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Old 22-03-2017, 21:14   #1
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Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

I'm looking to buy a camera for under $200, I recently left the restaurant industry to become a broker and spend more time on my boat. I've been "borrowing" another broker's camera... but leaving my career to go full commission has got me on a budget.

Things I want to use it for:
1. Listing boats
2. Documenting my refit. I've been having so much fun reading blogs and watching Vlogs, I would like to cover my refit (I've got some really cool BIG projects coming up. And wish I had documented my rewriting better)
3. Taking pictures while sailing/at events for blog and social media

Questions:
1. Is waterproof/resistent worth it or useful I'm afraid spending money on one that isn't is prone to accidental water damage? Same with durability... I'm not always graceful while sailing in heavy winds.
2. Rechargeable or regular batteries?
3. What are your favorite models.

Answers:
1. No I don't have room to expand my budget by and more than $50(200 is already a stretch) I will probably but another camera down the road, if you're gonna suggest a $600 camera be sure to back it up with listing your boat with me :P
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Old 22-03-2017, 21:40   #2
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

dpreviewdotcom is my go to site, check out their buying guide. Keep in mind new cameras are being released on a regular basis and things may change tomorrow.
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Old 22-03-2017, 23:35   #3
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

For your use one of the "adventure proof" cameras might be good. I think some of the older models might be in your budget.
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Old 23-03-2017, 01:12   #4
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Cell phone camera with waterproof case.

Seriously, for what you describe, the average viewer will be hard pressed to tell the difference. Also, if you need to send pictures to a prospective client, the phone can send them immediately rather than having to download them to a computer before sending.

If you think you may need a close-up shot of the masthead, you can get zoom lenses that attach to the phone.
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Old 23-03-2017, 06:30   #5
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Also keep in mind that anything you buy would be considered a business expense and can be tax deductible or depreciated on you taxes when you file next year.

It is much better to spend a little more one time than to have to spend again later. IMO, for professional quality pics for a business, you really need a digital SLR. Yes you can get by with less, but eventually you will spend the money so why not do so now.

Used SLR's with 1 or 2 lens' can be bought for around twice what you are wanting to spend. Also, you can get GoPro knock off for around $100 new that takes great pics and video.
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Old 23-03-2017, 07:00   #6
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Thanks guys.

Yeah a cell phone is a no go! I take over 100 photos of all boats I list and then dwindle it down. If I've got a client lined up I'll take a few pics and send them from my phone. But the quality of phone vs camera is night and day.

Usually I'm all for the buy the right thing the first time. But it's just not possible right now.

I looked at the Nikon cool pics WP and the the Olympus ones on amazon. But I don't actually know anything about them. Just that they're near my price range and look cool.
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Old 23-03-2017, 07:02   #7
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Panasonic "Lumix" digital cameras have served me well. There are several models in your price range. I have more than one because I didn't originally realize how important a long zoom range was for boating. By that, I am talking about photos of far away wildlife or interesting sights on shore. You may not need the long zoom range.

Of course there are many other similar cameras from Nikon, Cannon, Sony, etc.

I should also say that if you do a good search on the Internet, you can often find significant savings on "refurbished" cameras. Cameras that someone sent back because they didn't like them or there was a problem with them.
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Old 23-03-2017, 07:42   #8
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

What phone do you have?

I have a iPhone6 I use for work and it does pretty good even in mediocre light. Generally the editing tools on the phone let me clean up all but the worst photos to a decent quality.
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Old 23-03-2017, 07:47   #9
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Another vote for Lumix, great kit and intuitive UI. While I have three mirrorless system cameras from Panny and would recommend the micro 3/4 for an enthusiast for its versatility and portability, for your use and budget a point-and-shoot from any of the main brands would work, especially if you're distributing the pics online. Pixel count is also mostly irrelevant.
Wouldn't discount phone cameras either, except for the lack of optical zooming. LG, for example, has brilliant cameras in their better phones, but they cost more than 200. If you need reach in your pics, then they don't work.
Check out dpreview dot com as mentioned above and see if you cannot get a deal on an older model somewhere.
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Old 23-03-2017, 08:05   #10
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
Panasonic "Lumix" digital cameras have served me well.
We have one of these, too, and it works great! Better photos and the zoom is a wider angle than a camera phone can do. Will provide more professional photos for the listings.
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Old 23-03-2017, 08:11   #11
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureStories View Post
Thanks guys.

