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 Post subject: Choosing a non-DSLR
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 2:48 pm 
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Location: Great Britain
Hi,

I'm new here and will just explain a couple of things about myself in relation to photography. I'm in my early 20s and interested in photography. I currently own a lowly 2004 Pentax Optio 30, but before that used an Olympus OM2 which just sits in the cupboard now! It's about time I got a modern good camera.

My fiancée will be getting me a camera for Christmas for a maximum of £300 GBP (roughly $610 at time of writing). I've researched thoroughly the cameras around which match my requirements, but know from experience from other products it can make a big difference actually talking to people on forums rather than just reading reviews everywhere.

Before listing the cameras I'm interested in, I'll explain a couple of things:

1) It won't be a DLSR. I really want a DSLR, but two things prevent me from being able to get one. The first being that I want to be able to take movie clips! The other being budget, so I'll probably be after an SLR in a couple of years. So for now, a DSLR is not an option.

2) My priority is image quality. I like the big zooms available on the 'high-zoom' compacts, BUT my overall priority is picture quality. So I'm not going to choose a camera with 18x over 15x or 12x just because it zooms more. The same goes for features. I'm just after the best image quality I can possibly get without getting a DSLR.


The main cameras I have been looking at include the Panasonic FZ50 and FZ18, Fujifilm S9600 and S8000fd, and Olympus SP-560uz. These are all available from between £220 and £280 at various online retailers.

I've held the S9600 and an SP-550uz and I like both. I'm not that concerned about size, but both have their merits to me. I like the manual zoom and focus ability of the larger models, and I like the convenience of the smaller cameras.

Before going into more detail about factors I like and dislike in these cameras (these details can come in later posts), I'm going to ask about the size issue: I'd like to know how much difference the larger FZ50 and S9600 cameras and sensors make in the image quality compared to other smaller cameras?

Look forward to hearing your views!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:44 pm 
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Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
Hi Doug, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

Shame you can't straetch to a DSLR, but as you say, if you want movie clips, you'll have to look elsewhere anyway!

To compare nosie levels in real life between the Olympus 550UZ and Pannie FZ50, see this page:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Olymp ... e4ca.shtml

You can also compare the featrues of the best superzooms here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/buyers_guide/ ... mera.shtml

As you'll see, I really rate the Panansonic FZ8 - there's some issues with image quality, but then no non-DSLR is perfect - but everything else about thsi camera works really well, and the movie modes on the Panasonics are very good, with widescreen options too.

Again apart from IQ, the only thing I felt let the FZ8 down was lack of wide angle, and we now have that with the FZ18. I'm actually testing one as we speak, so look out for a review coming soon.

Gordon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:33 pm
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Location: Great Britain
Hi Gordon,

Thanks for the links, I have to admit I hadn't notice there were pages a, b, c etc. on the results pages, so I have much more to look at now!

I'll really be looking forward to the FZ18 review. When I first started my research the FZ50 was my favourite despite the noise issues, but I have to admit the fact the FZ50 is over a year old does make me think of finding out about all the newer models, especially new releases such as the FZ18, 560uz and s8000fd.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:37 pm 
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Hi Doug, don't expect miracles from the FZ18's noise levels but the wider lens sure is nice to have!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:45 pm 
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I won't be expecting great performance at 400 ISO and above, I'll have to accept the noise levels of the Panasonics and other super-zooms. Because without getting a DSLR, there's not much to be done about it!

I think I've narrowed down my options to just Panasonics after reading the fine print of the specs and finding as many user comments as possible. There are just factors which put me off the others cameras like the Fuji s8000fd only having max shutter speed of 4 seconds compared to 60 in the Panasonics. And I've read that you can't use the zoom in movies on this whereas I believe you can in the FZs.

I'll be eagerly awaiting your review of the FZ18. After which I'll probably be making the choice between newer model with wider lens vs. manual zoom, hotshoe and flip out screen.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:14 am 
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Hi Doug, I can tell you now the FZ8 and FZ18 don't let you optically zoom while filming. You must be thinking of the FZ50...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:27 am 
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It really is a let down that you need to stop your movie, manually zoom in to a desired range then restart a seperate movie clip :(

Ive heared good things about the Panasonic Super-Zooms though, think you got a few solid cameras to choose between.

Best of Luck with your purchase!

Jay

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:06 am 
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jay1 wrote:
It really is a let down that you need to stop your movie, manually zoom in to a desired range then restart a seperate movie clip :(
I know, I definitely want to be able to zoom with movie clips

Gordon Laing wrote:
I can tell you now the FZ8 and FZ18 don't let you optically zoom while filming. You must be thinking of the FZ50...

It's these little details which are not always easy to find out which can make a difference. Before I was relatively neutral between all the cameras mentioned in my first post. Then I found out a few small details which swayed me towards Panasonics only. But now I think I'll definitely be going for the FZ50!

Thanks for your input!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:16 pm 
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The FZ50 is a nice camera, but it's now the oldest in Panasonic's range, so if you can wait a few months, I'd see if they launch a new one at PMA in Jan / Feb. I'd expect top see a 28mm wide angle and bigger screen, although I really hope it still flips out.

Of course maybe the L10 DSLR is the unofficial successor to the FZ50...!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:34 pm 
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Unfortunately it is going to be a Christmas present so it can't really wait...

Also, if a new one came out, it would probably be more than £300 initially. I can get an FZ50 for £269 online which is within budget!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:37 pm 
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And I'm quite happy with getting the FZ50 right now. I'll probably be buying my first DSLR in about 2 years.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:32 pm 
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It's finally come to around the time when I should order my camera, and I'm having second thoughts! My main reasons are that the FZ50 is just very old now whereas the FZ18 is so new. I'm I don't think I really need to zoom in videos. And I can live without the manual zoom as the FZ18 has the fine increments and different zoom speeds.

A quick question though, is there that much difference in image quality between the FZ18 and FZ50?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:18 pm 
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Hi Doug, as you know we've now published our fullre view of the FZ18, so I'd advise comparing the results and Gallery pages from it with those from the FZ50 review.

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panas ... _DMC_FZ18/

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/PanasonicFZ50/

Gordon


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