JakTrax
Topic Author
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Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:35 am

Hi all,

Looking at a cheap compact for those times when a DSLR is too big or just inappropriate. Seems to be a lot of choice, so I'm looking for the opinions of those proficient with such cameras.

It will be solely for aviation.

Cheers,

Karl
 
viv
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:28 am

Difficult one. Some of the little Panasonic compacts with long Leica zooms are worth a look.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
GPHOTO
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:30 am

Hi Karl,

You know enough about photography to be aware of the limitations of such devices (lower quality, slow focus, etc), so I won't go into that. They are far too slow for fast military aviation (you'll need luck and good technique), but ok for airliners, GA and statics.

My experience with this camera category is that one of the key areas to go for aviation photography is the ability of the lens/sensor combo to resolve fine detail. These cameras have noisy sensors, so noise reduction during image editing will be necessary and how well the image can take it will be critical. The better the combo is at keeping this fine detail, the better the final image will survive the editing required to produce the final image. I wouldn't use the noise reduction built in by default, if it is just a standard NR technology. PC based software will do it better. Might be worth seeing if the Manufacturers have come up with new model specific techniques built in though, they might do a better job than they used to.

I've found that the Panasonic range has good glass in it (or had, not sure on current status, but I doubt that has changed). The sensors are amongst the noisier end, but the images seem to come out ok after processing. This is one my wife took a few years ago with her Panasonic TZ3, 7MP, 10x zoom (28-280mm). I edited it for her, using a quick and standard workflow. Makes for a handy walkaround camera and she's got shots I couldn't get with my more expensive kit.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bambo



I would suggest using www.dpreview.com as a jumping off point as they have indepth reviews and samples. Start with a recent, similar Panasonic model as a baseline and then see which ones seem better or worse than that. It does take a bit of work (it's a very crowded category!), but I guess what you are really after is to make sure you don't buy a lemon.

Sorry I can't be more specific, but I think this will get you started in the right area?

That's me in the back seat of G-LOYA by the way!

Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
GPHOTO
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:33 am

Quoting viv (Reply 1):
Difficult one. Some of the little Panasonic compacts with long Leica zooms are worth a look.

Viv, our posts crossed, interesting to see you give the Panasonic a nod too. They are surprisingly sharp for the category, they did well to get Leica on board.

Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
JakTrax
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:33 am

I remember Panasonics used to have a real noise issue - I take it this has been solved in the later models?

***EDIT***

My post has crossed now too!

Like I say, I recall Panasonics having noisier sensors, but the in-built Leica lenses sound attractive. The cameras I've been looking at so far have all been Canons, and some of them appear to utilise HS (high sensitivity) sensors which - it is claimed - offer far lower levels of visible noise.

I'm not too concerned about mp - 10+ will be fine. Low noise (for a compact) is preferable but quality throughout the zoom range is paramount. I'm not really looking at anything with a super-zoom but if the right camera had 10x optical, so be it.

Finally, it must have manual modes, or as close to as possible. I really do not want something that offers only auto modes. I tend not to trust cameras' judgements!

Cheers,

Karl

[Edited 2011-08-21 02:41:37]
 
GPHOTO
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:53 am

Hi Karl,

Looks like you need to set yourself up on dpreview with a Canon vs Panasonic battle, at least to get you started!  

It's worth the research time, only you will know exactly what pro's and con's you are prepared to accept. I'd certainly consider a Canon compact as well. I'd better say that you should check out Nikon too, just to avoid being accused of favouritism!  

Seriously though, if you are not in a rush, don't be afraid to do the reading. I would say it is much more important to get it right with one of these compacts than it is with a DSLR. In the compact category, there is a wider variability in quality and suitability for various tasks than with the DSLR market.

Best regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
spencer
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:42 am

Look at micro four thirds, Karl.
Spence
EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
 
trvyyz
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:04 pm

I have Panasonic ZS3/TZ7, the iso 80 shots look like ISO3200 shots from a 60D or D90, i have used  
But is produces great videos.

The new canon HS CMOS models are relatively cleaner and I guess that would be lowest noise levels from the current P&S market.

[Edited 2011-08-21 12:09:51]
 
JakTrax
Topic Author
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:18 am

Thanks all.

