Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jan 21, 2006, 1:05 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

I'm re-visiting the issue of replacing my Sony F717. I'm looking for a camera that will give me the same excellent macro photos and include all the detail the Sony captures with the same or better dynamic range. I'd like something that has a zoom that goes out to 200 mm or more(my main complaint with the F717 is that it doesn't go quite as far out as I'd like). I don't mind 5 mp (never felt hampered by the Sony) though I wouldn't mind more since I do often crop my photos. I really want a zoom ring of some sort, preferably a mechanical zoom but would be happy with one like the F717. I tried a motorized zoom and am not quite ready to give that up.

I recently bought a Panasonic FZ30. It takes nice photos but they aren't quite as good as the F717 (and I'm not talking about noise). I took both cameras out and took a series of photos, some a few inches away, some at the Sony's max zoom (and tried to match that zoom length with the FZ30. They are close, but the FZ30 isn't quite as good in my opinion - if you are interested I posted some 100% crops (no resizing, no pp, all handheld, all jpg fine) at http://photobucket.com/albums/c238/m...c%20vs%20Sony/.

Is there any non dSLR camera being currently sold that will match the Sony in photo quality (detail and dynamic range), with 200 mm zoom, preferably that shoots raw, and that isn't a dSLR? I really don't want to start trying to carry around all that extra gear (and always seem to have the wrong lens on) when I'm hiking. The Sony has been perfect for me, but it is having several problems (won't consistently read the card and the EVF/LCD is very discolored, only good for framing). If there isn't something that truly matches or is superior to the Sony, then I'll continue to use the Panasonic.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jan 21, 2006, 1:34 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 414
Default

I upgraded my F717 to a Digital Rebel about a year and a half ago and I've never looked back. I see your reason for not wanting a dSLR but you can get a lens that is pretty close to the F717 and you'd never have to change it out.

That being said, have you looked at the F828? I thought of upgrading to that instead of the Rebel but decided I wanted the dslr (return to my roots)

Dave
headhunter66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 21, 2006, 2:51 AM   #3
Super Moderator
 
Hards80's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 9,046
Default

the fuji 9000/9500 seems to fit your requirements pretty well... i think they are getting better with their production consistancy too.. seems to offer lots of resolution at 9mpand good noise handling characteristics.. and a zoom from 28-300 is pretty good.. i am not real sure about its macro capabilities though, you may look into it further..

i know the canon s2is is supposed to be an amazing macro camera, if i am quoting this correctly it basically focuses almost to the point the lens is touching the object.. you are not going to get RAW, but its got a nice 12x is lens and the digic ii image processor to make the most of its comparatively small 5mp, though in reality 5 good mp is better than louse 8 or 9mp..

also, do you shoot your fz-30 in RAW much.. i have seen some fantastic examples of the fz-30 using raw, seems to really make the most of your 8mp and gives more resolving power than you get shooting jpg..
Hards80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 21, 2006, 5:54 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4
Default

Sony H1? 12x superzoom. Don't know if it shoots RAW, but it'll have that Sony look that you like. Or the R1 - 5x zoom but with a fantastic lens on it.



I had a 717 and now have a V1. Think my next move will shortly be a DSLR. I don't want to be changing lenses all the time, but I'll learn with the kit then maybe buy a compact zoom (18 or 25-200) for out and about, and keep the kit for indoor/kids candids.



If you are using any of the creative modes of the 717 you should be fine with a DSLR - they really aren't that scary. Plus they'll be a LOT faster - AF is insanely fast on these things. Have you tried one out in a shop?
mrklaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 21, 2006, 9:14 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

I don't think that the Fuji is hugely better than the Panasonic - the main difference I saw in the reviews is that the camera does the noise reduction (instead of me using Neat Image and controlling how much processing I do). It really isn't the noise that is bothering me, it's the fact that the camera doesn't capture details that the Sony, a 3 year old camera, could. If the Fuji can capture these details and have the same dynamic range (bringing out some details in the shadows as well as the highlights) then I'd definitely be interested in it.

Does anyone else have a suggestion? I thought about the F828 but thought it was heavier than I really wanted, while the Panasonic is the same weight/size as the F717. Are the pictures from the F828 as good as the F717? Perhaps I made a mistake not trying to find one, because the weight wasn't that big of an issue.

I'm wondering about the R1, but then I'd have to get a teleconverter, and if I do that, I might as well buy a dSLR, as I do have a nice set of old Pentax prime and zoom lenses. I just can't believe that no one is making a non-dSLR that takes as clear and detailed photos as the 3 year old F717.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 21, 2006, 10:47 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
terry@softreq.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,539
Default

Mtngal,

Maybe you should use your sony for macros, and buy another camera for other purposes.

Not likely you'd get much for you F717 used, so you might as well keep it, as it's current second hand worth is about the value of the lens sitting on it.

The best photo quality will be found with DSLR's.

If you have pentax lenses, you could pick up a Pentax *ist fairly inexpensively.

The Pentax could be your telephoto machine.

