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Old Dec 18, 2010, 5:39 PM   #61
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The Canon SX-30 is a good birding camera, as long as you stay at ISO 100. There is lots of CA and color rims on high contrast objects in high zoom photos. I really do not see it as well adapted to kids sports.

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Old Dec 19, 2010, 11:00 AM   #62
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I wish I could afford to own all the superzooms, but I can't. I have had the Casio FH20, the Panasonic FZ28, and the Canon SX30IS. Of those, I would say the FZ28 had the best video mode overall. I would therefore recommend the FZ35, which seems to be a slight upgrade to the FZ28.
Go to imaging-resource for their review of the camera, which seems to emphasize its versatility. The SX30IS is good in bright light (daylight) which is sometimes hard to find for about 5 months a year in the Seattle area (I live there.) The FH20 (and FH25) are great at super fast bursts in good light for a relatively stationary subject (i.e. a soccer goalie, a baseball batter at home plate). I know you want something compact and relatively inexpensive , but if you want the most versatility and image quality, you would do better with a DSLR and a long zoom lens. If you could afford it, you might try the Sony A33 or A55. Even my Pentax K-x with a 55-300 lens is much better.
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 1:46 PM   #63
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With resignation I returned the SX30IS primarily due to the agonizingly long shot-to-shot times. I had earlier tried a FZ100 in the store and found that even in burst mode I had to wait for a while to start a new burst.

It crossed my mind that perhaps there was no Superzoom that could measure up to a DSLR for shot-to-shot speed, CMOS or not. The limitation may be that manufacturers don't want to "waste" a lot of processor speed on any camera with such a small sensor.

So I asked the salesman about DSLRs and he brought a Nikon D3100 and Canon T2i to the counter. After he impressed me with the D3100, I took a number of shots in the well-lit store. It felt very fast and seemed to take very well-focused photos. It came with an 18-55mm AF-S VR kit lens which I would need to replace with something like a Tamron 18-300mm lens later (I don't want to be changing lenses at sporting events). The T2i was available as a body only but with the lens I'd want was more than I wanted to spend on a trial basis. It was past closing time, so I decided to purchase the D3100 to give it a try at home.

After charging the battery, I decided to mimic what it would be like for my wife to pick up the camera and try to get some decent shots with the typical point-and-shoot approach, so I went around the house and took a bunch of shots in Auto and Program mode. To my surprise, I found that the photos I got did not look as good as the ones I had shot with the SX30IS in similar fashion. Also surprising, the shutter speeds were at least as long as with the SX30 and the image stabilization was not as effective. There must be an obvious explanation that I'm missing, because I had figured that a much larger sensor would reduce shutter speeds and make for more solid images in any situation. I also noticed that I still had to wait several seconds after taking a series of shots even with the DSLR.

Perhaps a Superzoom is most appropriate for what I want to do, after all? Or do I just need a higher level DSLR (T2i)? Or is there something else I'm missing?
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 4:38 PM   #64
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Tim

I personally think that you are attempting to find DSLR like capabilities in a super zoom, when you should really be looking for a DSLR camera.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 6:04 PM   #65
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Quote:
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Tim

I personally think that you are attempting to find DSLR like capabilities in a super zoom, when you should really be looking for a DSLR camera.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Joyce
I'm inclined to agree, but is there a place I could start where I could get decent zoom capabilities and acceptable HD video for $1000 or less? Is it even possible? Aren't we talking about a ton more money for the DSLR solution?
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 6:11 PM   #66
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Check out the Canon 500D (T1i) with the kit lens, currently about $650 then add a Tamron 70-300mm LD Di. Video isn't as good regarding usability compared to a P&S or dedicated video cam, but the quality is amazing if you use it correctly.
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 9:23 PM   #67
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Tim... there's also one more thing you have to consider. Many people moving up from a point-and-shoot camera to a DSLR are initially disappointed at the results they get. That's because the DSLR essentially gives you more rope to hang yourself with. You get much more control and a much higher potential level of image quality. But you have to learn how to work a DSLR. Rarely will they give you the best results while working in auto mode. P&S cameras, superzoom or not, tend to give results that are pleasing to most newbies and consumers but can only go so far.

I can't speak to the effectiveness of the image stabilization in Nikon's kit lenses. But did you make sure the image stabilization was actually turned on? Nikon calls it VR for "vibration reduction." And remember that while stabilization will help compensate for your movements, it won't help with the movement of your subject.

When you talk about shutter speeds, I'm not sure if you're operating the D3100 in burst mode or just trying to shoot one individual shot after the other. Perhaps the D3100 has high- and low-speed burst modes. If you're taking individual shots in a row, try putting the camera in shutter priority mode and using higher shutter speeds. Or use a higher ISO (sensitivity setting) that would require shorter shutter openings for proper exposure. Or you could even try one of the scene modes - try Sports (the one that likely has a picture of a person running on the dial).

