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Old Jan 31, 2009, 9:31 PM   #1
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I am looking to get into the hobby and I've been doing a fair bit of research before I jump in. I want a camera that has an excellent "idiot-proof' mode, especially with lots of well-designed scene presets, but also gives me lots of opportunity to learn how to play with some features with an eye towards maybe a DSLR four or five years down the line (so it'd be great if the camera had some serious durability, too). I think I've narrowed down my choice to the Fz28, which seems to get top reviews all around and is comparable (though to what I want, seemingly slightly better) than Canon's SX10. It seems that I can get the Fz28 for around $300, and the SX10 for a little more than that, so that's a factor as well. I just have a couple of questions before I go for it, aside from getting confirmation that the FZ28 meets the above criteria as I think it does.

1) The other cameras that appear to be comparable to the FZ28 are the H50, the S2000HD, and the Z1015. The H50 seems to sit around the same slightly-higher price point that the SX10 is, but gets good reviews. I've seen maybe one review each on the Fuji and the Kodak, though, and each are about $60 cheaper. What am I sacrificing, and is it worth it? I'm willing to spend a little extra now to get a better, longer-lasting product, but if, for an untrained, beginner eye who will primarily be using the camera to learn and take pictures of people (and some scenery, especially on an upcoming trip to Hawaii), if the cheaper ones will do just as well, then that's obviously worth considering. (To that end, another question I have is what the real-world difference is between a 15 and 18x zoom, and between, say, a 31, 28, and 27mm wide angle. Playing with them in store only gives me so much).

2) I'm not in a huge rush to get this camera - the trip is in August, though I'd like to have it by March or April. What is the likelihood of a price drop before that now that Panasonic is coming out with some just-announced cameras? If low, then I may as well get it now and start learning.

3) I see a lot of places that are selling the FZ28 for $300 and offer a "kit" for roughly 50-60 more. It seems like these generally include mediocre tripods, an extra battery, and a 2GB card (I already have one of these), and maybe a bag and lens cleaner. Are these actually an added value and worth me buying in this kit form, or should I really just buy the things I most need (I doubt highly I'd buy a tripod anytime soon on my own, for example).

Thanks so much!
-Jeffrey

Edit: I will add that one other feature that's important is flash recycle; I tried out the Canon SX110 (not 10) in a store today, for example, and though it was already sort of teetering on the list, the seemingly slow flash recycle definitely pushed it down more. Or should I just expect that on such powerful cameras?
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 10:19 PM   #2
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Since you don't need the camera right now, I'd wait a couple of months for prices to come down and new models to come out. For instance, it's about time for Sony to release updates on its two ultrazooms, the H50 and H10. Both have excellent picture quality and fast flash recycles, but only 15x and 10x optical zoom, respectively. I'm sure the new models will have more optical zoom. Also, when they do come out, the H50 and H10 will probably drop in price.

PS. Never buy the package with "accessories". You can buy better and cheaper memory cards, tripods, etc. on your own.
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Old Jan 31, 2009, 10:49 PM   #3
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Hi Jeffrey and welcome to the forums here at Steve's.

I second everything Andy told you. Forget the accessory packages. Plus, if you're new to the hobby, this little tid-bit of information should be useful: Cameras worth having usually go on sale in the spring. If you hold off until March, April or even May, you may get a better price and you should still have enough time to get familiar with your new camera before your vacation.

You'll find a lot of fans of the Panasonic FX28 on these forums. You might want to ask more specific questions about it and the Canon in the sections dedicated to those brands. Make sure you post in the regular Panasonic and Canon sections - not the ones further down that are for Panasonic and Canon DSLRs.

But... have you seen this comparison test of most of the major megazoom cameras from DPReview?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q109superzoomgroup/

I've posted this in several messages lately. I hope no one has become annoyed by this - but while there are a number of solid reviews of these cameras on the Internet and in print (including here at Steve's), there are precious few direct comparison reviews. And this piece includes the FZ28, the SX10, the H50, the S2000 and others that you might not have considered. So check it out, take your time and read the whole article. And look closely at the included sample photos.

Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes and feel free to ask more questions.
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Old Feb 1, 2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice so far - the dpreview.com comparison is great; I don't know how I've missed that despite browsing that site a bunch.

When the new cameras come out in the spring, how quickly will it become difficult to find this year's models like the FZ28? (I don't think I saw a specific replacement for it in Panasonic's announcement, but I could've missed it easily). Will the new models probably come out at roughly the price point that the current generation is now, give or take a few dollars, or will they more likely start in the $400 range? Also, though I know it's purely speculative for the most part, what sort of improvements seem likely to show up that would give added value to someone like me, aside from maybe higher megapixels and larger zoom range - the first of which I've read is mostly unnecessary at this point, and the second of which I still only sort of understand from a photography perspective.

Thanks!
-Jeffrey
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Old Feb 1, 2009, 10:53 AM   #5
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stckfigure wrote:
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....other cameras that appear to be comparable to the FZ28 are the H50, the S2000HD, and the Z1015....
If you're still considering the Kodaks, the Z1012 might suit you better than the Z1015. There's quite a bit of discussion in the Kodak forum here about them. I have a Z712 and a Z1012. The Z1015 has a longer lens, and more automation, by all accounts. The Z1012 still has plenty of presets if you want them. If you want lots of control the Z1012 may be better. None of these cameras will be particularly good at maximum zoom, so don't pay too much attention to that unless you've tried it out.