-- Terry
terry@softreq.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 22, 2006, 5:58 AM   #7
E.T
Senior Member
 
E.T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 921
Default

mtngal wrote:
Quote:
Is there any non dSLR camera being currently sold that will match the Sony in photo quality (detail and dynamic range)
Considering dynamic range it appears that all of these high megapixel cameras with small sensors have some problems with it, especially after in-camera "Disneyland" processing often cranks contrast (+saturation) over the scale...
Then there's this comparison point, our eye whose dynamic range is spectacular compared to any man made sensor)


Considering that proposed Fuji you won't be running out of job in post processing when using RAWs... while page is comparison between IS and Fuji's high ISO anti-blur it shows well how much Fuji needs noise processing. (way too much more megapixels in not really bigger sensor compared to F10)
And despite of Fuji's claims it apparently doesn't have anyhow spectacular dynamic range, propably again because quite high amount of pixels compared to sensor size.


One camera you might want to check is KM A2, there's still those around.
Considering hiking it's smallest of these proposed non-SLRs, has 28-200mm lens whose wide angle is very good for landscapes. While incamera JPEGs aren't so "sharp" and colourful than in some cameras that's because of very mild incamera processing at defaults settings, also with RAW you can get very detailed results and two months old firmware update rised it to one of the fastest non-SLRs when using RAW.

While lightning and positioning aren't same I think that third shot can be used for general comparison of dynamic range and A2 looks to be quite better than FZ30, at least when comparing that window with "restaurant&bar" text... in A2's shot sun is higher and window actually deeper in shadow, well... surprisingly compared to most of current longer zoom cameras its sensor has quite low pixel density.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...0_samples.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_...2_samples.html
[here's shot of same place with Sony F828)
E.T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 22, 2006, 3:14 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

Looks like I missed the boat when I bought the Panasonic FZ30. I looked at the sample photos of both the A2 and the A200 and both definitely show better dynamic range (sigh). While the extra zoom on the Panasonic has been fun, it hasn't compensated for my frustration over picture quality with macros. I'm going to send out some feelers to see if I can sell the Panasonic for high enough to be able to buy the KM. I can't in good conscience sell the Sony - it just has too many problems to make it worth anything to anyone other than someone who wanted it for parts (the sensor and lens are still excellent). What is the difference between the A2 and the A200, and why would one be preferable over the other?

I'm almost sorry now that there IS a better camera - I was perfectly happy to live with the Panasonic and try to figure out how to get the best out of it as long as I knew that the only thing better would be a dSLR. Now it's going to bother me!
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 22, 2006, 5:02 PM   #9
E.T
Senior Member
 
E.T's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 921
Default

A200 is basically A2 with user interface stripped/dumbed down to standard level and more media sexy rounder look...
For example very big minus is only one control dial, in A2 (and A1) you can have other control dial directly controlling exposure compensation (P,A,S modes) without any menus/button tapping. (isn't exposure compensation behind menus/buttons in FZ30?)
A200's EVF is standard resolution model which all look crappy after getting used to A2's 922000 pixel EVF (4x resolution compared to all EVFs/LCDs of other cameras) Neither it has A2's sensor which automatically switches picture to EVF.
Also they managed to cut 47% away from battery's capacity. (although A200's brand batteries are cheaper)

Only thing in A200 which can be considered as better is media sexy Canon Powershot style flip-out and twist LCD...
Well, also its incamera processing produces more media sexy looking JPEGs... more saturation and sharpening, apparently also contrast is higher. But for best detail accuracy RAW is superior also in it.
Free RawShooter Essential should work with RAWs from both cameras, and at least with A2 it gives very accurate results. (although difference to incamera JPEGs would show only in really big prints and "100%&> viewing")

In RAW shooting A2 beats A200 quite badly because two months old 1.14 firmware increased RAW writing speed so that with best cards three shot buffer is empty in 12 seconds and you can take next shot when there's space for it, meaning ~five seconds after first shot.
While A200 can buffer 5 RAWs writing time for one is around 10 seconds even with best working cards.


http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...ea200&show=all
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/konicaminoltaa200/

These show best external differences.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/a2.html
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/a200.html

While closest focusing distance of this lens is over 10cm (4") tele macro gives quite nice details without lens shading object and smallest area covered by photo is ~6cm (2.4") wide and is practically distortion free...


You know, after those morning numbers this day's -27°C felt nice warm... :G

Also in addition to smaller size+weight than Sony F828 these have IS.

Rules of the Rucksack:
  • No matter how carefully you pack, a rucksack is always too small.
  • No matter how small, a rucksack is always too heavy.
  • No matter how heavy, a rucksack will never contain what you want.
  • No matter what you need, it's always at the bottom.
E.T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 22, 2006, 8:13 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

Your figures sound really interesting, though not your temps! I was out shooting snow pictures today and the temps were around 25 F (well below freezing, but not anything like your -27 C).

The A2 does sound really interesting - I've been using ACR and photoshop with the Panasonic (really like the extra control). When I was looking at the reviews, I got a little confused with min. focus at max zoom. I wouldn't be that concerned about the fact that it can only focus 4" away if the minimum focus distance at max zoom isn't something like over 6 feet. That's one of the things I've had to get used to with the Panasonic - the focus distance changes very quickly to over 6 feet when you start to use the zoom. Having a tilt LCD is very nice, I'd have to think about whether not having it would be a deal-breaker or not.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:11 AM.