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Old Nov 9, 2008, 4:26 PM   #1
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I should probably list budget before I forget about it. After Microsoft's cashback with ebay, the SX10 is nearing $275. I'd like to keep things there, or under for a P&S camera.

I've learned a lot from reading this forum, and I wanted to thank the people answering questions.

I made a list of the types of photos that I wanted, and it looks like I pretty much need a superzoom camera. It appears that it would take 2-3 lens to do what I want on an SLR camera, and I think that I would be better off buying a superzoom which I can carry in my bag all the time, and supplement with an entry SLR as I get more serious about photography.

I'm looking for a camera for general multipurpose use. That includes everything from landscapes to indoor photography of people. I take close up pictures of flowers and insects, outdoor shots of architecture and nature, I'm starting to play with HDR images, and I take semiclose pictures of animals like squirrels and ducks. I don't need an ultrafast long lens for wildlife at a distance, nor do I do sports photography.

I realize that any single system is going to be to be a compromise, but here is what I want outside of just a good camera:

I'd like good bracketing options for HDR photography.
I'd like a solid macro mode (used in the common up close meaning, not the correct 1:1 subject sensor meaning).
I'd like some decent range on the zoom.
SD media preferred, but not a requirement.
Flip out LCD screens are nice for macro work. Again, not a requirement.

I currently have an old Powershot A620, and it does the first two well (after CHDK for the auto exposure bracketing). My A620 just feels a bit long in the tooth, and I often wish it had a longer zoom. I received an A590 for free as part of a promotion, but it doesn't seem like much of a step up to be honest. I think that the larger sensor on my A620 helps it in the noise department.

Good autobracketing seems to be the hardest thing to find, and the hardest specification to locate. From playing with a friend's old FZ20, I don't believe that +-1EV is enough of a range for HDR work. I am hoping that someone here will know of a camera to cover my wants. It looks like the Canon S5 is close to what I want, but newer cameras have longer zooms, and its price on ebay is barely under the SX10. I used the SX10, and I don't know if I could get used to the wheel. Other Canon cameras have wheels which click in steps, and those were much easier to use. The well regarded Panasonic FZ28 don't have a +-1EV range for autobracketing....

So, suggestions? Furthermore, I'd just like to verify that I'd have to buy several pieces of extra equipment to cover what I want with an SLR. I would need either a 2 lens kit or to buy a longer zoom lens for reach, and I'd need either a separate macro lens, or extension tubes and/or diopters for macro work, correct? I'm beginning to wonder if I would be happier in the end looking for an entry level SLR with good bracketing options(XSi?), as it would be great for many types of pictures with the kit lens, and find a cheaper P&S with a long zoom and a good macro mode.

Thank you.
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Old Nov 9, 2008, 5:54 PM   #2
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NMathew,

A DSLR is going to have better image quality generally than a "point and shoot" or a "superzoom".

The Rebel XSi is a "top of the line" entry level camera. Couple it with a nice Macro lens and you should get top quality photos.

In the "point and shoot" department the SX10 definitely deserves a look. Another relative newcomer is the Panasonic DMC-FZ28. Check if those cameras meet your needs.

I'm not sure the huge need to autobracket. Most digicams get the exposure pretty close to "right on". You can always fix up the exposure a little using software after the fact.

-- Terry
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Old Nov 9, 2008, 9:15 PM   #3
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Thaks for the suggestions. The Autoexposure bracketing would be specifically for HDR images. From the littel bit that I've tried, I don't see 1EV being enough of a change to work. The specs I've found state that the FZ28 only does up to +-1EV for it's auto bracketing.
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Old Nov 9, 2008, 10:11 PM   #4
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Mind explaining what you mean about a Microsoft rebate and acquiring the SX10 for a net of $275 on ebay? I have been drooling over that camera and a price of $275 might make Santa Claus happy enough to bring me one!

You sound like you have experience with cameras, knowledge in their use, and have done your homework. I have to say that I have a certain prejudice towards Canon after having used their film and digital cameras for over twenty-five years. That said, I have more than once decided that I was going to look objectively at the features of a variety of cameras before making a new purchase, and I have always wound up buying a Canon, in large part because they make their digital cameras to be controllable and responsive to those who understand how manipulating exposure values affects the resulting photographs. I don't own one (although your response may change that) but I have not yet seen a fixed-lens camera that comes as close to the capabilities of a DSLR as the SX10. The sensor size of a good DSLR will undoubtedly result in higher quality files. A remote shutter release would be a nice feature, especially since you are so interested in macro photography, that is not entirely compensated for by timed release and is not present on the SX10. On the positive side, the 28 mm equivalent on the short end of the SX10 lens is not present on a lot of P&S cameras and will be appreciated when you make landscape and indoor shots. I also have been known to carry 20- to 25-pound backpacks with two camera bodies, four or five lenses, filters, tripod, and associated gimrac for several hours to get the shots I wanted with an SLR. Makes that SX10 look pretty easy to lug around.

As far as your HDR work goes, a manual bracket is not a lot of trouble with a camera offering manual settings, especially with the image stabilizer reducing the need for a tripod. In the 35-mm days it was common to bracket extensively in high-contrast situations without on-board software, and once you did it a couple of times it became pretty automatic and easy to knock of a 5-shot bracket without thinking.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 9:44 PM   #5
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I wanted to thank terry and docmoon for their suggestions. I found a ridiculously cheap used S5 with a return policy, and I decided to give it a go. One of my concerns with the superzoom was that the ones I was looking at were the bulk on an entry SLR costwise. Now I can wait a few months and pester the wife about an SLR if I stay as interested in my budding hobby as I am now.

Thank you.
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Old Nov 11, 2008, 10:39 PM   #6
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Cool!

The best camera is the one that's used most often!
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