Canon SX10 mic dead; get Canon SX30? Fuji HS10? other? OR ~$100- video edit sw?
Basically... should I get something like a Canon SX30 or a Fuji HS10? Or should I keep my Canon SX10 even though the microphone doesn't work (I could use my Zoom H2 to record a better quality audio track anway) and get some video editing software?
Which Camera Should I Buy?
• Are you looking for a compact point & shoot camera, a DSLR, or something in between? (Or perhaps you haven't decided yet — that's okay!)
I'm looking for basically a long-zoom "bridge" camera, for this post. I briefly mention a couple things I'd be looking for in a dSLR below, and while I'm in this section, I'll mention what I would be looking for in a pocket camera. Basically, I'd want a fast lens and good high ISO on a relatively large sensor. I wouldn't need much zoom - 72mm is good enough, and 90-100mm would be nice. Shortlist for that would be the Canon S95 (a bit slow on the telephoto end), Panasonic LX5 (seems reasonable overall), and Samsung TL500 (but the sample images I've seen are a bit soft and I prefer not to have to sharpen after the fact). For this post, though, I'm looking for a long zoom range all-in-one camera.
• Is this your first camera? First ever, or first digital?
No, I've had a few already.
• Are you interested in a high level of control, or would you prefer to let the camera do as much "thinking" as possible?
I've used the Aperture Priority mode a lot on my SX10, and I even use the manual mode quite a bit. Occasionally I would use special "scene" modes, but I prefer to have control over the camera.
• If you had to choose, would you prefer a more versatile (large "×") zoom lens, or top-notch image quality with no zoom at all?
For this camera, I'm looking for a wide zoom range. One of the things I will be doing is shooting videos of music, and I would like to be able to zoom from capturing a few hundred people at once (arranged like a choir would be on stage at a church) plus some extra space on the sides, to being able to fill the frame with an individual person's face. I would be open to using digital zoom in video mode, due to the lower resolution, so long as the quality (within reason) doesn't suffer.
• What size of camera do you want? To what degree would you be willing to sacrifice other features for compactness?
Size doesn't really matter, but for right now I'm not sure I'm ready to lug around a bunch of lenses, not to mention a dSLR lens and sensor combination doesn't exist for the zoom range that I'm looking for. (Correction: it does, but with multiple lenses. Is there a single full-frame mount lens that let's you zoom from capturing a 300-400 member church choir with room to spare, to just framing one person's eyes, nose and mouth, or maybe eyes only in a 16x9 ratio video without quality-degrading digital zoom (but center-of-sensor cropping is ok)?) Also, besides not being able to afford an interchangeable-lens camera right now, when I do get one, I would like, if possible, to get a body with a full frame sensor without a mirror. That's not because I want it compact (otherwise I wouldn't be asking for a full-frame sensor), but I want good image quality and to be able to operate it quietly - mirror slaps can be way too loud at times.
• What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.
I'd like to keep it under $400 if possible, but I may be able to go higher. I'll need to know soon, though, as I'm hoping to buy this by the middle of December, and I'll need to figure out how careful I'll need to be with spending my $ on other things in the meantime. I think I'll probably want to cap it at $500, though.
• Do you plan to spend more on additional accessories now or in the future? (Lenses, lighting, tripods, batteries, memory cards, camera bags... it adds up!)
Lenses - probably not, at least not for this camera. Filters, maybe, but I'm not sure.
Lighting - I'm not sure on this one. My SX10 has a hot shoe, and I never bought a flash for it. I'll probably wait till I have a dSLR before I spend that kind of money for that.
Tripods - I have one now (paid somewhere around $50-65 or so for it at Fry's a few years ago), but I'm wondering if I need to replace it in the near future. Just the other day, I felt a little dimple about halfway down the top section of one leg that I didn't feel in the others.
Batteries - depends on what kind the camera takes. If I get one that uses AA batteries, I have quite a few now, although I may get a set or two of Eneloops or other long-shelf-life rechargeables. If it takes a Li-Ion battery, I almost definitely will want to get at least a second one (maybe a third, depending on the camera's battery life and how long it takes to charge a battery in a dedicated charger), and a charger so I can charge one while I'm using the other.
Memory Cards - I may need to get a few relatively soon. I mislaid a few 8GB memory cards a few years ago, lost a 16GB card, and my other 16GB card is having problems. Fortunately, though, there was hardly anything on them that wasn't already copied to the computer, although I may have lost a few images, but nothing serious. Right now I'm down to about 4 or so 8GB cards, and I need memory for recording church sermons with my Zoom H2, and shooting some videos with the camera I'm getting. (I probably won't record the entire service start to finish in one take, though - I'll save that for the large-sensor interchangeable-lens camera.)
Camera Bags - I'm really not sure, here. I'll almost definitely get one when I eventually get a dSLR, but for now I've mostly done without one. I'll sling the camera (via the strap) around my neck, and put the batteries and memory cards (in holders) in my pocket.
• How long do you plan on keeping this new camera?
