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Old Dec 19, 2013, 10:08 PM   #1
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Default Small Camera good w/ Low Light & motion

My sister sent me to this forum to ask for advice. Since my Canon PowerShot SX20IS kicked the bucket, I am in the market for a new camera. I snatched up a FujiFilm XF1 on a pre-black Friday sale for $179 but I haven't been happy with it so I am returning it. I just couldn't get it to give me good pictures and the short zoom annoyed me.
What I need/want:
Small: I want something I can put in my purse and that doesn't need a neck strap to carry.
I will be taking pictures of Stage shows in low light /spot lighted conditions. Example: Dance recitals, Children's plays (people moving and low light)
Taking pictures when on vacation outdoors, zooming in.
Family holidays (Christmas, Easter)
Family Portraits
I need something that I can learn to use the advance features but has good auto features if I hand it off to my teen or husband to use.
I am interested in the Micro 4/3rds.
Budget: $250.00
Thanks a Ton!
Vic
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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i love micro four thirds cameras, but although they are definitely smaller than even the smallest DSLR, i suspect they may be bigger than you had in mind. also, while the micro four thirds size sensors have better low light performance, the kit lens - the only lens you're likely to get with your budget - may not be up to low light stuff unless stage lighting is fairly good.

i don't think you'll find a new current generation m4/3 camera at $250, but here's a reburb from cameta, who i have had many good experiences with (we bought a canon 20D and a canon 30D from them, among other things

http://www.cameta.com/Olympus-PEN-Mi...Demo-65958.cfm

it's not the latest generation, but it's only 1 back. it's small compared to many other m4/3 cameras, but the catch is you have to change modes in the menus. i have the E-PM2, and have learned to deal with having to do things via the menus, but i miss a mode dial.

if you could go up just a few bucks, you might consider the E-PL1. it has an older sensor, but is still good, pretty small and has a mode dial, which can make things easier. i'd say this is a better camera for learning photography. you can see comparison pics here - you can change the ISOs and also move around the pic to see detail and color rendition.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/stud...57064701658901

Last edited by pcake; Dec 20, 2013 at 11:08 AM.
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 3:37 PM   #3
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Yea I noticed the interchangeable lens cameras are a bit bigger then a P&S but not as big as my old Canon SX20IS was.
I am really looking at these:
Olympus PEN E-PL3 on amazon for 267.00
Olympus Pen E-PM1 (189 refurb or 219 on Amazon in pink)
I'm female so I don't mind the pink camera... not my favorite color but its not a deal breaker either.
Nikon N J1 on Clerance at local Walmart for $200
Sony Nex 3 or 5 Used off Ebay for $250ish

Which of these would be a best choice for starters if I am willing to invest in a better lens within 6 months?
Or is there a better camera for my needs?
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 4:48 PM   #4
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If you want to be shooting in,shall we say,compromised lighting AND want a decent zoom range- any of the interchangeable lens camera's will need an appropriate lens fitted and I fear for the results you may be looking for might take you WELL beyond your budget.

Of course,much depends on your level of expectations with regards IQ...
Did the Canon SX20is suffice..? Were you happy with it prior to its passing..?
If so- I'd consider one of the later models in the SX range... the SX40hs or 50hs.

I took these with an SX40hs indoors....
http://www.flickr.com/photos/4197640...th/6338364170/
Would the IQ of those be acceptable to you..?
The SX50 by all accounts improves several areas over what I thought was a pretty decent all rounder...
Food for thought..?
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 5:17 PM   #5
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Most of the time I was happy with the sx20is but I stopped taking it along because it was bulky. It took ok pictures of dance recitals. Took great vacation pictures short of night time Disney parades...those were hit or miss. Granted I only used Auto.

I was really hoping for something small enough I could carry 24/7 and edge me up into actually being an amateur photographer not just a point and clicker
My sister is trying to get me to get a Pentax K-x or K-r and I LOVE the quality of her pictures and the camera is no bigger then the S20is I had but again I wont carry it and that means I wont use it but a few times a year (holidays and vacations when I purposely carry a camera).
Adding a second lens in 6 months is fine... my current budget is $250. I can always get another lens for my Birthday in a few months.
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 5:44 PM   #6
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you can easily carry the E-PM1 in your purse unless you have a VERY small purse, and the small, folding lens should be a help there. if you don't need the absolute smallest camera in this price range, i'd go for the E-PL3. it's a little bigger then the E-PM1, but not much, and it's got more controls, which can make a big difference not only to the enjoyment of photography, but also can be helpful when your auto or program models aren't doing a great job in low light.

faster lenses will cost more than the camera unless you go used, and i'm always nervous about used lenses, although my hubby bought one recently that worked out very well.

on the other hand, i like the bigger sensor in the NEX cameras, but not so sure about the older NEX 3, plus the lens is bulkier. NEX cameras have the same size sensor as the pentax DSLRs. but i think i'd just go for a m4/3 camera... in fact, that's what i did after i sold my NEX 5R. the nikon has a smaller sensor, which means grainier low light pics, but it is fast focusing i hear, and does have one wide lens that's fast - it's an 18.5mm at f1.8. not the camera for me, but some people really like them. the micro 4/3 system has a lot more lenses to choose from.

Last edited by pcake; Dec 20, 2013 at 5:49 PM.
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 6:12 PM   #7
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Thanks pcake...
Buying used scares me a bit too especially on cameras. The Nex attracted my attention due to sensor size but I can only afford it used in the Nex 3 or 5 versions

I'll keep an eye open for the PL3 as I like the added controls. Otherwise PM1
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Old Dec 21, 2013, 3:49 PM   #8
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-PEN-...item461786a22f

E-PL3 sold by newegg, a trusted computer and electronics seller. we've bought many things from them including a drum kit.
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Old Dec 29, 2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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Pcake, I found the Epl3 on Cameta Camera refurbished Demo for $199.99 with 1 yr warranty and added a 3 yr warranty for $24.95.
I am hoping that I have as good of luck with this seller has you have.
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Old Dec 30, 2013, 3:03 AM   #10
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congrats - don't forget to post after you get it. i can't wait to hear what you think of your camera once you get to play and experiment with it

btw, i think you'll be fine with cameta. they've had 15,444 sales on amazon in the last year, with an average 4.8 out of 5 stars and they've made 602,317 sales at ebay with 99.6% positive feedbacks.
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