Advice, please

Discussion in 'Photography' started by PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 3, 2013.

  1. Hello all.

    Is this the right newsgroup to ask for advice on which camera to buy for
    my budget and requirements? And if it isn't, could someone kindly point
    me in the right direction?

    Thanks.

    Paul Rooney
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 3, 2013
    #1
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  2. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Savageduck Guest

    This is one of the groups of which the regular participants would be
    more than happy to provide their opinion, at times so strongly, you
    might not believe you were ever part of the discussion, or that it was
    ever about cameras.
    That said, the usual suspects are to be found in the four significant
    photo groups, so this one should do. If you are interested, the other
    appropriate NG to use would be rec.photo.digital. However if you do, I
    suggest you cross post to both groups as multi-posts with the same
    material/subject matter can become an irritation to all.

    Now what we need to know, so we can start our little debate, is the following:
    1: What are your requirements? or what do you actually want to do with
    a camera?
    2: What, if any photography experience do you have?
    3: What are your expectations?
    4: What is your realistic budget?
    5: Are you intending to do any post processing of your images on your computer?
     
    Savageduck, May 3, 2013
    #2
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  3. Ha ha! That's true for pretty much all enthusiasts (-:

    Thanks - I'll see how it goes here first. My news server is a little
    strange when it comes to cross posting.


    1. I'm a birdwatcher, but not an obsessive birdwatcher. I'd like to
    take some acceptable photos of birds from a distance (I can't specify
    the distance - you know what birds are like, sometimes close, sometimes
    far, sometimes absurdly far. Forget the absurdly far.)
    I'm equally interested in landscapes, people, buildings, trees, insects,
    flowers...
    I'm looking for a compact superzoom/bridge that's easily portable and
    reasonably easy to use. I know that the best cameras need
    interchangeable lenses, but I don't want that, and I don't need
    professional quality.
    2. Many years of wholly amateurish, poorly taken photos, starting from
    a box camera and developing and printing my own stuff, flirting with
    SLRs too complicated for me to use, and ending up with a very simple
    point and shoot digital camera, which is nice but doesn't do birds (and
    I can't see the viewing screen in bright sunlight, which is very annoying).
    I know what an aperture is, but not much more than that...
    3. Sharp pictures from near and far. An intelligible system of buttons
    for someone who is not a camera expert but has the ability to learn.
    4. Around 400 GBP.
    5. Yes. I'd like the RAW option (again, something I have no experience
    of but can learn).


    I'd also like to play around with the camera for hours at home using AC
    not batteries, and I don't need any gimmicks or special effects.
    Video ability - yes, but not very important.
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 3, 2013
    #3
  4. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Savageduck Guest

    In that case consider some of the newer offerings from Canon, Nikon,
    Panasonic, Olympus, etc.
    As usual the advice here is, read the manual with the camera close at hand.
    I believe you should be able to get something to meet your requirement
    at or near that price point.
    Without moving to a replaceable lens 4/3, up market mirrorless, or DSLR
    I don't believe you are going to get many offerings in the type of
    camera you have in mind which will offer RAW.
    I wouldn't worry about AC, just get yourself a spare battery, you might
    need it for your birding road trips.
    Most have video capability today.

    I am a Nikon DSLR user, but when it comes to any of the bridge/super
    zoom type cameras I have no particular prejudice, they all have some
    decent offerings.
    All of that said I would suggest looking at the following:
    1: Nikon CoolPix L820
    <
    http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Compact-Digital-Cameras/26402/COOLPIX-L820.html2: Nikon CoolPix P520
    <
    http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Compact-Digital-Cameras/26397/COOLPIX-P520.html3: Canon Powershot SX50HS
    <
    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/digital_cameras/powershot_sx50_hs4: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30
    < http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMC-LZ30K >
    5: Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX300
    <
    http://store.sony.com/p/Sony-Cyber-shot-HX300-High-Zoom-Camera/en/p/DSCHX300/B
    Good luck shopping.
     
    Savageduck, May 3, 2013
    #4
  5. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    BobA Guest

    I have all those features in a Panasonic FZ150.
    An FZ200 would be a better choice (and a little
    bit more expensive). I have much more expensive
    cameras, but I use the FZ150 most of the time.
    If there's enough light, it takes good pictures
    and it's *much* more convenient that my u4/3 or
    dSLR cameras.

    -bobA
     
    BobA, May 3, 2013
    #5
  6. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    John Turco Guest


    Of the five cameras you listed, only the Canon "PowerShot SX50 HS"
    shoots RAW. It's the sole one with a hot shoe, as well.

    John
     
    John Turco, May 3, 2013
    #6
  7. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Savageduck Guest

    Just making a few unbiased suggestions to meet the OP, Paul's
    requirements, RAW being just one of them. Personally my preference
    would lean toward one with the ability to make RAW captures. However, I
    will leave that choice to Paul, once he has checked the various specs
    and hypes.

    Any of them would give him the reach for the birdies, and the
    versatility for most other shooting. If he does choose the Canon, my
    recommendation would be to shoot RAW+JPEG and deal with the RAW post
    processing learning as his familiarity with the camera and whatever his
    software choices might be climbs the learning curve.
     
    Savageduck, May 3, 2013
    #7
  8. Thanks, everyone, for the advice.

    Your suggestions have guided me towards the Panasonic FZ200 and the
    Canon SX50, both of which meet all my requirements (both do RAW). I've
    also found lots of discussions about the relative merits of each of
    these. It's going to be a difficult decision: the Canon has a huge
    zoom and some reviews suggest it has a better picture quality than the
    Panasonic, while the Panasonic is reckoned to have a better electronic
    viewfinder, and has a constant f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. Both
    are extremely tempting.

