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Twinklee
05-22-2011, 06:03 PM
Camera Help! Please.

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We're going to WDW the end of September for my dh to run the Wine and Dine half marathon and I'm thinking of getting a new camera. I've been doing a little research, but it just makes me more confused since I am NOT camaera savy.

Right now I have a Nikon Coolpix L3 and the shutter lag is terrible. My sister had twins a couple of years ago and I have yet to get a good pic of them because of this. If I use the flash for an indoor pic, the flash takes soooo long to reload that I miss picture opportunities also. It also seems to take more blurry pics than clear ones. At Christmas I resorted to using my old point and click 35 mm camera. It takes great pictures, but is huge compared to the digital cameras of today.

So, I'm asking for ideas for a new camera. Something that is EASY to use, has a short shutter lag, doesn't take forever for the flash to reload and doesn't cost and arm and a leg. I would also like to be able to take good pictures of WDW at night. Anyone have any ideas for me, or am I asking for too much in an easy to use camera?
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SrisonS
05-23-2011, 09:51 AM
Camera Help! Please.

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We're going to WDW the end of September for my dh to run the Wine and Dine half marathon and I'm thinking of getting a new camera. I've been doing a little research, but it just makes me more confused since I am NOT camaera savy.

Right now I have a Nikon Coolpix L3 and the shutter lag is terrible. My sister had twins a couple of years ago and I have yet to get a good pic of them because of this. If I use the flash for an indoor pic, the flash takes soooo long to reload that I miss picture opportunities also. It also seems to take more blurry pics than clear ones. At Christmas I resorted to using my old point and click 35 mm camera. It takes great pictures, but is huge compared to the digital cameras of today.

So, I'm asking for ideas for a new camera. Something that is EASY to use, has a short shutter lag, doesn't take forever for the flash to reload and doesn't cost and arm and a leg. I would also like to be able to take good pictures of WDW at night. Anyone have any ideas for me, or am I asking for too much in an easy to use camera?
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If I remember correctly, I used to have a Nikon L3 myself. And I completely agree with everything you said about it. I REALLY did not like that camera.

I assume you're just trying to get a simple p&s???? Do you have a budget??? I don't know too much about different point & shoots myself. But for someone to help you, those are questions they'd ask anyway. I have a Canon p&s that works pretty well.... a PowerShot SD960IS. I don't really use it that often though; and never used it at night. And as far as night shots with a p&s, you might need some sort of tripod (or even just a Gorillapod) to get decent pictures. Not to say it's impossible without a tripod; just a lot harder.

disneyboy2003
05-23-2011, 01:01 PM
Right now I have a Nikon Coolpix L3 and the shutter lag is terrible. My sister had twins a couple of years ago and I have yet to get a good pic of them because of this. If I use the flash for an indoor pic, the flash takes soooo long to reload that I miss picture opportunities also. It also seems to take more blurry pics than clear ones. At Christmas I resorted to using my old point and click 35 mm camera. It takes great pictures, but is huge compared to the digital cameras of today.

So, I'm asking for ideas for a new camera. Something that is EASY to use, has a short shutter lag, doesn't take forever for the flash to reload and doesn't cost and arm and a leg. I would also like to be able to take good pictures of WDW at night. Anyone have any ideas for me, or am I asking for too much in an easy to use camera?

A couple things come to mind.

Shutter lag time is the time it takes when you press the button until the camera takes a picture. Your Nikon Coolpix L3 has a shutter lag time of 0.48 - 0.78 seconds, although it probably seems like forever. During this shutter lag time, the camera has to calculate the exposure, figure out the focusing distance, etc. before it actually takes the picture.

You can actually improve the shutter lag time by pre-focusing the camera. You point the camera at your subject, press the shutter button half-way (NOT all the way). This lets the camera autofocus on your subject. When you're ready to take the picture, you press the shutter button all the way down. This pre-focused shutter lag time is 0.04 seconds for your camera (actually, that's pretty fast, especially for a point-and-shoot camera!).

There's also a cycle time for your camera, which describes the time it takes to take 2 consecutive photos. Your camera takes about 2.19 seconds cycle time to go from one shot to the next.

Your flash recycling time is 7 seconds, if the flash fired at maximum output.

(I got all these stats for your camera at imaging-resource.com (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CPL3/CPL3A6.HTM).)

For point-and-shoot cameras, these are pretty typical shutter lag times, cycle times, and flash recycling times. Looks like your camera came out in 2006. There have been minimal improvements in delay times since then.

There are some point-and-shoot cameras that have a "burst mode", where you can take a bunch of pictures in rapid-fire succession. One particular camera (I forget which) claims to take 60 frames per second in burst mode (meaning, a shot-to-shot cycle time of 1/60 sec = 0.0167 sec)! However, the catch is that the pictures are like 2 megapixels...not the full 12 megapixels it normally takes.


If you really want super-short lag times, then you'll have to look into dSLR cameras. Let's take a look at the Canon T3i, for example. This is Canon's entry-level dSLR camera. (Again, stats from imaging-resource.com (http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3I/T3IA6.HTM))

The shutter lag time for this dSLR camera is 0.16 - 0.28 seconds. That's literally the time it takes for the blink of an eye. The first time I pressed a dSLR shutter button, I was SHOCKED at how seemingly instantaneous it was to take a picture! :eek:

The shot-to-shot cycle time is 0.4 seconds. In continuous mode, the Canon T3i can take 3.6 frames per second...and those are complete 18-megapixel frames. Canon's prosumer cameras, like the Canon 60D and the Canon 7D, can do 5 - 8 frames per second!

