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Old Jul 20, 2005, 11:22 AM   #1
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I will be taking a trip to Europe soon and would like to purchase a better camera than my Olympus digital point and shoot.

In addition to my trip, I'm also a very active person - kayaking, backpacking, biking, etc, and would like to take better pictures than my point and shoot allows.

I have some very nice Tameron lenses that I used with my film style Canon Rebel. While the digital SLR's are attractive to me (so that I can utilize my old lenses), I just don't see myself wanting and ableto carry, and change lenses ona regular basis. Hense I should probably only consider the fixed lense type of cameras.

So my first question - am I making a mistake by not getting a digital SLR. Will I regret the decision to get a fixed lense camera whereby I'm wasting the capabilities of my Tameron lenses?

Secondly - If I stick with my gut feeling that I'm not going to want to carry extra lenses with me, which fixed zoom lense camera would you recommend? Will the quality of my photos suffer using afixed zoom lense camera?

I'm thinking I wouldn't consider anything less than 6 mp. I've really only been looking at the Sony Cybershot cameras so far but am open to any of your recommendations. Thank you all for any help / opinions / insight you might be able to share.
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 12:57 PM   #2
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If you don't want to be changing lenses and for sporting activites, then I'd recommend an ultra-zoom camera. You are limiting yourself by setting a minimum of 6 mp. Most of the current hot sellers are 5 mp (Panasonic FZ20/FZ5, Canon S2 IS, Sony H1). Going above 5 mp you're looking at the prosumer cameras (Nikon 8800, Dimage A200) which are going to be larger cameras and a higher expense. I'd be very surprised if 5 mp didn't meet your needs.

I recently got the Panasonic FZ5 and I'm very impressed. None of my previous digitals came close the the abilities of this camera.

I'm also considering moving into the DSLR arena, but I'll be keeping the FZ5 for sure.

Jeff
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 1:16 PM   #3
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The primary differences between a high end fixed ultra zoom and a dSLR are the sensor size and ease of manual settings. dSLRs generally have a sensor no smaller than half the size of 35mm film, while ultra zooms use sensor similar in size to point and shoots, generally not over 2/3". This means that an ultra zoom will have more noise at the same resolution and ISO than a dSLR. However, if most of your shots are outdoors, this may be irrelivant, as you can leave your ISO between 50 and 100, where high end fixed lens cameras have practicly no noise.

However, since you will use your camera in intense activity, you may risk getting your sensor dirty while changing lenses on your dSLR.

The Powershot S2 IS may be a good consideration for you. It's primary downside is it's small CCD sensor, measuring only 1/2.5, but it can take some nice pictures from what I have seen. It does suffer from some chronomatic abrasion at the telephoto end from what I've seen as well, but it has some pretty impressive abilities, and the 100% electronic viewfinder will be very helpful outdoors.

If you want to spend a little more, the Nikon coolpix 8800 may be another good choice, but is bigger than the Canon. It does have the much larger 2/3" sensor and 8MP, which can be nice.

Check under Steves Best Cameras, and scroll to ultra zooms. Those choices are probably your best if you decide not to go with dSLR.
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 2:09 PM   #4
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do check out sony's cybershot H1.. this isa fabulous superzoom camera that competes directly with the above mentioned s2 IS and FZ5..
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 3:31 PM   #5
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CindyN wrote:
Quote:
I will be taking a trip to Europe
Quote:
Good for you. Don't forget to keep some local change in your pockets, to tip the bathroom attendants.
Quote:
So my first question - am I making a mistake by not getting a digital SLR. Will I regret the decision to get a fixed lense camera whereby I'm wasting the capabilities of my Tameron lenses?
Quote:
A person is not limited to one digital camera. In fact, many of us who post here have more than one. Why not get something that fulfills your short-term requirements (upcoming trip), and then get a dslr when time/money permits? Having two cameras makes sense for many. You can have a dslr when you need a serious photographic tool, and a smaller and less expensive camera for when you don't want to lug the bulk/weight of your dslr.
Quote:
Secondly - If I stick with my gut feeling that I'm not going to want to carry extra lenses with me, which fixed zoom lense camera would you recommend? Will the quality of my photos suffer using afixed zoom lense camera?
Quote:
I would recommend one of the smaller and less expensive fixed-lens megazooms. This is because I don't think it makes sense to spend over $500 (example Nikon 8800) for a fixed-lens camera, when you can spend a bit more and buy a good dslr. I also would not buy a large fixed-lens such as the Panny FZ20, because if you are going to carry that much bulk around, you might as well carry a dslr.
Quote:
I'm thinking I wouldn't consider anything less than 6 mp. I've really only been looking at the Sony Cybershot cameras so far but am open to any of your recommendations. Thank you all for any help / opinions / insight you might be able to share.
Quote:
Why so many megapixels? You will greatly limit yourself with this requirement. By going to 5mp, you open up many more possibilities to choose from, and the difference of one mp is negligible.
By the term "fixed zoom lens", I am assuming you are talking about a camera with 10-12x zoom. If so, then consider the Panasonic FZ5, Sony H1, or Canon S2 IS. All of these have image stabilization, which can come in handy when in low light, or when using the long end of the zoom.

