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Camera Recommendations For A Beginnner  
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2959 times:

Hey guys,

I'm interested in buying a new point and shoot digital camera in the next couple days, but I don't know much of anything about them. One of the uses will be to take pictures of planes for fun as well as just general use and such. Heres what I'm looking for...

- Not more than US$300-400
- 5mp or so, higher is better but not necessary
- 4x optical zoom at least, would settle for 3x if I had to, but I'd love as much zoom as possible
- Fairly small (these new ones that are like the size of a deck of cards interest me, but I don't want to pay twice the price for something just because its tiny)
- Advanced features would be nice, but not absolutely necessary

- Lastly, and most important, good picture quality!! This is by far top of the list!


Thanks much guys, there are so many models out there, I have no idea where to start, and things like picture quality and ease of use aren't something that you can just find on the camera's specification list!

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRomeoKC10FE From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2950 times:

I would recommend that you get DSLR and so will 99.9% of the people on this site. I don't know what part of the country you are in but here in California we have a big chain of electronics stores called Fry's. They routinely run ads for the Olympus Evolt E-300 kit with two lenses for around $599, also Pentax has recently lowered the price of it's DSLRs, once you've owned a DSLR you won't be sorry.

http://shop1.outpost.com/product/4298244?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse300/


User currently offline9VSPO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2943 times:

How about the PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-FZ5? Featuring a 12x Optical Zoom, 5 Megapixels resolution and Mega Optical Image Stabiliser.



Or the PANASONIC LUMIX DMC FZ7. Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens: 11 elements in 8 groups
F2.8 - 3.3 Aperture
MEGA O.I.S. Optical Image Stabiliser
6 Megapixels (effective)
12x Optical Zoom (35 mm equivalent: 36-432 mm



Pretty nice cameras for your budget.   Otherwise go for a Sony. They are always good point and shoot cameras.

[Edited 2006-04-16 10:36:20]

User currently offlineZSOFN From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 1413 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2919 times:

I've got a Fuji Finepix S5500 with which I have got a photo up on the database.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tom Collins



The newer S5600 (I think it's the S5200 in the US) has image stabilisation too and is well within your budget. These cameras are full of features for a point and shoot and the feel is solid.


User currently offlinePhilhyde From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 678 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2895 times:

I would second the recommendation for the Panasonic LUMIX line. Very attractive features for a camera in your budget.

At this point, I would stay away from a DSLR. To begin with, the price is out of your range. Also, a larger body with several lenses is not nearly as portable.

Good luck!
Phil



HoustonSpotters Admin - Canon junkie - Aviation Nut
User currently offlineN864DA From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 259 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2873 times:

Quoting Philhyde (Reply 4):
I would second the recommendation for the Panasonic LUMIX line. Very attractive features for a camera in your budget.

While the Lumix cameras have some very nice features (Optical Image Stabilizer, 12x Zoom, decent Auto Focus), beware of the noise levels (unattractive grain that becomes part of the image). I owned an FZ3 which produced images with nice color tones but noise levels even at ISO 80 were pretty high. Once you get above ISO 100, grain not only becomes very noticeable, it ruins the image's edges all together. For a.net, you WILL need to use noise-reducing software (ie NeatImage) for even images taken at ISO 80 with the Lumix series. It is not only time-consuming, but very tricky and you need to know exactly what you are doing. Since moving up to a Canon 300D DSLR, I have been very pleased with image quality and performance. Canon does make an excellent compact camera, the Powershot S2, which can be had for $320. Their newer S3 is $499 with 6 megapixels. There are quite a number of photos in the database taken with them and, according to dpreview, they seem to have good image quality. Remember, it is the photographer using the camera that counts, not so much the camera itself.

N864DA

[Edited 2006-04-16 20:27:01]

User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2862 times:

Hey guys,

Thanks much so far, I'll have to look into the LUMIX.

A DSLR would be great, and I'm actually considering buying one of those down the line too, but thats not what this camera will be. I just want something small with good quality pictures that I can toss in my backpack or even carry in my pocket when I'm going out and stuff.

As far as taking pictures of airplanes go, they'll be just for my personal use. Although I want good quality, I don't expect to be able to get them up here on airliners.net.

I've been looking at the Casio Exilim and Canon Powershot lines, anyone have comments on these?


This LUMIX looks attractive... 5mp, 6x optical, $230



[Edited 2006-04-16 20:54:51]

User currently offlinePhilhyde From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 678 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2857 times:

Quoting N864DA (Reply 5):
While the Lumix cameras have some very nice features (Optical Image Stabilizer, 12x Zoom, decent Auto Focus), beware of the noise levels (unattractive grain that becomes part of the image). I owned an FZ3 which produced images with nice color tones but noise levels even at ISO 80 were pretty high. Once you get above ISO 100, grain not only becomes very noticeable, it ruins the image's edges all together. For a.net, you WILL need to use noise-reducing software (ie NeatImage) for even images taken at ISO 80 with the Lumix series. It is not only time-consuming, but very tricky and you need to know exactly what you are doing.

This is great information to consider. My other camera is a Canon Powershot Pro1. While a bit out of your price range, this is also an excellent camera (even has a built-in 'L' lens!). I experience the same problems with respect to grain. The lowest setting on the camera is ISO50, which is where it stays. I even get grain using ISO100, and I believe this is directly related to the high density and small size of the CMOS sensor (8 megapixels). If I had to guess, the LUMIX and others have the same problem.

My "other" other camera is a Canon Powershot SD200 (Digital Elph). I am extremely pleased with this camera, especially for such a small package. Feature-wise this thing is packed, and the performance is great in every situation except low-light. I would not have any problem recommending that you check out the Powershot S2.

cheers,
Phil



HoustonSpotters Admin - Canon junkie - Aviation Nut
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