Photography forum: Camera recommendations?

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Feb 25, 2015 6:54 PM CST
I use a point-n-shoot digital camera. Mostly what I photograph are my plants and garden beds to document progress, etc. Family photos and trip photos. Nothing fancy, but I do appreciate a good photo. I've been relatively happy with inexpensive $100 models, but recently upgraded to a $200 Nikon CoolPix S9400. That took much better photos, and had a more powerful zoom, but unfortunately it bit the dust shortly after the warranty expired (lens error, stuck in midway position, I've tried all the fixes I can find online and have talked directly with Nikon - seems I'm out of luck). So, I replaced it with a Canon SX600HS. Basically the same camera, different brand. Both are 18x zoom with I6 megapixels. Fairly easy to operate, although I am finding the Canon more intuitive (to me).

The roadblock I am running into with the Canon is the only way to recharge the battery (big square gray, lithium?) is to plug it directly into a wall charger. The Nikon recharged either through a wall charger or via USB cord through my computer. I found that very convenient as I uploaded and deleted photos often and then just left the camera plugged in until the recharge light quit blinking. Per the folks at Canon, they don't offer anything other than wall charging on any of their cameras. This just doesn't work well for me as we travel often in a camper, often without electricity for days at a time. Plus the inconvenience factor of actually remembering to take the battery out of the camera, plug it in, and then remember to unplug it. Deal breaker for me. I will likely return this is the next day or two.

Any recommendations for about a $200 digital camera? I like one small enough to easily slip into a shirt pocket, not one of the bulkier ones.

Thanks. Frustrated Deb




I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 25, 2015 7:46 PM CST
Just wondering what is powering the computer on those trips? Seems like a car charger for the camera would be what you would need. I feel sure there is one available for your camera, might find one that is not a Canon brand cheaper.
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 25, 2015 7:50 PM CST
Maybe this is just what you are looking for?
http://www.bestbatt.com/Canon-ACK-DC40-Equivalent-AC-Adapter...
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Feb 25, 2015 8:03 PM CST
I keep several charge batteries for my Canon. Here is a kit with a wall charger and two batteries and car adapter. It's wasabi brand but I have found them to be just as good if not better than the over priced Canon originals.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049XV5LM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=...
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[Last edited by Horntoad - Feb 25, 2015 8:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Feb 25, 2015 8:27 PM CST
It's really a 2 part issue. I want to easily recharge without forgetting I am in the process of recharging. And I want to be able to recharge without a wall. The USB worked either direct through the computer or through a car charge.

The Wasabi package looks like it would solve my issues nicely! With 3 potentially charged batteries, plus ability to car charge, i should be set. Thanks!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Feb 25, 2015 8:30 PM CST
With your original charger, you would now have two wall chargers so you could be charging two at a time.
wildflowersoftexas.com
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Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Feb 25, 2015 10:42 PM CST
I've said this before and I'll say it again and again and again and again...

If you buy a camera with a proprietary battery, you're braindead in my book...at least on that front. I know that's strong language, but it's something I feel absolutely strong about - at least the way (and locations sometimes) that I shoot.

I will never own a camera that I cannot load up at a 7-11...or a roadside mud hut in Ethiopia or a plywood shack in Costa Rica (yes, both have happened). I would have missed way too many shots irrespective of my preparation (Mr. Murphy and I are on a first-name basis).

Even my new camera, the Pentax K-3 (high-end DSLR) has the option of using 6x AAs in the battery grip. My older cameras (two 12mp Pentax K-x) take 4x AAs (I use a rotating stock of Eneloop rechargeables for those...and keep some energizer lithiums in the bag).

There are also still a variety of point-and-shoot that take AAs (many of which do recharging on the camera using USB).

