Thursday, September 14


Lights, Action, Camera!

I'm in the market for a new camera.

I have a Sony DSC-S85, which is quite a good camera, but it's rather slow (really bad for action shots), has only a modest zoom range, and only supports Memory Stick cards up to 128MB.

I'm not a professional photographer, or even close, and for the most part I'm planning on taking outdoor photos for web use. I need a camera that is fast, easy to use, not overly bulky, not overly expensive, has a good zoom lens, and can take a decent sized memory card.

I'm thinking of getting the Panasonic FZ50. It's not a pocket camera by any means (it's bigger than my S85), but 10 megapixels and a stabilised 12x Leica lens? Works for me.

Yes, a digital SLR would be better. But a digital SLR with a couple of decent lenses would run twice the price of the FZ50. And I'm not going to be producing A3 prints of my photos; I'm going to be scaling them down, if anything.

Thoughts, anyone?

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:54 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 The classes converge recently, with the so-called "advanced" camera like the FZ50 nearing the SLR class. The SLR manufacturers responded with things like Canon EOS 350 (aka "Digital Rebel XT" - I'm still waiting for "Analog Conformist" lineup). I got mine for $780 or so here. The formal price is $799, which is not quite 2 times higher than FZ50. The latter retails between $550 and $599 here. I went with the Canon because for 45% more I was getting the CompactFlash, instant shutter (HATE the lag), and, of course, the lens. Both choices are overkill for the web. The main reason I wanted something better than the trusty Canon A40 was its completely crappy low-light performance., and not the resolution. The 350 though is magnificent. Almost no graining at ISO 800.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Friday, September 15 2006 12:59 AM (9imyF)

2 Low light performance is a very good reason for going with the DSLR.  Bigger sensor equals more photons.  I don't think that's going to be a big concern for me, though.

I just checked.  The FZ50 costs $975 here (I might be able to get it cheaper, but that's what it retails for), and the EOS 350 body costs $1159.  $1249 for the EOS 400.  The 400 with two Canon lenses (18-55 and 75-300) is $1579.  So about 60% more, not double.  And the EOS 400 is a better camera than the FZ50, no question.

But I'm not sure I have $1579. :(

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, September 15 2006 02:03 AM (FRalS)


Vaguely relevant. (Apparently the answer to my question was "Yes".)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Friday, September 15 2006 02:34 AM (+rSRq)

4 Search for zoom lensed camera reviews, but go at least two pages deep and only look at reviews that are two years old.

Buy whatever was really hot two years ago. It should cost about as much as the entry level 2006 stuff.

Posted by: Kristopher at Friday, September 15 2006 10:29 AM (O5Ju8)

5 Another option is to pickup a 300D on Ebay. <sob>They are going for a song.</sob>

As much as I'd like a newer 400D. I've just scratched the surface with the 300D and need extra lenses before I consider a newer camera.

A good alternative is the Canon Powershot G7. 10 megapixel, 6X zoom (not quite as good as the Pana, iso1600 max for $899 listed.

I tend to prefer the pictures from Canon cameras. Generally more subdued and detailed to my eye.

Posted by: Andrew at Friday, September 15 2006 08:12 PM (t8tOu)

6 Thanks Andrew.  I'll check out the Canon as well.

It's a lot smaller and lighter than the Panasonic (6x vs 12x lens will do that).

There's also the Powershot S3 IS - it's only 6 megapixels, but it's still 12x zoom and $300 cheaper.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, September 15 2006 09:55 PM (FRalS)

IMO smaller and lighter is good for most cameras. Especially when its impromptu stuff. Not much good missing that great photo since I've left the DSLR at home. Which is usually the case.

WKC picked up a Powershot S80 (which I don't think is available here) over in Hong Kong. Its seems to be the middle ground between the G7 and the S3.

In reality 6 megapixels is high enough detail for printing most normal shots. Even with cropping.

Posted by: Andrew at Friday, September 15 2006 11:01 PM (t8tOu)

8 TJ just bought a new camera and seems to like it a lot.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at Sunday, September 17 2006 10:39 PM (+rSRq)

9 That looks like a good camera too.

Andrew makes a good point - the picture you take on a cheap compact that you have with you is better than the picture you don't take because you left your bulky DSLR at home.

Maybe I'll look for a good mini camera for now, and save for a DSLR later.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, September 18 2006 05:17 AM (0Lkqa)

10 I've had a play with the IXUS 800 and various IXI (is that the plural) at the local DSE Powerhouse.

Altho I quite liked the IXUS 65 which has a 3" screen. The only sacrifice on the 65 was to fit such a large screen meant losing the optical view finder.

Some terrific shots wide angle shots by TJ. The backgrounds are so clear.

Posted by: Andrew at Monday, September 18 2006 08:05 PM (t8tOu)

11 Here is the final solution .... we'll wait patently for you to save yer pennies for this 160 megapixil beast ....

Posted by: Kristopher at Friday, September 22 2006 11:24 AM (O5Ju8)

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