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Old Apr 28, 2010, 6:51 AM   #1
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Default Yep, another, I'm lost, lead me in the right direction...

Hello all, I'm new to the forum (though I've referred to this site off and on for years).

So, I'm thinking I want a new camera, I'm just not exactly sure the direction I want to go yet. I'm not in a hurry, but have read and read and read, reviews, opinions, specs... and everything seems to say, figure out what you want and go from there. I'm just having trouble with the 'go from there' part.

I know I don't want a DSLR. It just isn't practical for me in terms of budget, size, and user knowledge .

Most of photography is done chasing kids around the house or outside, landscape, buildings, some macro, and little league events (indoor and outdoor).

My budget isn't set in stone, though definitely 500 max, preferably lower.

I have a tendency to prefer higher zoom cameras for my son's baseball games or our trips to Seaworld (you can never have enough Shamu photos).

I hate red eye, but my family hates red eye reducing flash and complain loudly when I use that function. I try to shoot in natural lighting as much as possible to avoid having to use the flash but nonetheless would like a camera that can take decent indoor shots (with and without a flash).

I want something fairly easy to use. I do read my manuals, I read how-to articles and try to improve my skills. I'd like something somewhat versatile, something that might grow, at least a little, as I get better.

If it helps, here is a list of digital cameras I have or had at some point:

Panasonic (I don't remember the model but it used a 3x5 floppy, lol). This was not a great camera and broke after 6 months. My husband is extremely reluctant to buy from this company again, though I'm quite aware that we bought this camera early on in the digital camera market, like umm 10 years ago.

Kodak DX4330. I loved this camera. It was a great P&S. Was very sad when my husband went and got a job at Sony and claimed some sort of brand loyalty and gave this camera away to his parents in lieu of a Sony upgrade.


Sony DSC-S600. This camera was actually bought for my son. It was easy to use. Image quality was pretty good so long as you had really great lighting, no one moved, and you didn't have to use the flash.

Sony DSC-H5. We got this one before the DSC-S600 and for awhile, I really missed my Kodak. It took me a bit to get the hang of the bulkiness in comparison (though it was still lighter than that Panasonic, amazing how technology changes) and just the overall differences. In natural lighting with a still subject, gorgeous photos. With some practice I even managed some great shots indoors of my baby with natural light coming in through a window. Not surprisingly, low-light is not this camera's friend.

Nikon Coolpix L120. This is my husband's camera. We laugh because I can get some great shots with the Sony DSC-H5, but 4/5 of my shots on his Nikon are freaking blurry. I can't explain it. It's a P&S. Halfway down, wait, greenlight, go. Even my technically challenged mother can do that much. I'm at a loss. Maybe it's because I use zoom to frame a photo and he hardly ever touches the zoom button. I don't know. But I honestly don't like this camera very much. I'm thinking it must be a user thing because it seems like it's a popular P&S. I just don't really like image quality very much.

I'm willing to try other brands. I've read a bunch of threads here and had my eye on the Fuji HS-10. Sony is not at the top of my list. Hubby no longer works for them and has abandoned brand loyalty, go figure. Some other, perhaps less expensive options would be awesome. Overall, I'm looking for the best image quality in as many as the above mentioned situations as possible, with pictures of my kids being at the top of my list, outdoor (beach, parks, flowers, etc) second on my list.

Sorry for the length, this is probably way longer than it needs to be...

Thanks in advance for any and all input!

Diana
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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Diana-

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

Firstly, let discuss indoor photos taken without flash. DSLR cameras can with the right camera and a very fast, wide aperture lens take indoor photos without flash in a home setting, but even the DSLR camera are operating at their design maximum.

So as a general rule forget indoor photos without flash with a small imager point and shoot camera. There are exceptions, like lots of natural lighting through a window and posing your subject nest to the window. That will work, but I consider it an exception.

If the family object to the use of red eye reduction, just DON'T use it. Red eyen reduction only works in about 30% of the photos anyway. Just avoid being perfectly perpendicular to your subject or subjects, shoot at something of an angle and you most likely will not have a red eye situation. If you do get red eye, most cameras today can process it out right in the camera by using the editing mode.

Size seems to be an issue for you. In your description of the Sony H-5, you say "...it took me a while to get used to the bulkiness..." So we will focus our discussions on pocket size, or near pocket size cameras. Are you used to manual settings on a camera you are using, or do you depend on the Automatic Mode? That information will also affect camera selection.

It would seem that the camera that you would enjoy and use the most is a compact zoom camera. In terms of a handy pocket sized snap shot camera we can begin as low as the Kodak Z-915 (10mp) or Z-950 (12mp). They are basically the same 10X optical zoom camera (35mm to 350mm). Both are now below $200.00. Another camera in this same group wound be the Canon SX-120 with 10mp and 10X optical zoom (36mm to 360mm) priced at $199.00.

Do you need HD video and a wide angle lens? That will also affect camera selection. Take a look at a thread called "Compact Zoom Camera Comparison" located right in this same (What Camera Shall I Buy) folder. In that thread we critically look at the Panasonic ZS3, ZS7, Canon SX-110, and Sony HX5 cameras with lots of photo samples. And in all those photos of my husband I did not use red eye reduction and I never had a single photo with a red eye situation.

