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myusername
August 12th, 2009, 02:55 PM
ok so im taking a photography class this fall. I need a camera. just a cheap one though. nothing too professional or expensive. any suggestions? also do you think i need photoshop or can i stick with gimp? this is just a highschool class and its nothing really serious

Tibuda
August 12th, 2009, 02:59 PM
also do you think i need photoshop or can i stick with gimp?
It depends on your needs and your previous experience. Some people really need Photoshop, and some are just used to it.

tgalati4
August 12th, 2009, 03:23 PM
Get yourself a used Canon PowerShot. They have lots of manual settings which you will need for your class. Check craigslist.

For editing, gimp is fine. You shouldn't have to do more than some cropping and sharpening. The idea is to do the work in the field not in the computer.

racerraul
August 12th, 2009, 03:27 PM
I'd recommend a 35mm Film SLR. They are fairly inexpensive these days and at least a cheap zoom lense.

The idea is to have something that will allow you to learn and master Aperture, ISO, Shutter speed with interchangeable lenses.

Something like a Canon Rebel with a 28-80 and 70-300.

Good luck and have fun... IMO GIMP is enough and will get you by until you turn pro.

chucky chuckaluck
August 12th, 2009, 03:37 PM
the denser the pixels of the camera, the better. it doesn't make a huge difference if your using the whole frame of a shot, but when heavily cropping, it can be significant. optical zoom is good, digital zoom is poo. gimp is probably fine.

tubezninja
August 12th, 2009, 04:05 PM
the denser the pixels of the camera, the better.

Not necessarily true. There are lots of cameras out there that had high pixel densities but generate a lot of noise a result, which pretty much negates having a higher pixel count. there are plenty of cases where a noisy 12 Megapixel camera will yield pictures that are worse than a good 8 Megapixel camera.

The best thing to do is look at camera reviews, even googling the specific models you have in mind, and look for sample images that are in their native resolutions. Check the images up close, so that you know what you're getting and what to expect in terms of image quality.

I guess the questions to ask the OP are: what other criteria does this class require of the camera you get? Does it have to be film, or can it be digital? Also, what kind of budget do you have?

There are a lot of good digital SLRs on the used market. They have lower MPs than current models but still do a very good job. I had a Canon 30D before I had to sell it ( :( ) that took awesome photos despite having only an 8MP sensor (the current version of that camera line has 15MP now) that could be blown up to 18 " x 24 " prints without a problem.

ssam
August 12th, 2009, 06:17 PM
having learned on a film slr, and moved to a digital slr, i recommend going straight to digital. you can learn faster if you can see the results quicker. also the digital file will contain tags that tell you all the settings you used when you took the photo, so you can look at a batch of photos you took, and see how speed, aperture, and metering options effect it. also buying and processing film is expensive. you want to be able to take experimental shots, without worrying how much each will cost.

you should probably get something with as much manual control available as possible (don't worry their will be auto modes as well).

in terms of image quality sensor size can be more important than megapixels. bigger sensors have bigger pixels, that capture more light.

i would recommend a second hand digital SLR. even an old 6MP Canon 300D will make pictures that look good printed at A4. to look good on screen you only need 1 or 2 megapixels. DSLRs have big sensors, manual controls, manual+auto focus, good lenses.

myusername
August 13th, 2009, 05:21 AM
my teacher told me that any old digital camera will do. i was just looking for a cheap/quality digital camera

Vostrocity
August 13th, 2009, 05:31 AM
Eh a photography class without DSLRs? Well I guess since it's only a highschool class it'd be to hard to ask for everyone to have $500 cameras. For just a point-and-shoot, you can pretty much get any brand any model no problem, as long as it has optical zoom (which anything over $50 should). For around $100 you can get an average good 10MP with 3x optical.
:)

starcannon
August 13th, 2009, 05:40 AM
Whats the ballpark amount of money you have to spend?
Do you mind used?
If the class is not photoshop-centric, then there is no reason why the gimp wouldn't do the trick; run it by your teacher and see what s/he says about that.

Vostrocity
August 13th, 2009, 05:46 AM
Oh yea about Photoshop and GIMP. Do you even need either? A lot of photography classes I've seen just focus on the actual photography, just like many pro photographers only present their raw captures.

starcannon
August 13th, 2009, 05:48 AM
I'd probably go with a used Canon Rebel
http://cgi.ebay.com/CANON-DIGITAL-EOS-REBEL-XT-SILVER-EF-S-18-55-LENS-KIT_W0QQitemZ230366509626QQcmdZViewItemQQptZDigita l_Cameras?hash=item35a2e9fa3a&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

A used kit like that should do it, be sure to check craigslist in your area as well. I'm guessing $200~$300 should do the trick if, and it's something you could use for at least an entry level college class as well.

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 06:31 AM
my teacher told me that any old digital camera will do. i was just looking for a cheap/quality digital camera
Okay so it sounds like you are taking a Digital Photography class and NOT a film photography class, right?

This helps to start the subject with as much knowledge as possible, if you were taking a film photography class I would advice against any 35mm film camera and start with a medium format camera (NOT 35mm)...I recently bought a Mamiya C220 TLR. For film photography; Medium Format or Large Format are the only way to go!

