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Uber-Noob Proof Camera Recommendations


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#1 Coagulated

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    Neowinian

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:21

Good morning ladies and gents.

I was wondering if I could pick your brains for a little bit. I work in the Marketing team of a global recruitment agency that specialises in ERP/CRM Staffing, as such we attend a lot of Microsoft conferences around the globe. I am essentially the Events Manager, unfortunately I don't get to attend these events & conferences, so it is left up to various Recruitment Consultants / Managers to put everything into practice come.

As you may imagine, it reflects pretty badly on us when photos are taken of said events on the technological equivalent of a potato. What's the point in taking photographs of said events if we can't even use it on the web, never mind in print?! I've just received an image from Macau taken on a Canon MV650i - I tried Googling this camera the other day as a 650i but found nothing... until I stumbled across the MV650i, and my word, it is a pile of garbage. I am no photographer, but I served my time in film school and still have a vague grasp on what camcorder specs mean, and this is absolute trash.

Anyway, enough background - lets cut to the chase:

I need an idiot-proof stills-camera (video would be good, but I'd prefer we had separate cameras for each, really) that you would trust a complete buffoon to use, probably mishandle and still provide us with good quality photos (even if our designer needs to get the blur correction out in Photoshop). It also needs to be a simple process to get the images from the camera to a laptop/PC; so preferably USB transfer. Ideally, I'd like to push for every single office to have one, so we're looking at 3 - 4 of these cameras.

Any and all recommendations will be greatly appreciated!


#2 Glassed Silver

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:56

First thoughts are some kiddy cam, then again they often lack battery time etc...

Just how idiot proof do they have to be?
Usually, not knowing the people I'd lean towards an entry-level DSLR with a lens that focuses and zooms controlled by the camera body (more point and shooty, that's what more people will be familiar with).

DSLRs don't replace a good photographer, but they get the closest and since they shoot RAW, have outstanding battery performance and are built to last quite a bit of abusement, I'd put my money there.
On auto mode they usually quite kick all the P&S's asses.

Another alternative would be a bridge camera or such.

Nikon's J1 might be worth a look, too. :)

Glassed Silver:ios

Pro tip:
Canon introduced a new feature with the EOS 60D back in 2010, that can be found on more models nowadays, not just their DSLR range I think even:
To adjust the program mode dial, you need to press and hold an unlock button to physically move the ring for mode selection.
This would be a nice bonus, and add to the idiot proofness! (Y)
(It's a horrible invention for the most part, but I think it comes in handy here and for people who treat their gear like they just don't care AT ALL)

#3 OP Coagulated

Coagulated

    Neowinian

  • Joined: 15-September 10
  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Posted 27 November 2012 - 11:42

Just how idiot proof do they have to be?
Usually, not knowing the people I'd lean towards an entry-level DSLR with a lens that focuses and zooms controlled by the camera body (more point and shooty, that's what more people will be familiar with).


This. These people are basically Sales people, and whilst they may work in essentially selling IT Staff (horrible way of putting it, but if you strip it down to bare bones that's what it is) very few of them are technically minded in the slightest. I have the IT Support Staff in my office, and good lord... some of the phone calls they receive, you'd think the consultants were dealing with alien technology.

The more automated, the better. I don't want them to be able to mess around with white balance or shutter speeds - because I can see me getting a phone call at 3am from Asia because the photos are all over exposed or incredibly blurry and they don't know why; they will know why, and it'll be because they've been ****ing about with things they don't understand!

I'll have a look into the cameras you suggested, I'm not sure on a budget or if we'll even get the 'Okay' from the big boss-man, but something has to be done about the quality of photos we get back from conferences. We spend up to 20k on some of these conferences (and sometimes more depending on sponsorship costs and marketing material) and it'd be nice to be able to actually use some photos on our brochures, rather than hoping we might be able to use them on Social Media with a lot of Photoshop work done to them.

Thanks for the response, Glassed :)

#4 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 15:18

DSLRs don't replace a good photographer, but they get the closest and since they shoot RAW, have outstanding battery performance and are built to last quite a bit of abusement, I'd put my money there.
On auto mode they usually quite kick all the P&S's asses.

The more automated, the better. I don't want them to be able to mess around with white balance or shutter speeds - because I can see me getting a phone call at 3am from Asia because the photos are all over exposed or incredibly blurry and they don't know why; they will know why, and it'll be because they've been ****ing about with things they don't understand!


All modern dSLR have Auto mode, that are basically fool proof.

Can't go wrong with the Canikon duopoly, any entry level dSLR should be around $500 with kit lens.


That said, Olympus has a better reputation for their jpeg processing engine ( eg. images that come straight out from the camera don't need that much processing afterwards).

Since this would be for work, you should highly consider a dSLR just to have the, the price of bridge cameras is in somes cases, bigger than entry level dSLRS.

#5 Glassed Silver

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 15:33

All modern dSLR have Auto mode, that are basically fool proof.

Can't go wrong with the Canikon duopoly, any entry level dSLR should be around $500 with kit lens.


That said, Olympus has a better reputation for their jpeg processing engine ( eg. images that come straight out from the camera don't need that much processing afterwards).

Since this would be for work, you should highly consider a dSLR just to have the, the price of bridge cameras is in somes cases, bigger than entry level dSLRS.


Very true.

Glassed Silver:mac

#6 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 19:54

hmm brain fart

The last sentence missed "Just to have the dynamics a dSLR ( Better flash exposure, auto WB, color tones).

