which compact camera would be best --

eddleston123

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Firstly - I know nothing whatsoever about photography - I point the camera and press the button!

I would be looking to buy a simple compact camera. Price around £200 - £250. Doesn't need to be waterproof.

It would be used mainly for relatively close up photography, mainly flowers, and also fish. It would need to have a macro setting should I need to photograph insects. Perhaps they all have that.

My main question is - Does the more 'pixels' equate to a clearer, brighter image and what camera would be the best value.

Any suggestions, much appreciated.



Douglas
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Firstly - I know nothing whatsoever about photography - I point the camera and press the button!

I would be looking to buy a simple compact camera. Price around £200 - £250. Doesn't need to be waterproof.

It would be used mainly for relatively close up photography, mainly flowers, and also fish. It would need to have a macro setting should I need to photograph insects. Perhaps they all have that.

My main question is - Does the more 'pixels' equate to a clearer, brighter image and what camera would be the best value.

Any suggestions, much appreciated.



Douglas

I can't recommend you a compact, Douglas, as my compact is 13 years' old and a real dinosaur. And I last looked into compacts 13 years ago when I was looking for one. So, I know nothing about what is out there.

However, my dinosaur can take decent photos...

LadykirkJul13_1604.jpg


Skye-Nov13_1810.jpg


So, any modern compact it going to be capable of taking better photos than those. 😜

Read the review sites such as DPReviews and see what is out there. Things to focus on (no pun intended 🤪)...

Your comment about the number of pixels...

Unless you are looking to make 48 inch wall prints or sell your photos to magazines as cover shots and double-page spreads, all cameras have more than anough pixels these days. If you are mostly wanting to do things like put photos on the internet, then you have to throw away most of your pixels to get it on. My 13 year old dinosaur takes 14.7 megapixel photos. But to put a decent-sized image on a PC monitor, such as 1000 x 1000 pixels, means I have to throw away 93% of the pixels.

My dSLR takes 31 megapixel photos, and it is true that that gives me more opportunity to crop out a big chunk and still have a usable image, but the most common use of that practice comes when trying to shoot small things that are far away, such as birds in the distance. So, I reckon megapixel count is not a big factor in choice.

For photograping flowers, a good macro capability is certainly a main consideration in a compact. They will probably all have them, but will vary in how easy it is to use them and how good their close-up focusing is. Look for reviews that praise the macro capability and functionality.

The other thing I would suggest looking out for is the 'speed' of the lens. I often find I am trying to photograph a flower that is blowing in the breeze in a shaded wood. The moving flower demands a fast shutter speed (to avoid blur), while the shaded wood (or often just the gloomy light our far north :whistle:) demands a very wide aperture (low f number) if you are going to use a fast shutter speed (unless you want your ISO* to be through the roof). Some compacts, such as the Olympus TG5 have a 'fast' f2 aperture. Others might be slower. I would avoid anything starting at f3 or 'slower'.

*Increased ISO takes up the strain if you can't go wider aperture for your chosen shutter speed, or can't go faster shutter for your chosen aperture. But the higher the ISO, the poorer the image quality.

Col
 

wobbly face

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The problem with modern cameras today is video. People want good video capabilities. This can compromise the quality of stills as the focus is on video. Instead of latest whatever, look for a new but older model. There are loads out there, all manufacturers do a good one with little to choose between them and some for not much money.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Another thing I would add...

You want point-and-shoot, but you want good quality results. The 2 do not go hand-in-hand. :whistle:

You will get better images from a mediocre camera with manual controls in the hands of someone who knows their 'PASM', than you will get from a top of the range point-and-shoot camera in the hands of someone who knows hee-haw about photography. 😜

The big bonus of the age of digital is that we can all teach ourselves how to take a good photograph using manual control of shutter, aperture and ISO (and +/- EV, exposure modes, focusing techniques and all the rest). Take photo, review result on the spot. Make corrections to settings. Take again. Get better result and learn from the experience.

Ain't no rocket surgery required! 🤪

Oh, and remember how in the early days of digital, everyone slagged-off people who used Photoshop? You don't hear from those folk nowadays... Just sayin'... :whistle:
 
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eddleston123

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So pixels aren't as important as I thought. I certainly have no need to make large prints.

I don't really have any need to take videos, but most cameras seem to have that nowadays. I'd prefer a camera with better quality stills and no video function.

I didn't realise the vast amount of cameras and choice that is out there. I thought that mobile phones had taken over the market.

Thanks a lot for advice.



