Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camera Purchasing Help!

Any suggestions on what direction to go when buying a new camera?  As you can tell from my regular food photos on this blog, my pictures are, well, poor.  I actually used to care about photography quite a bit, spending time in the dark room developing yearbook pictures back in high school.  Since loosing access to those amazing cameras, my photography skills are just awful!  I'll blame the camera, I'm sure there's something lacking on my end as well, but I want to improve, which is good enough for me.  My current camera is an old Sony.  It's my first digital camera since switching over from film ages ago.  My old Canon film camera was quite nice, but now useless. 

I originally thought I'd just upgrade my small hand-held digital camera since a lot of pictures that I take, I take while hiking, and I pay big bucks to have light gear.  I'm not going to hike in a huge camera everywhere I go.  Then I realized that I take tons of pictures that don't involve hiking!  Why not keep my current digital for the few times a year I go backpacking, then invest in a nice digital SLR for everything else? 

I guess my one limitation is price.  I wouldn't say I'm cheap, but I would say I have a fear of investing a large amount of money into any one thing.  I think this is because I've only been out of grad school for 2.5 years, I live with a grad student, and, well, I don't make much money, especially for the city I live in.  God forbid I ever need to buy a vehicle or a house! 

It's easy to take a cool picture with views like this and a good looking guy in the foreground, but when the view isn't so exciting, my camera is a failure.  This is Dave on Grays Peak (14,270 ft).  See more from this trip here:

Pretty things are easy to photograph, but I had to take 30 pictures to get two good ones with my current camera. 

Anyone have a camera that takes great pictures that I should know about?  Or any general camera advice?   I'm going to do my own investigation, but why not start with your suggestions?


Beth Edwards said...

I have a Nikon D40. I got it 2 years ago for christmas. I have the 18-55mm and the 55-200mm lenses for it. I love this camera! It is easy to use, lots of options to customize or just a general auto setting if you don't want to bother with options. They make a 18-200mm lens that would be great so you can do everything with one and never have to change (which I'm saving up to get). I got the camera, a bag and both lenses in a package for around $400. I love Nikons and even my little point and shoot camera is one. I find they take great pictures and are easy to work with. If you look on my facebook at any of the nature type pictures, you can see the quality. Best part is that they take standard memory cards unlike Sony that requires their special memory stick. Hope this helps a bit!

NavyGirl said...

Well, I have a Nikon D3000. It's a DSLR, and I really like it, but it was not inexpensive, and there are probably better options in terms of value. The DSLR is great, but it is annoying to only have a big camera when it comes to taking it places... for you - hiking, but I end up leaving it home from weddings, or going out at night because I don't want to lug it around. Luckily the camera on my phone is fairly good, so that makes up for it. I don't know! I always get super stressed trying to buy technology things like this, so I'm not much help ;)

Alisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alisa said...


I suggest going to a camera store and test driving some cameras but then buying it here: B&H often has really decent deals, sometimes free software or lenses and free shipping here and there. They also have awesome specs, accessories, and tons of reviews. I went to school for photography for a year and have bought all but one of my cameras through them (I have five and it was a recommended purchasing location from both schools I attended). I'm also in the market to upgrade and am looking at Canons, as that is what I have always used and they have always been very reliable and typically reasonably priced.

I suggest an SLR with interchangeable lenses. You can start with an all purpose lens and eventually get more when you want more options.

Defn. be sure to try whatever camera you like before you buy! Make sure there's not long delays in shooting - it's frustrating and you can miss a lot!

PS - Sorry to have deleted my former post, I wrote something that I afterwards thought might be offensive (though that wasn't where I was trying to go with it!). I hate when I do that!