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Old Jan 3, 2012, 4:53 PM   #1
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I need my head clearing!
I'm retired on a fixed income and wanting to retake-up photography again. I'll class myself as beginner even though I've been messing around with cameras for years.
I would like a small dSLR but I think that's a second hand route because of cost.
Second option is a 4/3 Olympus or Panasonic and get a second lens. (Anyone got an opinion of these mirror telephoto lenses I've seen on E-bay?).
The third option is a super zoom along the lines of the HS20EXR or Nikon P500. The FZ48 was on my list but as computers is one of my hobbies I would like to be able to shoot in RAW.
Video is not one of my wants nor sport/action, I want to be able to shoot portraits, widlife, landscape and anything that catches my eye. I already have a Finepix A500, old but eficient and a Pentax film camera.
I am shortly going on holiday, the first for years on a cruise (my son works onboard) and I want to record as much as I can but also to be able to use it as a "proper" camera afterwards.
Not a lot to ask! I know. After writing this I'm leaning towards the Olympus but I await advice.
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Old Jan 3, 2012, 5:43 PM   #2
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I would like a small dSLR but I think that's a second hand route because of cost.
You might consider a refurbished dSLR instead. There's no way to tell how much use and abuse a used dSLR has been subjected to. A refurbished dSLR will at least come with a 90 day factory warranty. And refurbished Canon dSLRs from Adorama.com come with a 1 year store warranty. (That's a warranty, not a guarrantee. After you've had a dSLR for a while, you'll have gotten lenses and accessories for it. If it fails, simply getting your money back won't help you with the other stuff.)

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(Anyone got an opinion of these mirror telephoto lenses I've seen on E-bay?).
Those catadioptric lenses are quite sharp and almost free of chromatic aberration, but they don't support autofocus or autoexposure.

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Video is not one of my wants nor sport/action, I want to be able to shoot portraits, widlife, landscape and anything that catches my eye.
Shooting wildlife isn't a lot different from shooting sports/action, btw.

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I already have ... a Pentax film camera.
If you've got any AF lenses for it, they'll work on a Pentax dSLR. That might save you some money.

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a dSLR that won't do what you want. But buying a dSLR is making a commitment to a system. If you pick the wrong brand, switching to another will be costly and time consuming. I suggest that you go to a good camera store, try them out, and buyt he one you can live with.
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Old Jan 3, 2012, 5:50 PM   #3
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Nothing wrong with a 2nd hand DSLR as long as you are Ok with the bulk and weight. As you add lenses, the DSLR route is usually more cost effective than 4/3.

The only 4/3 Panasonic is actually Micro4/3. These lack a true optical viewfinder. Olympus used to make 4/3 DSLR cameras, now mostly M4/3. The M4/3 cameras strike me as an attractive choice for travel. So long as you are taking only 1 or 2 lenses. If a whole bag full of lenses, then may as well go the DSLR route, you've already thrown away the M4/3 size advantage.

I just cannot get excited about super zooms for RAW. Super zoom fans are free to disagree.

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Old Jan 4, 2012, 3:52 AM   #4
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If you're considering a "bridge" camera- the Panny' FZ-150 seems to be king at present- and shoots RAW also. Image quality on the current "all in ones" has improved greatly in recent times and shouldn't be overlooked.
If you're looking for a svelte 4/3 second hand DSLR,the Olympus e520 can be had for a decent price these days- or maybe look at the bijou e420 if you can do without image stabilisation(in the body on 510/520/620).
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Old Jan 5, 2012, 1:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. Plenty of food for thought! I should have said M4/3 Olympus Pen and the likes not just 4/3. Catadioptric lenses could be worth looking at. I'll let you know how I get on.
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Old Jan 5, 2012, 3:46 PM   #6
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Good luck, and come back and post some of your images.
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