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View Poll Results: DSLR or Super Zoom
DSLR 0 0%
Nikon Coolpix P100 1 33.33%
Canon PowerShot SX20IS 1 33.33%
Fujifilm FinePix HS10 1 33.33%
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 5:12 PM   #1
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Default Looking to replace my Nikon 5700

I am an amateur photographer and I just sold my, much loved, 7-yeard old Nikon 5700, which had taken roughly 12000 pictures all over the world.

What I loved about it was the color and picture quality, and 8X zoom that took stunning macro shots and amazing landscapes. It had very good DOF in my opinion.

That said, it was very poor in low-light situations and action--think kids and those precious moments that disappear in a blink of an eye. There was a lot of shutter-lag in the camera, it ate-up batteries like crazy, and didn't seem to like cold weather.

So, now that I have sold it, I am looking for a replacement. My first thought was to jump into a DSLR (I've used several film SLRs in the past), but I am reconsidering it due to price, weight/bulk and the thought of buying and changing a variety of lenses for different uses.

Next option is a super-zoom point-and-shoot like my old Nikon 5700. I know a lot has changed in the past 7-years and among the current crop, I am looking at the following:
  • Nikon P100 which is too new and doesn’t have any reviews, but I like the advertised features, the 26X zoom, and 1080i video recording.
  • Nikon P90 is the closest to the P100 for comparison, but it had mixed reviews.
  • Canon PowerShot SX20IS has some of the same features as the P100 but only 20X zoom (28-560mm) and 720p video. It too had some mix reviews but overall seemed to be better than the P90.
  • Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is also new and had no reviews. It has a 30X zoom (24-720mm amazing!) and a lens that can be manually zoomed like SLRs, like the previous Fujifilm Finepix S100fs. It also records 1080i video. Don't know if you can zoom while recording video.
Is the Nikon P series worth looking at, or the Canon SX20IS, I was very happy with my Fuji F40FD for low-light indoor photography so Fuji's in the running too.

There are too many options in DSLRs and P&Ss. And they are very confusing to compare easily between models/brands.

I need some user feedback on SLR vs Super Zooms and possible recommendations. I am not brand loyal since I've owned Minolta SLRs, a Nikon 5700, Fuji F40FD and Canon SD780is.

I like doing macro photography (flowers), landscapes, architecture, and also take lots of kids pictures. So I am looking for a good camera in the $400-$600 range for all-purpose photos.

Thanks in advance for any comments and recommendations.
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 5:38 PM   #2
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2raj-

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

I had to answer "DSLR" to your poll because, you did not mention the two most viable super zoom or bridge cameras: the Panasonic FZ-35/38 and the Sony HX-1, which might offer only a stop gap solution.

However, sooner or later you will be looking over the entry level DSLR cameras. Pictures of children represent fast action and high ISO settings, which are photo elements that the DSLR camera can address much more readily than any P+S camera.

It is really all about imager size. The average entry level DSLR camera has an imager that is 12 to 15 times larger, in physical size, than the imagers used on most P+S cameras. It is that imager size, coupled with much less pixel density that allows the DSLR camera to excel at low light level shooting at high ISO settings.

DSLR cameras also have hot shoes that allow the mounting of a high quality external flash that also opens many new doors of opportunity. (1) A much greater light out put. (2) the Ability to use bounce and diffuser aided flash that eliminates the harsh shadow cast by the typical P+S camera. (3) Much greater flash range due to the greater light out put of the hot shoe mounted external flash.

Due to its many added features, the DSLR camera will allow you to expand your photo capabilities accordingly. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 6:05 PM   #3
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The poll was an after thought to get some quick feedback. I was not aware of the Panasonic FZ-35/38 and the Sony HX-1 until I read your comments. Just goes to show how many different models and brands are in this segment.

I would really like a camera that shoots HD video, and DSLRs with HD seem to be quite a bit more expensive than the Super Zooms. Also the huge range already built into the Super Zooms is quite tempting; for example the Fuji HS10 has a wide-angle of 24mm and the zoom goes upto 720mm--bit of an overkill, but still handy.

Aren't there any super zooms that take decent low-light pics? I thought the Fuji's had larger sensors compared to most.

Cost is also a major factor. I'd like to stick to the lower end of my range as much as possible and a good DSLR body seems to cost as much as some of these super zooms, not counting additional lenses.

I guess I need a little more convincing to go the DSLR route.
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 7:50 PM   #4
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2raj-

It is a matter of optics and the laws of physics which govern light that makes it very difficult indeed for a P+S camera with a very tiny imager to also have good high ISO capability as well. The Newly introduced Fuji HS-10 does not incorporate Fuji's EXR system or high ISO capable imagers.

Super zoom cameras like the Panasonic FZ-35/38 can easily operate at an ISO setting of ISO 800, but that is the top of the shop in terms of high ISO capability. That single factor (high ISO capability) is one of the factors fueling the DSLR use explosion.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 22, 2010, 11:08 PM   #5
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Any other members want to weigh in? Someone with hands-on experience with the super-zooms.

Thanks
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 11:53 AM   #6
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2raj-

I am very sorry to hear that you do not think I do not have much experience with super zoom cameras. I have owned every one produced by Canon from the Pro-90 onward, and every super zoom every produced by Panasonic beginning with the FZ-1 which was a 2mp camera. I am also a digital camera instructor for P+S and DSLR cameras and have published 4 books on digital cameras.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 2:03 PM   #7
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Sarah,

Not saying you don't have experience; please don't think that. I know you have contributed a lot in this forums and I really appreciate your feedback. I was just looking for feedback from a sampling of more than one
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 2:13 PM   #8
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if weight is of concern, and movie is of concern. and you were happy for the most part with your 5700, i think a newer superzoom would be an easy recommendation.

i like the FZ-35 that Sarah mentioned, good lens, good video, small size. but the Canon SX20IS you mention in your earlier post is a comparable choice, albeit a bit larger and uses AA batteries.
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 2:15 PM   #9
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but you may end up going the dslr route in the future if low-light is a priority. however, you must be willing to incur the cost in both dollar amounts and time spent getting over the learning curve.

whether you do it now, or later, is your choice.
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 3:46 PM   #10
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What's holding me back from a DSLR is the thought of lugging around multiple lenses to get the same range that a super-zoom offers.

I see a lot of good features in the Nikon P100 (26x zoom) and the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 (30x zoom); both use the BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS technology, which is supposedly better in low-light (ISO 3200 to 6400). Both also offer full manual control, like my old 5700 and the FinePix HS10 also has a DSLR like manual zoom.

However, there are no hands-on reviews of the two yet, hopefully there will be some in March when they are supposed to come out.
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