OTOH simple cameras in the hands of a master who understands light, exposure, composition, etc. can produce photos which blow away the the fanboys with their whiz-bang latest and greatest tecnhno-babble cameras. Most reasoned people would tell you to enjoy using what you have and not worry about what toys others have. Learn to master the tools at hand. When you find that those tools are insufficient for the job at hand, then is the time to begin to look at other tools. Between now and then, you have lots of time to learn and make intelligent choices...just don't accept as fact what those friends of yours tell you.
  7. The lens is far more important than the camera, regardless of the imaging medium.
    There's more variability in digital body quality and resulting images than there is in film bodies.
    - Leigh
  8. Is there anything that your Fuji doesn't let you do? Are your pictures sharp and well exposed? What subjects do you like to shoot? If you are not happy with your photos is the camera the problem or is it your technique? A more advanced camera can make things worse if you don't learn how to use it properly.
    Photography has an artistic aspect and a technical aspect. A more advanced camera can help with certain of the technical aspects, but the artistic side of photography is in the eye not in the camera.
  9. Oh yes, the Fuji is bad with challenging lighting conditions. The sky is not so blue as it was with the film camera, and the white places are sometimes too white. Also, there is not the "depth" of the landscape I see in some photos.
    Yes, I do fear that with more options in the camera things can get worse - if you make the settings wrong.
    Regarding where to point to and what to point to I see that it was a wise option to invest the money in the travel instead of in the camera :) I did not have money for both, so I bought the camera with what remained after I bought the tickets.
    I have another friend with really nice equipment - but he is lacking good subjects to photograph.
    Apart of that, 5 MB seems to be now the lowest limit for photos, maybe it is indeed time to get a new one.
    But 1000$ seems quite expensive - I was thinking of about 500 euro.
    Also, maybe Photoshop can help as well, where the camera cannot?
  10. Maria - From your multiple posts over the past few days it appears that you have reached a place where you are seriously interested in how you can move your photography to another level. I think you are asking a lot of the right questions about how to do that, and I also expect that the information everyone is providing must make it sound as if there is no right answer to some of these questions. And I think that is true in some ways - the nice thing about photography is that each of us finds what makes us comfortable and moving forward. And as Lex points out above we all have an opinion, but you need do decide what makes most sense for you.
    I will tell you that I switched to all digital about five years ago, and it has allowed me to try a lot of things because once you buy the equipment (camera, software, computer, maybe a printer) you are then free to experiment with a subject, shoot lots of versions of it, and find what makes you happy with the outcome. If you are diligent about reviewing the results and the associated settings and composition you can learn a lot about what you like, and compare that to the pictures you find here and elsewhere. That is also possible with film, but it is harder unless you are prepared to track a lot of your decisions on settings, wait for the photos to come back from the processing company, or of course develop your own film. I think you would get a quicker start from digital, but over time some of the qualities of film might take you in that direction.
    I think it is going to be tough to get everything you need for 500 euro, but if you already have a computer and can find a deal on a used DSLR you could get started with something closer to that price. Photoshop will drive the cost up, but there are other products such as Lightroom that would do quite a bit of what you might need and allow you to get started. People on this site are good at helping to identify where to find used equipment, and that may be a way to get started.
    Good luck - it is nice to someone who is this interested in learning more and getting better at photograpy.
  11. 500 Euros is not a lot in the world of DSLR's. Remember you need good lenses in addition to the camera. You could look for a nice used camera and a couple of used lenses., B&H, and Adorama are good sources of used gear, and B&H and Adorama are also good sources of new gear.
    Another less expensive option is a bridge camera (also called superzoom camera, SLR-like camera, and digicam). The have a lens with a very high zoom ratio (like 28-400 for example) and an EVR (electronic viewfinder). They have DSLR features like program, shutter-priority, aperture-priority, subject modes, and manual exposure. On the negative side, they are not good at iso's over 400 or 800, the EVF is not as good as a DSLR's viewfinder, and they take a little more time to focus than DSLR's. They range in price from a little over $100 to around $400. They are the next best thing to a DSLR if you don't want to spend a lot of money.
  12. A bridge camera I already have ... but it is coming to its limits with only 5 MP, soon it will be too few.
    A colleague of mine found these offers:
    Aparat foto DSLR Canon EOS 1000D + obiectiv Canon EF 18-55 DC
    1799 RON (1 euro is about 4.25 RON), so cheaper than 500 euro
    Aparat foto DSLR Nikon D3000, obiectiv 18-55 VR
    1699 RON (even cheaper).
    They are new.
    The Canon has 12 months guarantee, the Nikon 24 months.
