Recommend $600 Camera For Taking Pics of Toddler

Discussion in 'Ask B&H Photo' started by TCAA, Oct 1, 2011.

  1. TCAA

    TCAA New Member

    Oct 1, 2011

    Need a camera to take great quality indoor and outdoor pics of a toddler. Want to spend about $600 total for camera and lens. I don't know much about cameras but I think I would need a camera that has a fast turn on time, shot to shot time, and good auto focus and stabilization. Also don't want to learn manual controls so need a camera that takes good pics on auto mode

    I don't care about lenses, brand, user interface, RAW support, etc. Video would be nice but not required

    Haven't decided on a size yet so please recommend a camera in each of these categories, micro 4/3, compact DSLR (like Sony Nex5), regular DSLR

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  2. If you were in Australia, I would say go to the nearest JBHifi and see what they have in beginner DSLR. I have a definite preference for the Pentax K-r. I'd also recommend the Canon 600D or Nikon D5100 but I don't think either of those will come in under budget. The K-r won't either but its a darned good camera and is cheaper than the others (I love Pentax!).

    Might be worth thinking about the Olympus PENs as well, but I don't own one, so can't speak directly to that. What you would get though is a more compact piece of equipment. I am considering a move to MFT from my Pentax K-5.
  3. HeatherTheVet

    HeatherTheVet All-Pro

    Apr 23, 2011
    Check out the Sony NEX as well.
  4. P.H

    P.H Regular

    Apr 4, 2011
    Derby, UK
    My experience with toddlers predates digital by a decade or three... At the time I had two film cameras, an Olympus OM10 SLR and a cheap compact of some sort. The SLR took far better photos, no surprise, yet most photos I've kept came from the smaller camera. Simple message as relevant today as ever, the best camera is the one you have with you, particularly true with kids as great photo opportunities come at the most unexpected times.
    Buying now I'd be looking at the smaller Micro Four Thirds offerings from Olympus and Panasonic, Olympus first probably, as the out of camera JPEGS are from what I've seen nicer. I'd probably go with a fast fixed length lens, the subject is unlikely to be far away, you'll be able to blur the background and it'll be fast enough to use indoors without flash. Not knowing much about cameras may be an advantage, the touch screens are probably easier if you're not used to the buttons and dials.
    Having said that, I wouldn't discount the quality compacts, like thePanasonic LX5, Olympus XZ-1 and Canon S95, or wait a few weeks and look at the Fuji X10.
  5. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Can't speak of M43 since I've never used them but all else being equal Olympus does have in body stabilisation so if you do ever consider additional lenses you won't have to be concerned about that. Ihave a NEX and would happily recommend it especially since it is good on high ISO settings and indoors that will let you keep the shutter speed up. The only proviso (which may also apply to M43) is that if you let the camera go to sleep the wake up time is slow and you will miss the instant shots. You can set them not to sleep though.

    For all the heat about which is best all basic level DSLRs are much the same in terms of performance. I happen use Sony but it doesn't matter what you for - they will all produce much the same result. The one factor you might like to consider is that Sony and Pentax models have in body stabilisation; Nikon and Canon don't. On the other hand the Nikon and Canon models come with stabilised lenses so if you're not planning to add more lenses it makes little difference. If you are planning to add more lenses at some point the in body stabilisation means that any lens you use benefits from this.

    At you price point your DSLR options are the Canon EOS500D (Rebel T1i), Nikon D3100, Pentax K-r, and Sony A35. The most important thing will be (in my opinion:smile:) how the camera feels in your hand. If it feels 'right' shooting with it will be more instinctive and you will get those shots that matter. So the best advice is always to find a real store and try to handle any camera you are interested in for as long as the sales person will let you, or borrow cameras from friends and neighbours.

    Good luck.
  6. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    While we're still waiting for Chuck to respond, I'll throw in the thought of a fixed lens zoom camera...perhaps an LX5 or perhaps the upcoming Fuji X10? Might be worth your checking these both out. Meanwhile, welcome to Serious Compacts and please stop by our Welcomes and Introductions forum when you have the time, TCAA.
  7. Chuck-B&H

    Chuck-B&H B&H Photo Specialist

    Aug 5, 2010
    New York

    Hey I thought you guys forgot about me :smile: Thank you Amin for the log in help.

    P/S and the new mirrorless cameras share one feature that will not make them very good choices for moving subjects such as a child in motion. They both use contrast detect auto focusing which is slow and not effective when your subject is moving. An SLR that incorporates Phase Detection is much faster and can track a fast moving toddler.

    The Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera is an affordable, compact, and lightweight photographic power-house. It features the all-purpose 18-55mm VR lens, a high-resolution 14.2 MP CMOS sensor along with a feature set that's comprehensive yet easy to navigate - the intuitive onboard learn-as-you grow guide mode allows the photographer to understand what the 3100 can do quickly and easily. Capture beautiful pictures and amazing Full HD 1080p movies with sound and full-time autofocus.

    D3100's precision high-speed autofocus responds immediately to changes in scene or composition, maintaining tack-sharp focus to capture fleeting expressions and fast-moving sports. The all-important central focus point features a cross-type sensor while the new superimposed display achieves a clear, uncluttered viewfinder. Various autofocus modes cover nearly any situation, including auto-area AF that automatically selects the subject on which to focus, and 3D-tracking (11 points) that maintains focus on a subject regardless of changes in composition as long as the shutter-release button is pressed halfway.
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  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Regular

    Aug 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I have to agree with B&H. The D3100 is a better suited camera for tracking kids due to the AF-C focusing.
  9. Hyubie

    Hyubie Top Veteran

    Jun 8, 2011
    Just my 2 cents' :

    I got myself a Canon Rebel when my first daughter was about 2 and my second was just born. It's probably more due to a lack of skill that I wasn't able to take advantage of that camera, but as they got older, my shoulder thanked me for switching to m43 (E-PL1 at that time). It's just such a hassle to bring along a camera bag separate from the usual kiddie/toddler bag and then running after two kids. The newer models (I got myself a G3 just recently) have much improved AF speeds.

    If you prefer auto mode and shoot straight out-of-camera I would highly recommend the Olympus PENs. (Yes, shameless plug, but I believe my flickr page is full of kids' images.)

    - Hyubie
  10. akulya

    akulya Veteran

    Mar 1, 2011
    I would suggest an Olympus e-pm1, for similar reasons that Hyubie recommends the g3.

    Very small body and a small (but high quality) zoom, very fast AF - certainly comparable to entry level dslrs, in body image stabilisation... same sensor as the E-P3 (so RAW is just as good as any other m4/3 camera) and those great Oly jpegs for quick sharing.

    Also it's got a great iAuto mode with face detection that works well, and full manual controls if you want to use them (granted, you will probably have to configure it the way you want; in order to use manual controls effectively)

    It's easy to carry, more likely to be with you than a full sized Dslr, and because you can use it like a point and shoot (albeit one that turns out dslr like results) it's not intimidating like the big black cannons.

    Try a few out in person and see which one you can imagine actually using on a regular basis, a camera is no good if it stays at home, or in the car.