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Old Mar 28, 2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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Hi All

I'm looking for a new camera for taking landscape pictures - sea, mountains, sunset/sunrise etc - it will be exclusively outdoor photography I think. I currently havea KonicaMinolta A200, which I've have had a lot of use out of but which is a bit awkward for taking everywhere due to the size (about the same as a DSLR), really looking for something that is pocket sized. So I think a compact would be more what I want than a DSLR. Would like manual controls and the ability to use filters as well so I can try and be creative if possible.

So what do people recommend? My budget will be upto £350 (don't know what that is in dollars probably about $500 or so)

Thanks

thedoctor


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Old Mar 28, 2009, 10:48 AM   #2
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For landscape/seascape, you generally want a wide angle lens, and most compact P&S digicams don't go very wide. Unless you want to stitch multiple shots together, I don't think you'll have much luck.
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Old Mar 28, 2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Well actually there are a few, and they have only been out a relatively short period of time. TCav is right, you want a wide angle lens, and even the newer P&S that have a relatively wide angle are not as wide as what you would find on dDLRs.

I think that the best selection by far is the Panasonic LX3. It has Leica f2-2.8 lens that runs from 24 mm to 60 mm (35mm equivalent) (2.5x zoom factor), and supports full manual operations. In 35mm equivalent it equals the kit lenses that most of the dSLR kit lens provide, and for really wide scenes, stitching multiple shots together would still be needed, but its essentially as wide as they (P&S) come. Now the downside is that it only goes to 60mm on the long end, however you receive an excellent ambient low light capability with the faster lens. It also supports ISO 80 and has good noise control up through ISO 400. The camera fits into a pocket (its not an extremely small compact like the Canon ELF series), but it is still a compact P&S at 9 oz. It should be within your price range. For the filters, the LX3 uses extension tubes that surround the lens.

For whatever reason, there are not a lot of posters in the Panasonic forum here on Steve's using the LX3, however there are very active forums on other sites (unfortunately). Here are some pictures with the LX3...
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=23

The other one is the Canon G10. It is not quite as wide 28 to 140mm (4x zoom factor) however it has more length on the telephoto end. Its lens is not as fast f2.8-4.5, and its a larger heavier, camera at 14oz.

These two are the most popular. There are a few others, their lens are usually slower, and they are no wider than 28mm.

Both the G10 and LX3 are 10mp cameras, however one major difference is the sensor size and pixel density. The LX3 has a largre sensor, thus the pixels are not as densily packed together resulting in less image noise.


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Old Mar 29, 2009, 11:14 AM   #4
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It depends a lot on how you visualize landscapes.

I'm appearently in the same school as the other responders (so far) in that I find a true WA critical, and don't find the need for much telephoto, for landscape work.

I currently use an older camera (Nikon cp8400) in the class of the Panasonic LX3. I find my 24-80mm equivalent some range excellent and would not want to suffer with only a 28mm at the wide end. I could live with a 28mm if I had to but not with only the 35-40mm equivalent commonly found in P&S cameras. I constantly follow the new models in the class of my old cp8400 just in case it dies permanently and I'm forced to replace it. The current leader on the replacement list is the LX3.

My suggestion would be to consider the LX3 and also look at the Canon G10 and Nikon P6000. The later two models are limited by their 28mm wide limit but offer more tele. All three offer a RAW format and should be at or around your price limit.

I believe there are some Samsung models that offer true wides (~24-28mm range). They might be decent considerations.
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Old Mar 29, 2009, 5:04 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. I had seen the LX3 and it does look a good option.

After spending most of the last 24 hours looking at cameras on the internet, I am more confused than when I started. I am now edging towards going for a dSLR. I know originally I wanted something that was more pocket-friendly, but in the back of my mind I sort of want an SLR, guess I will just have to budget for a nice bag to carry it and any lens.

So changing the original question, what in your opinion would be the best option of an SLR primarily for outdoors/landscapes, but will probably also be put into general use as well a bit (family, pets etc, and possible some macro work). As SLRs generally cost more I guess I can up my budget to £500 (about $750).

Looking around there are some good current deals on Nikon D60 with a couple of lens (Nikon one and a Tamron one), Olympus 520 with one or two Zuiko lens, Canons seem to be a bit more expensive than the others. Also would I be better off getting a body only and a good (although still within budget) wide angle lens, or get a deal with a kit lens and use that until I can afford a good wide angle lens. I don't have any SLR lens currently and don't have any brand bias, which I guess makes it easier as can go with any make.

