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Choosing between Panasonic Lumix FZ18, Canon G9, Nikon D60
Hi - I want to purchase a new camera because we are going to have our first baby next month. I am looking for the following features -.

Quick snaps to capture baby's smile and rare moments.

Excellent focus - kids move too much so I need something that will be good in taking a moving baby.Take excellent close upsTake good picture at low light.

For the features I am looking for above, what camera features are they called - aperture? shutter speed?.....I am also confused with the camera feature description in this website. Does anyone know a good website that explains feature description simpler?.

I know I listed 2 regular cameras and one SLR because I am thinking if I should get a SLR. My husband says SLR has very good shutter speed..

Thanks for all the advice..

Comments (41)

Swim wrote:.

Hi - I want to purchase a new camera because we are going to have ourfirst baby next month. I am looking for the following features -.

Quick snaps to capture baby's smile and rare momentsExcellent focus - kids move too much so I need something that will begood in taking a moving baby.Take excellent close upsTake good picture at low light.

For the features I am looking for above, what camera features arethey called - aperture? shutter speed?.....I am also confused withthe camera feature description in this website. Does anyone know agood website that explains feature description simpler?.

I know I listed 2 regular cameras and one SLR because I am thinkingif I should get a SLR. My husband says SLR has very good shutterspeed..

Welcome to the dpreview forums. There's a lot of good information and many helpful people..

I'm sure you and your husband must be excited about your baby arriving soon..

You will probably get your best quality pictures, especially in low light (without flash) from the DSLR - the Nikon D60 is a good choice. There are many other options out there in the DSLR category..

I think you will probably also be very happy with the Panasonic FZ18 and the Canon G9. I don't know anything about the G9, but I am familiar with the FZ18..

I bought an FZ18 for my son's family - they have two boys, ages 4 and 2. It's a great camera for getting action shots. They really love the camera because it's so versatile and relatively small - it weighs less than one pound and has an incredible Leica zoom lens that goes from 28-504mm. You would need two (or possibly three) lens for the D60 to cover that same range..

You really don't need a "fast shutter" for a baby, although it certainly doesn't hurt. By the time your child is old enough (maybe two?) to require the speed of the FZ18 or the D60, these cameras probably will be "old technology"..

The best way to pick the right camera for you and your family is to put together a list of MUSTS and WANTS and pick a target budget. It looks like you've already got a start on the list. I think you can expand it. For example, what size camera do you want? Typically, the smaller the camera the more likely you'll have it with you when your child does something you want to photograph. Also, what's your budget?.

Wishing you and your family the best in the future ....

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #1

Hi Simon, Thanks for the advice. At first I am only thinking of spending a few hundred dollars since camera prices had come down significantly since I got my first one 7 years ago. I got the Sony P3 when it first came out and it cost like ~$700. I can afford to buy more expensive camera and my husband actually wants me to get a SLR but I am hesitating. I don't really know much about photography and thought the SLR features or advantages will just be wasted on me. Is it hard to shoot with a SLR? Do I need to play with the settings a lot before taking one picture? Besides the camera, will the additional accessories for a SLR camera be considerably more? like how much? How do I know when should I switch to a SLR?.

Currently for just point and shoot, my budget is 500 or less, but for SLR, I am willing to pay 800 or less....what is a good beginning SLR?.

Thanks,Mel..

Comment #2

Mel -.

When you put your list of MUSTS and WANTS together, it's a good idea to set priorities for what's most important for you (or your husband, if he is actually going to use the camera for family shots. My daughter-in-law uses their FZ18 90% of the time.).

The most important feature of any camera you get is:.

Get a camera that you will actually carry with you and USE!!! Here are a few things in the area of usability that you should consider:.

1. Size - the smaller the camera the easier it is to bring with you. When you go places with a baby, there's all sorts of stuff to bring along. Will you say "I'm already too loaded down to bring a big camera (like the Nikon D60) with me"?.

2. Ease of use - almost all cameras today (including most DSLRs) have an AUTO mode that does almost everything for you. Typically, the results are very satisfactory. You really don't need all those extra features unless you are willing to invest time and energy in learning about photography and the "expensive" camera you bought. The FZ18 (and I think, the G9) have many of these same advanced features at a much lower cost..

3. "Overprotecting" the camera - what I mean is that if you get a very expensive camera, will you feel comfortable leaving it the car or taking it to the beach or etc.? It's only human nature to "protect" expensive things. Sometimes it's better to have a cheap camera that you use and don't worry if it gets a little dirty at the bottom of your purse..

