S100 for a beginner?

Started Dec 24, 2011 | Discussions
skisagooner Forum Member • Posts: 90
S100 for a beginner?

Okay I'm adding fuel to the S100 fire.

I'm an architecture student starting to pursue my interest in photography, and I've been looking at the S100 for months now. I've considered the prospect of a DSLR, but it's bulky to carry around frequently, and more importantly, it's really expensive. Especially when we talk about wide angle lenses, which is crucial for architectural photography.

(an 18-55 kit lens provide a 28.8mm equivalent wide angle zoom, and the S100 is 24mm equivalent on the wide end)

Also all these months of 'photography study' has made me learn a lot about the technical side of photography (aperture, shutter speed, etc). Stuffs people learn after they get their camera, I learn before. So I'd like to utilise manual controls for my pictures.

And the 'plan' is that maybe if I decide to pursue deeper into photography or outgrew the S100, I'd get something like a 60D. Or should I just get the 60D now? I think that'd be more of a gamble than an investment since I'm not that into photography yet.

But some of my friends would argue that the price of the S100 could almost buy me a entry level/2nd hand DSLR.

Could someone point me to the light?

P.S: Marry Christmas!

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Alan2dpreview Regular Member • Posts: 105
Re: S100 for a beginner?

If you're planning on shooting a lot of bldgs because of your architectural interest, you should look into cameras where you can shoot with a "tilt lenses". Tilt lenses straighten out the keystone effect of building lines converging in a photo. All architectural photographers would be concerned about that.

However, if you're not interested in shooting bldgs, you can get an S95 for under $300. It's the predecessor of the S100 and would suit your purposes. I just bought one for myself. Good luck in whatever you choose.
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kazkioken Contributing Member • Posts: 546
Re: S100 for a beginner?

You can take amazing pics with an iPhone4S now...it's really up to you, and it's a simple equation of sensor and lenses to get the kind of photos you want. If you plan on taking lots of architectural photos then you might want to get something with a wide lens - and the S100 being perfect for that. There's lots of options though near your price range, and you might want to consider a used Micro 4/3 system, or a Sony NEX (3,5,5N, etc.)

Since you already have visual acuity and a sense of space and composition (architecture student) I would assume you will be taking great pics and therefore you should get a system that you can grow into. You might find that your ambition exceeds the technical capability with certain cameras, but sure...as a whole any of the S's (90/95/100) are great as tiny cameras you can take anywhere. If you search on here there are several people who have shot amazing architecture with this camera. If you on the other hand need shallow depth of field, great bokeh, etc. you're going to have to get a larger sensor and some faster lenses - again just depends what you want to shoot. I obviously love my S95, great compliment to the other cameras I have.

OP skisagooner Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: S100 for a beginner?

Alan2dpreview wrote:

If you're planning on shooting a lot of bldgs because of your architectural interest, you should look into cameras where you can shoot with a "tilt lenses".

However, if you're not interested in shooting bldgs, you can get an S95 for under $300. It's the predecessor of the S100 and would suit your purposes.

Aren't tilt shift lenses extremely expensive? I can't afford a DSLR with a WA lens, let alone a tilt shift!

I ruled out the S95 for various reasons, primarily the 28mm wide end.

kazkioken wrote:

Since you already have visual acuity and a sense of space and composition (architecture student) I would assume you will be taking great pics and therefore you should get a system that you can grow into. You might find that your ambition exceeds the technical capability with certain cameras, but sure...as a whole any of the S's (90/95/100) are great as tiny cameras you can take anywhere. If you search on here there are several people who have shot amazing architecture with this camera. If you on the other hand need shallow depth of field, great bokeh, etc. you're going to have to get a larger sensor and some faster lenses - again just depends what you want to shoot.

You're flattering me, I'm only finishing my foundation year, taking my first year next year. But thanks for the tips. I'm just not that into photography yet to splash the cash on big toys, or am I?

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Alastair Norcross Veteran Member • Posts: 6,126
Re: S100 for a beginner?

skisagooner wrote:

P.S: Marry Christmas!

