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Old Dec 4, 2005, 7:58 PM   #21
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diegofarias I feel your pain. I am currently saving for a Pentax *istDS, but the main reason is that I already have a bag full of Pentax lenses (AF zooms, MF zooms and some nice MF prime lenses). I used film SLRs for the past 25 years and after buying a Pentax Optio 33L p&s camera I was hooked on digital. My next purchase, about a year later was a Fuji S7000, an underrated prosumer which gives excellent results. I believe this is enough camera for me, but I cannot stand to see those lenses go to waste so by next year...

Having said all that let me point out that the EVF viewfinder is the biggest drawback of these cameras. There is about 1/10 second lag caused by the finder, I have learned to keep both eyes open so that one is framing the action through the EVF while the other is deciding when to shoot. It takes some practice but it works. I shoot very little action so it is really not as bad as it sounds. The Panasonic FZ30, or the Konica Minolta A200 or the Fuji S9000 all offer the option of a hot shoe external flash (Panasonic and Fuji just use generic units, a plus if you want a lot of flash for little money), they all have manually activated zooms which are much better than the motorized units, and the fact that they do not have extending lenses mean they have near instant startup. Noise is an issue at high ISO, but when I shot film I very rarely went beyond 400 since the grain started to be a problem, so no change here.

dSLRs are better cameras but they demand more from the user in time, effort and money. Sensors must be cleaned, changing lenses slows you down, lenses are expensive, and it can result in quite a load to carry around. Emotionally I want a dSLR but logically a prosumer digicam offers most of the utility with some definite advantages in cost and portability (and those nice little movie clips). Cameras like Sony's R1 make no sense to me but the models I mentioned above seem like a real alternative for the casual photographer hoping to learn more and refine their skills while getting great images.

I am buying a Pentax dSLR when I can afford it but only because I already have a good prosumer digicam.

Ira
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 1:37 AM   #22
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diegofarias wrote:
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Squirl, thank you for the advice! As I wrote here, I´m really confused, because I live in Brazil, and here the prices are too high! So, I´m having now the opportunity to buy one in Paraguay, where the prices are much more affordable. The camera that I´ll buy must be, mainly, strong, well built and DURABLEbecause I won´t buyother oneso early as you can do in USA, due do the lower prices and easier access to them. Another problem is the lack of warranty and apropriate service for eventual problems.

In Paraguay I can buy a FZ30 for $700, and a D50 with kit lensmight cost, I´m not sure, about $950-$1000. The difference is not too high, but as you said, there are cons/pros for prosumers and dSLR cameras.

I want a camera for personal purposes, I apreciate nice taken photos and want to do it as a hobby.

Seeing my problems, wich option should be better?Are the FZ30 and prosumersso tough and durable as the D50 and entry-level dSLR?

Thanks for the help!
frankly, diego, the prosumers are probably a bit more durable in some regards, because you don't have to worry about getting dirt inside or on the sensor, and since there's no need to change lenses, there's lessrisk of damage from handling or dropping a lens or getting fingerprints on the glass. many DSLR bodies are made of metal, while prosumer camera bodies tend to be made of plastics, but some use pretty tough materials, and i've yet to hear of anyone breaking the body of their camera, though i suppose it has been done. i don't think there's any appreciable difference in the quality of the controls or electronics; a prosumer is just as likley to provide years of service as a DSLR.

bear in mind too that the kit lens that comes withthat D50 is not likely to be atop quality lens, and only offers a fraction of the range you'd get with the FZ30. to get the same range of telephoto/zoom capability as the FZ30, with OIS and top-grade optics, you'll easily have to spend another $1000 if not more. really good glass requires a lot of money, but if you don't have good optics, you won't get good photos. the FZ30 has a superb lens, and there's no need to buy any other ones, unless you want a close-up or macro lens like the Nikon 4T, or a teleconverter to extend the camera's zoom range.

if it helps answer your question about durability, i've had my FZ20 for a year, and it has performed flawlessly, as long as i do my part. it's easy to use, yet offers all the control i need or am likely to want, and doesn't require that i take special precautions while changing lenses. i do keep a UV filter on the lens at all times to protect it, but that's simply cheap insurance that every serious photographer will add to his lens(es) to keep them from getting scratched or smudged.

for someone like you - or me, for that matter - who enjoys photography as a hobby, but still wants top-quality images without the expense of a DSLR and lenses, the prosumer cameras are the way to go. a good one will produce results comparable to DSLR's in many respects, at least up to A4 or even A3 size, and when the time comes to upgrade (as it inevitably does with all digital cameras), you won't feelso bad about trading up, since you paid a lot less to begin with than the guy with the DSLR... so if you can live with the prosumer camera's limitations (as discussed elsewhere on this thread), but still want a good camera for serious hobby photography, something like the FZ30 will serve you very well indeed.
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 1:19 PM   #23
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:?I'd just like to say "Thanks" to everyone who has so far contributed to my question in this forum. There's been a few differing opions, but I think the main consensus is that for out & out quality an SLR is best, even with a cheaper lens. But Prosumer cameras still have thier fans.

I'd just like to add at this point(perhaps I should have mentioned it before) but I already own a Canon 20D with 4 lenses. What I want now is something smaller & lighter to carry around with me whilst I go hiking. The trouble is I still want to able to make good quality A3 prints! As I was going to have to buy a complete new camera to accomplish this, I thought a Prosumer might do(some are much lighter than my kit). But a Canon Rebel + sigma or tamron 18-200 is also lighter. Therefore I thought I,d canvas some other photographers opions, & I'd just like to thank you again for your thoughts.

Cheers, Barry.
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Old Dec 5, 2005, 4:25 PM   #24
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Barry,

if you're really after something smaller, lighter, and simpler to use than your 20D for hiking and what not, but still want good prints up to A3 size (~11x14"), most of tne 5MP prosumers will work. for the best combination of good optics, light weight, and image quality, you might want to consider the FZ5. it's much more lighter and compact than even the EOS with 80-200(that's important when hiking!),but still offers 35-430mm zoom (more reach, for pics ofthe critters you encounter on your hikes!) with image stabilzation and full manual control, except no manual focus. it's also a lot cheaper than buying another DSLR, and would make a perfect back-up or "second" camera for those times you don't wanna carry the full DSLR kit. if you want manual focus, the FZ20 or FZ30 would be good choices. i can speak from experience, the FZ's WILL deliver beautiful A3/11x14" prints, as long as you do your part.


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Old Dec 6, 2005, 5:03 AM   #25
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Squirl,

I really wanted a wider lens than the cameras you have suggested,ie. 28mm (18 in digital). Thanks all the same.
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Old Dec 7, 2005, 1:26 AM   #26
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that rules out the "prosumers" then, unless you want to get a wide-angle converter for the FZ5... which would give you what you want, but you'd need to carry that extra bit around with you.
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