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  • Camera Suggestions

    Posted by Jonathan on December 19th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Canon products seem to be on sale these days. I don’t know if that’s because business is slow or if dealers are clearing out inventory before new models come in but there is some kind of big sale going on. If you want to buy a new Canon camera or lens now is a good time. I have experience with the following Canon cameras and recommend them:

    This Canon PowerShot is a great deal and a good choice if you are looking for a gift or inexpensive, compact camera. You can buy them now for as low as $110 (the price seems to vary with color) from Amazon by clicking the link above. I mention this because I bought one of these cameras as a gift a few months ago at a higher price and wasn’t dissatisfied. It’s a decent camera, simple to use. It does not seem to allow manual operation, if that matters to you. There are some negative reviews on Amazon but the camera seems fine to me, and at the current price you can’t go wrong.

    This higher-end Canon PowerShot is being sold for $230, today only. The current going rate is around $300. There’s a new model (S100) coming out that should be better, but it costs a couple of hundred more and is not widely available yet. The S95 is popular with photo enthusiasts and gets good reviews. I’ve tried one but didn’t use it extensively; it seemed excellent for a point and shoot. As with the camera I discussed above, at this price you can’t go wrong (I ordered one).

    [UPDATE: As soon as I posted this it became clear that the $230 price is no longer available. Sorry about that. It looks like Amazon sold out at the sale price. It is possible that Amazon will have more of these cameras available at the low price, so if you’re interested it might make sense to check back later today and perhaps during the coming weeks. This price seems to come and go. I suspect it will come back eventually, if only as the new model becomes available.]

    The Canon 5D Mark II is one of the best high-end DSLRs, certainly the best bang for the buck, and it’s being sold at its lowest price ever. This camera + lens kit is the way to go if you don’t already have Canon lenses. The 24-105mm lens that comes with the kit is a very high quality pro-level zoom that is excellent for general photography, and you get a great deal on it if you buy it as a kit with the camera body. And the current Amazon price for these kits is $500 less than they were going for a few months ago. (The camera body alone is also being discounted, but not by as much (the price for the body is slightly cheaper at B&H, which is a very good place to buy photo equipment). UPDATE: The Canon 5D Mark II body is available from B&H for $1999.95, including a memory card and some software, by clicking this link.

    Many of the popular Canon DSLR lenses are also on sale at very good prices.

    To paraphrase a great man, Chicago Boyz earns referral fees at no cost to you if you buy anything on Amazon via our links. Even if you have no interest in cameras but you want to buy books, tools, underwear, or anything else, as long as you enter Amazon’s site by clicking on one of our Amazon links we will get a cut. Thanks.

     

    10 Responses to “Camera Suggestions”

    1. DCSpotter Says:

      Go for the PowerShot SX230 it’s at a very good price right now ($190). It has a very good combination of portability with good zoom, video and bells and whistles. I have used the SX200 before and did buy the SX230 a month ago and it certainly is very nice. I do have DSLRs as well (40D, 400D, 60D) but you’re comparing a bit of apples and oranges when listing PowerShot and EOS systems, especially considering their respective price tags

    2. Bill brandt Says:

      The G Series fills a nice niche. I have a G7 – ancient by digital camera standards – they are a better quality than the typical inexpensive “point and shoot” cameras – a bit larger – think Leica rangefinder (if I may be so presumptuous)- but they give you a bit more capability – They are a nice bridge between a large SLR and the low end point and shoot.

      Example –
      http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?sku=209310248&sellerid=34880050

    3. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I resisted on the S-95. I decided that the most important difference with the S-100 for my purpose is the wide angle ability of the camera. The S-95 is a 28mm equivalent, the S-100 is 24 mm. I thought that was enough difference to pass for now.

      My thinking is that the two hardest points of data about a camera are the sensor size and the optics.

