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  1. #1
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Default Best affordable digital camera for photographing horses

    I am a journalist and blogger, and I've come up against a wall as far as the usefulness of my low-end point and shoot camera. I need to move up to something with no shutter lag, especially since most of what I photograph is animals—and you know you can't ask them to hold a pose while the camera ruminates!

    What's the best digital camera for the aspiring pro? What lense/flash options should I consider? What else do I need to know before I buy?

    I'm hoping to get suggestions under $1000 but do tell me if that isn't going to be enough for what I want.

    I'd like something I can take to horse shows, use at home for Fenway Bartholomule's blog, and use professionally. I don't know much about using a more complex camera but I'm ready and willing to learn.

    Thanks in advance for your advice.
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  2. #2
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    Default

    Fujifilm HS25 EXR. It takes AA batteries and offers DSLR performance with a nice zoom lens. You can also get it's predecessor, the HS20 EXR, for less since it has been replaced by the 25 and it has comparable performance and specs. If you really want to go the route of a DSLR, you're looking at several thousand dollars to get "what you need" which includes a camera, a battery grip (gives you more batteries or allows use of AA batteries in some cases), and quality lenses. You can also try your hand with the mirrorless cameras (DSLR-like cameras with the size of a point and shoot) but they are very expensive and have limited lens choices at this time.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  3. #3
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    Jul. 2, 2003
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    Woodland, Ca
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    Default

    You will not get a professional quality camera for under $1000... but the Canon T2i or the Nikon 5100 are both very good entry level DSLRs which you can buy, with a two lense package, for under $1000. For horses I'd want at least an 50 - 200 zoom lense... 50 - 300 is better. If you prefer a pocket camera look at the new Nikon 1. It has interchangable lenses, is really fast (like 10 frames a second) and one version takes video. The bad news is the biggest zoom they currently have only goes to 100, but since the best camera is the one that you will actually carry it is a good choice for a lot of people.



  4. #4
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    May. 15, 2009
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    Eastern Ontario, CND
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    Default

    Under $1000 go for a used older model digital. I've seen people get tired of them/want to upgrade/realise they WAY over purchased for their needs and sell complete kits for your budget, but you gotta be quick.

    My Nikon D50 is a great camera, I've had a few issues with errors but they all have to do with memory card formatting. Takes a really nice photo quick, if I just want a point and shoot, and then has a million and one things to adjust and play with if I really want a nice photo. The only bad thing I can say about it is that it is HEAVY, especially in a bag with a couple lenses it'll wear on you by the end of the day.
    "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
    Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
    Need You Now Equine



  5. #5
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    Feb. 23, 2005
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    Default

    Another option could be a prosummer point and shoot with a burst mode. I took these with my Kodak z980 at 5 fps
    http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/311202.html

    Mr P has a Nikon DSLR that hasn't seen the light of day in 2 1/2 years. Without going to look at it I couldn't even tell you the model it is. The Kodak gets used because it's just so convenient
    https://picasaweb.google.com/carolp3...19523704860162

    just about the limit of its range
    https://picasaweb.google.com/carolp3...84297083427170
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  6. #6
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Thank you for the ideas. I guess I have to learn more so I can know exactly what I want—I've requested "DSLR Cameras for Dummies" at the library!
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  7. #7
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Default

    Mr P has a Nikon DSLR that hasn't seen the light of day in 2 1/2 years. Without going to look at it I couldn't even tell you the model it is. The Kodak gets used because it's just so convenient
    https://picasaweb.google.com/carolp3...19523704860162

    That is an amazing insect!
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2002
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
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    Default

    I went through the same thing several months ago! Have been trying to run a professional horse/pony resale business for years, plus stand stallions, breed, etc. and we were doing everything with a crappy little point and shoot camera. Like you've mentioned, there is lag time when clicking the button...which results in ears back, swishing tails, etc. and the quality just wasn't good and it gets more and more frustrating every year.

    We finally bit the bullet and decided we needed something decent. After posting on the COTH and speaking to lots and lots of people, we ended up purchasing a refurbished Canon EOS 60D off of the Canon website and it is AMAZING!! It came with a 18-135mm zoom lense (also amazing), all of the software, etc., and with shipping, was under $850 US. I cannot believe I didn't do it sooner.