For digital photography you should at least have something with interchangeable lenses, a DSLR or even better...any honest professional photographer will tell you the truth, beyond the camera body the most important thing are the lenses. If you want to start down the road of legacy lenses then a Canon or Nikon are your two serious options but not your only options. Lieca lenses are very good also but prohibitively expensive.

You could do what I did and invest in a Panasonic with the new Micro Four Thirds System, but these are not inexpensive options...

Ask your professor/teacher if the camera you need, needs to have interchangeable lenses? or even if it needs to be able to operate in full manual mode?

Most colleges/Universities have quality cameras you can check out at the library for just such a class, I am not sure about High Schools?

On the question about Adobe CS4 (Photoshop) or GIMP?...honestly most photographers and instructors utilize photo management software primarily only 2 options: Adobe's Lightroom 2 or Apple's Aperture...I prefer Lightroom 2

I actually just finished a Digital Photography class today, that I took over the summer.

I found Lightroom 2 essential, I also found CS4 (Photoshop and Adobe RAW) essential, I also used Apple's Aperture and Photomatix for HDR photography, I found them all essential, The GIMP was not a viable option.

...but that said I don't know how serious or in depth your class/instructor will be. My professor has published many books on Photography and is very serious. I learned a lot.

Some pointers...only shoot in RAW, for me that meant RW2 (proprietary RAW format used by Panasonic/Leica, which btw Apple's Aperture is not compatible with, but Lightroom 2, CS4, and Photomatix work fine with it).

Only shoot in Manual mode, you need to be able to control your focus, aperture and exposer. Also, set your RGB to either adobeRGB or prophotoRGB NEVER sRGB, never set your ISO higher then about 400.

Set your white balance, to AWB, set your metering mode to multiple.

Also remember to shoot at least one picture in each scene with a "Grey Card" it is important when your are starting to apply "Grey Card Corrections", again I found Lightroom 2 much more user friendly then Apple's Aperture.

lisati
August 13th, 2009, 06:45 AM
Way back when I was in the market for a film camera, two things I looked for were (a) completely manual, so I'd have to learn how to use the thing, and (b) the ability to change lens as required.

For a digital camera, I'd suggest concentrating on the basics which hold true no matter what sort of camera you're using, like what makes the difference between a crap shot, a good shot and a fantastic shot. If you ever move to video, the basics skills you learn about compostition can still be useful.

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 06:56 AM
Way back when I was in the market for a film camera, two things I looked for were (a) completely manual, so I'd have to learn how to use the thing, and (b) the ability to change lens as required.

For a digital camera, I'd suggest concentrating on the basics which hold true no matter what sort of camera you're using, like what makes the difference between a crap shot, a good shot and a fantastic shot. If you ever move to video, the basics skills you learn about composition can still be useful.Again the most important part of any camera are the lenses...the camera body is just a lens holder, virtually all digital cameras have the same functions. Many will tell you Canon and Nikon are your only two options. I went against the grain (and conventional wisdom) and bought a Panasonic G1 (http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/shop/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/Lumix-Digital-Interchangeable-Lens-Cameras/model.DMC-G1K_11002_7000000000000005702), I absolutely love this camera and the lenses are amazing, I especially like that I can buy Leica lenses for this camera. I honestly see NO reason to have the mirror flapping up and causing vibration distortion found in the Canons and Nikons and virtually every other digital camera outside of the Micro Four Thirds Systems put out by Panasonic (and Olympus).

lisati
August 13th, 2009, 07:01 AM
Again the most important part of any camera are the lenses...the camera body is just a lens holder, virtually all digital cameras have the same functions. Many will tell you Canon and Nikon are your only two options. I went against the grain (and conventional wisdom) and bought a Panasonic G1 (http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/shop/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/Lumix-Digital-Interchangeable-Lens-Cameras/model.DMC-G1K_11002_7000000000000005702), I absolutely love this camera and the lenses are amazing, I especially like that I can buy Leica lenses for this camera. I honestly see NO reason to have the mirror flapping up and causing vibration distortion found in the Canons and Nikons and virtually every other digital camera outside of the Micro Four Thirds Systems put out by Panasonic (and Olympus).

Ah yes, the mirror flapping up! I must blow the dust off my old 35mm SLR which I bought some film for a couple of years ago but haven't got round to using yet.

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 07:04 AM
Ah yes, the mirror flapping up! I must blow the dust off my old 35mm SLR which I bought some film for a couple of years ago but haven't got round to using yet.
The crazy thing is virtually all modern Digital cameras (outside the Micro Four Thirds Systems) still use the archaic mirror flap!

lisati
August 13th, 2009, 07:10 AM
The crazy thing is virtually all modern Digital cameras (outside the Micro Four Thirds Systems) still use the archaic mirror flap!

Ouch! Why?

It looks like I got let of the hook on that one with the Kodak Easyshare camera I have that I don't use much. I'd use it more but it's a fairly basic "point and shoot" model and the image resolution matches what was sometimes on my report card at school: "could do better"

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 07:16 AM
Ouch! Why?

