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Suggestions for sub $200 camera?

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    Suggestions for sub $200 camera?

    Looking for something no more than $200 that will shoot good video and decent stills.
    Nothing crazy but availability to mount a mic and of course needs to be able to mount to a tripod.

    Just want better than cell phone, good quality videos.

    #2
    With that budget you're definitely looking at used stuff, and if you want video and stills you're looking at a photo camera that also shoots video. Most people will generalize all of these cameras as a "DSLR", but there are actually two types:

    -DSLRs, which have an optical viewfinder and a mirror for it

    -mirrorless cameras, which have an electronic viewfinder and no mirror

    If you're on a budget, mirrorless cameras are generally the better way to go, as you can adapt a huge variety of old affordable manual film-era lenses to them. The first-gen DSLRs that shoot video are also getting pretty cheap used now too.

    Unfortunately $200 is a bit skimpy for either. In mirrorless you could probably find a Panasonic GH1 or mayyyybe a GH2, hopefully with a kit lens, for that. Or maybe an older Sony NEX model, like a NEX-5, or maybe an A3000 or A5100 if you're really lucky. In DSLRs you might be able to find a Canon T2i/550D, again hopefully with a kit lens.

    You could also consider one of the earlier Sony RX100 models, the mark II, or III if you're lucky. These are small pocket cameras with built-in lenses that shoot surprisingly good video and photo.

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      #3
      I've seen a few t3i cameras for sale in my range(without a lens), but would they be capable of what I want? And how much would a decent lens run me?

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        #4
        Also have an Olympus SP-600UZ sitting around, would it be worth a shot to film with?

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          #5
          A T3i would be a great choice if you can find one in your budget.

          The first lens you'd want would probably be the kit lens, the 18-55 f3.5-5.6 EF-S zoom. You can find these used for about $80, maybe less. This lens will go from kinda wide to kinda telephoto, it'll do fine in bright light down to somewhat dim light, it's fairly sharp for a cheap lens. Basically it's your general-purpose option that does a lot of things adequately, but none of them exceptionally well. But that's where you should probably start. It's cheap and useful.

          The next obvious choice for most bladers is going to be a fisheye. The two budget options are the "manybrand", which is an f3.5 Korean lens sold under various brands such as Rokinon, Bower, Vivitar, Samyang, etc, and labeled interchangeably as an 8mm, 7mm, or 6.5mm. You can probably find one of these used for $100-150 if you're patient. I see them on eBay all the time.

          The other budget choice would be the Peleng 8mm f3.5. This is a Russian lens that's a little bit wider than the Manybrand, but is prone to flares and is a little softer at the edges. Some people realllly want that extra width for filming though.

          The third lens I would recommend would be the "nifty fifty", the Canon 50mm f1.8. These are only about $100 new, a bit less used. This lens is faster than the kit lens (goes to a larger max aperture, indicated by the smaller f number- 1.8 vs. 3.5 on the other lenses), which will allow you to get the "blurry background look". It will also allow you to get images in lower light than the other lenses. This lens does one thing really really well, and it's cheap.

          With a body, kit lens, fisheye, and maybe the 50mm, you have the base fundamentals to do 90% of what you see in photo and video. You can make a simple handle out of a $10 flash bracket off Amazon, with some washers or a lead weight as a counterweight, and this will allow you to film lines/fisheye just as well as one would with a conventional camcorder.

          Your Olympus, I don't know anything about, judging by thirty seconds' of googling it seems like it might get something adequate in good daylight. You already have it, and it's not going to get much for you on the used market, so you might as well give it a shot while you're saving up for a real setup.

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            #6
            For that budget, your smartphone likely already films better than a lot of used cameras that are 5+ years old. Your smart phone plus a few basic accessories (fisheye, tripod mount adapters etc) will likely so what you need it to.

            If you want to go for something more traditional, I'm a big fan of M43 cameras (Micro four-thirds)

            With very cheap adapters you can use just about EVERY manual focus lens that exists on them. Super-sharp manual focus Canon/Nikon/Pentax/whatver lenses are REALLY cheap because everyone wants auto-focus.

            IF you can do without the auto focus, you can get a sweet setup covering key focal ranges really cheap. Older M43 cameras do kind of suck in low-light. My GF1 works beautifully in good light, but is pretty grainy at iso800.

            The fisheyes Al mentioned work well for these cameras but they aren't that wide and don't "bubble" much.



            (GF1 + 8mm fisheye)

            On the complete opposite side, "vintage" DV cams are popular. Go SD and see what happens!

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              #7
              A DV camera won't take photos, he stated he wanted photos as well.

              For a m4/3 camera you want either the 7.5mm Manybrand that is made for m4/3, or you can use the DSLR Manybrand or Peleng but with a Speedbooster (aka focal reducer) to adapt it, instead of a simple tube adapter. The Speedbooster basically acts as a magnifying glass for the sensor, effectively making it larger, a bit larger than a typical DSLR sensor actually. Which means the camera "sees more" of the fisheye's image, and it's wider than the same lens on a DSLR. The booster also makes the lens one stop faster (brighter), which helps offset m4/3's disadvantage in lowlight.

              This is all well outside of the stated budget, though. For $200 your choices are a bit limited, especially if you need a lens. If you think you'll have more money later to invest in this, you can spend most/all of that $200 on the body and then worry about lenses later.

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                #8
                Thanks for all the info guys.
                I think my best bet is probably going to be trying my Olympus for now and trying to save for a T3i or better down the road.

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                  #9
                  hate to be late to the party but if youre looking to capture decent clips you could always look into one of the fisheye setups for your phone i run one for my just for fun edits its made by deathlens.

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                    #10
                    Maybe Nikon COOLPIX L840?

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