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Thread: Best Point and Shoot? (larger lens, not a pocket)

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Default Best Point and Shoot? (larger lens, not a pocket)

    I'm looking at a camera upgrade, and I'm wanting a 12x/12mp+ point and shoot that will do manual settings. Anyone know of one?

    What's the BEST quality camera you can get...without going to a DSLR?

    I don't want the expense of removable lenses, but I would like manual setting capability on a 12x optical zoom and 12mp minimum....with shutter and aperature control. Do they even make one?

    Any advice?

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    canon SX line is very popular...and fits your requirements...as long as the light is good the pictures are great...

    SX1 IS
    SX10 IS
    SX 20 IS
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    What is your budget? I just ran a comparison search for 10-12mp bridge cameras with manual controls over at dpreview.com and they ranged from $200 to $2000.

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Yes, exactly. STICKER SHOCK!

    I looked at that Canon SX1, and it looks great except it's in the $550+ range. (and still not sure exactly what manual settings it would give).

    The Nikon p90 looks in the price range, but I need to check out the manual settings, if any.

    I was hoping I could find something that would give me good manual settings, and larger light gathering lens than my pocket camera, in the $350-$400 range, but I may be dreaming. Heck, if I was going to spend $550-600 I'd just go ahead and spend a bit more and get a good DSLR camera back, and a basic lens.

    I guess I could wait another 6 monthes until the new models come out and these all go on sale for $179.

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    Anything over 6 MP on a point & shoot is a sales gimmick. There are good reasons for more pixels in a physically larger sensor (think DSLR) but not on the tiny sensors in point & shoots.

    OK, I'm done preaching.

    I have owned a couple Panasonic FZ series cameras that I have really liked. Considering the zoom range, the lens is sharp, and fast. Full manual controls are right there when wanted. Digital noise is reasonably controlled for a point & shoot, and focus and shutter lag is minimal. They are also very lightweight. Extra batteries are inexpensive on eBay.

    There is a reason these Panasonics are usually at the top of most camera shoot outs. I think the latest iteration is the FZ35, but you can often find an FZ28 or even FZ18 for sale for less money. I would not hesitate to buy a used one either; they have a very good reliability record.

    The Canon is also nice, but larger and more expensive.

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    Member tjm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    Yes, exactly. STICKER SHOCK!

    I looked at that Canon SX1, and it looks great except it's in the $550+ range. (and still not sure exactly what manual settings it would give).
    it gives you the settings you stated you needed....same as most of the rest in the bunch...

    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    I was hoping I could find something that would give me good manual settings, and larger light gathering lens than my pocket camera, in the $350-$400 range, but I may be dreaming.
    yup...

    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    if I was going to spend $550-600 I'd just go ahead and spend a bit more and get a good DSLR camera back, and a basic lens.
    better idea if you don't mind the size difference

    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    I guess I could wait another 6 monthes until the new models come out and these all go on sale for $179.
    ain't going to happen....not $179 anyways...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    There is a reason these Panasonics are usually at the top of most camera shoot outs. I think the latest iteration is the FZ35, but you can often find an FZ28 or even FZ18 for sale for less money.
    I'll take a look. Thanks Jim. I don't mind spending the money, when I HAVE it. But I've got to do the whole research/comparison thing...as I'm kinda anal that way anymore with electronics. Too many sales gimmics to sort out. And it's been hand-me-downs from Dad for the last few years so I'm sorta jumping into the pool head first with this new purchase.

    But, I've got a few Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce trips coming up...and REALLY need to get a BIT more serious with some manual controls.
    But, not so serious that I spend $1000+ to do it. I've been pretty happy with my little $99 Kodak
    Simple and easy when things are moving quickly.

    But I guess it's time to upgrade a little bit. Get a little more "control".
    And an Alaska trip next summer!

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    Supporting Member AlaskanSD's Avatar
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    You're not dreaming.

    Get a Canon S90. Period. Amazon should have them in the $375 range. Tiny - manual settings, etc.

    Research them online.

