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Old Jan 12, 2009, 8:32 PM   #11
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I have a Panasonic FZ28, which I really like. I also have a Pentax K200D, which I like as well.

There are some great superzooms out there, one of which I consider the FZ28. If you take pictures in moderate to bright light, they will serve you very well.

If you want blurred backgrounds, good picture quality at high ISO's, and fast continuous burst modes, then you might want to think about a DSLR.

How much is being asked for the good Pentax (DSLR) you were offered?

You can get a Pentax K200D with kit lens for less than $600 online. You can get a Sony A200 kit for less than $500. You can get a Olympus E420 kit for much less than that. All of them will beat the superzooms in low light. They will probably focus faster, too.

My two cents are this. You are just entering photography as a proper hobby. Take the plunge for a superzoom. I recommend the FZ28. It will cost you about $300 online. Use it. Use all the modes. Take shots in a variety of settings with a variety of subjects. See what works and and doesn't. The FZ28 can do a lot. It's also easy to carry around. If you find out that what you want to do cannot be done by an ultrazoom, then spring for the DSLR. Then you can start investing in good lenses, many of which will cost more by themselves than any ultrazoom.You should be able to sell your ultrazoom for at least $200 if you do it within a year.
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Old Jan 12, 2009, 11:48 PM   #12
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Folks-

We are now embarked, but I wanted to chime in on this thread. Not every single person can realistically afford to make the necessary/required investment in a DSLR camera. So naturally the question remains: Is a an point and shoot ultra zoom camera a viable alternative?

The answer is that it very definitely is a viable alternative. Please take a deep breath, and give some consideration to stepping beyond the old class and calibre argument that seems to divide the P&S folks from the DSLR folks.

There always will be many folks, who for one reason or another can't make the jump to the DSLR realm. That does not make them any less as photographers, nor are their images not noteworthy. They are indeed!

Whether you use an ultra zoom or a DSLR, it is the image that REALLY counts. Folks, we have to recognize real photographic skill. It is as simple as that. Yes, I would be the very first to admit that DSLR cameras can do more very easily. But I think that we also have to give credit to and to honor the skill of folks who are working lesser equipment.

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Old Jan 13, 2009, 4:37 AM   #13
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Sarah - I'm really not sure what your point is here. The OP apparently CAN afford an inexpensive DSLR and they're simply weighing the pros/cons of superzoom vs. DSLR. No one here is suggesting "real photographers use DSLRs" or anything like that. So I'm not sure who you are chastising or for what purpose. In fact, the predominant recommendation here seems to be for a superzoom and NOT a dslr.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 5:52 AM   #14
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Get a cheap superzoom on which to learn, and carry it at every opportunity, even when you can't imagine using it. It's quite easy to do that - mine will fit in a smallwaist bag, if necessary, though I usually carry a few extra bits. I recommend the Kodak Z1012, a good, very cheap, fully-featured learning tool. (I've used film SLRs and all sorts of other things in the past nearly 50 years from age 11). Take hundreds and hundreds of shots, learning as you go.

When you have a clear idea of what you want from a camera, and know how much you're willing to spend and how much you're willing to carry, get a dSLR or better superzoomif you you wish to, but keep the cheap superzoom anyway as a lightweight backup.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 8:48 AM   #15
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Alan is right, buy a cheap superzoom with a lot of manual settings so you can learn how to use a camera. Walk before you run. Many older models 10x to 18x optical are available for under 2 or 300. Buy from a reputable dealer and enjoy the experience, take lots of pictures and pay attention to what works and what doesn't.

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Old Jan 13, 2009, 8:49 AM   #16
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Hey, thanks for everyone replying it has been a great help, though means i've spent far to much time researching and reading reviews on the internet! I have some experience with film cameras and through my job understand the basics of the technically side of a lot of the features and use photoshop for imagine manipulation for verifable cgi's and post production on certain things, so tho i'm a total novice to photography i'm not totally wet behind the ears.

I think i'm leaning towards the Sony DSLR-A200k or A300k depending on whether I want the live view or not. These cameras have got some really good reviews and featured in a couple of top 5 picks and things like that, though not as loved as some of the Nikon and Canon models I can get the Sonys one for way cheaper. The A200 can I can get for round £240 with lens and the A300 around £290 lens. The similar Canon and Nikon models all still seem to be way more than that and the Sonys seem a great deal at that price.

Am still looking at the Panasonic FZ28 someone recomended tho that is only ever so slightly cheaper than the sony DSLR cameras, but could be an option.





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Old Jan 13, 2009, 9:01 AM   #17
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The Sony Alphas are a good choice. They have sensor shift image stabilization, so any lens will be stabilized, and though the selection of OEM and third party lenses isn't up to those of Canon and Nikon dSLRs, the selection of used Minolta lenses is quite good and they will all work on a Sony Alpha.

The only difference between the A200 and A300 is the 'Live View', which is good for macrophotography and shooting from odd angles, but it's of little value otherwise.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 9:44 AM   #18
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Thanks for the advice. I've also read the optical viewfinder is slightly smaller on the a300 cause of the live view. Will try and look at them both and also with budget in mind see which I prefer etc.
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 10:02 AM   #19
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hearing_aid wrote:
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...depending on whether I want the live view or not...
Live (electronic, from the sensor) preview is the greatest advance I have seen in roughly 50 years of photography. Having it in the viewfinder, as in some superzooms, is good, but on the back LCD of a dSLR will just about do. You may occasionally need a black cloth over the head or other dodges, in adverse ambient lighting conditions, unless you have an electronic eye-level viewfinder (EVF).

'Quickview' in superzooms such as my Z1012 is a good substitute, allowing you immediately to review the shot you just took for just a second or two, so that you know whether to try again with different settings or not.

With the aid of live preview, you do, in the camera, before you take the shot, lots of the work we used to do in the darkroom, and now do when necessary in post-processing. For me, it's priceless!

Good luck!
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Old Jan 13, 2009, 11:55 AM   #20
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I also have the Canon Xsi/450D with a few lenses a really great camera, but i also have the Fuji S100fs that really impresses me and it also has low noise for a bridge
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