#7 OP Coagulated

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    Neowinian

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:57

From the information you guys have shared, I've done a bit of research and I'm swaying towards the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Seems like it has a good balance of bang-for-buck, automated features and high quality images.

However, I know if I am to bring this suggestion to the table, I am going to need a few other options - I think it'll be a power of three (three options, three quotes and so on) job. Everything this camera seems to be compared to is either vastly more expensive or doesn't tick as many of my boxes.

What do you guys think of the Rebel T3i for my purposes and is there anything else comparable in that price range?



#8 Glassed Silver

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 13:55

From the information you guys have shared, I've done a bit of research and I'm swaying towards the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Seems like it has a good balance of bang-for-buck, automated features and high quality images.

However, I know if I am to bring this suggestion to the table, I am going to need a few other options - I think it'll be a power of three (three options, three quotes and so on) job. Everything this camera seems to be compared to is either vastly more expensive or doesn't tick as many of my boxes.

What do you guys think of the Rebel T3i for my purposes and is there anything else comparable in that price range?

The 600D or T3i as it is named in some regions is an excellent piece of equipment and should do the job pretty well.
I have the 60D which is not too different from it, just higher range but a little older, so there's some new things to the 600D over my older model I guess and some things my camera will do that the 600D doesn't do.

In my humble opinion it's an excellent choice when the size of the camera is not crucial.
Don't get me wrong, the 600D is rather compact for a DSLR, but it's still just that: an SLR type of camera and hence bulky.
If this is no concern, then I think with the bang for buck ratio in mind it's a good decision.
One could also think about older models that will do the trick, too, for example a 550D will be excellent, too and a bit cheaper.

The 600D is quite awesome as it does have a swivel screen just like the 60D and it rotates to all needed angles for such events.
This comes in handy when there's an event you need to capture and you have to lift the camera up high to get a good sight.
I cannot tell you how much I value this feature and I'll make sure to always have a good camera in my possession that does have this feature.
Really, one cannot overestimate the benefits especially with event photography.

Hope that's some good input for you.

Glassed Silver:mac

#9 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 14:51

The 600D or T3i as it is named in some regions is an excellent piece of equipment and should do the job pretty well.
I have the 60D which is not too different from it, just higher range but a little older, so there's some new things to the 600D over my older model I guess and some things my camera will do that the 600D doesn't do.

In my humble opinion it's an excellent choice when the size of the camera is not crucial.
Don't get me wrong, the 600D is rather compact for a DSLR, but it's still just that: an SLR type of camera and hence bulky.
If this is no concern, then I think with the bang for buck ratio in mind it's a good decision.
One could also think about older models that will do the trick, too, for example a 550D will be excellent, too and a bit cheaper.

The 600D is quite awesome as it does have a swivel screen just like the 60D and it rotates to all needed angles for such events.
This comes in handy when there's an event you need to capture and you have to lift the camera up high to get a good sight.
I cannot tell you how much I value this feature and I'll make sure to always have a good camera in my possession that does have this feature.
Really, one cannot overestimate the benefits especially with event photography.

Hope that's some good input for you.

Glassed Silver:mac


Can't really add anything else to that besides "what he said" :p

#10 OP Coagulated

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:35

Cheers for the advice, guys. I think we'd save maybe... £250-£300 if we went for the 550D over the 600D (buying 3 or 4 of them) - depending where we get the camera from. I'll need to get at least another option and get my head down and learn about each camera's idiosyncrasies, but that doesn't bother me - I'm pretty good at picking things up quickly... and even better at sounding more knowledgeable than I actually am! ;)

Either way, as long as we get some company cameras, I'll have made an improvement. At the end of the day, these conferences are basically all about networking with other companies and potential candidates, so they're money makers. In fact, I know of a deal that was sealed via the usage of our literature recently (A recruitment consultant actually admitted this) that could be worth up to $450k! Thus, if our literature looks even better with good quality images (as opposed to massively retouched/purchased stock images) to back up our claims of investing millions into marketing, who knows how many more deals we can seal?

#11 Glassed Silver

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 15:40

Cheers for the advice, guys. I think we'd save maybe... £250-£300 if we went for the 550D over the 600D (buying 3 or 4 of them) - depending where we get the camera from. I'll need to get at least another option and get my head down and learn about each camera's idiosyncrasies, but that doesn't bother me - I'm pretty good at picking things up quickly... and even better at sounding more knowledgeable than I actually am! ;)

Either way, as long as we get some company cameras, I'll have made an improvement. At the end of the day, these conferences are basically all about networking with other companies and potential candidates, so they're money makers. In fact, I know of a deal that was sealed via the usage of our literature recently (A recruitment consultant actually admitted this) that could be worth up to $450k! Thus, if our literature looks even better with good quality images (as opposed to massively retouched/purchased stock images) to back up our claims of investing millions into marketing, who knows how many more deals we can seal?

I think many people do not comprehend how important good photography is.

Now, I know as a hobby (yet) photographer I am highly biased towards the importance of my field, but I can tell you that you can sell stuff so easily with good photography. (if all other factors are good, obviously the classic of selling a fridge to an eskimo needs a little convincing, too :laugh:)

Glassed Silver:mac

#12 Argote

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 02:09

I would go for a mirrorless camera rather than a DSLR for this use since people won't be as reluctant to carry them around. Olympus, Panasonic and Sony are the three mirrorless manufacturers worth looking at.