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CashWiley

Stop me if you've heard this one before

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Actually, don't!

 

So the fiancee said she was thinking of getting me a camera for xmas and to jump on anything I wanted that turned up in a black friday deal. I told her I hadn't asked because it would be too expensive for an xmas gift and she told me $300. When I stopped laughing, I told her that would make an excellent donation to the cause and get me into a better camera than I had planned on buying in January.

 

A friend recommended a Lumix DMC-LX7, but I'm not sure that would be enough improvement over my crap p&s and would rather save my pennies for a better camera. I'd use it for minis and for nature stuff (we like to hike, wildlife, waterfalls, clouds, etc). So I've been eyeing the Olympus OM-D E-M5 mirrorless and the Canon Rebel T5i with the 18-135mm EF-S IS STM Lens Kit (Amazon is running a promo for $150 off the Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS STM Lens which I thought might be cool for nature stuff?). I'm already familiar with the Canon's menus and whatnot, so I'm leaning that way.

 

Any thoughts?

Edited by CashWiley

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Sorry Cash, I am not versed enough in the camera technology to give you an advice, but that's really cool that your fiancee wants to get you a nice camera or donate to the cause. I'm sure one of the fine folks here will give you great advice on which camera would be better or best. Maybe give us a price range for cameras so that we can give you advice on others that you haven't mentioned?

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The two I mentioned are in the $1k range :| Ouch. But my motto is 'buy quality and only cry once, buy cheap and cry every time'.

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You know, camera's are funny. I took a p&s with me to africa, and it took fantastic pictures. First trip was an old cannon ps which had a beach-related accident and has since been replaced, second was a fuji f600 exr- the only gripe I had with it was it doesn't have as fast a shutter speed for motion shots of birds and low light. Otherwise, it took better pics than my mom's nikon. Not as good as the $3K equipment some other folks brought with them, but much more portable and easy to use. I use it hiking and it's what I use to photo my minis. I know everyone always talks about how awesome dslr cameras are, but sometimes the newer p&s's are pretty darn good. And much cheaper. FYI, when I visited Reaper, I talked to Martin, and got to look at some of his awesome commission pieces on the camera he uses to photo his minis- and it's a p&s!

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Ooo, good luck Cash! I love photography, but I use the school's DSLRs... I don't have that sort of cash to drop on a camera! Still, best of luck, and show us some of your pictures sometime!

 

The good news is that, once you have the camera, your fiance can get you new lenses for it for Christmas... As I recall, a nice zoom lens is about that price, though I've never really bought one, just looked...

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The two I mentioned are in the $1k range :| Ouch. But my motto is 'buy quality and only cry once, buy cheap and cry every time'.

 

Totally agree with you. A few years ago my wife's brother was working at Best Buy and we got a really nice Sony DSLR camera and a couple of lenses. I believe it is the a77, but he got like 50% off on it and all the stuff so we ended up paying out like $1k for everything. Pretty happy with the camera, it takes amazing photos, I just don't break it out for my mini pic taking. Not sure if Sony is on your radar or not.

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I am currently saving up my credit card points to get an amaz-awesome camera. I won't get $1k worth of use out of it... but that's why I'll use credit card points and not "real" money.

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The difference in the image quality between the two isn't worth discussing. They are pretty much the same in that regard. The olympus will have the nice JPGs. If you want the photography things in motion the canon is a bit better due to using phase auto focus. The contrast focus of the olympus is less likely to miss focus though and will have no potential front or back focus issues. The olympus has much better build quality, but there is nothing wrong with the canon's build quality. The olympus would be more compact. If you have big hands you will probably prefer holding the canon.

 

The lenses - This is really where the choice gets made. The kit lenses with either camera are OK not great. The 12-50mm kit on the olympus is on the lower end of ok if the weather sealing isn't important to you skip it, the 14-42mm is better but lacks the weather sealing. The one on the canon is roughly as good as the 14-42mm though obviously has more range. The reality is that if you are planning on mainly using the kit lenses you should save yourself some money and just buy a cheaper camera. Moving away from the kit lenses it starts getting more complicated and into the what are you planning in using it for area. I also don't know the choices in canon very well so I can't go into those. I will say a good zoom lens for either camera will cost you as much or more than the camera itself. The selection of prime lenses for the olympus is very nice I have the E-M5 and use it primarily with the panasonic 25mm (the 20mm is cheaper and considered nearly as good). To go with that I have the olympus 45mm and the rokinon 7.5mm. Those three are my general purpose lenses and are all rather small. together with the camera they probably take up less space and weight than the canon with the 18-135mm. While I own the 12-50mm kit the only reason I'd ever use it is if it was raining out. I do have a couple of special purpose lenses as well to round that out, for macro work I use a sigma 105mm and I have an olympus 70-300mm to cover telephoto. I'm quite happy with the camera with these lenses.

 

-edit-

 

Almost forgot. The Lumix DMC-LX7 would indeed be a huge improvement over your crappy point and shoot, with the bonus of being much easier to carry around with you than either of the other two you are looking at. Where it would lag behind is primarily just low light photography. If you aren't thinking of moving much past the kit lenses I'd recommend taking a closer look at this or one of the other high end compacts from the various companies. http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6489685206/enthusiast-compact-camera-2013-roundup

Edited by cmorse
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Since I can't really fit the t5i or olympus in the budget (I'd probably go Olympus if money weren't an issue, I like the mirrorless speed and a weathertight body), I think I'm going to sit on a t3i pending any BF deals. Without any further deals I'll get a free 32GB card and cheap case plus $30 off Lightroom ($80 total). Since that knocks $800 off the t5i+telephoto or about $500 off an Olympus+kit lens...it will be a pretty dern good upgrade and I can look at a new frame in a few years.

Edited by CashWiley

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Taking a quick look that might not be a bad choice at all. It looks like the t5i uses the exact same sensor as both the t3i and the t4i. The t3i lacks a few convenience features like touch screen but aside from that its nearly the same camera as the t5i...

 

For a cheaper take on the olympus route there is the PL5 it uses the exact same sensor as the E-M5. What it lacks is the built in viewfinder (can be added separate) and the extremely high build quality, its build quality is more in line with the canons you are looking at. (there is also a rumor of a cheaper non weather sealed version of the e-m5 showing up in spring, currently just a rumor though)

 

Again I'm going to recommend looking closely at the lenses and choosing based on those. Once you start spending money on lenses you'll likely be wanting to keep them through multiple camera bodies so what you pick now will, at least to some degree, decide what you'll be buying later.

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It depends on the camera you're using and what you want to do with the pictures. Macro lenses are nice but most miniature aren't so small that you really need one, you can always crop the image to frame it the way you want. This is especially true if the furthest your pictures are going is the internet where you would never upload a full resolution image anyway so 1:2 or 1:4 is probably good enough for most people. Prime lenses will be sharpest for the price and you should one that is at least 50-60mm (equivalent) to avoid distortion, 80-90mm is ideal. You can go up to roughly 200mm or so if you're using a macro lens, but anything bigger than that is going to give you some uncomfortably long working distances and even more so if its not a macro lens.

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