I've spent the last couple hours looking at cameras online and am feeling a bit overwhelmed! If anyone has the time to make some suggestions I am all ears.
This is what I'm looking for:
At least 10MP and 10x optical zoom
a wide angle lens such as 24mm or close would be nice
Most of my pictures end up being of my toddler, so being ready to shoot fast after start up, a good shot-to-shot rate as well as fast focusing and good performance under low light conditions (such as indoor shots) are my main focus, but these are proving the hardest traits to find.
I do want good image quality, although I guess it doesn't have to be top-of-the-line professional grade as the majority of my photos are printed at 4x6, with a few 5x7's and 8x10's mixed in.
I would like a camera that takes SD cards, but it wouldn't be a deal breaker if the camera had every other feature I was looking for.
Oh and also, I would consider myself at an intermediate level. I do want the option of manual controls, but I would probably use auto settings a lot of the time too.
I'd like to stick to under $300 if possible but I could possibly squeeze out a little bit more if it was worth it. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Take a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35K Digital Camera, 12.1MP, 18x Optical Zoom or the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 Digital Camera 12.1MP, 8x Optical Zoom. They both perform descent for the money and providing you some zoom power. Alternatively, the Canon version is quick good.
Thanks for the reply! Is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35K the same as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 (without the K)? If so that was one of the top contenders on my list so far. However, according to the Cnet.com review it has a slowish .9 second shutter lag in low-light settings and they say that due to a slow refresh rate on the EVF it is not a good choice for shooting kids. Do you think the .9 sec lag in low-light would seriously affect indoor shots? And would the EVF issue really be a problem? I'm guessing not for me because in general I only use the LCD or look at the subject when taking my photos.
As far as the ZR1, that is also on my list. It had a lot of good points, some interesting sounding modes including two "baby" modes, and most of the features I am looking for. However it did not have any sort of manual control to it, so that one will depend on how important I end up deciding that is.
It was a good camera when I bought it, but that was 4 (or maybe 3) years ago this Christmas I think. Although the shutter lag in low-light was .8 sec which is really not terribly faster than the FZ35. It gets excellent marks on photo quality, performance and speed, so I would really hate to sacrifice those qualities in whatever camera I go with, despite gaining more MP's and MUCH more zoom. So far I really have not seen any megazooms that get truly great marks on image quality, but it's hard to say what standard they are being measured against.
Your points are worth considering, but you might want to consider how much you would like to get out of your camera in the next couple of years. With the pace cameras are moving, new features and better options yearly, would you be upgrading to the next level. I think you had mention other controls available that interest you which kinda leads to my former experience.
No intend of bragging, but an overview of my past experience is i started my camera hobby since I was 16 in the film days with a Canon AE-1 P great camera. Then progressed to Minolta Maxxam 9000, great camera as well. I then jumped onto Digital when it was first introducted back in 1999 when there was only a few brands to choose from ( got the Kodak Millenium edition digital PS). Then a Canon Elf, 2 different Canon supershot, and now an Olympus SW1030. Got the 1030 due to waterproof and drop protection. With kids, they sometime like to pull your arm to get ur attention and fear of dropping it on the ground or at the beach someone gotta keep an eye on the camera so others can go into the water. The olympus took not bad pictures outdoors, but suffers indoors. I combat that by locking the ISO at 200 and was do able. I wanted something tough and not break caused by rain or beach, as well as drop, so I was willing to accept a bit of quality. Like you said, I do most the same as in printing most of the time in 4x3. Then last Sept bought the Canon EOS XSI cause I missed the manual features, but didn't want to lug in regular outing and this year got the Panasonic FZ28 superzoom (then of course a month later, new one came out, darn) so that I can get some descent video and not lug a camcorder along with camera. I had a Sony DVD camcorder about 4 yrs ago, top of the line at the time with surround sound etc, but vowed to never buy Sony as I find they stuff don't last especially I used my camcorder less than 2 dozen times. The sound went after 3yrs hardly used, videos were vivid as well as sound, but they darn product don't last. Had another Sony camcorder back in 1993 same deal. a month ago got the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1. To sum up all this, it can get addictive, but from my knowledge here are some points to consider and some you might already know:
Try to not get too consumed with the reviews, what I find is some are brand specific and might be bios. Best is goto the store and handle and experience the camera and find the one you are happy with. The shutter lag etc, play with it at the store, it may not be as bad as some reviews make it to be. Don't know if ur from the States or Canada or Europe, but in Canada there are stores that has 24 day grace that allow you to bring back and change ur camera without penalty.
The superzoom and point and shoot, there image sensors are substantially smaller than DSLRs which the DSLRs will yield better image overall within nick picking. That's if printing remains at 4x3 or 5x6. The MP just gives you bigger image other than the DSLRs when their sensors collect more light as the MP increases.
Canon does a great job at the point and job from my experiences. Other are not bad and not too noticable when printing small prints. Heard their superzooms CANON PS SX10 IS are pretty good.
I find it, once you hit close to $500 or more, might consider DSLRs even though your zoom power is limited to the investment of your lens. With DSLRs when you shoot with RAW, the image can be salvages or altered afterwards so that the shot is not all lost. Thats of course if you want to do computer touchup that JPEG is very limited. Then again the 18x optical zooms is equivalent to 400mm plus compared to DSLRs.
At the price of Canon or Pansonic superzooms, it's getting close to descent entry level DSLRs just not as powerful in zoom till you upgrade ur lens.
Thanks for the input! Especially your point about not obsessing with what the reviews say. There's never going to be a camera that everyone loves everything about. I ended up going with the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35. I had liked that one initially but was discouraged when a review said that the LCD refreshed slow and it had a slightly high shutter lag in low light conditions. After playing with one for a little bit I didn't notice either of those flaws. I'm very happy with the choice because the camera had every single other feature I was looking for.
I would love having a DSLR someday, but I didn't want to spend quite that much money, and I still wanted something fairly portable and easy so I can always have it with me for those cute toddler moments. It's by no means a compact, but as a mom I generally have a fairly large purse or bag with me anyway!
Good Choice, you will enjoy it. I have the FZ28 that I bought a few weeks too early and the FZ35 was released. It has features of DSLR to experiment with. Check out www.vimeo.com that other users uploaded video taken with this camera. If the sales did not recommend a filter, I recommend purchasing a lens filter to protect it or consider one down the road. One thing digital camera companies have not considered is remote release and motion activated shutter. My kids hide when they see the camera and would be a great addition. Anyhow have fun.
CANON POWERSHOT A530:Nice features like good resolution, picture quality,zoom facility and also not too expensive. I have utilized for 9 months without any issue. www.tolmol.com really helps me in buying decisions because before buying I compare its price, features with the other products.