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Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2012

Behind the lens: Considering cameras

December 15, 2012

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Although I used an expensive professional camera photographing the Flaming Lips at Liberty Hall this past summer, a quality compact digital with a wide-angle lens and a large aperture could have captured a similar shot. In judging and comparing cameras, keep in mind what subjects and under what conditions you most often photograph to determine the best camera for you to own.

Although I used an expensive professional camera photographing the Flaming Lips at Liberty Hall this past summer, a quality compact digital with a wide-angle lens and a large aperture could have captured a similar shot. In judging and comparing cameras, keep in mind what subjects and under what conditions you most often photograph to determine the best camera for you to own.

Unlike members of Congress, photographers must compromise.

All camera models sacrifice a feature or function to emphasize another. In suggesting cameras for you this holiday season, I’ve listed them by the type of photographer rather than the camera type.

This barely scratches the surface. Use these suggestions as a starting point and work with a knowledgeable salesperson or a friend who knows camera gear. I’ll even offer help. Email me about how you use a camera — typical subjects, lighting conditions, etc. — and give me a budget and I’ll provide more suggestions.

Active sports person: You require shockproof, waterproof and freeze proof in a compact size. Pentax has been at this awhile so consider their Optio WG-2. For underwater features and GPS, look at the Olympus Tough TG-1.

Others to consider: Nikon AW100 and Canon PowerShot D20. You’re paying more protection features but these are fine for general photography, too.

Indoor/outdoor sports in low light: It’s not easy to compromise in this photographic situation. Professionals use expensive gear for best results.

Look at a mid-level single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) with a telephoto lens with a large aperture. DSLR cameras offer interchangeable lenses, optical viewfinders and motor drives.

Consider cameras like the Sony A37, Nikon D7000 or Canon EOS Rebel T4i. A good lens option would be a 70-200mm lens with an f/4.0 or f/2.8 maximum aperture.

If you don’t want to jump into a DSLR system, look at the Panasonic DMC-FZ200 that features a lens with an f/2.8 maximum aperture across its entire zoom range. The quality won’t be as good as a DSLR, but it’s a good option for the money.

Going mobile: If you like posting photographs to social media sites but want better quality than your camera phone, consider cameras offering built-in Wi-Fi. Two basic models are the Canon 320 HS and the Samsung WB150F.

Travelling light: Mid- to high-end compact cameras with versatile built-in zoom lenses, or the newer mirrorless-camera systems with interchangeable lenses, are good travelling tools. Both provide good value and quality but won’t weigh you down.

Look at the Sony NEX line and the Olympus PEN series, both offer interchangeable lenses.

For an all-in-one camera, the Canon PowerShot G15 makes a good traveling companion.

Night owl: From dance floors to dinner parties, your priority is portability, low-light capability and wide-angle coverage for capturing more people in small spaces.

Look for cameras that have a 35mm equivalent, 28mm or wider lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.0 or f/2.8. The Canon PowerShot 110 HS is inexpensive.

A few more bucks: The Canon PowerShot S110 is a well-regarded all-around camera. Making the list for one of 2012’s top cameras is the high quality but more expensive Sony Cyber-Shot RX100.

Congressman: If you can’t compromise and don’t mind the weight and investment of a complete system, it’s hard to go wrong with the top-of-the-class Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Nikon D800 or Sony A99.

With any of these bodies and your choice of lenses and accessories, you can go in any direction you want to take your photography — providing you have the money or the constituents to support you.

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Take this with you to a camera store, compare models and get a few in your hands. Let the salesperson know what your priority is and what you’re not willing to compromise. The closest full-service camera store to Lawrence is Wolfe’s Camera, 635 S. Kansas Ave., in Topeka. Most of these or similar models should be available to try out.

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 4 months ago

And then later, I got a Kodak Stereo Camera, which I still have. It was in production from 1954 to 1959, and mine is in like new condition, and identical to the one pictured here. It, like the Argus C-3, used regular 35mm film, but the stereo camera frame size was different, each stereo pair of photographs was interleaved with two others.

That led to a problem one time in that the processing lab lined up the first negative, and then someone started the auto cutting machine. So, most of the negatives were cut, and I didn't end up with any stereo pairs. I had intended to mount them on a piece of cardboard, and then view them with an antique Stereoscopic Viewer.

The other way of doing it was to take slides, which came back with each stereo pair mounted in one piece of cardboard. I only had one roll of film processed that way before the stereo slide processing service was discontinued by Kodak in the late 1980s.

I suppose I should consider getting a digital camera.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 4 months ago

The camera I learned to take pictures with, the Argus C-3, is totally obsolete today. It was in production from 1939 to 1966. Everything was totally manual, but if you knew what you were doing, you could take incredible pictures with it.

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