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Old Nov 29, 2008, 1:00 PM   #1
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Hi, I need some advice on pros and cons with these cameras. I just don't know what direction to go in, but have been leaning toward the G1. I'm an amateur with "prosumer" leanings, but have tons to learn about controlling the camera. I've had a couple of classes, but have forgotten much of what I learned...will probably take more, particularly at a nearby botanical garden. My budget would just cover the G1 kit with one lens, around ~$800, but I might be able to add in a couple hundred more for a second lens. I have a graduation and travel coming in a couple of weeks, so need to buy this week, especially if it's an online purchase. No camera store in my area has the G1 in stock, so I can't get my hands on it. I'll eventually end up with the digital SLR (or micro four thirds) along with a newer point and shoot with a good macro.

Here's what I like to shoot and info on my camera habits and physical issues:
- Landscape, especially my garden, I take tons of photos to document my garden. I like to shoot insects, butterflies, and the plants themselves.
- Probably half my photos are macro shots.
- No sports...but waterfowl and birds would be really nice to be able to shoot. We kayak, so a dry box and a decent camera would be wonderful (probably pelican box).
- I have small hands, the N65 fits me comfortably, but bigger Nikons seem heavy.
- I have nerve damage in various spots...in my shoulders and arms, and my hands are not as steady as they used to be. I can't handle a heavy camera for a long time, and the weight around my neck can also be painful. Kneeling and standing back up isn't always easy. I tend to carry a digicam in my purse most of the time. I have a monopod and a tripod.
- I wear glasses, mostly for computer and reading so they are on and off my face a lot.

I have a Nikon film DSLR, which is what I learned on. I have had a N50 and N65, which is what I have now. I have two lenses for that camera and a fair selection of 52mm filters. Lenses: AF NIKKOR 35-80mm 1:4-5:6D and an "ED" AF NIKKOR 70-300mm 1:4-5.6D (hope I have that correct). I bought my lenses "lightly used". I'm not tied to Nikon if I need all new lenses anyway.

The point and shoot digicams I have had include:
- Nikon Coolpix 950. My first digital. I gave it away...the one with the swivel body--loved, loved, loved that camera, especially the swivel, so I didn't have to get on my knees as much.
- Canon S70 I still have, but not impressed with the photo quality and disliked the menus, rarely used the manual controls. Macros were more difficult for some reason.
- Panasonic Lumix TZ-1. I really like this camera...great lens, love the zoom, and pretty good macro capability, but the pictures are often a bit soft. I often wish for more pixels on this camera, I like to crop details out of larger photos (I know, bad habit!). I occasionally use this for video.

Why I'm considering the G-1: Decent photos have been posted, lighter weight and size, new technology. The flip LCD and good quality view finder, which I miss terribly on the point and shoots, are a big attraction. The flip lcd works for holding the camera low or high for me. I don't keep the glasses on consistently, so using the LCD can be good/bad depending on where I have to hold it.
Downsides to the G-1: New lens investments...would prefer Leica lenses after experiencing my TZ-1. Macro--doesn't seem to be a priority but I haven't seen much posted. Video would be nice, but it isn't a deal-breaker.

Why I'm considering a Nikon: Familiar system, maybe reuse the existing lenses and filters? However, I need image stabilization of some sort due to the nerve damage. However, I'm not sure which camera body is a good match for my needs.

I welcome all thoughts--Canon isn't on my target list mainly due to the menu systems although I also found the zoom awkward on the S70 and was disappointed in the image quality on that camera.

Last, I use a macbook pro with aperture and photoshop elements for post-processing.

Sorry about all the information, but you can see why I need help!



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Old Nov 29, 2008, 3:29 PM   #2
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The Panasonic G1 uses optical image stabilization in the lens, and there are only two lenses currently available for it, the kit 14-45mm (35mm equivalent of 28-90mm) f/3.5-5.6, and the 45-200mm (35mm equivalent of 90-400mm) f/4-5.6. This might be a good choice for you, but few reviews are available.

Since the Nikon D40/D40X/D60 doesn't have an internal autofocus motor, the Nikon lenses you have won't autofocus. But since those Nikons are small and light (17 oz.), they might work well for you when used with some small and light VR lenses. But they only have the optical viewfinder.

Another possibility might be the Olympus E-520. It weighs 16.8 ounces, has sensor shift image stabilization, and the selection of lenses is much larger that for the Panasonic, and include some nice macro lenses.

Sony also has the A300 with sensor shift image stabilization and an articulated 'Live View' display, but it weighs 20.5 ounces.
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Old Nov 29, 2008, 3:34 PM   #3
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Thank you, I'll look up the other cameras as well.

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