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Old Jul 9, 2011, 4:10 PM   #1
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Default I am driving myself insane, please help pick PNS

Hello All! I have been researching cameras for 3 weeks. I even made an excel spreadsheet to help. Yes it's gotten that bad.
Here are my qualifications for this camera:
-Would like a super zoom or anything 18x
-MP 12 or above
-Size doesnt matter
-Movie capability doesnt matter
-Must do well in low light. I'm tired of blinding my kids. (This is what has been holding me up.
-I prefer Canon or Nikon but if something else fits then I'm game
-Cluster shots would be nice but not necessary.
I will mainly be taking photos of the kids and vacations
Price point is $400 and below.

I'd love to share my insane spreadsheet if anyone wants it
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 4:47 PM   #2
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If the main criteria is low light shots, then you can just about forget Point and shoots.

The Panasonic FZ35/38 and FZ40/45 have a high sensitivity setting but the pixel count drops to 3 million (ok for 6x4 inch pictures)

You need to be looking at something like a four thirds camera, but these will be outside your budget.

The only option I can think of, is to look for a discounted Nikon D3100, but I feel this will still be outside your budget

Good luck
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 5:09 PM   #3
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You might be able to pick up a Canon Rebel XS refurb from the Canon Refurb store for around $400 but you'll be limited to just the 18-55mm kit lens.

PS. Here is the link to the Canon Refurb store.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 8:04 PM   #4
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The Canon G12 has very good low light capacity, much better than your average P&S, but not quite as good as most DSLR's; although it probably would be a match for some of the entry level ones. But it is not a camera for someone not experienced in exposure controls, but neither is a DSLR.

And the G12 is $500, you just can't win when you want all those goodies, for a few bucks.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 8:15 PM   #5
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The thing with P&S type cameras is that you cannot have long zoom and good low light performance. The long zooms lenses are too dark and the cameras that have have bright lenses have zooms limited to about 5X.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 8:30 PM   #6
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P&S cameras with long zoom have of necessity, smaller sensors. The Canon G12 has an almost 50% larger format 10mp sernsor, but is again limited to 5X. I got very tired of the long zoom, over crowded Hi-mp small sensor noise boxes really quickly.

The G12 is like a refreshing drink of water, it comes down to; do you want to zoom, or be able to shoot in lower light. Of course a DSLR will do it, but you get a very limited lens as a starter, and the lenses cost as much as another camera. At least the G12 has 28mm wide to a fair 140mm Tele.
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Old Jul 9, 2011, 11:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David_MC View Post
The thing with P&S type cameras is that you cannot have long zoom and good low light performance. The long zooms lenses are too dark and the cameras that have have bright lenses have zooms limited to about 5X.
+1

... and btw, drop that 12 MP or more requirement unless you need to print massive posters for some reason. Otherwise, more MP should be a con, not a pro.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 1:45 PM   #8
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thanks! I do make a lot of prints (5x7 or 4x6) and my current 7.1 mp isnt cutting it. So I'm fine with cutting out the zoom for better low light performance. I was looking at the Nikon P100, L120 or the Canon G10 (I didnt look at the G12 yet) or the SX30IS. I would assume I need IS but with quick results. What MP should I look at instead?
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 3:22 PM   #9
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7.1MP is more than enough for 5x7 and 4x6 prints. If the quality of the images is poor, the problem lies somewhere other than the MP. The bottomline is that they don't make a camera with too few MP for your needs so no need to even consider that factor. Here's a table showing how many MP are needed at each respective print size for magazine photo quality: http://www.photozone.de/megapixels-vs-print-size

If you take 2 cameras, both with a 1/2.3" sensor, one with 8MP and another with 16MP, the 8MP camera will have larger photosites and thus will be able to capture more light and will also produce less visible noise. Manufacturers only keep upping the MP because they need some way to get people to keep buying new cameras every year and, especially in America, more is always better. If you look at all the high-end P&S cams though (the "enthusiast" models, e.g. S95, LX5, XZ-1, etc), they are all 10MP.

Going back to your original requirements, low light requires as big a sensor as possible (e.g. 1/1.7" is bigger than 1/2.3" as they are fractions) and as bright a lens as possible. A lower F-stop means a wider aperture and thus a brighter lens. e.g. F2.0 will allow more light than F2.8. If you look at the images depicting aperture, it's easy to see why. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aperture_diagram.svg

Again, they don't make superzoom cams that offer the larger sensors and brighter lens necessary for better low light performance without a flash because at this moment, it's physically impossible to do so. There would need to be some revolutionary new cameras in order to overcome this issue and I am not sure it will even ever be possible.
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Old Jul 10, 2011, 5:16 PM   #10
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You would be suprised at ISO 1600 images out of the G12. Usually you don't need flash at that level, unless you forgot to pay your light bill.
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