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Best Digital SLR - like Camera Under 700 bucks
Hi Folks:.

I've spent the last 2 weeks reviewing every single article that is out there on dpreview and other sites and am really gotten to the point that I am so confused that I thought I'll reach out to you all for some insights..

My need is that of a SLR-like camera that has the best picture quality possible and also the ability to make movie clips (that's why I need the SLR-like, else I would have gone for the dSLR) as well as gives me good clarity at higher ISOs. And, a good optical zoom would be perfect. I am pretty much an outdoor photographer but do have the need to take photos at evenings and places where I can not use the flash (at times that is)..

I previously owned the G6 and was really pleased with it. And, now had brought down my choices to the three below:1.) Olympus SP-560 UZ - I am hoping that the 550 shortcomings have been overcome2.) Cannon Powershot G9 - just because I was so comfortable with the G6.

3.) Panasonix Lumix FZ18 - I was simply amazed at the photo shoots with the predessors FZ8 at 100 ISOs and am hoping that it carries forward the legacy..

The funny thing is that for none of the above dpreview has reviews understandably since they are new (but I am surprised for I did expect to see one for G9 out there)..

So, what should it be?.

Again, I'm open to other suggestions as well - just don't want it to be limited to the above...

Comments (17)

If you are prepared to wait a bit (and go without the optical zoom) the Sigma DP-1 may be worth considering..

Keep an eye on the price too (nobody really knows what price tag will be attached). It may be above your $700 threshold...

Comment #1

The Sony H9 has gotten mixed reviews but is a terrific camera if you're willing to give up the RAW format..

The viewfinder is passable, no more....BUT.....The movable LCD screen is outstanding for waist level shootingThe write time for shots is super fastThe lens is 28mm to 450+mm lens is first rate..

I'm not arguing that it's better than the other three but I'd suggest you handle the camera before deciding..

And I'd be happy to send you a link to some of my photos if you're interested..

Mark..

Comment #2

28-300 equiv. lens, 6MP, and good high iso performance, certainly better than anything you've listed..

Granted, the lens is a bit shorter, and it has no IS, but I've been very satisfied with mine. Try one out and see if you don't find the handling (manual zoom rocks!) to be better in all the ways that matter.Check out the photos I feel like sharing!.

Http://littleblackdogphotoblog.blogspot.com/..

Comment #3

If you don't like the Fuji S6000fd, my personal preference would be the FZ-18. Of all the ultra-zooms on the market, the only one that has me more interested is the 60(!) frame per second at full resolution (!!) Casio prototype. I like Panasonic, and in fact have given two TZ3's as gifts, one to my father in law, one to my wife. They're both very happy with the camera, and I never hesitate to recommend it..

The inability to zoom while recording movies is the only real knock I have against it, other than my perennial gripe that Panny insists on manufacturing their own sensors, instead of buying Super CCD's from Fuji.Check out the photos I feel like sharing!.

Http://littleblackdogphotoblog.blogspot.com/..

Comment #4

All:.

Thanks so much for the suggestions - you've been most helpful and I appreciate the quick responses. Needless to say, I've got my work cut-out and will use my Sunday to good effect in doing more research .

Mark: Could you also send me the link that has some of the snaps you've taken and are comfortable in sharing..

Thanks again...

Comment #5

For someone that considers movie mode to be very important, the S5 IS seems like the obvious choice. Did you read the review? That thing is awesome. It's in a class of it's own and it's SLR like, just like you want it..

I'd eliminate the Olympus off the bat because of the idiotic xD card they use. Not only are they expensive, movie mode needs a fast card, and the xD is simply too slow to do a good job. It does have a compelling spec sheet otherwise, it's too bad they keep insisting on using that dying card format...

Comment #6

Another one for the H9 although it starts at 31mm not 28. With my Raynox 6600pro wide angle lens fitted it takes it down around 21mm..

A friend of mine bought the old Pano FZ5 and said it frustrated him taking movies not being able to zoom. This is one of the features that is a non negotiable feature for me. It was what deleted the Oly 550UZ from my list. You can zoom with the Oly but you have to choose between sound or zooming, not both, which to me is just plain stupid..

Personally I would not get a long zoom camera without IS it just makes it too hard to take any hand held shots at zoom unless there is heaps of light or requires a tripod which is a pain to carry around..

Here are a few photos from my H9. My best advice for you is to make up a list of the things that you will not compromise on then go to a shop and play with the cameras and test them out..

My list of non negotiables were:.

1. Had to have IS.

2. Had to have an EVF that I could use for focusing especially with macros..

3. Had to have a flash sync of at least 1000th sec for me to take daylight macros leaving a black background. 500th sec just does not cut it..

4. Had to have at least 2fps continuous shooting speed..

5. Had to have a large articulated LCD..

My wish list for my next camera:-.