If image quality in low light is your #1 priority then you should probably get a DSLR, although I'm not sure the Nikon D60 is the best choice. There are smaller/cheaper DSLRs available. Since I'm not an expert in this area, I can't make any specific suggestions. However, if you decide that it HAS TO BE A DSLR, you might post another separate thread on this forum asking for entry level DSLRs that are smaller in size. I think Olympus makes one that might be a better choice for you..

If you decide that portability is important to you, there are many choices available in the "Point & Shoot" (P&S) category. I think the Panasonic FZ18 is a good choice, but probably would not be my first choice if you want very good low light performance..

Anyway, start with setting your priorities. It'll make your search easier..

Good luck,.

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #3

I can't argue with the advice you've gotten so far. While most DSLRs have a full auto mode and are no more difficult to use than a Point and shoot, they CAN be a bit of a hassle to deal with especially when you are also carting around a baby. You might be happier with a small pocket type camera. They don't have to cost very much even for a good one, and you may still have money left over for an entry level DSLR for your husband..

If a DSLR still appeals to you, I would suggest considering the Olympus E420. It was designed to be a sort of Step Up DSLR for people coming from the Point and shoot world. It is the smallest and lightest DSLR on the market right now. The E520 has features like anti-shake and a slightly larger body that some prefer as being a bit easier to grip..

Both very good to excellent in both build and in image quality, Very good kit lenses (interchangable, if you get serious about photography). Both are of modest cost, and here in the USA, are frequently avaialble at most electronics stores like Circuit City, or Best Buy..

STOP Global Stasis! Change is good!.

Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos..http://www.photo.net/photos/GlenBarrington.

And my non Photo blog:http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-Qe0Iq3g2d6ML3IynXl.Q2i5CPe6UaA?cq=1..

Comment #4

I think the.

Panasonic FZ18 is a good choice, but probably would not be my firstchoice if you want very good low light performance..

I too am considering the fz18, but doesn't it's flash work well in indoor low light settings? I'm assuming no point and shoot will have too good of performance in indoor low light settings unless the flash is used. What's wrong with a flash?..

Comment #5

Remember most of the posters on this forum are very serious about photography and many of their responses are skewed towards their experiences in trying to push the hardware to it's limits of performance..

The previous poster was likely referring to available light photography, which many photographers prefer because of the natural way shadows fall in the scene being photographed. Most Point and shoot cameras don't do well with available light, it's too hard and expensive to cram the features you need into a tiny little body that sells for less than $500 or so..

Nothing wrong with on camera flash. When you need flash, you need flash. However, because it is close to the lens of the camera, and directly in front of the scene, it does present some challenges..

First you have a greater likelihood of red eye. This is easily taken care of any more with your photo editor. But many photographers prefer not to get it in the first place. This is easily taken care of by buying a flash unit that can be moved off camera or tilted so the light can bounce off of a wall or ceiling. For red eye, the farther away from the lens, and the less direct the lighting, the better..

And, by being directly in front of the scene the flash tends to provide very flat and unflattering lighting. Moving the flash off camera or bouncing the light off a nice white ceiling generally provides a nicer, more pleasing lighting situation..

Also, to save on battery power, the on camera flash units tend to be a tad underpowered. Anything further away than 7 to ten feet away tends to get under exposed..

But any photo you take is better than a photo you didn't take. so when I need to, I use on camera flash. However I have invested in an inexpensive auxiliary flash unit that can be moved off camera or tilted to bounce the light off the ceiling or walls..

This isn't something you need to buy right away. You may find the on camera flash is all you will need in supplemental lighting. I say, don't buy any extra equipment until you start losing photos because your current equipment can't cut it. You'll find yourself getting very creative in trying to work around the limits of any equipment you may have and your photos will likely be better for it!STOP Global Stasis! Change is good!.

Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos..http://www.photo.net/photos/GlenBarrington.

And my non Photo blog:http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-Qe0Iq3g2d6ML3IynXl.Q2i5CPe6UaA?cq=1..

Comment #6

For the type of picture-taking that you have mentioned, you don't really need a dSLR. I would suggest the Canon G9 over the other two, because it will do all that you mention (and more) with excellent picture quality, and it is a camera that will allow you to experiment (excellent macro capability) into the future..

I have the G9 and it goes almost everywhere with me. I also have a dSLR, but I can just pick up and shoot with the G9, not always the case with the bigger, more complicated camera..

If it means anything, my sister also owns a G9 and she is as much in love with hers as I am with mine. She travels a lot and finds it ideal for that purpose..

Good Luck, whichever you choose!BigDog Ken Griffith.

Http://kengriffith.smugmug.com/.

Sunny Westchester, NY..

