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DSLR camera or point and shoot?

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Posted

I own a Nikon D3000 which i bought three years ago as our daughter was born. It is rarely taken outside and is always on auto.

I have little time to play with it or learn how to make the most of it.

This evening when trying to take some shots of wife and child by the Christmas tree and failing dismally, i was ready to stick it straight on ebay.

I've calmed down a bit now, but still wonder if i should keep it and invest time and money in learning how to use it in anger, or better to sell it and buy a decent point and shoot digital camera. All i need is something that can take good shots in all lights and a decent short video for family shots, high days and holidays.

Any thoughts?

BobD

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Posted

I think the term 'point and shoot' comes from the US and is used to refer to "compact' cameras. Being the normal term used in the UK. As compact cameras can also have a high level of control. In fact many DSLRs can be set to "point and shoot" modes too.

Anyway to the question of which camera to go for, ideally you really need one of each type of camera to cover all occasions. A small pocket sized camera for parties and pubs. A small "do it all" camera with biggish zoom. Still just about pocketable but lets you cope with complex situations where you still dont want to lug a DSLR around. And finally for those occasions that you go out specially to get good results with few compromises.

For the latter you also need motivation and enthusiasm. They will drive you to reserving more of your precious time for reading and experimenting. If you get the "bug" it will all just happen. I got the bug from reading photography magazines and entering local competitions. I guess you just need to get a few good pictures under your belt and that will give you the confidence boost that will take you to the next level. Go out in low sunlight for example, and you'll start spotting interesting effects. Snow and foggy weather also offers special chances. Also try some of those fancy instagram-like art filters. That may be your thing. And finally try and find someone to go out with you with similar interests. Go to an event like motor or motocross racing. Take loads of pictures, mess up badly, but among the results you may be able to pick out a gem.

Inspiration is a great way to get your artistic photo buds drooling. Go through these competition results from time to time to see some amazing pictures. (click on slideshow)

If that is all too much, or you don't get the bug, dont make it into a problem, dump the DSLR and get a compact camera that suits you.

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Posted

Face it - you're what they call 'all gear and no idea' . Photography should be fun and rewarding, buy a camera that meets you three quarters of the way.

Sell the Nikon and buy a decent 'system camera' like the sony NEX-5 or Panasonic G5 - my personal choice - to which you can add lenses according to your needs.

These little beauties are portable, easy to use - having great automatic settings for catching spontaneous moments, and the chance to experiment and learn. They also take HD movies which now your toddler is active will be fun to use.

As your daughter grows up and you get more familiar with the settings, you can then add other lenses like a telephoto for school sports day.

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Posted

Oh and don't be disheartened by tonight. "in front of the Christmas tree" is a really tricky shot to take, even on Auto (especially on Auto) because the lights screw up the auto-exposure. So don't beat yourself up.

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Posted

Yes, and photographing people or pets is trickier because you are under time pressure.

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Posted

I've calmed down a bit now, but still wonder if i should keep it nd invest time and money in learning how to use it in anger, or better to sell it and buy a decent point and shoot digital camera. All i need is something that can take good shots in all lights and a decent short video for family shots, high days and holidays.

DSLR is not meant to be used on AUTO, that is the root of all problems. Do you think that with a good compact you would be able to take good shoots in ALL LIGHTS? No way! I assume that you use the 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens which came with the camera, that is really good lens for the start and with a little patience and M mode experiments you would be able to take really good pictures in no time.

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Posted

Looking at the D3000 Brochure (PDF) it seems it has a range of pre-set modes in addition to "Auto". Simply changing the setting to "Night Portrait" might have been enough.

Your camera also has the ability to take photos in NEF (RAW) mode. Many people think that RAW modes are just for professionals but with RAW you can use software to change the settings on the unprocessed image after it is out of the camera. If you if you screw up some of the settings as the picture was taken the RAW software will often help you recover a good image.

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Posted

Might be time to RTFM.

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Posted

OK if it has Night Portrait mode use that - check the ISO is low, though.

