Really discouraged

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2416
Really discouraged

I hope it's OK if I vent a little. I am so discouraged. I feel like I'm trying hard to learn, but it seems like either I'm not learning very well or I'm just running into the limitations of my camera. Sometimes I get nice sharp images, but most of the time they're not very sharp. I know about not using flash and using natural light and all that good stuff, but I can't do that very well in my house as I need a LOT of light with the smaller sensor in a P&S. I try doing things to help, like increasing ISO and I get ridiculous amounts of noise. Outside where I have natural light I can't seem to get sharp images of my kids because they're too busy moving and no matter what I do, shooting wide open or not, keeping the shutter speed high, etc., the images are not really crisp.

I know I've learned stuff in the eight weeks or so that I've been on this board. For example, yesterday I had an outing by myself taking landscape photos and although I didn't get much that was good, I did manage to get one I quite liked, largely due to the advice given to me on a C&C request a few weeks back.

But having said that, I kind of feel right now like "What's the point?" How good can I really get with this camera? Is that a cop-out? By now I guess you guys know where I'm at in my skills, so you can see that I have a lot of room for improvement, so perhaps you can honestly tell me it IS a cop-out!

A hairdresser friend of mine who's not into photography at all was cutting my kids' hair today and, since I normally cut my own kids' hair, I was taking a few pictures, so we got talking about it. I didn't want to use flash and wasn't sure there was enough light in the shop, and she said, "Oh, I took awesome pictures of a client last week without flash -- it's no problem!" Turns out she has a DSLR, of course, so the low light isn't as big of an issue. It just made me feel frustrated.

I'm really, really not one of those people who believe that owning a DSLR will automatically make me a great photographer. Please don't misunderstand. I think it's kind of like owning a high-end sports car -- just because you have one, doesn't mean you're a great driver. But there certainly are limitations, and I guess I'm wondering if I can really get a lot better with my P&S, or if I'm kind of stuck where I am until I get a DSLR and can go the next step up. I literally get stunned by the beautiful photos you guys post here, just so desperately want to start creating ART and capturing moments so beautifully like you guys do, and I feel so, so far from that, and like it's totally hopeless.

On top of everything, today I noticed some blur on a couple of images and looked at my lens and it appears scratched. I sure wish we could afford a new camera. Sad

Thanks for listening. Sorry to be such a downer. Sad

Joined: 10/20/07
Posts: 480

Hey Tracy, I feel you! I was a P&Ser for a LOOOONG time and often got frustrated. Finally realized I had to stick with carefully planned window light or outdoors all the time. After 2 years of longing, I got a DSLR and it makes a world of difference, but learning to rock your point and shoot is worth it... I have posted it before, but here is my cheesy P&S website Maybe it will offer some encouragement?

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

Oh man! It's ok! Vent away! Smile I know how frustrating it is. Trust me...I was in YOUR SHOES about 3 years ago! I learned my P&S as best as I could. I got the best images outdoors but indoors it was so hard to get natural light in. So dark in here! So I totally understand your frustration. Flash images aren't the same BUT you CAN focus more on composition when it comes to flash photography. Trying to get a nice composed image by using flash, I've done that several times. It sort of makes the picture look more interesting I guess you could say Smile But anyway, I use my P&S sometimes still. I honestly just get lucky with the pictures I take outdoors or in. For example, I went to a concert on Sunday night and took my P&S with me (because that's all that's allowed). I took so many pictures and lots of blurry ones. Some turned out great and others not so good Smile I'm quite satisfied with what I got though but here is one I took. (I was at the very front Wink I'm a big fan of this band!)

March 6th 2011 HURTS by loidaeg, on Flickr

I seriously just got lucky with that shot. I have a couple others that look like that one but that's the best out of all of them. I'm sure I would have been able to get better pictures with my DSLR but that's only because dslr's are more advanced, more options, which can make our photos a bit better to a point. The rest is up to the photographer of course.