So next lets look at the cameras that we just mentioned. The Panasonic ZS3(10mp around $245) and ZS7 (12mp around $349) both have 12X optical zoom (25mm to 300mm) and can do HD video and you can zoom while filming. The Sony HX5 (10mp around $349) has 10X optical zoom (25mm to 250mm) and can do HD Video that allows zooming while filming.

The Canon S-90 (10mp around $370) is also a pocket camera with 3.8X optical zoom (28mm to 105mm), it does have a wide angle but no HD video. However, this is an exception P+S camera with a much larger than normal imager, and a fast, wide aperture lens. So it can shoot without flash in a well lighted photo environment.

So there are a few suggestions, Diana. We can do more discussion and suggestions when we have answers to the questions asked.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 5:49 PM   #3
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Sarah,

Thanks for the quick reply!

To answer your questions:

Size: I'm comfortable now with the size of the Sony H-5. I actually prefer it now than the smaller size because it feels like there is more to grip which seems to help me, at least, reduce camera shake. We haven't invested in a tripod yet as I tend to be more mobile when taking photos. Funny how little kids just won't sit still... Overall, if a larger camera, like an ultra zoom, is going to give me better image quality over a more compact size, then that's fine.

Manual: I've used it. I'm not overly confident with it. I'd say I'm still learning how to really use manual settings. I like that it's there and when I have time to read and try different things, I would use it then. But at the moment, I'd probably be more likely to use auto controls. Which is why I told my husband today, while at Best Buy, that we did not need an SLR. He said, "I know they're bulky, but we should get one of these as our next camera because they'd take better pictures." Which is probably true, but I can't see spending 1,000 on a camera that I don't know how to use 95% of the functions. Seems like a bit of overkill. Maybe someday, when I know what I'm doing, lol. It is a goal, but a far away goal.

HD Video and Wide Angle: Wide angle is not as important, though it would be nice. HD Video is something that I would like. We have a Sony Handy-Cam...somewhere, but honestly, I typically have my H-5 on hand more often and ready to go. I hate messing with the discs and such on the Handy-Cam (though maybe the new models aren't so annoying, but I don't want to buy a new video camera).

Thanks for the tip on the red-eye, I will try that and I agree about indoor shooting needing flash, I'm not sure why I put without flash..it was late/early.

Now, off to finish reading the thread you mentioned...
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 6:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleehobbit View Post
Panasonic (I don't remember the model but it used a 3x5 floppy, lol). This was not a great camera and broke after 6 months. My husband is extremely reluctant to buy from this company again, though I'm quite aware that we bought this camera early on in the digital camera market, like umm 10 years ago.
I only vaguely recall the Panasonic of yesteryear but that has all changed. Panasonic is consistently rated as one of the most reliable brands across the board - not only in cameras, but camcorders, TVs and other electronics as well. JVC, once known as a high-end brand, is now a budget brand. Canon's DSLRs (and larger P&S cams) are still made very well but their P&S pocket cams and consumer camcorders are often lamented in reviews for their low to mediocre build quality. Sony's rep for camera and camcorder build quality is very good, but their optical devices are not known for durability. I guess I am simply saying that times change.
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 7:09 PM   #5
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I wont argue with you. The more I read, I can tell they've come a long way. I mean, it was a $400 camera and not sure it was even 2 megapixels- a very long time ago as far as digital cameras are concerned.
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 7:09 PM   #6
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Diana-

Thanks for your reply. Take a look at the Panasonic FZ-35. It is now a particularly good buy. It is at it lowest price since introduction is May 2009. It has the wide angle, the Hd Video and you can zoom when filming, dual channel sound, and it is really your Sony HX5 brought all up to date. It has 18X optical zoom (28mm to 504mm), 12 mp, very good image quality, and is a really easy camera to use. The FZ-35 is just 14 ounces and it is just about the same size as the H-5. The price of the FZ-35 got down to $303 2 weeks ago, and it has now started back up again.

We have a large group of FZ35/38 users in the Panasonic P+S folder who have posted lots of photo samples and swap photo and tech tips as a very friendly group.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 7:22 PM   #7
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Sarah,

Thanks for your input. I will spend some time reading up on the FZ-35. I probably wont be purchasing till june or july it seems, which is further away than I originally intended. Is this the model due to be replaced? I was reading another thread you commented on extensively discussing, I thought, this model, the canon G-11, the Fuji HS-1. I think it was a DSLR vs bridge camera thread. Not sure, I've read a few now.

Though, I'm not opposed to last years model. My only concern I guess is availability and that will just be a wait and see thing.

Thanks again!!
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 7:56 PM   #8
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Diana-

At it current price the FZ-35 is a real bargain. Yes, it might be replaced in the Fall, but the new model is going to come at the full list price, which will be markedly higher.

Just a thought.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 8:19 PM   #9
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Will the new model really be that much higher the FZ35 at 325 and 330? The FZ35 could be bought for easily around 370-380 when it first came out. It's always easy to pay less than full retail.

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Diana-

At it current price the FZ-35 is a real bargain. Yes, it might be replaced in the Fall, but the new model is going to come at the full list price, which will be markedly higher.

Just a thought.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 28, 2010, 9:15 PM   #10
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BigCTM-

The FZ-35 was $399 when it first came out and that list price was not discounted for three months. I purchased mine as soon as the price dropped. B&H had the FZ-35 at $303 earlier this month.

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