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fruit-loop
17-02-12, 04:18 PM
Hi All

I've just found this forum and hope you can help.

I am looking to buy a new camera, at the moment I have a cannon powershot A720 is. I've had it about 4 years now, it takes a good photo but very slowly esp in low light. I mostly take photos of my children and often miss the shot by the time the camera takes the photo.

So I would like a camera that takes a good photo of fast moving children, also with a very good zoom (as taking photo's from the back of a school hall is a nightmare).

I think I quite fancy a bridge camera as I like to have a view finder, this is the reason I have my present camera as it was the only one I could find that didn't just have a screen.

The budget is small around 150.Can anyone point me in the direction of something that will meet my needs?

Sorry if I've rambled on a bit and thanks in advance for any advice given.:)

Chris Cool
17-02-12, 04:49 PM
Hi and welcome.

Shooting kids and long zooms in halls is really a no no I'm afraid.

The trick with shooting kids is to pre-focus - press the shutter halfway in the area they are. Then keeping it half pressed, follow them and press all the way down when you see the shot. Simples! :D

The longer the zoom lens the more light it needs. As you zoom, the lens receives less light, so images become dark. If the stage lighting is very bright, then you may get away with some zoom.

I use a long zoom compact but carry a pocket tripod with me at all times - I rest the tripod on pillars, lamp posts, walls, chairs, pavements etc and use the 2 second timer. If shooting in a hall, you could try moderate zoom and the 2 second timer - to test what I mean. Try shooting the zoom range in a church and see how you get on. Bridge cameras use the same sensor as in compacts and really need good light to operate.

So, once you understand the problems, any camera will do - even your Canon powershot A720 :D

Hope that helps

fruit-loop
17-02-12, 05:03 PM
Thank you for your relpy chris.:)

I don't just want to take indoor photos. I have tried with the half way press on my current camera and unfortunately its so slow I always miss the shot, even outside on a bright day.

I would still like a lot more zoom though as although my camera's primary use is to take photos of the children I do also take pic's of other things.

I do get it that action shots at low light is always going to be a nightmare. I'm not sure if my camera has a fault as it seems to have got slower and slower over the last 12 months.

Chris Cool
17-02-12, 05:09 PM
What is your budget for a Bridge camera?

fruit-loop
17-02-12, 05:18 PM
rather low I'm afraid around 150 possibly able to push to just over 200:eek:

Chris Cool
17-02-12, 05:21 PM
OK, well give me half hour and I should be able to come up with some Refurbished models direct from manufacturer :D

fruit-loop
17-02-12, 05:22 PM
Thank you for taking the time to help:D

Chris Cool
17-02-12, 06:18 PM
OK, well the best one I could find at your price is the Fuji Finpix s400 (http://shop.fujifilm.co.uk/refurbished-digital-cameras/finepix-s4000-refurbished.html) for 139. These are refurbished by Fuji and are as good as new.

Full spec. here Clicky (http://www.dpreview.com/products/fujifilm/compacts/fujifilm_s4000) It pays to keep the ISO (old film speed) at around 100/200. With 400 max for best quality pics.

Look at some pics on Flickr Clicky (http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=FinePix+S4000+)

If you could save till you had 211, then we could get something from Panasonic Clicky (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Panasonic-Lumix-14-1MP-Digital-Camera/dp/B003WOKU4W/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1329506610&sr=1-1) I use a Panasonic compact.

The bottom line is, that if you understand the problems with small sensors you can work round them (like using the 2 second timer so you don't get camera shake etc. in poor light) There are some scene modes to help with children/ sports etc but you really need good light and pre-focus techniques.

Also, it helps if you understand a little about post-processing, so you can enhance your pics later - using the editor and tutorial in my signature below, will make your images come to life regardless of what camera you use...

Have fun! :D

fruit-loop
18-02-12, 10:39 AM
Thanks Chris:D I could probably find 211 but the panasonic doesn't take aa batteries which I would prefer. Overall I'm just looking for something with a good zoom and can take a photo outside in daylight quickly ( like children on a slide etc..).

Is there any reason for recommending the fuji s400 over the other similar priced fuji models? There seem to be a lot of them about with from my novice point of view similar specs.:confused:

Chris Cool
18-02-12, 03:03 PM
When it came down to it. The most important feature was it had the highest LCD screen at 460,000 dots, making it very readable in most lighting. I have the same resolution screen and as I zoom in on the image, it does not get so pixelated, so I can see if the image is in focus (most of the cheaper models have 230,000 dots).

After that, it was well within your price range and you knew where it was coming from.

I also liked that the Auto focus is a tad better with Multi-area, Center, Tracking and Face Detection added.
Tracking can focus and track at the same time, so making it ideal for chasing children around (even when using zoom).
Face Detection can recognise your children (if programmed to), so will try to focus on their faces rather than the background so focus quicker.

The lens is also wider at 24mm and has a longer zoom for zoo's etc.

Nowadays, all of the well known brand names can take decent pics, so you won't go far wrong with any of them. Just make sure it has what you want on it.

At the end of the day. 139 for a camera is dirt cheap. I'm surprised it has so much on it lol.

And don't forget - good light = plenty of zoom and kids pics - poor light = no zoom (or very little. So use a pocket tripod and the 2 or 10 second timer for those moody landscape shots etc)

Let me know what you decide on :cool:

Cheers

fruit-loop
19-02-12, 05:51 PM
Thank you Chris. I have decided to go ahead and buy the fuji finepix s4000. ;)

When it arrives I'm sure I will be back with more questions :rolleyes:

Chris Cool
19-02-12, 10:07 PM
Yes, do let us know how you get on.

While your waiting for it to arrive, download the manual Clicky (http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/manuals/pdf/index/s/finepix_s3200s4000series_manual_01.pdf) and get stuck in lol

Also, have a look at Pixlr photo editor and tutorials in my signature below - taking the picture is only half the job. The other half is bringing it to life. The most useful tutorial is the Adjusting levels (http://ictpublish.com/pixlr/Videoes/06_Levels/06_Levels.html)

Lots of photo tutorials in my sticky on the AP sister site Clicky (http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?88257-HOW-TO-POST-IMAGES-amp-LINKS-Free-programs) look down the bottom of the page.

Cheers!