Thanks

thedoctor
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Old Mar 29, 2009, 7:45 PM   #6
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If you are going to be looking at dSLR cameras, also check out the Pentax K200 and K20. Both cameras are weather sealed, which comes in very handy when shooting in poor weather, dusty conditions, or when shooting waterfalls in the wind (as I did yesterday).
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Old Mar 30, 2009, 1:41 AM   #7
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I have the feeling that I am going to confuse you a bit more, however bear with me a bit. Wide angle photography is dependent upon lenses, which is in part dependent upon the size of the sensor. Since digital sensors are smaller than 35mm film, they tend to "magnify" depending upon just how small they are. This is expressed as a crop factor. This is good for good if your looking for telephoto lenses, but it creates a small problem for wide angle. Here are a couple of links that may help...

http://digital-photography-school.co...ctor-explained
http://www.digital-slr-guide.com/crop-factor.html

The reason for bringing this up is your comparing Nikon to Canon to Pentax to Olympus to Sony, etc. And its apples to oranges if you do not factor in the sensor size, especially for wide angle photography.

There are three main sensor sizes...

APS-C - Pentax, Sony, Nikon Crop Factor = 1.5
4:3 - Olympus Crop Factor = 2.0
APS-H - Canon - Crop Factor = 1.6

An 18mm lens on Pentax has an equivalent 35mm focal length of 18 * 1.5 = 27mm
An 18mm lens on Olympus has an equivalent 35mm focal length of 18 * 2 = 36mm
An 18mm lens on Canon has an equivalent 35mm focal length of 18 * 1.6 = 29mm

The lower the focal length the wider the view of the lens. Here is a link to a site so that you can compare the differences in focal length... (notice you can slide the arrow along the bar to zoom in and out, and that underneath is shows you the focal length and the viewing angle)

http://www.tamron.com/lenses/learnin...comparison.php

So going back to my first post on the LX3, it has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24mm. Compare this to the 35mm equivalent of the various vendors and you will see that the LX3's lens will equal a 16mm in APS-C, 12mm in 4:3 and 15mm in APS-H. So going to a dSLR will add additional viewing angle for lenses smaller than these focal lengths in the various vendors lenses.

The other item that might help is image stabilization. Pentax, Sony and Olympus use in body stabilization where by any lens mounted is stabilized. Canon and Nikon use lens stabilization where by you need to buy stabilized lenses (at additional cost) to obtain this, and its usually only available on standard and telephoto lenses, and usually not on wide angle. To be fair, stabilization removes shake induced by holding the the camera and its usually only noticeable in telephoto shots. I like to use it in wide angle shots in low light and in the evening.

With that said, any of the major brands will produce excellent results in the areas you have an interest in. Sony purchased KonicaMinolta, thus any lenses you have, would probably mount on the Sony cameras (you should check on this). What will matter is how the camera appeals to you, how it feels in your hands, how you like the view finder, manuever through the menus, use the wheels and buttons on the body, etc. A camera that you hate will not get used.

To be fair, a body & kit lens combination will run around your £350 and up. A good wide angle lens will run around £350 and up also.

A dSLR has a much larger sensor, and will have less digital noise, but will add complexity, size and weight.

I have been using a Pentax K100D an entry level dSLR for the last 4 years and have acquired a number of lenses - a set of 4 the I primarly use. I also have an LX3 for the times that I just can not carry the camera and lenses (business trips). Last week I acquired a Pentax K20. Its a more complex and capable camera. I will say, that I am very pleased with the LX3, especially when compared to the dSLRs. If your looking for something a bit lighter and easier to use, but retains all the manual controls, you really can not go wrong with the LX3. It was designed specifically for thoes who wanted general and wide angle photography, that wanted a unit smaller than a dSLR. Also the Canon G10 is not an inapproperiate choice either.

One main reason to go to a dSLR is to be able to get a wider lens than offered by the LX3/G10 solution. To do this you need to go to wide angle lenses with focal lengths of 12-24mm. These lenses run $600 and up depending on lens mount.

Hope that helps....


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Old Mar 30, 2009, 10:04 AM   #8
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I thought that I would add a bit more, here on the topic.

dSLRs have what you might consider 3 ranges of lenses, spread across two lens types. The ranges consist of wide angle, standard and telephoto, using either zoom or prime lens types (but you know all of this from your film days). Standard kit lenses are that can be bundled with the camera body usually are in the range of 18-55mm for their respective camera body (thus are dependent on sensor sizes). Therefore, 18mm is usually the low end for the standard zooms and are relatively in-expensive. When converted and expressed in 35mm terms, they have the focal length (refer to the previous posting) of 27,29 or 36mm. However, don't get hung up on the specific numbers - is 27 that much better to have than 29 - that is really your call, the difference is a degree or two in the angle of view, which is a degree or two.