Comment #7

For the sake of speed and low light, I'd strongly consider a DSLR unless most of your indoor shooting is going to use a flash. Of course, a D60 is 2x the price of the Panasonic, bigger, heavier, etc. so you need to weigh that in your decision too and see what total package works for you best...

Comment #8

I have this camera, and I think it's a good choice for this purpose. Here are some photos taken with it using the "intelligent auto setting". Forgive the composition please. I was just experimenting with different settings..

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/28426919@N03/.

Cg..

Comment #9

Swim wrote:.

Hi - I want to purchase a new camera because we are going to have ourfirst baby next month. I am looking for the following features -.

Quick snaps to capture baby's smile and rare momentsExcellent focus - kids move too much so I need something that will begood in taking a moving baby.Take excellent close upsTake good picture at low light.

For the features I am looking for above, what camera features arethey called - aperture? shutter speed?.....I am also confused withthe camera feature description in this website. Does anyone know agood website that explains feature description simpler?.

I know I listed 2 regular cameras and one SLR because I am thinkingif I should get a SLR. My husband says SLR has very good shutterspeed..

Thanks for all the advice.

If you are an absolute beginner without knowledge about camera settings, etc. why spend $$$ on a dSLR now? with a first baby you will want video, check out the quality video in the Canon S5 or Panasonic FZ18, and you get macro, zoom, controls, all for under $300 !!.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/w-photos/full resolution Canon S5 video http://www.filefactory.com/file/8e57cf..

Comment #10

Thx for all the good advices. I did realized last night that DSLR will not have a video feature, so I should stick to P&S......now is FZ18 the best out there for features I highlighted? I also thought one down side with FZ18 is I cant attach an external flash...

Comment #11

Swim wrote:.

Thx for all the good advices. I did realized last night that DSLRwill not have a video feature, so I should stick to P&S......now isFZ18 the best out there for features I highlighted? I also thoughtone down side with FZ18 is I cant attach an external flash..

That appears to be correct,.

But I own a Canon S5 so I'm prejudiced..

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/w-photos/full resolution Canon S5 video http://www.filefactory.com/file/8e57cf..

Comment #12

I realize that I am kind of going against the grain here but while the FZ18 is a decent camera (I do own one, along with a Canon 720IS and a couple of DSLRs), if someone asked me if I would purchase the FZ18 again I can honestly say I would not. Now, keep in mind, I mainly use the DSLRs (and I am not suggesting that is right for you but only so you undestand my perspective). I find that the FZ18's image quality is really only "fair", even compared to the canon p&s and the shutter lag seems quite long. My wife use the FZ18 more than I do and I mainly bought it for her when our first child was born. Our child is now about 10 months old and very active. Infants and toddlers don't seem to stay still for very long or pose for longer than a second, by the time the camera "beeps" that it has focus and she presses the button, our little guy is onto something else..

Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying don't buy it or it is a bad camera, I am just saying that if ours were stolen, I would not replace it with the same model. I don't know if the G9 is any better or worse. I do know that DSLRs aren't for everyone (including my wife) for a variety of reasons and I am not suggesting that you should reconsider a DSLR. I guess what I am saying is go to the stores and try them out...if for nothing else, just to see if they will "behave" as you may need. Get your husband to pose for a picture, press the shutter button, see how long it takes to focus then take the shot and think of how fast a child that is mobile in any way will move then decide if it is fast enough for you. For me it isn't a shutter speed problem, it is a shutter lag problem..

Regardless of what you buy, you will start capturing great memories right from the start...enjoy whatever your decide..

Swim wrote:.

Thx for all the good advices. I did realized last night that DSLRwill not have a video feature, so I should stick to P&S......now isFZ18 the best out there for features I highlighted? I also thoughtone down side with FZ18 is I cant attach an external flash...

Comment #13

First off, I think that ShawnCo's post is very thoughtful and balanced. As he states, he is coming from the perspective of someone who typically uses a DSLR. (He bought the FZ18 for his wife.) I don't doubt that the FZ18 could very well be slower than his DSLR, but in the world of point and shoot cameras, I think the FZ18 is relatively fast, in my admittedly limited experience..

I bought an FZ18 for my son's family. He's got two very active boys: 4 and 2 years old. Last month I visited his family for a few days and used their FZ18 to get some great shots of the boys in all types of activities - running a playing together in the backyard; swimming lessons; and soccer lessons. I got a lot of good action shots with the FZ18. I would love to post a few, but I didn't bring them back home with me. (I had intended to, but their computer was not able to successfully write a CD.).

