Miscellaneous Rumbles



I realize I'm opening a can of worms bigger than "poly vs lacquer" here...

So I've been thinking for a while about getting a camera that's a little better than the one on my phone. Uses vary, from guitar pics, to travel scenery, family portraits, occasional videos (mostly of me playing guitar), and maybe some artsy photos of 20th century decay in the south. Now as someone with no background in photography, my immediate go to thought is Nikon DSLR, because they seem to be the industry standard. So of course I have my eye on the D3300 or D3400, but my research has led me down some other avenues as well, e.g. Sony A6000 ("mirrorless is the future"), etc.

Not so much looking for suggestions here (though they are welcome), but rather to start a conversation. What's your camera gear, what do you photograph, want to share some pics, what lens are you GASsing for, what's your technique?

So, photographically inclined GDPers, lend me your wisdom!


I've been using the so-called "superzooms" from Sony and Canon for several years. I like them because they come with just one lens. handle and "feel" like a smaller SLR, and require a lot less "kit" to make a fairly wide variety of decent-quality images. Currently I shoot with a Canon Powershot SX-60. It's mid-price, lightweight and has a larger sensor than the Sony DSC I just retired (Larger sensors mean cleaner images at larger print sizes).

The attached picture is from that Sony, and it's pretty clear for up to 17" prints. Much better than a cell phone or (shudder) tablet. Sorry, fine for snaps, but you just cannot hold those properly.

If you don't want the hassle of extra lenses, filters, etc, give something like this a try?


Any better "entry level" camera is gonna take great pics. They all come loaded with the newest electronics, though they feel and handle differently. You might do yourself a favor, pick similar models from the big makers and go handle them.

For me, the big thing is the glass. Some manufacturers have different grades of lenses. Pick up a foto mag and read some reviews. Some lenses really stink. If you think you will shoot a lot of low light, look for speed.

I still use my Olympus C-5050 a lot. Smaller C-chassis with most controls in fingers reach so I can "one hand" shoot most things. Most amazing is the lens. Fixed, with a good non-digital zoom range, and a 1.8 f-stop. Super fast, super sharp. Most lenses I see now are 3.5 or slower.


I like both previous comments.

I shopped my last camera a long time ago, then I waited for it to come to market. New models are on a short Product Cycle, and the World is moving fast.

You seem in a good, knowledgeable state of mind.

At the time, the SONY CD400 was everything I would ever need, and until it fails, probably everything I'll ever need. Great camera.


I like both previous comments.

I shopped my last camera a long time ago, then I waited for it to come to market. New models are on a short Product Cycle, and the World is moving fast.

You seem in a good, knowledgeable state of mind.

At the time, the SONY CD400 was everything I would ever need, and until it fails, probably everything I'll ever need. Great camera.

– Twangmeisternyc

Jeez I love Zeiss glass! A lifetime ago I had a Rolleiflex 2.8 TLR that had Zeiss lenses. The images were just stellar.


I'm a photographer and have a beautiful Hasselblad outfit - 3-4 bodies, 4-5 lenses, a few film and polaroid back - and none of it gets used any more. It's sad. The Zeiss lenses are incredible, as Powdog says. They're not just sharp but the colour rendition is so beautiful and the contrast is breath-taking. When i used to print my B+W the combination of 'Blad, Ilford Delta 100 and Ilford multigrade papers meant easy printing and gorgeous images.

Now of course it's all digital, and i do love digital too. I use Canon for everything professional now. But when i travel or want a camera for something non-work related I take a little Sony (Japanese Zeiss lenses) or a Lumix or now a little Canon. I recently won a Canon G5X and it's cool. Small enough for a jacket pocket which is good for me. It looks like an old SLR but smaller. It doesn't have all those consumer-grade modes - which are all just different ways of exposing a picture. It has exposure compensation on a knob on top which is great if you are using aperture or shutter priority, and manual mode which is how I generally use it. I can shoot raw which I prefer, and different viewfinder options for whatever way you want to shoot.

But the main questions you need to ask your self are things like: how big do you want to see your pics? Do you want to print them? Do you mainly shoot in program or manual - not all cameras have a manual mode which would drive me crazy! How close up do you want to shoot? Do you want to be able to shoot pin-sharp images of flower stamen? Different cameras and lenses have different close-up capabilities. Do you want to shoot wide angle interiors? Do you want to shoot distant landscapes? What times of day or night would you be shooting?

No camera will do everything. And if you are looking for something to take on bush-walking I would recommend NOT getting a fullsize SLR outfit. I have a Canon EOS1Dx with several lenses and it weighs an absolute ton! But it produces images good enough for billboards these days.

FWIW the number of pixels is not the best measure of quality. Resolution depends on a good image being projected onto those pixels, so the glass is extremely important. Not just for sharpness but for edge-to-edge colour quality.

I get asked a lot what a good camera might be. Answer the questions above with the help of a good salesperson and decide how much you want to spend and you should be happy. I've had great results with the little Lumix, Canon and Sony cameras. And when someone once asked David Bailey what was the best camera he answered "the camera you have with you when you want to take a picture". You may have the best camera in the world but if you can't be bothered taking it with you it won't help you take any pics.

