Need good camera for reviews and night beamshots, for $200

Any recommendations would be very much appreciated

See if you can find a used Nikon D3100/D3200 with a stock lens.

Good choice. I got a 3000 and 7000, and love ’em both. The old 18mm-55mm kit-lens is a work of art, and opens up to f/3.5 when zoomed-out (ie, wide angle), not too shabby, and has incredible clarity. Not too familiar with the other kit lenses (18-70, 18-105, etc.), so can’t say anything about them.

I mainly use my 28-300 for literally 98%+ of all my shooting, the 70-200 f/2.8 for fast shots (bugs in flight, etc.), and the 18-55 when I need a wider-angle than 28mm gets me (seascapes, etc.).

My first shots of Christmas lights in/around the nabe were all done with the 18-55. Like I said, an awesome lens…

Oh, word of advice. “Buy the glass.”

That’ll last you nigh forever, and set (or limit) the quality of your shots. The electronix is so much less critical, and suffers “digital rot” from the second it rolls out of the factory.

If you gotta go cheap, buy quality glass and cheap electronix, and you’ll get better results than v/v.

I have a Nikon D3100 with 18mm-55mm lens.
Nice camera, but I’m very much a “point and shoot on auto”, sort of guy.
I would like to try some night beam shots as well, and if anybody can give me advice on the best settings to use, it would be much appreciated.

I would go for a pocketable one. I do beamshots, but you need a good and sturdy tripod etc.. and in the dark it could be a bit tricky.

I'd prefer a pocketable camera, that is less heavy... but when I go out I take the bicycle, so I want everything small and lightweight.. just keep that in mind. Otherwise go for any DSLR :)

For night you need manual settings.
For Canon you can look to CHDK Wiki | Fandom for what models it are available and use little hack and some script for manual settings (I use CHDKplus in my Ixus 310)

Settings will depend on the environment/subject. But for starters, I would set ISO to 200 or 400, aperture to f/6.3, and then experiment with different shutter speeds until you get the desired exposure. Tripod will be required.

You may have to switch to manual focus as well if the camera has a hard time focusing in the dark.

+1 for manual setting

Thanks guys for your tips

Many centuries ago while at school I did a photography course and learned all about settings and how to develop film in a darkroom.
But then they invented the wheel, and all these smart cameras and digital photography came along and I became lazy and forgot everything.

I remember our first torches which were a staff of wood with animal skins soaked in tar and fat….then they invented 18650 cells!!

BestBuy and Costco sell a Sony DCS300/500 20.1/32 megapixel cameras that accept additional lenses and go for around $125-150. They also do HD video at a pretty good frame rate. It takes very nice pictures, is super easy to use and a good value. I am not a photographer by any means so anything better is wasted on me.

I think you missed a step in the evolution of man made light. Where on this timeline was the Dolphin invented?

well i got this camera just to see what it was like

anyone have an opinion?

Just as long as it has manual exposure mode, manual white balance, and manual focus, it’ll work for beam shots.

I have a Nikon D3200.
Made these beamshots with it.
Lens 18-105 Nikon VR

Ha Ha - the good old Dolphin …I still have one with a flat battery lying in my carport.

Great photography Zozz!

its got all that so i just gotta mess around with it and see what i can come up with

just wish i could get a camera that takes good night video

I got a YI 4K plus action Cam for my youtube reviews, thinking it’d film better than my Sony 4K phone, it was ghastly, used it once and sold it. A lot of youtube camera reviews look decent when they film cities at night, but when it’s just torch light in a dark forrest cameras like the Go Pro suck.

I’d really like to get into 4k HDR but I’ve only scratched the surface on research.

The new HDR camera phones suck because of the heavy cropping, they won’t do flooders justice

I used to have a sony dsch300. I did not like it. It has a small sensor so when theres darkness the pictures have alot of noise. No full manual settings but the zoom is pretty awesome. I have a canon eos m and love it. Havent tried beamshots yet but it has full manual settings and a big sensor.