View Full Version : Buying a Camera for The Girl

16-07-12, 10:52 PM
Hello all.

As an incentive to try hard for her GCSE's we promised to bedget 250 on any item our daughter wished.

She excel's at art, and has a flair for it, she will be studying A level art too and is very keen on photogrphy but still very much a novice.

She likes to go to music concerts and record photo/video.

She has decided that she wants her own camera, I had gien her mine (a low budget Fuji finepix) but it has since deveoped a fault (no through her misuse).

So, I'd love to get her an all singing/dancing camera, but I think that she still wants it compact.

Can you guys recommend anything within a 250 budget?

This looks amazing, although may be a little bulky??? I really don't know:

http://www.ukdigitalcameras.co.uk/digital-cameras/fuji-s4500-black.html?gclid=CNv60Jmkn7ECFYcNfAodJC6SXw#fo_c=2 9&fo_k=a30872dd4c73722d113808d693742def&fo_s=gshuk


Chris Cool
16-07-12, 11:09 PM

I've just recommended the Samsung EX1 that has a slightly larger sensor than the Fuji and is more pocketable.

Have a read through this thread Clicky (http://www.whatdigitalcamera.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3237)



16-07-12, 11:33 PM
Excelent, thank you Chris.

I'll certainly consider this, although the resolution for video seems a little low on this model?

Chris Cool
16-07-12, 11:55 PM
Excelent, thank you Chris.

I'll certainly consider this, although the resolution for video seems a little low on this model?
I understand.

Have a look at the Canon PowerShot SX240 HS Clicky (http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_powershot_sx240_hs_review/conclusion/) It won't be quite so good in low light but still has some manual controls with full HD video.

And don't forget. Post processing is an important part of photography and should be used to sharpen and enhance pictures taken with your camera. If you don't have an imaging editor, then use the one in my signature below. There are 32 video tutorials (http://ictpublish.com/pixlr/) to get you started. The most useful is the Adjusting levels (http://ictpublish.com/pixlr/Videoes/06_Levels/06_Levels.html) and for even more adjustment. The Curves tool (http://ictpublish.com/pixlr/Videoes/07_Curves/07_Curves.html) is a must (it's my favourite all-in-one adjuster). My Resize-Crop-Sharpen tutorial below, will get your pics ready for the internet or whatever :cool:



17-07-12, 08:10 AM
Thanks Chris, I appreciate your help.

Nigel Atherton
18-07-12, 10:05 AM
If she excels at art and loves photography I would actually suggest a different route. It sounds like she might enjoy something that she can be really creative with, and while compacts are fine for snaps, and some even offer control over the exposure settings, they are limited by the small size of their sensors. These have three main drawbacks:
Ultimate image quality isn't as good a potential issue when it comes to making big fine art prints, which she might want to do.
More noise (http://whatdigitalcamera.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11133%7C000004350%7Cc658_ISO-scale.jpg)when shooting in low light situations.
It's virtually impossible to get really shallow depth of field effects, where you get only a narrow band of focus. Examples here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelath/6499844937/in/set-72157628156559883) and here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelath/4956923102/in/set-72157605378558354) and here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelath/2577694363/in/set-72157605378558354/) and here. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nigelath/2945662188/in/set-72157608047981666)
Assuming she doesn't necessarily want a big DSLR (they're beyond the budget anyway) I'd suggest one of two Compact System Cameras. These cameras (both part of the Micro Four Thirds, or M43 format) feature sensors many times larger than compacts use, so offer: higher quality, the ability to get shallow depth of field effects, full manual controls, and (drum roll).... the ability to change lenses. She if she gets really into into it later she can expand her horizons with any one of nearly 30 lenses in the M43 range, including special macro lenses, and fast primes.

Option 1: Panasonic GF3 (http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/Products/LUMIX+Digital+Cameras/LUMIX+G+Compact+System+Cameras/DMC-GF3/Overview/7731478/index.html): A great little camera with a touchscreen LCD, and an absoute giveaway for the price. See here (http://www.cameraworld.co.uk/ViewProdDetails.asp?prod_code=PON11F000067&Prod_name=&CAT_CODE=&SUBCAT_CODE=&MANU_CODE=&Minisitetype=) and here (http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5596148.htm).

