View Full Version : A total newbie who has no idea what camera to buy

26-05-13, 06:27 PM
I am a total newbie with a camera. I take pictures of my family and the sea.. odd sounding combination I know. I really want to get a better camera that will take pictures to be enlarged enough to frame. I don't want blue sky and sunshine, I love it when the sea is rough and grey with large waves. I have had an Olympus Camedia c-60 zoom for years but the kids have grown up and I can spend more time getting my perfect sea picture. Can anyone point me in the right direction please. I dont have a big budget.. around the 200 mark.. and it can't be too complicated, but I don't mind learning. The main thing is I want sharp, clear , stormy waves to make a big picture. (I dont want much do I? ) I don't need video though. Thanks ... Anne

28-05-13, 08:51 AM
Hi i am assuming you want a one stop will do all and not a DSLR

28-05-13, 10:46 AM
Hi, I am being totally open minded as to what type/make of camera, as I don't mind learning new things as long as its not too complicated.At the shop I got a bit bombarded with info and I felt a bit stupid to be honest.I was told I needed a fast shutter speed to freeze the waves and a slow one for distance and that it would need to work in low lights and that it would need to be about 16mp to be able to enlarge the pics enough.I thought this would be the perfect place to ask and receive advice on the kind of thing to buy, at least then I could go back to the shop .. maybe they wouldnt be quite as condecending if I had half an idea. I want to be able to take dramatic stormy waves (We get a lot of them in Scotland), and the sunrise/sunset over the sea with a sharp clear picture and enlarge it to frame it. I dont even know if thats possible on my budget.. I would appreciate any advice given.. Thank you :)

28-05-13, 12:13 PM
you can get different effects with the use of shutter speed, a fast shutter speed freezes action so that you will see drops of water frozen in time. a slower shutter speed allows for motion blur and creates a milky effect with water. now you come on to aperture and photographs are made by using a combination of shutter speed and aperture ( size of the hole in the lens ). a large hole small f number gives a shallow depth of field a small hole large f number gives a greater depth of field.
Now a DSLR will give you the best control but that maybe out of your price range. the canon power shot sx40hs is just above but will give good results, i would look at its specs and then other makes with same and get a short list and then go back and try those out

Nigel Atherton
28-05-13, 12:26 PM
This is potentially a very long answer. Firstly, it would be good to know whether you're talking about creative photography as a hobby, or just something to take high quality snaps. Lets assume the former for now. There are two ways to photography the sea - fast shutter speeds to freeze the waves mid splash (like this: http://tinyurl.com/nvnul2u) and slow shutter speeds to get that silky smooth look (example: http://tinyurl.com/pdk9w6n).
The former requires fast shutter speeds (possibly a high ISO if the light level isn't high) the latter requires slow ones, and a tripod. If you want your entire landscape to be sharp from foreground to background you'll need to use a small aperture. Basically to have any control over the kind of image you get you'll need a camera with control over shutter speeds and some knowledge of the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. You'll also need something that delivers good quality at high ISOs. Megapixels, to be honest, are irrelevant - I have made 20x30 inch canvas prints from my 12MP full frame camera. Its the size of the pixels, not how many there are, that counts, unless you're doing 6ft prints. Bigger pixels, which are generally found on bigger sensors, produce much better images in low light in particular, which is important here.
The difficulty is your 200 budget, which rules out a DSLR, which would be the best option (though the biggest to carry around). The best I can find are:
Nikon 1 J1 (http://tinyurl.com/p9rbo8o ) A compact system camera which can shoot at up to 60 frames per second and also do slow motion video, which would be perfect for waves!. Because the lenses are interchangeable you could save for a more telephoto lens later. Its 214 (was 550).
Olympus Pen E-PM1 (http://tinyurl.com/qfuyoma) Also interchangeable lenses, manual controls, though not as fast (still a respectable 5.5fps though). Now 179
Canon S100 (http://tinyurl.com/nr6hegp) A tiny compact but one of the best quality around, and still offering manual control. Ideal if you just want something you can fit in a pocket. 229 at Currys is a bargain.
All are discontinued, which is why they're so cheap, but still good cameras. If you can stretch to 279 Argos are selling the Canon 1100D DSLR, which would be a big step up.
Whichever you choose though you won't get great pics right out of the box without some knowledge of how to use the various settings.