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Old Jan 20, 2010, 5:29 AM   #1
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Default Should I wait, or buy now..?

Hi everyone! New here, and this is my first post hopefully it's in the right forum......

Quick backstory: I'm a 'creative' person who enjoys photographing everything from still-life to wild-life, plus the kids of course! It's not been the greatest start to the year, and some soul-searching has led me to sell my DSLR outfit 40D, 17-85, 70-300, 50mm & 430EX as too often it got left behind on family trips, primarily due to the 'hassle' factor. Don't get me wrong, I loved the handling and image quality (especially with the 'nifty fifty'), but this was shaping up to be an expensive hobby, which I couldn't justify. Maybe I'll come to regret the sale, but I'm not here for sympathy........

OK, so essentially, I'm 'downgrading'. Odd perhaps, but that's where I find myself.

In an ideal world, I'd like to spend less than 500 on a camera capable of producing sharp, well exposed images. I'd like some 'creative control' for me, and good 'point-and-shoot' capability for when my wife gets her hands on it. I would also like a long zoom range, better than average indoor low-light performance, and HD video too. Is that all I hear you ask...!?

One camera seems to tick most of those boxes the Panasonic FZ38. I used to have an FZ7, before moving to a 400D when our second child was born a few years ago (only upgrading to a 40D last January which suited my man hands better), so the Panasonic is not 'unfamiliar' territory.

There's just a wee niggle in the back of my mind stopping me from buying.... I think it's primarily to do with the fact that the FZ range design has remained largely unchanged for years, apart from the obvious updates through the series. Looking on the 38 as a marginal improvement on the highly popular FZ28, it strikes me that this range is overdue for a complete overhaul.

I know there are better low-light performers, such as Canon's S90 or Panasonic's own LX3 again, overdue for replacement IMHO and there are longer zooms (HX1, SX20is). I also know that there are a few 'large sensor' compacts creeping into the catalogue which should give better image quality, and nicer shallow depth of field.

What do you think? Should I go for it, or is this completely the wrong time to buy....? Will PMA reveal a GZ-1 my hypothetical micro 4/3rds with fixed 2.8 12x zoom? Or perhaps a LZ-1 (completely new 'luxury zoom' range) or LX4 uprade to the high end LX3.

Answers please on a postcard!! I'm stuck.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 9:36 AM   #2
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Mrmacmusic-

Welcome to the Forum. We're please that you dropped by.

Without a doubt the m4/3 market niche will see a lot of action this year, with m4/3 cameras and "look alike" m4/3 cameras, that may push the envelope with the introduction mirrorless APS-C cameras as well, because they do not want to pay the necessary fees up front to join the official m4/3 group.

It has been rumored that Fuji, Nikon and Kodak will produce new cameras in the m4/3 market niche. So if you are interested in m4/3, fasten your seat belt and stand by for the action as February brings the PMA show.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 9:59 AM   #3
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Thanks Sarah – perhaps I should wait then, at least until the PMA announcements filter through.....? I don't know any particular 'rumor sources' – are there rumblings of any specifics??

Knowing how well our trusty 'backup' Fuji F30 performs (particularly indoors in low light), I'd certainly be interested to see what they announce, if anything.

Oh, it's not that I'm interested particularly in micro4/3rds, I just think a 'compact' super-zoom (like the TZ7 or FZ35/8) with a bigger sensor to improve image quality, high ISO performance and creative aperture control would make for a killer product, even if the price point is beyond entry-level DSLR territory.

Just love your Garfield avatar by the way.... I feel like that most mornings!!!
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 10:05 AM   #4
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The M4/3 is my next purchase. They are more traveller friendly then a dslr. So far I have played with the EP-2 and GF1 at the stores. And have seen some really nice examples of what the EP-2 can do in low light on the board. But I will not pull the trigger on the EP-2 until after the show. Want to see what in the pipe from the show.

And the new samsung NX1 is kinda interesting in the EVIL market. APS-C EVIL. Well think March will be an interesting month for new developments.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 11:02 AM   #5
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Normally I always advise people to buy a camera when they need it - because there's always something newer and greater around the corner. But I think this year is an exception. I think there will be a lot of new product on the EVIL (electronic viewfinder, interchangeable lens) front. Wait for the announcements at PMA in February - but understand the new products will take a few months more to hit the stores.

Myself, I enjoy my Pentax DSLR, lenses and gear. And I plan to add an ultra-wide angle zoom to my kit shortly. But, after that, I think some form of EVIL will become my second camera. Micro four-thirds is very attractive and, as Sarah says, there's likely to be more product from Nikon, Kodak and Fuji. There are even rumors about Canon. I can't make a decision on the Samsung NX10 until there are a number of definitive tests of regular production models. Whatever I go for, I really want a built-in viewfinder. It can be electronic - but I want it to be the best electronic viewfinder around.

