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Old Jun 6, 2010, 4:32 PM   #1
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My daughter and I will be traveling to Costa Rica this summer and are considering camera upgrades. I currently have the Panasonic FZ30 and she has a Canon Powershot A710. With the FZ30, I enjoy the ease of use of the zoom (no changing lenses, less to carry around). The higher telephoto capabilities seem limited by grainy/blurry shots though. I also struggle to get good shots in macro mode, they are often blurry. My daughter's little A710 takes the most awesome macro shots, but is totally lacking in the telephoto capacity.

We photograph family events (including indoor) wildlife, landscape and love to experiment with macro shots of flowers and insects. Convenience is a factor, but we want to improve quality. Most of the time I do not have a tripod. Moving from wide angle to telephoto easily is important, I wouldn't mind switching lenses for macro shots since flowers generally stay put. I have several batteries for the FZ30 and I wonder if those are compatible with the FZ35. I also have a lot of SD cards, so would prefer that format.

I have been looking at upgrading to the FZ35 but I am also considering the Canon Powershot SX20 IS or going into a DSLR, perhaps the Canon EOS T1i. I would appreciate any feedback on the performance of those camera or suggestions of others I should be considering.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 4:37 PM   #2
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The T1i will give you better indoor results and when the lighting drops. For the close up you will want a macro lens to get the most out of a dslr. The DSLR will give you better image quality then any bridge camera.

But bridge camera are convenient. Easy to travel with.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 5:26 PM   #3
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Ellya-

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

As you do not like to change lenses, with a super zoom you could do macro shots without the need for a specialized and separate macro lens that a DSLR would require. That would be a real advantage that a DSLR cannot provide. I would suggest the Panasonic FZ-35, instead of the Canon SX-20, as the FZ-35, at just 14 ounces and has a very compact form factor. The FZ-35 would provide better image quality, and a higher ISO capability than the SX-20. All in all, the FZ-35 would be a top travel camera choice.

Having visited there often myself, I can tell you that Costa Rica is a very beautiful, and provides many amazing photo opportunities. I checked and unfortunately the FZ-30 and the FZ-35 use different batteries.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Jun 6, 2010, 5:38 PM   #4
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Do you have a budget in mind?

I was thinking that two Pentax K-x dSLRs would be a good idea (one for each of you) with two lenses: a Tamron 70-300 Di LD 1:2 Macro for you, and a Sigma 17-70 1:2.3 Macro for your daughter. That comes to $1,634, but I can't think of anything that would do as well for less money.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 5:43 PM   #5
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If you were going with a pentax k-x which is a great dslr. I shoot it at time. I would go with the pentax 2 lens kit with the longer 300mm zoom. It is a much sharper lens then the tamron wide open at the long end which will help allot of shots up in the jungle canopy of CR. I have been there and you will be shooting up allot to catch the beauty that is in the tree line. The tamron is a better macro lens then a telezoom.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 5:50 PM   #6
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the pentax 55-300mm zoom is not as good as the tamron for macro as it is not 1:2, but does do a decent job.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...0mm-macro.html
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 6:02 PM   #7
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In my humble opinion, those are all terrible suggestions.

Definitely the bump up to a dSLR is the way to go. Your initial instinct of considering the T1i was a good one. However, if price isn't as much of an issue, consider the new T2i. Canon and Nikon outsell Pentax, Sony, and all the other dSLR brands by a long shot for a reason. If you read the reviews on this website and others (dcresource.com) is a great alternate site to read reviews, you'll find that Canon and Nikon dSLR's continually outshine the other brands.

As far as your lens questions go, go with a Sigma or Tamron lens with a focal range of 18-200mm. That will give you fairly good telephoto and wide angle all in one. You most likely will still want to by a macro lens for close up work... maybe a 50mm f1.8. This will give you a fast lens with a good focal length for a fairly cheap price and it's also super compact. Canon makes that lens for under $100. Don't spend too much on expensive lenses if you are just a starting out in the world of dSLR's. As it is, you'll notice a great improvement just upgrading to the dSLR.

I am a professional photographer and sold digital SLR's for several years so I have a lot of experience in placing the right camera for a persons needs. I also shoot with a Canon 5D MII.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 6:06 PM   #8
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Hi Ellya,

I'm no expert, but if you are looking for a considerable difference in image quality (and that is your primary concern vs. convenience), you might want to consider a small DSLR with appropriate lenses. I think they have made some big improvements over the years in terms of image stabilization, focus speed, etc., but I wonder how much of a difference you are really going to see between a typical photo taken with your FZ30 and one taken with the FZ35. (Others here should feel free to disagree).

The FZ35 is a great camera (I own one and actually purchased it myself before a recent trip to Costa Rica) and it has a lot of upgrades over the FZ30, including very good video, a longer zoom and wider lens than the FZ30, but the FZ30 actually had a larger image sensor. My brother-in-law has an FZ10 and although my FZ35 has many bells and whistles, his pictures look very good also.

I'm personally a bit torn. Having the FZ35 with me was very convenient and I got some wonderful shots. However, I wonder how much better some of my pictures might have been if I had purchased and taken a DSLR. There were a couple of people I met who had DSLRs and they were really able to get some amazing photos -- of course they had the right equipment and knew what to do with it. It really is a matter of how good is good enough and weighing that against convenience.

Here is a link to some shots I took with the FZ35 on my trip if you are interested. Frog shots which were in low light were taken with a Canon S90.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wi...osta-rica.html

A couple of other links toward the bottom of this thread. http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...ife-shots.html

Enjoy your vacation!

Last edited by Jazzer251; Jun 6, 2010 at 6:19 PM.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 6:07 PM   #9
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Pentax k-x is tipa 2010 best entry, and i shoot a t1i, and the k-x does a bit better in low light then the t1i, and stay close to my t1i in the AF department. Pentax has gotten way better with the current line up from just a couple years ago. And the kit lenses do focus faster the then canon 55-250. And it is a very sharp lens on the long end.
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Old Jun 6, 2010, 6:16 PM   #10
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But as a T1i shooter, I will tell you that it is a great camera, great for keeping up with the action. Both the kit lenses are sharp, both the 18-55 and 55-250 does a very nice job. The 55-250 will do a good job with macro also. But not as well as the tamron 70-300 which does 1:2, but the 55-250 is sharp then the tamron. The 55-250 does a okay job keeping up with slower action and you get IS as the tamron does not give you that option. But the canon ef 70-300mm IS is a much better lens for action and is sharper at the long end with greater reach. But it is also 550 vs. 250.

The T1i is great at capturing fine detail, but it is a bit nosier then the pentax k-x.

Either camera would do a great job for your trip if you want to get the best image quality.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Jun 6, 2010 at 6:34 PM.
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