About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Desperately Seeking Camera Advice

Good Saturday afternoon favorite blogger/photographers.  Blogger is acting stubborn today so who knows if this request will post, but I'm  looking for some good recommendations for a new camera and thought:  who better to go to than my fellow blogger friends?  I always notice your sidebars where many share the camera they use for everyday photography.

Here's my deal.  I'm a very amateur photographer and got interested in taking photos as a way to remember the many wonderful trips I've taken.  And then, in the past year I've started trying some nature photography.  And now there's Chet the puppy to record!  Currently I'm using a simple point and shoot--Canon PowerShot SX130.  My plan was to really get serious about using all its features--which I don't right now--before I head out on my next big trip, which will be Russia in September.  But, just this morning I decided to upgrade to get SLR (whatever that is!) capability rather than spend time learning what the Canon 130 will do because I know it will only do so much.

I'm looking at the Canon EOS Rebel T3 Digital SLR.  My questions to you:

Anyone have experience with this camera?  Pros/Cons?  If so, do you think it would be a good travel choice because am usually on the move and don't have a lot of time to set up shots?  What about its weight?  Too heavy to lug around all day?  Need too many attachments?

Are there other cameras in this range that you'd recommend?

Thanks in advance for your advice and recommendations.  I always study your photos to see how you get the results you do.  And, everyone is always so generous about answering my photography questions which makes me realize just how much I have to learn! :-) Oh, one final thing--I'll probably buy the new one this coming week so tell me what you know real fast!  Thanks!


Linda said...

My hubby has a Canon T3i...he LOVES it! He has the standard 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm lens that he carries along. It is not heavy, and the lenses are easy to change. He did a lot of research before he bought - he likes the articulating viewing screen of the T3i, and the screen is higher resolution than the T3. However, I never use the screen for taking the photos - just for viewing - so that wouldn't be a deal-clincher for me. The T3 is a great camera. I still use my Canon Rebel - and it is a great camera. I think you would really like it - there are some great comparison sites out there - good luck - I know you will have fun with it!

Jan n Jer said...

Ok Faye you asked for it! It's not so much the camera but the person behind it! I have heard this so many times from pro's! You could have the most expensive camera with all the bells n whistles n still have a crappy shot!I have a Nikon 3000 single lens reflect (SLR)going on three years now. I am still learning the settings...It really does a lot! It has auto n works like a point n shoot...but I am trying to get off the green square(the auto button). Prior to this I have a cannon power shot A590 8 mega pixels/4xoom. Anyway...an SLR camera is way bigger then a point n shoot an if you have other lens for it thats another thing you have to cart around. Do you see where I am going with this!!! If your point n shoot takes a nice clear shot, that is what I would use on my trip...much lighter to carry around n I bet it does way more then you know. From what I have seen of some of your pics...it looks like it takes a nice clear picture. It's all about the lighting n composition n perspective in taking a good shot! This is just my opinion...If you get an SLR I would suggest you take classes n learn it inside n out...that is what I am doing! BTW the cannon Rebel n Nikon 3000 are about on the same level. I picked the Nikon because it seemed sturdier then the Cannon. Good luck with your decision...hope I didn't give you too much food for thought

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Faye, George has a Canon Rebel T1 (before the T2 and T3's came out). He LOVES it... I have a step down from that (a Canon xsi). There's a newer version of that one now. I can't tell the difference other than the fact that his will do videos and mine will not. Since I don't do videos, I am very happy with mine.

We bought them through Amazon ---as a bundle (including 2 different lenses, camera bag, extra battery, etc.)...

My camera is not that heavy --- and is easy when traveling. I do have a camera vest to secure the camera in front of me when we hike.

The attachments are up to you. I usually use the 18-55 mm lens when doing landscape, etc. I use the 75-300 mm lens when photographing the birds.

We have had our cameras for over 2 yrs. now --and love them. I would get another Canon in a heartbeat.

Good Luck.

Pat Hensley said...

Hi! I just bought a Nikon D3100 (my first DSLR) and I'm loving it. I think the people who love Canon vs. Nikon are like Ford vs. Chevy or PC vs. Apple. I think all are good but people have their preferences. I went to Wolf Camera and the Nikon D3100 was on sale and I liked the way it worked so that is the one I got. I don't regret buying it for a second but I've never owned a Canon. As an earlier poster wrote, I believe (or hope) it is not always the camera but the photographer who makes the difference. I'm still learning but it is so much fun!

