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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Help choosing my first camera
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05/14/2006 12:50:22 AM · #1
Ok guys, this is my 3rd thread on this subject and I've had no responses the last 2 times so please help me out. I'm probably going to be buying my first camera in the next month or so. I am looking for one that takes good pics and video. I thought about a dSLR and a decent digital camcorder but being the broke college student I am, I don't have the money for both. So I guess I'm going to have to sacrifice photo quality for a more versatile camera until I get out of college. Right now I'm having to borrow my parents' Powershot S2 when I want to take pictures. But I don't come home every weekend and they use it quite often so sometimes I go 3-4 weeks without a camera. I guess the budget for camera and memory card would be in the neighborhood of $500-$600 since I have a bday coming up in a month. I like the Powershot S2 but I have used it to take pics at college basketball games and it didn't work out so well, I had to bump the ISO up to the max which made the pics grainy as all get out but I did get a fast enough shutter out of that to not have much blur. Also when I went to a concert, the lighting effects were driving the AF nuts. Those are the only two drawbacks I have found to that camera and I can deal with that I guess. Do you have any reccommendations?
05/14/2006 12:55:37 AM · #2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5k, k for black, not that silly silver thing.

If you want lower noise though, get an SLR.
05/14/2006 01:03:00 AM · #3
Anybody know anything about the Canon Powershot Pro1? It seems like a nice camera and has their L-series lens technology. I have looked at the lumix, the powershot s3, and the pro1. Also, wavelenth...do you know anything about the video mode on the lumix?
05/14/2006 01:06:42 AM · #4
I presently own a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3 and was thinking about
buying the FZ30, but my brother changed my mind when he bought the
FZ7.
It has almost the same exact features as the FZ30 but less megapixels. 6 versus 8.
The photos are amazing.
Image stabilization is killer!
You won't be sorry.
You can purchase one for about $330.00 US
Hope this helps.
05/14/2006 01:47:30 AM · #5
The camera you're using now is one of the best for combining video and still photography. The S3 IS gives you one more MP (6 vs 5) but costs more.
05/14/2006 01:51:41 AM · #6
Originally posted by svt_gEEk:

Anybody know anything about the Canon Powershot Pro1?


DPReview does.
05/14/2006 02:51:08 AM · #7
Originally posted by svt_gEEk:

Anybody know anything about the Canon Powershot Pro1?

That was my camera before I got the 20D.
I still miss the MOVING LCD screen, it was sooooo handy.
There were many things I liked about the camera, and in most respects I was quite happy with it.

Some things I hated about it:
1) Start up time and shutter lag - I missed countless shots because it takes so darn long to get going.
2)High noise level at anything above 200 ISO

Those problems are typical in pretty much all Point & Shoot camera as far as I know.
Also : the battery life wasn't bad, but way worse than the 20D.

I don't like lugging all the gear around now, but a DSLR sure has a lot more to offer than even the best P&S.
05/14/2006 02:56:39 AM · #8
I have the FZ-30 and rave over it at any chance I get. I shopped around and like the F-stop and shutter speed manual controls of this one the best (finger tip rotary dials - very quick and handy). I'm not sure about the FZ-5 or the FZ-7 though...I didn't see them at any shops I dealt with. If you want to do any tight cropping, the higher megapixels will come in handy too. I need them!
05/14/2006 10:21:23 AM · #9
Thanks for all the responses guys. I realize getting a point and shoot is going to have drawbacks and I'm willing to deal with some of those right now. When I graduate (hopefully next may) one of my first purchases will be a dSLR but untill then I just need a good multi-purpose camera. The Powershot S2 I currently have is not mine, I have to borrow it from my parents when I want to enter a challenge or go somewhere that I want to take pics. But seeing as how I'm away at college I don't get to take it with me and keep it all the time.

