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DSLR vs P&S zoom; on a budget
Hey guys looking for any suggestions or info. I started getting into photography a little when I used a canon S30 then a S50 a few years back. Well I keep losing camera's and last couple years have only had compact P&S cameras like a Casio Z55 I think, an Olympus SW, and an Fuji F30. I mainly take pictures of outdoor scenery when hiking or kayaking or at the beach. And also a lot of flying aircraft, and cars at the race track. I'm looking to get a decent camera without spending more than ~$500.



And enough manual controls so I can continue to learn photography skills/techniquesalso I usually pack light so the smaller/lighter the better.

I always assumed a DSLR would be best if I could afford one, and now they are coming down in price enough to be almost affordable for me. So far I really like the Oly E-510 from all the reviews I've seen. But then I noticed that theres a lot of P&S cameras with really long zooms like 12X or 16X. Seems like they would win for the smaller/lighter, plus traveling lighter not having extra lenses, and most importantly cost..

After seeing an almost brand new Sony H5 for $200, I thought about it as thats 1/3 the price of a dSLR. But keeping in mind the focus on aviation/outdoor shooting, small/light, expanding my photo skills, never probly printing larger than 8x10 what do you guys think? And I know I really need to get hands on with different cameras first, so I'll stop by best buy I guess in the next couple days. thanks..

Comments (19)

A) S100FS is best prosumer camera currently. Pricey & bulky though..

B) Among the rest consider Panasonic FZ18. Better 18x zoom lens, Raw mode, smaller size..

Rjl2001 wrote:.

After seeing an almost brand new Sony H5 for $200, I thought about itas thats 1/3 the price of a dSLR. But keeping in mind the focus onaviation/outdoor shooting, small/light, expanding my photo skills,never probly printing larger than 8x10 what do you guys think? And Iknow I really need to get hands on with different cameras first, soI'll stop by best buy I guess in the next couple days. thanks.

Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612Thanks for your time...

Comment #1

A Tcon 17 will fit straight onto a Panasonic FZ50 giving a 700mm at 10 meg. you can use the EZ feature giving 1000mm zoom at 5 meg which is still more than enough to do an 8x10 print perfect for taking photos of airplanes.

Im not sure what that set up would cost in the US but I think of heard mention of about $450 for the FZ50 and $100 for the tcon 17In Australia both together is about $850AUD..

Comment #2

For $500 you can afford a DSLR.

The bad news... a good lens for doing motorsports and aircraft is going to cost $700-$1700 on top of the $500 for the camera..

Rjl2001 wrote:.

Hey guys looking for any suggestions or info. I started getting intophotography a little when I used a canon S30 then a S50 a few yearsback. Well I keep losing camera's and last couple years have onlyhad compact P&S cameras like a Casio Z55 I think, an Olympus SW, andan Fuji F30. I mainly take pictures of outdoor scenery when hikingor kayaking or at the beach. And also a lot of flying aircraft, andcars at the race track. I'm looking to get a decent camera withoutspending more than ~$500.



Zooms are not always best. Fixed focal length lenses - like the Canon 400 F5.6 L - will give better results than any zoom..

A fast shutter, mostly for catching the action during auto races.

You don't need 'that' fast of a shutter. Pretty much every camera is capable of shutters speeds for motorsports (1/250-1/1000 second).

And enough manual controls so I can continue to learn photographyskills/techniquesalso I usually pack light so the smaller/lighter the better.

Unfortunately the best lenses for motorsports and aircraft are big and heavy..

I always assumed a DSLR would be best if I could afford one, and nowthey are coming down in price enough to be almost affordable for me.So far I really like the Oly E-510 from all the reviews I've seen.But then I noticed that theres a lot of P&S cameras with really longzooms like 12X or 16X..

12x or 16x means nothing. That 12x zoom could be from 10-120mm... pretty short for motorsports and airplanes. Plus the higher the zoom factor the more image quality tends to suffer..

Seems like they would win for thesmaller/lighter, plus traveling lighter not having extra lenses, andmost importantly cost..

And lose on image quality and missed shots.

After seeing an almost brand new Sony H5 for $200, I thought about itas thats 1/3 the price of a dSLR. But keeping in mind the focus onaviation/outdoor shooting, small/light, expanding my photo skills,never probly printing larger than 8x10 what do you guys think? And Iknow I really need to get hands on with different cameras first, soI'll stop by best buy I guess in the next couple days. thanks.

Point and shoots will suffer from shutter lag, slow auto focus and generally be difficult for fast moving, distant subjects... which aren't easy to shoot with good equipment..

DSLRs offer auto focus that tracks moving subjects and high frame rates (3-6.5 frames per second) which helps greatly..