I do love Christmas, but my wife might object if I marry it. As to your original question, the S100 will give you an opportunity to use a lot of the photographic knowledge you've acquired. It will also give you great results in a wide range of situations, and good results in others. It's no DSLR, though. For $400, you could get a second-hand Rebel and kit lens. In some situations, that would be better than the S100, in others it would be worse. The main advantage of the S100 is that you would have it with you all the time. I'm not tempted to give up my 7D and seven lenses, but I do like having a compact camera with me all the time that will give really good results in a wide variety of situations. The S100 is the first compact I've had that was more than just adequate. As far as I can tell, there is no better camera currently available that is as small. Size is very important for a camera like the S100. I simply wouldn't carry around all the time a camera that was any larger.
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Jinwons Senior Member • Posts: 1,043
Re: S100 for a beginner?

I'm also on the fence for S100. I like it can now do optical zoom, auto-focus in video. But DPreview noticed pretty bad softness on some corners due to lens decentering. Is that just bad unit or all S100 have that problem?

wildplaces
wildplaces Senior Member • Posts: 1,106
Re: S100 for a beginner?

The answer comes down to portability, and will you take the camera with you. I recently bought an S100 and carry it with me everywhere...but it is no substitute for my 40D SLR. The S100 is an amazing camera for a tiny compact, and perfect if you want a camera to take with you at all times or where a larger SLR would not be practical or socially desirable. You could learn how to correct for distortion or perspective using Photoshop. Tilt-shift lenses are expensive, although you could rent them for an SLR, which begs the question, how often will you use the camera? how often do you plan on using the camera? An occasional lens rental will cost much less than the lens itself.
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Alan2dpreview Regular Member • Posts: 105
Re: S100 for a beginner?

skisagooner wrote:

Alan2dpreview wrote:

If you're planning on shooting a lot of bldgs because of your architectural interest, you should look into cameras where you can shoot with a "tilt lenses".

However, if you're not interested in shooting bldgs, you can get an S95 for under $300. It's the predecessor of the S100 and would suit your purposes.

Aren't tilt shift lenses extremely expensive? I can't afford a DSLR with a WA lens, let alone a tilt shift!

I ruled out the S95 for various reasons, primarily the 28mm wide end.

Yes tilt lenses are expensive. But you didn't say if you planned on taking building pictures as part of your architecture career. If you are, than get a cheap DSLR like the aforementioned Rebel and start saving for a tilt lens. If you're not interested in building pictures, get one of the Canon Elphs with manual and auto control and a 24mm wide angle that you can keep in your pocket and are only a couple of hundred dollars.
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Kali12 Regular Member • Posts: 192
Re: S100 for a beginner?

I was deliberating in much the same way a month ago and then scrapped my choices and got the SX40. For under $400, that is a lot of camera (24-840 mm), very lightweight and compact vis anything dSLR and a tremendous array of features, including Manual setting (not to mention 2 HD video settings with some of the still photo creative filters, too, plus a fun "Movie Digest" mode that compiles a day's stills into a "film".)

It's a great "learner's camera" and also has, as I said before, an amazing array of features to "grow into"

The only disadvantages are (1) no RAW (I don't really care because JPG is fine for me, but I understand why some people like to have that option); it's compact but it's not pocketable; you'd need a little bag (or, in my case, a purse) or to keep it over your shoulder. That doesn't bother me, either, although it's possible I use it less often than something in my pocket--not really sure about that, and (3) This is the only one I feel regret about, that it doesn't have an external mike for the video. But the audio isn't too bad and there's always VO.

I think the SX40 is a great camera and, since you're aspiring to be a "serious hobbyist" its kind of funny how people react to it--impressed, like you brought a dSLR--much different than they do when you bring a camera out of your pocket, regardless of the quality of the photos it takes.

Anyway, I think the SX40 is a great camera and its designed as a "bridge" between pocketable and dSLR. For under $400, imo you can always learn everything you can with it and if you still want a dSLR, you can sell it without losing all that much.

Alastair Norcross Veteran Member • Posts: 6,126
Re: S100 for a beginner?

Yes, the SX40 does look like a great camera at a great price. I'm tempted by it myself, but I just can't justify having an inbetween size camera as well as my 7D and S100. If I were to have only one camera, though, and no extra lenses, I might go for it. I've been impressed by what I've seen of the results on this forum.
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mcshan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,986
Re: S100 for a beginner?

I think for a beginner the S100 is a good idea. You will soon take it off auto and learn about shooting. I have had 100 cameras but still own point and shoots. They are always good for getting back to basics. If you like a shot you took look at the data and see what settings were used. Try out RAW and see how you do.

Good luck.

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ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: S100 for a beginner?

