Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 17, 2010, 10:59 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 10
Default Replacing older superzoom, need some help

Hi all, I'm back again after 6 years of enjoying my Panasonic DMC FZ3. The shutter finally wore down and now isn't functioning any more. I came here 6 years ago and researched for a few months about what to buy and think I made a good decision with the DMC FZ3. Most of the research was done with the help of this website and I'm glad to see its still going strong. The FZ3 has served our family well.

Now we need to buy something new and need some help. We have 3 little boys and a wife that loved catching their every move on an SD card, whether it's in the house, backyard, birthday parties, family gatherings, or sporting events. We don't do or have time to do any scenery or wildlife shots. Its all about the kids and catching them in the moment. We went to the camera store yesterday and went through a bunch of DSLR's and some P & S cameras. We love the idea of the DSLR's having better image quality, especially in low light but for portability we think P&S may be the way to go.

There are a few things that do bother me in terms of the P&S cameras though. Hopefully someone can give me their thoughts from experience. From what I've been told by the camera repairman a p&s only has a 2 to 5 year life expectancy and that we were lucky to get 6 out of ours. Is it true that a p&s shutter is good for about 20, 000 pics (which we probably had with our FZ3) compared to a DSLR that is good for 100,000 to 150 000 pics in terms of shutter counts.

This alone may steer me towards the DSLR's. Another concern for us was the image quality that seemed to be degrading for the last year of the cameras life. I'm not sure if it was the camera or more likely it may have been a setting or two that was off. Can someone please let me know if quality does degrade over time on either type of camera.

As far as superzooms from what I've read the Panasonic FZ35 still seems to be on top even after 6 years. The Canon sx20 IS seems to be rated well also but I handled it yesterday and it is a monster. Also has AA batteries which seems to add to its weight.

The salesman seem to think that a compact zoom was right for us. He showed us a panasonic DMC FS5K and 7K. Would these not be a downgrade from what we had before? I understand that things have improved drastically in the industry but would the FZ35 not be a better camera than the 5K or 7K? The 5K is priced slightly lower than the FZ35 and the 7K is slightly more. They don't appeal to me as it felt like I was holding a cell phone not a camera. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

I've read that the FZ35 is due for replacement soon so that irritates me because I don't think we can go more than a couple weeks without a camera. Does anyone remember what the FZ35 pricing was like when it first came out compared to what it is now? Currently it is selling for $399 in Canada which seems reasonable.

Sorry for the length of the post. Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated. By the way, in case its not clear I'm not in any way very knowledgeable with photography equipment, however I don't mind reading/learning about it either.

Last edited by fawks99; Jun 17, 2010 at 11:01 AM.
fawks99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 17, 2010, 11:32 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
jmp2204's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 113
Default

hmmmm , well as you know i took the dlsr plunge and am not looking back .

Advantages of super zoom to me

portabilty
AA batteries (s5is) didn't think i would like it at the time, but liked it better
cost

Advantages of Dslr
creativity
quality
versatility in varying conditions(ie lowlight , quality in all conditions)
shutter count
speed to catch the action
etc


buy a DLSR you won't regret it
jmp2204 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 12:02 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

fawks-

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

It would seem to me that there are two issues here: camera reliability, and camera ability. Here in the USA the FZ-35 entered the market in mid September 2009 at $399. Currently it is selling for around $325, after having dipped as low as around 300.00.

Panasonic has been awarded a commendation for producing the most reliable cameras over the last decade. Your camera use, seems to validate that. Yes, a P+S camera is designed for a shorter lifetime than the average entry level DSLR camera.

DSLR cameras have a great ability to take better photos, and photos under more severe lighting conditions than P+S cameras. Yes, DSLR camera are probably designed for a longer life and greater reliability. But their design is radically different, such as employing a moveable mirror and other like parts, that do not even exist on P+S cameras. So I think that the life span of a DSLR is greater, but it would be hard to accurately define how much greater that lifespan might indeed be.

