• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • Beau Davidson
  • thomas rubino
  • L. Johnson

What is your dream camera?

 
author & steward
Posts: 3541
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
1915
3
goat cat forest garden foraging food preservation fiber arts medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I received an unexpected gift of money that I want to put toward a good quality camera. Since this is a rare opportunity for me, I want to spend that money wisely. What I'm hoping for is a professional quality camera for under $1000 (if there is such a thing!)

The function of this camera will be for documenting our homestead projects and progress. That includes:
Outdoor stills and action shots:
- nature
- garden
- projects
- wildlife
- livestock

Indoor mostly still shots:
- cooking and food prep
- indoor projects

These are used:
- Online for my blog and Permies
- In my print books

Some popular features are useless to me:
- GPS - I know where I am
- WIFI - everything goes through a photo editor before uploading to the internet.

So, if you could buy your dream camera, what would it be and why?
 
gardener
Posts: 906
Location: Colombia - Tropical dry forest
535
forest garden fish fungi trees tiny house earthworks bee solar woodworking greening the desert homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My dream camera for photography is the Canon 1DX Mark III

I’ve had the chance to use some older versions for work and its always been a blast!

And for video this one is a complete game changer and allows a very small crew, even two people to become a hollywood film studio


:’ ) It’s nice to dream jeje

For your budget and dual purpose a dslr sounds like a great option. Something like a canon 80D or a rebel T81. Both have great sensors and in time you can upgrade the lenses. For wildlife a good telephoto is key!

Also this one for video specially action shots is awesome! It’s built within a stabilization system and delivers awesome footage:

 
steward & author
Posts: 28204
Location: Left Coast Canada
9308
5
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome - camera money!  

I spent a lot of time on the DPReview website comparing cameras but the biggest deciding factor was my right hand.  I narrowed it down to about a dozen cameras then I went to the local electronic store and handled all the display cameras.  All the ones on my shortlist had the buttons in exactly the right place for quick and easy unwanted deletion (who puts the delete button under the thumb?) or the bodies were too big and heavy for my hand.  

Because at that time I was doing mostly stills, I went with the Canon M5 which is a mirrorless with lots of interchangeable lenses.  It is FANTASTIC at stills.  It matches my body and vision beautifully especially with the 22mm lens.  

But it isn't great at video.  The autofocus is a bit slow but more importantly, the screen won't face forward if it's on a tripod.  If I had known I was going to do videos, I would have gone with the M50 (which takes the same lenses and batteries as my current camera).  

But I have ordered an external monitor for mine and if this works, then the M5 will still be my dream camrea.  
 
Leigh Tate
author & steward
Posts: 3541
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
1915
3
goat cat forest garden foraging food preservation fiber arts medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Andres and R, you're input is very helpful, and you've given me a starting point for my research.

I also found R's thread, What do I need to know before buying a new DSLR or Mirrorless camera for the first time? (Yay for 'similar threads!') I found more good information there. I have to admit that I was completely unaware of mirrorless cameras, having always focused on low-end DSLRs. Even so, I noticed that the thread was two years old, so considering the lightening speed at which electronic technology advances, I did a new comparison of mirrorless versus DSLR cameras, to see if any improvements have been made. Following are my notes (acknowledging that the pros and cons are subjective and relevant especially to me).

DSLR

PROS
- better battery life
- less expensive
- optical VF can be used when the camera is off

CONS
- larger
- heavier
- noisier
- slower burst speed
- optical viewfinder
         - doesn't show exposure as it is
         - doesn't show accurate depth of field    
- little to no current development of DSLR technology (camera manufacturers have pretty much switched their emphasis and development to mirrorless cameras)

Mirrorless

PROS
- smaller
- lighter weight
- quieter
- faster
- improved AF now rival DSLR
- improved viewfinders
- electronic VF
         - real time image preview
         - shows exposure as it is
         - shows depth of field
- better video
- lots more lenses available than previously

CONS
- shorter battery life
- more expensive
- electronic VF
         - lower refresh rate (on lower end cameras)
         - can't use it when the camera is off

Initially, I was thinking I might as well stay with a DSLR, but after reading a lot of articles and looking at a bunch of videos, I'm definitely leaning toward a mirrorless camera.

 
gardener
Posts: 1495
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
802
trees bike woodworking
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was reluctant to dip into this conversation. I spent fifteen years on photography forums answering this question. I have to tip my hat to you, you’ve already done more research and have a way better idea than most of the people I’ve come across, who call themselves photographers.

