Cameras forum


Want to get my feet wet in photography

by ahud09 / December 8, 2012 9:26 AM PST


I am interested in trying my hand at photography as a side hobby. I have been reading various reviews of cameras and trying to understand all of the camera jargon. One problem I have is that I have never used a decent camera, so its hard to apply the stuff I read to real world use.

Maybe you guys can help point me in a general direction to help me narrow my search. I do not want to be heavily invested, since I may not like photography after all.

I am interested in taking photographs of the following:
Fish (I keep aquariums), I will need a camera fast enough so the pictures are not blurred when the fish move (like my iphone does). I would also like some kind of macro mode to take pictures of the tiny fry (baby fish). I also go to public aquariums every chance I get and would like to photograph that as well.

Wildlife. I hunt and fish and would like to be able to take pictures while I am out in the field. Some sort of zoom would be nice, I often see deer and various small critters while I am out.

Trips, I guess this goes without saying, but I often go on trips and would like to be able to capture the moments. Mountain scenery, wildlife, Cityscapes, funny signs, landmarks, ect.

Budget wise, if I have to give one would be in the 150-250 range. I can always upgrade if photography is something I do like. I would rather play around with something less expensive to see how I like it and also narrow down some features I would prefer on my next camera.

Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Want to get my feet wet in photography
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Want to get my feet wet in photography
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Starter Camera
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 8, 2012 11:19 PM PST

Just about any digital camera can do what you want.
All have Macro mode, that will let you take photos inches away from the fish.
You should not use flash unless you have the camera lens pressed against the aquarium glass, because you will get a glare off the glass.

A good choice in the $150 to $250 range is the Panasonic ZS15

If you want to start with something less expensive here is what Canon has to offer:


Collapse -
What do you think about this one
by ahud09 / December 9, 2012 2:22 AM PST
In reply to: Starter Camera

Thank you for the reply,

I looked at the cameras in the link and will start reading reviews.

Reading around the internet last night I came across the Canon PowerShot SX260. What do you guys think about that camera?

I think the SX260 is comparable to the Panasonic ZS15 you recommended.

Collapse -
I think I have it narrowd down to two
by ahud09 / December 9, 2012 5:16 AM PST

I think I have my decision narrowed down to two cameras.

The Cannon PowerShot SX260 and the Panasonic ZS15

I'm not sure how to go from here. The cannon seems like it has more options if I want to experiment with photos. Also has more zoom, but I am not sure if 20x is that much better than 16x.

When taking pictures of the fish, will the zoom help me if I want to take pictures while standing 5-6 feet away from the aquarium? Sometimes getting close interrupts certain behaviors I am trying to photograph.

Any advice on how to choose would be great.


Collapse -
Canon SX260 Panasonic ZS15
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 9, 2012 5:48 AM PST

Either camera will be a good choice.

Both take excellent pictures.

I wouldn't use the difference between 16X and 20X as much advantage.
When you use that much zoom, you have to hold the camera extremely steady to prevent camera shake.
The best thing to do is use a tripod or set the camera on a solid surface for zoom shots over 10X.

Taking pictures of fish from a distance of 5 or 6 feet should be OK.
Remember, a zoom lens loses some light the further you zoom.
So you need a well lit situation. And you cannot use flash for such a shot because of flash glare off the glass enclosure.

The best answer is try it and see. That is how you learn some things in photography.


Collapse -
Beating the horse here
by ahud09 / December 9, 2012 5:54 AM PST

If you had to choose one for the activities I mentioned, which would you pick? Lol, tough decision for me.

Am I correct in assuming that the Cannon will allow me to experiment more? Do you agree that the flash on the Cannon may be an annoyance? Does the Panasonic take faster pictures, so there I am less likely to "miss" a shot?

I pickup hobbies fast and usually get to the intermediate area quickly. Which camera would be better to grow on? Or am I really just comparing to cameras so similar that its a mute point?

Collapse -
Too close to call
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 9, 2012 6:37 AM PST
In reply to: Beating the horse here

Both cameras are competing for the same customers.
So they are much the same.
Both cameras will please even the experienced photographer because both have manual controls such as Shutter Priority, Aperture Piority, Full Manual and Program modes.
Both use CMOS sensors which are faster in recording rapidly.
Something on any camera can be an annoyance or just different.
You will quickly learn how to use that camera properly.
The Canon has GPS (global positioning System) which is something to play with, but the GPS system drains the battery fast, even while the camera is off. So keep the GPS turned-off most of the time.


Collapse -
Thank you!
by ahud09 / December 9, 2012 6:59 AM PST
In reply to: Too close to call

Thank you for all the help. I guess it comes down to splitting hairs. I'm going to go with the Cannon. I like the look better.

As far as memory cards go, what brands/size do you recommended? Are there any other accessories you would suggest I pickup?

Collapse -
Memory Cards
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 9, 2012 10:01 AM PST
In reply to: Thank you!

All of the cameras mentioned use SD memory cards.
I always use one of the popular brands (SanDisk is the most available)

For video usage, speed is important.
Anything over a class 6 will work on any camera.

If you are not using video, any speed is fast enough for still pictures.

Card size is up to you but most people go overboard.
I would start with 2 gig.
If you do a lot of video you might want a larger one, but a large capacity fast speed card can get expensive.

You don't need any accessories.

Collapse -
Last question
by ahud09 / December 9, 2012 4:14 PM PST
In reply to: Memory Cards
Collapse -
Memory Card
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / December 9, 2012 10:50 PM PST
In reply to: Last question

Fast card, class 10
Looks like a very good price.
Go for it.

Always back up the pictures/videos, at the end of a shooting day, onto your computer.

Collapse -
Here's a 16GB I bought recently.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 10, 2012 9:10 AM PST
In reply to: Last question
Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


Having Wi-Fi troubles?

From the garage to the basement, we blanketed every square inch of the CNET Smart Home with fast, reliable Wi-Fi.