How about a budget? That is the next issue to consider. Does your budget allow for an entry level DSLR purchase? Certainly the FZ design is tried and true, and I do not believe that the FS series cameras will be as reliable, as they were designed for a price sensitive, economy market of camera users.

If the FZ-series camera have served you well for the last 6 years, isn't it logical to assume that you can expect similar service once again? Surely the learning curve would be more shallow with a new FZ-35 camera, rather than going to an entirely new camera.

There are step by step decisions that have to be made as you make your way through the camera selection process. The first decision is to go with the FZ-35, it's replacement coming in Fall 2010, or to go with a DSLR camera. In large measure, that decision will pivot around the size of your budget.

So using a step by step process, let's deal with that question firstly, as certainly our decision pathway will be entirely different based on this first initial decision.

Sarah joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 12:38 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 584
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by fawks99 View Post

From what I've been told by the camera repairman a p&s only has a 2 to 5 year life expectancy and that we were lucky to get 6 out of ours.
But then he would say that wouldn't he You should expect more than
2 years, but 5-6 years is probably a reasonable average. I have been reasonably
lucky with cameras so far. My original 1999 Fujifilm is still going strong:

http://pix.ie/corkpix/1640419/in/album/371914

Quote:
Is it true that a p&s shutter is good for about 20, 000 pics (which we probably had with our FZ3) compared to a DSLR that is good for 100,000 to 150 000 pics in terms of shutter counts.
Good question and I don't have a good answer. Most P&S have a purely
electronic shutter with no moving parts. I don't know if the FZ3 even has a
mechanical shutter. The FZ35 has a mechanical shutter, but I don't think
it is used in all modes. Most DSLR specs don't put an absolute value
on shutter life, but a figure of somewhere around 50,000 to 150,000
actuations is often mentioned.

Quote:
This alone may steer me towards the DSLR's. Another concern for us was the image quality that seemed to be degrading for the last year of the cameras life. I'm not sure if it was the camera or more likely it may have been a setting or two that was off. Can someone please let me know if quality does degrade over time on either type of camera.
I can't think of any reason for a slow degradation of image quality
unless there was a specific fault with the camera. The image quality
would likely look worse relative to the latest cameras after a few
years.

Quote:
As far as superzooms from what I've read the Panasonic FZ35 still seems to be on top even after 6 years. The Canon sx20 IS seems to be rated well also but I handled it yesterday and it is a monster. Also has AA batteries which seems to add to its weight.
The Lumix FZs are still among the best-in-class.

Quote:
The salesman seem to think that a compact zoom was right for us. He showed us a panasonic DMC FS5K and 7K. Would these not be a downgrade from what we had before? I understand that things have improved drastically in the industry but would the FZ35 not be a better camera than the 5K or 7K? The 5K is priced slightly lower than the FZ35 and the 7K is slightly more. They don't appeal to me as it felt like I was holding a cell phone not a camera. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
You can expect better performance out of a bridge camera like the FZ35
than you would get out of a small compact.

Quote:
I've read that the FZ35 is due for replacement soon so that irritates me because I don't think we can go more than a couple weeks without a camera. Does anyone remember what the FZ35 pricing was like when it first came out compared to what it is now? Currently it is selling for $399 in Canada which seems reasonable.
If you are going to keep it for six years, I don't think the arrival of a newer
model will be an issue. If you need it now, you might as well buy it now.
corkpix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 1:30 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
jmp2204's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 113
Default

hour and a half
jmp2204 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 2:39 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 10
Default

Hi Sarah thanks for the reply. I've read many threads here over the last few days and I think you've replied to all of them. Thanks for the dedication.

Quote:
How about a budget? That is the next issue to consider. Does your budget allow for an entry level DSLR purchase?
We would be o.k with an entry level DSLR is terms of budget, I'd like to keep it under $600 if choosing SLR. From what I have seen I could get most entry level SLR's with an 18-55 lens from Nikon, Pentax, Canon etc, from $450 (Nikon D3000) to $599 (Pentax K-X). Zoom however seems to be a fairly important tool that we use and therefore would need to buy another lens for an SLR which then again adds dollars. I'm o.k with that but wouldn't go high end, maybe $150 - $200 would be max to start. I haven't researched this so let me know if its even possible on that budget.