1. Clear ISO 1600.

2. Faster fps at full frame..

3. Even faster focus in difficult situations, low light, low contrast..

The simple answer is a DSLR in the size and weight of my H9. .

A friend hang gliding.

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Macro of texture on bees wing.

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An example of the power of the zoom hang held and the necessity in my opinion of IS. The photo of the man below is from the left hand red circle..

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Photo of man in the left hand red circle. Almost maximum optical zoom ISO 200.

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Taken from across the road to the top of the telegraph pole. Note the sharpness of the wood grain. A shame the Pee Wee moved his head just as I pushed the shutter button..

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The value of flash sync of at least 1,000th sec. This shot taken hand held in daylight late afternoon..

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A pano from my cruise to Mystery Island.

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Http://www.pbase.com/reelate2http://www.pbase.com/relate2Me flying.

Http://www.livevideo.com/...24F40B6F085933A46F1FC/having-fun-at-stanwell.aspx.

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Comment #7

I decided against the H9 'coz dpreview had given image quality a 7.0...and having read the detailed articles thought it may not work out well for me..

However, I do plan to revisit that in light of the snaps that you've att'd..

Canon S5IS - I liked that too but again the reviews for me killed it..

I'm thinking I won't go ahead with the Olympus for sure now that I know about the memory aspect..

Thanks folks - appreciate this...

Comment #8

News Discussion Forum.

Welcome to the News Discussion Forum, the place to discuss news articles, breaking news and new technology. There are specific brand forums available..

Bob,.

'Sometimes I get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter.' Ansel Adams.

Sony R1Canon Pro1Casio Z750Nikon 3100.

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Comment #9

Did you ever make a purchase? If so, which was it. I am wrestling with the exact same issues you are and am leaning toward the G9 at this point..

Can you shed some light on your decision for me?.

Please respond to.

Comment #10

Jankozagreb wrote:.

Did you ever make a purchase? If so, which was it. I am wrestlingwith the exact same issues you are and am leaning toward the G9 atthis point..

Can you shed some light on your decision for me?.

Please respond to.

G9 sadly = Expensive , Sloooow , Noise, and more Noise !( only a point of view others may not agree,)..

Comment #11

I urge you (all) to consider the FZ50. It has just about all the qualities mentioned above!..

Comment #12

Yes, the FZ50 is a really capable camera. If you want 28mm wide angle then the Fuji 9100/9600 would be a good idea even though it is not stabilised. Having a flip out LCD is very important for landscape/tripod work..

John.Please visit me at:http://www.pbase.com/johnfr/backtothebridgehttp://www.pbase.com/johnfr/digital_dartmoor..

Comment #13

I think there might be 2 options:.

1. A bridge camera - looking at what you listed as your criteria only Fuji will be a viable option (the rest offer just too poor high ISO quality)..

2. A relatively cheap and compact but good "point and shoot" with reasonable film qualities along a budget digital SLR..

This is what I have: a Fuji Z1 (extremly compact, can take films) and a Sony A100 with loads of Minolta lenses..

It will be however difficult to keep the costs below $700.-, but try shopping around for the budget Nikon's and Canon's with some second hand lenses perhaps..

The 2nd option will give you better quality when needed with extra flexibility and possibilities of upgrades if wanted..

Jon.

Hobby only. If I would take pitures in RAW I wold never get them printed (lack of time)!!!Photographing mushrooms, trees and family...

Comment #14

The two most SLR like cameras you can get are the Panasonic FZ50 and the Fuji S9100/9600..

These are the best technically featured in terms of using it like you would an SLR..

They are similar in many ways, and the main differences are : I'd suggest you compare them side by side..

Note that for review purposes the S900/9500 is almost identical to the S9100/9600. The later model has some small improvements..

S9100/9600 :- lower noise and hence better at higher ISO- no IS.

FZ50 :- very bad noise and hence not good at high ISO- has IS.

People rave on about Panasonic's Leica lenses, but I personally do not see any real difference..

I personally don't rate IS as being all that useful, whereas some people do..

If you can shoot RAW and use noise reduction software the noise issue becomes a little less significant with the FZ50, although the S9100/99600 will do better in general as you can apply the same process to it's RAW. output..

The DPRevew of the FZ50 has side by side studio ISO shots of both the FZ50 and the S9000/9500 ( which will be almost identical to the S9100/9600..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #15

The FZ50 was recommended to me too what about the FZ18?..

Comment #16

Denise S wrote:.

The FZ50 was recommended to me too what about the FZ18?.

The Panasonic forum has several threads comparing the FZ50 to the FZ18 and debating the merits of each. Go take a look over there. Here is a link to one of the threads.http://forums.dpreview.com/...ums/readflat.asp?forum=1033&thread=25351811.

Joel Orlinsky.

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Comment #17

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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