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Old Apr 16, 2010, 6:21 AM   #1
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Default HELP: Super-zooms (P100, FZ35, HX1) vs Pentax K-x

Yo,

So, I'm a newb first-time buyer. Spent the last week or so researching extensively and reading all the reviews of the cameras in my price range. I could probably rattle off specs like ISO, zoom, fps, megapixels... of the below models even though I have just about never held a DSLR in my hands. Anyway, some help would be much appreciated. I have signed up for a beginners photography course in June and they recommend a DSLR. After some research, I realized that for my money, I can get a megazoom with more features and they are apparently OK for the course.

Since I'm not a professional, my number 1 priority is getting something I can have fun with. I don't really see myself ever needing to do any prints. But I do want to be able to take beautiful pics. The kinds I could feature on flickr or enter into online contests etc. I like the idea of messing with the pictures in Photoshop doing things like HDR etc. Video quality is also something I value. I would like to be able to take decent photos/video in low light conditions. I am quite involved in the music scene so I would like to be able to take good photos and videos at gigs.

I've narrowed my options to these:

Nikon P100: This camera appeals to me firstly because its very new on the market and therefore presumably has lots of new technologies. Things like the sports shots, 1080p continuous bursts etc could be fun to use. From what I've read tho, the image quality on this camera is not amazing (or at least its, too early to tell as many sites have not yet reviewed it).

Panasonic FZ35: One thing about this camera opposed to the other superzooms is that it allows for RAW. That would be useful for me if I enjoy editing on my computer right? Also, I get a good feeling about this camera. From what I've read, this camera is very highly rated both by reviewers and users in terms of image quality. People seem happy with it.

Sony HX1: This camera seems to share many features with the P100. I guess the Sony name appeals to me as I know Cybershots are known for great pics. It has many of the same sporty mode stuff as well as 1080p. And since its a year old now, its come down from its $500 price to about $350.

Pentax K-x: OK, I know this is a DSLR so its like comparing apples and oranges. But everything I've read about this camera is good and its within my budget (you get get it for $500 online). For the price range you get loads of features. And it comes in that sexy white which I love!!! It doesn't have the 1080p but rather 720p (not sure whether that says anything about video quality tho).

Anyway, those are my options. I would love to hear from you guys on my questions:

- Do you think I will notice any difference in quality between the DSLR and the superzooms given that I don't plan on printing my shots?
- Is a 1080p video (P100/HX1) better than a 720p video (K-x)?
- How much bigger is the Pentax k-x than the superzooms? Will it take up considerably more space in my bag. Will it be that much more bulky?
- Is RAW important for someone that wants to edit their pictures?
- Most importantly, which one should I get????

I am very keen to hear your views on those models and any other suggestions you might have for me.

Thanks!!

Last edited by ratinakage; Apr 16, 2010 at 6:29 AM.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 6:55 AM   #2
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The only info you've provided about what you want to shoot is that you want to take photos in low light, and that's the domain of dSLRs with appropriate lenses (i.e.: not the kit lens) and an appropriate lens may bust your budget.

If there's anything else you want to take photos of, that info would be helpful. And if you could be specific about your budget, that would be usefule to know as well.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 7:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
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The only info you've provided about what you want to shoot is that you want to take photos in low light, and that's the domain of dSLRs with appropriate lenses (i.e.: not the kit lens) and an appropriate lens may bust your budget.

If there's anything else you want to take photos of, that info would be helpful. And if you could be specific about your budget, that would be usefule to know as well.
Hey, thanks for your response.

I would like to take photos of many things. People, nature, landscapes, social events etc. I am going to be doing a 10 week photography course so we will probably cover many types of photography and work through many of the manual settings, learning to use our cameras to the fullest. I am a keen follower of photography blogs. I really like looking at artistic pictures people take and I want to see if I could take great pictures too...

I never realized what you mention about low light and lense kits. Does that mean that the 18-55mm that comes standard with the Pentax is not going to be good for low light? What about the one on the superzooms? Might they be more versatile, given they only have one lense?