Yeah a cell phone is a no go! I take over 100 photos of all boats I list and then dwindle it down. If I've got a client lined up I'll take a few pics and send them from my phone. But the quality of phone vs camera is night and day.
I'm confused?

My basic "comes with the plan" android can hold around 800 photos (far more if I cut the resolution down and I could always take an extra memory cards to take even more). For posting to websites or email, I typically have to cut down the resolution anyway or they are simply take too long to download.

Are you doing photo journalism on the side or have some other use that demands top quality? Blogging is similar to boat ads, they are typically viewed on computer screens where you won't be able to use all those megapixels.

As someone who has spent a lot of time perusing boat ads, it's usually not enough shots of the things I want to see and/or a boat that hasn't been cleaned up and organized to look good. I can't ever remember being frustrated that the image quality wasn't up to snuff. Get the boat clean and tidied up, then take well composed shots and no one is going to question the image quality.

Now if you are just into photography and want to justify your purchase, go for it. The tax man will never know the difference when you deduct it. On the other hand if a $200 camera is pushing your finances, it's a silly thing to buy that will add nothing to the bottom line of your business.
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Old 23-03-2017, 08:18   #12
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureStories View Post
Thanks guys.

Yeah a cell phone is a no go! I take over 100 photos of all boats I list and then dwindle it down. If I've got a client lined up I'll take a few pics and send them from my phone. But the quality of phone vs camera is night and day....

Sounds like you are thinking of older or budget phones. Current big-name smartphones generally take better pictures than budget cameras (as mentioned before, they just don't zoom without attachments). Number of pictures is irrelevant if you get a phone that takes a micro SD card, as cameras require memory cards as well. (I don't think i-phones take cards, but they come with lots of built-in memory, like 10,000-ish pictures lots)

With a waterproof case it's waterproof (many are water resistant (ie splash) even without), with a cell plan it's upfront cost is within your budget (even with the case and sd card). And you don't have to carry around a second little brick in your pocket.
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Old 23-03-2017, 08:27   #13
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

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Originally Posted by wyb2 View Post
Sounds like you are thinking of older or budget phones. Current big-name smartphones generally take better pictures than budget cameras (as mentioned before, they just don't zoom without attachments). Number of pictures is irrelevant if you get a phone that takes a micro SD card, as cameras require memory cards as well. (I don't think i-phones take cards, but they come with lots of built-in memory, like 10,000-ish pictures lots)

With a waterproof case it's waterproof (many are water resistant (ie splash) even without), with a cell plan it's upfront cost is within your budget (even with the case and sd card). And you don't have to carry around a second little brick in your pocket.
Problem is, you don't get a good camera in a 200 $ phone.
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Old 23-03-2017, 08:27   #14
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureStories View Post
Yeah a cell phone is a no go! I take over 100 photos of all boats I list and then dwindle it down. If I've got a client lined up I'll take a few pics and send them from my phone. But the quality of phone vs camera is night and day.
My wife now has an iphone 6; it takes really good photos, even low light, and you can get them with the same amount of memory as the average camera. I imagine there are Android phones that are also as good.

So, it's more day and day; I don't know that you will get that much more "camera" for $200.... but the camera will have more photo options, better flash and hopefully better optics.

I expect that a $200 'regular' camera will take better pictures than a $200 'waterproof' camera, if quality is paramount.

You want rechargeable batteries, especially if you can recharge from any USB port.

I've gotten 9 reliable years out of a small Canon camera that was CDN$300. I wouldn't hesitate to get one again.
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Old 23-03-2017, 08:48   #15
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Re: Affordable Camera, what's your favorite?

I mainly use a Panasonic HX WA20 gun-style camcorder when on the boat. It is sealed, waterproof to about 3 metres (10’), has both still and video. It has decent len and zoom, and is easy to hold and use. One of the main features I wanted (and got) was being able to operate in fully manual mode, which is what I shoot in most of the time.

Not sure what the current price is. There’s a newer version out now (WA30), so I’m guessing the 20s are pretty cheap.
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