Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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ElectricBlueJackDempsey 01-18-2011 05:56 PM

Best camera for aquarium photography for under $300?
I have a camera that takes great pictures of everything except my tanks. Everything is always blurry even if it isn't moving. So my question is, what is best camera for aquarium photography for under $300? what have you had success with. Mainly taking pictures of cichlids if that matters. Thanks

small fry 01-19-2011 04:33 AM

I use a Nikon L18 (Coolpix). The focus could be better, though. Probably not your best $300 and under camera, but it is Ok for a 2 year old $99 camera. Good for a tight budget.

I am curious to see what others will use.

Mikaila31 01-21-2011 04:30 PM

I use a Panasonic FZ-28. IMO no camera takes good pics of the aquarium unless you know how to use manual controls like ISO, sutter speed, aperture, ect. Then its generally not a problem. Half the problem with aquariums is the really low light. My camera cost $300 for just the camera. Memory card I picked out for it was $40 along with some other extras. I love my camera though.

ekolyne 01-21-2011 04:54 PM

any camera that has a good macro. to take close ups of fish for best detail and clarity you need a camera that takes good photos in the macro mode.
and of course high megapixels

Mikaila31 01-21-2011 06:52 PM

MP is very over-rated. Unless you need to blow up your photos into poster size prints I would not worry about MP at all. A lot of cameras will over emphasize high MP like 10 or 12 as a great feature. When if fact the key comes down to the lens of the camera. A lower MP camera with a good lens will take a better picture then a higher MP camera with a crappy lens. So don't rate a camera on MP or macro settings alone. The picture in my sig was shot with a old 3.2 MP Canon and cropped. The picture in my avatar was shot with a 10.1 MP camera and cropped. Given the purpose I have put both those images too they both work fine and you probably can't tell any difference. If you printed them as 4x6 photos you would see a minor difference. Its when you try to make large prints or use them as computer wallpapers that you need high MP for. MP won't make up for cheap lenses or sensors either.

aunt kymmie 01-21-2011 08:57 PM

I'm going to have to agree with everything Mikaila says. All one needs to do it look at her photos and videos!! I think she takes some of the better shots & videos posted here on our forum. :-)

Mikaila31 01-22-2011 01:25 AM
Awwww thanks so much Aunt Kimmie :oops:

I would just like to add though, that the camera isn't everything. Photographer can me limited by a camera in the same way a camera can be limited by its photographer. Someone with exact same camera I use said to me on a different site, "I've got the FZ28 but its pretty crap, especially for aquarium fish shots." and "It never focuses on the fish, only on the glass or water, so I have to use manual focus Yes its crap for aquarium shot".

I've never actually read my cameras manual and am unfamiliar with "manual focus" it focuses on the stuff I point it at unless I tell it to hold a specific focus... You could probably get the FZ28 w/ a good SD card for $300 these days. The camera is a good all around multipurpose camera IMO and can shoot HD video too. Don't expect to use that video quality much though, it records 1 GB per minuet and playback gives my 2008 laptop a heart attack XD. The lower quality video settings work great for me. I use a 16 GB class 6 card with mine. You don't need that size unless you intend you shoot lots of video. The class refers to the speed data can be written to the card. A slow card can slow your camera down depending what you are using it for. A slow 1 GB card can be bought for $4 if you feel thats all you need for the camera. The FZ28 has a small internal memory so can take pics right out of the box w/o a card, but can't hold a lot of pictures on it.

When I was looking for a camera my final choices were between the Canon SX10 and Panasonic FZ28. Also the Sony dsc-HX1 looks like a good camera to me too. I know these are a little over the $300 mark though. The more advance canons are nice, but stay clear of the slim point and shoot ones as I see nothing but problems with these and have had to help people walk through hacking them to get the cameras to be of any use. Things like autofocus not working in video modes and other silly things.

Its fine to use settings on the camera such as auto, macro, ect. These may not always work though and its not the cameras fault. It is simply guessing the best way to take a picture. It comes down to what you want and what the camera thinks is best. Sometimes these do not agree. When trying to take pictures of fish for me its easiest in macro or manual settings. If macro doesn't work then its manual and you need to know what the functions of the camera mean and how they work. Your camera is probably blurring fish because its compensating for the low light by slowing down shutter speed which is going to catch more movement.

How bout we start at the beginning though lol. First thing I should of asked is what kinda camera do you have ATM Dempsey?

redchigh 01-25-2011 11:25 AM

Useful info.

I almost always use manual focus, but it's a matter of preference.

ElectricBlueJackDempsey 01-25-2011 02:59 PM

I have the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS

Ostara 01-25-2011 03:53 PM

Is it only for taking pictures of fish, or do you enjoy taking pictures of other things? If you take pictures frequently (family, friends, pets, travel, whatever) I'd recommend stretching the budget a little and opting for something like the Sony A230, which is a great camera for anyone who enjoys photography and wants a bit more control and options. I know quite a few people with the Sony Alphas that love them because they're inexpensive (compared to Nikon or Canon), easy to use, and take great pictures. You can go manual, learning about all of the options and setting them yourself, or keep it in auto and still take much more stunning pictures than an average camera.

If you just want something for taking fish pictures though, I'd certainly stay in a cheaper range. Most of your slim point and shoots aren't going to be great for this because they don't take action shots well; many of them are just meant for the average shots of places you're visiting or your friends posing. One of the "advanced digitals" may be a good bet; the ones that are heftier than the slender cameras, but don't have separate lenses. And just to note, megapixels are certainly important... if you're planning on printing your photos. If not, don't worry about having the highest number.

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