The dpreview of the FZ18 is very positive about it's speed. They say of the FZ18 "Focus and Shutter lag are both fast ..." (section #5, Timing and Sizes). DPreview certainly handles a lot more cameras than I do. Here's a link to that section:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz18/page5.asp.

I don't think that ShawnCo's perspective is wrong ... DSLRs are typically faster than P&S cameras. However, my experience is that it does a great job of "capturing" fast moving children..

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #14

What do you think of the Panasonic TZ5? I am considering it now because it's much smaller but it does not have RAW feature. Although I dont know how to use it yet, I heard that I can do a lot more editing with a RAW image..

The G9 got really good reviews but it's $130 more than the FZ18. FZ18 and TZ5 are about the same price. I think I narrowed it down to these 3 now....can't decide..

I know about DSLR will be best for what I am looking for, but I know I probably would like the convenience of smaller cameras....although the FZ18 is not really that small. Oh also, I wanted video clips without having to bring my camcorder with me everytime I want to...

Comment #15

Swim wrote:.

What do you think of the Panasonic TZ5? I am considering it nowbecause it's much smaller but it does not have RAW feature. AlthoughI dont know how to use it yet, I heard that I can do a lot moreediting with a RAW image..

The G9 got really good reviews but it's $130 more than the FZ18. FZ18and TZ5 are about the same price. I think I narrowed it down to these3 now....can't decide..

I know about DSLR will be best for what I am looking for, but I knowI probably would like the convenience of smaller cameras....althoughthe FZ18 is not really that small. Oh also, I wanted video clipswithout having to bring my camcorder with me everytime I want to..

Actually a lot of the Canon P&S cameras can shoot in RAW mode, seehttp://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK.

I debated between the Panasonic FZ18 and Canon S5 and chose the S5, they are larger cameras with larger lenses (won't fit in pocket!) but worth it in picture and video quality.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/w-photos/full resolution Canon S5 video http://www.filefactory.com/file/8e57cf..

Comment #16

Swim wrote:.

What do you think of the Panasonic TZ5?.

I sold my TZ3 and wouldn't consider the TZ5. They are great little cameras but not very good in low light. They lack viewfinders and there really are times you can't see the LCD in bright light. 10X is fine for scenes but doesn't do a good enough job at photographing a distant subject for my needs. They also don't have AE/AF Lock, which I consider an important feature when a camera lacks manual controls..

I own the Panasonic FZ18 and love it. The biggest downside is it's poor high ISO performance. But it does very well in bright light. However, since buying my first DSLR in mid-April, I hardly use my FZ18..

Oh also, I wanted video clipswithout having to bring my camcorder with me every time I want to..

Canon S series cameras excel at video compared to other compact digital cameras. I would never use my FZ18 (or former TZ) for video. Now, when I shoot video, I use my ultra compact Canon SD700. It records fine video, but not quite as good as the S2, 3, & 5..

From everything you say, the Canon S3 or S5 may be your best best. The S5 accepts an external flash. I think the S series camera do better at high ISO than Panasonics...though nothing beats the high ISO performance of a DSLR. I still gasp every time I see a high ISO photo taken with my Canon XSi..

Gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Canon XSi, SD700; Pany FZ18 & more.http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #17

Swim wrote:.

What do you think of the Panasonic TZ5? I am considering it nowbecause it's much smaller but it does not have RAW feature. AlthoughI dont know how to use it yet, I heard that I can do a lot moreediting with a RAW image..

The G9 got really good reviews but it's $130 more than the FZ18. FZ18and TZ5 are about the same price. I think I narrowed it down to these3 now....can't decide..

I know about DSLR will be best for what I am looking for, but I knowI probably would like the convenience of smaller cameras....althoughthe FZ18 is not really that small. Oh also, I wanted video clipswithout having to bring my camcorder with me everytime I want to..

Swim -.

To answer your question about the TZ5 ... No, I would not recommend it as a replacement for the FZ18 (or similar "bridge"/"superzoom"/"prosumer" camera). That said, I think the TZ5 is a great travel camera. (I have the it's predecessor, the TZ3.) I took it on a trip to France and got these shots ... if interested. (Note many of these have some postprocessing (PP) done on them.



Http://scpics.smugmug.com/gallery/4017592_GVAPM/1/233821691_r2H6Y.

In regards to RAW ... It's nice to have that capability, but is it a priority for YOU personally? Do you want to spend time editing each shot? Most people, myself included, want to take the picture and then enjoy/share it with the minimum of extra work. That usually means shooting in the standard JPEG format..

As I said in a post near the beginning of this thread, you have to determine your priorities and then pick the camera that best meets YOUR needs and that is within your budget..