This is how DSLRs give you control. If you or your wife aren't comfortable with the learning curve (it takes some time - you have to go out and experiment and not be fearful of failing for a bit) then perhaps you might be happier with a superzoom P&S. Please understand that I'm only guessing here. You may know all about operating a DSLR. But from all I've read, the D3100 is a perfectly decent entry-level DSLR.
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Old Dec 20, 2010, 11:24 PM   #68
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Hey, Tim,

You can get a Tamron 18-250mm lens (which will be like a 27-375mm lens on a Nikon DSLR with an APS sensor, and slightly more on a Canon DSLR (29-400 or so) for $279 at several reputable etailers). That lens got very good reviews. I have the Tamron 18-200 lens and am pleased with it, but the 18-250 is supposed to be much better. Unfortunately, it costs more than $450 for a Pentax camera.
If you want to find something with the 24-840 range found on the Canon SX30IS, you will pay an arm and a leg, but if you are satisfied with the shorter range of the 18-250, you can get a decent camera plus lens combo for well under $1,000.
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Old Dec 21, 2010, 1:58 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwtim View Post
With resignation I returned the SX30IS primarily due to the agonizingly long shot-to-shot times. I had earlier tried a FZ100 in the store and found that even in burst mode I had to wait for a while to start a new burst.

It crossed my mind that perhaps there was no Superzoom that could measure up to a DSLR for shot-to-shot speed, CMOS or not. The limitation may be that manufacturers don't want to "waste" a lot of processor speed on any camera with such a small sensor.

So I asked the salesman about DSLRs and he brought a Nikon D3100 and Canon T2i to the counter. After he impressed me with the D3100, I took a number of shots in the well-lit store. It felt very fast and seemed to take very well-focused photos. It came with an 18-55mm AF-S VR kit lens which I would need to replace with something like a Tamron 18-300mm lens later (I don't want to be changing lenses at sporting events). The T2i was available as a body only but with the lens I'd want was more than I wanted to spend on a trial basis. It was past closing time, so I decided to purchase the D3100 to give it a try at home.

After charging the battery, I decided to mimic what it would be like for my wife to pick up the camera and try to get some decent shots with the typical point-and-shoot approach, so I went around the house and took a bunch of shots in Auto and Program mode. To my surprise, I found that the photos I got did not look as good as the ones I had shot with the SX30IS in similar fashion. Also surprising, the shutter speeds were at least as long as with the SX30 and the image stabilization was not as effective. There must be an obvious explanation that I'm missing, because I had figured that a much larger sensor would reduce shutter speeds and make for more solid images in any situation. I also noticed that I still had to wait several seconds after taking a series of shots even with the DSLR.

Perhaps a Superzoom is most appropriate for what I want to do, after all? Or do I just need a higher level DSLR (T2i)? Or is there something else I'm missing?
When you were taking pictures in the house I assume the flash was going off (it has been fairly dingy around here lately). if so that is the culprite for part of the shot to shot, the flash needs to control the focus and flash and then recharge. If your flash was not going off then that could be part of the image issue as your shutter speed would be fairly slow. Another thing to to remember is that a DSLR is not the magic P&S. You can work with shot settings to get some of that, but the DSLR almost expects you to do some post production on the image.
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Old Dec 21, 2010, 2:10 PM   #70
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Unfortunately, you need to get some realistic expectations. You want a $1000 camera that works perfectly in automatic mode. It doesn't exist.

As you've discovered, once you get past the marketing jargon and assurances from people that don't know any better you find that superzooms are not, in fact, just as good as DSLRs for action photography.

But - you've also discoverd another secret - a DSLR is NOT a magic point and shoot either. A DSLR is A SYSTEM - that means you use system components for specific jobs. Want low light photos - you have options in THE SYSTEM. You can buy a faster lens (f2.8, 2.0, 1.8 or 1.4 or even 1.2) and you can enable higher ISO in the camera - shoot at ISO 6400 and you'll get faster shutter speeds and more usable photos. But you have to be willing to think a little bit too. It's not rocket science - but it's not point and shoot either. Or you can use an external flash (a solution also available for some digicams). Unfortunately the magic point and shoot has not been invented yet. More difficult photography still requires the power of the human brain. Cameras are getting better all the time but we still don't have that magic point and shoot.

So - given the technology that exists today you have to decide:
do you want to live with the technical limits of todays digicams and how that will limit your sports/low light shooting or do you want to invest some time and learn something about photography - which will be required to use the features a DSLR system offers that will help you shoot in those environments. You might not like the fact you have to make that choice. But, that really doesn't change anything.
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