The flash recycling time is 3.2 seconds, if the flash fires at maximum output. If you're serious about flash photography, you'll want to buy an external flash. I don't have recycling times for external flashes, but in my experience, I've been able to fire about 2-3 flashes at a time in burst mode. However, I'm not firing my flashes at full power, though.

These delay times are pretty typical of other dSLR cameras, regardless of brand. In general, you'll get better performance times with a dSLR camera than with a point-and-shoot camera.


You also wanted better pictures at night. The sensor inside an entry-level dSLR camera is about 13x larger than the tiny sensor inside a point-and-shoot camera. A larger camera sensor really helps produce better pictures in low-light situations.

In reality, any camera (even a point-and-shoot camera) can take great low-light pictures. But for point-and-shoot cameras, you'll typically need a tripod and super-long exposure times. If there's any motion in your low-light photography, it'll be blurry. If you try to increase the ISO (the sensitivity of light on the sensor), you'll quickly introduce grain (or "noise") in your low-light photos.

With dSLRs, you can take better low-light pictures because of the larger sensor. They'll have less grain / noise when you increase the ISO. And if you're trying to take low-light action photos, you can easily do so by choosing a different lens (ie. one with a larger maximum aperture to let more light into the camera).


Finally, you wanted a camera that is "easy to use". While this requirement is pretty subjective, I can tell you that all dSLR camera manufacturers have gone to great lengths to market their entry-level dSLRs to the general public. These dSLRs have auto-everything, so all you have to do is press the shutter button and you DON'T have to know anything about any camera settings! (what blasphemy!) In general, photos from dSLRs in "Auto" mode are much better and sharper than those from point-and-shoot cameras. Plenty of people are walking around WDW with their dSLRs in full "Auto" mode.

Of course, if you want better pictures with your dSLR, especially in more-challenging photo situations, then you really should learn more about the basics of photography (ie. shutter speed, aperture, ISO). Even though I'm touting the huge benefits of a dSLR camera, it doesn't mean that your photos are automatically better. It's just as easy to take a BAD photo with a dSLR as it is with a point-and-shoot camera (probably easier with a dSLR).


So, a dSLR camera can easily address all the frustrations you're facing with your current point-and-shoot camera. Unfortunately, I don't think your frustrations will be solved with a newer point-and-shoot camera. It's up to you to decide whether it's worth upgrade.

Hope that helps. Sorry for the long post.

DSLRuser
05-23-2011, 01:37 PM
And what ever you get...

RTFM!!

Read The Freakin Manual

SrisonS
05-23-2011, 04:25 PM
Disneyboy: That is quite the breakdown!!!! But just to relate to the op again, and without getting too technical, that camera was just flat out slow to do anything. Sure, maybe the lag wasn't that bad, but it took forever to even grab focus, even during a nice sunny day. And like they said, pics would often be blurry, even on that nice sunny day. It's one of those cameras you'd have to own to really know what a pain it was. And when the flash went off.. Forget about taking another shot even somewhat quickly.

I remember having another nikon p&s for a couple of years before I had the L3. It was nowhere near as bad or as slow.

Twinklee
05-23-2011, 04:49 PM
Thanks Disneyboy and everyone else for their replies. I'd like to stay under $500 and not get something too complicated. Like SirsonS was saying, my Nikon is terrible. It even takes blurry pics outdoors in the daylight. I had already followed some of your suggestions and they didn't noticably improve anything on my camera. My phone takes better pics.

I've barely started my research, but how is a dSLR different from and SLR, or is there any difference? From what I've read about SLR cameras, they seem to be more difficult than I want.

SrisonS
05-23-2011, 06:55 PM
A dslr is bascially just a digital slr. So the slr takes film, and a dslr uses memory cards. There are probably some others things, but that's the quick rundown.

But like disneyboy mentioned, a dslr can be very easy to use. I'd almost argue they're easier, especially when you want to use the creative settings (sports mode, night portrait, etc); because you just turn the dial. No hunting through menus for basic changes. It's just it takes some learning (which you can be self-taught) to really take full advantage of what a dslr can do.

And considering your budget, maybe take a look at the Canon G12. I believe it's more like a high-end p&s. But if you're thinking of maybe shopping around for a dslr, the Pentax line will be much closer to your budget than other brands. Just do your research, because there are other costs involved... like getting lenses and stuff.

WilsonFlyer
05-23-2011, 07:14 PM
If you're serious about wanting a responsive camera and not a "complicated" DSLR (I disagree with that basic assessment but that's another argument for another time), take a look at this thread:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2725738

Those two I recommended are arguably as good as it gets but you gots to pay to play. :rotfl2: The good news is that they are both within your budget.

Having said that, if you're really serious, you may want to take a look at the Sony NEX line. They have a new one coming out June 3 (supposedly) and while they are a little above your initial budget, they are a full magnitude above any PnS, but with the ease of use of a PnS and all of the flexibility of a DSLR. It's really the best of BOTH worlds. I have a Sony NEX5 that I love. It's my go-to when I'm not shooting with my T2i or my 60D.

kshark
05-29-2011, 01:34 PM
You really can't go wrong with a dslr, and I have a friend that was able to pick a refurbished T1i with a kit lens that would fit in your budget.

If you want to stay with a p&s, take a look at the Canon S95. While the shutter lag, focus, and flash recycle times are nothing like the T1i, they're pretty good for a p&s.

That being said, I'm so used to my dslr that the S95 can get frustrating at times if I want to capture something quick...