Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Lazy Photographer

I have camera envy. I currently use two Canon Powershot point-and-shoot cameras; the A540 stays in the studio and the SD1000 fits in my purse so I can shoot capture photograph Frednecks at a moment's notice. But sometimes I want to have really nice pictures of more important things (like Olivia) and I kind of miss certain things about my 35mm SLR. (Actually I still have it but who uses film any more?) I keep telling myself that it's harder to sneak around with a big camera for candids. People's faces are different when they see you with a big camera vs. a pocket-sized one. They get all nervous and make weird faces like it's picture day in 4th grade. But lately it seems like everyone has a Nikon D-series and takes the most beautiful pictures, so it piqued my curiosity.  Are DSLRs really that much better that point & shoot given the same conditions?

In the automatic mode do you get blurry photos in low-light conditions like this picture? Do you tend to adjust manual settings before you take pictures, or use automatic settings? Do the raw images look awesome, or do you have to fiddle with brightness, contrast, and color? I'd love it if the camera can do things like this automatically, because when my kid is smiling I don't always have time to change settings, and I much prefer natural light over a flash.

Our friend Josh let me play with his Nikon D60 and then pointed out that the Canon DSLRs have live screens (With the Nikons you can't see anything on-screen until after you take a picture.)  So it got me thinking and now I'm considering the Rebel XSi.  And I have a long lens from my 35mm SLR that has the same lens mount as the Canon DSLRs, and The Internet thinks I could use that again.  I guess I need to bring it to Best Buy to play.

Kerry, you can take credit for pushing me over the edge because your camping pictures made me want to be right there at that lake watching the kids play in the water!

I value any info and opinions you care to share, so feel free to comment or email me. anne@annemade-jewelry.com.  And thank you, everyone, for sharing photos on your blogs. I'm nosy and like to see what everyone else is doing.

4 comments:

WASPY GIRL said...

I'm far from an expert on photography, but I love my Nikon D60. You are welcome to test ours (unless the Josh you mention is my Josh and you already have). Having to look through a viewfinder doesn't bother me. I'll never go back to a point and shoot camera. I like being able to adjust lighting & exposure, edit my images on camera, and fool around with color. I switch back and forth between P, A, and S modes and point and shoot modes, depending upon the situation.

Again, I'm far from an expert and am only beginning to learn about my camera. All of the settings and functions can be a bit complicated and overwhelming. You can see some of the D60 shots on flickr. I'll invite you to be my "friend."

Let me know if you want to borrow my camera.

Brian said...

I like my DSLR, even though it's "old" and most point and shoots are probably better. It's the lens options that make it more appealing, but I like my point and shoot for its small size and I have a housing for it that'll let me go diving with it. I wouldn't feel quite as bad if it winds up with a leas and ruins the camera.

The Talberts said...

I have a D60 as well. I liked some of the pictures I took with my point and shoot, and I like some of the pictures I take with the D60. To be fair, I have taken some pretty awful pictures with both. One of my least favorite things to hear is, "I love your pictures. What kind of camera do you use?" As if it has nothing at all to do with understanding lighting or even the simplest of settings. And yes, for heaven's sake, staying away from the flash!
So um .. my point .. I guess I don't really have one. My interest was just piqued by the subject. I'm no photography expert, either. But I'm happy with my choice. Given my budget and my skill level, I think the D60 was a wise choice. There was no reason for me to get anything "better". Not only would it have been too expensive, but it would have been too much camera for me. But I did feel like I wanted to explore taking pictures with manual settings, which was incentive enough for me to upgrade from a point and shoot.
Good luck with your camera decision. :)

Casey Glass said...

In the automatic mode do you get blurry photos in low-light conditions like this picture?

-No, but low light is still low light and unless you get a large aperture lens you are still going to need flash.


Do people tend to adjust manual settings before you take pictures, or use automatic settings?

-I usually use aperture priority mode so I can control depth of field.

Do the raw images look awesome, or do you have to fiddle with brightness, contrast, and color? I'd love it if the camera can do things like this automatically, because when my kid is smiling I don't always have time to change settings, and I much prefer natural light over a flash.

-Raw images are just that - Raw, and require some sort of development to use normally. For example, Windows won't display RAW images unless you have other software installed. You can usually adjust the settings by which the camera takes the RAW file and makes the jpeg so you can adjust how much saturation and sharpening the final images have, or you can do each individually.

Also there is the issue of image stabilization. Nikon and Canon build their image stabilization into the lenses making them more expensive. Pentax, Olympus and Sony build it into the body so every lens is stabilized including old lenses - which is nice because older lenses are often better built and cheaper. The downside is they tend to have slower autofocus.

Nikon and Canon have lots of lenses available of various quality levels because they are the two largest manufacturers. All the other manufacturers have smaller lines of lenses but usually have some other perks to make up for it.

Enjoy your shopping, it's tons of fun!