With any camera the trick is learning how to use it the best you can. Learn how to expose for the subject and keep it in focus. It's not hard.


I'm another fan of Zeiss lenses. The one that came with my Practika 40 years ago is superb. I don't know of a digital camera that uses screw mount lenses, tho. I haven't done much photography since film went away. I've worked with all kinds of cameras, even 8X11 and 11X14 view cameras, along with other large format handhelds besides 35mms. I miss film, but I've got to admit that digital has many great aspects to it---and saving money is a huge part of that. I learned my way around a B&W darkroom, but color just got too expensive for a hobbyist. The one disadvantage with digital is that if you don't print the photo, it could be lost in a digital wasteland if/when the technology changes again. I can print a 120 year old negative, but can't get a year old picture out of a file if the tech gets corrupted somehow.

Most of the basic skills are the same tho. Keep the sun behind you, learn to focus, use depth of field and shutter speed to your advantage, and get the best resolution you can find. Getting the best lens that you can find is imperative.


I used to shoot with Cannon and 432,618 lenses. Whew, what a pain, got some great pix but....too many options. Like otter says, its what do you prefer to shoot and what are you doing to do with them! I have finally decided that I want something that can leave hands free for quick response, so I do the small ones now. In fact I am fiddling with the iPhone that I have (and there are a couple of support sites) to improve my photography.



He's a polarizing guy on photography forums, which have the same percentage of nitwits as guitar forums (insert smiley here), but he has some good info on his site for novices. He reviews some of the latest Nikon and Canon SLR's and point and shoots. I'd check him out if I were looking for a new one.

I have Nikon D7000 and a 16-85 VR lens. Does all I need it to do. I used to have the 18-200 and while it was very cool, was too big and heavy and I found the far zoom to be hazy from all the space in between the subject and the camera. I just try to get myself closer if I need to these days.

I also have a Tokina 11-16 that is always at f2.8. Nice lens for landscapes when you want to capture it all.

For Nikon SLRs, the DXXX is the more expensive and the DXXXX range is the cheaper, but I think plenty good for 99% of the people out there. I'd look at the D3400 or the D5600.


Canon has an equivalent I am sure, I just am not familiar with them. Really Nikon and Canon are equals for the most part. Play with both and whichever one feels more comfortable (menu setting especially), go with that.

Stay away from anything with digital zoom, you want true mechanical lens zoom.

Hope that brain dump helped some!


Haha - I love the basic principal of "keep the sun behind you"! That's probably good advice but I seem to spend a lot of my time shooting people outdoors with the sun right behind them. It helps to use an SLR to do this so you can see and control flare. I suspect that advice goes back to the box brownie days.

I have a great photo from my dad which has his family on the farm at around 1930. The photographer believed in "keep the sun behind you" and it was a sunny day, so my pop's face is completely black from the shade of his hat.


You might want to look into the Panasonic Lumix series. My girlfriend has two of those, a compact DMC-TZ8 and a bigger DMC-FZ200. She takes pictures as a hobby and knows absolutely nothing about photography. She needed a camera with a great zoom and it must also be capable of doing great macro shots. The Lumix was recommended by a friend who is a professional photographer. I must say she takes beautiful pictures. You can check some of her work with the Lumix here: She Fox Pictures

Here are two examples, shot out of her hand without a tripod...

 photo SheFoxLibelle_zps2fe8rgc5.jpg

 photo SheFoxMaan_zpsx8hgh911.jpg


After weighing strengths and weaknesses of my options, I've decided on the Nikon D3400. Got a refurbished one on the way, with the kit lens as well as a 35mm f/1.8 lens. It seems like a decent entry into the photography world that I won't grow out of for a good while. It may be a little weaker than its competition in the videography realm, but as mentioned my videos will rarely be more complicated than me playing guitar in my studio/office.

Anyways I've been reading up on aperture, shutter, ISO, etc., and I'm looking forward to getting out there and trying what I've learned.

Also, keep up the discussion, and please keep posting your own photos! Expect to find me posting a lot of guitar pictures soon. Feel free to critique

Any tips for guitar photography?


I used the drive from Baton Rouge up to Vicksburg today to test out the new camera. I was mostly using the "P" mode which lets me simultaneously and inversely adjust the shutter speed and aperture to get the depth-of-field I wanted. Really fun! And this camera did not dissapoint, very beautiful images. The sunlight was just right when I arrived at the Windsor Ruins. I realized after uploading that I had cranked up the saturation prior to taking all the photos. I'll have to be careful about that in the future.



I'm particularly proud of this one


Wow, that one almost looks 3D!


I've been using Nikon DSLR's (and SLR's before digital) for 50 years. Love 'em!

I bought a Sony DSC-RX100 about 2 years ago -- a great small camera (with Zeiss lens.....)


I bought a Sony DSC-RX100 about 2 years ago -- a great small camera (with Zeiss lens.....) -- senojnad

Bonedaddy recommended this camera to me, Dan, and I purchased the DSC-RX100 V and have been very pleased with it thus far. A 1" sensor is a wonderful thing and the camera has many tremendous features on it, not to mention the Zeiss lens.

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