Set up the shot with mum only first, add baby when you're happy

Use a tripod or put camera on a steady surface

shoot from a little below face level

Don't put the camera too close, better to start further away and zoom in a little

Turn any anti shake OFF

Use a remote shutter release or set a 2 second timer and / or use burst mode to take a bunch of shots, so one will have both subjects with eyes open and smiling

Focus on baby's eyes - eveything else falls into place if the eyes are in focus

Oh yeah - no flash

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Posted

Thanks for all the tips. I think it is a question of practice and getting the bug so to speak. Oh, and yeah, reading the f*cking manual ;)

Bob 'all the gear and no idea'D

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Posted

I think many smartphone cameras are really good these days but of course without optical zoom. Especially I saw that Nokia Lumia 920 makes excellent night time photos. That should take care of parties and dinner photography. So there is hardly any point in buying a separate point and shoot.

In fact my Sony Xperia Arc put my friend's Canon point n shoot to shame few days back at Christkindlmarkt, Marienplatz. :D

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Posted

I did the same bought a canon dslr when they were new and shiny but usually use auto and and findin g now just too damn heavy to cart around on the off chance there's a nice tree Im looking at maybe a nikon one ..anyone had any hands on with one?

<-@

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Posted

I shoot nikon dslrs and while I would generally tell you it's not about the camera, the d3000 was pretty much universally despised by everyone. given that combined with your desire to take video (something a dslr will always suck at and I wish they'd just frikkin' drop and lower the price of the camera) I'd advise getting something like the canon s100; my wife has one and it takes pictures much faster than the older P&Ss, though obviously not as fast as a dslr, has true image stabilization (most P&Ss that claim to have this just amp up the ISO) and has an extremely fast lens for a P&S (f/2.0). fits in your pocket/purse/man-bag mush easier too.

If you're going to stick with the d3000 then get the sb-400 flash so you can bounce the flash off the ceiling (or a piece of paper if the ceiling is too high or non-existent). Much nicer, even, lighting with minimal shadows or red-eye.

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Posted

combined with your desire to take video (something a dslr will always suck at and I wish they'd just frikkin' drop and lower the price of the camera)

I can't speak for Nikon but the HD movie mode on Canon DSLRs is used by professional filmmakers, including Hollywood. Plebs like us being able to shoot Hollywood-quality movies is now one of the main drivers of DSLR sales.

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Posted

Good point about bounce flash. It's dead easy and the results are surprisingly good. Take a look here. You'll find some step by step guides online that could be the solution to how to get the bug.

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Posted

Thing is, one party is much like another, but if you have kids growing up you want to take the best pictures and movies possible - you don't get a second chance. So if you don't want to get involved with interchangeable lenses, but want a better quality picture than a point-and-shoot, look at a 'bridge camera'.

I've had a Panasonic DMC FZ50 for years and it's brilliant. You can take pictures instantly - switching effortlessly from close ups to landscapes. And if you feel moved to get more creative, it has all the power settings of a DSLR. These cameras teach you how to take pictures, and because they are easier to carry about, you tend to get more practice using them.

The FZ50 is old technology now, more recent examples are:

Sony Cyber-shot HX200V

Nikon Coolpix P510

GE X500

Fujifilm FinePix HS30EXR

Fujifilm X-S1

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS

Leica V-Lux3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150

Detailed review here: http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/round-ups/538836/best-bridge-cameras-2012 might help.

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Posted

I can't speak for Nikon but the HD movie mode on Canon DSLRs is used by professional filmmakers, including Hollywood. Plebs like us being able to shoot Hollywood-quality movies is now one of the main drivers of DSLR sales.

LOL, Hollywood quality movies. Have you ever shoot something Hollywood with your rig?

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Posted

Well obviously you'll need to buy a folding canvas chair with your name on it to get the best results.

post-7126-1355738398511.jpeg

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Posted

DSLR is not meant to be used on AUTO, that is the root of all problems.

Excellent!! Thanks for the Info..

I have just taken my DSLR out of Auto mode...

Right then... off to see if my flat battery has fixed itself now!

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Posted

Well obviously you'll need to buy a folding canvas chair with your name on it to get the best results.

And learn how to shout.. "aaaaand Cut!, thats a wrap, everyone!!"

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Posted

LOL, Hollywood quality movies. Have you ever shoot something Hollywood with your rig?

I hadn't claimed I had, so I'm not sure what your point is. My point was that the quality does not "suck" as had been stated above.

"LOL".

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Posted

AUTO? In my day things were much simpler. You'd get a instruction leaflet in the box of film telling you what settings to use in sunlight and included tips about not shooting into the sun.

post-7126-13557388147145.jpg

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Posted

Its also pronounced "filum".. :lol:

bleedin Geordie tossers! :)

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