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Old May 24, 2006, 9:24 AM   #1
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Looking through these pages it interesting to see the huge diversity in different peoples requirements - I guess thats why so many different cameras survice on the market:

Here's what I'm looking for - if anyone knows of a camera that can meet these specs please let me know:

MUST HAVES
- Wide angle of 28mm or better
- Telephoto of 300mm or better
- Swivel display for high and low level use
- Good low light performance
- Good macro capabilities
- Image stabiliser
- Flash socket


WOULD LIKE, but not essential
- Big screen
- Solid metal body
- TTL flash metering
- Optical viewfinder
- Fast aperture Lens
- Low shutter lag

All input greatly appreciated
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Old May 24, 2006, 9:38 AM   #2
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There isn't one camera that incorporates all of these features. In the superzoom category, all the cameras are missing at least one of the features you're looking for. The Fuji s9000 is the only one that has your zoom range (28-300) but its not image stabilized. The one's that have IS (Sony h1, canon s2) don't have hotshoes, and aremissing the wide end of the zoom range.None willperform wellin low light as the zoom range insures a smaller widest aperature.

You'll have to decide what features are most important. The obvious answer to your question is to purchase a DSLR if you must have all these features, however they are pricey and not as easy to carry around.
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Old May 24, 2006, 10:03 AM   #3
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Wow - thanks for the amazingly quick response :-)

I guess you are confirming what my limited research was suggesting - but great to have verification I wasn't missing something.

I have considered the DSLR route already, but don't think I can afford anything with the range of lenses that would give the versatility I'm after. I would also really miss having a rotating realtime display for those low angle shots!

The other option is to stick with my Olympus C5050 and see what comes out with this autumns new releases. Would love to see these specs in something like a Canon Powershot Pro1N, Panasonic Lumix FZ40 or a Fuji. Would also love to see the fast F1.8 aperture of the C5050, but think I'll be lucky!!


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Old May 24, 2006, 2:48 PM   #4
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Your list just about covers an ideal digicam. The problem is - such camera doesn't exist to the best of my knowledge. If you don't have a budget for a DSLR and a set of high quality fast lenses, you can have another look at Fuji S9000/9500 or Minolta A200 (with telephoto add-on lens). Each one of these cameras cover7 out of 13 requirements you listed.
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Old May 24, 2006, 3:25 PM   #5
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How about the Panasonic FZ30 with a DMW-LW55 0.7x Wide Angle Converter? That would convert the 35-420mm range to a 25-300mm one.

On the upside (by your requirements) it has: a swivel display, reasonable aperture (f/2.8-3.5 - though I suppose that would change with the wide-angle converter), image stabilisation, a hot-shoe, and quite low shutter lag. Not sure about TTL metering - it's described as "Intelligent Multiple / Center-weighted / Spot metering", which I assume means it must have.

On the downside (by your requirements) it doesn't have: that big a screen (it's 2"), or an optical viewfinder; nor can it give noise-free pics that far above ISO100 (on the other hand, you get a good couple of stops in shutter speed from the image stabalisation, so that kinda compensates). Not sure about the body underneath the exterior, but it seems pretty well-built.
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Old May 24, 2006, 4:30 PM   #6
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pdannatt wrote:
Quote:
Would love to see these specs in something like a Canon Powershot Pro1N, Panasonic Lumix FZ40 or a Fuji.
You won't see any successor to Pro1 from Canon, they want to kick people to "d"SLR.

All longer (>4x) zoom Panasonics have lacked wide angle so I wouldn't count much to them, especially when even they are anxious to get into dSLRs.


Well... actually there would dSLR lense giving roughly ~28-300mm range. But those are apparently quite much compromises (at least affordably priced) compared to lenses of best non-SLRs.


And optical viewfinder is very lousy with longer zoom lens because of parallax error, only way for optical viewfinder with longer zoom lens is Through The Lens (TTL) of SLRs. (plus neither it shows right croppping, live preview, histogram and those)

Now because we're in such unfortunate situation that we can't have that perfect camera you need to prioritize your requirements.
Meaning are those all requirements such important? You didn't even tell anything about what you would photograph, after all that defines what are most important requirements.



simxp wrote:
Quote:
How about the Panasonic FZ30 with a DMW-LW55 0.7x Wide Angle Converter? That would convert the 35-420mm range to a 25-300mm one.
Lens converters don't work such way, they're designed for use with zoom fixed. (to either wide angle or tele depending on converter) Especially with such very high pixel density sensor I wouldn't expect much quality from zooming with any lens converter.
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Old May 25, 2006, 10:13 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the great info guys - keep it coming!

Someone asked what I photograph - actually everything! I'm currently living in Malaysia, but travel quite a bit around the region photographing everything I see. Lots of landscapes, architecture, interiors, people, cultural events, lots of small things like insects and flowers. Hence the need for something versatile.

