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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jan 1, 2011, 9:58 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 13
Default Help finding a camera

I've become lost in the plethora of options and the lack of available information. For the past month I've been trying to find the right camera and have narrowed it down to the basic needs but can't figure out just which one would be right. Please keep in mind I have a limited budget of around $350.
Needs:
Panoramic, manual, SP, A, F modes
Wide range of ISO
IS
Excellent macro capability

Wants:
A camera with both AF and MF
RAW format
Large optical zoom capability

Don't Care:
Speed of taking pictures
Burst modes

Main uses of camera:
Landscapes
Portraits
Wildlife
Macro
Museums/Aquariums
Night scenery

I had been looking at a number of cameras and can't quite decide, and I'm sure there's more I haven't thought of. The Fuji s1800, Canon sx130 IS (doesn't have manual mode), Nikon P100, Nikon L110 (Limited capability), Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ34,40,100 (The 100 may be a bit excessive), Canon SX30 IS, Pentax X90, Kodak z981, Oly SP-590uz and SP-800uz.

Please show me a direction or let me know if you have used any of these cameras.
meriorage is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jan 1, 2011, 11:56 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

My suggestion for your camera search would be the Panasonic FZ40. It meets your needs and budget nicely.

We also have a very active and helpful group of FZ35/38, FZ40/45, and FZ100 users in our Panasonic P+S folder, myself included, that I would think would be very helpful to you.

I use the FZ40. Here is a nice Macro/close-up photo sample from the FZ40:

http://anchorse.smugmug.com/Other/Pa...4_TYEHr-XL.jpg

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2011, 10:36 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 13
Default

I never been able to find any of the FZ series in stores. Does it actually have a different AF/MF setting and if so how do they have it set up to switch between the two?
meriorage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2011, 11:08 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Is is extremely easy to switch between AF and MF as you can see from the attached photo. It is a matter of simply pushing a button.

http://anchorse.smugmug.com/Other/Ca...1_cdpNd-XL.jpg

I hope this helps.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2011, 11:13 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 13
Default

It does actually. I just want to make sure the camera offers the max amount of flexibility and freedom for my limited budget.
meriorage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 2, 2011, 1:13 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,130
Default

I'll second the vote for the FZ40. I currently have an FZ100 and while I like the burst speed and 1080p video, I will readily admit that the FZ40 has better still IQ. How much better ... I don't know - but better.
__________________
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.
FiveO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 2, 2011, 11:15 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 13
Default

Well, I'm down to 3 cameras. The fuji finepix s1800, the canon sx130 is, and the panasonic lumix dmc-fz40.
meriorage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 2, 2011, 12:09 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Of the three possible choices, the FZ40 is the clear leader in that group. Most folks are disappointed with the Fuji S1800, myself included. The image quality is sub-par in my opinion. Also the images were soft at the corners. I returned the camera.

The Canon SX130 is a good evolution of the previous SX120 camera. The new lens is excellent, but the camera is still limited to a max of 800 ISO before image quality deteriorates measurably.

In contrast, the FZ-40 has a High Sensitivity Scene Mode that I find rather amazing. Here is a photo where the FZ40 selected ISO 3200. The lighting was provided by a single overhead 60w light bulb some 8 feet from the subject. This is a reduced resolution scene mode. However, the resolution can easily be recovered in photo editing.

http://anchorse.smugmug.com/Other/Pa...4_TYEHr-XL.jpg

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 2, 2011, 12:24 PM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 13
Default

Most of my photography needs are outdoors so high ISO capabilities aren't that necessary. This leads me to see the error in my original post on a wide range of ISO it should say a good range of low end ISO. Through my research I have found that yes the FZ40 is a better camera, but is it $120 better for my needs? My only qualms with the sx130 is the lack of panorama and the limited 12x zoom, both things the FZ40 has and more. I guess now I'm just becoming picky with the decision and the fine details.
meriorage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 2, 2011, 2:09 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

I purchased the SX130 first, tried it, found some very real limitations, and return the camera. I then researched for another two weeks and determined that the FZ40 had more features and allowed room for future personal growth.

Yes, the FZ40 cost more and I had to overcome that issue as well. However, a quick analysis determined that if I stay with the SX130 or a similar lesser camera, I would end up purchasing another camera enroute to the FZ40. Spending more then (at the time of my FZ40 purchase) would save me money in the long run by avoiding the purchase of another intermediate camera and associated accessory items, while at the same time providing me room to grow photographically.

In the final analysis, of course, the choice is entirely up to you. I am just sharing my own personal experience, in as much as we looked at the same cameras.

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 6:43 AM.