I believe buy it once if at all possible. If you will get involved with photography specializing in architecture photography you are wasting your time and money on any point and shoot. If you want a toy buy a point and shoot camera. I switched from my DSLR for my needs to micro four thirds and still have the Canon G12. If I was doing as much landscape and portrait photography as I used to do I would always use a DSLR for optimum results and I do not have time for re-shoots if I could avoid it.

I would explore both Canon and Nikon and understand I am not a camera purist so far as brand loyal. The manufacture has to have the lenses and accessories I need at the current time to get the best results with good glass. Having good equipment will also separate you from the rest of the looking for work group of those competing for the same type of job IMO.

Point is for architecture photography you maybe need both a tilt/shift type lens to do what you need in camera or spend time in post editing fixing things, i.e. software. Just depends how serious you want to be. If the size and weight of a DSLR is too much to handle than to get serious and get paid for your work this is my job type of thing maybe you should be sure 100% before you invest a lot. IMO I would get use to the DSLR type camera build up muscle and just do it ( meant in a respectful tone ) If you want to drive a car you have to stop riding the skateboard just because of physical size and weight. If its a deal breaker it is what it is then.

Be as versatile as possible and a point and shoot can't do everything, but its great for documenting the moment or doing a location scout.

skisagooner wrote:

Okay I'm adding fuel to the S100 fire.

I'm an architecture student starting to pursue my interest in photography, and I've been looking at the S100 for months now. I've considered the prospect of a DSLR, but it's bulky to carry around frequently, and more importantly, it's really expensive. Especially when we talk about wide angle lenses, which is crucial for architectural photography.

(an 18-55 kit lens provide a 28.8mm equivalent wide angle zoom, and the S100 is 24mm equivalent on the wide end)

Also all these months of 'photography study' has made me learn a lot about the technical side of photography (aperture, shutter speed, etc). Stuffs people learn after they get their camera, I learn before. So I'd like to utilise manual controls for my pictures.

And the 'plan' is that maybe if I decide to pursue deeper into photography or outgrew the S100, I'd get something like a 60D. Or should I just get the 60D now? I think that'd be more of a gamble than an investment since I'm not that into photography yet.

But some of my friends would argue that the price of the S100 could almost buy me a entry level/2nd hand DSLR.

Could someone point me to the light?

P.S: Marry Christmas!

OP skisagooner Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: S100 for a beginner?

Alastair Norcross wrote:

skisagooner wrote:

P.S: Marry Christmas!

I do love Christmas, but my wife might object if I marry it.

Oh dear I knew something was wrong with that, but was too lazy to figure out what! As a grammar nut I'm embarrassed.

Alastair Norcross wrote:

It's no DSLR, though. For $400, you could get a second-hand Rebel and kit lens. In some situations, that would be better than the S100, in others it would be worse.

What can I learn from the DSLR that the S100 couldn't provide? I can think of using the viewfinder, and maybe it's more fun to learn from a DSLR. But if someone could elaborate on this I think it'd give me a much clearer picture of my options.

Alan2dpreview wrote:

Yes tilt lenses are expensive. But you didn't say if you planned on taking building pictures as part of your architecture career. If you are, than get a cheap DSLR like the aforementioned Rebel and start saving for a tilt lens. If you're not interested in building pictures, get one of the Canon Elphs with manual and auto control and a 24mm wide angle that you can keep in your pocket and are only a couple of hundred dollars.

That is a big distance. But unlike some architectural photographers, I don't intend to make money with my pictures. As for the Ixus (Elph), I did look it up after your suggestion, but it didn't have manual focus, something I'm quite keen to learn. And of course all the other goodies the S100 has to offer.

ryan2007 wrote:

If the size and weight of a DSLR is too much to handle than to get serious and get paid for your work this is my job type of thing maybe you should be sure 100% before you invest a lot. IMO I would get use to the DSLR type camera build up muscle and just do it ( meant in a respectful tone )

Portability affects how often I will use the camera. How often I use the camera affects what I get for the money I spent on the camera.

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Alastair Norcross Veteran Member • Posts: 6,126
Re: S100 for a beginner?

skisagooner wrote:

Alastair Norcross wrote:

skisagooner wrote:

P.S: Marry Christmas!

I do love Christmas, but my wife might object if I marry it.

Oh dear I knew something was wrong with that, but was too lazy to figure out what! As a grammar nut I'm embarrassed.

Alastair Norcross wrote:

It's no DSLR, though. For $400, you could get a second-hand Rebel and kit lens. In some situations, that would be better than the S100, in others it would be worse.