Douglas
 

Rhithrogena

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Douglas,
I would add that the secondhand market offers some true bargains on the well-known auction site. You are protected against receiving faulty items. Some extremely nice older models for not very much. Way less than your budget. Buy a 'beater' camera for less than £50 and learn how to use it until you know what you want in a compact, would be my advice. You may decide not to upgrade at all, but you will still have £200 of your budget if you do.
Rich
 

Overmiwadrers

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I have an Olympus tough . The optics are excellent and the auto functions are very good . Including extreme close ups . Slightly outside you budget but worth every penny

O MW
 

4wings

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I have a Fuji X20 the still photos are excellent (big sensor) it also takes very good video. easy to use with viewfinder and digital display back. I also like the Lumix compacts, study the specs. one of them is often recommended for travellers.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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So pixels aren't as important as I thought. I certainly have no need to make large prints.

I don't really have any need to take videos, but most cameras seem to have that nowadays. I'd prefer a camera with better quality stills and no video function.

I didn't realise the vast amount of cameras and choice that is out there. I thought that mobile phones had taken over the market.

Thanks a lot for advice.



Douglas

I wouldn't worry about video, Douglas. It's more a case of it not being worth their while to make cameras without video, as it is so simple to include it.

Col
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Douglas,
I would add that the secondhand market offers some true bargains on the well-known auction site. You are protected against receiving faulty items. Some extremely nice older models for not very much. Way less than your budget. Buy a 'beater' camera for less than £50 and learn how to use it until you know what you want in a compact, would be my advice. You may decide not to upgrade at all, but you will still have £200 of your budget if you do.
Rich

For sure, Rich. My old dinosaur is selling for £75-80 on eBay. It's a bit slow in the frames per second department, but otherwise a great camera to teach yourself the basics of exposure management, with full manual control. And it does good macro...


It also has an optical viewfinder, though, as it is not through the lens, you need to allow for paralax shift. I would recommend to Douglas that whatever he goes for, he gets a camera with a viewfinder, and not one reliant on looking at the back LCD panel to take every shot.

Col
 

Rhithrogena

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I ag
I would recommend to Douglas that whatever he goes for, he gets a camera with a viewfinder,
I agree Col, my fave little compact is a Lumix XF1. It has a great lens, is fast and customisable and has a useable electronic viewfinder, which although small and low-res by modern standards is great when it's bright.
I also still have a Powershot A70 3.1 mp with an optical viewfinder which still takes perfectly useable images like this (in an u/w housing):
Salcombe UW 126-01.jpeg
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I agree Col, my fave little compact is a Lumix XF1. It has a great lens, is fast and customisable and has a useable electronic viewfinder, which although small and low-res by modern standards is great when it's bright.

Pretty much all electronic viewfinders (EVF) these days, I would think, eh Rich? But I am aware that you get some compacts with EVFs and some with just the back LCD panel to look at. The big difference comes when composing the shot. For the life of me, I cannot make a good composition when holding the camera (wobbling about) at arm's length so that I can look at the LCD panel. I want to hold the camera up to my eye, steady myself and compose the scene through the viewfinder. Every time.

Well, pretty much every time. I do use the 'live view' (LCD back panel) occasionally. When setting up fishing fly shots off a tripod, it can be useful for framing and focusing in macro mode. And just this week, I was trying to shoot some forest fungi and was trying to get the camera low down, at the level of the fungi... a couple of inches off the ground. No way I could look through the viewfinder, so I switched to live view. It's all about having all the options available, eh, so you can use the one to suit the scene?
The only camera I have with no viewfinder is my mobile phone. And every time I use it to take a photo, I feel like a fish out of water... waving it about at arm's length... forgetting all the rules of composition... 😜

Maybe I'm becoming a dinosaur? 🤪
 
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Cap'n Fishy

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Anyone who learnt on film HAD to use a viewfinder...

While that is true, I think it goes beyond how you learned to take a shot. I just think composing a shot is so much steadier with the camera held up to the eye, than it is waving it around at arm's length. And framing is just so much more natural, looking through the 'eye' of the camera, than trying to do it as if you were looking at your TV screen... which is what it's like to hold it at arm's length and look at the LCD panel. Not for me, anyway. Give me a viewfinder! (y)
 

Cap'n Fishy

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I have an Olympus tough . The optics are excellent and the auto functions are very good . Including extreme close ups . Slightly outside you budget but worth every penny

O MW

It's the only one I included a direct link to in post #3, as it came up time and again when Googling top compacts for macro photography.

Col
 

Overmiwadrers

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I have used mine for three or four years it’s tough and takes brilliant pictures the colour rendition is particularly good , also waterproof and great micro and macro capabilities

O M W


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ohanzee

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As mentioned, camera's are ideal for second hand bargains, the technology moves on so quickly you can still buy practically new out of date compacts at a fraction of the cost, and you have enough advice here to shop sensibly.
 

wobbly face

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Don't make the mistake most do with mobile phone for camera work (or cameras with rear screen only view), holding at arms length to take pics. Just think DSLR. :D The chestnut of at arms length comes from selfies. Hands up all you posers that take selfies? :rolleyes:
 

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