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Old May 31, 2010, 8:59 PM   #1
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Default Some advise on selecting a new camera

I was looking at getting a bridge camera, but after putting this list together, we are thinking maybe an entry level DSRL might be better. Trying to find a camera that fits our budget and needs.

This is what we are looking for or considering.

1. Action pictures of two toddlers is the most important thing. They are always on the move. This is a point I am really having trouble getting an answer on, since most review images are stationary.

2. Image stabilization.

3. Low light pictures. My understanding is that most compacts/superzooms/bridge cameras are not good in low light due to small flashes. This is something my wife thinks is more a problem than I do.

4. I liked taking macro pictures of my roses, butterflies and bugs in my rose garden. I would like this feature, but its not a deal breaker.

5. Video. I really don't use the video function that much, but its something my wife wants. When we watched a video review of the SX20IS and Z35, my wife really like the ability to zoom while shooting. That would be a bonus. I am thinking she might like a Flip, but we can't get both.

6. Good colors. One thing with the SX100 and some other P&S I have tried, the colors always come out off. Something I never noticed till I had kids.

7. Good auto mode so we can get started using it.

8. Durability/lifespan - Canon ranks near the bottom for durability for digital cameras from what I have seen. I would like an original source though to confirm or deny this. I have owned a lot of canon products and generally they have been good.

9. Our budget is in the area of 300-500. A good dependable camera is the most important thing. I don't want the best or the cheapest, just something that is good and meets most of our needs.

10. I always have a diaper bag, so size isn't so much an issue. Though I think I would like something that fits in a coat pocket.

I have a couple of cameras I am looking at right now, but this could change by the time I hit send. Not sure why I ended up with mostly Panasonic cameras on my list.

Feel free to suggest something else that you might think fits what we are looking for.

Canon PowerShot SX20IS - I am intrigued that I can mount a flash to it. This might be a nice affordable way to solve our problem with the dark photos.

Panasonic Lumix Z35: Seems the burst mode works better than the SX20IS? Is this true?

Panasonic DMC-LX3 - I like the size of the camera along with the manual controls. As much as I like this camera, I get the feeling it may not be right for me.

Are there any other cameras that you think might fit our needs. We were also thinking about maybe steeping up to the low end DSLR. We have become really picky about the pictures and maybe we would be happier with a DSLR.

I can't watch or read anymore camera reviews right now, so any input would be appreciated.
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Old May 31, 2010, 9:17 PM   #2
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Video with a dSLR is possible, but it's tough to do it well. The dSLR lenses that give the zoom ranges that are common on camcorders are not very good for shooting still images. Much of the other things you say you want to do would be handled well by a dSLR, but you won't be able to do many of the things you want with a budget of $300-$500.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:23 PM   #3
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jtdolphins-

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

The very compact Panasonic FZ35 at 14 ounces seems like a perfect solution for your camera needs. The Fz-35 has a higher ISO capability (usable right through ISO 800, and ISO 1600 in a pinch) and better image quality than the Canon SX-20 and it is at the same time a physically smaller camera to handle.

The FZ-35 is very capable and user friendly with many features including AVHCH HD video and dual channel sound. While it does not have a hot shoe like the SX-20, I use a very easy to use Slave Flash (cost $34.95 delivered) that works perfectly and provides both added light and the ability to use bounce flash.

The FZ-35 gives you a lot of advantages including: award winning Image Stabilization, an excellent Burst Mode, a great Macro Mode, and a HD video mode where you can zoom while filming. We have a large group of FZ-35 users in our Panasonic P+S folder who swap photos and photo tips regularly.

Panasonic in January 2010 received an international award for producing the most reliable cameras in the camera industry. So I think you can look forward to years of trouble free service.

The Panasonic LX3 is a great camera but it has a very limited zoom range, that most users find rather limiting. All in all the FZ-35 has a lot to offer you and I think it meets your requirements spot on across the board.

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Old May 31, 2010, 10:28 PM   #4
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If I forgot about video, what entry level dSLR would you recommend?

I was looking at the Nikon D3000. Its within the budget or at least close enough. I really like the Guide mode that it offers too. My wife isn't sure about how see feels about no Live View. I was also looking at the canon rebel XS. I think the low light and action shots are going to be more important than the video.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
jtdolphins-
The FZ-35 is very capable and user friendly with many features including AVHCH HD video and dual channel sound. While it does not have a hot shoe like the SX-20, I use a very easy to use Slave Flash (cost $34.95 delivered) that works perfectly and provides both added light and the ability to use bounce flash.
Thanks for the slave flash idea. That is making the FZ-35 a lot more viable. I really liked the camera, but the flash was bothering me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
The FZ-35 gives you a lot of advantages including: award winning Image Stabilization, an excellent Burst Mode, a great Macro Mode, and a HD video mode where you can zoom while filming. We have a large group of FZ-35 users in our Panasonic P+S folder who swap photos and photo tips regularly.
I have been checking out a lot of those photos the last two days, especially the pics for the burst mode.

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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
Panasonic in January 2010 received an international award for producing the most reliable cameras in the camera industry. So I think you can look forward to years of trouble free service.
Sarah Joyce
That is what I had been hearing. I have a lot of recommendations for the lumix models.

Thanks for the help.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:35 PM   #6
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jtdolphins-

Video on a DSLR camera is still not as good as you would get with a dedicated camcorder. If you are interested in a Nikon DSLR vcamera, I would suggest you bypass the D-3000, as it really has not received great reviews. Instead consider the D-5000 that does have HD video.

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Old May 31, 2010, 11:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtdolphins View Post
If I forgot about video, what entry level dSLR would you recommend?

I was looking at the Nikon D3000. Its within the budget or at least close enough. I really like the Guide mode that it offers too. My wife isn't sure about how see feels about no Live View. I was also looking at the canon rebel XS. I think the low light and action shots are going to be more important than the video.
There's nothing in your list of things you want to do that screams that you need a particular dSLR or even a particular brand. What I will say is that, since stabilization is important, Pentax and Sony have image stabilization in the camera body so any lens, including 20+ year old lenses on the used market, will be stabilized. Canon and Nikon have Optical image stabilization in some of their lenses. That makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive than their unstabilized counterparts. Also, since stabilized lenses are relatively new, there aren't many on the used market. And since you wnat to shoot macro, Canon only has one stabilized macro lens and Nikon only has two. Pentax has two macro lenses, and Sony has three, they're all stabilized, and all third party macro lenses and all older macro lenses will be stabilized on Pentax and Sony bodies.

For what you want, and for your limited budget, I suggest you confine your search to the Pentax K-x and one of the Sony dSLRs. That way, you can take advantage of the many bargains on excellent lenses available on the used market.
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Old Jun 1, 2010, 12:30 PM   #8
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There's nothing in your list of things you want to do that screams that you need a particular dSLR or even a particular brand. What I will say is that, since stabilization is important, Pentax and Sony have image stabilization in the camera body so any lens, including 20+ year old lenses on the used market, will be stabilized.
I hadn't thought of the used market for lens. That is good to know. I was looking at the Pentax K-x has a possibility. I liked it and the price wasn't bad. I wasn't real thrilled with the Sony alpha series. Not sure why, but something about them just didn't turn me on. I will have to go back and look at the alpha 330.

I think the FZ35 would make a nice camera for us. It comes very close to doing most of what we want, especially with a slave flash. I looked at the burst mode pictures and others posted here. My wife thinks a entry level dSRL would be better. She has really been unhappy with the pictures lately. Right now we are looking at the budget again, looking at pictures and rereading/rewatching reviews.
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