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Getting a new camera
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Rolando
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O.P. Getting a new camera
I'm looking to buy a new camera, I'll be doing a lot of traveling starting January and want a digital camera for around ~250 (Definitely less than 300 though). I've read great reviews about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7... but I can't decide.

I've also considered the Nikon Coolpix S8100 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 (Though the Sony doesn't convince me, it has much less zoom, and I think the only difference is that it's compact? I really don't care that much about size).

I'll shoot some videos so I want it to have good video quality, but it won't be it's primary use.

This is a questionnaire some other forum had, just posted there but I figured one of you guys might know about cameras...

Camera Type

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!)
- Size isn't that important. I care about image quality.

Is this your first camera? First ever, or first digital?
- No

Are you interested in a high level of control, or would you prefer to let the camera do as much "thinking" as possible?
- Undecided, I mean if it has really efficient auto-settings then that's great, but it's not that big a deal. Image quality is the most important.

If you had to choose, would you prefer a more versatile (large "") zoom lens, or top-notch image quality with no zoom at all?
- I want it to have zoom, but I think I'm willing to compromise on zoom for better quality.

What size of camera do you want? To what degree would you be willing to sacrifice other features for compactness?
- Compactness is irrelevant, as long as it's not huge, it's fine.

Budget

What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.
- Around 250.

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!)
- Yes, but that's not included in the 250, it's fine.

How long do you plan on keeping this new camera?
- For as long as possible

Usage

What will you generally use the camera for?
- Traveling a lot starting January.

Are you going to photograph sports? What sport, and from how far away?
- Not primarily, might at some point.

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos, or other low-light photos?
- Not primarily

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 57") or medium sized (810"), or are you interested in larger sizes as well?
- Will probably print several, but I want to be able to view them to have great quality so that they can be used as a desktop background on my 24" screen.

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?
- I will spend some time on my favorites, but I'd like them to be great straight from the camera - there'll probably be a lot of them.

Miscellaneous

Are there particular lenses or technical features that are interesting or important to you?
- Not really, I would like panorama but I'm willing to compromise.

Are there particular brands or models you already have in mind?
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7, Nikon Coolpix S8100, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX5 are the ones I've heard are the top ones within my price range. I'm open to suggestions.

Thank you!
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12-18-2010 02:03 AM
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Adeptus
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RE: Getting a new camera
I will ask two more questions.

1) What digital cameras have you owned before and what specifically was unsatisfactory about them?

2) You say size and type don't matter, but you also say it is primarily for travel.  Does it really not matter -- would you be prepared to carry around a DSLR with a 2kg lens if someone would sell you one for $250?
12-18-2010 02:48 AM
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Rolando
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O.P. RE: Getting a new camera
It can't be a professional-looking camera, I've a canon rebel and I'm not even sure if I'm bringing it. I'm going all around the world and will visit some poor areas and it's probably not safe to carry a camera that is so prominently noticeable.
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12-18-2010 03:44 AM
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lizard.boy
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RE: Getting a new camera
I have an older Sony camera - a DSC-W50  - it's been repaired once, and my sister's was repaired twice and then broke again, so we replaced it with a canon. She managed to break mine and hers on the same weekend, but has a way with cameras, and cell phones, so that may not be the best durability metric. It's not a horrible camera, but the only reason I had mine repaired was because I have a waterproof enclosure for it.

My biggest gripe with the Sony camera is that the memory stick pro-duo dosn't fit into any card readers without an adapter, where as most card readers now will read a standard SD card no problem. It's ok if you always remember your adapter, or always use USB, but it drives me nuts.  I think the Sony you're looking at will take an SD card, so this may be a moot point for you.
12-18-2010 04:53 PM
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Adeptus
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RE: Getting a new camera
As I have mentioned before here recently, I put a lot of trust in camera reviews from these two sites and have not been disappointed:

http://www.dpreview.com/
http://www.steves-digicams.com/

If you haven't already, check them for reviews of the cameras you are considering, as well as others to consider.  One of those sites (I don't recall which) used to have a regularly updated "best of" list for various camera categories.

When looking at specific models, keep in mind that megapixels is just a number and more doesn't always guarantee a better picture.  That is just the resolution of the sensor.  When it's not matched by an equally sharp lens and low noise levels, all it will give you is a bigger file.

In general, I am biased strongly in favor of Canon.  If there is a Canon that is in your price range and meets your requirements, that's where I would look first.  I have been happy with every Canon camera I've ever had and they all have been passed on fully functional (except for the one I accidentally threw 10 feet and had land on concrete; and even that still worked minus the zoom).

I'm also strongly biased against Sony.  Everybody I know who has had a Sony camera has had theirs break much sooner than it should.  Sony can also stick their proprietary memory sticks up their ass.

Like Canon, Nikon has historically been a photographic equipment company, which I inherently trust more than electronics giants which never made still photo cameras before they turned digital.  Nikon would be my second choice, as far as brand preferences go.

12-19-2010 01:26 AM
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YottabyteWizard
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RE: Getting a new camera
quote:
Originally posted by Adeptus

When looking at specific models, keep in mind that megapixels is just a number and more doesn't always guarantee a better picture.  That is just the resolution of the sensor.  When it's not matched by an equally sharp lens and low noise levels, all it will give you is a bigger file.

In general, I am biased strongly in favor of Canon.  If there is a Canon that is in your price range and meets your requirements, that's where I would look first.  I have been happy with every Canon camera I've ever had and they all have been passed on fully functional (except for the one I accidentally threw 10 feet and had land on concrete; and even that still worked minus the zoom).

I'm also strongly biased against Sony.  Everybody I know who has had a Sony camera has had theirs break much sooner than it should.  Sony can also stick their proprietary memory sticks up their ass.

Like Canon, Nikon has historically been a photographic equipment company, which I inherently trust more than electronics giants which never made still photo cameras before they turned digital.  Nikon would be my second choice, as far as brand preferences go.
+1 Except for Nikon, but strongly in favor of Canon.

Recently I've seen some friends using Nikon cameras and unfortunately pictures aren't that good, especially on dark scenarios. But I guess for DSLRs it's a different story.

Sony takes good pictures for indeed they easily break.... and memory sticks fail.

My Camera at the moment which is like 2 years old I think, is a Canon A590IS, and the pictures taken in AUTO mode are really good, and the options you have when taking in MANUAL or PROGRAM modes are awesome... you can take the pictures any way you want (in terms of settings).... Besides, even if it's not a DSLR camera, the CHDK hack is really handy.

This post was edited on 12-19-2010 at 08:00 PM by YottabyteWizard.
12-19-2010 07:59 PM
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Rolando
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O.P. RE: Getting a new camera
Thanks for all the input guys. And thanks for the sites Adeptus, I had looked at the dpreview but not the other one.
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12-19-2010 10:48 PM
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Chrissy
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RE: Getting a new camera
One thing to remember when buying digital cameras..

Pics or it didn't happen.
12-20-2010 01:43 AM
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