      The S-100 and the S-95, like the current G12, all use a 6.17 mm * 4.55 mm sensor (28 mm^2). The SX series, and all of the Canon point and shoots (A series and elph) use a 5.74 * 4.3 mm sensor (24.75 mm^2). Bigger is better. One reason for the superiority of DSLRs is that the sensors are a lot bigger. The less expensive Canon’s use an APS-C sensor (22.2 * 14.8 mm) 328.6 mm^2 (8x the the S & G series 12x the smaller ones).

      The optics are another kettle of fish. The S series uses a lens that has a lower f-stop (f 2) at a wider wide angle, the G series has a less wide angle lens (28 mm equivalent) with a higher f stop (lower is better) f2.8 at wide angle, but a lower f stop 4.5 at full extension. The SX series gives a 14x zoom range but there are picture quality tradeoffs in that too. DSLRs use interchangeable lenses that have narrower zoom ranges, but superior optical quality.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      YMMV. I listed these particular cameras because I have some experience with them and think they’re OK. Of course many other cameras are also OK and different people have different preferences.

      I agree about the better features of the S100 vs. the S95. I ordered the S95 because it was half the cost, available now and adequate for my purpose, which is to have a camera that I can keep in my pocket when I don’t have my real camera. I don’t like any of these P&S cameras with tiny sensors but they’re much better than nothing and the S95 is about as good as they get. But to me it isn’t worth $400 — for a few bucks more than that I could get something with much higher image quality and responsiveness, like a Sony Nex-5n. However, for someone who wants the best possible P&S camera the S95/100 is probably a good choice, and in that case I would hold out for the S100.

    5. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Jonathan: You are an excellent and very serious photographer. For you an S-95 is about the minimum you should put up with. I am not a good photographer. Most of the time I use a Canon A-1000. Its virtues are that it weighs less than 6 oz. and that it runs on 2 AA batteries. For my purposes it is excellent, and it is quite inexpensive. I think I paid $120. It has been replaced by the A-1100 which appears to be about the same spec.

    6. Jonathan Says:

      Robert, I was thinking of buying one of the $110 Canons until the S95 went on sale. The S95/100 are better but not that much better. From what I have seen and read the small Canons are generally good.

    7. Angie Schultz Says:

      The Canon D5 Mk II is my dream camera, but I don’t foresee a day when I’ll have $3K lying around to blow on a camera.

      Last year I bought my first digital camera, a Canon SX130, which has been a darned nice camera. Has many modes, including manual (that was essential) and video. I miss not having a polarizer, though.

      My other camera is a 30-year-old Canon AE-1. I just got a batch of film back from the lab, and in it were included were some beach shots which I also got with the SX130. Maybe it was just a suboptimal scan, but the digital camera blew away the film camera for sharpness. You could see individual water droplets in the waves.

      I have five lenses for the AE-1, including a 17mm that I paid $300 for a couple years ago. I almost never get it out these days. This makes me sad.

    8. Bill Brandt Says:

      As far as digital cameras go the rate of technological change and having “top of the line” cameras it is like computers – have a friend who is a retired photographer for our major newspaper. He had a “top of the line” Nikon SLR – $5-$6K? – and in 2 years time it is “obsolete”.

      Contrast that with the film cameras – I am lamenting the obsolescence of my trusty Nikon F3 – wonderful camera – went all over the world for 25 years – but film is on the way out and it just sits in my house.

      it was such a nice camera that Nikon continued making it for years even when they came out with new F series – the pros loved them.

      My point is – unless you have money to burn on top end digital cameras – or your work demands it – maybe it is the smart move to buy them 2-3 years old and let others take the hit on massive depreciation.

    9. Jonathan Says:

      Angie: I have a couple of film cameras, with film in them, unused for years, abandoned like dinner settings when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. I think this is a common experience.

    10. tyouth Says:

      Bill, yes, in addition to the higher early cost there can also be benefit from some meaningful tweaks that will improve a desired product after that first run of manufacturing.