Advice on Digital Cameras
I've been researching digital cameras for a while and I am quite overwhelmed with all the information. So far, I know I would like to stay within the 5 MP range and up, no SLRs, easy to use but can grow with the camera, good battery life. I have been going to various websites and the best cameras I have seen so far are the Canon Powershot G6, Powershot A95, and Panasonic Lumix FZ20. The two Canons I know do not have a high zoom. I am just not sure because I realize the zoom is a great feature, however, I wouldn't want to sacrifice picture quality for having a zoom. Is it better to have higher megapixels instead of a big zoom? I hope someone can shed some light on my confusion. Thanks so much...

Comments (9)

Depends on what your primary interests are. There is more to "quality" than just the lens or the pixel count. All will do well for 8x10s. What are your main applications? The long zooms will definitely outreach higher resolution cameras, so if you are thinking of more distant subjects, say like kid's sports, or zoo animals, nature and birding type shots, then go with the long zoom. If, OTOH, you don't need that kind of reach, the short zooms do fine and you have some added crop/enlargement flexibility. Getting out there and handling the cameras will help you decide.

Consider speed, continuous shooting rates, low light or focus system features, remotes, or lack of these kinds of features if you need or really want them...

Comment #1


I am looking to buy a digital camera I can use to take pictures of coins and sell on ebay? What kind of camera would you recommend and what kind of features are the most important for picking up good detailed images?..

Comment #2

Hi Craig. I plan on going on a scenic vacation very soon, and I was hoping to have a camera for my trip. A majority of my vacation shots will be of paintings, architecture, and the cruise ship I am going on. I suppose having a zoom for this would be very good considering alot of things will be far away from me. I also thought the Panasonics Stabilisation feature would help me out alot with taking shots in low light. I just hope 5 MPs is good enough for lots of detail.

But it seems like all non-SLR digital cameras have just about the same amount of noise in their images. Is this what you have found? Thanks for the help...

Comment #3

5 megs is well more than enough to get good 8x10s/8x12s. The Panasonic is getting a lot of good discussion. When I began looking for a digicam, I was budget limited (as are most of us) so had to make some trade-offs. The two cameras it came down to for me, out of the crop available at the time were the Fuji S602, the Canon G3 and I might have squeezed up to the Sony DSC-717. Some cameras I eliminated out of pure budget reasons - the highest end Nikon, Minolta, etc. - and bcause I had never been able to find a convenient store that had them in stock and powered up.

I went with the Fuji because my kids are in sports and I like nature so decided the extra zoom reach and generally faster operation was a plus. I still miss some of the G3 features. I think today (for me), it would still be a struggle to choose between the G6 and the Panasonic and I'd probably end up with the Panasonic, again for the longer zoom range. All of the cameras have some compromises, it's a matter of deciding which you can or can't live with What to look for in reviews? If architecture is a really important part of your interests, check the reviews for discussion of distortion at the wide angle end (any camera you are looking for). The Fuji has noticeable distortion at the wide end but I don't do a lot of shots were it's apparent.

Also see how they fare at low light, especially how they focus, etc. There may be places that allow photography but don't allow flash and tripods, stabilization can be really helpful then (Hearst Castle comes to mind - and I tried a few indoor shots and only got one or two that were worth keeping). But if it uses a visible preflash as focus assist, you might have trouble. Off the home page, there are links to "Dave's Picks," and several other links that deal with choosing cameras for particular uses and the "Getting Started" and other choices on the menu bar across the top. These can be pretty helpful as well.

Again I'd suggest the tutorials "Photo Lessons" as many cameras will be more than satisfactory at that kind of shooting, techniques such as using proper lighting, using a tripod, etc., will be more important. Check the reviews on close-ups and look at the samples to see how they deal with similar items. Macro performance would be critical if you had to really capture a particular detail...