I really like the Panasonic FZ30 except I would love to give up that long telephoto for a bit more wide angle for those landscapes, architecture and interiors. For me at least I wish manufacturers would give a bit more attention to the wide angle end, especially for interiors, landscapes and architecture.

Also a little concerned about the much discussed noise issue as I prefer natural light to flash, especially in places like temples where the mood can be spoiled by the harsh light of flash. I also often photography city scapes at night. Would pictures in these conditons stand up to being printed at A4?

On the wide angle issue it would be good to know if anyone can post examples of an FZ30 with a wide angle adapter so i could get some idea of the quality?

Thanks again for everyones support.

PS - is there such a thing as a DSLR with a fulltime and swiveling display. I rarely shoot anything at eye level these days. Overheads are great for crowded locations and getting low down really helps with children and macro work.
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Old May 25, 2006, 10:31 AM   #8
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pdannatt wrote:
Quote:
PS - is there such a thing as a DSLR with a fulltime and swiveling display. I rarely shoot anything at eye level these days. Overheads are great for crowded locations and getting low down really helps with children and macro work.
AFAIK, the E-330 is the first to do that. Steve has posted a review of it here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/e330.html


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Old May 25, 2006, 10:46 AM   #9
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pdannatt wrote:
Quote:
On the wide angle issue it would be good to know if anyone can post examples of an FZ30* with a wide angle adapter so i could get some idea of the quality?
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...24&forum_id=23 -- four 0.8x and four 0.7x wide-angle converters for the FZ30 tested.
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Old May 25, 2006, 12:49 PM   #10
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pdannatt wrote:
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Lots of landscapes, architecture, interiors, people, cultural events, lots of small things like insects and flowers.
IMO that's quite heavily wide angle emphasizing range of targets.
And insects and flowers again fall to macro capability area.



Quote:
Also a little concerned about the much discussed noise issue as I prefer natural light to flash, especially in places like temples where the mood can be spoiled by the harsh light of flash. I also often photography city scapes at night. Would pictures in these conditons stand up to being printed at A4?
Only test I've found discussing printable sizes (looks much like for printing posters) is here:
http://www.neocamera.com/feature_dslr3.html
ISO 100: The noise was virtually indistinguishable even when viewing at 25"x19" in size.
ISO 200: Noise is detectable in smooth areas at 25" wide but not at 16" wide on the A2.
ISO 400: The A2 shows clearly visible noise at 25" wide. At 16" the noise is barely detectable. At 12" and below, noise cannot be seen.
ISO 800: Noise is now visible at 16" wide and above and disturbing at 25" wide for the A2.
Visible noise levels at various print size show that the A2 is perfectly suited at ISO 200 (or less) up to 25" wide and at ISO 800 up to 12" wide. The outstanding Canon 20D produces perfectly usable prints up to ISO 1600 even at 25" wide. This demonstrates that even though the A2's noise levels are higher at all ISO sensitivities, for most common print sizes (up to 9"x12"), its full ISO range remains very usable.


A2's incamera processing is quite mediocre and noise removing is very ineffective/light. A200 has better incamera processing but carefull noise removing with good NR software can make results still much better.
Here's ISO400 and 800 noise test shots from Steve's A200 review which have been run quickly through Noise Ninja: (self extracting RAR-archive)
http://www.keepmyfile.com/download/4769a0693606
I think that ISO800 shot would give excellent A4 print.

And here's quickly processed nighshots from DCResource's A200 test:
http://www.keepmyfile.com/download/27f507772129

For stationary targets like landscapes and architecture stabilization gives ~three stops longer shake free shutter time (of course depending from stability of photographer's hands) which means that dSLR with inexpensive unstabilized zoom lens with similar range (those drop to F5.6-6.3 in tele end) actually get run for their money.
But for low light action/moving targets dSLRs with fixed focal length primes or fast (+very expensive) zoom lenses are superior.

Fuji S9000/9500 has lower noise in incamera processed JPEGs but that's almost completely because of very heavy noise removing, also it lacks stabilization and lens looses speed quite badly in tele end dropping to F4.9 which drops ISO advantage one step.


Here's some A200 ISO400/800 shots.
http://www.pbase.com/janniklindquist/high_iso_400800


BTW, for putting noise into perspective I've seen photos taken with film SLR which showed lot of grainyness in normal paperphoto (6x4/15x10cm) size!
(no, those weren't night shots with supersensitive film but daytime photos of clouds)


Quote:
is there such a thing as a DSLR with a fulltime and swiveling display. I rarely shoot anything at eye level these days. Overheads are great for crowded locations and getting low down really helps with children and macro work.
Oly E330 is best attempt... "digital" SLRs just capture image into digital format, otherwise they're still very much in "analog age". (limitations of 70+ something old design)
Here's good summary table of E330's live preview modes and their limitations:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse330/


Also like Steve's E-330 review well tells lens range for Olympus is quite limited and you would need at least two lenses for covering good range. (possibly third for macros)
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_.../e330_pg2.html
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