I think you should look into a DSLR. You can use the Auto setting until you are comfortable with the other camera functions. The zoom on the two cameras you mention seem to use 3 different f stops through out the zoom range. For your telephoto you can purchase much finer glass for a DSLR and be able to use it with another DSLR if you every decide to "move" up as your technique improves..
Well, I have to respectfully disagree with Steve. Based on your wish to go slow and not put out the expense of a DSLR, the FZ18 is a good choice. It will not limit your ability to get good photos. For sporting events, at the 3mp setting, you can zoom (optical) to 28.7x, which is about 800mm telephoto in 35mm equivalent. Learn on that, and if you want to move up later you can give the FZ18 to your kids. It's hundreds of dollars versus thousands (with the necessary telephoto lenses)..
Some of us have used 'high end' cameras for years and welcome the technology that is in the new super zooms. My photo mentor always emphasized that you can take a great picture with a pinhole camera. That may be a stretch, but subject and composition are still what makes a photo, not the camera. JMHO..
The main advantage of the canon is it's movie mode. it also runs on aa batteries, and has a hotshoe and swivel screen. the panasonic has a much better wide angle and telephoto, runs on a lithium ion battery, and corrects for distortion and aberration. personally I go with the panasonic since I don't stitch or post-process my photos. I took my fz18 to some caverns and was a little disappointed by the low-light performance, so i'm considering a dslr. however, the cheapest decent dslr is probably the 350d with the kit lens (18 - 55 mm) at $450, whereas the fz18 is around $300.
As far as the teleconverter, if you're going to put up that much money for the s5 (camera + adapter + lens) I think you might as well step up to the dslr...
Is the Leica lens that much better?.
Yes. Less distortion & fringing problems..
What exactly would the teleconvereter lens for the Canon do? Would itincrease the zoom power?.
Yes. But that won't be as good as dedicated zoom lens (more distortion, inconvenient as you have to remove a ring, then mount adopter & lens. You have to remove these again for wide-angle shots)..
FZ18 is bang for the bucks as it has best 18x zoom and has Raw mode too (for getting best possible IQ during post-processing). However if you are not ready to spend time on post-processing then S5IS is the way to go as it produces better JPGs..
I eventually want to get a dSLR camera but I feel it would be alittle too much for me right now. I need to learn a lot more aboutphotography and camera functionality in general before I go there. Ifigured a "bridge" camera is the way to go right now..
Thanks in advance..
Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..
Thanks for your opinions. I think I am stepping back from the ledge and thinking about this a little more. If I eventually want to get a dSLR, maybe I should just save for a little longer and get either a Nikon D40 or a Canon XT to start..
Suggestions on either?.
I have a Canon EOS Rebel GII 35mm SLR Camera Kit w/ EF 35-80mm Lens. Would this lens be compatible with the Rebel XT? If so, I could just buy the body and save up for a better lens in the future..