It’s Time To Upgrade To A Big Girl Camera (Any Suggestions?)

Oh, happy day, it’s Friday!!!  This has been a crazy busy week, and I’m ready to get on with some relaxin’.

I’ve decided that it’s time for me to give my little Kodak point-and-shoot camera some much needed rest also.  It’s time for me to upgrade to a big girl camera.  You know…the kind that can shoot in automatic, or that I could manually set.  Yeah, the big, scary, intimidating kind.

Right now, the camera that I use for everything looks like this.

kodak easy shae

Well, mine looks kind of like that.  Imagine it less shiny and new, and with a few (hundred) more dings, scratches, and smudges of paint and stain.  It actually works just fine for taking the step-by-step pictures that I use for my DIY tutorials, but for taking final pictures of projects, rooms, etc., I definitely need something better.

Why did I finally come to this decision?  Because today, I’m participating in the How To Decorate For The DIYer series that’s being hosted by the lovely Beth of Home Stories A To Z.

how to decorate series

My post is about developing a basic room design plan, and I wanted to share photos of my breakfast area and kitchen.  I realized that I didn’t have any good photos of those rooms, so last night I whipped out my camera and took a few.  They turned out awful.  Just awful!!  They were dark, grainy, and discolored.  Even the color correct function in my photo editing program couldn’t help.

The other photos I used in my little guest post were taken my super photographer extraordinaire (my mom) with her super fancy professional camera.  So my little photos needed to look at least somewhat decent.

Well, it took about two hours, lots of tweaking with the lights, and lots of testing out different settings, but I finally got two somewhat decent pictures.

The only way I could get my little camera to take any halfway decent pictures of these rooms was to set it on the “night portrait” setting, which seemed very strange, because with all of the lights on in my kitchen and breakfast area, it’s not dark at all!

But anyway, it was major frustration, and I’m ready for a big girl camera.  I don’t need some super duper major professional camera that takes 175 megapixel pictures and can take clear pictures of a hummingbird from four miles away or anything like that.  Just something middle of the road.  Decent, nice, but average.

Any suggestions?  I don’t want to spent a fortune, and just a quick glance at the prices on the Best Buy website made me hyperventilate just a bit.  (Hey, we’ve already established that I’m cheap, right?).

So I’ll have to save up my pennies, and then prepare myself mentally and emotionally to plunk down several hundred dollars for one item.  (I can already feel my heart beat a little harder and faster just from the thought of it.  C’mon Kristi, you’ve bought computers.  You can do this!!).

But anyway, I have no idea where to even begin looking, what functions are really important, what brand is the best, or any of that.  If you’ve got the info, share what you know!  (Pretty please!)




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  1. I just got a Nikon D3000 form the hubby for our anniversary.  Now if I could only figure it out lol.  It's supposed to be pretty much automatic.  Yea, right lol. I think you could find it somewhere on the web for $400 or so with a lens.  

  2. What does your mom have? Too fancy , too expensive? Made she might want to upgrade and you can give her some many for her camera….. Your photos always look great and professional, but a great camera can make rooms look simply amazing! It is like magic… sometimes I think a good camera or professional photographer is liar because the room/people really don't look that good in person. 

  3. I have a Sony CyberShot HX9V and ADORE it. It's a compact size without sacrificing quality plus it takes HD video. I wanted a smaller camera so I could easily throw it in my diaper bag, I used to have a Canon Rebel XSi and while it was an amazing camera it was also huge and bulky. Plus, it was really just too much camera for me, I didn't know how to use 3/4 of its functions.
    Sony link:

  4. Hi Kristi-

    I really want a DSLR too, but have to save up or win the lottery.  I have been researching for about a year now. The best advice I think I have gotten is to get more camera then you think you can handle because you can grow into it. If you buy the lowest price model – you might want to upgrade quickly as you get the hang of it and start enjoying photography.  There are so many good cameras out there – Nikon seems to be the fav, but I think some of the best blog photos are taken with Canons.  I myself am saving up for a Nikon D7000 or the Canon equivalent which I think now is a Tsi3.    I also have found out that some of the photos that really draw your eye in are taken with fixed lenses – 50mm or 35mm.  You can see the difference.  When I see great blog photos, I always ask the blogger what camera they use.
    Please keep us posted as I know many of us point and shooters are very interested in this topic.

    My best-Diane

  5. Kristi, No suggestions on the camera front but congrats on the post at A to Z! 🙂  Good luck in your camera search, I would love a new camera as well so maybe after you find "the one" you could share what you learned with all of us!

  6. Nikon D40 is a good upgrade.  The auto setting takes great pictures while you're learning the rest of the features.  A great tip is to take pictures without the flash. The Pioneer Woman blog has great camera tutorials.

  7. I'm partial to the Nikon brand and want a Digital SLR so much.  But, haven't been able to justify the expense (yet!).   I had a Nikon point and shoot that was great, and also have an old Nikon film SLR.  The SLR takes much better pictures, but of course with film, you have to get it developed and you can't delete the bad pictures first.  My point and shoot is a Panasonic, which is not as good as the Nikon was. 

