Help Starter Camera

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by Ponyutd, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    I'm starting to get into the night sky and want to take some pictures.
    Would there be an inexpensive camera (used one) on the market for beginners? Or is it all about lighting, shutter speeds and the like:confused:
    I don't know one end of a camera from the other.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  2. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model every man and every woman is a star

    Try Fujifilm cameras, which is what I started on and found really good, or lumix (not the dear ones!) which is what I moved on to. Maybe a used fz45. You'll need a camera which can offer a long exposure for a night sky and a tripod to avoid movement. If I were you I'd get a bridge camera which will have a reasonable sensor but I'll summon editor FridgeMagnet kebabking and Mr.Bishie who know loads about photography
    Ponyutd likes this.
  3. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    A used DSLR is a good bet. Have a look at MPB.

    What's your budget?
    Ponyutd likes this.
  4. alsoknownas

    alsoknownas some bloke

    Budget is important here. What's inexpensive mean in this case?
    Ponyutd likes this.
  5. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    I don't know a lot about astrophotography tbh (and I imagine there are lots of different styles) but it is far enough outside of the normal sphere of what people take pictures of that you would certainly need something with manual controls. Apart from that, as a rule of thumb you will generally get better image quality the larger the sensor, and - if you're doing something that requires good low light performance, rather than long exposures or something - you would want one that works well at high ISOs, which again improves with sensor size but also with technology (small modern sensors are generally better than larger older ones).

    I'd take a look at some guides to astrophotography and they might at least help you decide what route you want to go down and what you might need for it.

    In general you can get older crop-sensor Canon or Nikon DSLRs with kit lenses for a few hundred quid. Personally I mostly use Panasonic micro-4/3 cameras which are also not too pricey if you get ones a couple of models back - in fact that was how I got into the system in the first place.
    Pickman's model, Ponyutd and mauvais like this.
  6. alsoknownas

    alsoknownas some bloke

    Yeah, ^this basically. I would have thought full frame sensor would be your friend for night sky stuff. Sony A7 ? (used) at around £360.
    Ponyutd and Pickman's model like this.
  7. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    weltweit may be your person for this...
  8. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    There's a big difference between shots that feature the night sky (slow shutter speeds that reveal more than the eye can detect) and astrophotography proper, i.e. pure detail of the stars. The latter has dedicated cameras with low-pass filters removed. Effectively you need to decide if you're going for art or science.

    I've done the former. I don't think you need FF, it adds a lot of cost to everything. You want low noise if possible, good autofocus performance in low light conditions. You want something that can use a handsfree remote. You need to budget for a good tripod if you don't have one.

    My go-to used beginner camera would be something like a D300 which is dead cheap now, but it is quite noisy compared to modern counterparts, so I'm hesitant to fully recommend it.
    Ponyutd, gawkrodger and alsoknownas like this.
  9. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    I know what SLR is, no idea what the D is.
    What is MPB?
    Seriously, that's what you're dealing with.

    Budget. £150ish.
  10. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

  11. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    Maybe need to boost the budget.
  12. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    D is digital. Unless you think SLR is a rifle.

    £150 probably isn't enough to have a good time with this, to be honest. Sorry.

    MPB is a used camera shop.
    Ponyutd likes this.
  13. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    Thanks everyone. So if I went to £250 as a limit, any thoughts?
  14. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    You need to buy a tripod, memory card, ideally a remote. That's your budget shot, and this is not an ideal tool set for the job. But it gets you out & playing with the idea, so might be worthwhile.

    Let's start at the beginning: why do you want to do this?
    Ponyutd likes this.
  15. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    Saw Venus Saturn and Jupiter wednesday at 5 a.m. over London. Really wanted to take a photo. So it began.

    Screenshot urban.png
    alsoknownas likes this.
  16. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Hi wayward bob thanks for the tag, I may not be the ideal person as it happens because I am not so very aware of the cameras available.

