Lens size and noise - what are they?

jenswrensMay 23, 2008

I am a complete photography newbie/dummy, and I'm looking for a new camera. I had the Canon Powershot A85, which I loved. It took fabulous pics with great color. When it died and I found it was discontinued, I got the Canon Powershot A700, which I really do not like. No matter what settings I use, the color and image quality are just not right, compared with the pics I took with the older camera. The color never looks like what I see with my eyes.

What is noise? Is this why my new photos look like crap when my old ones didn't?

I mostly take photos of gardens, flowers and interiors. I would love to have a camera that would take a wide-angle shot. I've looked at the new Panasonic wide-angle (cheaper) models, but I really don't understand what the mm lens size means. There are 24mm, 28mm, 30mm, 33mm, 35mm.... Is smaller bigger? Is bigger wider? I can't wrap my brain around it at all. I don't want to spend over $400. I just want a simple camera that I can control that takes true-color photos, and maybe a wide angle (but not the panorama thing that you have to then match-up together because I'm not coordinated or patient enough to bother.) Is it out there for me?

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OK, wow. Nevermind, I guess. I just found a great site that explains these things in depth. I still don't really know what it all means or how it will help me pick a camera. Most of it is like a foreign language to me - I guess that's why I made a D in my photography class back in college...

Here is a link that might be useful: Lenses & Noise & More Than I Can Comprehend

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 1:23PM
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Jen, in case you come back...welcome to the forum. We would like to see you in the future!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2008 at 10:16AM
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Thanks Joan!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:16AM
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Jen, I understand how all confusing the numbers are. It took me awhile too.

I glanced at the link you posted. You'd probably benefit those info more if you have a digital SLR.

Basically, the smaller the number of mm, the wider the angle would be. ie: 28mm is wider than 50mm.

You mentioned that you want to take close up. You'd need a camera that has "macro". It allows you to get as close to the object but still be in focus. Pay attention to the number of the macro which means how close you can get to the object.

If $400 is your limit (which IMO is alot to spend on a good camera) 2 things I'd suggest:
1) Go to a camera store/department and play around with several model, you'd get a better understanding of the focus point and zoom capability. Get the model number and shop around or online for a better price.

2) If I have $400 to spend, I would bypass a point and shoot camera altogether and would invest in a digital SLR (DSLR). You mentioned Canon and that's among a good brand to go with. With $400, you can easily get a used Canon Rebel XT or Rebel XTI with a nice lens that has a decent macro, zoom range and a wide angle.

Most photographers that owns DSLR are serious photographers (either beginners or pros), and we all tend to take care of our equipments. So, getting a used one is not always so bad; although, you may still want to check out the camera as you would with any other used item you'd buy.

The Canon Rebel XT & XTI are being replaced to higher end models. It shouldn't be hard to find one inexpensively. You may want to use your local city Craiglist (online listing) and see if someone locally would sell it to you for a good bargain. Sometimes, you'd find someone throw in extras with the kit. I've seen it as low as less than $200.

Why a DSLR vs. a point and shoot? A DSLR allows you to shoot instantly, no slow shutter speed, no missing the "kodak moment". You can do continous shooting for action. You can set it on "auto" or you can play with the settings once you grow your knowledge of photography. You can invest on better lenses later on when you have more $$$. If you keep with the Canon brand, those same lenses will fit on your next Canon camera body if you ever chose to upgrade with the latest technology.

If you'd be using the camera for macro, a DSLR would allows you to purchase specific lens for better (closer) macro. Or, for less $$$, you can get extender tubes which connect to the lens and let you get so close to the object that you'd be almost touching it.

Hope these tips help and good luck on your findings.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:16AM
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You stated that the colors were not right - and you have a Canon digital camera.

Sometimes, the default settings are not spot on. Try setting the 'white balance' then make a few test shots to see if that cured the color problem. If you do the color balance out of doors, insure that tha proper mode has been selected - outdoor or bright daylight - has been selected before adjusting the white balance. Not all Canons are alike, but on mine, the color balance adjustment applies only to the mode for which it is set. For example, if you are going to adjust the color balance for incandescent lighting, select the incandescent light setting and perform the color balance in an incandescent environment. The other modes are not affected.

This brings up another point: Make sure you have selected the proper lighting mode before shooting. Most people don't want to be bothered with this and leave their camera set on "automatic". This is ok for well lighted scenes, but the camera has to estimate was it should do, and it may not do its best when the lighting changes appreciably.

For best color balance, use the lighting mode setting - AND - don't forget to return it back to auto after your shooting session. You will want to be prepared to make a fast grab shot if one comes up and you may not have time to fiddle with the settings.

Are you getting 'burned out' highlight? If so, run a few test shots: Take a few hotly lighted subjects with the exposure setting set down by 1/3 f-stop and another set at down 2/3 f-stop. Examine the results and select the best setting. Probably, it will be the -1/3 f-stop.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 5:58PM
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