Those of you that have the Panasonics, how is the video mode on them? I know the Canon Powershots' video mode is really good which makes it worth putting up with the other little pesky problems of their cameras such as the graininess at high ISO when shooting in low light.
05/14/2006 01:06:13 PM · #10
There have been a few people that have been saying great things about the Panasonic FZ series cameras, and I'm just going to add to it. It's a great series and will not disappoint. The only downside is they tend to have high noise in any shot higher than ISO 64. To reduce this effect, I would suggest the FZ20 as it has a constant aperature, at f/2.8, lens through the whole zoom range. The FZ30, FZ7, FZ5, and my FZ4 do not have this constant aperature. The IS on the camera also helps to push the ISO needed down to acceptable limits. The other downside is that the max shutter speed is only 8 seconds. This has been enough for my work (see portfolio) with night shots on all but a very few occasions. As far as the video mode goes, it's ok at the very most. But remember, you're buying a CAMERA, not a camcorder. If you want fantastic video, go that route. The 35-420mm Leica zoom lens is also very nice to have at times. And with the IS, the 420mm end of the zoom is very useable without a tripod. The shutter lag on all of these is very minimal and almost not even noticeable, when pre-focused that is. The focus system isn't perfect, but does a fairly decent job and the high speed AF mode works great when it locks on the right target. Hope this helped and good luck with your search. If you have any questions feel free to PM me or anyone else on here.
05/14/2006 01:30:17 PM · #11
Well, since all of you have raved over the panasonic FZ series, I'm gonna have to find one to try it out. Thanks for all of the help so far!
05/17/2006 03:13:44 AM · #12
You won't be dissappointed. I promise!
05/17/2006 03:21:13 AM · #13
I would get a D50 with a 50mm 1.8 lens. It costs about $600 but that could be too expensive for you plus you don't get the abillity to take movie clips. So just listen to the other guys.
05/17/2006 03:30:36 AM · #14
the the Fuji S9000 (or known as S9500 in some regions)
- wide angle at 28mm
- tilt LCD
- high res EVF
- speedy startup time (bout a second)
- very minimal shutter lag
- very low noise sensor (IMHO usable up to ISO 400 for editing, ISO 1600 solely for 4R prints)



Message edited by author 2006-05-17 05:06:09.
05/17/2006 04:48:43 AM · #15
The only downside to the Fuji S9000 is that it really takes two hands to operate -- both the zoom and the manual focus are actual rings on the lens housing.
05/17/2006 04:57:52 AM · #16
Originally posted by GeneralE:

The only downside to the Fuji S9000 is that it really takes two hands to operate -- both the zoom and the manual focus are actual rings on the lens housing.


Hard to use a camera this size with a single hand anyway, Mr General! :p

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05/17/2006 05:01:29 AM · #17
Oh, I agree -- my point was that if you do a lot of one-handed shooting (like I do) then the Fuji is not such a good choice. I really wanted one for its other capabilities, but it's not really suitable for what I do most.
05/17/2006 06:26:48 AM · #18
the camera I would like to have as a backup would be the new samsung

it has a 28-420mm lens, to get that reach on a SLR camera would cost about $5000 ;)

I think it's a great choice for those that want a good camera but not a dSLR.
05/17/2006 08:32:10 AM · #19
Originally posted by DanSig:

the camera I would like to have as a backup would be the new samsung

it has a 28-420mm lens, to get that reach on a SLR camera would cost about $5000 ;)

I think it's a great choice for those that want a good camera but not a dSLR.


This Samsung camera looks very good. I think it's a great all in one camera.
05/17/2006 09:23:05 PM · #20
Originally posted by DanSig:

the camera I would like to have as a backup would be the new samsung

it has a 28-420mm lens, to get that reach on a SLR camera would cost about $5000 ;)

I think it's a great choice for those that want a good camera but not a dSLR.


I read the reviews and the only bad thing about it is the very bad shutter lag. And yes, I definately agree with the range of the lens - impressive!
05/17/2006 10:06:44 PM · #21
Originally posted by svt_gEEk:

Anybody know anything about the Canon Powershot Pro1? It seems like a nice camera and has their L-series lens technology. I have looked at the lumix, the powershot s3, and the pro1. Also, wavelenth...do you know anything about the video mode on the lumix?


Several here have the PS Pro1 as do I. Not a bad camera at all. Mine is a backup (wife's cam) now that I went dSLR.

As to noise, ISO 200 was about as far as I would go and even that was noisey.

Pictures were stellar and plenty effects in the cam (I used the in Cam ND Filter a lot). Tones, Contrast and Sharpness were great.

The 7x Optical Zoom sometimes don't get you out there far enough so I picked up the canon adapter and 1.5 Teleconverter that took it to around 320mm zoom. Shot a lot of airshows with it. The adapter is "L" glass and ran me $199.00

Airshows oh yes... I used what I called Pray and Spray as it is a point and shot and there was a bit of shutter lag until canon released an firmware update that speed things up quite a bit. Still it is a point and shot so you track, fire in continuous mode (spray) and pray that one of three catches actually what you saw.

The swivel display is awesome for macros and getting places that would require laying on the ground and shooting up (or around corners)

The movie mode is ok (that's what the wife shot all the time) but remember they make video cameras to capture good movies. Peashooters drop a lot of frames and you end up with something like the keystone cops or a cure music video.

It is a great camera and I won't get rid of mine because it takes great pics, uses the same battery as my 20D and it uses Compact Flash like my 20D.

Andy

Message edited by author 2006-05-17 22:07:12.
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