    It also shoots video, which is excellent quality, so now I no longer need a camera and video camera...everything is all in one. It is super easy to use, has autofocus and is used by many professional sports photographers for action shots. The more professional photographers I speak to, the more I find out that they use this particular camera.

    It shoots amazing photos and makes me look like a professional photographer We haven't taken pictures of the horses yet, as it's cold and snowy up here and the ponies all look like big, fuzzy yaks. Below is a photo I took of my Maine Coon kitten in a hotel room (we were there for a cat show) in a very dark, dark corner of the room with no lighting - did it on purpose to see what kind of photo I'd get. It was my very first picture I took with the camera without reading the insrtuctions first. The camera knew to turn the flash on all by itself. It's amazing how bright and clear the camera made the photo. I cannot wait until spring!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
    Home of Welsh Pony, ISR/Oldenburg & RPSI pony stallions Daventry's Power Play, Goldhills Brandysnap LOM & Alvesta Picasso
    Also home to www.EquineAppraisers.com



  9. #9
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    Mar. 23, 2005
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    Portland, Oregon
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    There is absolutely no reason you can't get an entry-level or even mid-level dSLR equipped for under $1000. Here, for example: http://www.adorama.com/INKD5100KL1.html (add $20 for a memory card and $30 for a bag, and you are set to go). And that's just a random search at a known site - you could do better if you shopped around, or if you bought a slightly older model lightly used.

    I don't think it's worth going to the pro or even really the prosumer models if you are new to using a dSLR. You are almost certainly going to start out using it in full auto anyway, so why shell out for advanced bells and whistles when it will be a long time before you start to think of using them? Image clarity does improve as they get bigger and badder, but not in a way that most non-pros will need/notice (until you get up to the VERY expensive end - then you'd notice, but I'd still argue you don't NEED ). Go entry-mid level, and pick something that uses lenses you will be able to use on a higher-end camera if you are hooked and decide to upgrade. The real expense is ultimately in the lenses, anyway.
    Proud member of the EDRF



  10. #10
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    Feb. 23, 1999
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    Cypress, near Houston, Texas
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    Default

    I, too, recommend using your budget to buy an older model DSLR (I prefer Nikon). You will get everything you can possibly use for a song when you buy from someone who is upgrading.

    I did a quick check on my local craigslist and found the following - all of which will do you a great job:

    several mint condition Nikon D50s with lenses and one with an SB-400 speed flash for a mere $300!

    Several Nikon D80s for under $450 - one with an 18-55mm lens and a 70-300mm lens for $750

    A Nikon D200 with 18-55mm lens for $600

    etc.
    Visit Sonesta Farms website at www.sonestafarms.com or our FaceBook page at www.facebook.com/sonestafarms. Also showing & breeding Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.



  11. #11

    Default

    I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-HX1 and I pretty much love it. It takes nice pictures on full auto but when I'm feeling like doing some work, it has a lot of options I can fiddle with to get the best picture I can. I have a lovely picture I took of the stars at night with it that I never would've been able to get with my older cameras.

    The shutter speed for "normal" picture taking is pretty fast...not instantaneous, but fast enough for most things. Generally if I'm taking pictures of friends riding horses (for instance) I'll put it in burst mode to make sure I get exactly what I want.

    It also takes nice video so I set it up a lot to just record when I ride alone so I can look at myself later.
    The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
    Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.



  12. #12
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    Feb. 23, 2005
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    Spotsylvania, VA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by didgery View Post
    Mr P has a Nikon DSLR that hasn't seen the light of day in 2 1/2 years. Without going to look at it I couldn't even tell you the model it is. The Kodak gets used because it's just so convenient
    https://picasaweb.google.com/carolp3...19523704860162

    That is an amazing insect!
    It's a luna moth and I was very happy to spot it.
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  13. #13
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    Dec. 21, 2005
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    Cascade Foothills
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    I've done some reading and what I really want is the Canon EOS 7D with a prime lens and a zoom lens to start with . . . so a couple thousand bucks worth of equipment, at least! The durability, weather-resistance, and generally great reputation of this camera fill me with longing. The Canon 60D seems to be a strong runner-up, though it doesn't offer the weather sealing that would be so handy out in the Western Washington weather.

    That said, I wonder if I would be disappointed if I just went with a t2i, t3i or even a different brand altogether. Maybe not! Maybe I don't know enough to need a $1400 camera body yet.