If you just want a more normal 6mp/3-4x zoom camera, then you are now looking at a great number of choices, most of which will fulfill your requirements quite well. The Fuji F-10 and Sony P150/200 would do fine, and would take up little space in a backpack.

PhilR.
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 4:26 PM   #6
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Cindy-

I am a dSLR user myself. However, I sincerely believe that Phil makes a good point. A dSLR, like the long zoom fixed lens digital cameras are both expensive and physically large.

The activities you describe lend themselves to a smaller point and shoot digital; camera. I personally carry a Fuji F-10 along with my dSLR as my "grab it quick" kind of camera. With its high ISO capability, record setting battery duration, 6.3mp resolution, and lack of noise at high ISO settings, the Fuji F-10 hasgreat potential.

You know your needs the best, sothis is just a suggestion, you might find just want you want in a camera such as the Fuji F-10, while at the very sametime reducing your needed investment.

Here is a sample photo from the Fuji F-10 for your reference.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 6:11 PM   #7
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the f-10 is a wonderful lilttle point and shoot..

i myself have been wanting to pick one up to supplement my 20d.. but i keep buying lenses and lighting and other stuff instead..
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 9:38 PM   #8
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I suggest you look into a 7-8mp ultra compact camera that takes add-on lenses. This will give you portability with wide angle and telephoto capability. This way you can pack the extra stuff or leave it behind if you want to travel light. Something like the Sony P200, Canon SD500 are two that come to mind as they have a 3X optical zoom built into the camera and have many accessories available. You might want to get one that offers a waterproof case too.

I have a DSLR and the P200. I was surprised at the quality of the pictures from the P200. I now take it more places than the DSLR. The quality of the pictures I get from the little Sony are very close to our Canon 300D under typical shooting conditions. If I were going to do any of the activities you listed, taking the P200 over our DSLR would be an easy decision.

The P200 might be one to look at. It has great battery life. The LCD has a very thick protective cover. I can carry mine in a pant pocket and not worry about breaking the LCD. For an active person I think this is a very important feature. It also has manual controls that I find very useful when taking difficult shots. Since you have experience with a SLR you can make good use of the "M" mode. The movie mode is pretty good for a digital camera. It also appears to be fairly rugged as I have dropped mine a few times in its neoprene case without damage. Plus, it is fairly inexpensive. It can be found on the web for $325-$350.

CindyN wrote:
Quote:
I will be taking a trip to Europe soon and would like to purchase a better camera than my Olympus digital point and shoot.

In addition to my trip, I'm also a very active person - kayaking, backpacking, biking, etc, and would like to take better pictures than my point and shoot allows.

I have some very nice Tameron lenses that I used with my film style Canon Rebel. While the digital SLR's are attractive to me (so that I can utilize my old lenses), I just don't see myself wanting and ableto carry, and change lenses ona regular basis. Hense I should probably only consider the fixed lense type of cameras.

So my first question - am I making a mistake by not getting a digital SLR. Will I regret the decision to get a fixed lense camera whereby I'm wasting the capabilities of my Tameron lenses?

Secondly - If I stick with my gut feeling that I'm not going to want to carry extra lenses with me, which fixed zoom lense camera would you recommend? Will the quality of my photos suffer using afixed zoom lense camera?

I'm thinking I wouldn't consider anything less than 6 mp. I've really only been looking at the Sony Cybershot cameras so far but am open to any of your recommendations. Thank you all for any help / opinions / insight you might be able to share.
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