Re: the Panasonic LX3... while I'm very pleased with mine and it delivers much better image quality than almost any other compact out there, its 1/1.6 sensor still is no match for micro-four thirds and anything with an APS-C sized sensor. So I'm wondering if the LX3's brief moment in the sun is already over with no direct replacement in the pipeline. I'm just wondering. Granted, the LX3 is still a lot less money than a G1/GH1 or GF1. But most serious photographers will now probably bypass the LX3 for the newer cameras while the casual consumer will be put off by the LX3's price and short focal range.

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Old Jan 20, 2010, 11:09 AM   #6
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Biro-

The rumor is that Panasonic is revising the m4/3 line. There is a possible m4/3 camera to be fitted into the line-up that will effectively become the LX-3 replacement, but that may also force changes in the G-1 and GH-1, or even the dropping of the G-1 from the line-up.

However, Panasonic is very aware that there has to be some kind of follow-on for the LX-3 based on its smashing success. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 11:28 AM   #7
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Thanks Biro (and Sarah) – it really does sound like I should try my best to keep my wallet closed, at least for a few weeks!!

If Panasonic do revise the m4/3 line, it will be very interesting to see what they do. Maybe it's physically impossible to build a GF1 with non-interchangeable 12x (ish) f/2.8 (ish) lens?
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 12:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmacmusic View Post
Thanks Biro (and Sarah) it really does sound like I should try my best to keep my wallet closed, at least for a few weeks!!

If Panasonic do revise the m4/3 line, it will be very interesting to see what they do. Maybe it's physically impossible to build a GF1 with non-interchangeable 12x (ish) f/2.8 (ish) lens?
it would be HUGE, and EXPENSIVE as hell. so no, we are not going to see that.

rumor is nikon has a bridge camera in the works, with a sensor midway between 4/3 and digicams with a decent superzoom. its only rumors and speculation based on patents though. and who knows the cost of something like that, it may exceed your budget. there is also talk that canon is thinking of doing something like that as well a Pro2, but may be just be fans the Pro1's wishful thinking.

i usually advise against waiting as well. you can wait and wait, and miss many shots. but you do have your f30 to tie you over.

and whether or not they are replaced sooner or later, the Fz38, G11, etc are all very fine camera capable of great results. the FZ38 is the easy choice if you want flexibility of zoom and HD video, but coming from the 40D, you may at least have a look at the G11 in person, the control scheme is outstanding and the low-light capabilities are great, though it comes at the expense of the zoom/hdvid.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 5:16 AM   #9
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Thanks Hards80....yeah, I agree it would be huge – but it would be good!!

Don't know why, but I've never really taken to Nikon cameras, but what's this rumor you mention...? It sounds like just what I meant – a larger sensor with decent zoom.... any more info on whether or not it's a PMA possibility or not..?

I did take a trip to town at the weekend, and got a look at the G11. To me, it felt horrible (sorry), and I couldn't live with it, even if it produced great photos. One thing that really did surprise me was the titchy, flimsy shutter button. I didn't get it at all. The S90 made more sense, and the GF1 handled very nicely, but unfortunately as none of the display models have charged batteries, I couldn't try out anything – the FZ38, HX1 or SX20is. Even if I could, 5 minutes in a store doesn't allow for effective evaluation anyway.

I would like the zoom flexibility, and coming from a 17-85 and 70-300, the FZ38 is almost identical in it's range. Pre-credit-crunch I wasn't selling the DSLR, and had been considering upgrading our F30 to a current compact with HD video. (Truth be told, I was considering upgrading the 40D to a 7D too before business took a slide...).

The FZ38 does seem the perfect 'compromise' package and is great value for money, but if there's another camera on the horizon.............
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 10:34 AM   #10
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mrmacmusic-

I am shooting with a Panasonic FZ-35 and the G-1 and am really pleased with both cameras. I especially like the FZ-35. It is very quick, easy to use and the HD video and stereo sound is a nice bonus as well. The FZ-35 camera at 14 ounces is easy to use and seems feather light to the likes of a Canon SX-20, and the end of the day carrying and shooting with it. The SX-20 weighs nearly twice the weight of the FZ-35/38.

This indeed will be the year to wait a bit to PMA and then till we see the first professional reviews of the new crop of cameras.
As I noted previously, I expect there is going to be a lot of action in the m4/3 and near m4/3's market niche. That should be very interesting. Already, the soon to be introduced (mid March) Sony HX-5 has caused some excitement. However, I am very much in a wait and see mode, in view of the hype about the Sony WX-1 last year, and then the fizzle that it experienced when it finally got on the market and the reviews were published.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Jan 21, 2010 at 10:37 AM.
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