    Maybe I should drop $500 on a used entry-level DSLR kit and then upgrade once I know what I'm doing.

    Choices, choices! Choices complicated by the fact that the money isn't actually in hand yet.

    This is getting a bit off the horse track—sorry—but I am so grateful for the advice! Thank you!
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Packing my bags
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    I just got a Canon EOS T3i (I think, not enough coffee, nor sleep)

    Nice camera. We had to get a Canon since we are using it for a project that only supports Canon software.

    I think Nikons are tops, but tend to be higher end.

    I asked about Canon cameras in particular and was told (by a pro) that a 7D is nice, but around 1500, no lens.
    A 60D was also recommended, at around 800$ for the body. Keep lens compatibility in mind, good ones are really expensive, so if you plan to upgrade, go with a series that can use either.

    Also, as to taking pictures of horses, the 200mm range of lenses is the absolute bare minimum (as top zoom range) 300mm would be much better! it barely brings the otehr side of an arena close enough to not look at an ant in a sea of sand!

    I also got one of them small jobs for Christmas, A Nikon Coolpix.
    really nice little camera.
    http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...13880718_n.jpg

    http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...59957627_n.jpg

    I shot both pictures from the same seat in low light conditions.

    I can't comment on the price...



  15. #15
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    Nov. 18, 2004
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    Catonsville, MD
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    Nikon D5000 here. Love it. <$1000 with 2 lenses from Costco a couple years ago.

    And for free, a tip about taking photos of animals. Don't 'aim' for a particular moment. With the Nikon D5000, you can hold down the shutter in the right shooting mode and it will just keep firing, as close together as a second or so. That way, if Fenlo closes his eyes or flicks his ears, you shoot enough shots to get the 'good' one.
    I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
    I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09




  16. #16
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    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    Nikon D5000 here. Love it. <$1000 with 2 lenses from Costco a couple years ago.

    And for free, a tip about taking photos of animals. Don't 'aim' for a particular moment. With the Nikon D5000, you can hold down the shutter in the right shooting mode and it will just keep firing, as close together as a second or so. That way, if Fenlo closes his eyes or flicks his ears, you shoot enough shots to get the 'good' one.

    yep, the most glorious aspect of digital photography! Shoot away, no worries.



  17. #17
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    Sep. 11, 2008
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    Snohomish, WA
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    That would be a cool feature - used to be you could only do that with an auto - another add on.
    I have a Canon EOS that I love - it has a "decent" flash with it but would love to find some other lens for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    Nikon D5000 here. Love it. <$1000 with 2 lenses from Costco a couple years ago.

    And for free, a tip about taking photos of animals. Don't 'aim' for a particular moment. With the Nikon D5000, you can hold down the shutter in the right shooting mode and it will just keep firing, as close together as a second or so. That way, if Fenlo closes his eyes or flicks his ears, you shoot enough shots to get the 'good' one.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 28, 2002
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori B View Post
    .

    With the Nikon D5000, you can hold down the shutter in the right shooting mode and it will just keep firing, as close together as a second or so. That way, if Fenlo closes his eyes or flicks his ears, you shoot enough shots to get the 'good' one.
    I think most high end cameras have the rapid shutter feature. Our Canon 60D does the same thing - just hold down the button and it rapid fires. Doesn't matter how terrible you are at taking photos, you always get the shot with the ears forward
    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
    Home of Welsh Pony, ISR/Oldenburg & RPSI pony stallions Daventry's Power Play, Goldhills Brandysnap LOM & Alvesta Picasso
    Also home to www.EquineAppraisers.com



  19. #19
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    Sep. 11, 2008
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    Thank God for digital

    Quote Originally Posted by Daventry View Post
    I think most high end cameras have the rapid shutter feature. Our Canon 60D does the same thing - just hold down the button and it rapid fires. Doesn't matter how terrible you are at taking photos, you always get the shot with the ears forward



  20. #20
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    Sep. 7, 2006
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    I bought a used Canon 40D body on ebay for around $500, lenses not included. You can get a couple of decent lenses for $100-$150 each. I have one lens that was $$$ (although not so $$$ compared to what's out there) and the picture quality from that lens is much better... or I'm trying to justify spending a month's board on one lens, lol.

    If you go with a DSLR, read and practice playing around with settings. Don't blow a ton of money to shoot on auto. Manual is way more fun.
    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
    VW sucks.



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