    As with any major purchase, first you determine what type of features you need.  For the room and project photos, a wide angle and closeup lens are probably a must.  The more pixels, the better the picture – but I'm not sure at what point it becomes a wash.  I take pictures of my grandson, who never sits still, so the shutter speed becomes important to me.  And, I'd love to be able to take a picture of a butterfly from four miles away 🙂  but will never be able to afford a lens like that! 

    I've been looking at the Nikon D90 as a good "middle" camera (as suggested before).  What does your mom recommend? 

  8. I just had to comment because I just recently was in the same boat.  My husband surprised me with an Olympus Pen E camera and I love it!  I started using the Auto and the "P" modes but now have the aperture settings figured out.  So fun for close ups!

    It does everything the expensive large cameras do but much smaller and light weight.  I've since bought a zoom lense for it (not Olympus, but one that fit from Wolf Camera) and love everything about it, including the price!

  9. What ever you get make sure it is a high megapixel count, at least a 10 or higher. The higher the megapixel the clearer the picture will be.

  10. But that will also take up (possibly) a lot of space on your computer. Depending on that, I would also invest (under $200 usually) in an additional hard drive to store photos.

  11. Hi Kristi, I used to use a Nikon Coolpix P5100.  I really loved it actually.  It took great close up photos.  I figured I needed something bigger and better though and bought the Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.  This is pretty major.  I still haven't figured out all of it's features because it has so many.
    The main reason I got it though is because I travel alot and I need a good camera for that along with blogging.  This camera has mega mega zoom.  The most you can get on the market right now I think.  Because of that it has a built in image stablizer.  It also takes great HD movies too!  It's a pretty amazing camera.

  12. Actually, no. I take photos for relaxation and exercise. When I view my images at home on the computer, you'll hear more @#$%! than happy words for my photos. The ratio has slowly improved.
    My current camera is a Canon Powershot A85. I got the add-on lenses from Canon and a bigger third party zoom lens.  Plants, animals, some scenes. 4.0 megapixels, but it is an older camera.
    An 8×10 photo looks fabulous printed and hung matted and framed on my walls. I print the images at the local big-box photo kiosks and use hobby store frames and precut mats.
    For my needs until recently, I was fine with the limitations.
    Grainy photos can mean you're at the max end of your camera lens, or the iso is too high. Just because I have 11x zoom doesn't mean I use it. I stop at 8x zoom.
    Beyond the megapixels, the other settings are important for fine tuning and your needs.
    If you are more interested in further control over your images, you may want the option of shooting in RAW with jpg or instead of jpg. 
    RAW is the image without the standard settings your manufacturer applied via the in-camera software to get a reasonable image most of the time. Every brand has a slightly different version of the RAW file and within some brands, several versions. Cons are blowing through memory cards 2x faster or more.
    Pluses are realizing you used a wrong camera setting and fixing it on computer later. As you noticed, fixing jpgs may or may not work out well. You had the camera set for indoors, shot an adorable relative in the white fairy princess dress outside in high noon sun with a flash. oopsie. Can't see poor child for the glow around her and on her. A raw editor can adjust the photo to show her and the dress. Requires patience with the software and the RAW editors can vary with your needs. Some do better on dark images, some on blown out images, and so on.

    Megapixels can take up drive space. Most cameras have a web-only low mp setting, a good setting, a better setting and a setting for the best possible prints at a given size on that camera. That low web or email setting gives ugly printed images. As big as the best Super Fine large quality image setting is on my camera, a raw image would be larger, if I had that option. However, the largest space hog on a memory card would be a RAW+JPG setting.

    Me, I'm considering a step up to a DSLR (raw,jpg)or a side step to a Powershot G12 or G13(raw, jpg). My first camera was a Kodak One Touch 110 film camera. When it died, I was given a Nikon 35mm film One Touch. That death resulted in a Canon equivalent and then the final Minolta equivalent in film cameras. I always dither a bit before upgrading technology because I tend to keep it for 10 years or more. It takes me a while to learn things, get comfortable with my camera, and buy the accessories I'll like and use..:) Relative bought a refurb Canon Rebel several years ago. Slowly adding lenses to that collection. Also a hobby shooter. Those photos go on a calender sometimes with mine.

    Stalking flowers or scenic views is easier when you are learning how to use your camera. No pouting, grumbling, or running away by the model. 😉
    Next challenge is animals or insects, then small children.
    Snails move remarkably fast when you zoom in on them and the full moon can too. 
    To prevent embarrassment when learning something new, I use my own backyard and play with the camera.

    The best camera brand model is what you like at the price you want and fits your hands and lifestyle the best. 

  13. I don’t have any camera advice to offer, but I do have a question for you. first of all, your kitchen is AMAZING! love, love, love!! but what I was really wondering was where you got your cute sign, that says your family name sitting behind your amazing booth! if you could email me and let me know, I would love that! so glad I came across your website. LOVE! 🙂