Actually, I don't know. I've had my SX10 for two years and was hoping to keep it another year or two. Maybe 3 or 4 years for this one, possibly more? I can't remember how long I had my S1 IS, but I think I got it when it was introduced, and replaced it with the SX10 IS. If I can afford a good interchangeable-lens camera, and one exists with the features I want at a price I can then afford (which hopefully would be considerably more than my current budget is), I'll probably jump ship sooner.
• What will you generally use the camera for?
Pretty much everything within reason, although due to its non-pocketability (not that I was expecting that anyway) I probably won't have it with me all the time.
• Are you going to photograph sports? What sport, and from how far away?
I may occasionally go to a few baseball games next year, and I usually sit in the cheap seats the few days I do go. Most of the time I go to day games, though, but even the one time at night when I went to Petco Park, I think I was able to get some shots with the camera I had at the time, which I think was the Canon S1 IS, if I remember correctly.
I may shoot a little under outdoor flood lighting at closer ranges, though, but I'm not sure. This isn't a dSLR, so I'm not expecting miracles. As I'll mention below, I am not afraid, when necessary, to step my SX10 up to ISO 1600, or even use its 2mp ISO 3200 scene mode.
• Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos, or other low-light photos?
I will be shooting some. However, due to the small sensor, I'm not expecting miracles. I frequently find myself using ISO 1600 on my SX10 with my lens wide open at times, and there were times due to slow shutter speeds I wanted 3200 or even 6400. If I had, for example, a Nikon D3s with a 50mm F/1.4 lens, I could often see myself using 51200 or 102400. If I have to make the choice, I'll take a noisy image over a blurry one. I just prefer that the camera not try to smooth the noise out too much, if possible, excessively softening the image.
• Will you make prints, or primarily view and share images on a computer screen? If you make prints, will they typically be small (up to 5×7") or medium sized (8×10"), or are you interested in larger sizes as well?
If my track record is any indication, I will not be making any prints, but I will be displaying them on computer or in some cases cell phone screens. I will want some room for cropping. I would like to limit the megapixels to 8 or 10, if possible, but at least one camera I'm looking at which has some features I think I want is 14 megapixels.
• Are you interested in spending time post-processing to make an image "perfect", or would you prefer to use images basically straight from the camera?
Most of the time, due to the sheer volume of pictures I sometimes find myself taking at the time I take them, I probably would prefer to use them straight out of the camera. I may do some post-processing, though. (BTW, inclusion or exclusion of a RAW option is not a deal breaker.) Considering the camera type I'm looking at, though, I'm not expecting anything close to full-frame-DSLR-like quality, but I would like it to be a relatively good camera in its class.
• Are there particular lenses or technical features that are interesting or important to you?
I definitely want a fully-articulating display like the Canon SX10, but if the camera is otherwise better in general, I may consider a tilting display or maybe even a fixed display. Also if possible I may want 1080p video recording, but I can make do with 720p. I do want something that's relatively good at high ISOs, relative to other cameras in this class. Also, the faster the lens, the better, if possible.
• Are there particular brands or models you already have in mind?
My short-list includes the Canon SX30 IS and Fujifilm HS10. I was also looking at the Panasonic FZ100, but it's a bit noisy for me at high ISOs - I think the Canon and Fuji are better. I ruled out the Olympus SP-800UZ due to the lack of Aperture and Shutter Priority modes, and while my computer (probably due to running too many things at once right now) is not letting me load the sample images from some review sites, I'm kind-of leaning away from the Kodak Z981, Nikon Coolpix P100, and Pentax X90. I'm leaning toward the Canon, but if someone wants to recommend a different model, I may consider it.
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One thing I was thinking, though... and it may, for now, be an alternative to getting a camera. I already mentioned it above, but the microphone on my Canon SX10 IS is not working at all, but otherwise the camera is mostly fine. Sometimes when I record videos on that camera, I also record an audio track with a Zoom H2 portable recorder, and that's usually better sound quality than what the camera would record.
Unfortunately, right now i don't have any software that can natively open the Canon SX10's movie files and edit them, so I don't have a way to put the sound files together. I did try using VirtualDub once or twice (or that may have been with the S1 IS), but it was a bit much for me to figure out. (One thing was that I had no idea of knowing what formats to save the edited video files as, nor do I have a lot of encoders on my computer right now, and I probably have some old ones that came with Windows, adding to the confusion, that maybe I should get rid of.) Also, I'll want to author DVDs, as well. I may need to get a new DVD writer, though, or at least check the drivers, as almost every time I insert a CD or DVD, my computer bluescreens.
Until recently, I've been wanting to only use free software, but I think I've come to the conclusion that I won't be able to do what I want for free. So... would going to QuickTime Pro be good enough? Or should I spend a little more and get something like Premiere Elements? I'd like to keep the software cost under $100 for now, as I'm not doing this to make money at this point. If I get to that level in the future (which would likely not be for a few years, minimum, if ever) then I'll consider spending more on software. I still do have a bit of an aversion to spending more on software than I do on hardware, though.