The low end of the focal ranges, varies across the various camera vendor. For instance - here is a very quick survey of wide angle lenses available for the different camera vendors. Note - now here is where some third party lens vendors come in to play, where their lenses will mount on most of the various camera brands. Also, most of these are zoom lenses, and I am just using the lower number of he range.

Pentax - 12mm or using Sigma or Tamron 10mm - (in 35mm terms = 10*1.5=15mm)
Sony - 11mm - (in 35mm terms = 11*1.5=16.5mm)
Olympus - 7mm - (in 35mm terms = 7*2=14mm)
Canon - 10mm - (in 35mm terms = 10*1.6=16mm)
Nikon - 10mm - (in 35mm terms = 10*1.5=15mm)So what you have here is that essentially no single camera brand has a significient advantage over the others. Then you get into (if you want to pay for it) who has the best lens - they are all very good with slight variations in terms of sharpness and colorations - and you get into a religious discussion on the topic.

Lets go back to the film camera you have now - KonicaMinolta A200. If you like the body and how it operates, you probably would like the Sony line, since it is the the same KonicaMinolta folks designing them. I would check out their camera bodies, if your inclined to go the dSLR route.

http://www.sony.net/Products/dslr/

While a bit long in the tooth, check out their a200 and see how close it is to your KonicaMinolta A200.

http://www.sony.net/Products/dslr/a200/features.html

Now, just to add to the confusion factor, Panasonic has a new camera - the G1 that looks like a very small dSLR, with interchangable lenses that they have come out with. It is a very small body, with very small lenses and its called a micro 4:3. What they have done is removed the mirror, so it is similiar to a P&S with a video monitor for a view finder. It uses the 4:3 sensor, but by removing the mirror, they can mount the lenses closer to the sensor (reducing the body size) but that also allows them to shrink the lens size and weight. Also, there is an adapter that allows you to use the standard 4:3 lenses on the G1, so you can go down to 9mm (or 18mm in 35mm equivalance).

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...sonic-g1.shtml (scroll down to the bottom and look at the picture comparing overall size)
http://www.four-thirds.org/en/microft/

The problem here is that its new, fairly pricey and there is not a full set of micro 4:3 lenses available (I think that there are 3 lenses out now, with a couple more coming soon - but again with the adapter you can use full size 4:3 lenses also).

So dispite the large amount of information you have, it again comes down to 2 major areas. P&S or dSLR - with a hybrid solution in between. They will all do 24mm (35mm equivalent and above). The dSLR gets you below 24mm with an increased cost, size and weight. The hybrid solution starts you at 24mm (35mm equivalent), but with the future promise of going wider, at an increase in price but with a moderate increase in size and weight.
  • If you want the smallest manual unit - go with the Panasonic LX3[/*]
  • If you want small with more zoom - go with the Canon G10[/*]
  • If you want a dSLR but small - go with the Panasonic G1 hybrid[/*]
  • If you want a dSLR but want to use your present lenses - go with Sony and maybe just purchase a body using your existing lenses[/*]
  • If you want a dSLR and bypass the above - you have an open field to select from.[/*]
Hope that helps, and sorry for the confusing information dump....

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Old Mar 30, 2009, 10:16 AM   #9
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interested_observer wrote:
Quote:
  • If you want a dSLR but want to use your present lenses - go with Sony and maybe just purchase a body using your existing lenses[/*]
From what I can gather from skimming this thread, the OP's existing camera appears to be the Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 (which has a non-removable lens). Konica Minolta didn't make an A200 dSLR model. ;-) IOW, new lenses would be needed with any dSLR solution, including one from Sony using a Minolta AF lens mount.

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Old Mar 30, 2009, 12:03 PM   #10
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My current camera is the dimage A200 which is a fixed lens, so no old lens.

Thanks for all the info interested_observer, I think I understand it all. I think my best bet is to go to my nearest shop and have a play with the cameras and see how they feel in my hands. Then see what is the best deal I can get on my favourite ergonomically. I will probably go for a basic kit lens to start with to learn the camera and get familiar with it for the first few months and then decide what direction to go for lens (I feel this is going to become a very expensive longterm purchase). A camera with image stabilisation in the body seems the way to go as opens up a lot more lens options.

I like the idea of the Pentax K200 being 'weatherised' as you can almost guarantee it will rain as soon as you get into a good shooting position in the British Isles.

Thanks again for your help
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