ANY camera you purchase will disappoint you at one time or another for various reasons. No one has designed a camera that is PERFECT for EVERYONE. However, there is a camera out there that will meet most of your needs and that you will probably be happy with..

Cameras are typically designed with tradeoffs in mind. You get one thing, but give up another. This why it's so important to set priorities. That way you will get what you want, not what some other person wants. Make a list of MUSTS and WANTS. Number them according to priority..

If you post a thread on any dpreview forum and say you like camera X. You'll ALWAYS get reponses that are pro and con because EVERY camera has flaws..

So ... here is what I think you should DO (not which camera you should buy):.

1. Make your list of priorities. Write them down..

2. Make a short list of cameras (2 or 3) that you think best meets these priorities..

3. Go to the forum related to that camera (for example, the Panasonic for the FZ18) and ask to see the type of photos you will be taking, maybe baby photos, or actions shots, or indoor flash. Ask that people post photos straight out of the camera, without any postprocessing (PP).4. If possible, try the camera out personally and see if you like it..

There's nothing wrong with asking for people's opinions as to what's best, but this approach will rarely provide an clear "answer". There are a lot of good, but not perfect, cameras out there..

Good luck ....

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #18

A "bridge" camera would suit you just fine....a little bit bigger than a "compact" like the TZ5 (which I own) and not quite as big or cumbersome as a DSLR..

DSLR's give you better quality pictures without a shadow of a doubt....the results achieved with them are nothing short of spectacular..

But something like a Canon S3 or S5 would give you the best of all worlds with a decent zoom and good quality pictures, not quite DSLR standard but certainly better than a TZ5. I also have an S3 and have been astounded by the picture quality sometimes.So if it were me, I would have a Canon S5 on my shopping list.Rob..

Comment #19

We (wife & I) own several different cameras, including, compact,Bridge type and DSLR.When my wife wants to take photos of the Grankids she usesthe Canon s5is vs the others. It seems to have better indoor IQ & color.The DSLR is not as easy to handle as a bridge camera when takingsemi action people photos...

Good luck with your choise.....

Comment #20

Hi Gail, Thanks for the advice. I read some more reviews again last night for FZ18 and other P&S camera, and yes, too many problems with noise with P&S. So I am rethinking if I should get a DSLR because the FZ18 is not really compact and I am willing to pay more if I can get better image quality. Plus with the FZ18, it will cost the same if not more as the Olympus E420 if I purchase the additional lenses that are recommended. With E420, I dont seem to need to purchase more accessories. What do you think?.

-Do you think E420 will be better than FZ18 for image quality for noise and low light?.

-If I purchase the FZ18, do I need to buy the additional lenses to acquire good pictures?-What's a good entry level DSLR?.

Thanks,Swim..

Comment #21

I think the fz18 is a superb price for $290 with a tcon17 or nikon teleconverter along with an adapter that will run you around $415 for a 30x optical zoom camera. This will get you much more flexibility than a dslr for a much lower cost..

Comment #22

The E420 will definitely be better in regards to noise and low light. It will likely be better in just about every way to measure image quality than you can think of..

You aren't going to find a P&S as good in low light as a DSLR. BUT, to tell the truth, I don't believe image noise is going to be much of a problem if you stick to iso 400 or lower for any camera.STOP Global Stasis! Change is good!.

Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos..http://www.photo.net/photos/GlenBarrington.

And my non Photo blog:http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-Qe0Iq3g2d6ML3IynXl.Q2i5CPe6UaA?cq=1..

Comment #23

Musts -.

Great image qualityBe able to take fast moving action (primarily to take baby pictures)Take decent video.

Wants -Good pictures at low light conditions.

Budget $600.

Choices -.

Panasonic FZ18Canon G9.

Olympus E-420 (no video though)Olympus E-520 (also no video)..

Comment #24

If you must have good low light conditions, take a look at the h50 which is also very fast. The fz18 is better for wilflife/outdoor shots with greater zoom/wider. The g9 can't take wide shots or much zoom but has great iq as well..

I believe no point&shoot will offer great images in low light conditions, if this is a must, a dslr is neccessary...

Comment #25

Swim wrote:.

-Do you think E420 will be better than FZ18 for image quality fornoise and low light?.

Yes, the image quality should be better. However, Oly cameras are not the best DSLRs in the high ISO department. Don't get me wrong, they are better than compact cameras, but do not hold up as well against other DSLRs in it's class..

Before buying the XSi, I also considered the Nikon D40 and the Oly 510. I posted questions in respective forums and folks in the Oly forum admitted that high ISO performance was not one of the stellar features of Oly cameras. If you want, I can try to dig up that post and give you the URL..

