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Old Dec 12, 2008, 7:32 AM   #1
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Hi all,

Which of these 4 cameras is recommended for me? I'm an amateur user, but would like to have manual exposure control. I'd like to use the camera for capturing still life as well as a huge group of people. I may also need to take prints. Ease of use and use in low light is also critical. Please help.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28
Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50

Thanks in advance.
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Old Dec 12, 2008, 10:34 AM   #2
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My top choice would be the Panasonic LX-3. It gives you a very wide angle position (24mm in 35mm terms) which would work well for your groups. However, it has very limited zoom capabilities, going out only to 60mm in 35mm terms. If you can live with the limited zoom capability, it is a great camera. The LX-3 should also be good in low level lighting conditions, as it has an F 2.0 lens. However, I do not have any hands on experience with the camera, so everything that I have listed here is based on my reading only.

The Panasonic FZ-28 is a camera that I do own, and like a lot. It has a 27mm (in 35mm terms) wide angle position and over 500mm (in 35mm terms) of zoom. It handles well and is capable of good low light level shooting at an ISO 800 setting. The image quality on the LX-3 is a bit better than the FZ-28, which would make the FZ-28 my second choice, if zoom capability was not a leading priority for you.

I have attached a no flash/existing light only photo sample from the FZ-28 for your reference. It was taken at ISO 800 using a tungesten white balance setting.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 12, 2008, 10:43 AM   #3
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Good Morning! I usually shoot with a Pentax dSLR however I have been looking for a P&S to replace my little compact camera my son "borrowed", so I have looked at a number of these models quite recently. Your model selections range from an ultra compact at 9 oz to a couple of super zoom dSLR like, weighing in at 21 oz. Bottom line, they will all do a good job taking pictures (however opinions vary - lots of folks like each of the models, a few folks dislike each of the models for various reasons. - You can't please everyone all the time.). The largest question that your selection poses is - what type of camera do you want in terms of how you are going to use it? - and only you can answer this. Do you want a camera that you can sort of put in your pocket - small and light or do you want a some what larger camera that has a large zoom factor? You might want to go to a store and handle each of the models and see what appeals to you - large hands, small hands, easily carried, etc. .....

The four camera models you have identified have some feature ranges across them:
  • Weight - 9oz (LX3 & TZ50) to 21oz (SX10)[/*]
  • Zoom factor - 2.5x (LX3) to 18-20x (SX10 & FZ28)[/*]
  • Sensor size - somewhat large (LX3) to somewhat small (all the rest)[/*]
  • Viewfinders - (SX10 & FZ28) the others have none - just the viewing screen[/*]
  • RAW format - 2 offer JPG & RAW format (FZ28 and LX3) the others just JPG[/*]
  • Wireless - TZ50 only[/*]
  • External Flash Hotshoe - LX3 & SX10[/*]
  • (Street) Price - low of $300 and high of about $400[/*]
  • Movie Mode - Low Res(VGA - 640x480) SX10 to some pretty high res (1280 x 720, 30 fps) for the rest[/*]
  • Screen - The SX10 and FZ28 have the small 2.7" screen the rest have a 3" screen[/*]
  • Batteries - SX10 uses AAA - the rest use special Li-Ion
So there are the main differences across the models. The main question is a large heavier body with a large zoom range or a small lighter body with a reduced zoom range?

Then there are the manual controls you are looking for:
  • Aperature Priority - not on the TZ50, the rest have it[/*]
  • Shutter Priority - not on the TZ50, the rest have it[/*]
  • Manual Focus - not on the TZ50, the rest have it
Another factor is the internal flash. The FZ28 and LX3 have a flash range of about 8 meters (about 24 feet) - the other have a range of about 5 meters (15 feet)

They all have a reasonably wide lens 24mm (LX3) to 28mm (TZ50) that are reasonably fast f2-2.8 (LX3) to f3.3 - 4.9 (FZ28)
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 - One of the smallest, with the widest and fastest lens (good for large groups and low light), largest sensor for probably the least amount of noise. Has probably the most manual control. Has only a zoom range of 2.5x[/*]
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 - One of the largest and heavier all but the SX10, with the large zoom ratio (18x), good manual features.[/*]
  • Canon PowerShot SX10 IS - The largest and heaviest with the largest zoom ratio (20x), good manual features.[/*]
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50 - Again one of the smallest, however has the fewest manual features - as in probably "none".[/*]
Steve has reviews on each of these - I believe - so I would go there and check them out.

Overall if manual controls are your main selection criteria - toss the TZ50
Then it would probably come down to size and weight -
  • Compact small camera - low weight - pocketable - then choose LX3[/*]
  • dSLR like larger camera - choose between the SX10 and FX28[/*]
However if you want a lot of zoom then you have to eliminate the LX3
(if you want small with a lot of zoom, Panasonic has other models like the FX150, TZ4, etc.)

Hope that helps!!! Happy Holidays!

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Old Dec 12, 2008, 10:50 AM   #4
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Thanks a ton, mtclimber and interested observer... I couldn't have asked for more. Fantastic stuff.

I ggofed up with the fourth choice though. And am probably going in for the FZ28 but not before checking your other recos off the list.

Thanks a lot once again
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