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    Fuji S100FS

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    As a back up, put in my shirt pocket, I have tried a number of different P-n-S cameras. Picked up a Panasonic DMC Z1 more than a year ago, with a Leica lens, and it has performed beyond what I had hoped for. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec...nic_dmczr1.asp It won't break the bank either. I have tried a couple of Powershots and couldn't get rid of them fast enough...just never did what I wanted. Ditto with the newer Coolpix cameras...I just don't like the results (even though I am a Nikon DSLR kind of guy).
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Smile

    Personally I don't think you can go wrong with a Canon Powershot S5 IS. 8 megs, with a 12 X optical zoom. Shoots great pictures and shoots great video at the touch of a button.

    Mine have gone on coutless adventures, up trees, crossing creeks, from Michigan, Texas, Wyoming to Alaska and I beat the crap out it and still takes pictures.

    On e-bay you can get a used one for around 150 dollars. Good battery life, and if you break it or drop it in the water, you not out hundreds of dollars.

    Have shot almost all the pictures and video at markandchrislundin.com with a Canon Powershot.................I don't get paid to advertise for them, but I would

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    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    2paws! Hey, I love the vids/pics at the website. Good stuff! The first light/moonlight pics say a lot about the camera.
    Great editing also. Thanks!

    Still trying to sort it all out.

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    In answer to your question as to what camera I shoot. I shot all of the pictures of mountains with a Panasonic DMC-FZ7. It has served me well for several years now. I see another post by Jim Strutz where he also speaks highly of the Panasonics. The FZ7 has a 12X zoom which is nice as I shoot a lot of wildlife that are usually at a bit of a distance. I wish the lens was a little wider angle for my scenery shots. I think the wide angle of my lens is a 35mm equivalent. The model that replaced mine was the FZ18, which is an 18X zoom and I believe the wide end is a 28mm equivalent.
    I have friends who use the Canon Powershots and get good results. I don't think you would go wrong with either Canon or Panasonic.
    Good Luck in your search for a new camera.

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    Thank you Matanuska.
    You got me looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 or FZ35, and it appears both have everything I'm looking for at the $349ish price point I was hoping for.
    Thanks for the heads up!

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    Quote Originally Posted by arizonaguide View Post
    Thank you Matanuska.
    You got me looking at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 or FZ35, and it appears both have everything I'm looking for at the $349ish price point I was hoping for.
    Thanks for the heads up!
    Out of curiosity I did a google search on the FZ28 and FZ35. In case you haven't found them, there are some very interesting reviews of these cameras on You Tube. They are done by cameralabs.com. These might be very helpful as they are a "hands on" type of review. Although the reviews spend a lot of time on the video capabilities of the two units, I think you would find these quite informative and help in making your decision. There are more reviews and comparisons on their web site. I must say the new technologies and upgrades from model to model are pretty amazing.
    Once again good luck in your search and let us know what you end up getting.

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    Yup, I've been using (another hand-me-down from Dad) a Panasonic DMC-TZ5 pocket-sized point and shoot, for Grand Canyon work...and I REALLY like it. IT seems to take great pictures...and I'm very used to the controls.
    I also use Dad's backup quite a bit, which is a Panasonic DMC-FZ20.
    So the controls being similar would be nice, share existing SD cards, etc.
    Had good luck with the Panasonics so far, and your pictures also seem to have that good color quality and focus that I like..."PUNCH" I believe is the word. This was taken "point and shoot" with the TZ5 on all auto settings in relatively LOW light with no tripod. The PANASONIC's just seem to "WORK". Dad fights with his DSLR, and I don't usually have the time to mess with it on a Guided Tour, or chasing wildlife, etc. (used a $99 Kodak pocket for a long time!)


    And I really like the HD Video capability it would give me for Grand Canyon shots (wildlife, trails shots, and people and such)...with a good Fluid Head tripod.

    BUT, I'm REALLY homesick for some Alaska Wildlife and Mountains and Float Plane pictures!!! And the camera would seem to be great for that also.

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    For a non DSLR it is pretty tough to beat the Canon G9

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    I bought my wife a Nikon P90 for a Christmas present, and we're so-so pleased with it. We generally use it in its auto capability, so I can't offer a great deal of info on it in that regard. As far as sharpness; its reasonably sharp for a point and shoot subcompact camera, but it doesn't compare to my Nikon D70 that is only 6 or 7 megapixels. My .02 cents worth is that anything over 6 megapixels simply uses a great deal of storage for virtually no return. I've enlarged and printed pictures from my D70 to 13" x 19" and they are extremely sharp.