    I do rather like the RAW + JPEG option on the Canon too. I'm unsure
    about the true usefulness of a 50x zoom.
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 4, 2013
    #8
  9. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Tony Cooper Guest

    I very seriously suggest that you personally handle both cameras
    before making your buying decision. Specs don't tell the full story.

    I have a compact camera with an extensive zoom range. However, the
    rocker that zooms the lens has a gear system (or whatever you call it)
    that takes the image from low mag to high mag so quickly that it is
    almost impossible to find the right setting in a grab shot. I end up
    going back and forth excessively.

    Given enough time to compose the shot, the camera produces excellent
    results in both RAW and jpg. Beautifully sharp image. It's when I'm
    trying to take a quick grab shot that the camera is a problem. The
    low mag setting is too much of a wide angle, so some zoom is almost
    always necessary.

    Reading the specs doesn't reveal this problem, and I bought the camera
    online after reading glowing reviews of the camera. Next time, I'll
    buy from a store after personally handling the camera.

    I usually use my dslr, but the compact is my "car camera" available at
    all times when I'm out.
     
    Tony Cooper, May 4, 2013
    #9
  10. Yes, I'll do that. I want to get the feel of them before making a
    decision. It'll take some time: it seems that every camera shop stocks
    Canons but very few have Panasonics.

    Today, after reading dozens of reviews and comparisons written by people
    who have actually used these two cameras I think the Panasonic will suit
    me better, despite the Canon's greater zoom. The dedicated bird
    photographers seem to prefer the Canon, but for me, bird photography is
    only one of my interests, and not the most important.

    Although the Panasonic doesn't have RAW + JPEG it does have RAW or JPEG,
    so that would still allow me to learn about processing the images.
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 4, 2013
    #10
  11. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Noons Guest


    For that I thoroughly recommend Corel's Aftershot Pro. It used to be
    called Bibble Pro before Corel bought it. It is cheap, has a very
    powerful "auto" feature to get a quick jpg result and still lets you do
    all the fancy stuff of others much more expensive. It also uses all
    cores in a multi-core home desktop computer, which is a rarity even in
    this day and age and makes it sick fast.
    I used to use Capture One Pro and it is a great product. But it is much
    more expensive than the other one and the upgrades are not always free.
    So it got put aside.
     
    Noons, May 4, 2013
    #11

  12. Thanks. I'll have a look at them both. I have Photoshop - how does that
    compare (bearing in mind that I'm a novice)?
    Price isn't really an issue where I live, as pretty much all software is
    available free of charge without illegality (-:
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 4, 2013
    #12
  13. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    PeterN Guest

    the best way to learn PS is to use it. there are tons of tutorials, many
    free. Folow the tutorials with your own images. Have fun.
     
    PeterN, May 4, 2013
    #13
  14. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Savageduck Guest

    If you have PS then look no further. Just start using it.
    I would note that depending on the version you have, you might have to
    jump through some hoops to process the RAW files from some of the newer
    cameras, but there is always a way.

    ....and just where is this wonderland where "pretty much all software is
    available free of charge without illigality"?
     
    Savageduck, May 4, 2013
    #14
  15. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Tony Cooper Guest

    Paul posts in another group I read. I think he's from Hamilton,
    Ontario, Canada. Not, as far as I know, a free zone for Photoshop.
     
    Tony Cooper, May 4, 2013
    #15
  16. Thanks. I installed it a while back but have only just begun to
    investigate it.
    I live in a remote province of China which is to some extent autonomous
    and where law is made by local leaders. They nod their head to Beijing,
    and then they continue to make their own laws. It's a very poor,
    underdeveloped place (one of the poorest part of the country), so
    international copyright doesn't rank high (or low, for that matter) on
    their agenda.

    If you buy a laptop, for example, you can choose to have almost any
    software installed free of charge. The downside is that you can't be
    sure you're buying genuine goods. But good cameras are difficult to fake.

    It's no wonderland, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a
    photographer's dream for landscapes, portraits and birds.

    This is why I'm inclined to buy the Panasonic (subject to playing around
    with it, and if I can find one). The potential for very good photos is
    certainly here, but I need to learn how to take them.
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 4, 2013
    #16
  17. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Noons Guest


    LOL! You had me going for a minute there!
    Of course you should use Photoshop: after all it's the most pirated
    piece of graphics software ever, so who cares. Free is optimal, in
    anyone's language.
    The Panasonic will definitely be suitable and likely the best choice,
    but don't let that stop you from sourcing a theoretically much more
    expensive piece of gear through the usual channels.
    Of course one day you may come back to a common law country, in which
    case I do advise care...
     
    Noons, May 5, 2013
    #17
  18. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    BobA Guest

    Sure it does. At least my FZ150 does RAW+JPEG. Why do you think it doesn't?

    --BobA
     
    BobA, May 5, 2013
    #18

  19. Because I mis-read something in one of the reviews - my mistake. Thanks
    for pointing that out.
     
    PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY, May 6, 2013
    #19
  20. PAUL {HAMILTON} ROONEY

    Alex Monro Guest

    I would suggest that Paul has a look at the Fuji HS50. As well as RAW and
    RAW + JPEG, it has a 24-1000mm zoom range, with a manual zoom ring, which
    is more convenient and quicker than trying to frame a shot with fiddly
    little switches like most other superzoom bridge cameras.
     
    Alex Monro, May 6, 2013
    #20
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