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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Newbie looking for a good action/macro camera

    Hello all,

    I am relatively new to the world of higher end digital photography, my only exposure at all is though at Nikon Coolpix 775 I purchased some time ago, primarily for web images and its macro capability at the price...I have been satisfied with the camera so far but recently with the birth of our daughter I have decided that a nicer camera would be something to invest in.

    My two main goals for this are to retain the macro capabilities or exceed them for my ebay sales and also to get a camera that is capable of good action shots...I also would like something that will last as I don't want to upgrade for at least a few more years.

    I have read a number of reviews and am still lost in terms of a decision, I like the thought of fixed lens cameras but many seem to have limitations, wheras DSLR seems like a good choice the price and the cost of lenses seems prohibitive to me.

    My max budget now I would say is about $500-$600 or so, and the cameras I have considered are as follows:

    Nikon D50 with stock lens - heard a good performer but the stock lens isn't that good, also higher price than looking for with lens

    Panasonic FZ50 - like virtually everything about this camera except the reported noise issues whatever that means and the rechargeable batteries

    Canon Powershot S3 IS - Overall seems nice but a bit small, not as many features as I would like, and from the images I have seen I don't know if I like the quality, had a bad experience with Canon years back and am jaded so that might be tainting my opinion

    Pentax K100D or K110D - Don't know much about pentax at all other than a few say they are ok and either is in my range with the stock lens...look nice but don't know how they compare to above.

    I also would be interested in the Leica V lux 1 which I know is based off the Panasonic if it is in some way better but if it is the same camera with no improvements then it would be a pass...

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Should add thought that I am not at all a fan of Sony cameras ...Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Well, what eactly don't you like about the S3 IS's photos? A bit odd, since it is a fine camera. And if you want to know what the noise of the FZ50 is about, just head over to the new review of the Panasonic LX2 Jeff Keller just posted. It has the same noise problem. And that problem is very big, compared to the competition. Even at ISO 100 noise is bad, above that it gets to be a nigthmare.

    What features does the S3 IS miss?

    The DSLRs you list you better drop from yoir list, since you can only get macro ability with a macro lens, and that will push the price over your stated budget.

    My list of ultra zoom cameras to choose between would be:
    Canon S3 IS:
    Good software package
    Great panorama sequence mode
    Great movie quality
    Great swivel display that allows making photos at ground level, over peoples heads, around corners and even of yourself.
    Very good image quality with much better noise levels than the Panasonic noise monster.
    Uses AA batteries, which can sometimes get to be handy

    Sony H5:
    Bigger display than the S3 IS, but does not move.
    Even better with noise handling in-camera, so out of camera photos in high ISO look a bit better than the S3 IS.

    Fuji S6000fd:
    Best high ISO ability by far, coming close to some DSLRs. Does not have image stabilization, but the need for it is a bit less because of its very good noise free higher ISO. Great for indoor shots where you do not want to flash and where IS is not a solution (because of moving kids).
    Nice face recognition ability.
    Canon EOS 350D, Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 macro, Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC EX, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L USM, Tokina AT-X124 Pro 12-24mm F4, Soligor 1.7x C/D4 DG Teleconvertor, Manfrotto 724B tripod, Canon Powershot S30

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by coldrain View Post
    Well, what eactly don't you like about the S3 IS's photos? A bit odd, since it is a fine camera.
    As far as features I do not like primarily the size and the lack of flash upgradability, I know they sell an add on which doubles the range but still not as high as I would like if I have the choice. I also don't think it will have the capability to capture the type of action shots I am looking for, though I have not tested it however after looking over a few others photos they appeared a bit blurred.

    I think the main reason I put the FZ over the Canon was its size and flash capabilities as well as this line from DP review...

    The FZ50 - at around $570 - sits halfway between the likes of the Canon S3 IS (currently about $370) and a digital SLR kit with lenses covering a similar range (at least $1000 - more if you want quality lenses, a lot more if you want image stabilization). For the serious user wanting more than the other super zooms can offer (particularly in terms of handling and photographic features) it offers a real alternative to lugging round a larger, heavier camera and a couple of lenses. And not actually being an SLR you get the advantages of live preview on a tilting screen, movie mode, no dust on the sensor and so on.
    As well as:

    for the serious user the FZ50 is without doubt the best equipped, best specified and best handling 'bridge camera' on the market today, and under the right conditions it produces superb output. It is a rewarding and enjoyable photographic tool that - once you've learned its quirks - offers a compact 'all-in-one' solution to anyone wanting a huge zoom range without all that lens changing and all that bulk
    Which is basically what I am looking for, as the main turnoff for me with SLR is that you cannot use the display as a viewfinder.

    Also with macro I am just looking for better than my 775 can output, which it appears that even with a stock lens all of these are capable of doing, just didn't know if one of them had better macro than all the rest, however macro is a minor concern, ease of use, feature set, and speed are the primaries.

    Though I will say the display of the Canon is attractive I just don't like the size and what it has to offer, seems too much like a point and shoot wheras I am hoping for something a bit closer to DSLR.

    The Fuji looks nice but I think I would want to wait for a review before jumping into that one...

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