Help recommend a camera

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  • #55300
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    A friend is looking to purchase a camera for her son, and asked me for recommendations. It would be purely for a hobby, so I would like to recommend something that would be decent quality but not too expensive. Anyone have a good deal out there I could recommend? DSLR? Mirrorless?

    She is hoping to purchase something this weekend, so sorry for the time crunch but any help would be appreciated! 😁

    #55301
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I would advise waiting for a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal myself… 🙂

    Keep an eye on https://www.dealnews.com/c168/Electronics/Cameras/Digital-Cameras/ for good deals.

    Honestly, if they don’t have any particular needs/goals from the camera, anything will do. Just find a good deal and go for it. 🙂

    Mirrorless can be nice, but they’re still a bit of a niche market, so lenses and accessories tend to be more expensive than their “regular” DSLR counterparts.

    If they don’t need a DSLR, then maybe a good bridge camera with some zoom would be better to start out with. Here’s a resource that gives a list of some of the better ones. https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/buying-guides/the-best-bridge-cameras
    (Note: I only viewed the site linked above on a mobile device with adblocker, so I can’t vouch for it’s propriety as to inappropriate content.)

    I’d love to try out a good bridge camera with an f/2.8 aperture and 1″ sensor, but so far I haven’t found a need to spend the money on one. 🙂

    #55304
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    Thanks for that, @buddingphotographer. Good thought on waiting a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal! I know she wanted to get it to give him for a special occasion, so I’m not sure she’ll want to wait but I can certainly suggest that to her.

    Thanks also for that info about mirrorless cameras! Helpful to consider.

    Would be interested to hear a little more elaboration on your thoughts on a bridge camera vs DSLR. 🙂

    #55305
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    The good thing about a bridge camera is that it’s an “all-in-one”. They usually have a decent zoom range (wide and telephoto), macro capabilities, and are portable and don’t have quite as steep of a learning curve. There are no “extra” lenses to mess with, and you don’t have to worry about getting dust on the sensor, or dropping your lens accidentally.

    Plus, with a 1″ sensor and f/2.8 lens, the image quality gap between bridge cameras and DSLRs has closed significantly, compared to the days when I used to shoot with a Canon Powershot S3 with a tiny grainy sensor and 12x zoom.

    If you buy a DSLR, then you have to have/buy a (kit) lens, and another lens for telephoto, and a macro lens…. You get the picture. 🙂 With a bridge camera, you can focus on taking pictures instead of always lusting after a better lens. (This is hypothetical, of course. Chances are, you’ll be looking for sales on a DSLR and lens anyway, eventually. 🙂 )

    As always, there are trade-offs that you have to keep in mind. Bridge cameras will be weaker in terms of IQ (image quality), lens quality, shutter lag, viewfinder, etc. (Keep in mind the price difference though. To get top-notch quality from a DSLR, you’ll probably want a better lens, which itself can cost more than a good bridge camera.)

    Ultimately, since it’s “only a hobby” at this point, it’s a decision that has to be made by the buyer. Do they want “ultimate” DSLR quality for a beginner who may (or may not) take up photography as a serious profession? Or do they want a camera that will be able to do “a little bit of everything” and give him a taste for everything from landscape to macro to long-reach wildlife photography all in one small package?

    Personally, for a beginner, I think I’d recommend a decent bridge camera to whet his appetite. If he does show lots of interest in continuing with photography, there’s time enough for him to save up for his very first DSLR (just like all the rest of us did. 🙂 )

    #55318
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing that, Ezra! The more you talk about it, that’s really sounding like a good fit for her son. She’s looking at her options and I’ll check around as well, but if anyone sees a good deal on a bridge camera between now and Cyber Monday please let me know!

    #55355
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Thank you @buddingphotographer!

    I don’t think I’ve ever recommended bridge cameras before, but what you’ve said makes sense. Perhaps bridge camera technology has advanced more than I was aware of. I guess the thing that bothers me most is the shutter lag. Also, the fact that they’re usually so small, and use a screen instead of a true viewfinder, makes me feel like I can’t get steady pictures.

    Ultimately, what you said about goals is where the decision is going to be made. I would personally recommend going with a cheap DSLR (like a Canon Rebel T5i or T6i), so they can upgrade lenses and stuff later if they want and still have a decent body. It also depends on the age. If they’re 13 years old, then go with the bridge, let them wear it out, and then see if photography is still an interest when they’re 16 or whatever. If so, a DSLR would make a nice upgrade.

    #55363
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    My sister has a Kodak pixpro AZ401 bridge camera. The biggest limitation and frustration for her is that it doesn’t have manual focus point selection. She’s at the mercy of what the camera thinks should be in focus and it does always want to focus.

    #55378
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    @jamesstaddon

    Ultimately, what you said about goals is where the decision is going to be made.

    Good point. From my understanding, her son doesn’t have goals in photography, per se…he’s just wanting to use something other than a phone or ipad to take pictures.

    #55381
    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    I don’t think I’ve ever recommended bridge cameras before, but what you’ve said makes sense. Perhaps bridge camera technology has advanced more than I was aware of. I guess the thing that bothers me most is the shutter lag. Also, the fact that they’re usually so small, and use a screen instead of a true viewfinder, makes me feel like I can’t get steady pictures.

    Yeah, camera technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. Cellphones now take enormously better pictures than my old Powershot S3 ever could. I have a cousin who used to use a DSLR for puppy photography, but has now completely switched over to taking ALL puppy photos with an iPhone 8. I personally wouldn’t dream of doing so, but it has certainly worked out OK for her! 🙂

    For those of us who have gotten used to the benefits of DSLRs, it can be rather hard to imagine using something with a dinky screen, and 1/10 sec shutter lag. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s the person behind the camera who makes the biggest difference, not the tool that is in his hands. 🙂 When you consider the images that “Snowflake” Bentley got with his equipment back in the 1880s, then it helps to bring some perspective to our ideas about what kind of equipment it takes to get a “good” photo.

    #55606
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Good perspective!

    The God who invented the snowflake is INCREDIBLE!

    #55610
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    My sister has a Kodak pixpro AZ401 bridge camera. The biggest limitation and frustration for her is that it doesn’t have manual focus point selection

    Somehow I didn’t see this before! Thanks for mentioning that, @blessingscaptured!

    Is that normally the case with bridge cameras?

    #55611
    Blessings Captured
    Participant

    “Is that normally the case with bridge cameras?”

    I don’t know, the Kodak pixpro is the only bridge camera I have experience with. I’m guessing if you could find one that had manual focus point selection like DSLRs have, it would be easier to focus.

    #55613
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    Good to know! Thanks @blessingscaptured!

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