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Old Jul 8, 2012, 9:08 PM   #1
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I'm in the market for a new camera, and don't know what I want.

I had a Panasonic DMC-FZ7 for a number of years and LOVED it. I then moved on to the DMC-ZS3.

I loved that the ZS3 was smaller in size. It took great pics and I was really happy with it, for the most part, but it took forever between shots sometimes and there were times I totally missed a shot because I couldn't get it to focus.

I broke a memory card inside it (can't figure out how) and replaced it with a DMC-fz40.

I had contemplated switching from Panasonic to Canon and spent a lot of time contemplating between the FZ40 and the Canon powershot sx40. I bought both and spent a weekend comparing before returning the Canon. I liked how it took pictures and loved some of the features, but found it harder to maneuver thru the menus etc so stuck with the Panny.

I had the fz40 for about 5 months, when the flash stopped working (something I discovered I was not alone in after a google search). Panasonic exchanged my camera for a refurbished one, but I have never been fully happy with it since.

Wants and Needs:
-I want a camera that is easy to work with. I take 90% of my photos in auto but do switch to manual if needed.
-I have a 4 Year old and many of my pictures are of her, both indoor and outside.
-I am a travel agent, and take ship tours and resort property tours a few times a month. During these tours I can see an entire property (rooms, restaurants, entertainment areas, etc) in an hour, so I am moving FAST and want as many pictures as possible to have to share with my clients. Many of these locations are indoors and lighting is spotty. I didn't like my zs3 because it would not focus quick enough and I missed a lot of photos.
-I like the zoom on my fz40, so I want a nice zoom.
-I use the movie function on my camera
-I keep the camera set on widescreen
-I take pictures at the local aquarium a few times a year
-I love fireworks, but take lousy pictures of them

I don't have a budget but don't really want to spend more then $500. I haven't researched anything yet. All of my family members use Nikons- but I don't know if that is the direction I should go in. I have always been comfortable with my Panasonics but don't know if that is what I want. My current unhappiness makes me wonder if I should look at Canon again or at Nikon, or at something else entirely.

If someone can point me in a direction I would really appreciate the help. Thanks!
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Old Jul 8, 2012, 10:41 PM   #2
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Frankly, I don't know if you're going to do any better with a Canon or Nikon in the class of cameras you're talking about. The Panasonic ZS15/TZ25 seems to be getting a warm reception. Zoom range isn't quite as long as the ZS20/TZ30 but image quality seems better.



And Panasonic's latest FZ series camera, the FZ150, is generally considered at the top of its class:



If you don't mind a larger camera with a shorter, but still decent, zoom range in exchange for more external controls and a larger sensor (for better image quality), Nikon's P7100 can be picked up for under $400:



Or you can go with cameras with still-larger sensors (for even better image quality) like Nikon's J1 and V1. Or a micro four-thirds camera from either Panasonic or Olympus. These are cameras like the Panasonic G3 and Olympus E-PM1 that are in my signature below. They'll give you even better image quality and control. The only issue with any of these this is that they are all interchangeable-lens cameras, which means you'll have to buy additional telephoto lenses if you want a long zoom range. For more information on this entire class of cameras, check out this web site:


The next step after that is a traditional DSLR. You can actually get into a basic kit for around $500. But, again, these are interchangeable-lens cameras (see above). Nonetheless, Sony's brand-new A37 is worth checking out. It's small (for a DSLR-class camera), has a great electronic viewfinder and does great video. It lists for $599 and features probably the best 16mp sensor around today:


I hope this helps. My intention isn't to tell you which camera to buy, but to give you food for thought. Only you know if you'll be satisfied with a point-and-shoot camera or want to take your photography to the next level.

Last edited by Biro; Jul 8, 2012 at 11:33 PM.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 12:59 AM   #3
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when i had my fz150, i was able to catch good pics of wild animals due to very low shutter lag, and thanks to the long zoom, i shot trees on the other side of the freeway. i find the quality of the fz150's pics to be better than the sx230, sx260 (although they're not shabby), and at ISO400 or better, much less noise than the zs20. the fz150 also takes very nice video - along with full control if you want it - and did pretty well in most of the scene modes. definitely worth a look.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 6:57 PM   #4
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Thanks. I find myself leaning towards the fz150, but I am sure a lot of that is comfort factor. I was not seeing great reviews of the 100 when that had come out but seem to see nothing very negative about the 150.

Biro- thanks for the comparisons and review links. That really is helping me focus in on my wants and needs.

I know I am not ready for DSLR yet, but I do find myself looking at that next step from the traditional bridge cameras. I can't imagine dealing with interchangeable lenses and all that jazz, however.

Off to read more and hopefully later these week head to a store for some holding and playing. I'm left handed, so the comfort and control in my hands is extremely important.
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