    However Ponyutd if what you mean about the night sky is things like the Milky Way then a wide fast lens is ideal for that. If you did decide on a Nikon dslr I would recommend something as wide as a 20mm and as fast as you can get by which I mean f1.8 or f2.8 ..

    I use a Nikon 20mm f2.8 AF which is quite an old lens and consequently probably quite low cost at somewhere like and there are also wide fast zooms from other manufacturers in Nikon F mount.

    You just missed a Fuji Finepix 6900z which was given away on here, I would have had a go at night scenes with that, there might be some compromises, but there are always some.

    Ponyutd sorry if there is too much jargon, but there really is no way of avoiding it if you want to buy a camera.
    Grace Johnson likes this.
  17. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.


    Thank you.:thumbs:
  18. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    I played around with this over the weekend..Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera Plus AF-P 18-55mm Non-VR Len. The price is around £350. I'll need more lenses and cards, but I quite liked the camera in general. Any thoughts anyone? Brand new.
  19. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    That sounds like an interesting deal. It might have scene modes and also PASM modes (P program mode A Aperture priority S Shutter priority and M manual) which means if and when you want to learn more about the functioning of your camera, you will be able to. And the 18-55mm lens will be a useful walk about zoom also.
  20. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

  21. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    I don't think you'll go that wrong, but I would still be inclined to look at used.

    Eventually you'll be able to look at what are today's expensive semi-professional cameras, and find that in many respects of image quality (noise etc), and in features (like live view etc), they've been eclipsed by the latest cheap consumer ones. Not in every sense but many.

    On that basis it's possible that a cheap consumer camera now for £350 is better to you in all your important respects than whatever used camera you can get for the same money, despite the fact that the latter may have originally cost £2k. The technology does move on significantly.

    The flipside of this is that we were able to take perfectly good pictures with those older cameras, and because they were aimed at semi-pro they gave you things like easy full manual control, weather sealing, and a whole bunch of stuff you wouldn't realise was kept to that grade of camera until you use a cheap one and it's missing. So there's the question of whether you would benefit more from that, or from the latest tech albeit with the restrictions of a cheaper product.

    Plus for example I bought a D500 a year or two ago to replace a D300, and it's great, but I would struggle to objectively justify the cost. It's not £2k worth of better or whatever it was.

    You can see a lot of technical comparison at places like this: Nikon D300 vs Nikon D3500 Detailed Comparison

    But ultimately it falls to you to decide if your plans are better served by old or new.
    Ponyutd likes this.
  22. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    And that's why I came here to ask. Such helpful information and spot on advice. Well done everybody!
  23. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    Just taken a 32gb memory card from a little powershot I had to put into the new Nikon.

    The camera said the card was locked. I removed it and the lock clip on the side snapped off!

    How's my luck. :facepalm: Off to the shops later to buy a card/s. Any preferences to which card to buy?
  24. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Hi Ponyutd, I think Lexar and Sandisk cards are the market leaders.

    eta: you might want to check out for deals on cards.
    Ponyutd likes this.
  25. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

  26. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    The following error occurred
    Security error occurred. Please press back, refresh the page, and try again.

    Can't seem to upload and files without getting this message?

    Attached Files:

  27. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    Ponyutd I would try closing your browser, re-opening and trying again. I don't normally get that warning when uploading.

    Do we take it you managed to get a memory card and are now shooting your new camera?
    How does it seem to you?

    Also when uploading pics, first they show as thumbnails (before you hit post) but if you click something like full size they load as larger images and the thumbnail is hidden in the post.
  28. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

  29. mauvais

    mauvais change has become unavoidable

    It's a D3500 :thumbs:
    Ponyutd likes this.
  30. Ponyutd

    Ponyutd Greebo likes this....r.i.p.

    Tried to get the Harrow School boys in frame. Lots of reading up still to do.:facepalm:
    weltweit likes this.

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