Bottom line - you need to ask your self how good of images do you want? Point and shoots will definitely get you some nice shots, whereas while DSLR's with good lenses will get awesome quality that a P&S can't touch, it comes at the expense of more money and more onus on the photographer...

Comment #3

While there are some excellent entry level DSLR kits like the E510 2 lens kit, the flexability of the DSLR system will likely have you spending much more over time..

Something like the FZ50 (a bridge camera) gives you the look, feel, and much of the performance of an entry level DSLR at a fixed cost (you can add a flash and lens filters or adapters but thats about it). The FZ50 is a close to a DSLR as you are going to get and has a lot going for it. It offers lots of scene modes but also full PASM support to be creative and/or learn more about photography..

RegardsJim.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimboutilier/..

Comment #4

I own an FZ50 for it's versatility, and mainly shoot bikes with it. But I've shot a couple of times with a canon 350D..

The autofocus of the FZ50 is way too slow for fast moving objects, so I use it pre-focussed most of the time. For aerial shots pre-focussing is a non-option I guess, where would you focus on?.

The 350D performed way better! And I was able to make shots that I couldn't with the FZ50..

Buying a body only DSLR and a cheap zoom lens up to 300 would be inside your budget, and gives you performance enough to shoot the things you like, and the quality to make the prints you want...

Comment #5

Something like a Tamron 70-300 would be ok as long as you use it in bright daylight, since you have to stop down to f8, but then it produced OK images.

Not everyone needs a 100-400 or 70-200 2.8 + tcs.

You could probably get a Rebel XT, kit lens, and Tamron 70-300 for that price..

Comment #6

OK, you guys have been helpful. A couple of things have been brought up that I didn't think about. I spent some time looking up and going over reviews for the Panasonic FZ50, which looks pretty nice. In the end though it looks like an dSLR with kit lens can be had for little over $100 more, and still keep roughly the same size/weight. I realize it would be easy to spend a lot more over time on a dSLR but I'm OK with that..

Really my next step needs to be finding an FZ18, FZ50, E510, E420, XTi, D40 so I can compare the feel of all of them. That might be challenging though as I don't live in a large city or anything, don't know of any camera stores around here...

Comment #7

IMac, therefore iAm wrote:.

For $500 you can afford a DSLR.

The bad news... a good lens for doing motorsports and aircraft isgoing to cost $700-$1700 on top of the $500 for the camera..

Rjl2001 wrote:.

True for a pro-quality lens. But, Canon's 55-250 or Nikon's 55-200 will produce decent results. This still leaves you at $700+ total...

Comment #8

Rjl2001 wrote:.

OK, you guys have been helpful. A couple of things have been broughtup that I didn't think about. I spent some time looking up and goingover reviews for the Panasonic FZ50, which looks pretty nice. In theend though it looks like an dSLR with kit lens can be had for littleover $100 more, and still keep roughly the same size/weight. Irealize it would be easy to spend a lot more over time on a dSLR butI'm OK with that.Really my next step needs to be finding an FZ18, FZ50, E510, E420,XTi, D40 so I can compare the feel of all of them. That might bechallenging though as I don't live in a large city or anything, don'tknow of any camera stores around here..

Best Buy and Circuit City carry many of them. Walmart and Target even have a few..

Also, Canon has the XS coming out shortly to replace the XTi...

Comment #9

/open door.

Shooter PS pulls apart the curtains revealing a tunnel to the Sony talk forum..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1009.

ShooterPS..

Comment #10

Crashtestdummy wrote:.

I own an FZ50 for it's versatility, and mainly shoot bikes with it.But I've shot a couple of times with a canon 350D..

The autofocus of the FZ50 is way too slow for fast moving objects, soI use it pre-focussed most of the time. For aerial shotspre-focussing is a non-option I guess, where would you focus on?.

The 350D performed way better! And I was able to make shots that Icouldn't with the FZ50..

Buying a body only DSLR and a cheap zoom lens up to 300 would beinside your budget, and gives you performance enough to shoot thethings you like, and the quality to make the prints you want..

I have an FZ30 (the predecessor of the FZ50) that I use for airplanes and birding. I disagree with chrashtestdummy that the autofocus is too slow. Yes, a DSLR may have a faster autofocus, but in good light, the FZ30 (and I assume the FZ50) is fast enough for my purposes. Here are a couple of shots taken with my FZ30 ....

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

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

I should mention that I shot these photos with a Red Dot Sight (RDS) mounted in the flash shoe on my FZ30. I say this because the FZ18 does NOT have a flash shoe. An RDS costs about $10 USD and the mount costs about $25 USD or can be homemade. I find it great for birding and airshows because it allows you to track the object with 1:1 magnification (i.e., no magnification) but allows you to shoot at full telephoto..

