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Old Dec 8, 2009, 4:35 AM   #1
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Default My dad is looking for a superzoom

Hi All,

As you know I'm not that up to speed with non dSLR cameras so I'm looking for advice on his behalf.

He currently shoots with a Konica Minolta 5D with the Sigma 17-70 and Tamron 70-300. He also has the 3600 flash.

The problem is that he is starting to find it harder to lug everything around with him so is looking for a simple solution to reduce size and weight.

While on holiday recently he took my Canon SX1 out for a days shooting and really liked the results but I said I would investigate the current options to see if something else might be an even better fit.

One thing on the SX1 that is a bit of a pain is the 1080 HD with no option for just 720 HD, this means that the footage always needs to be edited before playing on a PC (this is not totally a size issue but a problem with the encoding that Macs play but PCs don't). So this just makes life a bit more difficult adding extra stages.

One thing that annoys me with the SX1 (not that my dad has yet experienced it) is the really poor focusing in low light. Is this just me being used to shooting with my dSLRs or does the SX1 perform worse than other cameras in the class?

I've suggested he looks at the SX20 which is a good price currently with the Canon cashback in the UK and my dad is comfortable with it as he liked the handling of the SX1.

What other cameras should he be considering? He wants a similar focal coverage as with the SX1/SX20, 720p video, the ability to zoom during shooting video and that's about it.

Thanks for your advice,

Mark
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Old Dec 8, 2009, 10:39 AM   #2
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I own the Panasonic FZ35 which is the sx20 main competitor. I would highly recomend it. It records in 720p, it could record up to 30 minutes at a time and it gives you two options to record (AVCHD and MPEG4/.MOV)...I have some low light samples in the Panasonic section here...
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Old Dec 8, 2009, 11:16 AM   #3
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I did a lot of research into megazooms a few months back and I have to say the Panasonic FZ35 is clearly the best of the breed IMHO. I used to own a Canon S3IS and it was a great camera... but the latest Canon SX's put me off a bit due to size, weight and slow lens speed at the long end (the S series used to have the fastest megazoom lenses by far: f/2.7 to f/3.5). The Panasonic also allows one to select three different aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. I ended up buying the Panny for my stepdaughter and a Pentax 18-250mm lens for my K200D. That has become my personal vacation kit but I am considering the slightly smaller and lighter Pentax K-x to pair with that lens.

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Old Dec 8, 2009, 12:01 PM   #4
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Mark-

As Biro mentioned and as I have experienced, the SX-1, SX-10, and SX-20 have difficulty focusing when the light level becomes low. Like, Anthony_b and Biro have written, the Panasonic FZ-35, the competitor to the Canon super zooms, actually does a better job, while providing 720p video, stereo sound, being lighter, and more agile.

My vote would be for the Panasonic FZ-35 for your Dad. I do suggest however, that hje visit a camera shop and handle the FZ-35 as well as the canon super zooms, as how a camera feels in hand is also very important.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 8, 2009, 1:24 PM   #5
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i agree with the above, the FZ-35 would be a good model to look into. but as you mentioned, he liked the feel of the Canon, so as Sarah mentioned, having him try the FZ would be a good idea.
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Old Dec 8, 2009, 1:57 PM   #6
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And of course there is the Panasonic GH1. Not cheap, and not tiny, but a lot smaller than an SLR and absolutely the best video quality available at the moment and pretty good stills from the 4/3 sensor.
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Old Dec 9, 2009, 2:42 PM   #7
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If price isn't a factor, a GH1 with the 14-140 zoom lens (and the fast 20mm prime) would be fantastic. The size compared to most megazoom point and shoots can certainly be justified in that case. In a perfect world, a G1 or GH1 would be my second camera kit. Alas, my personal world is far from perfect.

But Craig's mention of micro four-thirds allows me to push a bit further to regular four-thirds: How about an Olympus E-620 with the 18-180 Zuiko lens? Still smaller and lighter than the kit that Mark's father has now and still a lot less money than a GH1 kit. If that's too big, then it's back to either the Panasonic FZ35 or Canon SX.

Last edited by Biro; Dec 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM.
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Old Dec 9, 2009, 2:50 PM   #8
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Biro-

Unfortunately there will be no wide angle available on that E-620 camera with Zukio 18-180mm lens kit.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 9, 2009, 3:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
Biro-

Unfortunately there will be no wide angle available on that E-620 camera with Zukio 18-180mm lens kit.

Sarah Joyce
Huh? With the 14-42mm kit lens? That's not WA?
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Old Dec 9, 2009, 4:38 PM   #10
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I think I understand what she means, gjtoth... we're talking (more or less) about one-lens solutions for Mark's dad. So if he picks the 18-180mm lens for the Oly, that'll be the full-frame equivalent of 36-360mm. It is true - no real wide angle. But I used to get by with my Canon S3 IS quite well - and that had the equivalent of 36-436mm. And the larger sensor in the Oly will make cropping easy if he needs more zoom than 360mm.

I suspect, however, that Mark's dad is looking to really lighten the load and go with a megazoom. The Panasonic and Canon are really the best options in that class and he should go with the one he likes best - although the Olympus SP570UZ has a lot of fans and dpreview gave it an honorable mention behind Panasonic and Canon in a comparison test a year ago.

Last edited by Biro; Dec 9, 2009 at 4:46 PM.
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