Need a New Camera

Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

I have a Nikon Coolpix5000 with a Nikon Speedlight SB-600. It has been a great little camera, but now it isn't working right. The flash hesitates too long, the monitor doesn't work at all, and sometimes the shutter doesn't work.

So - I am in the market for a new camera. I know nothing about them.

I need something with a good flash, as there is low light in my apartment. I would like to be able to take pictures from the balcony - scenery, the geese below, the birds... I need a good zoom. I probably won't take as many closeups of flowers like I used to.

Any suggestions ? I really appreciate your expertise. Thanks !

Moncks Corner, SC(Zone 8b)

The big question is really how much money are you willing to spend? Do you want to stay with the Nikon brand? There are new coolpix cameras, I'm sure Canon has comparable cameras as well. I cannot speak to that end as I use Nikon, so perhaps someone else can help you with the Canon. I'd consider upgrading to the SB-800. Should you decide to step up to a more expensive DSLR camera and want a good zoom, then perhaps a telephoto is what you're wanting, an inexpensive Nikon 18-200 VR lens is an excellent "all around" lens, but so is the Tamron 28-300. Many of the Nikons are being sold as a kit with an 18-135 or the 18-200 VR. There's definitely a lot more to it, and it can get reallllly confusing. The big thing is really how much you're willing to spend and how much you'll be using it to make it worth the money.

Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

I really like Nikon. This has been an excellent camera for me. How much do I want to spend - hmmm.

Not over $600.

As for the zoom, I don't want something that I have to attach. Overall, I want a camera that turns on, zooms or not, and knows when to flash.

Does that make any sense ?

Moncks Corner, SC(Zone 8b)

Sure does. Now don't tell anyone, but I have a little Canon Powershot S70 that I've had for years that is the coolest little camera! (It takes movies too) It is the only real experience I have with point and shoot cameras but they don't make them anymore, so I'm afraid I'm at a loss for giving any further advice. However, I can recommend as my favorite website to look up new stuff, not only because of the reviews, but they have forums from which you can gain a lot of information. Hope that helps. :) Here's a picture of one of my guys, all ears, appropriately in front of all ears. :)

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Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

serenity93 - Thanks for the link and all your advice.

Beautiful dog ! Looks like he is smiling !

Gretna, LA

I recently bought a sony alpha 200 dslr. I love it . I bought it online from AM photo world. I suggest to any body before buying a camera locally to check out the prices online. Try some of the good websites such as abes of maine, broad way photo and am photo world. Teresa

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

I'm looking at a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 with 18x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom. The lens is made by Leica.

Its just under $300 and, from what I read, marketed as an "in between" camera. Have seen some who use Nikons professionally use the Lumix as a bang around, easy to carry camera.

Haven't seen much negative about it so if anyone does have negative information, I'ld appreciate hearing it before I buy.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

My Olympus SP-550UZ (for Ultra Zoom) is a splendid camera with 18x optical zoom, image stabilization, 7.1 MP. Uses rechargable AA batteries, also. It is probably discounted a good bit now since it has been on the market for maybe two years ?. Very easy to use. I always use it on AUTO. Great macros. I can't think of any minuses. I've had several Olympuses and they are top notch although Canon arranges with many box stores to dominate the popular consumer market in walk-in places like Wal-Mart or Worst Buy or places like that.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

dp...the Olympus SP-550UZ has a 20X zoom now. Same price as the Panasonic Lumix I mentioned above. Got an Olympus SP-310 at Walmart several years ago for under $200 and its been a great camera for the price. Close-ups are crystal clear but noise is a problem with long shots. That's why I'm looking at your suggestion and other bridge cameras. Not a very wide a price gap between them and the point and shoots.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi, David Paul. I believe the camera you're talking about (20X) is the 570UZ, and the MP have been increased from 7.1 to about 10. I hope you will seriously consider it.

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Dp...I was actually looking at the 565UZ when I typed 550UZ ....^_^

And now I see there is a 570UZ.

A confusing mix of names, numbers and letters and a seemingly endless series of models isn't unique to Olympus. They all do it I guess. Makes comparision difficult. I am looking at the lastest bridge Olympus...the model you cite...but will probably go with the Panasonic because of the Leica lens and less than average shutter lag. Going to be taking indoor shots of people and need something that appromixates what reporters used and maybe still do use: a Nikon with TRI-X 400 film. Want to avoid using a flash if possible and reviews say ISO 400 is acceptable on the Panasonic (it goes higher of course )

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi, David. Please let us know how you like the Panasonic. The last Panasonic I had was so long ago it used a floppy disk for storage! One MP I believe. And it cost a fortune compared to what you get these days for your money.