It looks like I got let of the hook on that one with the Kodak Easyshare camera I have that I don't use much. I'd use it more but it's a fairly basic "point and shoot" model and the image resolution matches what was sometimes on my report card at school: "could do better"Let me clarify all DSLR's still use the archaic mirror flap, it is just a throw back of old Film SLR technology. Your point-and-shoot shouldn't have the mirror flap either.

This is the camera I bought: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1K:


http://ubuntuforums.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=124695&d=1250144238http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/shop/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/Lumix-Digital-Interchangeable-Lens-Cameras/model.DMC-G1K_11002_7000000000000005702

lisati
August 13th, 2009, 07:21 AM
Let me clarify all DSLR's still use the archaic mirror flap, it is just a throw back of old Film SLR technology. Your point-and-shoot shouldn't have the mirror flap either.

Thanks - I thought that's what you were referring to.

I must get round to getting a better digital stills camera one of these days. It's a nuisance getting film developed, the point-and-shoot digital camera is ok for casual use but it would be nicer to have a better resolution, and the stills function on my camcorders don't really make the grade (two of them record "stills" as part of the video footage, and the other doesn't have a flash, not to mention being a pain to stop recording in order to take stills)

Edit: I'm getting clucky here for a new "toy", and Mrs Lisati doesn't want to know!

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 07:22 AM
Thanks - I thought that's what you were referring to.

I must get round to getting a better digital stills camera one of these days. It's a nuisance getting film developed, the point-and-shoot digital camera is ok for casual use but it would be nicer to have a better resolution, and the stills function on my camcorders don't really make the grade (two of them record "stills" as part of the video footage, and the other doesn't have a flash, not to mention being a pain to stop recording in order to take stills)
I highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1K, but that is simply my personal recommendation.

lisati
August 13th, 2009, 07:26 AM
I highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1K, but that is simply my personal recommendation.

Nice!

Edit: Found this while looking up the suggested camera, might be of interest to the OP: http://www.panasonic.co.nz/lumix/lumix-guides/camera-buying-guide.html

raggari
August 13th, 2009, 07:53 AM
The crazy thing is virtually all modern Digital cameras (outside the Micro Four Thirds Systems) still use the archaic mirror flap!

It's not crazy if you want to play with manual focus and different aperture settings BEFORE pressing shutter button. The optical viewfinder is still 100 times sharper than LCD one found in Lumix G1 (Olympus doesn't even have the real viewfinder). If you can live with LCD then Micro 4:3 could be fine. I have only used G1 quickly in a store so I can't comment more.

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 08:01 AM
It's not crazy if you want to play with manual focus and different aperture settings BEFORE pressing shutter button. You can play with manual focus and different aperture settings BEFORE pressing the shutter also! in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, I'm not sure what you are trying to say?

raggari
August 13th, 2009, 08:11 AM
You can play with manual focus and different aperture settings BEFORE pressing the shutter also! in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, I'm not sure what you are trying to say?

Limited resolution of LCD screen hides details in viewfinder. As i wrote before if you can live with that then it's fine.

HappinessNow
August 13th, 2009, 08:39 AM
Limited resolution of LCD screen hides details in viewfinder. As i wrote before if you can live with that then it's fine.I found no limits only increased functionality, your traditional viewfinders do not have a live histogram in it like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, any photographer will tell you your most important gauge is a live histogram, any view finder without it is limited in it's usefulness, if you can live with that then it's fine.

myusername
August 14th, 2009, 05:16 AM
thanks for the help guys. but like i said this is just a basic class. like a highschool computer class where they act like you're stupid. i'm just looking for a good digital camera in the $100-$150 price range.

starcannon
August 14th, 2009, 06:14 AM
thanks for the help guys. but like i said this is just a basic class. like a highschool computer class where they act like you're stupid. i'm just looking for a good digital camera in the $100-$150 price range.
Try for a powershot kit like this then:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Canon-PowerShot-G6-w-Extras-Lens-Remote-Batteries_W0QQitemZ170371989073QQcmdZViewItemQQptZ Digital_Cameras?hash=item27aaf63e51&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

Not bad for $150 and it comes with some extra lenses, be sure to put an ad up with your price range on craigslist as well, you might get some nice camera's offered up.

GL and HF

HappinessNow
August 24th, 2009, 08:18 PM
ok so im taking a photography class this fall. I need a camera. just a cheap one though. nothing too professional or expensive. any suggestions? also do you think i need photoshop or can i stick with gimp? this is just a highschool class and its nothing really serious
Just curious what you ended up going with?

livefaq
July 4th, 2010, 06:09 PM
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 has just dropped in price! Check it out here:http://www.upiq.com/api.php?pid=71330603

BLTicklemonster
July 27th, 2010, 08:25 PM
I got a Pentax K-x and love it. My wife got a Canon XSi, and loves it.

You get a good camera, you'll love it.

(but be sure to save up for GREAT lenses, they can make or break a shot)

Oh, and feel free to come over here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rome-GA/Schroeder-Vision/121220917919275 and check out some of our photography some time. All we use is Gimp, by the way. We're not rich enough to get photoshop.