However, my local camera shop, who have generally good judgement, chose to stock the Z1015 as more suitable for their clientele, plus the SX-10, which they regard as superior to the FZ-28 with regard to image quality and noise - "probably the best of the hybrids now available". They like the older FZ-50 for build quality and good lens.

The Kodak scores over the others in cost, weight, and dimensions, and loses on solidity and classy name. I'm happy withits image quality and love the electronic viewfinder, in which I adjust exposure by eye. Itshigh ISO performance is pretty good.

I urge you to go to a store and try these cameras out, if possible, and ideally take some shots on a card of your own. 'Feel' and ease of use are very important.
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Old Feb 1, 2009, 10:59 AM   #6
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Biro wrote:
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......But... have you seen this comparison test of most of the major megazoom cameras from DPReview?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q109superzoomgroup/
Yes, but they chose not to include the Kodak entries in the group, for no good reason I can see. I suspect snobbery. One thing I have learnt about cameras since I started in about 1960 is that price is not necessarily indicative of quality. Most manufacturers have made good and bad cameras.

I wish Sarah Joyce (mtclimber) was around at present - she's probably tried them all!

Edit: But I notice that dpreview say in their FAQ that they expect the manufacturers to lend them a review sample, so it's a possibility thatKodak may be too parsimonious, sluggish, or arrogantto do so. I hope not!

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Old Feb 1, 2009, 7:21 PM   #7
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Alan T wrote:
"However, my local camera shop, who have generally good judgement, chose to stock the Z1015 as more suitable for their clientele, plus the SX-10, which they regard as superior to the FZ-28 with regard to image quality and noise - "probably the best of the hybrids now available". They like the older FZ-50 for build quality and good lens.[/quote]"

Alan... I am interested, seeing as you are in the U.K., in learning whether your local shop also carries the Canon SX1. As you probably already know, a lot of Americans wish this camera could be had on this side of the pond. But I recall seeing one U.K. Web review that didn't find the SX1's CMOS sensor was enough reason - in itself - for paying more for the SX1 versus the SX10 with its CCD sensor. Just wondering if you or anyone who know well had had any exposure to the SX1 (pun intended).

As for myself, I like the SX10, but I'm considering an FZ28 (Sarah Joyce is a big fan of this camera) as a back-up to my DSLR because of its smaller size, lighter weight and slightly faster lens. My old Canon S3 IS had an f/2.7-3.5 lens with a 36-436mm zoom. The SX10 - admittedly with a superior 28-500mm+ zoom - starts at f/2.8 but drops down to f/5 by 200mm and ends up at something like f/5.6 at full telephoto. That, along with the size of the camera, is a concern to me.

I hope DPReview weren't being snobs in excluding any Kodaks from that megazoom test. They did, however, include the Kodak Z8612 IS in another comparison test -this one of so-called "enthusiast compacts":

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q408enthusiastgroup/

Meanwhile, Jeffrey, when new cameras are announced, it's usually a month or two before they hit the retail outlets. So finding current models will be easy for some time - and their prices are likely to drop the nearer replacement models come to their release date. As for prices on new models, it's hard to say. But most manufacturers try to keep the price tag from jumping too much. But, make no mistake, you'll pay full retail for the first few months after any new model is introduced. Which is another reason the older models become such good deals.
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Old Feb 1, 2009, 11:35 PM   #8
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Biro wrote:
Quote:
...whether your local shop also carries the Canon SX1. ....I recall seeing one U.K. Web review that didn't find the SX1's CMOS sensor was enough reason - in itself - for paying more for the SX1 versus the SX10.....
Quote:
..........but drops down to f/5 by 200mm and ends up at something like f/5.6 at full telephoto. ...
Quote:
DPReview ...did, ...include the Kodak Z8612 IS comparison test ...of so-called "enthusiast compacts
I haven't seen 'wrexcam' mention it. I think they'd agree it's too expensive and a dSLR would be a better buy. I'll ask when I next see them. They say the Olympus E420 "is a decent camera", but would recommend paying more for a Pentax Km ("good alternative to a hybrid") or K200. You can read their minireviews on their website, e.g., http://www.wrexcam.com/digi-CAMHYBRID-PRICES.htm

A large aperture at a long focal length will make a camera heavy, through the laws of physics. It's an inevitable part of the 'superzoom hybrid' compromise.

That'dpreview', of the Z8612,which I saw, I think, was an astonishing place to review & compareit, as it doesn't have a viewfinder, and has nothing to offer over the very good Z812/Z1012 except a lower price.
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Old Feb 4, 2009, 5:03 PM   #9
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Couple of points;

$ & £ have fallen, cameras manufactured in far east?may have an upward effect on price.

Panasonic can capture RAW - may be important when using cameras with small sensors resulting in noise problems - its a clincher for me when I capture something special, or just want to play with the images.

Canon has superior image stabilisation, Panasonic pretty good, may be important when using zoom.



PSAnyone frequently print larger than A4 / 10x8in? I don't understand the number of megapixels offered on cameras nowadays. It seems to me that 7 is ample and would improve low light performance.





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Old Feb 12, 2009, 10:22 PM   #10
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The Canon SX10 only costs $40 more than the FZ28, but you get 560mm, a flipping LCD, and a flash hot shoe. Yes, the FZ28 has EOZ, but unless you go down to 5mp, it's not worth it.Why have 25.7 zoom but half the MP's anyway?

I liked the Lumiz FZ30/50 more than fz28.
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