Option 2: Olympus EPM-1 'Mini' (http://www.olympus.co.uk/consumer/pen-camera_pen_21693_pen-camera_e-pm1_24690.htm): also excellent. Its a tad more expensive, and there's no touchscreen but a hotshoe for external flash, a port for the attachment of an optional electronic viewfinder, and a choice of five colours. Personally I love the purple (http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-olympus-e-pm1-purple-digital-camera-with-14-42mm-ii-lens/p1527219), but I like the brown (http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-olympus-e-pm1-brown-digital-camera-with-14-42mm-ii-lens/p1527217) and white (http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-olympus-e-pm1-white-digital-camera-with-14-42mm-ii-lens/p1527220) ones too.

Now you may be put off by the fact they don't have a big zoom lens built in, like for example bridge cameras such as this one (http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-fuji-finepix-s4500-black-digital-camera/p1528873). Personally I think big zooms are over-rated for creative photography, unless you're into sports of wildlife. They're ideal as family cameras - the stereotypical 'soccer mums' but they're a lot less useful for most other people than you might think. Consider for example that Henri Cartier Bresson, considered by many to be the greatest photographer ever, only used one lens, and it wasn't even a zoom. The thing with these cameras is if she later wanted a long zoom she could buy one but it woudn't have to be on the camera all the time.

18-07-12, 11:08 AM
Mr Atherton.

That is indeed some great suggestions, I particuarly like the GF3 0 if only for the lense options (I once dabbled very briefly with photography (rally cars) with an old Zenith, and having multiple lenses excited me a little).

She had actually decided on a Canon Powershot SX40 HS - it has all the things she wants from a camera. But if this GF3 does the same with the option of changing lenses then maybe she should be considering this.

Honestly, what is your opinion on the Powershot? I know you listed the bridging compacts above for the soccermum, but for ease of use too?

Nigel Atherton
19-07-12, 12:25 AM
The Canon SX40 is one of the very best bridge cameras you can buy. If that's the kind of camera she wants then its a good choice. The main advantage it has over the two M43 cameras is the long built in zoom, but ask her to think what, specifically, she would want to use a super telephoto lens for. If the sort of subjects she likes to shoot needs to be done from far back with a zoom lens then go for it. It has all the manual control she could want and it's quite compact for what it offers. It also has a built in (electronic) viewfinder and a tilt and swivel LCD screen.

Obviously what it lacks from a 'serious' photography point of view is the ability to have much control over the depth of field without standing far away and using a lot of zoom (due to small sensor, and not very wide max aperture) which is possibly the most important creative control available to the photographer. It also lacks the ability to change the lenses, like the Olympus and Panasonic.

Seeing as it doesn't seem to be a secret perhaps you should go somewhere where they sell these and get her to have a play with them so she can make up her own mind. The GF3 is harder to find as its discontinued now (a new model, the GF5 just launched at twice the price). The Olympus should be easy to find.

Incidentally they all offer HD movies at full 1080p HD. The Olympus has the option to attach an external mic for better sound recording.

19-07-12, 07:23 AM
hi all the cameras mentioned here are good cameras so i think it might be a good idea if you havent done so already is to take your daughter out and to try them out, as she is the one that will have to use it.

19-07-12, 08:20 AM
Thank you again.

I've given my daughter the choice and explained the differences. Although she wants to be the 'artist of the image' she also wants to have more assistance from the device - that is, she does like to 'point & shoot', where as the GF3 would take more involvement to get the very best from it.

Plus from a budget perspecitve, the SX40 built in zoom is very useful - to acheive this level of optics on the GF3 she would need another lense (and having checkde, they're not at all cheap).

I personally would prefer her to have the GF3 and that she develops a talent for photography that's all hers, but her lack of confidence and desire to capture quickly without complication, I think, means that she'll be getting the SX40.

Thank you all, sincerely. I feel that I'm making a worthy purchase now, whereas before I was worried that I could be buying her something from a Kinder egg.


Nigel Atherton
19-07-12, 09:51 AM
Just to clarify, both the Panasonic and Olympus cameras feature full automation, with Intelligent Auto, all the usual scenes modes, and built in special effects filters to create 'artistic' shots like you get with mobile apps like Instagram. The GF3's touch screen enables her to take a picture simply by touching the screen at the point she wants to focus on. They have the same degree of automation as the SX40.
Conversely the SX40 also has the manual control over exposures that the other two have. If anything there are more external buttons and controls on the SX40 to get to grips with than on the GF3 and E-PM1.
By all means get her the SX40 if that's what she wants, but not for that reason as it would be incorrect. What it should boil down to is a bigger zoom on the one hand, and a bigger sensor on the other.

19-07-12, 10:21 AM
Ah, understood.

I will make this point clear to her - but will ultimately let her decide.

Thank you again.