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Old Jun 13, 2009, 6:53 AM   #1
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Default My first camera- buying advice please...

Hello everybody

Well the time is here, the wife and I have saved up the money so we could buy
ourselves each a camera. our budget is $600 for both so, I have been looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 Digital Camera, from what I can tell it seems to be a rather
good camera however, I am open for suggestions in the same price range. In time we would like to graduate to DSLR's as we grow into the photography hobby.
What we are wanting is all around general use cameras, We live in a beautiful state so, I already know we'll be taking lots of nature pictures, in fact we are already planning where we'll be going to take these pictures. We would also want to use these cameras for taking pictures of our kids and grandkids ...
We will not be using them for fast action pictures such as sports however, we'll need cameras that are fast enough for those " Oh honey quick, grab the camera " moments
if you know what I mean ...
I'll be purchasing these cameras on Monday however, I thought I would seek some last minute advise prior to my purchase....
Thanks for any and all advise

James
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Old Jun 13, 2009, 3:45 PM   #2
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So your looking for 2 cameras totaling $600, for general photography, possibly leading to an extended interest with a potential dSLR in the future.

So you can go two P&S cameras...
a) the same type and model?
b) one say suited to wide angle and the other suited to telephoto?
c) one simple P&S and one bridge camera - maybe a superzoom (like the fz28)?
d) maybe one good in low light?
Maybe a couple more questions....
a) any size and or weight restrictions?
b) shirt pocket size or purse size, or jacket pocket size?
c) the same camera brand?
d) you would probably want both to use the same memory (SD cards)
The FZ28 is a good all around camera. I might suggest then staying with the Panasonic brand and possibly considering a smaller pocketable camera for a shirt pocket / purse, or where ever. In this way they would both use the same SD cards, along with the same software that comes along with the camera (saving additional expense initially). Also the menuing systems would be somewhat similar as to their operations - making both easire to learn and for both of you to switch between either camera.

How about something like the FX100 to complement the FZ28? It is a different, smaller, lighter form factor. Well regarded. It is a little older camera, but still very capable, the street price is very reasonable at around $180.

You would probably want to get a spare battery for each and a couple of extra SD cards for vacations and the like. These could be had very cheaply via mail order over the internet.

Just some ideas....
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Old Jun 14, 2009, 7:02 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for your reply

Yes we decided to go with two of the same, the reason for doing so is simplicity...
We'll both then have decent cameras to start off with and, when we head out and start taking pictures, we'll not be passing a camera back and forth ...
The reason for this is simple, I view photography as a creative art and, when those creative juices start to flow, passing back and forth would be an interruption.
We're viewing this as a starter kit for the two of use. Its rather hard to say just what all we would like out of a camera cause we are new to the hobby.
My thoughts on the matter are, after we head out and start taking our pictures, I'm rather certain our wish list of features will grow. What turns out to be important to one may not be to the other. I'll then have a more specific sense, of individual direction in the hobby.
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Old Jun 14, 2009, 9:47 AM   #4
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Hi James,

I'm a novice who received the FZ28 as a present last Christmas; I picked it out. This is a great camera in many respects, and I've really learned a lot about photography while using it - and I've taken some great photos.

However, I regret not getting a camera with a hot shoe to easily mount an external flash. IMO, the FZ28's indoor performance with the built-in flash is frequently not so good.

I'm learning to compensate somewhat by manually changing some of the camera's settings, when necessary. But my wife is stuck because she has no interest in using any of the FZ28's manual modes, relying instead on the camera's "intelligent auto" mode.

Mike
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Old Jun 14, 2009, 12:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_1 View Post
...the FZ28's indoor performance with the built-in flash is frequently not so good...my wife is stuck...no interest in using any of the FZ28's manual modes, relying on..intelligent auto
That looks another good reason to get two different cameras. These auto modes will frequently resort to the flash in low light levels, without being intelligent enough to know whether the puny built-in flash will reach as far the intended subject. In many circumstances, switching the flash off and turning up the ISO will give a better result. So she needs to know how to switch the flash off, at least.

Everyone must be familiar with the scene as lots of people point their cameras at a beautiful and distant evening scene, and dozens of flashes go off, illuminating thin air, or the back of someone else's head.

