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Old Aug 29, 2012, 3:07 PM   #1
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Default DSLR or M43 Close to Point and Shoot

My wife and I are looking for a camera that is fast from pressing the button to getting a picture, and fast between shots. Some time ago I was trying to find her a fast compact p&s with a viewfinder but decided that was near impossible.

We realize we can't get a fast camera without it having some bulk. The smaller the better, but compact is out the window (with EVIL's that will mean lens stays attached). Having a viewfinder has finally moved down on our list of wants as well.

Most shots will be of kids, indoors as much as outdoors.

Our priorities are:
Speed from pressing button to getting a pic (indoors included)
Shot to shot speed (with and without flash, yes a flash adds a lot of time)
Simplicity. We won't be getting into advanced features, the easier the better.
Zoom? Are there cameras in this range that have zoom buttons like the point and shoots do?

We don't need high pixel count, most printed pics will be 8x10 or less.

Budget is less than $600. We are okay with getting a basic package now and adding to it later, like an EVF or replacement lens.

I know we're picky! Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 3:11 PM   #2
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I forgot to ask, what exactly is a bridge camera? Is this what I should be looking for? How does the speed compare?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 4:15 PM   #3
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The Panasonic FZ-150 is pretty swift in all departments.
It's shot to shot time is decent- and quicker still if you switch the image review off...
AF speeds are as fast as you can get in a bridge/compact...
It has fast burst modes- 12fps or 5.5 fps with AF on each frame...
It has a choice of TWO zoom switches/buttons...

A review of the FZ-150 "Bridge"- with timings down the page...
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pa...m-review-17714

And if you want something still sharp and snappy- and compact- consider Panasonic's TZ25 or the TZ30...

The TZ25-
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pa...m-review-18625

The TZ30-
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pa...m-review-19048

And if you want the very latest Panasonic "Bridge" the improved FZ200 is just out now...
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pa...n-review-19711

Last edited by SIMON40; Aug 29, 2012 at 4:17 PM.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 4:25 PM   #4
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DSLRs and EVIL cameras, in general, have lenses of limited zoom range (when compared to compact P&S cameras), and zoom manually. That is, you must rotate a ring on the lens barrel to change the angle of view. There are no zoom buttons. This is a good thing, however. Cameras with larger image sensors also have larger lenses with larger, heavier elements. An automatic zoom would need a big, heavy motor to move all that glass, and a big heavy battery to power it. By using a manual zoom, these cameras save some bulk, and also give you better control.

A "Bridge" camera is a camera that looks like a small dSLR, but it has a non-removeable lens. "Bridge" cameras also are frequently referred to a s"Superzoom" cameras because they have significant zoom ranges (i.e.: 16x, 20x, 24x, or more.) In general, they are more capable than the typical P&S camera, but won't fit in a typical pocket.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 4:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. For the FZ150 vs FZ200, am I going to notice much difference for the extra $150? I see the aperture stays at 2.8 on the FZ200, but I really don't know what that means.

I'll have to talk to my wife tonight about her thoughts on the manual zoom vs powered. Once we get our hands on a couple of these to compare, we will get a better idea of the pros/cons.
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Old Aug 29, 2012, 5:30 PM   #6
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You may want to look at the new Sony RX-100 if you can stretch the budget to closer to $650 (what it's selling for now at list price).

This model uses a new 1 inch sensor design (much larger than the sensor found in the typical point and shoot camera, but a smaller sensor than you'd find in a dSLR). IOW, it's designed to offer the best compromise possible between camera size/weight and image quality for users that don't want to worry about swapping lens and need a smaller camera design.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...00-review.html
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 5:07 AM   #7
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23buzz- basically,the fixed f/2.8 aperture(if you wish to use it fixed) allows much more light in compared to other zoom lenses on bridge cameras- enabling you to use much faster shutter speeds at longer focal lengths- particularly useful for shooting moving subjects at distance- or for keeping the iso speeds down for clearer/cleaner shots when the light is dropping.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 5:32 PM   #8
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I do like the idea of a bigger sensor like the Sony RX-100. But I wish it had the viewfinder and a bit more zoom. However, it is nice and small. I'm not sure if it's worth the extra money, but it will at least be a contender. So far the FZ150 is winning. But if there's a price break on the FZ200 I'll snatch it up quickly.
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 5:58 PM   #9
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it wouldn't be worth it to me - i prefer more zoom and a viewfinder for all cameras except my all the time carry-around, and i wish it had an EVF, too.

the FZ150 is a great camera. i had one and i sold it - have regretted it since. it's not small, but since the lens doesn't stick out while carrying it, it's not large, either. in fact, due to length of lens, it was easier to carry around than my panasonic gf1 (a smaller m4/3 camera). i'm interested in more comparisons between the FZ200 and the FZ150.

if you don't need to shoot raw or need manual control over your videos, you might want to add the canon SX40 HS to your list. it's very similar to the FZ150 and costs less.

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Originally Posted by 23buzz View Post
I do like the idea of a bigger sensor like the Sony RX-100. But I wish it had the viewfinder and a bit more zoom. However, it is nice and small. I'm not sure if it's worth the extra money, but it will at least be a contender. So far the FZ150 is winning. But if there's a price break on the FZ200 I'll snatch it up quickly.
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Old Sep 2, 2012, 9:09 AM   #10
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Thanks Pcake. No we don't need RAW or anything, and my wife did like the feel of the SX40 HS a lot. But looking at the reviews, I'm put off by the shot-to-shot times.

We were at WalMart last night and had less than 5 minutes to look at cameras. Add their big anti-theft device and the fact that none of them had power, and you can imagine that we were only comparing size, weight, etc.

But, this gave my wife a chance to hold a DSLR and see how it feels to zoom with your left hand on the lens vs using a button to zoom on a p&s. She is fine with it. She is also fine with the bigger size. Her top 2 concerns are speed and ease of use.

Considering speed, ease of use, and without going to big and heavy, how do the entry level DSLR's compare? Would we enjoy the FZ150 more? Would we be overwhelmed by not enough automatic things making it easier to use? The DSLR we held last night was a Nikon D3100.

Thanks!
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