My first criterion in selecting a new camera - batteries that are available worldwide - for those times that Mr. Murphy is lurking.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but I feel very strongly about this one. I have SO many fantastic photos I would have missed otherwise. And I've seen other photographers lament drained batteries in the middle of shoots - with absolutely no recourse. Imagine how nice it would feel to have an 8-pack of duracells in your bag as backup/insurance...and KNOW that you didn't need to worry about your camera going dark.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Feb 25, 2015 10:49 PM CST
You mean Dirt's new camera Smiling
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Feb 25, 2015 10:57 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I agree that having a point and shoot that uses AA batteries is great but... well, I'm guilty of owning a camera that has a proprietary battery. Mine is a Panasonic ZS25 and I've got to say, I adore this little camera. It has manual modes (A,S,M) and I use them all the time. 20x optical zoom with stabilizer is an absolute dream. It takes great photos and also shoots excellent quality 1080p video. I carry it with me all the time and use it constantly. It charges by USB and when I'm on vacation, I keep an external USB battery with me just in case I need it (although I've never actually had to use it. The battery seems to last forever if I'm not recording hours of video each day.)
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Feb 25, 2015 11:07 PM CST
Yeah, Dave, it's a YMMV thing for sure. I'm just doing my part to protect you all from seeing me caught with my pants down. Nobody should have to witness that...and if it happens, I pray you've drained your batteries before mine run out.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Feb 26, 2015 6:47 AM CST
evermorelawnless said:
If you buy a camera with a proprietary battery, you're braindead in my book...at least on that front. I know that's strong language, but it's something I feel absolutely strong about - at least the way (and locations sometimes) that I shoot.

No it's not just strong language, it's rude. You just called Dave, myself and I'm sure quite a few others braindead. As I told Deb in one of the above post, I carry several batteries and have shot pics and video all day and never run out. I seriously doubt I will ever be in a location were I will not have access to an outlet to recharge at the end of the day. I am more worried about the camera malfunctioning than the batteries.

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Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Feb 26, 2015 7:17 AM CST
Horntoad said:
No it's not just strong language, it's rude. You just called Dave, myself and I'm sure quite a few others braindead. As I told Deb in one of the above post, I carry several batteries and have shot pics and video all day and never run out. I seriously doubt I will ever be in a location were I will not have access to an outlet to recharge at the end of the day. I am more worried about the camera malfunctioning than the batteries.



I apologize for giving offense. And I know that my opinion is in the minority. I've had plenty of experiences in which I've not had access to an outlet - or not had a reliable adapter (fried a power supply on a laptop with some sketchy Slovenian power). And have stayed in plenty of places with no power at all while traveling. Heck, if I could find a phone that took rechargable AAAs, I'd buy it.

Perhaps I should have said that given my experiences...and seeing many, many others go dark...I'd be braindead (given what I know) to not have a camera that has the option of using readily-available batteries.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Feb 26, 2015 8:36 AM CST
Well ,my past two cameras have had the option of using AA batteries, and it has come in handy at times. I am in the market for a new camera, and would love to have the option of using AA batteries in it. I would guess that for the great majority of people it is not a major priority, but it is very comforting to know I can reach in my bag pull out some AA batteries and keep shooting. I have had defective proprietary batteries that just took forever to charge. I almost never use the proprietary battery I have for my camera, just use the new type rechargeable ones, and they last normally over a month for me, I keep two sets and just rotate them. I don't travel to remote places, and especially for long periods of time, and I don't take really important professional type pictures, but still I will look for a camera that uses AA batteries as an option, but it will not be a deal breaker for me because of the way I use my camera and the type of pictures I take.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Feb 26, 2015 10:22 AM CST
Great info, still taking it all in. I previously insisted on an AA camera but found those rather limited in what I think of as a mid-range point-shoot. I did like just keeping a stash of batteries handy. Are there small cameras with 18-20x zooms out there that run on AA? I would be interested in models to research.

Couple random things I like about the Canon -- the burst shot is extremely easy to find, the camera body is bright red, and I ve had excellent luck with past Canon products ( cameras and printers)

Asa, no offense taken by me. You spoke with passion and gave good reasons for your opinion. I don' t anticipate overseas travel, but do a fair amount of local boondocking.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Feb 26, 2015 10:44 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

No offense taken, either.

