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Old Nov 10, 2010, 9:32 AM   #1
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Default Upgrading from a superzoom revisited

I am looking to upgrade from a Canon sx10is Superzoom. I thought I wanted a Canon 60d until I saw how big the kit lens is. When I looked at DSLR's in the stores I was put off by the size of the lenses. I would like to have a zoom lens with at least the reach equivalent to a 300mm lens on a aspc sensor. Are some of the lenses that zoom up to 300 more compact than others? I am looking at ASPC DSLR cameras, at micro four thirds, and also four thirds Olympus DSLR cameras. Would Pentax lens be more compact than others in the ASPC range? Would a Panasonic G2 or an Olympus EPL1 out perform the superzoom camera? I am happy with the Image quality of the SX10is when it has enough light. It struggles with focus as the amount of light falls off. Also it has too much noise above 800 ISO. I am mostly using the camera for family and travel pictures. We are planning a trip to Yellowstone in September and expect our first grandchild in January. Good pictures of the grandchild and Yellowstone are priorities. I also take some pictures of flowers, birds, and nature. I prefer to have a viewfinder.
Advise would be appreciated.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 11:05 AM   #2
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Hi Tommy! The short answer to your questions is, yes... a Panasonic G2 or Olympus E-PL1 will outperform a superzoom camera. Now, when you say you'd like to have a zoom lens that goes out to 300mm, do you mean without changing lenses? Because if you don't mind changing lenses, you have a number of options.

If you'd prefer a single lens that will take you from, say 28-300mm (equivalent) then you have a couple of choices with micro four thirds but they'll cost you a bit a money.

Olympus offers a 14-150mm (28-300mm equivalent) lens for the E-PL1. A kit with both camera and lens runs about $1000:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

If you want a viewfinder, the excellent VF-2 electronic viewfinder is another $230 for a total outlay of about $1230:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...us_260057.html

On the Panasonic side, there's the GH2 (which has a built-in electronic viewfinder) with the 14-140mm (28-280mm equivalent) lens for about $1500:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

Another option in Panasonic is landing a leftover GH1 with the same 14-140mm lens and built-in viewfinder for about $1000. But I have no idea how much longer these will be around. Still a great camera:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html

If you're ready to buy right now, this last GH1 option might be the way to go.

Again, if you don't mind changing lenses, you can keep the price down a bit by buying an E-PL1 or G2 with the kit lenses and then adding either Olympus's 40-150 or Panasonic's 45-200mm lenses.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Biro's solutions are pretty compact, more than mine. I have a Pentax K-x and recently bought a Tamron 18-200mm lens for $189 after rebate. That gives me an effective zoom range of 27 -300mm. It doesn't feel that heavy or bulky to me, but it might to you. The Canon T1I or T2I are not that big. You can get a Tamron 18-250mm lens with a Canon mount for about $299 from Amazon and elsewhere. That lens is pretty compact and reportedly a better lens, optically speaking, than my 18-200. That would give you an effective range of about 29-400mm. Unfortunately, if you can find it, it's much more expensive for the Pentax mount. The same lens is available for Nikon and Sony cameras. Anyway, good luck.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 3:39 PM   #4
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Tommy has a number of less-expensive solutions if he's willing to either buy used or is willing to change lenses. For example, a brand-new Pentax K-x kit with 18-55 and 55-300mm lenses is under $700;

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._SLR_with.html
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 9:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the suggestions. I don't mind changing the lens if it is mostly for the longer telephoto shots. A very versatile walk-around lens and a second longer zoom would work for me. I wouldn't always need to carry the longer zoom. I would use that mostly for when I could get photos of wildlife. If the performance and the quality of the micro four thirds is better than the superzoom I am tempted to go that direction. I live near Cleveland, Ohio. I think I need to go downtown to Dodds Camera and check out the options. It is the only place I know of around here where I can see most of the suggested options. Ive looked at a lot of this stuff in the reviews, but sometimes picking up a camera makes all the difference.
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Old Nov 10, 2010, 11:35 PM   #6
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Absolutely. Pick up the cameras, see which one fits the most naturally in your hands and has the controls located so that you can operate them almost without thinking about them. You can even take an SD card with you and pop it inside the cameras to take similar shots and compare results when you get home.
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Old Nov 11, 2010, 9:43 AM   #7
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Both Canon and Nikon have image stabilization in the lens. That adds to the size and bulk. Additionally, if the lens has an Auto Focus motor then it is even larger to accommodate all the electronics, motors, etc.

Pentax, Sony and Olympus use in body stabilization, so that the lenses are smaller and simpler. Using in body Screwdrive for autofocusing and no Auto Focus motors in the lens, keeps the size down, however may slow down focusing a bit and may make them a bit nosier.

In terms of total package - body and lens, Pentax has some of the smallest sets around.

4/3 and micro 4/3 cameras have even smaller lenses, however they also have smaller sensors.

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Old Dec 5, 2010, 9:32 PM   #8
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Default Made my choice

An end to an old post. Thanks for all of your advise and help. I went downtown to the local camera store. They were having a Camera show and had factory reps there. I thought I wanted something in the micro 4/3rds family, but ended up with a Sony A33. It just felt right in my hands and felt responsive. It has a tilting swiveling LCD, that is a plus for me. MY Canon SX10is has one and I find it useful at times. I am also used to an EVF and the one on the A33 is much better than the one on the SX10is. Also it is light and small for a DSLR another plus for taking it with me on walks and hikes. Now I have a lot of learning to do.
Thanks
Tom
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