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CrazyTechie Oct 23, 2012 11:04 PM

Please help me to buy a digital camera

I need a digital camera as my daughter broke our old Sony DSC-W5. I was quite satisfied with my W5 IQ (outdoor) but there were major drawbacks too.

1. Good outdoor IQ
2. Large sensor
3. Compact

1. No IS
2. Very less optical zoom
3. Very poor low light performance
4. No FHD movie

But considering the price tag, it was OK kind of camera. Enough history now back to business :-)

Now, I need another digital camera, but I'm really confused what should I buy now.

1. Point-n-Shoot or DSLR ?
I'm not a professional photographer, but certainly enthusiastic photographer. I like to click outdoor pics, macro pics. Apart from this, the camera will be used by my family to click/record various family events. So I'm more interested for Point-n-Shoot camera which can be used by all in my family, which will be lighter, easy to use and there is no need to carry extra lenses. But if DSLR can meet my requirements I'm open for it too.

2. How much zoom ?
Zoom is a major factor after IQ. I need more optical zoom (at least 20x) :-)

3. OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) is a must, I have suffered a lot with my W5

4. Should be large sensor size, because of more image details/quality

5. Capable of shooting FHD high quality movies because I'll not buy another camcorder.

6. Good performance in low light conditions

7. Image size (MP) does not matter at all, even 5 MP is enough for me.

8. Above all, the new camera should have better IQ than my W5

9. Max budget $500 USD

And request you to suggest THE BEST camera which can meet my above requirements within my price tag.

Thank you.

SIMON40 Oct 24, 2012 4:53 AM

If you need plenty of zoom and you chose a DSLR you'd also need a large telephoto lens attached- taking you well over budget.
A "bridge/superzoom" camera would seem to be the logical choice as thy tick most of the boxes on your wish list.
The low light use are not of DSLR quality- but they are improving all of the time- and should WAY surpass that of your W5.
Perhaps look at Panasonic's FZ-200 or the FZ-150 if it's still available- or Canons new SX50HS- or the older,but still very good,older SX40hs.
Perhaps a compact travel zoom might fit the bill also..?
20x zooms in your pocket is quite a compelling proposition- and despite the obvious compromises of cramming so much technology into a small package,they have pretty good image quality across most shooting scenarios.
Models to look at might be Panasonics TZ30 (ZS20 in the US),Sony's HX20v or 30v and Canon's SX 240 or 260hs.
Again, low light work won't be of stellar quality- but should surpass that of your ageing W5.

CrazyTechie Oct 24, 2012 11:34 PM

Thank you Simon for your good suggestions.

But correct me if I'm wrong, that all the cameras you have recommended have very small sensor than my old W5. So I doubt the image quality will be more than W5. Also I do not understand, why camera manufacturers going for lower sensor size :(

SIMON40 Oct 25, 2012 5:27 AM

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Yes- the sensor on the camera's I've mentioned have a 1/2.3" sensor- but technology moves forward and the W5 is getting on a bit..!
The small sensor is necessary in a small body if a large zoom is required- especially in the 20x range- it's just simple maths....
Also the 1/2.3" sensors used in the above cameras are of the CMOS type,unlike the older CCD type- and are generally considered to yield better low light performance.
A "modern" sensor the same size as your old Sony would potentially yield better performance than a 1/2.3" sensor- al else being equal- but so many other things have to be factored in- not least the modern processors etc- and a final image is the result of many things within a given camera- not just the sensor.
The bird pic here was shot at iso 1000- not bad for a 1/2.3" sensor (SX40hs)....

SIMON40 Oct 25, 2012 5:34 AM

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And this was shot at iso 1600,indoors from roughly 30 feet away- again with the SX40....

CrazyTechie Oct 25, 2012 11:41 PM

Thank you again SIMON.

But any reference to the math you were referring with the relation between optical zoom and sensor size. I want to know the relation between them and will see if I can sacrifice zoom for sensor size :-)

No doubt Fz200 and SX50HS images are looks fine, but seriously they have really TINY sensors, loosing the more image details.

SIMON40 Oct 26, 2012 4:12 AM

Basically if you want a big zoom in a small body/lens combo'- the small sensor is necessary due to its angle of view being smaller for a given focal length of a lens.
If you want say 25-500mm old school 35mm equivalent in a compact camera,the sensor simply has to be of the 1/2.3" size or thereabouts. If you want a bigger sensor AND a big zoom,you'll have to have a BIG body.
Fuji's XS-1 "bridge" camera has a larger than usual sensor for the class of camera- and due to using its 2/3" sensor the body/lens is much larger than its competitors and is at the lower end of the zoom reach scale (24-624mm) when compared to its competitors like the Nikon P510,Canon SX40/50,Sony HX200v etc....

As for the tipping point between quality of images,zoom range and sensor size- that's a very difficult thing to assess as everyone has different expectations and needs with regards image quality- and not all of the 1/2.3" brigade are equal.
For example The Sony HX200v and the Canon SX40hs use a sensor of the same size- but I can assure you the Canon yields far better images. As I mentioned in the earlier post, the final image output is the result of many factors within a given camera- the sensor being just one part of a big equation.
You suggest that small sensors lose image details- compared to a DSLR maybe- and if you scrutinise images at very large sizes then of course,the quality won't match up to a DSLR or such like- but to be fair, bridge camera's and high zoom compacts are about cramming as much toys/zoom into a small lightweight body- they are primarily about convenience and sacrificing a little bit of IQ is a fair trade off I think- and let's be honest- up to images the size of your monitor or prints up to A4 size, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between an image taken on a DSLR or one of the current bridge/superzoom cameras- unless you're always shooting in poor light where the large sensors reign supreme.
I wouldn't get too hung up on the size of sensor in a given camera- I'd be more concerned about it's final output and image quality- and I'd suggest any camera be judged on that parameter.
As for the older Sony compacts- I had a W1,a W5 a V1 etc- and whilst they were ok in the day (and pretty darn expensive..)- technology really has move on in leaps and bounds- you wouldn't want to take any of those old cam's past iso 200..!!

CrazyTechie Nov 1, 2012 2:18 PM

So between sx50hs and fz200, which one is better ?

1. 50x vs 24x: Does that extra zoom really relevant
2. f2.8 vs f3.2 : How much it will affect on IQ
3. Heard that fz200 has terribly low light IQ, after iso400
4. Which one has better video with smaller disk size
5. Which one has better image stabilization
6. Which one has better auto focus
7. Both camera records wind sounds while shooting, which I did not like

Also want to know, what is the IQ difference between 'tz30 vs fz200' and 'sx260hs vs sx50hs' ?

robbo Nov 1, 2012 2:43 PM

Which camera is better for you? It depends.

If 600mm max zoom is enough for you, I would get the FZ200.
The main reason is F/2.8 aperture is available along the entire zoom range (from 25mm to 600mm). Most superzooms go to an aperture of F5.6 or 5.7 at max zoom). That means the FZ200 can get 4 times greater shutter speed at a given light level. That means you can get sharper action shots and a reduced depth of field, so that the background behind a subject is more blurred (and in the eyes of many photographers) cooler looking.

Ozzie_Traveller Nov 1, 2012 4:11 PM

G'day CT

Several things here mate :)
1) yes a small sensored camera does have some downsides when compared with the larger sensored cameras [is- the dSLRs etc] ... and they also have hundreds of upsides too !!!
2) I have the Fuji Xs1 - one of the small-sensor jobs [when compared with the SLRs anyway]
3) and am printing 30-inch wide prints

Do things carefully and the results will be there

Regards, Phil

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