One of the reasons I moved to a DSLR is because I wanted very good high ISO performance. So Oly was ruled out and I couldn't be happier with the ISO performance of my XSi..

-If I purchase the FZ18, do I need to buy the additional lenses toacquire good pictures?.

Not in my opinion, but whether you need converter lenses for the FZ18 depends on your photographic needs. For mine, the FZ18 covered all of them, from 28mm/equiv wide to over 500mm. I don't do macro, but if I did, I would by the appropriate converter lens and adapter..

What the FZ18 needs is good light. I've taken some of my best shots with the FZ18. While it is not compact, it is very lightweight..

-What's a good entry level DSLR?.

I'm probably not the best person to ask as I'm a brand new DSLR user. In deciding, I looked at Nikon, Oly and Canon. For me, the Canon XSi won out. I adore the camera and while I still struggle with it's weight when carrying it around(compared to compact digicams), I'm not even aware of it when actually using it. It's so fast and responsive..

There is a learning curve with any digital camera, whether advanced compact camera like the FZ18 or DSLR like the XSi. If you don't have high expectations for for low light photography, the FZ18 is a superb camera. Otherwise, go for a DSLR, recognizing that it will cost you a lot more in lenses to get the reach of a camera like the FZ18..

I have photos from both cameras, if you care to take a look to get a handle on each camera's capabilities:.

FZ18 http://www.pbase.com/gailb/fz18.

XSi http://www.pbase.com/gailb/xsi.

To be fair, I've used the FZ18 for a longer time than the XSi..

Gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Canon XSi, SD700; Pany FZ18 & more.http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #26

Swim wrote:.

Panasonic FZ18Canon G9.

Personally, I'll take Canon video any day over Panasonic (I've owned three Panys and about five Canon compact cameras with video). Then again, it depends on your expectations. But I do think Canon has the edge over Pany..

Gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Canon XSi, SD700; Pany FZ18 & more.http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #27

Swim wrote:.

Musts -.

Great image qualityBe able to take fast moving action (primarily to take baby pictures)Take decent video.

Wants -Good pictures at low light conditions.

Budget $600.

Choices -.

Panasonic FZ18Canon G9.

Olympus E-420 (no video though)Olympus E-520 (also no video).

Swim -.

This is a good start. The only thing I see missing is what size of camera you prefer and how important ease of use is to you. The Olympus is a good choice for a smaller DSLR, but with two lens to match the telephoto capability of the FZ18, it will be a bigger package to carry. However, there is no question that if "great image quality" is at the top of your list, the Oly's are your best choice..

I think your next step should be to "leave" (temporarily) the Beginners Forum and go to the forum the camera(s) you are considering. Ask people to post the type of photos you want (e.g., baby - low light) and ask their opinion about the strong and weak points of that camera. Ask that the photos they post are straight out of the camera, no postprocessing (PP)..

As an aside ... in a previous post of mine in this thread, I said I had used my daughter-in-laws FZ18, but didn't have any images to show because of file transfer problem with their computer. I asked her to send me this one ....

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

This is my grandson. He's always running, laughing, and talking - all at the same time! We have yet to find his "OFF switch". The photo was taken on an overcast morning during soccer practice at full zoom (504mm) in sports mode. (The FZ18 is an easy camera to use, but also has a lot of room for growth/learning.) The photo is straight out of the camera, no PP..

I'm sure in a few years your baby will be running and playing just as fast as my grandson. Children are wonderful ... at least until they become teenagers. Enjoy the magic of your new baby (coming soon). The most important things in life have nothing to do with photography, but it is nice to get a few pictures along the way..

Good luck ....

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #28

A dSLR will give you much better quality even with kit lens than any P&S.Look what is ISO1600 on a very cheap dSLR (Nikon D40):.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

It is hand held and I used a good lens with VR. Verify the high ISO (that is a must if you want to avoid flash in low light) on the P&S.You don't have video. And you don't have 504 mm equivalent..

If you don't need to see the small bird in the high tree Canon G9 is a decent camera but quite expensive (you may look at Canon A650). If high quality is a must the dSLR path is the right one..

Also look at Nikon and Pentax that have good kit lens and much larger sensor than Oly..

Swim wrote:.

Musts -.

Great image qualityBe able to take fast moving action (primarily to take baby pictures)Take decent video.

Wants -Good pictures at low light conditions.

Budget $600.

Choices -.

Panasonic FZ18Canon G9.

Olympus E-420 (no video though)Olympus E-520 (also no video).

VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #29

Wow, Simon, that is a great picture. Your grandson looks so cute. The picture is really convincing me to get the FZ18 now ...Now did you daugter-in-law have to buy all the additional lenses (telephoto and close up) to take pictures most of the time? Those will be additional $150-200 each if I have to buy them too...

Comment #30

I had the same dilemma a short while ago. I wanted a DSLR after using a Canon Rebel 2000 (film camera), but it was out of my budget. I figured I'll go for a bridge camera and drove myself up the wall trying to make a decision between the FZ18 and S5. If I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure that the FZ18 can't zoom while shooting video, and that was the kicker for me. I was actually consider the FZ8 as well because the FZ18 appeared massive. I love the S5; the image quality as well as video quality are as good as it will get on a non-DSLR...

Comment #31

Busyasabee wrote:.

If I'm notmistaken, I'm pretty sure that the FZ18 can't zoom while shootingvideo, and that was the kicker for me..

You are correct. You can't zoom while shooting video with the FZ18. And the video quality of the S series cameras is much better, if not superior, to the FZ18. Heck, my Canon SD700IS takes better video than my FZ18..

As much as I love the FZ18, imho, it's high ISO performance sucks, really sucks!.

I love the S5;.

For anyone who takes a lot of inside, low light photos, the S5 is the better choice. It has an hot shoe if you want an external flash, and the ISO performance is better than the FZ18 (though certainly not better than a DSLR)..

But the wide angle to long telephoto zoom (28mm - 500+mm/equivalent) of the FZ18 is hard to beat and in decent light, the FZ18 holds up very well to S series cameras (though Canon has punchier colors out of the camera)..

So, like all decisions involving any level of digital camera, there are compromises. No one camera seems to have it all. Get the one that has the features you'll use most!gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Canon XSi, SD700; Pany FZ18 & more.http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #32

Swim -.

I'm sorry that I didn't respond to your question sooner. My wife and I went to Kauai for a week to attend her daughter's wedding. We had a great time..

I'm glad you like the picture of my grandson. Yes, I think he's pretty cute. One of the nice things about the FZ18 is that you do NOT need any additional lens. The FZ18 comes with a single built in Leica lens that zooms from 28-504mm. It is unlikely that you will need any more lenses in the near future. (Note: You can buy adapters that will make the FZ18 wider (less than 28mm) or longer (more than 504), but unless you have a specialized need, these are typically not necessary.).

Let me tell you a little more about the photo of my grandson ... As I mentioned before, it is straight out of the camera, no postprocessing (PP). It was taken in "burst mode". The FZ18 has the ability to take about 2-3 shots per second. This is very useful when taking sports shots. It is also useful when taking group shots (without flash).



- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #33

Swim -.

This might complicate your camera choice decision ....

Panasonic just announced the FZ28, the upgrade to the FZ18. It looks very similar to the FZ18, but with an increased megapixel count. The camera is supposed to be available in the UK in August ... don't know about the USA or other countries. If interested ....

Http://www.dpreview.com/news/0807/08072104panasonicfz28.asp.

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #34

Hello Simon, Oh yeah, I heard about the new Panasonic cameras that came out. Everyone is raving about the LX3.....and then the FZ28. I will read more about the FZ28 info and forums. The problem is I don't understand a lot of the photo lingo yet .

What do you think is better, LX3 or FZ28?.

Thanks again,Mel..

Comment #35

Swim wrote:.

Hello Simon, Oh yeah, I heard about the new Panasonic cameras thatcame out. Everyone is raving about the LX3.....and then the FZ28. Iwill read more about the FZ28 info and forums. The problem is Idon't understand a lot of the photo lingo yet .

What do you think is better, LX3 or FZ28?.

Thanks again,Mel.

Mel -.

I can't advise you on either of these new cameras. I have personal experience with the FZ18, but I have no experience with either the LX3 or the FZ28. I only know what I read in the published specifications. This tells you what the camera can do, but it doesn't tell you how well it does it!.

Getting back to priorities ....

The LX3 and the FZ28 are very different cameras. The LX3 has a limited zoom (24-60mm, I think) while the FZ28 has 27-490mm. The FZ28 (like the FZ18) has a viewfinder which is very important for action shots. The LX3 does not. The LX3 has a flash hot shoe for an external flash, the FZ18/28 do not. The LX3 is supposed to have better image quality because it uses a larger (relatively speaking) sensor.

This is why DSLRs, with larger sensors, typically produce the best low light photos..

So ... if having a big zoom is important to you, you should not even consider the LX3. Again, it's a matter of judging a camera by what's important to YOU, not to someone else. Every camera is a compromise. You get something, but give up something else. The more money you are willing to spend and the more gear you are willing to carry (and buy) the fewer compromises you have to make..

