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Old Feb 22, 2011, 12:00 AM   #1
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Default Very specific needs: prosumer image quality, easy to transport, FILTER THREADS

I am a fly fishing guide and am responsible for most photos for our website and other promo materials. I use a Pentax K-20D and assorted lenses for most purposes (macro photos of flies, wildlife shots, fish photos), but the single huge problem with it is that it is comparatively big and bulky, making it slightly annoying to take out in the boat (16 foot drift aka whitewater rowboat) and VERY problematic to carry while hiking. I also have a Canon D10 waterproof, which is great for some things (underwater fish shots), but doesn't have any way of attaching a polarizer, which helps hugely with fish photos and scenic shots across water.

What I'm looking for is something in the middle: a camera more compact than the SLR that will fit in a small Pelican case in the backpack, but offers full manual controls. The real key sticking point is that I MUST have something with filter threads so I can attach a polarizer. Something that requires an adapter for this won't work because adapters increase the size of the camera (making it the same as the SLR, more or less) or have to be put on before shooting, a problem because shots of fish need to be taken quickly and my clients probably don't want me screwing around with my camera instead of helping them, anyway.

I am strongly drawn to one of the Panasonic FZ-series, either the 35 or 40. The issue I have with them is that I don't need the super zoom and accompanying compromises in image quality. A 28-105 equivalent zoom would be just fine for me, and frankly I can zoom with my feet if I have to. Is there anything that fits this bill: reasonably compact, filter threads, good image quality, and small-medium zoom, or do I have to go with one of the FZs?

Thanks.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 6:47 AM   #2
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You may want to evaluate the features of the E-PL2 and how they compare to your requirements.

The E-PL2 uses interchangeable lenses. The standard 14-42mm MKII lens gives you an effective focal range of 28-84mm. you can add a 40-150mm lens for added focal range.

The lenses are equipped with filter threads to accept standard filters.

The camera offers full manual controls

It is significantly smaller than a dslr.

While it is not a waterproof camera, there is an underwater housing kit available for it.

Most importantly, it takes great images. I routinely print 13 x 19 prints with the E-PL1 camera ( an earlier version ).


If you're interested, you can see a few images taken with the E-PL1 here:

http://zig123.smugmug.com/Other/Olym...61890418_MDtu2


Zig
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 2:35 PM   #3
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G'day Kesserendrel

at 1st glance, I think that you may have to go thru the dpreview site and look closely at camera reviews to see who has what

From my knowledge, most camera makers are removing all filter options from all P&S models - the "kiss" rule again and lowering options to the lowest common denominator

Thus you may have no option than to go for a UZ, and from my knowledge a FZ series will do fine

Regards, Phil
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 5:36 PM   #4
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I tried to cement a filter holder to the front of the lens housing of my G10. It wasn't very successful and now I resort to holding my polarising sunglasses in front of the lens when I need that capability. Rather Heath Robinson but it seems to work well enough, and it's very quick to do. The G10 has a superb macro capability and pictures I take with it are highly croppable because they have such high resolution, and are very high quality images anyway. I experimented with a G11/G12 but quickly went back to the G10. The G10 is a large pocket camera, way smaller than a DSLR (I also have several of those).

I'm actually very surprised that no manufacturer of compact cameras seems to think a filter housing would be a selling point. I know many people who would go for such a camera. It's so cheap to do during manufacture, and so difficult to add afterwards.
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 5:54 AM   #5
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I have this for my S95. A little cumbersome to install but works well.
http://www.lensmateonline.com/store/..._utmk=38277503
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 2:35 PM   #6
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Have you looked at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (our full review should be up within the next 24hrs)? It has an optional conversion lens adapter that allows you to attach 52mm filters, along with optional conversion lenses (non are listed on Panasonic's site at this time, however).

While it doesn't have much telephoto reach, it fits most of your criteria. I personally would look into either an Olympus PEN, or since you seem fond of Panasonic FZ series cameras, a G-series micro four thirds camera.

With the LX5 and accessories, you should be able to keep it under $500 US, however for only an additional $100-200, you could have a much more capable platform with a m43 camera, which you could add more lenses and such to later. The cost is a bit of size, however the GF1/GF2 from Panasonic and the E-PL1/E-PL2 from Olympus are surprisingly compact with smaller lenses attached.

Good luck either way, and let us know what you end up going with.
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 3:59 PM   #7
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G'day Pater B + others

At the back of my Hoya Filters catalogue is several pages of accessory devices to fit non-filtered lenses
The devices screw to the tripod screw, bend upwards over the lens and take a std filter into the front of the device. Dia of the filter varies with the device - sm - med - large etc

Regards, Phil
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 10:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll probably wind up going with the FZ-series. The minimum extra junk I have to put in the backpack the better. If I carry a full kit, I'll pack in the K-20, which I'm very happy with. If the LX5 had threads, that would be the clear winner, but "adapter" screams "snap off by accident while guiding."
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