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Looking for my first camera

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Berno99, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. Berno99

    Berno99 New Member

    Hi All!

    I am very very new to photography and I am looking for my first camera around £500. After lots of research and talking to different shops, I think I want to get a mirrorless camera.

    I Want to get used to it first before spending big, it will mainly be for things like hiking, walking and some product shooting.

    Been advised a few cameras but literally have no idea!

    Olympus m!0 Mark III
    Sony A6000
    Canon M200

    Anyone got any more recommendations or any advice on what to look for?
  2. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    It's easy to buy something that's well reviewed or currently fashionable. I think you need to consider the following questions before deciding what to buy.

    1) Will you buy the camera body with the standard 'kit' lens, or perhaps buy the body and your first lens separately so that you can get a lens that might suit you better (see next question). You don't have to buy the 'kit' lens.

    2) What type of pictures do you want to take? The 'kit' lens will usually be a zoom that ranges from a wide angle (but not a really wide angle) to a short telephoto (but not a very long telephoto). Also, the 'kit' lens will usually have a small maximum aperture, and sometimes not great optical quality, because it may have been made down to a price. For example, an 18-135 may suit you better than the 'kit' 18-55, or a prime lens (not a zoom) with a large maximum aperture might suit better if you want to do lots of work indoors without using a flash or tripod.

    3) What will you do with your pictures? If they will only ever be viewed on a PC screen or other handheld device, you don't need a sensor in the camera as 'good' (better image quality and greater number of pixels, but at a cost) as you would if getting large prints done for your wall (where these things would be more important).

    4) Are you buying new? If a model that was well reviewed 2 or 3 years ago does what you want, you could get a lot more for your money buying a secondhand body and a secondhand lens, but only once you have thought about questions 1 to 3 and came to a decision about what type of camera you want.

    5) When deciding which brand of camera to buy, consider the cost of any additional lenses you may want to buy later (and how many are on the secondhand market). Looking at some websites of the regular advertisers in AP (London Camera Exchange, Ffordes, etc) will help here.

    Notice that I've not commented about your suggestions (probably all decent cameras), or made any suggestions of my own, because I cannot know your answers to the above.

    I've tried to be helpful, and apologise if I've only confused you, but I believe answering some of my questions may help you. You are not just buying your first camera, you are looking for something that will allow you to experiment and learn too.

    Other members may have other suggestions about how make tour decision, and raise queries I've not thought of.

    Have fun.
    ChrisNewman and John Farrell like this.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome. It's difficult isn't it. There are so many cameras all doing the same thing. The reason there are so many is that people have likes and dislikes and the tiniest difference in ergonomics can have one person in raptures and another in despair. The "best" camera is the one that feels good to hold and natural to look through the viewfinder and that is a very personal view.

    Interchangeable lens cameras

    The majority of lower priced cameras use an APS-C sensor ( roughly half the area of a 35 mm film negative/positive). These tend to come with an 18-55 mm focal length lens as standard. This is good for most general photography.

    Very confusingly it is common to reference "effective focal length". This means the focal length yours need on a 35 mm film camera to get the same image. It is a hang-over from when every photographer had a film camera and didn't know what to expect from the new digital cameras.

    olympus and panasonic (good for video) have a small sensor ( 1/4 the area of 35 mm film) their lenses convert with a factor 2 - so 25 mm lens is the equivalent of a 50 mm lens on a film camera.

    APS-C convert with a factor 1.5 (Nikon. Fuji) and 1.6 (Canon) so a 33 mm lens is the equivalent of a 50 mm lens on a film camera

    Full frame cameras have a factor 1. So a 50 mm lens is a 50 mm lens.

    I'd say 80% of normal situations fall in the equivalent focal length range 28-80 mm (18-55 on APS-C)
    I'd say 95 % of normal situations fall in the equivalent focal length range 24-135 mm (16 - 90 on APS-C)

    I'd hazard a guess that the first extra lens that people buy is a moderate telephoto that extends the upper focal length a bit. I did, for photographing the kids running in the garden.

    There are lots s/h. Try before you buy. Keep to models less than 3 years old. The technology changes before that time were quite rapid and not incremental. Differences between cameras that are today small were much larger then.

    Fixed lens cameras.

    There is a new generation of Bridge cameras with so-called 1" (one inch ) sensors. They often have impressive zoom ranges with equivalent focal lengths from 24mm upward (some are downright silly numbers). Although they won't perform as well as a larger sensor camera with dedicated lenses they are not very far behind. They are out of your budget range new but if you think you will start to buy extra lenses etc. the price difference soon falls. My wife won't use anything else - she has no time for messing around with changing lenses!
    ChrisNewman likes this.
  4. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I’ll just add to the excellent advice from Chester and PeteRob above that Sony’s smaller, less expensive interchangeable lens cameras, including the Sony A6000, are also APS-C with a crop factor of 1.5.

  5. Berno99

    Berno99 New Member

    Thanks for all of your replies!

    It's all very confusing to me but I have decided to go for either the Olympus EM Mark 3 (which comes with 14-42mm and 40-150mm) or the Sony A6000.

    I am stuck between them both, and if anyone could help me decide would be grateful?

    3 Jessops stores have advised the Olympus is the better choice as this comes with the second lens and although it is less mp, the stabilisation will more than makeup for it.

    One Wilkinson store advised the Sony due to the fact it is better in low light.

    Or do I wait for the Mark 4 Olympus to come down in price it is currently £799 instead of the £499
  6. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Which one delights you when you hold it? You’ll only use it if you like it!
  7. Berno99

    Berno99 New Member

    Nowhere has them on display to hold due to a shortage in them and also Covid19!

    Spec wise which would be better?
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Covid’s a problem.

    Comparing specs is a hiding to nowhere unless you want something specific. I doubt any camera today is “inadequate” in anything other than extreme conditions. I’d look at reviews and get a flavour of what the reviewer found less good compared to expectation.

    The only time I bought a camera because it had a specific spec was in 2012 and I wanted AF performance for bird photography. It is still my “best” camera for birding, though the others I have bought since all arguably have better image quality. It took me 2 years to decide to buy it - but it was expensive.
  9. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    There are still places that have cameras on display to hold and touch.....
    A lot depends on the size of your hands and the size/shape of the camera you wish to buy.... you seem to have excluded Fuji from the shortlist.
    My personal opinions are:

    Forget Canon, the EOS-M system is in general terms, rubbish with limited choice of lenses, and also it's a bit pricey for what you get;
    Due to an issue I had in the past with Sony (and their incorrect advice on how to get it fixed under warranty), I'd never buy any of their stuff again;
    The EM10 Mk III is, for me, a retrograde step from the Mk II - but the new mk IV looks a much better bet with the 20MP sensor.... however it isn't within your budget.
    There is a clever grip available for the Mk II but none for the Mk III - so if you get a Mk II and find that it's a bit small in your hands, you can buy the grip afterwards as a "solution".

    I don't know anything about the Fuji system, but it has to be worth exploring as it gets very good reviews. Panasonic Lumix should not be overlooked either, although I find that their cameras are designed for "tech geeks" to use whereas Olympus cameras are designed for photographers to use - and are highly customisable (in terms of settings - maybe too daunting for a beginner).

    What are you looking for in terms of spec? Are there any "must-have" or highly desirable features that you want?

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