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Old Nov 10, 2005, 7:52 PM   #1
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I am exploring photography, and I might consider doing it as a profession. I am having trouble chosing a camera of my own. Here is what I need:
- One that takes very good images, so that I can enlarge them to a good size and still retain superb quality (about how many megapixels would I need? 5ish?)
- Good manual controls; manual focus, appeture/shutter control, etc.
- Good picture customization options, such as using various filters (or whatever those things are called.. those interchangable glass things that you can fit in front of the camera lense and get different effects)
-Great optical zoom, and Image Stabilizaion
- Under $400


Basically, I need a camera that will be great for taking near-professional pictures, but without the insane price (if a camera like that even exists)


And also, I would like to know if an SLR (or SLR-like) camera is the best way to go? Im not sure, what are the advantages of all the types of cameras? Very much thanks to whoever can help me out here, it would be greatly appreciated.


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Old Nov 11, 2005, 12:04 AM   #2
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A DSLR is going to give you better picture quality, and more flexibility because you can change lenses.

However the downside of a DSLR is cost, as they aremore expensive than the point and shoot variety, and you will soon develop a taste for nice expensive lenses if you can afford them.

Also, DSLR's are larger, heavier and less portable than small point and shoots.

There are a number of point andshoots out there with 12x zoom and image stabilization.

If you're really into image stabilization, take a look at the Konica Minolta 5D, which has stabilization built right in to thecamera.

If you buy a DSLR, you can usually getlenses that meet your various photographic requirements.

For instance, 12x doesn't tell me that much. Do you wan the zoomto start at 14mm?, 28mm? Howfar do you want to zoom to? 140mm? 200mm? 300mm?

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Old Nov 11, 2005, 2:40 AM   #3
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For instance, 12x doesn't tell me that much. Do you wan the zoomto start at 14mm?, 28mm? Howfar do you want to zoom to? 140mm? 200mm? 300mm?

I don't know really how far each of those referrs to. Im not really extremely experienced in this area. All I know is that the bigger the number, the closer its refering to.... I dont know exactly how close up, say 200mm, is to a subject.

I wish there were tutorials on this... with illustrations and examples.
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 10:18 AM   #4
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There is tutorials on the web that try to show you the difference that a 200mm versus 300mm lens makes in perspective.

Keep in mind that a 12x lens does not "magnify" an image, but actually cuts away what you're seeing around an image.

For instance, a 28mm lens capture a fairly wide point of view, but a 300mm lens creates a very narrow point of view.

Given that your eyesight is capable of over 180 degrees of periphery view, consider the fact that a lens is "cropping" your viewpoint and presenting it on a small silicon waifer.

So a really long lens, like a 600mm, is capable of picking out a bird on a branch of a tree at 75 yards, is actually cutting away everyhing but the six inches around the bird.

HOpe this helps!

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Old Nov 11, 2005, 11:11 AM   #5
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You can get a Panasonic FZ-20 for just under $400 now on the web. It would pretty much meet all your needs. If you are not married to the idea of IS, a good alternative to consider is the Fuji s5200, which has faster ISO max, but no IS. It will also come in under $400. Either one of these are terrific cameras at very reasonable prices.
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Old Nov 11, 2005, 12:37 PM   #6
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The general rule is to divide the 35mm equivalent focal length by 50 to get the magnification as it would apply to a telescope or binoculars. So a 200mm lens is about 4 power. The 12X lenses on most prosumer type cameras have an eq focal length at full zoom of around 420mm, so they are just over 8 power. The reason they aren't 12 power is that they start at a medium wide angle and the multiple is based on that. The wide angle adds versatility.

The only camera I know of that meets your requirements for price is the Panasonic FZ5. You can pick up a decent aftermarket battery for $20 plus shipping if you plan on getting a large card and want to take large numbers of pictures. You want at least a 256Mb card and you have to factor that into the price. Whatever camera you decide on, go to the board for that camera and ask about card size and speed. A 256Mb card for the FZ5 would give you nearly 100 best quality shots. I have no idea whether the battery would fill a 512Mb card or whether a faster card would give faster cycle times. Also ask which aftermarket batteries people have had success with. This is the best price from a trusted seller from Steve's buying guide: http://www2.butterflyphoto.com/shop/...mp;sku=DMCFZ5K

The FZ5 does not have manual focus, but has all of the manual exposure modes. It has a great burst mode and is fairly quick for lag and cycle times for a long zoom camera. I don't find manual focus to be that big a factor in a camera with an electronic viewfinder (EVF). Even zoomed, the EVF doesn't have a high enough resolution to make fine adjustments. The FZ5 has an excellent Leica lens. You might want to read some reviews.

If your price limit is just for the camera, Butterfly has the Panasonic FZ20 for $395 with free shipping. It is a larger camera than the FZ5 and includes manual focus. It is also about a half f-stop faster at full zoom and has a stronger flash.

This might be of interest to you – it is a good store and they have a good return policy: http://www.jr.com/JRProductPage.proc...SON%20DSCH1-BS I have a slight preference for the FZ20 over the H1 because I use the burst mode often and the H1 doesn't really have one. But it is a good camera.

The Mp requirement is a non-issue with your price cap. 5Mp is what you will end up with and that is plenty for most uses. You can print a good 11 X 14 and get a good 8 X 10 even with some cropping.

DSLRs have large sensors giving less noise and greater dynamic range. Unless you spend a lot of money on lenses you lose some versatility compared to the cameras discussed. There are those who claim images from prosumer type cameras are as good as DSLR images but I don't agree. A DSLR is out of the question unless you want to increase the amount you intend spending substantially.

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