My current camera is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ3, so a "point-and-shoot," albeit one that I've loved a lot: it has a nice macro function and the colors are generally beautiful. However, it's over 7 years old and eating batteries. Also, it doesn't have a manual focus option, so while half the time, I can trick it into focusing on something it doesn't want to (like the spiderweb here: fav.me/d829uo7
), the other half, I can't. :/ It's also close to impossible to capture moving droplets of water or flying birds without them coming out blurry.
First, I don't know whether I would be better off with a DSLR or a Compact System Camera. What are the pros and cons of each?
Then, I've been looking around Amazon and the stores around my place, and it's been a bit frustrating because I don't know what specs I should be paying attention to.What specs should I be paying attention to for these things? In other words, how can I be sure I'll get the following functions?
I need a camera/lens that:
- has good optical image stabilization (though that's probably the lens, right?) because most of the time, I'll be holding it and not using a tripod.
- allows to toggle between auto and manual focus
- works well in low light/night as well as high lighting conditions (my Lumix does not work too well with highly lit conditions anymore, though it used to)
- allows me to pick how shallow I want my depth of field to be
- lets me take pictures of flying birds, hyperactive moving dogs *ahem*, and splashes of water with excellent definition (my current's high speed settings result in grainy pics)
- allows me to do some macro-ish shots without the macro lens (more on this further down, but I want to be able to do what I do now at least)
- allows me to manually set long exposure, to capture pics like those where you see running water looking smooth (I do *some* long-ish exposure shots now but the longest it goes it 1 sec and I can't force it to do exactly 1 sec; the setting is like "at the most 1 sec" and then it picks something)
- will also double as the camera I will take family pictures with
- How long should I expect the camera's lifetime to be?
- Do DSLRs come with a built-in flash? (again, for the family pics)
- Do all cameras usually shoot at 300 dpi or is this something I should actively watch out for? My current one only does 72.
- Which are good brands for lenses?
- Do DSLR cameras have options for white balance or are you supposed to do that all in post-processing? Note: I'll probably be doing most of the pic-shooting in jpg, so I can peview using the standard Windows Photo Viewer and so I can open them with Gimp
- Protective lens filters? How do these work?
- How about Compact System Cameras? Do they really offer SLR capabilities with less clunk? Panasonic Lumixes come in CSC flavors, and I'm wondering if I liked my point-and-shoot Lumix so much, if this is worth looking into.
For macro, before buying a macro lens, since I've seen those go for $600, I plan on buying a lens inverter ring and inverting a regular lens and trying that since it's way cheaper. So I'll need a camera body that lets me do that.
What do you guys think of the Canon EOS Rebel F5i? Advantages vs shortcomings? I like that it has a rotating LCD display, so I wouldn't have to squish my face to the ground taking pics anymore.
The local store guy said the Rebel F5i was high-end and "for professionals," but reading around here, I see that it's not. So you see, I can't really ask them questions.
Any other recommendations? Things I should pay attention to?
I'm looking for something that will last and will go with me through my "growth" as a photographer (so hopefully I wont be forced to make another big investment to upgrade a couple of years after buying this one).
Thank you so much, in advance!
I'll definitely let you guys know what I end up getting.