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Old 06-25-2016, 10:27 PM   #521
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I just found this thread so maybe I can ask for some advice on a new camera. We've had our Canon SX110is for several years and it takes decent photographs but I want to replace it with something with more zoom and that won't eat batteries for breakfast! We attending our oldest DS's university grad last month and really wished we had a better zoom for the dark auditorium shots. The lens on the SX110is says it's a 6.0-60.0mm and 1:2.8-4.3.

I'll likely never be into manual photography since I find f-stops, apertures, etc. to be very confusing, so the vast majority of my photography would be using the Auto-mode. I'm considering a basic DSLR like a Nikon D3300 with the standard "AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II zoom lens". Is this a good choice for a very amateur photographer? Would I need a longer lens for more zoom (for indoor and outdoor shots)?
To get those indoor graduation shots, you're not going to be able to shoot AUTO and get the results I think you'll be happy with. Because you will most likely be out of flash range, you'll want to set the aperture at the camera's lowest (widest) setting in Aperture Priority. Note that in the Nikkor 18-55 lens you list above, the aperture for the lens when zoomed to 55mm is 5.6 (3.5 when set to 18mm). That's a very slow lens. In order to get the shot, you're going to have to jack up the ISO (light sensitivity) up - WAY UP. Otherwise, with a regular ISO setting, the shutter speed will be too low for good hand-held shots. The good news is that with each new camera model the quality of very high ISO pictures is amazing better then their predecessors. As far as the zoom, 55mm will most likely give you pictures of the entire stage. Ideally you should have a lens in the 100 to 200 mm range. Again, the good news is that many of the newer cameras are in the 18 to 24 megapixel range. These larger megapixel cameras will allow you to crop the picture and get decent close-ups without using a long telephoto lens.
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Old 06-25-2016, 10:34 PM   #522
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Darn, I meant to address the issue of batteries. Energizer makes an Ultimate Lithium AA battery that lasts up to 9 times longer than regular energizers. The Lithiums arenít cheap but I can vouch that they do last a lot longer. I can usually find a 4 pack for around $10 at Home Depot. These are the batteries I use in my SX110, my SX160, and my Fuji S8200.

The beauty of using AA batteries is you can buy them anywhere in the world. The only disadvantage to having a camera that uses a dedicated battery is if the battery goes dead you canít use your camera unless you have a spare battery.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:35 PM   #523
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I currently use a Canon SX530HS. Still a point and shoot but has a HUGE zoom. Looks like a mini DSLR but still is easy to use in P mode or Auto mode. Can be manual as well. I agree, a DSLR is a serious hobbyist camera (assuming you are not a pro obviously).
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:11 AM   #524
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Originally Posted by itat View Post
I just found this thread so maybe I can ask for some advice on a new camera. We've had our Canon SX110is for several years and it takes decent photographs but I want to replace it with something with more zoom and that won't eat batteries for breakfast! We attending our oldest DS's university grad last month and really wished we had a better zoom for the dark auditorium shots. The lens on the SX110is says it's a 6.0-60.0mm and 1:2.8-4.3.

I'll likely never be into manual photography since I find f-stops, apertures, etc. to be very confusing, so the vast majority of my photography would be using the Auto-mode. I'm considering a basic DSLR like a Nikon D3300 with the standard "AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II zoom lens". Is this a good choice for a very amateur photographer? Would I need a longer lens for more zoom (for indoor and outdoor shots)?
Its going to be a little difficult not knowing your budget, so I'm going to assume that you are willing to pay about the same amount as for that Nikon kit (~$550). Correct me if I am wrong in that.

The category called bridge cameras is what I think you need to look at. People like these for their reach (up to the equivalent of 600mm and beyond in zoom optically) and many offer a bright fast lens.

I second Oakman's suggestion about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300.

