First camera for beginner photographer

Started Dec 11, 2017 | Discussions thread
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NWBearcat06 New Member • Posts: 20
First camera for beginner photographer

Hello to all.

I'm new to the forum and new into getting into photography as a hobby. My wife and I took a trip out to Colorado this fall and it inspired me to start photographing our memories together. I borrowed a Canon Powershot G10 (my wife and I had just planned on taking our cell phones) from one of my buddies before we went out and came out with what I felt were a few decent shots. (photos below)

When we returned home I started getting the photography bug a bit more and began to look into a big kid camera. (I will note that I did find my wife had an old Canon Powershot SD1200 IS, which appears to be slightly better than my Samsung Galaxy S5 photos) Needless to say, there is quite the rabbit hole one can go down when it comes to photography and my head was spinning for a bit. I enjoy being outdoors and taking photos of landscapes. I'm also thinking about plant photos, maybe pets (no kiddos here yet) and possibly some outdoor wildlife/birding.

I'm looking at a budget of $500 US at the most, as "The Boss" is a bit stingy with finances. After hours a research I think I'm leaning towards the Panasonic FZ300 as a mid-range all around camera with a good zoom range to cover quite a bit of territory.

Then Black Friday and Christmas deals came around and the big box stores, Adorama and B&H rolled out some pretty good deals and now I'm wondering if there might be something a bit better to start out with. I have one camera store in town and they mainly carry the big two, Canon and Nikon, so I can't get a great feel on anything else. I have held and played around with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 in one of the big box stores and it feels good in my hands. Many places around here are running a special for under $400 US with that model with two kit lenses, 18-55mm and 75-300mm, which would appear to essentially cover the same range as the FZ300. The Nikon D3400 is also running for right at $500 US around here with two kit lenses. Finally, if getting into the realm of interchangeable lenses, I was also considering the Panasonic DMC-G7, which is also running around $500 US with one lens.

I know the FZ300 is at a disadvantage when it comes to sensor size with the other two cameras mentioned so we're not looking at apples to apples. Obviously with a DLSR or a mirrorless there is going to be more investment down the road with additional glass and such, but I also don't believe that I'm going to turn photography into a full-time job and print 20x30 canvas prints. On the other hand I'd like to be able to print good quality photos up to say 11x14 or so to display. Most of the time pictures will likely be viewed on a computer or digital photo frame for friends and family.

So, coming to you all for some suggestions as I know there is a wealth of knowledge on these forums. I do have a few photography books on order to increase my knowledge of the subject because I know I have a long way to go and lots of practice in my future (Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, How to Photograph Absolutely Everything by Tom Ang and Extra Ordinary & Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp).

Starting out, what do you think the best camera would be of the options mentioned above? If you should have other suggestions, I'm open to ideas (I had thought of maybe looking/watching for a re-furb or open box deal on some of the 1" sensor long zooms Pany FZ1000 or Sony Cypershot Rx10II or RX10III, though those may be budget busters). I don't think I'm going to be using a camera much for video, but the 4K option and pulling stills from the Panys does sound a bit intriguing. Thanks in advance for your time and suggestions - my apologies for the lengthy post.

Photos from Canon G10:

f/4 1/500 6.1mm ISO80

f/2.2 1/2536 4.8mm ISO40

f/4 1/640 18.098mm ISO80

And a couple from the PowerShot SD1200 IS

f/4.5 1/25 14.303mm ISO80

f/4 1/500 11.614mm ISO80

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