Spence, I've not much idea about micro four-thirds - Panasonic and Olympus only? I take it the Lumix G falls into this category? Probably a bit pricey for something I'll use only occasionally - plus the lenses may actually be not much less cumbersome than DSLR lenses?

Canon's new range of HS cameras appear to reduce noise on the smaller sensors, but does anyone know how effective they are exactly?

The way things presently stand, I'm looking exclusively at Panasonic and Canon.

Cheers,

Karl
 
spencer
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Mon Aug 22, 2011 4:25 am

Canon S95 is pretty nice Karl.
Spence
EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
 
JakTrax
Topic Author
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:31 am

Thanks Spence, but it's nearly double my preferred budget.

This looks okay for the price, but perhaps no manual modes?

Top
 
JakTrax
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:34 am

Bloody forum playing up and won't let me link!!!

Karl
 
spencer
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:35 am

Sorry Karl mate, just read the thread title again!! D'oh!
Spence
EOS1D4, 7D, 30D, 100-400/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, 70-200/2.8 L IS2 USM, 17-40 f4 L USM, 24-105 f4 L IS USM, 85 f1.8 USM
 
picturethis
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:56 am

Without a shadow of a doubt:

Canon Powershot A3300/ A3350 (black version available at currys).

I was in your exact position when I started a new job which involves travelling to airports around the world.

My DSLR is too bulky sometimes.

After, literally hours of research of Sony/Panasonic/Olympus models and reading loads of reviews I settled on it.

I can send you an original I took with it of an IL-62 if you want.

I've taken it on holiday and all my mates say the photos are great quality. You could definitely get a photo on here with it under the right conditions, as soon as I get photoshop on my laptop I am going to try.

Plenty of features on it also. Good reviews:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-revi...r_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
http://www.photographyblog.com/revie...s/canon_powershot_a3300_is_review/
http://www.whatdigitalcamera.com/equ...non-powershot-a3300-is-review.html

[Edited 2011-08-26 05:01:15]
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ckw
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:25 pm

I've been suggesting the Lumix range to friends for many years now, and while perhaps a little noisier than some others, somehow the images look more natural and less 'processed' than the competition. And the lenses are of course superb. However, I think of late Panasonic have pushed the megapixel boat out a bit too far, with a noticeable drop in quality. I'd look for one of the older models with 8-10mp (will save you some cash).

Having said that, I've just been doing some prints for my mother who uses a little Nikon (sorry, don't know which model), but was very impressed by the sharpenss, color, and noise (or lack of!). It is a fairly recent model, so I would assume their sensor technology is similar across all models.

You might also want to look at the Samsung range of super-zooms ... I know, not a brand you often see mentioned in this forum, but they are getting very good reviews.

Finally, like Spence, I'll put in a word for micro 4/3. Yes, maybe out of budget - though I have started to see used GF1s appearing which might just work out for you.

I think there's a lot to be said for being able to use a pocket camera without feeling you are compromising on quality. I think of it this way - becuase you are more likely to have a compact with you, there's a greater chance of happening upon that once-in-a-lifetime shot, in which case I want the best possible capture I can make.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
cruce
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:51 pm

Take my thoughts with a grain of salt, as I'm barely just starting this hobby and am as new as they come, but thought you might want to take a look at the Canon Powershot SX130 IS. I got mine for US $200. It has all the modes that a Canon DSLR has (TV, AV, Manual, Program, etc..). I have yet to get a photo uploaded here using it, but as I said I'm new at photography and new at post processing so that is most likely the problem and not the camera. The things I've noticed with it are that it is very good at ISO 80 - 200, but after that it gets quite noisy. Also, at the high end of the zoom range (10X to 12X) it has a decent amount of vingetting.

Just thought I'd chime in since its $200 and has the modes your looking for, as well as a decent zoom on it. Here are some examples of photos I've taken with it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/6269520...5956365575/sizes/l/in/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/6269520...5937484400/sizes/l/in/photostream/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/6269520...5865133299/sizes/l/in/photostream/

not sure if those are a good testament to the camera or not...
 
B17GUNNER24
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RE: Best Compact For Under £150 ($200)?

Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:54 pm

if its a high mega pixle digital camera you are looking at try the 14.2 mega pixel samsung es74 good for on the go stills
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