Good luck ....

- Simon.

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

Comment #11

/point at another door ("with painted Lewiss Carol "Alice" on side).

Http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1037..

Comment #12

You would get proscuted in Australia for uing a laser RDS on aircraft..

Comment #13

You have a common misconception about the Red Dot Sight (RDS). It does NOT project any type of light/laser beam toward the object. There are gun sights that do project a laser beam, but the RDS is not one of them..

It simply projects a red dot INSIDE of the scope itself. You align the scope so that the dot aligns with what you see through the center of your lens at full zoom. Depending on what you're "shooting", the alignment may need to be adjusted..

When you look through the scope, you see the full field of view so it's easy to follow the subject. You center the dot in the scope (the Daisey RDS has crosshairs, not all do) and then press the shutter. Without the RDS you have to follow the subject with your camera viewfinder. At 400mm telephoto, that is often difficult to do..

I should mention that the hit rate is far from a 100%. Depending on your camera, amount of telephoto, what you're shooting, and your skill level, the hit rate is probably between 50% - 75%. Simon.

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

Comment #14

Rjl2001 wrote:.

I mainly take pictures of outdoor scenery when hikingor kayaking or at the beach. And also a lot of flying aircraft, andcars at the race track. I'm looking to get a decent camera withoutspending more than ~$500. So I guess I want something with:a strong zoom, mostly for shooting airplanesa fast shutter, mostly for catching the action during auto racesand enough manual controls so I can continue to learn photographyskills/techniquesalso I usually pack light so the smaller/lighter the better.

Yeah, you and everyone else wants that camera, but I think you're looking for something that doesn't exist..

An entry level DSLR like the E-510 or E-520 can do what you wanting, but they're not exactly small and light, and will likely be well over $500 after getting the lenses you'll want/need..

I own a FZ50 and really love the camera, but I think that shooting airplanes and auto races is going to frustrate you with the FZ50. Smaller superzooms will fair no better..

Choosing a camera always involves consolations because no one camera can do it all for that low of a price. Something's going to have to give for you to get what you want, and only you know which of your requirements/wants you are willing to sacrifice..

ChrisEffzeeone now has a Effzeefifty!(Gear in profile).

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

Comment #15

Effzeeone wrote:.

I own a FZ50 and really love the camera, but I think that shootingairplanes and auto races is going to frustrate you with the FZ50.Smaller superzooms will fair no better..

Chris -.

I'm curious as to why you say that using the FZ50 will be frustrating for shooting airplanes?.

Both of us participate in the Panasonic forum so I think you must have seen the many great airshow shots that FZ30/50 users have taken. I have the FZ30 and have used it very successfully at a number of airshows ... see my first post on this thread for some examples. I use an RDS mounted on my camera, but there are many other people that use the Panny camera as is..

The panasonic forum is also has many people that post impressive birds in flight (BIF) shots. Typically, it's much harder to shoot a BIF than an airplane ... the birds are much much smaller, closer, and often have erratic flight patterns. I also use my FZ30/RDS very successfully for birding..

Admittedly, I don't see many auto racing shots on the Panasonic forum, but that may be because the Pannys are not popular with the NASCAR/FormulaOne crowd??? I don't know..

For the price, the FZ50 offers an excellent lens with a solid telephoto range, fast and accurate focus, and very good image quality, in a relatively small package. I agree with you that you can do better if you are willing to spend more money and carry more gear. I'm just curious as to why you feel the FZ50 will frustrate someone taking airplane shots???.

- Simon.

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

Comment #16

Im constatly see some Airbus flying high above my house(high due to safety and medical requrements) and from time to time - try shoot them with various digicam..

So, for shhot planes - you need really bright telephoto lens, stabilized body, tripod and a LOT of patience to shoot something more or less looking good(to share with World)..

Comment #17

I'm a big proponent of the FZ50 and I use it for a lot of things that the naysayers say can't be done with this camera. That being said, I don't think even I would necessarily buy the FZ50 specifically to shoot air shows or auto racing. I think even being the FZ50 fan that I am, I would be frustrating shooting those events with this camera. With the OP not being a fan of this camera (yet), I just wanted to give them an honest opinion..

However, you are right there are plenty of air show pictures, and I've even seen a few motorcycle racing shots. Obviously, it's do-able, but at what success rate? I've had pretty good success with BIF's myself, but BIF's are not F16 jet fighters, so I would imagine the difficulty would be amplified for air shows..

ChrisEffzeeone now has a Effzeefifty!(Gear in profile).

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

Comment #18

Chris -.

Thanks for taking the time to explain your point of view. I think we both agree that the FZ30/50 is a great camera, but not perfect ....

- Simon.

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

Comment #19

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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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