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How to choose a Digital camera with manual settings?

Desh_M 13 398
11 Jul 2005 9:34PM

I am a beginner in photography and I do not know much about cameras. I currently own an "Olympus Digital C 450" and most of the settings are automatic, including shutter speed, focus etc.

I want to buy a digital camera with the following capabilities,

1) Should be able to change the shutter speed manually. (For example if it's dark I should be able to choose a slower shutter speed etc.)

2) Should be able to focus manually

3)I like macro photography, so the camera should have good capabilities for macro photography

4) Finally it should be no more than 500$

Can anybody recommend a camera with the above capabilities since I feel at a loss what to buy?
Your help will be much appreciated.


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glazzaro 13 70 23 United States
11 Jul 2005 10:01PM
Are you looking for a digital SLR or just a point and shoot type. With you limiting to the 500 dollar range would be tough to find an SLR at that range. For point and shoot types try looking at the Nikon coolpix series.

11 Jul 2005 10:18PM
agree with greg, i had a coolpix 8800 and was very good

UserRemoved 14 526
11 Jul 2005 11:28PM
The 500 (or is it $500) limit rules out any of the SLRs - except possibly a secondhand 300D. If you want to be able to focus manually for macro shots you do ideally need an SLR because the optical TTL viewfinder works better than EVFs at the moment. The nearest you'll get to a decent manual focusing non-SLR is the Minolta A2. It has the best EVF by far and you can use it for manual focus - although the AF is good enough that you don't often need to. It also has all the manual controls you need. In fact it has more features than most SLRs. More to the point the controls are laid out in a way that you can actually use the features without resorting to the manual all the time. It also has a manual zoom which, IMO, is essential on a still camera - the power zooms waste the battery and never do what you want - and image stabilisation which is another invaluable feature. The 8800 is a good camera also. The EVF is nowhere near so good and the controls are less well set out (lots of menu access required), but if you're looking for a longer range lens that might be the one. The 8800 goes 35-350 (I think) and the A2 goes 28-200, so the A2's good for wide-angle while the 8800 will work better for long tele shots. The 8800 does higher magnification macro also.
Desh_M 13 398
11 Jul 2005 11:31PM
Sorry guys. I mean 500 US dollars. A US dollar is 100 rupees, so I can afford only upto 50,000 rupees right now.
Marlin_owner 13 658 United Kingdom
11 Jul 2005 11:55PM
Nikon Coolpix 8800 or Canon S2 IS. Either would be very good.

I had the S1 IS. Good camera, with all the settings of a Dslr.
UserRemoved 14 526
12 Jul 2005 1:40AM
Bearing in mind your price range I'd go for a Minolta A1 and a good close-up lens for macro.
nikon5700ite 14 1.8k
12 Jul 2005 2:06AM
The nearest to your budget is the Panasonic FZ5 which is selling at B&H New York for $499.95 [Search B&H on Google a well respected and reliable firm, unlike those on the East Side which should be avoided at all costs Smile]

However you will need to also budget for a bigger storage card than that which comes with the camera so add maybe $50 in the not to distant future. Unless you plan to waste the capabilities of the camera by shooting at low resolution which equals more shots but low quality, though adequate for web use.

The FZ5 doesn't have manual focusing but that is not a problem in taking big close-ups. In this connection you need also to budget for a 2 dioptre close-up lens. This tricks the AF into thinking infinity is at 20 inches and you can then work, using all the zoom, between 20 and 13 inches from the subject and the zoom [x12] to get tight framing of small subjects. Without you have to use wide-angle and coming close the best you can get is 4 inches across, but with the 2 dioptre and using full zoom you will come in to 1.5 inches across. If cash is short and you have a good magnifying glass that will work as a CU lens .. but a proper camera lens is better Smile You might even use one with your exising camera assuming it has an LCD on the back to see where it is focusing ... might satisfy you for the time being whiole you stash away more cash Smile

You will need more money to buy an adaptor to mount the CU lens and I'd suggest you join the Panasonic forum at www.dpreview.com for help and tips.

Most useful for you is the best feature of this camera, the OIS, Image Stabilisation, which enables you to work at x12 zoom, 432mm equivalent in a 35mm film SLR, at quite slow shutter speeds. It doesn't 'freeze' the subject movement, only a shutter speed can do that, but saves many a shot where your hand may move slightly. You do not notice it but the camera does and gives you a slightly blurred photo.

You do not really need a manual shutter for low light work since the average digital working in AE will give you an excellent photo ... except it will not tell you to support the camera to avoid camera shake ... more useful is control over the aperture which enables you to choose a large aperture f/2.8 for as little depth of field as can be managed with a digital or f/8 for maximum.

Another nice point about the Leica lens in the FZ series is that they do not loose speed as you zoom out. The FZ20 [what I have but out of your budget] maintains f/2.8 all the way, whereas the FZ5 has a negligable closing of f/2.8 to f/3.3. Unlike 8800 for instance which is rather slow in operating speed which looses I think 2 stops as you zoom ... something like f/2.8 > f/5.6.

You get a read out of what you are setting the camera to in the EVF and LCD in manual and on half trigger in P, A and S modes. My wife has the FZ3 and she is doing great work for somebody who only used a box camera [almost Smile] before last December when Santa brought it for her. Her biggest problem was camera shake hence my opinion about the OIS ... and how it helps me too Smile

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