Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 3, 2008, 7:52 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 9
Default

I'm currently using a Canon SD430 which is obviously inadequate for low-light conditions.

Many people are recommending a Canon Rebel XTi or XSi, but I think such a camera is more than I want in terms of price, size, and manual controls. But will still consider if overwhelming recommendation for it.

I've been leaning toward the Panasonic Lumix FZ28 for its lower price and portability, but some have suggested waiting for the Panasonic DMC-G1 (4/3) due out soon. (That puts me back in Rebel price range, right?)

Or should I consider the Olympus 420? But no image stabilization.

So...this would be a primary camera for vacation, but 90% of its use will be in restaurants shooting dishes in typically low-light conditions. I don't usually use a tripod, as I just want to shoot as easily and quickly as possible. I'd also take some non-food shots of the restaurants, etc.

Prefer portability. Most photos are for online posting, but I shoot a little for magazine publication, though the images aren't so large, so I'm not concerned about needing too many megapixels. Prefer to spend under $500, but can go higher if it makes an amazing difference.

Appreciate any advice any of you can offer - thanks!
dimsumfan2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 3, 2008, 8:47 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 617
Default

I'd get the Canon Rebel XS. It's very similar to the XSi but costs less. It has the best low light ability of any entry level DSLR and is streets ahead of any point and shoot, including the Panasonic FZ28. Amazon has it on sale, with the kit lens, for $509, with free shipping. It's a tremendous deal.
AndyfromVA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 2008, 9:37 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 9
Default

By the way, if replying and making suggestions for cameras that require separate lens purchases, I'd be really grateful if you can make specific recommendations for which lens to buy with your camera choice. I'm pretty clueless about lenses, since I've been using a point-and-shoot. Thanks!
dimsumfan2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 3, 2008, 10:42 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 617
Default

dimsumfan2 wrote:
Quote:
By the way, if replying and making suggestions for cameras that require separate lens purchases, I'd be really grateful if you can make specific recommendations for which lens to buy with your camera choice. I'm pretty clueless about lenses, since I've been using a point-and-shoot. Thanks!
The Canon XS is only sold with the accompanying lens. But it's a decent all-purpose lens with 3x optical zoom.
AndyfromVA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2008, 5:39 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,544
Default

I think that, for best results for your subject, you should go with a large aperture lens for a shallow depth of field. This will isolate the subject (the food) from distracting backgrounds. This will also give you the option of using available light instead of flash, but for available light, if you're not going to use a tripod, you should have image stabilization. For stabilized large aperture lenses, your choices are Pentax and Sony.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2008, 7:43 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
terry@softreq.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,539
Default

What focal length are most of your restaurant shots taken at?

If we knew that, then it would be a matter of picking out the right lens and the right camera body.

Do you do everything under natural light? Flash? Macro?

If we understand your current way of working, it would be easy to figure out the right combo for you.

Personally if I were shooting for a magazine, the Rebel XSi would be the "minimum" quality DSLR I would use. Probably consider the XSi or the Canon 40D.

terry@softreq.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2008, 3:06 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Marquette, MI
Posts: 285
Default

You might also want to look at the Panasonic LX3. There are some reviews out on it now on other websites that may answer your questions about low light pictures. It has a 24mm lens at f/2.0, is under $500, and fits in your pocket. The zoom range may be too short though for family vacations.

Dennis
denncald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2008, 7:38 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 9
Default

Nothing in mind for focal length. Open to suggestion.

Basically, I've been taking the point-and-shoot, setting it on macro, and using a flash if there's not enough natural light. Most of the time, it's too dark, and I have to use a flash, which I prefer not to do (but can if necessary).

I want good quality for the one magazine, but note I don't do full-page shots. Maybe quarter-page at most.
dimsumfan2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 4, 2008, 7:46 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 9
Default

denncald wrote:
Quote:
You might also want to look at the Panasonic LX3. There are some reviews out on it now on other websites that may answer your questions about low light pictures. It has a 24mm lens at f/2.0, is under $500, and fits in your pocket. The zoom range may be too short though for family vacations.

Dennis
Dennis, I'm not too worried about zoom. Do you have thoughts about pros and cons of the LX3 vs. the FZ28 for food photography?
dimsumfan2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 6, 2008, 3:45 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Marquette, MI
Posts: 285
Default

dimsumfan2 wrote:
Quote:
Dennis, I'm not too worried about zoom. Do you have thoughts about pros and cons of the LX3 vs. the FZ28 for food photography?
Most of the advice above is pointing you to a DSLR with a larger image sensor to capture noise free and higher dynamic range images. If you want a smaller camera, then you will also get a smaller image sensor, leading to more noise at higher ISOs, and less dynamic range than a DSLR.

Having said that, the LX3 has a 1/1.63" CCD, while the FZ28 CCD is smaller at 1/2.33". The smaller CCD of the FZ28 indicates it will be affected by more noise at higher ISO settings than the LX3. The FZ28 also uses a super zoom lens, which generally means there may be more compromises in lens quality to achieve the longer reach.

Here are a couple of recent reviews that test the LX3 to identify it's strengths and weaknesses.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/LX3/LX3A.HTM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmclx3/

I have a Canon G9, and if I were to upgrade at the present time, I would most likely chose the Canon G10 over the Panasonic LX3. My preference would be based on the zoom range of the G10 vs the LX3, since I feel their image qualities are not much different. If zoom range is not a factor for you, and you would prefer a "faster" lens, then the LX3 seems a prime candidate, if you elect to not get a DSLR.

Edit: Another factor with the LX3 is it has a hot shoe for external flash, while the FZ28 does not. Using an external flash would open opportunities for bounce flash to give you more natural looking lighting than direct flash.

Dennis
denncald is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:36 PM.