I started with film, moved onto digital and Canon. I had access to most of their range up until 2013 when I left the UK. I loved Canon but they were heavy, and were a little complacent. I sold all my Canon and switched to Sony Mirrorless the same year - I was moving to the tropics and didn’t have a car to lug around all the heavy gear.

Anyhoo, 90% of what you say about pros and cons matches my own beliefs, although mine are now a couple of years out of date. At the time however, Sony Mirrorless had the fastest AF. I am a massive fan of their a6X00 range. It’s a real testament that they’re still selling the original a6000 seven years after launch. I still have mine and I was using it up until a year ago when I decided to take a break. I also prefer electronic viewfinders. They have built in functions that show you exactly what’s in focus, what is too dark, too bright and you can see stuff you can’t see with a DSLR - like shooting in low light or straight into the sun.

I just checked and the a6600 recently came out, so the a6400 has dropped significantly in price. You can pick up one up with a 16-50mm lens for around your budget. However, your budget needs to include memory cards and a spare battery. People often complain about the short battery life. I never found it a problem and two batteries would see me through a whole day of street photography when I was shooting 800+ photos over eight hours. Then there’s the cost of software, storage and backup. Any you might find yourself wanting a macro lens and a telephoto lens . . .

Today I use my iphone. I’m writing this on my iPad. I think the iPhone has an amazing camera. It’s fast, always with me. I don’t have to think about storage, copying photos, backup. I can do most of the basic edits on the fly. When I sit down at my iPad, the pictures are there. It’s perfect for documenting life. I’ve also used Android, Windows and Google solution, which is good but not as slick and hassle free. Maybe it’s my age, but I like my stuff to just work so I can get on with the fun stuff.
 
pollinator
Posts: 864
Location: Porter, Indiana
115
trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It depends on what you have already. Do you have any lenses? What about a good tripod?

I would rather have a $500 camera with a nice tripod and a dedicated telephoto lens than $1000 camera by itself.
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 28204
Location: Left Coast Canada
9308
5
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Battery life and the Canon mirrorless

When I read the reviews, it suggested I would be lucky to get 300 shots (no flash, but all the features turned on the lens and camera) from my M5.  So I bought extra batteries.  Glad I did for during long power outages, but I didn't need them for daily stuff.  

I can get 600-900 shots on the Neewer make battery.  I can get between 900 and 1200 on the Canon battery that came with the camera.  

This is about the same as my Dad's DSLR that I also use.  (and they take the same battery).

When filming video at 1080p, I end up changing the DSLR battery about 20 min before the M5.  

I don't know if it's just earlier versions had poor battery conservation or what, but I would say between the two cameras I use, the battery life is near enough to be identical.  


I do keep a spare battery in my bag but I haven't yet needed it.  One day of shooting or filming is about one fully charged battery.
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 28204
Location: Left Coast Canada
9308
5
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Something to think about with your pros and cons.

Price and availability of lenses.  

For the Canon, there are fewer mirrorless lenses and they are generally more expensive.  But they are SO MUCH LIGHTER weight than the DSLR glass.  

I really like how light and small my camera equipment is.  I can stick three lenses, my camera (with another lense on) in my handbag and it weighs less than the DSLR with a lens on.  That was an important deciding factor for me.
 
Leigh Tate
author & steward
Posts: 3541
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
1915
3
goat cat forest garden foraging food preservation fiber arts medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Edward Norton wrote:I was reluctant to dip into this conversation...


Well, I'm glad you did! I agree about needing to do one's own research, but eventually, the experience of others is invaluable.

the a6400 has dropped significantly in price. You can pick up one up with a 16-50mm lens for around your budget.


Thanks for this. I will add this to my list of cameras to take a closer look at.

However, your budget needs to include memory cards and a spare battery. People often complain about the short battery life. I never found it a problem and two batteries would see me through a whole day of street photography


That is very welcome feedback on the battery life! A spare battery seems like a must anyway, and I see they aren't terribly expensive.

John Wolfram wrote:It depends on what you have already. Do you have any lenses? What about a good tripod?