And while we're on the subject, there are AA to USB converters available on Amazon for about $15. You load up the device with AA batteries and then it gives a MicroUSB output to plug a camera into. The best of all worlds!
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Feb 26, 2015 6:02 PM CST
Had "braindead" been said without further explanation, Asa, that would have been rude. But since you explained where your opinion came from, readers should be able to make up their own minds without feeling jilted. I've always admired your adherence to relaying complete thoughts here on ATP, something that is rather rare on chitchat forums.

Anyone finding themselves in your shoes and not coming to the same conclusion, well, I would question their cognitive reasoning, too. That said, I'm happy with my proprietary batteries and camera, precisely because I am not in your shoes.
North Central Louisiana (Zone 8a)
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LAbegoniac
Apr 4, 2015 3:27 AM CST
How about some suggested point and shoot AA cameras?
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Apr 4, 2015 8:53 AM CST
LAbegoniac said:How about some suggested point and shoot AA cameras?


I looked into that a while ago and my choice was: Fujifilm FinePix S9200

It's got a great lens and optics, great reviews, and really looks like a versatile thing. Actually any of the Fuji FinePix (that take AAs) look pretty good, but I liked the range on the lens on this one (as well as the price).

Just my opinion. It's a little big, but for the features you pick up, it seems worth it to me.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Melissa
Memphis, TN (Zone 8a)
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shadytrake
Apr 8, 2015 8:09 PM CST
I am an old school photographer with an unfinished minor in photography. By the time I reached the end of my minor, the DSLR had taken over and I was a dinosaur. I learned to develop color prints in the table top tubes and b/w in the darkroom trays. I did alternative process by painting cyanotype, salt print, and Van Dyke chemicals on water color paper.

I must admit that the DSLRs are very confusing and daunting. I miss the simple days of my Canon T-90, Rolleiflex, and Hasselblad.

At any rate, I have finally decided to learn my way around the DSLR world. I have a Sony A100 that my hubby bought about 6 years ago.

Don't get me wrong. I have used it, but I have never really converted all of my manual photography education into the digital format.

Before I delve into the manual to really learn it, can someone chime in and advise me if this is a good camera? I've tried to learn some of the settings before but the manual doesn't seem to be very user friendly. If you don't like it, please recommend an alternative.
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Apr 8, 2015 8:57 PM CST
Shady,

What did you like best about having a film camera? Apart from the simplicity, I mean?

What lens(es) do you have for the Sony?

It looks like it's a fine camera to use to figure out whether you want to pursue digital photography. But then I contend that someone with time and patience and a good eye can make art with a pinhole camera, so... It's a little dated, but my go-to is about the same age.

I'm guessing that if you get into it, it will be about the lenses for you - and cycling through bodies (new technology) every 5-7 years as the bodies/tech improve.

Conceptually, your digital camera is every bit as simple as your film cameras were. There's a manual setting on your camera from which you can control the ISO setting (magic computer math there rather than chemicals), shutter speed, aperture (some of my lenses still have that feature manually while others are controlled from within the camera), and even focus, etc. And it can go from fully manual to fully automatic. I think the key to that is figuring out how many of the decisions you want to make yourself and how many that you're willing (experientially, hopefully) to let the camera make for you.

But one of the nicer things about digital cameras is that there are settings that let you fix the shutter speed (and the camera controls the ISO and aperture automatically), the aperture (blah blah blah same stuff), etc. The latter on most cameras is the AV setting and I use that one maybe 70pct of the time so I can control the depth of field.

Guess what I'm saying is the transition really only needs to be as complicated as you make it. And you've got a fine camera to start with. When you decide to upgrade, my advice would be to find a brand that you like and be loyal to it...because as I'm sure you know, it gets to be about collecting lenses pretty fast. I'm partial to Pentax (from my first K-1000), but there are other fine brands, too.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins

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