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04-21-2013, 09:22 AM   #1
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Need help with recommendations

From time to time, I'll get people asking me for advice on buying a new camera. Most are hesitant to go with a DSLR but want something better than the point and shoot they currently own. Most often, I get the comment, "I get a delay when I try to take a photo and am missing the moment". Now, I know this delay is probably caused by the auto focus speed of the point and shoot and the firmware the camera runs on. My problem is, what do I recommend? I'm thinking bridge camera but, I've recommended that before and the owner still complains of the delay. Granted, she bought a low end Kodak bridge camera that isn't well thought of but, I'm wondering if most bridge cameras suffer from the same problem. I'm also concerned the delay is actually caused by auto focus and isn't really fixable with any camera. I can get her camera that shoots instantly but if the pictures are out of focus, they have to decide if it's actually worth taking. Now, all the people asking have no real concept of photography and will all be shooting in auto mode I'd assume. The one I'm talking to now is intimidated by DSLRs and isn't sure she wants a camera with removable lenses. Any suggestions on what I should recommend? Her budget is $400 to $500 and is, presumably for taking snap shots of her child and the like. Thanks.

04-21-2013, 10:08 AM   #2
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The shutter lag is usually a combination of AF and slow processing speed. High-end compacts like the Sony RX100, Fuji X20, Pentax MX-1, etc. have negligible shutter lag. Some cheap point-and-shoots also don't have shutter lag, but it really depends on the camera!

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04-21-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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Does she know to press the button halfway down to pre-focus? This will cut the AF time so the shutter delay is much reduced. It's basic, but I find a lot of people just aren't aware of this or make the mistake of pressing halfway, then RELEASING the button back up, then shooting - which defeats the whole point
04-21-2013, 01:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Navmaxlp Quote
Any suggestions on what I should recommend?
I'd get her to go to a camera shop, you could also be there for moral support, try a few in there and see what feels right for her.

04-21-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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That is one of the best advantages of the DSLR over the less expensive P&S and bridge cameras. Trying to catch fast moving grandkids is one of the reasons I switched from a quite nice Fujifilm bridge that I was very happy with for travel and landscapes to my first Pentax Km years ago.

I know you ruled out DSLR, but based on your friend's concerns it just might be that she would be happier with an inexpensive entry-level DSLR with a decent zoom. With a Kr+18-135 or equivalent other brand (entry level Rebel, etc.) she would never need to change lenses and could pretend it is a bridge camera but still get decent IQ with little to no lag.
04-21-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dboeren Quote
Does she know to press the button halfway down to pre-focus? This will cut the AF time so the shutter delay is much reduced. It's basic, but I find a lot of people just aren't aware of this or make the mistake of pressing halfway, then RELEASING the button back up, then shooting - which defeats the whole point
I see this with how my spouse used her previous P&S. She would go straight for shutter release (full-press) rather than half-press / full-press and the camera would focus on the wrong object. I think the camera was using a shutter priority algorithm rather than a focus priority algorithm. When I reminded her to pre-focus, I think she would do as described above. Switching to a newer model of the same line has substantially reduced this as the primary subject is in focus more often. I doubt she has changed her behavior.
04-21-2013, 04:44 PM   #7
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I try to talk everyone out of a DSLR first. They're big, heavy and expensive. They don't take better photos unless the photographer actually works at it. If the camera has to do all the work and the user never wants to get involved, there's no reason to get a DSLR.

If you have to look at P&Ss, lots of test sites test shutter lag but this information is buried in the mountain of other test data. I would start by looking at large sensors first. There's only a few hundred different models, how hard can it be?
04-21-2013, 06:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I try to talk everyone out of a DSLR first. They're big, heavy and expensive. They don't take better photos unless the photographer actually works at it. If the camera has to do all the work and the user never wants to get involved, there's no reason to get a DSLR.