What can I learn from the DSLR that the S100 couldn't provide? I can think of using the viewfinder, and maybe it's more fun to learn from a DSLR. But if someone could elaborate on this I think it'd give me a much clearer picture of my options.

One of the big differences between the S100 and a DSLR is in depth of field control. Because the sensor on the S100 is much smaller than a DSLR sensor (though larger than most other compacts), the focal lengths of the lens are much shorter than of the lenses that would give you an equivalent field of view on a DSLR. The S100 lens is 5.2mm to 26mm. A roughly equivalent lens on a Canon Rebel, or other APS-C DSLR, is 15mm to 85mm. At, say, 10mm, which is in the middle of the S100 range, you get enormous depth of field, making it very difficult to blur the background. A 50mm lens on a DSLR allows you to get great background blur, isolating the subject. Of course, the flip side of this is that a compact will give you initially sharper-looking images, because of the enormous depth of field. Many people who upgrade from a compact to a DSLR are confused when their pictures don't seem to be as sharp.

Another thing you will get from a DSLR is better high ISO performance. The much larger sensor allows you to shoot at higher sensitivities with lower noise. The S100 is a wonderful high ISO performer for a compact, but my 7D is at least two stops better.

Yet another advantage of a DSLR is in shooting speed. A DSLR, even a Rebel, will focus and shoot a lot faster than a compact. That's why you'd never see a sports photographer with a compact. There's practically no noticeable shutter lag with a DSLR. With a compact, even a very good one like the S100, you really notice the lag between pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.

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OP skisagooner Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: S100 for a beginner?

Alastair Norcross wrote:

One of the big differences between the S100 and a DSLR is in depth of field control. Because the sensor on the S100 is much smaller than a DSLR sensor (though larger than most other compacts), the focal lengths of the lens are much shorter than of the lenses that would give you an equivalent field of view on a DSLR. The S100 lens is 5.2mm to 26mm. A roughly equivalent lens on a Canon Rebel, or other APS-C DSLR, is 15mm to 85mm. At, say, 10mm, which is in the middle of the S100 range, you get enormous depth of field, making it very difficult to blur the background. A 50mm lens on a DSLR allows you to get great background blur, isolating the subject. Of course, the flip side of this is that a compact will give you initially sharper-looking images, because of the enormous depth of field. Many people who upgrade from a compact to a DSLR are confused when their pictures don't seem to be as sharp.

Another thing you will get from a DSLR is better high ISO performance. The much larger sensor allows you to shoot at higher sensitivities with lower noise. The S100 is a wonderful high ISO performer for a compact, but my 7D is at least two stops better.

Yet another advantage of a DSLR is in shooting speed. A DSLR, even a Rebel, will focus and shoot a lot faster than a compact. That's why you'd never see a sports photographer with a compact. There's practically no noticeable shutter lag with a DSLR. With a compact, even a very good one like the S100, you really notice the lag between pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.

Thanks, you're absolutely right. But basically it's image quality (oh well, looks like I won't be able to shoot bokeh-licious shots with the S100). But in terms of manual controls, I think they're about the same?

I think the S100 will be a camera that I can take time to grow into, and then I'll decide whether I should get a DSLR. Because a DSLR, at the moment is a bit unaffordable and unnecessary for me.

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Alastair Norcross Veteran Member • Posts: 6,126
Re: S100 for a beginner?

skisagooner wrote:

Alastair Norcross wrote:

One of the big differences between the S100 and a DSLR is in depth of field control. Because the sensor on the S100 is much smaller than a DSLR sensor (though larger than most other compacts), the focal lengths of the lens are much shorter than of the lenses that would give you an equivalent field of view on a DSLR. The S100 lens is 5.2mm to 26mm. A roughly equivalent lens on a Canon Rebel, or other APS-C DSLR, is 15mm to 85mm. At, say, 10mm, which is in the middle of the S100 range, you get enormous depth of field, making it very difficult to blur the background. A 50mm lens on a DSLR allows you to get great background blur, isolating the subject. Of course, the flip side of this is that a compact will give you initially sharper-looking images, because of the enormous depth of field. Many people who upgrade from a compact to a DSLR are confused when their pictures don't seem to be as sharp.

Another thing you will get from a DSLR is better high ISO performance. The much larger sensor allows you to shoot at higher sensitivities with lower noise. The S100 is a wonderful high ISO performer for a compact, but my 7D is at least two stops better.

