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Old May 22, 2010, 11:50 PM   #1
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Default Best Image Quality Honeymoon camera for under $500

I've enjoyed reading many of this community's posts and appreciate how helpful and knowledgeable it's users are. I've read so much across this site and many review sites and the number of choices for cameras has just melted my mind. I'd really appreciate help in deciding what camera to buy to bring on our honeymoon abroad. I'm a novice photographer (but learning more every hour I spend on this site

Criteria:
* Image quality most important for me
* Would like to stay under $500
* Originally was thinking compact fit-in-your-pocket size camera but now I really just want the best quality images I can get for this price range
* I don't care about video recording quality (going to buy separate camcorder)
* Don't need RAW format
* would like decent shots at low light (my wife and I, Eiffel Tower at night sort of thing)
* would like zoom capability, think that will come in handy for site seeing shots

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!

Jason
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Old May 22, 2010, 11:56 PM   #2
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Panasonic FZ35 if you want a good megazoom. Great value with a 18x zoom at 350. Something with more reach, Fuji HS10 about 450 dollars.

Panasonic ZS6/7 if you something the is really compact, pocket size with a decent zoom at 14x, other good ones in this range is the canon SX210 and sony HX5V, All about 300-350.

All the camera will film HD.

I will be in Paris next weekend. With any point and shoot you will need a tripod if you want to take low light shots of the city of lights. As none of the camera that meet your HD need will shoot very well in low light. You will need to shoot with a long exposure to capture Paris by night. Something small will work well like a gorillapod.
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Old May 23, 2010, 12:37 AM   #3
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Thanks shoturtle. Great tip on the gorillapod! Have fun in Paris, we leave June 11th.

Some of my reading has made me hesitant on high mega pixel cameras because you end up getting worse IQ somehow?? Should I be worried about cameras like the SX210 that are 14Mp's because it'll negatively affect the IQ? (I'm sure I'm only understanding half the issue here).

I'll take a look at the FZ35 and Fuji HS10. I've read a lot about the ZS7 & HX5V.

Any thoughts on Canon PowerShot SX20 IS? Or does it just not compare to the others? I know it's a bit bigger camera.
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Old May 23, 2010, 12:46 AM   #4
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There are some nice photo sample between the zs7 and HX5V, this thread is pretty good, allot of samples. But I do not think the IQ issue with the Higher MP is really that big actually. The ZS7 has the edge in HD audio form some members accounts.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...omparison.html
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Old May 23, 2010, 12:50 AM   #5
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if you get the megazoom the gorilla pod slr is the one you will need. If you go with a compact PnS the compact gorilla pod will do the job just fine.
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Old May 23, 2010, 2:22 AM   #6
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Congrats on the wedding, mine is on the 11th June and will be off to the red sea on the 13th, if you are anything like me these are exciting, busy and a bit stressful times.

I agree with taking a gorillapod for whichever option you go for, I will be taking a small one with my underwater P&S.

If I were you I would think about what size camera you want to take around with you at all times, the FZ35 is a great choice but will you be OK with something that needs an extra case? If so then this is a good way to go and although you were thinking of getting a separate video camera, this is probably good enough to do both. Check out youtube and vimeo and search for videos shot with this camera to see if it is too you liking.

If you are going smaller I will admit to not being up to speed with the current options so won't make a suggestion, I will leave that to others.
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Old May 23, 2010, 3:59 AM   #7
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If you want to avoid having to get a camcorder also. If you stretch your budget a little. You can get an epl-1 with the kit lens for 570 currently. And it does a really nice job for HD video. And will give you DSLR photo quality as it uses the same size sensor as the olympus dslr. It is very easy to use in scene mode, then you can move up to iauto, and when you are ready you can go to manual modes. Also like a dslr, you can add lenses base on your photographic needs. It can shoot well up to 2000iso. So with a steady hand you can get some nice shots at night. But for the couple thing. Set the camera on delay on a gorilla pod and pose for the shot. Just remember to turn of the Image Stabilization off when on a gorillapod or tripod with any camera.

It is about the same size as the FZ, slight smaller when the lens is in the travel position.
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Old May 23, 2010, 8:04 AM   #8
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Jason, since you're willing to concede on the portability side of the criteria, as Shoturtle suggested you might get more value from a dslr. The photos will be much better in a variety of lighting conditions, and the right model will take hd video. While there are many nuances to the dslr, I know a person who takes wonderful pictures without ever leaving the "auto" mode. And if a person wanted to get into the nuances to a greater extent, it's there for you.

The only downside is portability, and this should be considered carefully. A small digicam to run around town with is a great advantage. IQ suffers under low-light, but as is said, the best camera is the one you have with you.
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Old May 23, 2010, 10:13 AM   #9
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Mark - congratulations! We had our wedding in February so I've had a bit of time to wind down before our honeymoon coming up here. The video taken by the FZ35 is quite good. Now shoturtle you just had to give me a whole new set of cameras in the epl-1 range to look at but if it saves me from getting a separate camcorder the extra money could be justified to my wife

Jim, my paisan from Iowa, I grew up in Slater - when you say North Central Iowa I think Story city, Ames area. I've thought about the portability issue and for this trip I'll be okay wandering around europe with a small shoulder bag with camera in tow. Who knows when I'll be back and I want to get great shots more than anything. If olive oil had not been accidentally dumped into my old canon p&s then it would be making the voyage too. Cameras are no longer allowed in the kitchen
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Old May 23, 2010, 11:07 AM   #10
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Some of today's DSLRs are so darn small that there's hardly any difference between them (with the WA kit lens) and one of those super zoom models, both in terms of size and weight. The difference comes when you need the zoom (and you will need the zoom almost guaranteed). Then two things happen: 1) price of the full DSLR package increases, and 2) size of the DSLR package dramatically increases as well. Not to mention the loss of practicability as with the DSLR you'll have to switch lenses almost regularly if you want to capture landscape and close-up details. There are some attractive DSLR two-lens kits out there that won't brake the bank (although they will cost significantly more than a P&S). At the same time, the FZ35 produces some excellent images for a P&S.

I'd go for the FZ35 because the last thing you want on your honeymoon is to make your new wife feel like she is getting less attention than your DSLR camera!!!
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