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Old May 11, 2010, 3:57 PM   #1
LEK
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Default more confused, maybe I need 2 cameras?

Hello again. I just bought a Panasonic ZS3 last week and after initially being intimidated I am liking the camera more and more, getting to know the features, playing with the modes, etc. Although the quality of my photos have been important to me, I have been strictly point and shoot on auto before, so playing with the modes and really getting to know the camera has been new to me. But I've been doing so much reading and learning that it's getting easier and a whole new world has opened up, and now I'm wondering if perhaps I'm going to outgrow the ZS3, want more manual controls, etc. I got the ZS3 because of it's size, IQ and zoom, many of my photos are taken hiking, kayaking, etc, so I wanted something pretty small. But I am beginning to wonder if perhaps I need 2 cameras, the ZS3 for hiking and another one with a larger zoom and even greater image quality like a larger superzoom, or even a 3/4 SLR, for travel when I'm not roughing it. I do think I want to keep the ZS3, I like it and there will be situations that I want something that small. So if I bought a larger superzoom or 3/4 SLR, would I be improving my IQ and zoom enough over the ZS3 to make it worth the money to have 2 cameras? I don't want 2 that give me pretty much the same quality. What do you recommend? I looked at the Olympus E-PL1 today at Best Buy, I didn't know that type of small SLR even existed, but is the lens it comes with a significantly better zoom that I have on my ZS3, or equivilant to what I would get on a superzoom? I wouldn't want to start adding hundred of dollars for extra lenses and all that stuff, and I'm not sure what the 3/4 SLR's come with. Even though I'm getting into learning all this more than I thought I would, I still want something fairly easy and quick to use, without alot of add on equipment. What do you think should I use the ZS3 for everything or does it make sense to have 2 cameras for different purposes? (no one ever told me cameras could be addictive).
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Old May 11, 2010, 6:48 PM   #2
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Photography is addictive. You are doomed. I now have too many cameras and lenses, mostly scooped up in the last couple years. Is one camera enough? Hardly ever! What can you do? Spend money!

Let's forget about my 30 film cameras and just look at the 6 digicams I use. Most are very small P&S (point-and-shoot) babies, gathered over the last 10 years. A 1mpx cam does ultra-high-contrast better than anything else I have. A 5mpx cam is dedicated for video. Another shoots low-light and has manual controls -- it's always with me. Another is modified for daylight infrared (IR). A 7mpx cam goes down to 33 feet / 10m underwater. And then there's my big dSLR and its 75 lenses...

My carry-bag (an Ameribag) usually contains a couple film cams (35mm and 6x6cm folder), my IR cams and filters, my Pentax K20D dSLR and 4 or 6 lenses (ultrawide, ultralong, ultrafast, etc) -- and passport, pills, radio, torch, et al. My behind-the-drivers-seat bag has more lenses, a couple more film cameras & filters, tripod, flashes mini-laptop, etc. Me, travel light? Ha.

When walking through my mountains, I carry less, depending on where I'm going and how well I know the route (and thus what to expect). But my minimum is still at least a couple cameras and a few lenses. I've considered m4:3 cams, even recommended them to packer friends, but I like the 14+mpx resolution of my K20D. My lightest (dream) system now might be: Pentax Kx camera, 18-250 zoom, 14/2.8 and 24/2 and 50/1.4 primes, and 100/2.8 macro. And my best P&S (Sony DSC-V1) as a backup.

Be aware that using any dSLR, from m4:3 to FF, in NOT like using your P&S. You need to learn the system, learn the craft of photography, learn about optics and light. Good gear does not make you a good photographer, does not hold your hand, does not perform magic. It's a commitment. Many of us SHOULD be committed... to lunatic asylums.

Have fun!
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Old May 11, 2010, 6:56 PM   #3
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Good advice, Rio Rico-

Learning the craft is step #1.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 11, 2010, 10:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for input. Wise words. I think I got over excited today looking at those 3/4 SLR's at Best Buy, but if I'm honest with myself I think I really need to learn what I am doing first and I think I'd be over my head with an SLR right now. Maybe in a few years. However, I am still thinking about a Superzoom like the Panasonic FZ35, to learn more about manual controls and possibly get better image quality when I don't need to carry the small ZS3. I know it comes down to the photographer and I'm trying to learn as fast as I can, but it takes time and a good camera helps. So the bottom line of what I would like to know, is do you think the image quality on FZ35 or it's competitors is notably better than on the ZS3, and is the zoom substantially better(12 vs 18?), making it worth the investment of getting a second camera? I'm thinking what I might do is play with the ZS3 for a few months and then get the Pan FZ35 or something similar if it makes sense to do that. Thanks much for the feedback.
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Old May 11, 2010, 11:00 PM   #5
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LEK-

Yes, the FZ-35 would be a step in terms of image quality, and camera performance. The FZ-35 is a very user friendly camera. In terms of learning your photographic craft, I would look into classes at your local Community College. You will actual make more forward progress in a formal class, than in tyring to do it yourself.

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Old May 12, 2010, 7:20 PM   #6
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Thanks, I think I'm going to get the FZ35 in a few months, but also keep the ZS3, that way I'll have a back-up camera in case the first one fails on an important trip. We'll be going to Alaska, Kauai and the Canadian Rockies in the next few years and camera problems would be a major disappointment, good idea to have a back-up. That way I get the great photos, view finder and bigger zoom with the FZ35, and still have a little portable compact that shoots great photos for hiking and kayaking. Best of both worlds. Thanks very much for the suggestions. Now I need to really learn the ZS3 and become a better photographer in general.
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