Yet another advantage of a DSLR is in shooting speed. A DSLR, even a Rebel, will focus and shoot a lot faster than a compact. That's why you'd never see a sports photographer with a compact. There's practically no noticeable shutter lag with a DSLR. With a compact, even a very good one like the S100, you really notice the lag between pressing the shutter button and taking the picture.

Thanks, you're absolutely right. But basically it's image quality (oh well, looks like I won't be able to shoot bokeh-licious shots with the S100). But in terms of manual controls, I think they're about the same?

I think the S100 will be a camera that I can take time to grow into, and then I'll decide whether I should get a DSLR. Because a DSLR, at the moment is a bit unaffordable and unnecessary for me.

Sounds like a good plan. The S100 is a terrific camera. And it does have full manual control, which makes it great for learning photography. You may get a DSLR at some point too, or you may be happy with just a great compact. Have fun.
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Ring A Senior Member • Posts: 1,193
Re: S100 for a beginner?

skisagooner wrote:

Alan2dpreview wrote:

If you're planning on shooting a lot of bldgs because of your architectural interest, you should look into cameras where you can shoot with a "tilt lenses".

However, if you're not interested in shooting bldgs, you can get an S95 for under $300. It's the predecessor of the S100 and would suit your purposes.

Aren't tilt shift lenses extremely expensive? I can't afford a DSLR with a WA lens, let alone a tilt shift!

No matter what profession you pursue, you won't go far without the proper tools.

A SLR with a tilt lens will be the proper tool but you're gonna need a tripod too.

I suggest you get yourself a SLR even if it's just with the kit lens, you won't be sorry.

The S95 / S100 and cool cameras because they fit in your pocket but fall short for architectural pics.

Have you considered Business Administration for a major, all you need is a pencil and paper.

I ruled out the S95 for various reasons, primarily the 28mm wide end.

kazkioken wrote:

Since you already have visual acuity and a sense of space and composition (architecture student) I would assume you will be taking great pics and therefore you should get a system that you can grow into. You might find that your ambition exceeds the technical capability with certain cameras, but sure...as a whole any of the S's (90/95/100) are great as tiny cameras you can take anywhere. If you search on here there are several people who have shot amazing architecture with this camera. If you on the other hand need shallow depth of field, great bokeh, etc. you're going to have to get a larger sensor and some faster lenses - again just depends what you want to shoot.

You're flattering me, I'm only finishing my foundation year, taking my first year next year. But thanks for the tips. I'm just not that into photography yet to splash the cash on big toys, or am I?

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OP skisagooner Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: S100 for a beginner?

Ring A wrote:

No matter what profession you pursue, you won't go far without the proper tools.

A SLR with a tilt lens will be the proper tool but you're gonna need a tripod too.

I suggest you get yourself a SLR even if it's just with the kit lens, you won't be sorry.

The S95 / S100 and cool cameras because they fit in your pocket but fall short for architectural pics.

Have you considered Business Administration for a major, all you need is a pencil and paper.

If I do need a DSLR in the future, I still can use the S100 as a secondary compact camera. So nothing goes wasted. Like this guy in the S100 commercial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbWKtpCwRE4

I'm a Malaysian Chinese, and although it's an accurate stereotype that the Chinese generally make good businesspeople, I for one think that I am terrible at business. But why did you ask that?

skisagooner wrote:

I think the S100 will be a camera that I can take time to grow into, and then I'll decide whether I should get a DSLR. Because a DSLR, at the moment is a bit unaffordable and unnecessary for me.

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shimp Junior Member • Posts: 38
Re: S100 for a beginner?
John EH Contributing Member • Posts: 770
Re: S100 for a beginner?

Good questions all. My input is that you evaluate ALL the uses for the camera you wish to get. If you are going to shoot architecture only with the goal of graduating and advancing your prospective career get a DSLR. Don't be scared to buy backwards a generation or two and in fact you can get a Canon 40D or something pretty cheap. I didn't read many replies but the gent that suggested a tilt shift lens is right on the money.

If your camera is going to spend some time in your pocket shooting everyday life with a secondary emphasis on architecture then you'll probably find a point and shoot is cats meow. The S95 and S100 are great cameras. (I have an S90 and an S95). Still contemplating the S100.

Anyway consider all your needs. Not much fun lugging a DSLR around to shoot pics of the family or friends in the mall.

John

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