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7zs Jan 6, 2006 7:24 PM

Hi,Im just needing a little in put.Right now Im using a Minolta Z3,but I would like something better .Ive narrowed it down to an Olympus Evolt 300,Panasonic FZ30,and a Minolta A2.Ive read reviews on all three,and like them all.Any clear winner here?Thanks for the help.

mtclimber Jan 6, 2006 7:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)

If it were up to me, I would choose the Olympus E-300. It is a very high quality camera capable of more IMHO than the FZ-30 or the A-2. I may be wrong in my opinion, so I will attach a sample E-300 photo, to give you an idea of what the camera is capable of in everyday use.


E.T Jan 7, 2006 4:57 AM

What's best (compromise) in your case depends on things as your budget, what you would photograph, in what conditions and such.

As general interchangeable lens SLRs enable ultimate versatility/quality if you're ready to use enough money (bigger zoom lenses are rarely high quality and fast) to multiple lenses and have superior low light performance and focus speed and spectacularly faster burst mode.
But they have also negative sides, price of that ultimate versatility can be heavy, both economically and physically, bag of lenses isn't exactly light, then there's noisy shutter/mirror system if you don't want to advertise your picture taking to others. Then they lack completely live preview so it's hard to say anything about how good exposure is or is the effect of intentional exposure compensation good, for someone coming from point&shoot this might be big difference. Also you need own lens for macrophotography and they're pure still cameras.

While non-SLRs aren't great in low light, have slower focus (especially moving targets are problematic) and burst speeds they can give great versatility in conveniently sized all in one package. (well... FZ30 starts to be quite big)
Small sensor enables convenient size fast lens with good zoom range equal to multiple SLR lenses. (+no need for separate macro lens)
They don'thave mandatory "sound effect" mechanisms.
They have live preview and real time histogram for easier choosing of exposure. Also movable LCD makes taking "ground level" shots easy. Then there's ability to take video clips which can literally save the day sometimes. (and can be be nice feature on vacation)

Now considering these cameras Oly's burst speeds isn't as fast as most DSLRs, also it's low light capability/noise level appears to be poor for DSLR so in these it isn't so "spectacularly" ahead.

A2 has quite perfect lens for general photography ranging from real wide angle to medium tele. EVF with 4x resolution compared to any other digicam's EVF/LCD (~920 000 pixels), superb control layout (beating many low end DSLRs) which uses button tapping only for menus while photographing settings are done with control dials and there's direct control dial acces to exposure compensation. (in that Pana even such necessity is hidden behind button tapping)

Panasonic has long tele which is almost mandatory for wild animals/birds but sacrifices some best end of wide angle for getting that, very good incamera processing but much more menu surfing controls. Also even best JPEG compression appears to be questionably high considering 8MP output.

For me that best compromise is currently A2, sure high ISO capability would be nice but DSLRs have their own equally big disadvantages and while longer tele of ultrazoom would be usefull once in a while but the truth is that in my general nature photography I have propably taken only 1/10th of photos at 150mm or longer while almost 1/4th are taken at 28mm...
And I've been spoiled by superb control layout of Minolta's prosumers which limits possible candidates even more effectively. :G

Also you have to remember that person behind camera affects as much to output as camera (in some cases much more) and with wrong methods no camera can give good results while with right methods/using cameras strong points can give great results from almost any camera in normal use.
And after certain distance slow focusing of non-SLRs doesn't matter because of big depth of field, if you know target will be far away just set focus manually to infinity and you can take photos of fast targets:

Here's practical comparison between A2 and better class DSLR:

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