I'm sorry. I don't really know what to say. I know it's hard but just keep practicing. Even if it's just composition and editing. I eventually grew out of my point and shoot and that's when DH bought me my Canon 40D (in 2008!). You could start saving up for a new camera! You will get there someday. Smile

Joined: 04/23/06
Posts: 485

I know how you feel. I remember feeling frustrated for a while with my P & S, but trust me...if and when you DO get a DSLR you will be even more frustrated, because you know the camera has much more capability, yet your pictures won't be amazing right away. It's all about learning, and focusing on what interests you at that point, and growing as much as you can with what you have. There is so much to learn! Don't lose heart. And if you are just dying to have a new camera...start putting those pennies away! And let your frustration be the motivation behind saving up. HTH. Biggrin

EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Hang in there. We go thru this motions all the time. I think if you feel you have outgrown your camera - then I think it would justify you move to the next level that will help you grow with your photography.

AmberBella's picture
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

If you do find the money...I suggest going the route of getting a low level DSLR used off E-bay. I bought my first DSLR at a great discount off e-bay and it was SO much better than trying to learn on my darn P&S.

Just checked e-bay and you can get a used Xti with kit lens included for less than $300. I know $300 isn't nothing....but it's cheaper than a high end point & shoot and you can learn a lot with a nice little DSLR.

cazzoom's picture
Joined: 06/22/02
Posts: 1315

I feel your frustration. I was there. Still am sometimes. Wishing I was up to the level of some of these amazing photographers on here but I can tell you, you will get there,

Take a step back. If you need to upgrade I would do what Amber suggested if you can afford it.

I will tell you, you won't regret it. You will be frustrated all over again but when it finally clicks, it clicks and you will LOVE it!

Let us know what you decide to do.


TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2416

Thanks for all of the encouragement -- I really appreciate it.

Beth, your P&S web site is great! It shows me that I can make the best of my P&S and do more. Same thing with your concert photo, Loida.

Being able to do something more with the camera I have, and accept its limitations, is kind of where I feel I have to be right now. DH and I have a very tight budget and though buying a camera is on our list of stuff we're saving for, it's not at the top. But that's a really good idea about buying a low-end one from eBay. Low-end is all I'd be doing initially, regardless -- so why not used?! I will have to keep that in mind and stalk eBay and Craigslist for deals and see if there's a really good one we just can't pass up at some point.

I will "keep on keeping on" as my grandparents used to say... Do my best with what I have for now, and hope that the opportunity to buy a low-end DSLR presents itself sooner rather than later. I felt so down about things yesterday, I just wanted to cry, but I do feel more encouraged today thanks to you ladies.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Is there anyone that you know who owns a DSLR? If so, do you think it would be possible they would let you play around with it a bit? That may give you an idea of whether you're ready to make that leap.

I have some friends who are interested in photography, and we've been getting together occasionally lately to talk about it and play around with our cameras (some with P&S). I'm always willing to let the other ladies try out my camera.

It's so hard when you feel like you're being limited by your camera. So what my suggestion is, is to work on comp and placement. That's what I did when I was getting frustrated with my Kodak Z760. It definatley isn't a high end P&S, and I was very limited on the settings I could change. So I worked mostly on comp and where the best place was to photograph my son outside. I was able to get some decent photos of Carson with the help of the ladies here. So here's some encouragement Smile

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2416

Stephanie, that's a great P&S picture, TFS that! It does encourage me!

Good idea about borrowing one, though off the top of my head I can't think of anyone to borrow from. My brother-in-law has one, but that family relationship is strained right now. If only my own brother lived closer. He is actually an amazing photographer (mostly does really awesome street and architectural photography -- he's even had a gallery showing) and has many cameras; but he lives on the other side of the globe. We do have some friends with DSLRs, just not sure if I'd be bold enough to ask to borrow from them, as they aren't very close friends. I'll have to think that one through, as just trying one would be really good for me.