Last edited by ratinakage; Apr 16, 2010 at 7:31 AM.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 11:18 AM   #4
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Default I like superzooms, nnn

I have owned more than half a dozen superzooms. My most recent two are the Casio FH20 and the Panasonic FZ28. Of those two, the FZ28 was the more versatile, with much better low light performance. I also have the K-X with the kits lens and the the Pentax 55-300 zoom lens. Here's my take:
If you want something easy to carry around with decent image quality up to ISO 800 (although some would say 400), go for the FZ-35. If you want to take pictures in lower light, go for the Pentax K-X, which has pretty good images at ISO 1600 and, for me, at least, acceptable images at ISO 3200. However, if you want to get the same range as the FZ35, you will need at least two lenses. So you are talking about probably $650 at least. If you want brighter (faster) lenses, you are going to have to spend more, maybe even much more. Maybe more than for the camera body itself.
I can't comment on the Sony and the Nikon superzooms. However, I would be surprised if their image quality or low light performance were better than the FZ35.
Off the top of my balding head, I would say you would be happy with the FZ35. If not, you could sell it on Ebay for a decent price, and then get the K-X or its successor.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 11:21 AM   #5
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ratinaKage-

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

None of the super zooms you have listed (and I own several of them myself) are capable of doing low light level shots of the kind you find at a music gig.

Likewise, the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the Kx DSLR camera is also not really capable of taking good photo under those conditions. I purchased my Pentax Kx just for low light level shooting, and immediately added a Sigm 30mm F1.4 lens to handle the low light level duties. With a F 3.5 aperture, the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens is just not fast enough.

The Pentax Kx is a very capable camera and can handle almost every photo situations, excepting sports photography.

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Old Apr 16, 2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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Hiya, ratinakage,

Based on what you wrote, I would think that the Pentax K-7 is just the camera for you... but then again, I am terribly biased... I just order a Pentax this week. I hope you think carefully about ALL of your choices, and select that camera that is right for you.

All the best.

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Old Apr 16, 2010, 11:23 PM   #7
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I purchased my Pentax Kx just for low light level shooting, and immediately added a Sigm 30mm F1.4 lens to handle the low light level duties. With a F 3.5 aperture, the Pentax 18-55mm kit lens is just not fast enough.
Wow. I Googled that lense and came to a realization. Photography is an EXPENSIVE hobby. Perhaps I should reconsider pottery or stamp collecting... Haha. Seriously though, this would have to be my last purchase for a while. Lense will be at least 6 months down the line...

I am leaning heavily towards the K x. Just in terms of being a more serious camera. One thing I read last night though made me doubt though. The K x does not have autozoom in video mode. From what I understand almost no DSLRs do. But the superzooms all have it. Is this something that affects you guys? Should this be a deal breaker? I mean it just seems logical to me that you'd want to have autozoom to get the most clear videos. Especially if you plan on zooming, panning etc...

Also, from the guys that have them, can you tell me just how much bigger the K-x is compared to one of the superzooms. If you could take a picture of them side-by-side that would be awesome!!

Last edited by ratinakage; Apr 16, 2010 at 11:26 PM.
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 7:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
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... One thing I read last night though made me doubt though. The K x does not have autozoom in video mode. From what I understand almost no DSLRs do. But the superzooms all have it. Is this something that affects you guys?
P&S Digicams are small, and the lenses are small. The only way to control the zoom is to do it with the power of the camera. dSLRs don't power the zoom on the lens, but adjusting the zoom by hand is more precise and becomes second nature after a while (though I've only used my dSLR once to shoot a video, and that was with a prime (non-zoom) lens, so I don't have any first hand experience.) (Another thing to be aware of is that most dSLRs also can't change exposure or focus while recording a video. If you want to record a video, a camcorder is a better choice than a dSLR.)
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 7:57 AM   #9
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ratinakage, perhaps a good idea would be to go to youtube and take a look at the videos of the cameras you mentioned. I think that might be very helpful, and certainly would provide answers to some of your questions.
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 9:02 AM   #10
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I have a FZ28 and think it is brilliant camera - comparitively cheap, light to carry around, the equvalent of 28mm to 486mm, lots of versatility, but .....

..... as has already been said if low light level work is particularly imortant then a DSLR set up is the way to go and the lenses you will need mean serious money.

You also mentioned taking photos of people, nature, landscapes, social events. Most of the time a bridge camera will cope with people, landscapes and social events. Nature could be more of a problem. Bridge camera will produce some very good photos, but all the really good bird and mammal photos I have seen were taken with a DSLR and a BIG lens.
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