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Old Feb 6, 2005, 8:27 AM   #1
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I would like to take some nice close ups, especiallynature and some sports. I have a Canon A80 which I like, but limited for some pics, eg. birds, I live in SW Florida. I was debating whether a 10 x superzoom would do or a cheaper SLR.

I hear some bad things about the superzooms, but have no first hand experience as with SLR's.

Any help or comments would be appreciated. I'm an amateur, pictures will be 99% outdoors, andlimited budget around $1000.00.



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Old Feb 6, 2005, 11:24 AM   #2
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Are you talking about digital SLRs or film SLRs? DSLRs may cost over $1000 if you are trying to replicate the 10x zoom (although I don't know prices so you may be able to do it); film SLRs are cheap enough to fit under your budget... In any case...

SLRs (both DSLRs and film SLRs) are way beyond the prosumers. If you can afford one, fits within your budget, and you don't care about the size (they are larger), then you should get an SLR or DSLR. There is no comparison!

Having said all that, if you want to save some money, or want a smaller camera, or something like that, then an ultra-zoom should be good enough. Since you are shooting outdoors (hopefully in bright light), a prosumer like Panasonic FZ20 should be able to produce good pics. Where these prosumers will struggle is with low-light pics (eg. indoors, overcast skies, birds in dark areas of forest, etc). Getting high shutter speeds mean that you need to boost ISO and that's when these cameras fall off the charts and start producing horrible noise.

What you should do is to check out some gallery by ultra-zoom users (eg. Panasonic Lumix line (FZ3/FZ20/etc) or Konica Minolta Z2/Z3 or Canon S1 IS or whatever). A lot of ultra-zoom users have bird/animal pics and you can get a rough idea of whether you can capture pics that you have in mind. Browse this brand forums here or look at some photography site like pbase.com to check out how good the bird pics are...

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Old Feb 6, 2005, 11:58 AM   #3
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Hi Rick,

I think that if you are a serious photographer and want to enlarge prints beyond 8x10 or so (or possibly publish), then you should go with a dslr. Otherwise, if you are like most hobbyists and just like to shoot smaller pics for personal enjoyment, with the occasional enlargement of the better pics, then you will most likely by perfectly happy with a megazoom.

I've also heard some bad things about the megazooms, but then again I've heard some bad things about every class of digital camera out there. As there is no perfect camera, you just have to absorb all you can from the reviews, and then make your own decision. As Siv mentioned, do spend some time in the individual brand forums and see what these cameras are capable of. My impression is that the Panasonic forum is quite busy, both here and at the other well-known digicam sites.

The nice thing about the megazooms is that you can get a very nice one for half of your budget, and even less if you don't need the extra one or two megapixels. To duplicate a 12x/F2.8 zoom with image stabilisation in a dslr would be quite a bit above your budget, but you can get a Panasonic that has all that for under $400.

When discussing the superzooms, you will see mention of image stabilisation (IS), and whether or not you will actually need it. Some say it is absolutely necessary when shooting at higher zoom levels, but you probably already know that whether or not you actually need it is dependant on the shutter speeds being used. Given that your pics will be outdoors, you won't always need IS. However, it is very nice to have when those morning/evening/stormy overcastshots come along. My feeling is that if one is going to by a megazoom, then you might as well get a camera with IS.

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