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Old Jun 3, 2007, 8:41 AM   #1
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I am in the market for a super zoom camera (12x optical or greater) primarily to take photos of dogs in action, wildlife, birds etc.

After reading a ton of reviews, I had been patiently waiting for the H9 (and pro reviews) but now that they are trickling inI've come to the reluctant conclusion that I should find an alternative.

Inter alia, I have looked at Steve's "The Best Cameras" in this segment and read various reviews of a number of models, including the following, which top my list in no particular order:

Canon Powershot S3 IS*- or the newS5 ?[/b]
Panasonic DMC-FZ50*[/b]
Kodak Easyshare Z612*[/b]
Panasonic DMC-FZ7*[/b] / FZ8*[/b]

Some reviews mention a given camera not being great for sports photography and basically I'd like to know which is!

I have a Canon G5 for my learning curve (and boy do I love that remote!) as well as a Fuji Finepix F31fd which I have on me wherever I go.

My budget is flexible - I'd have been happy to spend around$500 on the H9 on the basis that it would last me quite a few years.

I am keen on obtaining sharp results that I can print at larger sizes or crop and still have a decent photo.

I do not want a DSLR at this stage.

I hope I have included the relevant details. I am most grateful for any help and feedback from those in the know!


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Old Jun 4, 2007, 10:35 PM   #2
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Unless you have very good lighting (such as a bright outdoors day), I don't think a camera short of a DSLR will be great for what you are looking for.

That said, the best non-DSLR (for what you have stated you want) that I have seen is the Panasonic FZ30 - not the FZ50. IMO, the FZ30 has a better noise/detail ratio than the FZ50. The same could probably also be said for the FZ7 vs FZ8. However, I have not auditioned any of these cameras.

I don't know what your expectation level is, but chances are you are going to get a lot more "less than good" photos than good ones. Your goal of "sharp" wildlife/action photos is a difficult - and rewarding - objective. Even an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D40 (which is very point-n-shoot like) with a decent 300mm lens will give you a better chance, I would think, than any superzoom.
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Old Jun 4, 2007, 10:56 PM   #3
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I agree with flippedgazille-

The photo capabilities you are looking for is really a jobthat a camera such as the Nikon D-40 or D-40X equipped with a Nikon 70-300mm can do. That would be about a $1,100 investment.

I have used a Sony H-5 extensively and I just do not think that it would be up to doing the photo job well.

Sarah
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 1:25 AM   #4
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Hi,

I had EXACTLY the same dilemma a few months ago, I go to a lot of dog agility shows and wanted to take action shots of dogs leaping over jumps, hurling themselves off the see-saw etc,and the kind people on the forum recommended I went for a dSLR rather than a superzoom.

I ummed and ahhed about it for ages, thought I might wait for the Sony H9 or the Canon S5is - I'd held the S3is and really liked it but thought why not wait till its update came out.

Then......I saw the Canon 400d/XTi (depending on where you live) - and it's such a small DSLR that with the kit lens, or even the cheapo Tamron 55-200mm I bought to start me off on my action shot adventure, there really wasn't a huge difference in size and weight between a larger superzoom and it. Certainly not like the difference between a little p&s and a superzoom anyway.

And of course I've got a faster continuous shooting, better ISO performance, more adaptability and I've discovered it's great fun too.

With the inexpensive Tamron lens I'll never get the same dull-day performance as someone with the expensive L-series lenses or the same sharpness for that matter, but on my budget I'm over the moon with the results - and there's always picasa to sharpen things up a little bit and play with the levels.

Sorry for the ramble, but the shortened version is......go dSLR, there's no competition.
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 10:25 AM   #5
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flippedgazelle - thank you very much for your reply which I've found very useful.

My expectations are high I suppose - I'm quite fussy ;-)

My reasons for wanting a non-DSLR were/are:

1. I've never had one and have always assumed it was a big "leap" to what I've been doing and what I'm used to.

2. I'd take the camera on my long walks along the beach with two large dogs and invariably I'm on my own (or as good as) in terms of having to carry everything plus keep the dogs under control if we come across anything. I'm a little concerned about the portability of a DSLR + lens plus sand issues.