I won't be surprised if it may be suggested, but I'm not sure I want to go for a dedicated camcorder.
So... in a nutshell... any suggestions? Should I get a Canon SX10 or a Fuji HS10, or hold off on that and get some video editing software, and wait for my dream interchangeable-lens camera system?
Last edited by pianoplayer88key; 10-22-2010 at 04:20 PM.
So I guess no one has any ideas? I'm leaning toward the SX30, but I could also consider the HS10. Or, are there any I should consider that aren't even mentioned on review sites like dpreview, steve's, imaging-resource, or this one?
for the amount of money and time you've wasted buying these types of cameras, you could have had a dslr already.
D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
I would prefer a dSLR, but I can't afford one right now, so I have to make do with a bridge camera. I just wish they wouldn't break so soon after I buy them, so I have time to save up money for a dslr. Also, I don't know of a body witth either a Canon EF mount (preferred) or Nikon F-mount (if that's what's on the full-frame Nikons) that is mirror-box free, has a sensor like in the Nikon D3s (and sometimes ISO 102400 may not be enough), and a LCD display like on the Canon 60D. I would guess if one existed I'd have to pay upwards of $2000-3000 or,, well, I don't remember what the D700 or 5D Mk II cost, but probably somewhere in that range, plus the lenses. I probably would start with a fast 50mm prime (F/1.4 if financially possible), a Sigma 24-135mm F/2.8-4.5 (or a shorter constant F/2.8, and the Tamron/Tokina (forgot which) 28-300 VC F/3.5-6.3.
My cameras keep dying (and I have to replace them) before I have a chance to save enough to afford a DSLR, and when one's annual gross income is barely more than 4 digits (nearly 100% of which goes for more pressing needs) it makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to save a lot in a short amount of time..
A couple main reasons I haven't gotten a DSLR, besides cost, are not having a swivel display, full-frame sensor, no mirror, and no stabilized fast lens under $1500 or so that covers the church choir to individual face zoom range I mentioned above.
So, in the meantime, would the SX30 or the HS10 be more likely to give me better bang for the buck, then last the several years it will take me to save for a dslr body, plus the several more years for the first non-kit lens?
Err, a nice camcorder would easily meet your video and zoom needs?
Canon EOS 50D, Fujifilm F45fd, various film dinosaurs
I've thought about that, but last I looked, which was admittedly probably a couple camera generations ago or so, the camcorders in my price range weren't all that good in low light, or were tape based, or used file formats that didn't lend themselves well to editing, among other things. You may be right now, though. Any ideas of websites on which I should look for camcorder info? CNet is one I used to look at, and still occasionally do, but they seem to be a "jack of all trades, master of none". I like the extensiveness of dpreview and imaging-resource for still camera reviews, especially pro SLRs, but I haven't yet found a dedicated camcorder website that's as extensive.
I probably could keep the SX10 for still photos, as only the microphone is kaput for now. As for a video camera, I'd like it to have a wide zoom range like I described in posts above, be good in low light (as in minimal noise without having to use an on-board or external (hotshoe) light other than whatever ambient lighting is provided, and I'd prefer a larger sensor like 2/3" over a smaller one like 1/6"), have a fast lens (I've heard of some that start at F/1.4 but I don't know what they are at telephoto), record in 1080p at least 30fps (not 1080i, and 720p isn't good enough unless I'm getting a still camera with video capability (unless it's a DSLR)), and be able to record an entire church service and then some (I may sometimes need 3-4 hours continuous record time, and occasionlly will be recording several long sessions before I'll have access to a computer.
Any ideas on where I should look for camcorder reviews/info (as this site is more geared toward still cameras)?
EDIT/Update... I looked a little online at camcorders, and for right now am ruling those out. To get the record time I want, I would have to get a hard drive based camcorder, and I'm concerned about their durability in rough environments. Also HD camcorders don't seem to have long enough zoom lenses, like the SD ones do.
Also, as for a still camera, I'm still maybe thinking about the Canon SX30, or maybe leaning a bit more, relatively, to a Fuji HS10, except that operating the manual zoom from a seated position while the camera is on a tripod may be difficult - with my Canon SX10 on a tripod it's almost at the extent of my reach to reach the zoom rocker. Also I'm concerned about jello effect on a CMOS sensor. I'd also be open to other camera options, but...
I'm thinking maybe I should save most of my money for now, and not get an entire new camera at this time. If that's the case, I have a couple different options. One would be to get the mics on my Canon SX10 repaired. Any idea what this would cost? Or, I could consider buying some good video editing software (VirtualDub doesn't cut it). One product I'm possibly considering is Premiere Elements, which is at the top of my video software budget. Does that natively open/edit the H.264 QuickTime .MOV videos that the Canon SX10 records? Or do I need to get QuickTime Pro for that? I'll want, among other things, to be able to import separate audio tracks and time shift them as necessary, and I also want to be able to author DVDs. Would Premiere Elements do all this, or is there another equivalent or lesser priced software package out there?
Last edited by pianoplayer88key; 10-23-2010 at 02:45 AM.