If you have to look at P&Ss, lots of test sites test shutter lag but this information is buried in the mountain of other test data. I would start by looking at large sensors first. There's only a few hundred different models, how hard can it be?
Too many people they just want DSLR just to show off they have a big camera holding in their hand and think others might think they are "pros". But actually they want the DSLR just like P & S and use as one. It is so funny that they own DSLR and never want to understand the basic of exposure and they keep complaining why their pictures are not good. Most of those people think if they use Canon then the camera will give them exceptional pictures without they have to learn anything.

04-22-2013, 08:28 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ken T Quote
Too many people they just want DSLR just to show off they have a big camera holding in their hand and think others might think they are "pros". But actually they want the DSLR just like P & S and use as one. It is so funny that they own DSLR and never want to understand the basic of exposure and they keep complaining why their pictures are not good. Most of those people think if they use Canon then the camera will give them exceptional pictures without they have to learn anything.

Yep, I'm one of them. I have a brand new K5IIs 50-135 and 300 coming today and tomorrow. The only thing I know for sure how to do is charge the battery and put the camera in auto, half depress to focus and thats it, although I definately think this is just cause to go to the local college for some courses on photography. I will be there to meet women mostly, so there again you are correct with your assumption why people 'just want DSLR just to show off they have a big camera .' hahahahahahaha!!!
04-22-2013, 09:49 AM   #10
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All major manufacturers (and minor manufacturers for that matter) sell compact cameras that don't suck. The major hurdle may be persuading her that a camera that doesn't suck costs $400 - 500+.

Suggestions:
Canon S110
Nikon P7700
Pentax MX-1
Olympus XZ-2
Panasonic LX7
Fuji X20
Fuji XF1
Sony RX100
Samsung EX2F

Not a fan of bridge cameras myself (if you're going to carry that much weight...) but I daresay that the Fuji X-S1 won't suck either.

Another thing that might take some persuading is that non-sucky compacts do not have gazillions of pixels (RX100 honourably excepted - it seems to be able to manage) or 30x zooms. All of the above have 4x-5x zoom lenses.

Last edited by top-quark; 04-22-2013 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Adding other stuff
04-22-2013, 10:07 AM   #11
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Everyone's got their own preferences and their own reasons for them. For years I've been using a compact superzoom (Panasonic FZ's). I've had three of them and been happy with them all, but I recently bought a K-30 and love it. Why? The original motivator was wanting better pics of our son as he grows up (he's 2 now), but I've also been interested in learning more about photography and the more I read the more I wanted to jump in.

I don't use P mode, I'm always in at least Av/Tv and I'm starting to use M more when . I've picked up some old manual focus lenses and I'll go shooting sometimes bringing ONLY that one 50mm or 28mm and leave the zooms at home. Basically, I'm trying to understand the lenses and modes as tools and figure out how to work within each tool's limitations and advantages so I can work with whatever I've got with me.

My father was also looking for a new camera to take on an Alaskan cruise. For a while he was considering picking up a used Canon DSLR but eventually he bought a Fuji S8200 superzoom. His reasoning was that their older superzoom did well enough for them on their last cruise in Greece and this one has nearly double the zoom and ~5 years of technology improvements. In the end, it was good enough and simple enough that my mother could use it too, plus it was very inexpensive. He's still interested in taking good pictures, but doesn't want to invest that much time, money, and effort.
04-24-2013, 12:59 AM   #12
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So, I offered her a bunch of choices ranging in price and skill level. Some were point and shoots like the Pentax MX-1, some were micro 2/s. Some mirrorless and some full blown DSLRs were suggested. She ended up getting pretty much the same camera she already had only newer. The Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12.1 MP ended up the winner. I hope it works out for her but, I wonder what the final factor was. I hope she doesn't end up regretting the purchase. I don't have any info or experience with that particular camera but, I have used PowerShots before and they weren't that great. Thanks for all the help and input.. As always, this forum is a valuable tool.
04-24-2013, 01:22 PM   #13
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I'm not sure where Lytro's camera fits into the conversation (everwhere, perhaps).
https://www.lytro.com/camera

It's pretty cool technology, for sure, and small enough to take everywhere.
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