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    Default Field Report on current TZ5, and why I need a new camera...

    After a trip to Antelope Slot Canyon this last week, I have learned a few more things about NOT getting a camera that doesn't have a seperate viewfinder...manual focus...and manual exposure settings.

    I like my "current" Panasonic DMC-TZ5 for closeups and portrait/people shots at medium ranges and inside....and it did fine down INSIDE the slot canyon. But the little point and shoot JUST doesn't have the landscape/nature setting flexability that I need in bright sunlight.

    I need a cross between GREAT depth of field (landscapes) and fast shutter speeds (wildlife) and the little TZ5 just doesn't have the settings or manual focusing capability for it. That combined with the LED screen only, led to many shots that were hard to compose in the bright daylight outside.

    TZ5 "point/shoot" is GREAT for a home/inside "portrait" type camera. Not a great outdoor camera. Heck, Even my old $99 kodak pocket camera had a seperate viewfinder and manual focus ability. (and longer batterylife when using only the small viewfinder). It's getting thrown back into the camera bag to "backup" the FZ20 in an emergency malfunction scenario.
    And the Kodak takes simple AA's. So, good for a backup.

    However,
    I have been out playing with Dad's older Panasonic DMC-FZ20 ("only" 5 megapixels) more lately (getting excited about getting an FZ28 or FZ35) and I REALLY like it...and should have taken THAT on my most recent trip up north instead of the (more pixels)TZ5. The FZ20 has the small viewfinder (better in bright Arizona daylight) and the manual focus/exposure settings that were needed.

    ONE THING I really like is that it also has a Manual/Auto focus button on the side of the lens. I REALLY like that feature...for the following reason (this is the way I shoot when not shooting FAST MOVING wildlife):

    1. I FIRST zoom in on what I want in focus, and auto-focus on it....then "lock" that into focus by switching to manual focus.

    2. THEN I zoom back out to what my composition will be. (meanwhile my focus is stays sharp on the subject..whatever it was cuz it's "locked" on manual focus). It doesn't change with the change in zoom.

    3. Then I move the SPOT EXPOSURE point around until I LIKE the exposure I see on the viewfinder. I move the spot exposure bracket [ ] around the picture until it "looks good" with NO hotspots...and subject is fairly well lit...then I hold down the button halfway and "lock in" that exposure (don't care what it's f-stop is as long as I like the way it looks!)..

    4.) LAST (while still holding the button halfway "locking" my exposure) I move to my "final" composition.

    As long as the shutter speed is 1/125+ I'm good to go (with great image stabilization)...I get GREAT focus, and the exposure I LIKE by strictly using "how it looks" in the viewfinder.

    I guess that doesn't work on ALL the fancy DSLR's because not all of them have the "live view" that I like to use to "paint" my exposure settings. (I was very surprised to learn that!!!)

    So, I'm REALLY liking the FZ20, and I'm looking hard into the FZ28 or FZ35. Both seem to be in the $349 price range...but I have to check and see what type of Manual Focus button/Focus lock they have. I may just stick with Dad's FZ20 if they don't have the right Focus Lock ability without getting into "MENU" settings. IT HAS to be external for my way of shooting.
    The Canons and Nikons probably also have that feature...and if the FZ28 or 35 don't have it (external focus lock)...I'll go to the Canon or Nikon. BUT, I Still have to stay in my $379 or less price range.

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    Default Polorizing filters! (a MUST!)

    I'm also a BIG believer in the C-PL filter for bringing out color saturation and contrast, and the blues of the skys, and the FZ20 (FZ28/FZ35) allows me to mount a nice 72mm filter...rather than trying to hand-hold a small one in front of my point-and-shoot, and turn it, etc. The new camera HAS to have a 72mm(match all my existing filters) filter mounting capability. So, it's FZ's, Nikon, or Canon...one of the three based on features that I like. (like external focus/lock). I do like the HD video capability of the FZ35 also...for wildlife and Grand Canyon trail (people)shots instead of having to pack the VidCam as well.

    It's funny because I do this on a "semi-pro" basis (Yup! paid to have FUN!!!)...yet I STILL refuse to buy an expensive DSLR!
    It's gotta be light/fast/easy to carry/semi durable.

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