Is a new camera the solution?

wiiawiwb

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In the mountains
I'm not getting the results I like using my newly-acquired Galaxy S10. Three weeks ago, I was hiking and saw a deer at the summit of a peak. I pulled out my new S10 and captured it -- or so I thought. As you can see from the picture below, despite my trying to "box in the subject", the camera focused on bushes that were closer. Just last week, I encountered a rattlesnake on the trail, quickly pulled out my S10 and took several pictures all of which were miserable failures.

I don't know to use manual settings on an SLR (or DSLR) camera but back in the day I had a Minolta 35mm-camera (film) that I would focus manually. I always got the shot I wanted because I could grab it, focus, then shoot. Now, I point the S10 and shoot and hope for the best. That's not the way to operate.

What is the solution? Should I continue using my S10 and try to improve y skills using it or should I get a small-size DSLR where I could manually focus like I use to do. Willing to spend up to $1,000. Most of the ones I see in Best Buy are large and boxy, and simply won't work for that reason, or point-and-shoot models that I can't focus by adjusting the lens with my fingers.

Does anyone have a suggestion of the best course of action and, if it is to get a digital camera, can you suggest one that that might work?
 

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TheHardWay

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La Plata Canyon, CO
My iPhone 11 pro max takes amazing pictures, but has limitations when trying to take a picture of an animal far away on the side of the mountain.
If you go the DSLR route, there is a lot of information out there on how to use manual aperture and shutter settings. Some camera budles come with tutorial books/videos. If all you are worried about it focusing your subject manually, that is usually just a switch on the side of the lens that allows auto vs manual focus.
 
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wiiawiwb

wiiawiwb

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In the mountains
I definitely don't want to invest the time to learn to use all of the settings on a camera. If there is a manual-focus mode, that would be exactly what I'm looking for.
 

Camera Land

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Every camera on the market today with interchangeable lenses can be fully manual or fully or semi automatic. You can set the exposure to fully auto and manually focus.
Cell phone cameras serve a purpose. They are great for a quick picture when you are out with friends, pictures to send to the wife when she sends you to the store to make sure you got the right thing. Pictures you need to send for a business issue quickly. Not for anything you want to save and make good prints from 8x10 or larger.
Happy to go over what is available
Give me a call at 516-217-1000
Joel
 

Wapiti1

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Indiana
Either should work for what you want if only a quick snapshot is acceptable.. On your phone, you can use the touchscreen to select the focus point. i.e. you touch the deer and it should focus the deer and ignore the foreground.

On a camera, you would use a fixed focus point, focus on the subject, then recompose. All using autofocus. Manual isn't used much and is clunky on most digital cameras. Manual focus can be used, but auto is much faster and more accurate. You simply need to select a focus point and use that.

It isn't hard to learn how to use autofocus. The whole process should take about 30 minutes to adjust the camera settings, and take a few test snaps. After that, you are done.

Jeremy
 
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wiiawiwb

wiiawiwb

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In the mountains
I tried using the focus box but couldn't get it small enough to cover just the deer's head. Without getting the focus box small enough, the camera focused on the tree branch in front of the deer.

I don;t know how to overcome that obstacle.
 

Sportsman

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I think you need a DSLR for what you are trying to do. The learning curve is greatly reduced from film days and autofocus on a DSLR will do what you want because you can select where you want to focus. I progressed more in a month with my first DSLR (NIkon D70 in 2005) than I did in several years with a 35mm Pentax where I couldn't afford to shoot much and couldn't remember my exposure settings to learn from my successes and failures.
 

rfurman24

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I am not familiar with that phone but it looks like maybe you have a portrait mode turned on or you were using that setting. It has a relatively shallow depth of field.
 

jspradley

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Cell cameras are awesome now but if you want "real" photos then a dedicated camera is the way to go.

Manual focus kinda sucks (and this is coming from a vintage lens dork) but a dedicated camera focuses way more accurately and easier than your cell phone.
 

jspradley

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Depends on the camera, my DSLR focus point is fine enough that I would have put my focus point over his noggin, hit my back button autofocus and most likely gotten it.

My little mirrorless probably wouldn't have been able to grab it but it's a cheapo.

With a phone the best bet would probably be to have clicks on the trees near the deer, the depth of field for a phone camera probably would have been deep enough to focus on the deer. Or move the phone around until that little branch wasnt in the way if possible
 

bigmoose

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Yerington Nv.
I don't use my phone for photos so I can't help there. Using a DSLR , you can pick your focus point and that's what helps in these situations where the animal is back in the foliage. Also, many of the new cameras have the facial recognition feature and may help to focus on the eyes. Even some of the point and shoot type cameras can do this. Here are a couple examples.

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