A fine tool like the FZ-28 looks like expensive overkill to me, if it's only going to be used on 'auto'. I'd suggest the same money might be better spent on a compact with a really good lens (which will probably be a much shorter zoom).
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Old Jun 14, 2009, 8:09 PM   #6
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Thank you both for the replies ...
Mike_1
Is there any way you could post some of the lower light images ?
Being forced to use the settings in my opinion is a good thing. As I have already stated these cameras are to be used as learning tools, simply using auto made as already stated , would simply be a waste.

Alan T
I have read a few of your postings and, you have always seemed knowledgeable and helpful. In your opinion would this camera serve as a good learning tool ?

What other recommendations would you all have ?

Thanks again
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 12:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
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...you have always seemed knowledgeable and helpful. In your opinion would this camera serve as a good learning tool ?...
James,
Thanks for the compliment. By all accounts (but no direct experience), yes it would. I now realise I've confused your question and Mike_1's reply, and your two spouses, sorry! But perhaps not uselessly. I hope neither lady is offended.

The FZ-28 is very similar in concept to my latest 2 cameras, Kodak Z712 and Z1012. They are cheap and cheerful in comparison, but smaller and lighter.

I have bought and used and know well 8 digicams for myself and close family since 2002. All were quite inexpensive for their time. The last was 6 months ago, a very fully-featured Rollei compact (possibly not available if you're in the US) for my daughter.

The camera stored in my vehicle is a Casio compact from Sep05. It has a full range of settings available as well as auto, lacking only the long zoom and electronic viewfinder of the Kodaks. My point is that this compact complements my superzooms well. I have two of them, like your proposed his & hers FZ-28s, but that's just as backup in case of accident to the much-loved first one!

Take lots of shots, and experiment a lot! Look at the settings information (exif info) embedded in the image files, and learn what went right and wrong. Have fun; good luck!

Last edited by Alan T; Jun 15, 2009 at 12:37 AM. Reason: Confusion over who posted what!
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 6:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan T View Post
James,
Thanks for the compliment. By all accounts (but no direct experience), yes it would. I now realise I've confused your question and Mike_1's reply, and your two spouses, sorry! But perhaps not uselessly. I hope neither lady is offended.
Your very welcome and, no offense taken, in fact I spoke with my wife last night about
this very subject, I explained how much a waste it would be, to have such a camera
simply to only use the auto mode and, how by doing so would only be defeating our very purpose of getting these two cameras, she agreed ...

After we get our cameras, we'll be headed out to take lots and lots of pictures.
The comment about the flash when in auto mode was a good point however, this forces
me to experiment with the ISO settings so this is a god thing. In my opinion not only is the target I'm capturing important but, the ambiance of the moment as well is equally important.

Thanks again
James
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 8:59 AM   #9
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I got a Canon SX10. Very good except for low light situations. Why did I get it? See here : http://www.**********************/digital-cameras/

Not sure if you can get two for $600 though.
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Old Jun 15, 2009, 9:33 AM   #10
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Default Sample Pics

James,

I can take a few pics tonight if necessary. I'm usually Draconian about deleting photos I don't like because they take up so much space (~5 megs each). But my wife likes to save almost every one - even if they are not very good. I found a couple of older shots that illustrate the issue I mentioned. These were taken a few weeks after I got the camera.

Both shots were taken using "intelligent auto" mode. They were not posed, so there is some motion blur. The issue I mentioned is that often, though not always, flash pictures come out darker than those taken without the flash. And the no-flash shots come out a bit noisy because the camera has stepped up the ISO - plus there's often some white balance issues with no flash.

I'm not saying that all the shots are bad. We've taken some very good indoor, night pictures. But it happens often enough to make me wish I could easily add an external flash. Which is the whole point of my previous comment.

The first shot was taken without the flash. I was working on our microwave under a chandelier that has four 60-watt incandescent light bulbs pointing down. It's a fairly bright room at night. This no-flash shot is a fairly accurate depiction of the ambient lighting in that room.

The second shot was taken with the flash. As you can see, it's much quite a bit darker than the room actually is.

BTW, the FZ28 continues to be a great learning tool for me. In most other respects, I'm very pleased with this camera.

Mike
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