Faye said...

Hi All--these comments are very helpful--thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. My current camera is just a year old and I haven't--as Janis said--gotten off the green square very much. Maybe I need to work on that before bumping up. Still not sure my camera is capable of taking good night shots--which I'm very interested in--or bokeh which has intrigued me for a long time.

George said...

I think a T3i would be a wonderful choice. I got a Canon a couple of tears ago -- a T1i -- and I love it. Everything I've read about the T3i leads me to believe it is even better than my camera. Go for it!

Georgia Girls said...

I bought a Canon EOS Rebel T2i from a pkg deal w 2 lenses through Amazon. It's more than what I need or know how to use (since I don't know what all the T's and i's mean), but didn't want to upgrade too soon. For traveling my Panasonic camera has lots of doohinkeys and takes good pictures.

If you come across a blogger/website you enjoy learning photography from, let me know. I'm still struggling with Photoshop.

Anonymous said...

Before you decide on anything, check out Last Flight Out Photography http://scottygraham.blogspot.com/ - he seems to be a firm believer in the Lycra camera... have no idea how expensive it is, but he's a pro & loves it... from what I understand, the Rebel isn't truly a DSLR camera... however, it's loved by many... I just don't know... all I know is that I can't afford anything more than what I have now, which is a Canon Powershot... =)

ps - my mom has 3 horses behind those white fences & would love to have more, but she really just doesn't need more! LoL!

heyBJK said...

I'm hesitant to give camera advice as far as which specific model to buy because there are SO many good ones from various companies. It ultimately comes down to personal preference.

I shoot Canon, but I'm not a brand snob. I started using Canon SLR's back in the early 80's and it's the system I'm familiar with.

SLR stands for single-lens reflex. When digital cameras were invented a "D" was added for digital. DSLR's are the mainstay of professionals, serious amateurs and anyone wanting to advance their photography.

The T3i is a DSLR. The Rebel line is Canon's entry level offering. They market them for families, hobbyists, and people who want to move up to their first DSLR without spending tons of money.

Canon has just released the T4i. There are two big differences between it and the previous models. The LCD screen on the T4i is a touchscreen. And the T4i has continuous auto focus in video mode which the others don't have. You can get a T4i with a lens for between $950-$1300 depending on which lens you get with it.

Even if you have narrowed it down to a single model, be sure to compare it with 2 or 3 others just to make sure that's what you want. Look for a camera with features that are important to you. Some are geared more toward still shots and some lean more toward video shooters. Look at other brands, too, like Nikon or Sony.

Camera technology changes rapidly these days. If you aren't the type to get the latest and greatest every couple of years, you'll want a camera you will be happy with for several years. Get one that you aren't going to "outgrow" very quickly. As you learn how to use a DSLR to your advantage, your photography will grow. You want a camera you can keep using as your skill level increases.

DSLR's are heavier than point and shoots, but they aren't bad to carry all day depending on how you do it. I have a very comfortable carry system that I use even with my big lens and it's far better than the standard neck strap.

Don't worry about all the accessories and add-on's. I would suggest a zoom lens at first with a nice focal range so you can use it in a variety of situations. That cuts down on the number of lenses you need and the necessity of changing them. You can do a lot with a camera body and one or two lenses. Adding other items will come later as you find out what you want.

Jan is right. It's not so much the equipment as it is the person using it. A $5,000 camera doesn't take pictures by itself. In the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it or doesn't understand the basics of photography, it's just an expensive paperweight. A knowledgeable person can use a cheap camera and get the most out of it.

Decide what you want the camera for and then look for a camera that has the capability to do what you want. And invest in good memory cards. They are the heart of the camera. If you'll be shooting any video at all or using the burst mode for multiple shots, get Class 6 or higher cards. Slower cards have a hard time processing the shots.

No matter what you get, you'll find a DSLR will expand your photography and offer capabilities you don't have with a point and shoot. With both cameras, you'll have most situations covered. Don't rush your decision. Like I said, you want something you'll be happy with for quite some time.