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

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Sep 15, 2011, 10:50 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Default Calling mtclimber

It was your user name that did it for me. That, and the reasonable, measured and informed advice you provide in the quoted post. Since it's later in the year, I hope you've acquired more direct experience with the present crop of super zooms and can help me make a choice, as I won't have the opportunity to test drive likely candidates.

I've recently retired and intend to devote the greater part of my time to long-distance trail and wilderness backpacking at altitude. I've done a lot of it over 40 years, and in an attempt to share my drug of choice with as many people as possible I've led several hundred city dwellers to places they would never otherwise have visited. Unfortunately, most of them retreated to their couches after the first trip, and at this point I would prefer to go alone and enjoy every minute rather than spending time policing cliff-edge antics and kitchen hygiene in bear country.

However, I'd still like to share what I see out there, at least as long as I'm able and there's an out there to see, and I'll need a more versatile and powerful camera than the small pocket point and shoot I've been using. Because I regularly walk 20+ miles a day while ascending a total of 10,000+ feet, a DSLR and an assortment of lenses is out of the question, so a super zoom is the way I want to go.

The following describes the characteristics of the photography I will be doing:

1. 75% - handheld macro to handheld or monopod-assisted telephoto still shots in daylight.
2. 20% - handheld or monopod-assisted short to medium still shots in shadow or twilight.
3. 5% - handheld or monopod-assisted moonlit shots.
4. Short to medium snap shots of the unexpected and hopefully infrequent encounter with wolf, sasquatch or bear.

I'll need resolution and IQ sufficient for at least very good 8 or 9 x 10 or 11 inch prints (I'll be publishing as well as posting photos). While good performance and ergonomics are not as important as IQ, they will be much appreciated. Complexity is not an issue, as I intend to devote as much time as necessary to become proficient with the camera.

Everything I've read, including professional reviews, user reviews, and the occasional fan-boy review suggests that the FinePix hs20 or Sony hx100v are the current top contenders. There may be others, such as the Lumix fz47 or 150. I have good software for post processing although RAW capability is not necessary unless it would "significantly" improve camera-specific IQ. Cost is not an issue.

Thanks in advance for your help.

George Cole

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
boula-

What subjects you shoot are important, because a super zoom camera does not make a good sports camera. That venue is best handled by those very expensive DSLR cameras with the huge lens that you see at the Olympics and at major football games.

What kind of budget you have set aside is important as you will need some money for cards and a case, etc.

Why Auto or Manual? Because certain cameras are more adapted to, or have special features that make a manual operation much easier.

The Panasonic FZ100 is a good camera, but it is numerically ISO limited. The simple truth is that photo taken at ISO 400 (the maximum recommended ISO setting by most actual users) provides good image quality, but with visible noise, and only 5" X 7" prints at best and computer use is recommended by most users, if indeed image quality is a real priority.

The Fuji HS20 is a good, but surely not perfect camera. It does indeed have a long zoom reach of 30X optical zoom, but in my experience, the added small. and sometimes multiple manual settings need for EXR operation, are not adapted well to your 70% Automatic work flow HS10 photo quality is good, but notice the "added element" in my settings description in the attached photo below.



The Nikon P500, at least looking at the paper specification list looks to be impressive. However, the camera has not even reached the dealer's shelves yet and we have only seen previews, no professional reviews, or user reviews of the P500. And not a single photo has been posted. So we are waiting. The best review that I have seen on the P500 has been from Imaging Resource at this link:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CP500/CP500A.HTM

The Sony HX100 falls into the very same category as the Nikon P500. It is not on dealer's shelves, no professional reviews, no user reviews, and only previews. Here is a link to the one provided by Steve:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...0v-review.html

Now the final camera that you seem to list in the title of your original post is: "550d." Canon does have a DSLR model called the "550d." Were you referring to the Canon 550D, a DSLR camera? I don't think that you are, as you have specifically said in you #2 post that: "...but i really don't want to have dslr if then i would have to change objectibe or to have big photo bag."

Super zoom cameras have always been a special interest to me. So, over the years, I have owned many of them. I realize that shooting styles can be very different. However, I have never had the need for a 4fps shot or higher. The Sony HX1 camera can shoot 10 fps, and I own one, but I have never used it for anything other than a hand held sweep panorama. The Sony HX1, the forerunner of the yet to be released, Sony HX100, has a Sony G class lens, which is Sony's highest lens rating, and is no slouchb bat all as the next attached photo demonstrates quite well. The HX1 is still available used and is selling for around $(US)300.00.



I have also be a longtime user of Panasonic's FZ series super zoom cameras. In terms of Panasonic, I began with the FZ1. In December 2010, I was in the market for a new FZ model. My possible choices were the FZ35, the FZ40, and the FZ100. Like you, after much research, I selected the FZ40 model, not the FZ100 model. I felt that the FZ100 model was not going to provide me with the image quality that I desired as the next attached photo show rather well. This is a photo of our family doctor, taken in his office during a regular appointment, without flash. In fact the ISO setting was ISO 3200, an ISO setting that, had the photo been taken with the FZ100 would have shown a whole lot of visible noise and reduced image quality.



Some super zoom cameras, such as the Panasonic FZ28, are much better specified to handle low light shooting where no flash can be used. That is why I asked about what ISO setting do you normally use. The attached photo above made with the FZ40, and this attached photo below, both required a numerically higher ISO setting to capture the photo.



Some cameras, like the Canon S3 and S5 are famous for their image quality, but have some really restrictive numerical ISO settings. Take for example, the S3 model had the highest level of image quality at settings of ISO 200 and below. Here is a good example of what the S3 could do when the ISO setting was held down to ISO 200 and less.