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6219

I have so been in your shoes. I lurked on this board for years with my P&S. I wanted to take photos like these ladies do. (I still do!) I just knew that a DSLR was not in our budget. So, I worked with my P&S but felt so limited. My best friend got a DSLR for their anniversary and she didn't even want frustrated me so much. Randall knew that I had always wanted one, but I was patient. He saved up some money without me knowing, and took me to get my Nikon D90. I think it's more like a mid-level, but it was so worth the wait.
I was frustrated just like you. I only used my p&s outdoors, and still the shutter speed wasn't what I needed with kids. It's a struggle, but I am sure you will have one in your hands in no time.
No, it's not the DSLR that takes the photos, but a faster shutter speed sure is nice when it comes to kids! Wink

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3467

Tracy ...

I think quite a few of us here have felt your pain at one point or another, myself included.

I'll second the idea of stalking eBay and craigslist for deals. Also, check out some of the bigger photography boards (ilp, for example). You might even check the classifieds in your local paper and/or your local photography clubs. There is a Texas photography board that I lurk on and they have a GREAT buy/sell board where you can often find some super deals.

You might also try a camera rental site. Some of them even offer a deal where they will credit the price of anything you rent to an eventual purchase (I'm thinking of trying this with a lens rental).

Just trying to think of some other alternatives for you.

In the meantime, work your p&s for all it's worth. Find out its best shooting conditions and then use those to work on composition.

Your time WILL come and when it does, you'll be all the more ready. Because of the time I spent learning manual controls on my p&s, I never once put my dSLR in 'auto' mode - I went straight to manual and I've never looked back.

Hang in there! You can do this!


Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

I totally agree with GiGi, about working that P&S for all it's worth. My first digital camera was the Fuji S5100, which is an "in between" meaning it is a P&S with near full manual capabilities. I got it in 2005 and tried manual several times but I didn't take the time to really LEARN about manual; I just played with it.
In 2009 when I received my first DSLR was when I really said ok I want to really learn this now, and I read everything I could about it.
It was only THEN that I realized just how much my FUJI could do. I wish that I had realized it a lot sooner, before I even had the DSLR. I still have my Fuji though and I use it when I need good telephoto capabilities (since I have a telephoto that fits onto it) and now I leave it on manual when I use it! and I actually know how to work the manual settings on the Fuji now.

What P&S do you have?

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

p.s. Stephanie, GREAT photo!!!!

Coconut2's picture
Joined: 01/10/07
Posts: 443

Tracy I understand your frustrations, I too have a p&s very high end. I see these amazing photos these ladies are doing, attempt them with my camera, and nothing ever looks the same. My skills are no where near what anyone on this board has so I just keep reading and practicing. I'm hoping to build my skills up enough to buy my first dslr and then start from scratch again. From what you have posted you seem to have some great skills and get some amazing shots with your camera. I hope you can get your dslr sooner than you think.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2416

"Amy_&_Eva" wrote:

I totally agree with GiGi, about working that P&S for all it's worth. My first digital camera was the Fuji S5100, which is an "in between" meaning it is a P&S with near full manual capabilities.

What P&S do you have?

I have a Canon PowerShot S5. I think it's a bit of an "in between" too -- not totally sure, but it does have a lot more controls than most P&S's. It definitely is helpful to have that vs. most P&S's I have seen.

I feel really challenged by this thread to just learn more and do the best I can right now, while keeping an eye out for some options to get a DSLR at a good deal maybe sooner than I expect. Thank you for encouragement and perspective, both of which were MUCH needed!

It's really nice to hear from you too, Stephanie (coconut2), as someone else who's in my shoes right at this moment. I appreciate that!

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

Tracy, please don't feel discouraged or stop trying!!! There are plenty of things you can work on even if you can't get the full manual controls you'd like to have. Work on composition and processing!! I still struggle with both of these.

But, I do think some of your frustration would be alleviated with a DSLR, albeit replaced with new frustrations Wink But, work with what you have and then when you step into the new camera, you'll be that much more prepared!