Quote:
If the FZ-series camera have served you well for the last 6 years, isn't it logical to assume that you can expect similar service once again? Surely the learning curve would be more shallow with a new FZ-35 camera, rather than going to an entirely new camera.
Yes thats very logical and agree that we would be very comfortable with the FZ35. However, sometimes something new can be refreshing also.

JMP:

Get back to work!!! After your break of course. Ha Ha


Corkpix:

Quote:
But then he would say that wouldn't he You should expect more than
2 years, but 5-6 years is probably a reasonable average.
I should have mentioned that the repairman is totally unbiased as he doesn't sell cameras, just fixes them. I know him personally and he is speaking from many years of experience and is quit well respected in the area. One of the biggest issues he faces is getting parts for cameras that are more than a couple years old.
fawks99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 4:59 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Davenport, IA
Posts: 2,093
Default

Just a couple of comments about some of the issues raised in this thread.

1) P$S cameras are probably designed with a shorter life in mind since there is less opportunity for the mfr. to generate additional income from selling you accessories that arise from selling a system (DSLR) camera. By the nature of the design the only way new features and advances in technology can be brought to market is by selling a new camera. P&S and DSLRs have a different market synergy.

2) While not true in every case a an entry DSLR's built in flash is often a weak sister compared to a P&S camera. I suspect the reason is that virtually every DSLR can be expanded with an external flash for those that need that feature whereas you can't do that with most P&S cameras including the FZ35. It is also true that with the DSLR's better high ISO capability a flash is not required as often. Expect, however with the kit lenses you'll be using at least one and maybe two stops higher ISO than a same era P&S. Don't get uptight about it though, they'll do that comfortably.

3) I recently replaced my 2006 vintage super-zoom with a DSLR and spent just under 2K$. The price was driven by my need to to insure myself that I could absolutely take photos under every circumstance that I could with my P&S plus a known future requirement. Without the the future requirement I could have done that for between $830 and $1060. Since you have also identified the need for a long telephoto we are pretty much in the same boat.

4) I don't worry to much about when a camera is going to be replaced in the marketplace. If the camera meets you needs, buy it. You can't take pictures with a camera you don't have and rarely do you truly need the added features of the new model.

A. C.
ac.smith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 5:01 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

fawks-

OK, for the moment, let's agree that the FZ-35 and an entry level DSLR are still under consideration. The Fz-35 is selling here in the USA for around $(US)325.00. According to your post the FZ-35 costs $(CDN) 399.00. So there is a benchmark to begin with in our search.

In the DSLR arena, there is also the Canon XSi equipped with a Canon 18-55mmIS lens that is selling at a very attractive $649.99 at office depot here in the USA. Yes, it is a bit higher in price but it is a real performer with very fast focusing which could be very helpful with you candid style of photo. The XSi retains its image quality right up to ISO 1600. And I have attached an XSi photo sample taken indoors without flash that was taken straight out of the camera with no noise software applied at all. And I might add that with a little pp that photo would really look a who lot better.

That attached photo demonstrates a photo that the FZ-38 could not take. Where I am going with this is to examine what an entry level DSLR camera could add quality-wise to the photos that you are taking right now.

Sarah Joyce

Sarah Joyce
Attached Images
 

Last edited by mtclimber; Jun 17, 2010 at 5:05 PM.
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 7:17 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
jmp2204's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: ontario canada
Posts: 113
Default

here is some reading for you when you get time http://www.neutralday.com/canon-eos-...ty-comparison/
jmp2204 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 17, 2010, 8:00 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

jmp2204-

I agree that the Canon T1i and T2i are excellent DSLR cameras. I own the T1i and like it a lot, but those cameras are out of range on the OP's declared budget.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:20 PM.