So, Boula, I think that you can better appreciate why the subject matter you are consistently taking does come into play when making a camera choice.

Some older cameras are notable as well. The Sony H9 had 15X optical zoom, but great image quality. Now 15X zoom is below your "16X or better" specification. Is that 16X or better specification "a line drawn in the sand?" The attachment below is a simple informal portrait of my husband taken in Automatic, using just the H9's built in flash unit. I am posting this photo to show you that certain cameras do very well indeed in the Automatic Mode.



And if you want brilliant color both the Panasonic FZ35 and the Sony H9 do very well indeed. The next attachment is from the FZ35 now selling at a record low price of $(US)214.00



The next attached photo is from the Sony H9 again:



So what is going to be your strategy? Are you going to wait for those super zoom cameras that have not yet reached the market yet, and on which we have no professional reviews, or user reviews? Or, do you wish to see the selection process speeded up, and make a selection of what is currently available?

Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce
mtnguide is offline  
Sponsored Links
Old Sep 16, 2011, 4:09 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 584
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnguide View Post
It was your user name that did it for me. That, and the reasonable, measured and informed advice you provide in the quoted post. Since it's later in the year, I hope you've acquired more direct experience with the present crop of super zooms and can help me make a choice, as I won't have the opportunity to test drive likely candidates.....
I haven't seen a post from Sarah in this or any other forum since April.
Hopefully she is just enjoying a break and she will be back with us soon.
corkpix is offline  
Old Sep 16, 2011, 4:44 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Australia, New South Wales central coast
Posts: 2,891
Default

G'day George

If mtclimber if off climbing mountains, maybe I can "assist your confusion"

Your description [%ages of photo types/situations] sounds much like my experiences ...

Any of the cameras you mention are very capable units for what you are talking about ~ all have good camera/exposure controls & good, capable lenses
What you will need to think about is the ergonomics of each unit ... how does each one fit your hand? how does each set of menus compare? can your eye [do you use specs?] see to the corners of the viewfinder? etc etc

In your sig you give no 'home-location' ... maybe if you post a request for someone in your district to demonstrate their camera over a cup of coffee you might also get some extra info ... ?

Hope this is a start - pl come back with more Qs as they arise
Regards, Phil
__________________
Has Fuji & Lumix superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/
Ozzie_Traveller is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2011, 3:30 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Default Thanks for the heads up.

I hope so, too. She would be an asset to any list.

George

Quote:
Originally Posted by corkpix View Post
I haven't seen a post from Sarah in this or any other forum since April.
Hopefully she is just enjoying a break and she will be back with us soon.
mtnguide is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2011, 4:09 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Default Thanks, Phil.

As it happens, yesterday I had a chance to handle an FZ100 for awhile, and I liked its ergonomics and found its operation intuitive. Overlaying performance and IQ data from Photography Blog's FZ150 review, and after running downloads of PB's (startlingly good) FZ150 RAW and JPEG samples through RawTherapee and Paint Shop Photo Pro X3 (both of which read RW2 files), I'm sold. Or, I should say, my first born will be sold so that I can afford a 150. However, since I'm not one to trade up for the sake of trading up, I believe the 150 will "pay for itself" over time (whatever the hell that means). So, Sonny Boy is off to a new home and the Ferrari will have to wait until next year.

George

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozzie_Traveller View Post
G'day George

If mtclimber if off climbing mountains, maybe I can "assist your confusion"

Your description [%ages of photo types/situations] sounds much like my experiences ...

Any of the cameras you mention are very capable units for what you are talking about ~ all have good camera/exposure controls & good, capable lenses
What you will need to think about is the ergonomics of each unit ... how does each one fit your hand? how does each set of menus compare? can your eye [do you use specs?] see to the corners of the viewfinder? etc etc

In your sig you give no 'home-location' ... maybe if you post a request for someone in your district to demonstrate their camera over a cup of coffee you might also get some extra info ... ?

Hope this is a start - pl come back with more Qs as they arise
Regards, Phil
mtnguide is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2011, 5:59 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,543
Default

Sarah ("mtclimber") teaches photography classes aboard cruise ships, so she is frequently absent from this site for months at a time.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline  
Old Sep 17, 2011, 6:10 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 3,076
Default

I miss Mtn. Climber's input into many questions that come to this forum. She is extremely knowledgeable about cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. and although I'm not a 'newbie'...photographically speaking... I always enjoy reading her well researched, logical views on different photographic equipment.

Hope she returns to the forum soon.

Les
lesmore49 is offline  
Old Sep 19, 2011, 8:27 AM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Default mtclimber on a cruise ship?

I guess it IS a long way up to the top of the stack. You go, girl!


Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
Sarah ("mtclimber") teaches photography classes aboard cruise ships, so she is frequently absent from this site for months at a time.
mtnguide is offline  
Old Sep 19, 2011, 8:38 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
Default a.k.a.

a professional

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesmore49 View Post
I miss Mtn. Climber's input into many questions that come to this forum. She is extremely knowledgeable about cameras, lenses, flashes, etc. and although I'm not a 'newbie'...photographically speaking... I always enjoy reading her well researched, logical views on different photographic equipment.

Hope she returns to the forum soon.

Les
mtnguide is offline  
Old Sep 26, 2011, 3:03 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,487
Default

Yep I emailed and PM'd her to see where she is and no reply, I pray she and Bradley are doing well...
LTZ470 is offline  
 
Closed Thread


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 6:29 PM.