John, good point. I'm starting with a low-budget point-and-shoot, so no lenses. I do have a variety of memory cards and we do have a tripod from my husband's old film camera days. Most of my shots are pretty spontaneous, but I could learn to use the tripod. Heck, I'm going to have a lot to learn as it is!

r ranson wrote:When I read the reviews, it suggested I would be lucky to get 300 shots (no flash, but all the features turned on the lens and camera) from my M5.  So I bought extra batteries.  Glad I did for during long power outages, but I didn't need them for daily stuff. I can get 600-900 shots on the Neewer make battery.  I can get between 900 and 1200 on the Canon battery that came with the camera. This is about the same as my Dad's DSLR that I also use.  


Confirmation on the battery life. I'm really pleased to hear that!

r ranson wrote:Something to think about with your pros and cons.

Price and availability of lenses.  

For the Canon, there are fewer mirrorless lenses and they are generally more expensive.  But they are SO MUCH LIGHTER weight than the DSLR glass.  


The lighter weight is very appealing, especially since I carry my camera around a lot. For lenses, all I'm interested in are a macro and a telephoto, so the selection isn't a tipping point for me. All in all, I think I'm now sold on mirrorless.

All of this feedback is very helpful!
 
Leigh Tate
author & steward
Posts: 3541
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
1915
3
goat cat forest garden foraging food preservation fiber arts medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's what I decided on - A Canon EOS M50. It received consistently positive reviews from consumers, camera websites, and serious photographers. The negatives were either inconsequential to me or not confirmed by other reviewers. In fact, it was interesting to me how many professional and serious photographers own and regularly use an M50 for personal use. Video comparison reviews for this class of camera usually used the M50 for their standard of comparison.

Because it's such a popular digital camera, pricing for it is very competitive. Another plus! I was able to get the camera plus a used Canon EF-M 55–200mm f/4.5−6.3 IS STM lens and two extra batteries and stay within my budget. I'll be looking into a macro lens in the future.

It's a kit, so it comes with a battery, charger, and Canon EF-M 15–45mm f/3.5−6.3 IS STM lens. I don't really know what all that lens stuff means, but I'm ready to learn!

So, now I need recommendations for a good free online beginners photography course. Any suggestions?
 
Edward Norton
gardener
Posts: 1495
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
802
trees bike woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
EF means electronic focus - opposite to MF which means Manual Focus. Canon introduced their EOS series back in the last century and with it came automatic focusing.

M is the mount. You can only use lens with a canon M mount.

mm on a lens is focal length which is great if you’re an optics scientist, but doesn’t mean anything to 99% of the public. (And just to confuse things it’s against full frame 35mm).  The smaller the number, the wider the field of view.  15mm is very wide - great for big landscapes. 200mm is very narrow - good for wildlife, headshots, when you want to shot a single object. 30 to 50 is the range human vision works with.

f is aperture - how big the hole is in the lens that lets in the light. The smaller the number, the bigger the hole. Like your own pupil, wide open means more light and you can see / shoot in lower light. The trade off is less depth of field. So your subject might be in focus but the background is blurred. f16 pretty much puts everything in focus but the hole is so small, the shutter needs to be open for a longer time. This can cause blur from camera shake and one of the reason people like to use a tripod. The f number of a lens is the smallest aperture you can set it. For your zoom lenses, at 15mm you can set f to 3.5 and at 45mm the smallest is 6.3.  This sucks because the further you zoom, the more likely any camera shake is going to be noticeable. (Imagine holding out a bamboo pole, it’s steady near you [15mm lens] but wobbly at the far end [200mm lens]). You may have noticed that the price and weight of lens goes up considerably when the f number is 2.8 or less.

IS is image stabilisation - cleaver gyroscopes in the lens that help counter any camera shake.

STM is the type of motor in the lens. STM is designed for video so ultra quiet - you wouldn’t want to hear the camera focusing motors on your video.

You are your best teacher. Go out with a full battery and empty card. Shoot everything. Play with everything. See how close you can get to something zoomed in and zoomed out. Pick a subject and see what happens when you change the aperture. Review your work on a computer that shows you the exif data - this is all the meta data associated with an image, like time, size, dimensions and more importantly aperture (f number), focal length and speed - how long the shutter was open. You can learn all this from a generic allrounder photography book, but nothing beats real world experience. (Shouldn’t come as a surprise . . . Same goes for most things in life).