Alamogordo, NM(Zone 7b)

Country Mom, Nikon lenses are wonderful. I have a little Fugi Finepix that has a Nikkor lens and it takes wonderful photos. I am not sure if it isn't also made by Nikon as the cameras look very much alike. Check them out if you are still looking.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I have used a "cheapish", Polaroid Digital camera for 2 years now, I REALLY does everything--and only costs about $80. SO simple!!!
I won mine at a Company X-Mas party....and, really have NO is beyond simple, and works well....until the last month! At my daughter's wedding last weekend --it froze in the middle of taking a picture. NOTHING worked!!!! I had brought a new set of batteries (thinking ahead) and, even when put them in the camera, the lens would not recede! It was just STUCK!

WAY after tis event--my new SIL found out that if he removed the memory card, he could get the lens to retreat. He "proclaimed" that the Memory card was at fault...that I should buy a new one....
OK!!!! My camera is now a well-used, World traveled instrument--has served me well!

I am open to buying a new digital camera.....EVERYONE I have asked says "Get a Sony"!
I mostly use my camera for nature photography and would love a super quality lens for Macro-close-ups. I also would appreciate an easy to use camera. I am, somewhat, technologically challenged....WHAT would you suggest?

I DO NOT want a Kodak Easy Share!!!! NEVER AGAIN!!!!!! Had it! It invaded all my Programs--and is hard to delete and get rid of.....

What would any of you suggest?????

Thanks, Gita

Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

I ended up buying a Nikon Coolpix 3200. I also bought the flash attachment. It all cost around $600. I am very happy with it. I can take indoor pictures without using the flash. I feed the birds on my balcony, and this camera takes great pictures through the glass without leaving a flash on the image. My old camera was a Nikon, and the program for it works for the new camera too. That made the transition easy.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

It's hard to go wrong with a Nikon. I was floored when I read that someone said everyone was telling her to buy a Sony. Sony products, esp. their AV products, are less than desirable when it comes to reliability and longeivity. In alphabetical order, the best camera choices are Canon, Nikon and Olympus. I will champion Olympus until my dying day (or until they quit making such an excellent product), but there is no question that Canon has the best marketing people and has won over many reviewers with free products and whatever techniques they use to curry favor. Canon also strikes deals with the box stores to showcase their cameras, and so they sell a lot more than the other two. They also spend a fortune on advertising. It pays off, or they wouldn't continue to do it. When I bought my most recent camera, I almost went with Nikon just to spread the money around, but I am so comfortable with Olympus I stayed with them. I had to mail order, though. I'm not in a large city, and at most stores here there are 10 Canons for every other brand.

Marysville, WA(Zone 7a)

I've used Canons for 50 years and have been very satisfied. My only digital cameras are a couple Olympus Stylist models. Very compact and functional, the pictures they take almost are as good as film shots and a whole lot more convenient. I agree with dp as to his choices. All three are excellent cameras and it would be hard to go wrong choosing any one of them. The only factors are how much you can spend and do you want point and shoot or dslr ?
Cmom, I betcha your new Nikon will be a really great camera. Be sure to post the photos you take with it.

Moncks Corner, SC(Zone 8b)

When it comes to photography and cameras it really depends on what you want to do with it. If you're happy taking snapshots of your garden to share, then most any of the smaller cameras will do. However, as with most things, the more specifics you want, the more you will pay. While there will always be photographers out there that can shoot the perfect shot with any camera you give them (that is not me.) The truth of the matter is, you don't get a sweet tight depth of field with a lens that opens no more than f5.6, you don't get a superior shot of a hummingbird 50 ft away with a camera lens that maxes out at 85mm. And a 1:1 focal ratio is just that, equivalent to true size. You will get a photo taken of the actual size of whatever it is you're shooting. When it comes to DSLR, the amount of money you are willing to put into it is what you get out of it. You wouldn't expect a Ford Mustang (even the 2010 model) to perform like a Ferrari. Most people are not here looking to buy cameras because they want to shoot professionally, so from someone who does; if you want the super close up picture, a "decent" lens is going to a run a few hundred dollars in addition to the camera, these would be the Tamron and Sigma lenses which are perfectly good lenses. The one that's going to give you the really tack sharp picture with everything else nicely fuzzed around the edge of it? That's going to run about $1500 (for the 105mm f2.8 Nikkor / Nikon at least) which is what I use primarily for garden and insect pictures. I can't express the importance of doing research first so you know what you're getting into. :) If you want a really good camera so you can get really good photographs of your garden, of your trips, of your friends and family in and around the house, AND you want one with an interchangeable lens 'just in case you may want to dabble a little more later on' grab one of the lower end Nikon cameras such as the D60 or D90 or the Canon equivalent, make sure you get package deal where they come with a "kit lens" which will give you a wide range like 18-200mm which is really good for most anything. If you plan on doing inside photos I strongly recommend the SB-600 for the Nikon (I'm not sure of the Canon equivalent.) Why am I only discussing Nikon and Canon? They have the market cornered. If you want to find *anything* you'll be able to find it for either of those. Sony, Pentax, etc. are all good quality cameras, but if you need to get anything fixed? Good luck! Make sure you get a camera bag. You don't want to spend all this money and then not have a secure place to put your valuable equipment! :) Oh yes, then you have to consider which of the many editing software programs out there is the best one for you!... ;)

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Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Serenity...exactly right. All depends on what you want to do.

Nikon and Canon do not support RAW in their ultra-zoom "bridge" cameras (Nikon Coolpix P80, Canon SX10 IS). Being able to edit in RAW, more shots per battery charge than the Nikon and a Leica lens (brighter than the equilavent Canon zoom) is why I'm tending toward the Panasonic FZ28. For others, a lower F stop isn't a priority and saving photos directly as jpgs is fine.

But all those considerations are only for that segment of the market. Step up to a DSLR, a point and shoot with a larger sensor or step down to a less expensive camera and the pluses and minuses of each brand are different.

Morpeth, United Kingdom(Zone 8a)

I've had a couple of Olympus cameras, then got a Sony H2. Now I'd never buy anything other than Sony..

I just bought the Sony H50 and absolutely love it.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Well, I just received the Panasonic FZ28 as a gift. What a surprise!

Now, the hard part ... I have never taken a photography class in my life, but I'm tired of taking mediocre shots. I've just gotten by with point and shoot cameras my whole life, but would like to finally learn how to take GOOD photos. I've just started searching for threads and articles on DG and Google to help with the basics. If any of you have any recommendations, I'm all eyes.

I wonder if anyone offers digital photography 101 workshops near me ...

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


NOT good at anything like "digital photography 101"--but I will tell you what, in my opinion, makes a good photograph.

1. Hold the camera VERY steady (like in a death grip) and press-and-hold the button using only your index finger. This avoids the camera jerking up and down--thus having no heads on people....or a blurry shot.

2. Look with your eye at how your subjects are framed. This holds especially true for regular cameras. I actually "look" what I see in the little viewer and that helps me see how the picture will be framed.
Try not to have too much background, lawn in front, boring, insignificant things in the background or having 3/4 of the photo being something else than your subjects that seem like 50' away, etc.....
AND---Shoot quickly! People start to look weird if you take too long to focus, frame, decide, etc....I hate that! How long can one hold a nice, natural smile?
I am an aim and shoot photographer of people.


Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Gita, I try to follow those same rules (I try to follow the rule of thirds and I tend to hold my breath when I snap the photo, etc.), but I'd like to learn more about lighting, aperture, shutter speeds, etc. There's so much more to photography than I've ever bothered to learn!

Hope you had a great Christmas!

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

Wrightie...I got my sis a FZ28 for Christmas. Read the instruction manual and thought, "Oh no"..this is tedious.

So I put up a website for her. Has photos taken with the FZ28, links to discussions about the FZ28, questions and answers from users, the instruction manual, a user friendly guide from Panasonic on the camera, photos from those who use it, videos taken with the FZ28, general news about digital photography...etc...etc... Took weeks to sort through all the material but she told me tonight its been helpful.

If you want to take a look, the page is here:

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

DP, I feel like I hit the jackpot -- what a great blog.

I have to ask, did you take the photos of those dragons at the top of your page? If so, are they on a temple? They are just stunning and I wonder where they are located.

Thanks so much for the link to the blog! Your sister is very lucky, indeed.

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

My recommendation is to first get yourself familiarized with all the controls and settings of the camera. Pay special attention to the different Autofocus types and Exposure Metering types.

There are many websites out there that explain some of the basics but the most important thing is ---> Practice, Practice and more Practice :)

Here a link to a forum with some general technique tips:

Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

wrightie...sorry to say, none of those photos are mine. I think what you saw was one of the two slide shows embedded in the blog

The main slide show is from a Lumix FZ28 group on Flickr.

The little slide show on the top right is from Vimeo. No FZ28 group there but photos tagged "FZ28" show up in rotation.

If you have questions, you might find the customized search engine near the bottom of the page helpful. Searches give priority to 53 of the top photography sites on the net. Does a pretty good job of filtering out off topic returns. This link should takes you to the search engine for Digital Photography too:

Search on "raw" for instance and you will find out about the raw format your camera supports, not diet tips on raw fruit.

Enjoy your new camera! It will be easy to use and produce great photos in the Intelligent Auto Mode. But then there are lots of goodies buried inside that you can dig into when you feel like it.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

THANKS! I've a loooooong way to go, but it's a fun little camera and I'm happy to practice with it. I snapped a few 'action' shots of the puppy playing soccer in the backyard tonight ...

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Clinton, CT(Zone 6b)

That was fast! My sis took some photos yesterday but only got the software in today and hasn't downloaded any photos

Pretty much a straightforward process?

She seems intimidated by it all.

She made a mistake by taking the minature CD that came with a Sandisk Extreme III memory card and installing that software as well as camera software. In a MacBook. Those disks don't fit without an adaptor. It's jammed in there. Didn't stress enough that that software is a back-up used to recover lost memory card data and she will probably never need it.


Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

I actually have not read a thing yet, so yes, very straightforward so far. I've only tried the IA and action settings so far. I'm intimidated by the more advanced camera features, composition, lighting, etc., but I don't mind basic experimentation.

So sorry about your sister's miniCD dilemma -- EEK. I'm on an OLD MacPowerBook.

Here's a newbie question which I'm a little embarrassed to ask, but ... Do digital cameras (DSLRs?) tend to allow for Black & White photos?

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

...Do digital cameras (DSLRs?) tend to allow for Black & White photos?

certainly but you're better off to do it post process via software

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks PC!

Here's one last photo that I took today using the IA mode ... we just had this woodstove installed, so I snapped a picture of it during our first Test Fire. I'm very happy with this little camera.

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Wow, ladies and gents. my head is overloaded with camera selection and informations. I've used a point and shoot Kodak Easy share with approx. 3x OpZum. The power charger plugged directly into the computer has kicked the bucked (they don't recharge my batteries any more), and Santa gave me a rain check for a new Camera of my choice, which I didn't know which one to pick.

So the question is (1) how much I am willing to spend? (2) What all I wanted to do with them?

Ok, I want to spend somewhere in the 500 dollar range +/-.

Objectives: 1. I'm a gardener, so I like the macro feature to capture close up of flowers, insects pictures. 2. I also enjoy birding, so I'm looking for a more powerful optical zoom, say 10x or do I need 15x or even 18x. Say if I were on a boat chasing a heron flying overhead, what type of optical zoom will I need to take good, crisp and clear pix of the lovely bird?

I'm looking at a Cannon digital, any other suggestion? Input would be appreciated.

Celaya, Mexico(Zone 10a)

your new fireplace is actually a good subject for experimenting with low shutter speeds in shutter priority mode and the results specially on the moving flames.
A tripod would be best for that but a firm base and timer release will also do

your expected usage goes from one extreme (Macro for flowers/insects) to the other (tele for wildlife) so a super zoom P&S camera should cover your needs.
The above mentioned Panasonic Lumix FZ28 is one of them, other ones are Canon Powershot SX10 IS, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50, Fujifilm FinePix S2000HD,...etc

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, PC. I'll give that a whirl, and I'll use my tripod.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

wrightie, what camera did you get?

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

I was given the Panasonic Lumix FZ28 as a gift and I'm just fumbling my way around with it. I'm no good with a camera and have only ever used point & shoot types. My last camera was a Nikon Coolpix.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Oh wow, I need to go back and read your experience on the new gift. Since that may be one I need. Thanks.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

PanamonCreel, I've been looking at that panoramio site and loving it. THANK YOU again!!! I will be referring back to it over & over again.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Lily-Love, I believe that this camera is well within your price range. I'm pretty sure that you can get it for UNDER $300. It gets very good reviews for its price range.

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