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Help! Educated amateur buying first camera
I'm buying my first serious digital camera after schooling myself in photography for some time now. I will be backpacking europe for four months this summer, and I want something that I can really play with..

I've chosen the Panasonic Lumix FZ-8, wondering what people thing about the choice..

Reasons for choosing FZ-8:.

1. F2.8/3.1 - 8 I want to be able to play with aperture values, very important.2. Lower megapixel count (7.1), should I want to blow images up.3. User friendly, cheap, 12x optical, reviews well..

Basically, anything better out there that can provide similar f-stop value ranges, with good IQ and affordability?.

Also, am I gonna run into a lot of trouble with IQ when playing with aperture values?.

I know higher ISO's seriously compromise IQ, and ISO values will change with my f-stop values and lighting, inevitably using the higher ISO settings; should I be saving up for an SLR?.

Thanks you all for your help!!..

Comments (6)

Whiterockd wrote:.

1. F2.8/3.1 - 8 I want to be able to play with aperture values,very important..

Be aware that this does nothing for DOF on cams like the FZ8..

2. Lower megapixel count (7.1), should I want to blow images up..

That doesn't make much sense. Not that 7mp isn't enough for big prints though..

Also, am I gonna run into a lot of trouble with IQ when playing withaperture values?.

No.

I know higher ISO's seriously compromise IQ, and ISO values willchange with my f-stop values and lighting, inevitably using thehigher ISO settings; should I be saving up for an SLR?.

Depends what you want to do. Backpacking ? Get a compact cam that nobody will want to steal from you. Seriously..

Thanks you all for your help!!..

Comment #1

1. F2.8/3.1 - 8 I want to be able to play with aperture values,very important..

Be aware that this does nothing for DOF on cams like the FZ8..

Not quite true. You'll need to set a suitable aperture for macros and you'll get some control over depth of field at full zoom if your subject is separated from the background enough..

Have you also looked at the FZ18? If you plan to do a lot of landscapes, it's wider angle lens could come in very handy..

Androohttp://Androo.smugmug.com..

Comment #2

Absolutely get a DSLR. Much higher image quality, optical viewfinder, no shutter lag or turn-on delay, etc. I would recommend Nikon's entry level DSLRs (D40, D40x, D60). The kit lens, 18-55mm, is very decent for a kit. The D60 comes with the new 18-55mm VR lens (vibration reduction, 3 stops). Look into those models (depending on your budget). The Canon entry level DSLR is another worthy consideration...

Comment #3

Why is it that some people answer any question with "get a DSLR?" Can't you understand that some people just don't want a DSLR?.

I have two film SLRs and a large collection of lenses. I bought my first one over 40 years ago. I am currently shooting with a FZ50..

Yes, I know that with a DSLR I would get slightly IQ, better low light response, better DOF control, and marginally faster response..

I also know that image stabilized lenses to match the quality and reach of the lens on the FZ50 would cost in the ballpark of $2,000 and weigh more than I want to lug around in the field, looking for birds..

You want to use a DSLR? Fine, use one. But please stop insisting that everybody else needs one too. This OP has told us what he needs..

My wife uses the FZ7 (predecessor to the FZ8) and is quite pleased with it. I use it occasionally, and find that I miss the zoom and focus rings on the lens, but (unless you need a hot shoe) it is a fine camera. I find the joystick to provide one of the best interfaces that I have seen. In some ways, it is easier to use than the control wheels on my camera..

I am sure that you could be happy with the FZ8. Go for it!.

Joel Orlinsky.

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

Comment #4

Why is it that some people just cannot understand that when somebody says something like this:.

And I want something that I can really play with.>>.

And start to hint about the creative use of aperture, that respondents will often support the choice of cameras which rather limit the potential requested?.

Yes, the OP can be creative with the camera they suggested, but it will need to be worked at as someone rightly said with distant backgrounds and close subjects. Even the half-frame entry level DSLRs make poor use of creative aperture control compared to 'full frame' 35mm, but they still do it MUCH better than compact cameras..

A DSLR in the entry level Nikon line would indeed be a good starting point. It all depends on how much creativity potential is anticipated. I'm of the opinion that a Canon G9 would be better for backpacking unless the user is a total photo enthusiast (on a photo holiday and looking after the camera all the time) or hopes to sell images from the vacation..

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

Comment #5

Thanks you all for your opinions and comments, very helpful. After some thought, I will be buying the FZ-18. I think the wider lense and extra zoom will be worth the extra $100, I just finished college and I don't have the money for an SLR. nor do I want to lug a camera kit around Europe. I have a Sanyo Xacti that will do a fine job when I don't want to spend serious time on photos, the FZ18 will come with me when I'm "out to shoot". Thanks again!..

Comment #6

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