I was fortunate, I stumbled into a super friendly photography forum in 2003 where I could post a picture and get constructive feedback. I don’t know of anywhere where that still exists, although I haven’t been looking recently. If you post in the Arts section here, I’m happy to offer constructive feedback and answer any questions.

Go have fun!
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 28204
Location: Left Coast Canada
9308
5
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Leigh Tate wrote:Here's what I decided on - A Canon EOS M50. It received consistently positive reviews from consumers, camera websites, and serious photographers. The negatives were either inconsequential to me or not confirmed by other reviewers. In fact, it was interesting to me how many professional and serious photographers own and regularly use an M50 for personal use. Video comparison reviews for this class of camera usually used the M50 for their standard of comparison.

Because it's such a popular digital camera, pricing for it is very competitive. Another plus! I was able to get the camera plus a used Canon EF-M 55–200mm f/4.5−6.3 IS STM lens and two extra batteries and stay within my budget. I'll be looking into a macro lens in the future.

It's a kit, so it comes with a battery, charger, and Canon EF-M 15–45mm f/3.5−6.3 IS STM lens. I don't really know what all that lens stuff means, but I'm ready to learn!

So, now I need recommendations for a good free online beginners photography course. Any suggestions?



That's a really good place to start!  Great choice!

After the camera equipment, the next thing that propelled me into taking better photographs was a large-ish beanbag.  About 12x12".  I prop my camera on that and put the 2-second timer on and it's awesome!  Better than a tripod because I actually use the beanbag and the tripod is a pain to set up and take down for 1 or 2 photos.

Easy to make at home too with some scraps of cloth and dry beans.  
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 28204
Location: Left Coast Canada
9308
5
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A Year With My Camera was a great free class that taught me all about how to use my new camera.  
https://ayearwithmycamera.com/

I'm considering taking it again soon as I'm sure there are some great things I missed.
 
Leigh Tate
author & steward
Posts: 3541
Location: Southeastern U.S. - Zone 7b
1915
3
goat cat forest garden foraging food preservation fiber arts medical herbs writing solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Edward, thank you!  Understanding the lens abbreviations is immediately helpful. Some of it,I see that I'll understand better as I experiment, but I reckon vocabulary is an important place to start.

Edward Norton wrote:You are your best teacher. Go out with a full battery and empty card. Shoot everything. Play with everything. See how close you can get to something zoomed in and zoomed out. Pick a subject and see what happens when you change the aperture. Review your work on a computer that shows you the exif data - this is all the meta data associated with an image, like time, size, dimensions and more importantly aperture (f number), focal length and speed - how long the shutter was open. You can learn all this from a generic allrounder photography book, but nothing beats real world experience. (Shouldn’t come as a surprise . . . Same goes for most things in life).


The exif data! Of course! I remember my dad kept a notebook in which he meticulously recorded his camera settings; I was figuring I'd have to do the same. But having it recorded digitally will be a real help.

I was fortunate, I stumbled into a super friendly photography forum in 2003 where I could post a picture and get constructive feedback. I don’t know of anywhere where that still exists, although I haven’t been looking recently. If you post in the Arts section here, I’m happy to offer constructive feedback and answer any questions.


I very much appreciate that!

r ranson wrote:A Year With My Camera was a great free class that taught me all about how to use my new camera.  
https://ayearwithmycamera.com/


R, great! Thank you for that. I really like having an externally imposed structure when I'm trying to learn something new. I tend to feel more committed to following it through.

Interesting about the beanbag. Quicker fine tuning than a tripod(?) Sounds like a clever idea, actually. My husband has a tripod from his old film camera days; I'll have to see if I can find it. But I understand how it could be fiddly.

I confess to being very excited about this. I picked up a couple of beginner books at the library today. I'll probably start by working through them to become familiar with manual settings, and just have a play to see what they can do.
 
Posts: 664
88
cat forest garden trees solar wood heat woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nikon Z9

.. after saving up for it and the lenses.

Why?
- no mechanical shutter means no vibrations. I have had problems with that on my D7000 and exposures in the 1/10 to 1s region in macro-photography.
- good auto-focus for video (and photos)
- raw video recordings at 60fps
- very good low light performance
- has very fast (capturing a lot of light) lenses available
- build like a tank (I sometimes drop stuff)

I will miss the optical viewfinder.
 
This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. Now it's a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
http://richsoil.com/cards


reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic