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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:46 pm 
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Hello everyone,
My name is Becky and although I am new to this forum, I have been an avid reader of these camera reviews for quite some time. The problem is I seem to be dense when it comes to camera's.

I am not an enthusiast and although I love to take pictures, I don't understand much about all the camera terms. In the past 5 years I have been through about 8 camera's including Panasonic zs3, Panasonic zs10, Panasonic fz150, Sony HX9v. Yes, I am a boring point and shoot gal with dreams of finding that perfect camera that I can't seem to find. Instead, I waste lot's of money on camera's that don't do what I want.

Here is where I hope some of you camera geniuses can help me out. I am going to tell you what I want in a camera and see if any of you have a better suggestion for me.

Speed - I need a camera that takes quick photos and less processing time. Especially with the flash on as I tend to take a ton of low light photos. I have a class 10 card already and that doesn't seem to help.

great low light performance- as mentioned above, I take a lot of low light photos. So far I have never owned a camera that can produce a beautiful photo in low light. The HX9V came close but it took forever to get the shot.

Easily Portable- I don't know if I am scared of an SLR or I just can't imagine lugging one around. I have 3 small children and want to get those shots without a lot of preparation. I also don't have the money to invest in one. I ideally would love a camera that is small but willing to go to a bridge camera if it can do what I need it to do.

Zoom- At least a 12x zoom. The idea of a large zoom sounds good but not if it compromises my image quality.

Video- not a must but would be a nice added touch. If the camera cost over $300 then I want a great video option.

The Fz150 didn't take the best images in my opinion. Maybe I wasn't using is correctly? Is there a manual way to use this camera and make it better? Also, I don't understand RAW and am not sure if that even matters to me. I returned this camera and paid a hefty restocking fee.

The ZS10 had a shadow at the bottom corner of any photo taken with flash. Very annoying. Another returned camera with another restocking fee.

I currently have the HX9v and it seems the slowest out of all of them. I think the pics are beautiful but at the cost of missing so many shots. The flash photos in auto mode take forever. Again, I wonder if I am doing something wrong.

Anyway, I am hoping to get some kind of help here as I am at my wits end. I am open to any suggestions and able to spend up to $700.

Thanks in advance.

Becky


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:10 pm 
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I have the HX9V, and yes, it can be that slow at times!

No experience with it myself, but for something like a DSLR but smaller, I've been looking at the Nikon 1, specifically the J1 with two lens kit. It's not that big or small, and might be pushing your budget though. You will have two lenses with that kit, between them giving a total of 11x zoom. Quality should easily exceed the HX9V and also be much more responsive.

Unfortunately Cameralabs have only reviewed the next model up, the V1 but it should give a taste of what to expect, and from that if it is interesting enough for further thought.

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3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:42 pm 
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Thanks for the suggestion. Would you say a point and shoot will not give me good results with what I want? This way, I know to look elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:20 pm 
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I'd have to pass on that question, as I just don't know everything that's out there! Point and shoots are not where I look at much so maybe someone else who has more ideas will come along soon.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:55 am 
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EDIT: Thanks to zackiedawg, the following correction should be understood: The Nikon V1 and J1 mentioned in my post are NOT APS-C sized sensors and actually smaller than M4/3 but larger than Compact camera's.
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With your speed requirement, its not really the card that is going to slow down the processing, the reason people say you need a high speed card is only if the camera is faster than slower cards.

So putting say, a Class 10 card in a compact camer is like putting dynamite in an electric car for fuel. Basically if you want a faster shot taken at low light with very little grainyness (noise) its really up to the camera, and maybe 10% the card.

Also keep in mind the size of the Sensor is VERY important when it comes to low light. imagine looking at the world through a pinhole, if you have a small sensor, it takes more time and harder for your eyes to take in all the light to make an image in your head. Basically the reason why DSLR's are bigger is so they can house a larger sensor. In order of size:

Compact Cameras = Sensor size is about the size of the nail on your pinky finger
Micro 4/3 Cameras (olympus and Panasonic) = Probably your better bet, the size is about the size of a Soda Bottle Cap
APS-C sized sensor = Ignore the name but in Nikon and Canon DLR'S they are as big as the size of a postage stamp - maybe a teeny bit smaller than a postage stamp but they are the most popular sensor size for a balance of size in the body of a camera, low light and performance. You will also find this sensor in the Nikon V series of compacts they are making, kind of like an inbetween of a compact and a SLR. Sonly also makes the NEX system which uses this sensor and does the same thing, compact body, interchangeable lens system

Someone already recomended the V1. Heres my recomendation - If size and performance is what you want, try the Micro 4/3 system offered by Olympus and Panasonic. The Lowlight performance isnt as good as a dedicated DSLR and the sony and Nikon but its still 10 times better than most compacts out there. They are smaller, they have a larger range of lenses to choose from and its a cheaper system to get into since Olympus kicked off this new trend of compact body with a lens you can change so they have been doing it longer and work with Panasonic too. People tend to poo poo the 4/3 system only because of the small sensor and 4:3 size (which CAN be changed in the settings to shoot wide and 3:2 etc, its digital afterall) the only reason why it tends to get poo pooed was because 4/3 started life as a DSLR so people compare the MICRO 4/3 system with DSLRs and thats kinda not fair. in my opinion its the best of both worlds getting a MIRCO 4/3 camera.

Thje only downside yes is that there are a lot if cameras in the MICRO 4/3 system so if you have the time Id pick them up at a store and test them out - some have 2 frames a second, some have 3, some can shoot 4-5 frames a second and thats when your class 10 Card will be usefull and worth the money you spent. And yes they all do decent video.

Getting a Nikon V or a Sony NEX is a next step up but very expensive and I would only go there if you want superior Low light performance without going full size DSLR - and imo, dont get the Sony NEX as even I myself have to tear my hair out when I want to change settings. (It was on manual and I wanted to set it to automatic and I almost wanted to tear the screen off lol.

Good luck, Leo

_________________
1) Olympus OM1 [Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8]
2) Pentax MZ-60 [Sigma 28-90 & 100-300]
3) Canon 7D [EF-S 15-85 & 70-200mm f/4 IS & 50mm f1.4]
4) Leica M [50mm Summicron Pre-aspherical - Silver]

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Last edited by Leo on Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:22 am 
Hi Becky, welcome to the forum.

Unfortunately I think you are setting the bar high. A couple of your requirements clash

Quote:
great low light performance- as mentioned above, I take a lot of low light photos. So far I have never owned a camera that can produce a beautiful photo in low light. The HX9V came close but it took forever to get the shot.


Low light performance is about 3 things imo - good high ISO performance, the speed of the lens (i.e. how much light it can let in normally measured in f.stop) and flash performance.

ISO is all about sensor quality and size, typically the bigger and more modern the sensor the better the performance at high ISO settings will be. Compacts typically have small sensors and therefore poor high iso performance leaving photos taken in low light very 'noisey'

Getting light into a lens requires good glass and good glass is expensive. Camera manufacturers dont bother putting good expensive glass on cameras with sensors that wont do it justice.

On camera flash is never great. The further you can get the flash bulb away from the lens or bounced off the ceiling the more life your images will have.

Quote:
Zoom- At least a 12x zoom. The idea of a large zoom sounds good but not if it compromises my image quality.


Manufacturing a zoom lens with a low f.stop is very expensive, pro zooms used in sports cost HUGE amounts of money, $1,000 to $10,000!!! The cheapest option for ZOOM is to walk forwards, Zoom with your feet :lol:

Quote:
Video- not a must but would be a nice added touch. If the camera cost over $300 then I want a great video option.


The focusing requirements for stills photography and video are very different. Be ware of this when assessing video capability and understand what kind of video you want to shoot.

I'd suggest having a look at the fuji X10 as it is compact, has a biggish sensor with good high ISO performance, a decent f2 lens with some zoomability and accept that you'll need to zoom with your feet a bit. Video is good too.

You'll learn the most with a DSLR though if thats part of what you want


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Well thank you all for the replies. I will look into the camera suggested and go from there. I would consider a SLR if I knew I could learn easy with it. I am just afraid I will invest a lot of money and let the camera sit.
As for Nikon - most places I have gone have told me that Nikon's are junk. Based on what I am reading here I see otherwise. So much misinformation.
If I wanted a camera that was decent in low light but took fast pics (Digital Point an shoot) would there be one out there?
How would you all rate the following for such a thing?

FZ150
SX40
HX9V

Which camera takes the fastest photos?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:50 pm 
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Don't worry at all about not being able to use a DSLR, they have `auto` & `P` modes, so just as easy to use as p&s cameras. :wink:

Nikon are junk????? :twisted: Take no notice! 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:00 pm 
Becky, can I ask in what scenario you'll be taking photos quickly.

For instance lots of frames per second is used when shooting action (like sports) to try and catch 'the' moment in one of the shots.

This would be described as fps (frames per second) in any specs. If your using flash then you'll need to look at the flash recycle times to get an indication of how long you'll have to wait between shots


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:42 pm 
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becky0216,
You mentioned the FZ150 didn't take the best quality photos. I'm assuming this was low light performance. Otherwise, how did you like the camera? It is/was my current choice in a ~$400 camera given its video capabilities. Was the camera fast enough for pics of the kids? I've got 2 girls that love to run around and generally not look at the camera when I need them to.

Thanks,
-Kirk


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Just a tiny correction to some of the information you've gotten above...the Nikon 'V1' and 'J1' line which was mentioned actually doesn't use an APS-C sensor...it uses a new sensor size, smaller than the M4:3 sensors of Panasonic and Olympus, but larger than any P&S camera. It seems to perform well, but just know it's not APS-C, therefore not comparable in crop factor, low light performance, or depth of field properties to an APS-C sensor camera (like the NEX or most DSLRs).

As to Nikon being 'junk' - obviously, that's just silly - NO camera manufacturer of the top 5 or so you are considering are 'junk'...when you get into interchangeable lens cameras, the differences are much smaller between the major manufacturers, and mostly come down to the feature set that works best for you, the ergonomics and controls that feel best to you, or some specific capability or specification that meets your needs best. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, and Panasonic are all fine manufactuers with solid products, and none is overtly better than the others for all people. My guess is that when you heard folks say 'Nikon is junk' it was in relation to compact P&S cameras - in this regard, Nikon did struggle for a while to keep up with Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and Fuji, and were often thought of as a bit subpar in comparison - more recent Nikon compact models seem to have improved, and the interchangeable lens Nikons are an entirely different class and much more respected.

When it comes down to it, it's all about compromises. Your expectations are only realistic if you think you're going to find a compact, single-lens camera that hits 100% on every specification you listed. How you pick what works best for you is deciding which of those specs is more important and which you are more willing to compromise on, then see which cameras have the best combination of things you really must have vs. things you're willing to compromise. Size, portability, price, focus speed, low light performance, continuous shooting, stabilization, fast lens, ability to change lens...you won't find one camera that is best in every regard.

When you mention wanting 'decent in low light' - decent in what way? Focuses accurately, shoots cleanly at higher ISOs, has better dynamic range? How much noise is tolerable to you? How often do your subjects move and how quickly? How amenable are you to flash? How about manual focus?

When you mention which camera takes the fastest photos...do you mean after prefocus shutter response, full press shutter response, frame-to-frame recycling time, flash recycle time, continuous shooting frame rate, or fastest shutter speed?

As you can see, there are tons of minutae that have to be considered. Everyone's needs are different. And no one camera can satisfy everyone. Which is why there are so many choices, sizes, prices, brands, features, etc! None of the three P&S cameras you mentioned will be what most people consider to be 'fast' or 'good in low light', but they may be good ENOUGH for your needs, and fast ENOUGH for your needs.

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Sony A6000 / 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 / 55-210mm F4-6.3 / 10-18mm F4 / 35mm F1.8 / 16mm F2.8 / via manual adapter, lots of Pentax K mount, Konica K/AR mount, and Leica M mount manual lenses

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:45 pm 
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"fast enough" for me is more of a feeling rather than raw numbers. I've seen the refresh times online, and the FZ150 is ranked above average for this level of camera for having typically good - fast refresh w/ and w/o flash. I've been fooled by the numbers before and I am just looking for a gut feeling from a parent who knows when they missed that shot of their kids because they were waiting for their camera to refresh.

There is a 4 week backorder on the FZ150 right now so like Becky, I am looking around at what other options, potentially even a DSLR like a 3100, T3, or even T3i if I really feel like spending more coin.

I'll start another thread if needed as not to hijack Becky's post if I have any other more specific questions about the cameras I'm researching.

Thanks again for any info shared on this site. Really helps those of us who are learning.
-Kirk


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:50 pm 
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@ ianganderton:
I will be using the camera to take photos of my kids while moving around as well as some of their sports. I mainly want to have the option to snap a bunch of photo's fast so I can hopefully capture a good one now and then. It looks as if a lot of cameras offer a burst mode but with the MP dumbed down.

@ DualPlatform :
The FZ150 was my first foray into a Bridge camera. I only really used the Auto features on it but just felt too many pics came out blurry even without the extended zoom. The low lights took a while as well but now that I tried a few others, I miss the performance of the FZ150. Without flash it is pretty fast. I would be bummed to repurchase this as the price has increased. I got it for $419 on amazon.com.

@ Zackiedawg:
I am willing to compromise on size if it will get me closer to what I want. I am willing to compromise on zoom for the same reason. I would prefer to not have a camera with an interchangeable lens because I just don't feel I would get it out as often.
My main requirement is fast photos (Meaning after pre focus and time between shots. I feel the HX9V is so slow in low light in this regard. I am often holding the button for about 10 seconds.) As far as decent in low light I am more referring to a clear picture. Not blurry or too dark. am not versed enough to understand what noise is but I am assuming it is the graininess in a picture?

I apologize if I offended anyone about saying Nikon was junk. That is just what I have been told. Especially in regards to the p500.

I am beginning to think I just have to suck it up and deal with some crap in my photos. If only my hubby didn't break my zs3. I know it is not an amazing camera but until it broke I was happy with it. Now that I see what else is out there, I could never go back.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:34 am 
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Quote:
am not versed enough to understand what noise is but I am assuming it is the graininess in a picture?


Noise is best understood when you take a camera, set the ISO to say 200 and shoot something black in low light. That object should appear black and the camera may have taken say 2 seconds to expose, meaning a very blury shot. WIth a flash, would be better and the object should be black, zoom in and it should be MOSTLY black with some differences in shades here and there.

Noise is seen when you set the ISO to 1600 under the same conditions. The camera may just take half a second to shoot, meaning a decent photo that is bright and not blurry, the only down side is "graniness" - meaning that the object is not completely black and zooming in the object has tiny white dots and the shades of black are now shades of grey, blue maybe red.

Anyway, you didnt ofend anyone wiht the Nikon comment - their Point and shoot cameras were kinda bad compared to other brands when I used to sell them 4 years ago, they arent exactly fantastic now either, but it doesnt mean the brand is rubbish, it means Nikon spend more time and effort making DSLR's and Lenses.

Sorry to hear about your ZS3... you know what they say, once you go Z, you never go... backsee?

Anywya becky, the only thing coming close to your needs are

Micro 4/3: reasonably compact body, a sensor that is 4 times as big as compacts and largest selectiong of lenses (Keep in mind majority of these lenses are smaller compared to the other systems but they do add size to the camera. There are many bodies avaliable but Id choose one with the fastest frames per second.

The Sony NEX system: has the best sensor of the mirrorless cameras but has some of the largest lenses for this category. They are also more expensive than M4/3 system and the menu kinda sucks, but the picture quality is really sharp and manual modes are great as well as the automatic modes. What is really great about the NEX system is the Noise quality and Image quality is really good due to the sensor size, but bigger sensor size also means bigger body.

The Nikon seems interesting to me, it is the thickest of the bunch (minus the lenses) but has the smallest sensor of the 3 (still twice as big as compacts - as pointed out and corrected earlier) But the lenses on the thing and the fucntions in the Nikon are fantastic. This camera has the highest Frames per second and some really cool video features.

I hope this helps a little.

_________________
1) Olympus OM1 [Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.8]
2) Pentax MZ-60 [Sigma 28-90 & 100-300]
3) Canon 7D [EF-S 15-85 & 70-200mm f/4 IS & 50mm f1.4]
4) Leica M [50mm Summicron Pre-aspherical - Silver]

http://www.poetproductions.net


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:14 am 
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OldCarlos made a valid point! DSLRs are not necessarily more difficult to use the a P&S; I found my first DSLR, a loaner Canon XTi from my wife, far easier to use than several P&S cameras I had tried. I spent very little time using the full-auto mode, and set my ISO manually even then. I soon started using Aperture Value mode. Within a couple of months, I attended a couple of photography classes, and became comfortable with Manual mode.

To this day, if someone hands me a small P&S, with menus, I soon become frustrated, not only with the menus, but with the dinky size of everything.

If I wanted to photograph fast-moving kids or pets, and had to start from scratch, on a tight budget, I would purchase an entry-level pre-owned Nikon DSLR, D40 or newer, and a Nikkor 35mm 1.8G lens, or Nikkor 50mm 1.8G. I do not know enough about the current/recent entry-level Canons to be specific, but the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens is a very good kid/pet lens. ( The Canon 35mm 1.4L lens that I do generally use for kids/pets is probably off-topic, as it costs in the mid-teens in US dollars, but the 50mm 1.8 is far cheaper and about as good. )

If buying a pre-owned Nikon DSLR, please note that the model numbers are not necessarily consecutive; a D70 is an older model than a D40, for example. One thing older DSLRs will NOT have is Live View on the LCD, so keep that in mind if you want live view. For fast-moving kids and pets, I
believe Live View to be a hindrance to fast shooting.

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