I don't know how much I'd have to learn or do to be able to use a DSLR; I will do some reading up on the D40 to see what you mean by "very point-n-shoot like". I've never looked at a DSLR so I'll return to the Forum when I have a bit of a clue as right now I just have too many questions!


mtclimber - thank you for your reply which I appreciate enormously. If you have the H-5 and this is your view then I need a serious re-think of the situation!

I will look into both Nikons mentioned and do a bit more reading before formulating more questions! Thank you also for the lens and price guidelines - much appreciated!


Beejygirl - many thanks for your post and especially for "rambling" ;-) I really appreciate all the details you've included as this sort feedback is tremendously helpful to me, as I can see I am going to have to re-evaluate my position. I'll take a look at this Canon you have also.

Is this your first DSLR Beejaygirl and if so how did you find the transition?









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Old Jun 5, 2007, 11:27 AM   #6
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St. Iletto-

The jump to the Canon XTi, the Nikon D-40, or the Nikon D-40X is really not that huge. Yes there will be some learning curve involved in dealing with all of the lens choices and the like. But the basic shooting will be fairly much the same. It is just another new camera. Many folks stepping into DSLR cameras begin in the Auto Mode, or the Program Mode. As they become familiar with the camera, they begin to explore all of the many features available on their camera.

The beach environment is easily handled with a smaller shoulder mounted closed camera case. Limit the amount of gear you are carrying and it is very much like dealing with a Sony H-9 or H-5.

When walking, I carry just the DSLR and one lens. That allows me to focus on getting the very most out of that lens. It also saves me the hazard of making a lens change amid a bit of blowing sand.

I actually think that you will find the change to a new camera to be a lot of fun.

Sarah
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Old Jun 5, 2007, 12:13 PM   #7
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St Iletto-

Here is yet another thought about a strategy to ease into the DSLR world. A lot of folks are going for the Nikon D-40 or D-40X with the kit lens (the Nikkor 18-55mm lens)and the Nikkor 50-200mmVR lens which is very reasonably priced at around $(US) 230.00 (and includes IS which Nikon calls VR or vibration Reduction.) With that twolens combination you could effectively cover, in 35mm terms, from 28mm to 300mm, an very nice range, and with the D-40 at about $(US) 750.00.

Both of the suggested lenses are of pleasingly high quality and represent a savings over some Canon branded lenses. Here is a sample photo taken with the Nikkor 50-200mmVR lens

Sarah
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 1:54 AM   #8
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Hi St Iletto,

This WAS my first dSLR - I'd played with my dad's Sony Alpha 100 and it was WAY too big for me, but the Canon is much smaller and seems lighter in comparison.

My only experience of SLRs before I made my purchase (and this was what swayed me) was of a week's holiday playing with a (very) old Olympus OM10 35mm film SLR camera when I went on holiday. I had such fun playing with the apertures and suchlike and I got some surprisingly good results even for a newbie.

Last weekend I took my two Border Collies on a long walk around some woods and a lake and even with two dogs, two leads, pooh bags, treats and all the rest of the shebang you take with you as a dog owner :-)I didn'treally notice it too much. I tend to walk round looking like a bag lady anyway :lol:what with my small rucksack of waterproofs and spare layer (I live in Britain, the climate can be temperamental, even in June!)

I just took the camera with the 55-200mm lens on, nothing else and, slung over the shoulder with the leads it wasn't a problem.

Must say I'm REALLY pleased with my purchase. But I would say that it is best to hold any new camera before you buy it because some will feel 'right' in your hands while others won't - a bit like buying shoes, I guess.

Hope my second ramble helps...


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Old Jun 6, 2007, 2:05 AM   #9
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Here's one of my very first canine 'action shots' taken with my new camera. It needs a bit of work - positioning etc, but I don't think I'd have got the shot with a point and shoot.


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Old Jun 6, 2007, 2:05 AM   #10
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Here's one of my very first canine 'action shots' taken with my new camera. It needs a bit of work - positioning etc, but I don't think I'd have got the shot with a point and shoot.


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