I assume your baby will arrive soon. If you already have a decent digital camera you may be able to put off your decision a few months until professional reviewers have evaluated these new cameras. However, if you can't wait, buy the camera that best meets your priorities and best suits your budget. In the world of digital cameras, there is always something new coming out. Whatever you buy today will probably be old technology in two years or less. So it's best to buy something that you will enjoy NOW and don't worry too much about the future.



Lastly, don't worry too much about the terminology. As a beginner, it's most important to find a camera that you find easy and enjoyable to use. If using the camera becomes a chore, you'll miss a lot of good pictures of your new family..

Don't worry about the camera choice ... most modern cameras take very good pictures ... whatever camera you get, your baby will look beautiful in your pictures..

Wishing you and your family all the best for the future ....

- Simon.

Http://scpics.smugmug.com/..

Comment #36

Hello Simon,.

Yeah, I had the same thought after I posted my reply. How do I expect to compare the 2 cameras together when they are entirely different lines....I do wonder though if FZ28 is a considerable step up from FZ18. Good thing, I have not ordered the FZ18 because I get off bedrest this Saturday and thought I stop by a local photo store and look at the camera before ordering it..

I think I would wait for the reviews to come out before deciding. The LX3 sounds like a big improvement for LX2. I am asking myself if I really need the superzoom. I wish LX3 has at least 6x zoom but guess not. Otherwise LX3 has a hot shoe, improve video and it's very compact......but the price is so much more than FZ28, and twice as much as FZ18. Oh well....I will wait..

Thanks again for all your help..

I was in preterm labor risk and luckily the meds helped me stay pregnant until now....on my 36th week. I am still hoping to wait until 38 weeks or so to make sure baby is healthy..

Cheers,Mel..

Comment #37

If you choose to buy a bridge/superzoom camera ($300-$400), the best at low light shooting is the Olympus SP570UZ. This is apparent by comparing low light shots taken by the Olympus and it's competitors..

For instance, here is the Olympus at 800ISO vs. the Panasonic FZ18 at 200ISO. In many ways the Olympus has a better looking shot, which doesn't say much for the Panasonic's low light abilities..

Http://www.digitalversus.com/...&ma2=32&mo2=541&p2=3320&ph=20.

Here's the Olympus vs. the Canon S5IS. The Olympus takes a better photo at 800ISO than the Canon at 400ISO..

Http://www.digitalversus.com/...&ma2=32&mo2=541&p2=3320&ph=20.

Here's the Olympus vs. the Sony H50. Olympus's 800ISO shot is only a little worse than Sony's 400ISO shot..

Http://www.digitalversus.com/...&ma2=32&mo2=541&p2=3320&ph=20.

The conclusion is obvious - for low light shooting, the Olympus SP570UZ is the best superzoom followed by the Sony H50...

Comment #38

Here's another possibility - the Fuji F100fd. Its shot at 800ISO is better than the Olympus SP570UZ..

Http://www.digitalversus.com/...&ma2=32&mo2=541&p2=3320&ph=20..

Comment #39

Swim wrote:.

Hi Simon, Thanks for the advice. At first I am only thinking ofspending a few hundred dollars since camera prices had come downsignificantly since I got my first one 7 years ago. I got the Sony P3when it first came out and it cost like ~$700. I can afford to buymore expensive camera and my husband actually wants me to get a SLRbut I am hesitating. I don't really know much about photography andthought the SLR features or advantages will just be wasted on me. Isit hard to shoot with a SLR? Do I need to play with the settings alot before taking one picture? Besides the camera, will theadditional accessories for a SLR camera be considerably more? likehow much? How do I know when should I switch to a SLR?.

Currently for just point and shoot, my budget is 500 or less, but forSLR, I am willing to pay 800 or less....what is a good beginning SLR?.

Thanks,Mel.

I wouldn't consider getting only a DSLR or a bridge camera. A subcompact P&S that fits in your pocket or purse can capture a lot of moments when a larger camera isn't at hand. My favorite is the Canon SD870IS..

I also use a DSLR for things like sports or low-light environments..

Sometimes the answer isn't one camera...

Comment #40

Of course that FZ28 is a step but I would expect to be down not up. Maybe they managed to get better sensors and better but the history is agianst the small sensor cameras (see Sony H2 > Sony H5 > Sony H9 > Sony H50, or Canon S3 > Canon S5, or Panasonic FZ7 > Panasonic FZ8 > Panasonic FZ18, or Panasonic FZ30 > Panasonic FZ50). Once you passed a threshold imposed by the physics laws the improvement is just in marketing papers.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #41

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