Its not the cheapest at about $500 at amazon but its a really great all-rounder. Panasonic does a very good JPEG engine for those who don't want to fiddle around with processing and its a nice bright lens (f/2.8). At 600mm, it is quite a bit longer than what you have today. You could happily leave it on Auto, but it will offer all of the PASM options in case you ever want to branch out.

The downside is the cost and larger size over the cannon. Also, even this camera might not help you make the pictures you want to make in very low light situations. Physics plays a part here and just need to have reasonable expectations.

All in all, though, a big step up over the Cannon SX110.


The term DSLR got thrown around. As already mentioned here, I don't think any DSLR is right for you. Only because the reason to own any interchangeable lens system (like the Nikon D3300) is the actual lenses.

That kit lens is fine but (as someone also mentioned) considered to be slow, which means it is not going to work well for you in darker indoor shooting. Its is also a wide to standard length so you are giving up a lot in terms of zoom compared to your current Cannon, I think.

That camera with its larger crop sensor, excellent auto-focus and other attributes would be a very good starter camera for you if you eventually wanted to invest into some more capable lenses. But that is generally a rabbit hole and I suggest you not start down that hole unless you intend to move off of Auto.

Good luck with your purchase decision.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:15 AM   #525
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Thanks, Triguy. You're right. I don't see us carrying around a large camera bag and changing lenses. The camera would be used by both myself and my DW and I think a "bridge" camera will fit our needs well.

I am looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 that Oakman suggested. I don't need the extra features of the FZ300 like 4K video and WiFi - and the FZ300 is CDN$300 more than the FZ200. I just have to convince DW to spend CDN$450 on a camera. It'll probably have to be a Christmas present and I'll pick up some lithium AAs in the meantime.
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Old 07-03-2016, 04:59 PM   #526
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Happy Independence Day (fireworks)

Here are a few of this year's fireworks from last night.

These were shot into the water. Wait 5 seconds and then you get this ...
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A bunch right over head. Kind of an interesting mess of explosions.
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Beginning of the finale
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Lots of fun. Certainly the nicest fireworks I've ever seen from a private party.

It was a really interesting setup in that we were on lake Michigan with the fireworks beings set off just a few houses down the beach from my sister's place. Her neighbor has been doing this for decades for their little beachfront community. He must had had a 100 mortars of all different sizes lined up for the show.

Being this close, the fireworks exploded either right over us or in the water directly in front of us.
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Old 07-04-2016, 07:50 AM   #527
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Great photos of fireworks Triguy. I've never attempted to take pics of fireworks with my P&S camera. Some day when I'm not the one actually setting off the fireworks I might try.
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Old 07-04-2016, 08:50 PM   #528
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Thanks Oakman!
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Old 07-08-2016, 08:20 AM   #529
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I was getting ready to download some photos from my camera and as I was about to sit down to the computer I looked out the patio door and saw this. I thought for sure I was about to watch raw nature play out in my backyard so I set my camera for continuous shooting. Nothing happened. Even so I think I have a rather unusual shot. The squirrels got their fill of sunflower seeds and departed. The hawk flew off a bit later. Click on the pictures to see them larger.

In the lower left of the photo you can see two squirrels under the bird feeder. In the upper right of the photo you can see the hawk sitting on the fence. I call this photo “Tempting Fate.”

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Here’s another picture of the hawk. I don’t know for sure but I think it is a Red-tailed hawk.

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Old 07-10-2016, 09:44 AM   #530
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I mentioned these batteries in a previous post so I thought Iíd post an image of the batteries. The energizer lithiums are the best battery for electronics in my opinion. I canít vouch for the 9X longer but I will say the last a heck of a lot longer in my cameras than regular energizers. These are not rechargeable and they are a bit pricey but theyíre worth it as far as Iím concerned.

At the Walmart store where I shop you have to ask for them because they are kept under the counter in the photo department. I guess this is a popular item to shoplift since I canít think of any other reason for not having them on the store shelves with the other batteries.

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