  13. Maria,
    Probably you need a more refined overall framework for your photography.
    It is probably true that the camera does not matter, but definitely technical aspects impact on your photography.
    The digital vs. film debate is clueless. They are different media and produce different results.
    in the case of film a major part of the process is beyond your control: if you are not developing your colour film on your own, you are dependent on the lab, both for film development and for printing. This may have a major impact on the final outcome of your photos, regardless of how good lenses (first) and camera (second) are.
    In analogue photography, film plays a role and light plays a role. In general I can tell you that I get quite good results (when well developed) from HP5, TMax 100, TMax 400 in B&W.
    For colour I have extensively used Kodak Ultra 400, but the results are not always good: there are a few photos which work, but most look flat. I tried Velvia 50 and 100 but there are several issues to me: speed of Velvia 50 is too low. The exposure latitude of both films is quite limited, making exposure critical when the image has very different levels of lighting. I am not convinced of the colour rendition of both films in respect to the photography I'm doing: Velvia is not suitable for people, the skin tones are not real.
    Now I'm experimenting Kodak Portra NC and VC. Will see.
    I'm no expert. From time to time I use an "old" Nikon Coolpix 8700 of my wife. The processor and the file transfer are terribly low and using manual modes is too complicated.
    I think that modern digital cameras are much better now. The suggestion to read Ken Rockwell's reviews is good. I think you can make a good value-for-money choice.
    I guess that to use a digital camera well you need to get the settings right, probably the white balance. The internal algorithms will normally take care of the colour saturation. In any case the light will "make" your photo: strong sunlight at noon will decrease contrast and make your photos flatter.
    Lenses: most probably lenses are more important than cameras.
    It's not easy, the market offerings are very large and might be confusing. I'm afraid you will have to sort it out on your own, depending on the photography you want to do.
    Speak to you,
  14. Personally, I'll agree with Maria in saying that she'd better spend the money on travel rather than on a $1000 camera...;-) But if the photography bug has you, then the solution is to find SOME way to satisfy it AND still make your trips... I would seriously advise you to look into purchasing a used DSLR, maybe a D80 or even a D200 (these days they can be had for around 200-300 euros) AND a used f/2.8 lens (meaning a fixed-aperture lens, maybe a Tamron or a Sigma or a Tokina) at a reasonable range (say 24-70 or thereabouts) which can be had for arount 200 more and then travel, travel, travel. And shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. Take a good photography techniques book from the library and try everything in there during your next trip, again and again until you're satisfied with the results. THEN, study how you arrived at those satisfying results and LEARN from your experiences.
    You do not need 6000 in gear to make wonderful images - you do need 6000 hours however...;-)
  15. Good advice from both Lucas and Marios. I think you are headed the right way with the used DSLR and a "moderate" lens around 25-80 range. And the comment about getting some good books is also valuable - over time you will likely build up a library of these and I find going back through them is always valuable. Check Galen Rowell's books - great photography, explained in simple and motivating terms. And I couldn't agree more the Lucas about the film / digital conversation - choose what works for you and become an expert on that. He describes some of the pros and cons well.
  16. Maria, please tell us what you would like to do with your camera. What kind of photos would you like to shoot?
    Portraits? Landscapes? Indoors in low light? Night photography? Sports? Wildlife? Then the people here can suggest
    some good cameras for your purposes.
  17. @Dan
    mainly travel, mainly buildings, but not only. Portraits also, as I'd like some pictures of myself :) No sports, no wildlife.
  18. Maria. I am ordinarily someone who questions 'upgrading' gear unless the purpose is clear and specific; however, in your case I think that a better point-and-shoot like the Canon PowerShot S95 or Panasonic DMC-LX5 would be a really useful tool. I also note that the Panasonic G1 with the very good kit lens is available new for about USD 475 (450 euro). I have one of these and it gives excellent results for the kind of pictures you are contemplating.
  19. Maria, I think a small DSLR with the kit 18-55 stabilized lens is perfect for you. A Nikon D3100, Canon Rebel, or comparable Pentax, Sony, or Olympus with kit lens would be in your price range and will cover your needs. Don't let the term entry level fool you. Any of these cameras can take sharp, well exposed photos under a wide variety of conditions. They are also smaller and lighter than their more expensive brothers. I have a D90 and a D3100, and I prefer the D3100 because it has as good or better image quality as the D90 and is smaller and lighter.
  20. Mark - thank you. Yes, I also think that a Nikon D3000 will do it - it is even cheaper than the price range. What is the difference between D3000 and D3100? I saw only D3000 and D5000 in the shop (with the D5000 significantly more expensive)

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