Camera recommendations under $500?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Agent_K64, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Agent_K64

    Agent_K64 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 19, 2011
    Someone needs help picking a good camera under $500, but I'm not sure if I'm qualified to offer advice.. so I'd like to ask for help from you knowledgeable people. :)

    The person in question does not know much about photography, but I think she's interested in getting into it.

    So I suggested the Panasonic GF3, since while it can be used easily as a point and shoot, it does have settings you can adjust once you learn how they control the output. The kit with the old 14-42mm lens is available at Bestbuy for $500, or $460 from B&H.

    As another option, I suggested the Olympus E-PM1. But I had an E-PM1 myself, and I (and some others) weren't too impressed with its IBIS, while on the other hand, others were fine with it... So I don't know if I should count this against the camera or not.

    Oh, and she won't be getting other lenses, at least not any time soon. The only reason I suggested these two m4/3s is because of their bigger sensors. :(

    But on that note, if she won't be needing the interchangeable lens capability, would she be better served by something like an LX5 or S100 instead?

    If you have any other ideas, please let me know. :p

    Lastly, she lives in the US, and would prefer to shop at a brick and mortar store, rather than online. BestBuy is probably not the best place to shop, price/selection wise.. do you guys have any advice there?

    Thanks a lot!
  2. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Olympus XZ1, if you aren't going to change lenses, it has a faster tele than the LX5.

    Fuji X10, has a bit higher sensor size than the XZ1 but is $599.99.
  3. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
    there are deals for dual lens mirrorless cameras for around $400 from time to time.

    check back here: Camera Deals
  4. drizek

    drizek Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 5, 2011
  5. Kees

    Kees Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 30, 2011
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Kees Dignum
    For $400 I can recommend a Leica M9. Great camera.
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    If someone is really interested in getting into photography on a budget, I think the GF3 and 14mm f/2.5 lens kits are a great choice right now. Super small, high image quality, and if you add the Oly 45mm prime later down the road, you have a terrific two lens kit. E-PM1 14-42 kit now with 45/1.8 later is another great option.

    If no chance of adding another lens later, then I would probably suggest the NEX-C3 and 18-55mm kit lens (though that is $50 over budget).
  7. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Photography stores depend on the region she's in. In some places, Best Buy is the only local option.

    If she really isn't interested in changing lenses, I think an XZ-1 or S100 probably makes more sense than m4/3. Up to 8x10 the differences won't really matter, and those cameras are small and quite a bit friendlier than the current m4/3 ones.

  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If she has no intention on purchasing further lenses, then the Panasonic GF-1 with Lumix 20mm f/1.7 or Panasonic GF-2 with Lumix 14mm f/2.5 are both excellent kits, offering the best lenses to start. Both kits will run her well under $500, but I doubt you can find the GF-1 kits anymore.
  9. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Get a used FZ50 off eBay. Great camera for under $200. Does everything a novice photographer could think of.
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Best Buy is actually a pretty good place to go and handle these cameras and try them out. My local BB has the NEX-C3, GF3, E-PM1, Nikon 1 system, and a good selection of fixed lens compacts, not to mention DSLRs. Seeing which one feels good in the hand can be very helpful.