Comment #4


 if your camera is going to be used only for photos to be uploaded to the 'net (no printing out), then your main consideration will probably be macro capability. Most computer monitors have a resolution of only 72 dpi, for which any digital camera available today is adequate (most of the photos on my website were taken with a 1.4Mpixel camera, which was plenty for the net). Macro capability means how close to the object the camera is capable of photographing. Nikons have excellent macro range, but most other cameras these days also produce adequate performance. Here are a few photos of a couple of Japanese Kan'ei Tsuuhou coins (dia. 28.2mm) taken with an Olympus C-755 at the super-macro setting.

These two were handheld, so a bit of camera shake might be visible. The third one is from a tripod, but with the same desklamp, and I couldn't adjust the lighting angle well enough under my makeshift conditions to provide good overall lighting. The camera will focus a bit closer, but these should be enough to give you an idea of the macro limits of the C-755. The quality would be better if one used a better illumination setup.


Http:// Green Gables: A Contemplative Companion to Fujino Township..

Comment #5


I have just registered on this site. I am an amateur "photographer". I mainly take photos when travelling. Right now I have an old point&shoot camera, Canon Prima 115 (zoom 38-115 mm). I use Chrome films; best quality.

I am thinking of buying a digital camera, and I want to buy a good one. Not a SLR but one that with approx. focus 35-140 mmm. My preference is a Canon, or Sony camera.

I am a novice in digital cameras and their functioning, so my question may sound dumb. But does anyone know how a digital camera performs in regards to taking shots: how fast (compared to my Canon Prima) can one take shots in sequence with, ie. Canon G5 (or G6), and with Sony V1? If a comparison is at all possible.

Perhaps the mentioned cameras are too good for me.

All sugestions and advice much appreciated. alina..

Comment #6

Keith, Both Z20 and G6 are good choice. Each has it's own advantages. Canon G6 pros/cons vs Z20: 1. 40% more megapixels - not a quantum leap, but quite usefull when croping/digital zoom; can not cover 3x more in tele- from Z20.

2. Faster lens (f/2.0 at wide angle) usefull in dim-light; mostly overriden by Z20 OIS.

3. Has and optical viefinder (OVF): crucial in extra-high and ultra-low light situations; but what you see through OVF does not much real frame.

4. 270/180-swivelling LCD - very instrumental when you like to use.

"irregular" shoting points (down from your feet, above your head or.

Self-portraiting. No compensation from FZ20 here.

5. Moderate image noise for 7Mp, but higher than best 5Mp cameras;.

Worth saying that FZ20 is also rather noisy (in the middle of 5MP),.

But both noises are "non-destructive" untill ISO200 sensitivity.

6. G6 is smaller/handy and lighter than FZ20, but FZ20 available in BLACK that looks more professional and less annoying (especially.

In street shooting etc.).

7. Canon lens is good and vesatile, but still FZ20 carries Leica with OIS and 420mm on tele-end. Clear win!.

8. Last (but not least if you decide to get most out of your shots!).

G6 is able of shooting RAW-files that is much more flexible and versatile in post-processing on your home computer. RAW allows you to correct ~80% of your faults/mistakes during shooting (white-balance, exposure errors, contrast/colour representation pre-sets etc.) In closing: you would hardly regret with your FZ20 choice. Nevertheless, would be the same for G6. Good luck and nice pictures!.

VY PS: Better use OIS in "Mode 2" according to most reviewers.....

Comment #7

Hi, I'm thinking of buying the Canon 20D. My problem is I don't know which lens to get. What do you think about the Canon 17-85 zoom lens? It costs around $500-600 but I read a review that it's not very sharp. What other Canon lenses would you recommend? I like wide angle shots so at least a 28-35 mm. and I also want to be able to use the zoom up to 105 mm. Thanks for your help!..

Comment #8

I'd suggest the Canon Powershot A95. You see it allows full control of the shutter speed, aperture and ISO - which is rare for a point-and-shoot...

Comment #9

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