Image by Geishaboy500
In my last post I covered three tech tips for blog photos and I noticed that I received a great many comments regarding the use of cameras other than DSLRs. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: in this day and age you simply do not need a DSLR to take great images, especially not if you only intend to post your images online. In the last few years the compact camera market has exploded; where once great image quality and a full range of camera functions were reserved for top of the line DSLRs, this is no longer the case. It’s one thing if you’re going to be making 50” prints or if you’re going to be shooting a great deal of HD video, but most fashion bloggers require only a small camera that is easy to carry and can still take great pictures to post online. Here are some suggestions for cameras in the $400-$600 range that will be perfect for all your blogging needs.
Canon s95 ($400)
- About as small as a camera can possibly get; it will fit in a breast pocket.
- Very low aperture of f/2.0 so you can shoot in dimly-lit rooms and for a nice out of focus background.
- It’s so small that it can easily be dropped or mishandled (be sure to get a good wrist-strap).
- Not very usable at higher ISOs so you’ll probably be using your flash a lot, especially in darker rooms.
- Slow Auto Focus, especially in a more dimly-lit room, so it won’t be very effective if your subject is moving (like if you’re shooting runway models).
Canon G12 ($600)
- Great build-quality: you could drop this thing off a roof (although I really can’t suggest it) and it’ll hold together.
- Can be set to fully manual operation for total control.
- Very long zoom range from 28mm-140mm so it will be perfect for every shooting situation.
- Significantly larger than most of the other cameras on this list; this is just not a pocket-sized camera.
- Maximum aperture of f/2.8 means that it’s not the best for dimly lit boutiques and showrooms nor for getting a nice out of focus background.
Olympus XZ-1 ($450)
- Very low maximum aperture of f/1.8 so it will be great for dealing with the low-light situations that bloggers are so familiar with, especially when shooting in boutiques and showrooms, and for getting a nice out of focus background.
- Extraordinarily small and lightweight. It can be a real pain carrying around a heavy DSLR all day (or all week if you’re going to be at Fashion Week) and this is a perfect solution; it will fit in your pocket with ease.
- A “Super-Macro Mode” to get that really nice soft-focus effect with an out of focus background; perfect for shooting jewelry or other objects in close-up.
- Comes packaged with a USB charger so you’ll be able to charge it on the go.
- Not the longest zoom range in this class of cameras, going only from 28mm-112mm (although probably just fine for most bloggers).
- Olympus has a history of making slightly confusing user interfaces and this camera is no different. Novices beware.
Olympus E-PL2 ($500-$700 [with an additional lens])
- Interchangeable lenses that all come with an affordable price tag. You’ll never feel like you’re going to miss the shot you want.
- Capable of very high ISOs (up to 6400) so you’ll always be able to shoot in dimly-lit rooms with ease.
- Can be used with fully manual controls so that you will be in total control of every shot.
- Not the best video-shooting mode if video is something you’ve been wanting to add to your blog.
- Sort of a weak flash, so you’ll need to stick close to your subject for its best effect (e.g. pretty useless for shooting runway models).
Panasonic LX-5 ($400)
- Honestly, I can not say enough good about this camera.
- Small and compact with an astonishingly good Leica lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.0 for dim rooms and a nice out of focus background.
- Full range of accessories, including an attachable electronic viewfinder, will make this camera feel just like a DSLR but smaller, lighter, and just plain sexier.
- An incredible range of shooting options all the way up to full manual controls.
- The lens can only zoom from 24mm-90mm (although the 24mm end is really wide and truly great for small rooms, again like boutiques and showrooms, where you don’t have a lot of wiggle room).
Panasonic GF2 ($550-$600 [with the non-zoom lens included])
- Great HD video if you’ve been wanting to add video to your blog.
- Super easy to use interface means that it’s great for novice photographers and won’t get in your way when you don’t want to miss the shot.
- Interchangeable lenses for a full range of lens and aperture options.
- If you attach a big zoom lens the pocketability of this camera is lost.