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Help Picking the right camera for a beginner...
Can someone tell me what the BEST, easiest to use, megazoom camera with at least 8 megapixels and possibly a vari-angle lens flip out lcd screen would be? I have looked into the canon s5 is and also a couple of the panasonic lumix models and I am BEYOND confused about which camera to pick. I want to make the best decision but it seems like there are pros and cons for each model. I want something that has a really nice ease of use for a beginner. I have never shot photos with a digital camera before and I want something that will make things very simple and easy to learn. I looked at the canon s5 is in a couple stores and it seemed almost a little too confusing, but I am in LOVE with the flip out LCD screen. That is something I think I definetly want in a digital camera.

I also want a camera that will take the best blur-free indoor night shots (such as at parties or gatherings with low lighting). My last digital camera that I owned (which I owned for about a month before selling it to a friend because I hated the pictures so much) was a nikon coolpix and EVERY indoor shot was blurry. I don't want to deal with that with the new one I purchase. Can someone tell me if the panasonic is a good choice? Or is the canon s5 is the best to go with? please help!!!..

Comments (14)

Simply put, there is no camera that is going to give you terrific shots of monuments, in daylight, then go into a crowded disco and get action freezing images of people in a dark room..

Not on fully automatic setting, that is. WHich is essentially what your post asks..

Every camera you;ve mentioned will do the job you desire, but you will need to learn how to use it..

Akin to asking what vehicle you should purchase, for mostly city driving, but an occasional excursion into a tropical rainforest, yet you want one that is good on gas, eco friendly and seats the entire family comfortably..

Not being a smarty pants, simply trying to give an understandable analogy of your request..

Any camera in the Canon S5 IS class of camera bodies will do the job.But, you are going to need to learn the very basics of the cameras operation.Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #1

Thank you. I understand completely. I will have to learn to work the camera and learn all it's settings and various modes. I am still a little baffled on whether or not to go for a zoom that is 12x (the canon s5 is) or something bigger like the panasonic lumix 18X zoom. Not sure what differences in quality they will give me. Some people are die hard canon fans and are telling me to not stray from Canon or Nikon and others are telling me the Panasonic Lumix has been the best non-slr ultra zoom that they have owned.

Haha. my mind is going in so many different directions! Do I pay the 325.00 at amazon for the canon s5 is or do I shell out 500.00 for the extra 18x and 10 megapixel camera from panasonic? Do you know if one gives better quality images and if one is actually easier to learn than the other? Once again, I am a total newbie to photography and I am not even really sure what specs I should or shouldn't be looking for. I do love the swivel screen lcd on the s5 is though. That is a big plus for me. But, I have seen some images from the lumix that really impressed me a lot...

Comment #2

B&H.com is where I buy almost all my photo gear.SImply not been that impressed with buying off Amazon.com..

B&H is cheap, reputable, and I am dealing with one-known- store..

Rarely have I seen a better price than B&H offers. Outside of flim-flam artists preying upon the truly uninniated..

As for Canon S5 or Panasonic, either one is going to perform fine, for your needs and skill level. Have you ever bee driving along and seen a 4 door auto, where one of the doors looked like it was a slightly different color? You just knew the car door had obviously been repainted?.

In that case, the color not matching, probably close but not quite exact, was noticeable to you, with your knowledge of body work & colors. Imagine how much more noticeable a train auto body repair techinician, with years of personal experince, can see, just walking in a mall parking lot..

Vehicles which look perfect in every way, to you or I, would simple stand out and fairly scream "Poor Repair Job!" to this train technician..

The same is true for your camera comparision. The Panasonic is an 18X zoom. Canon S5 is a 12X zoom.Personally, I do not own anythign more powerful than 3-5X zoom. Reason is the more range a zoom has, the increased difficulty in keeping the Image quality that the zoom delvers, to a high and consistant level.BTW, my zoom with the most range.cost over $2000 (US)..

My advice to you is simple. Buy the camera that feels most natural in yoru hands..

I personally think the Canon S5 IS is the superior camera, but the Panasonic is a very close second, what it suffers in IQ, from such a huge zoom range, it makes up for with that very same zoom range advantage..

Everything is a trade-off and I highly doubt if you would ever notice the Image quality lose from using the longer zoom panasonic body..

If you do not notice a difference, than does it matter that one actually exists?.

When my wife wanted a nice camera to carry around but not something that was overwhelming, I bought her an S3 IS. Just this past Christmas..

I could just have easily purchased her a Canon S5 IS , but the S3 was already "overkill" for my wife's usage-style of shooting. Straight out of the box, point-shoot and forget everything else camera, this is my wifes favorite ever..

She has yet to take a picture with which she is unhappy..

Whatever you choose, get out and use it! Experiment with it, read the manual. Learn about things likeRule of ThirdsLeading LinesS-curveHorizon Placement within a frame.

(google those terms for more on them.).

The single greatest wya to improve your images is not to buy a new camera. It is after all only a tool. I do not expect a more expensive, or newer, hammer to build a better house., I expect the person using the hammer to build me a fine home..

The single greatest way to improve your images is to get out and take alot of them. Look at the ones you do take. With every picture that you like, ask what is it about the this particular that makes me like it more, than another..

Good LUck and have fun with it..

Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #3

Thanks so much for your very in depth response. I really appreciate it and it makes a lot of sense! Now, I think I am going to have to head back to the store and get a feel for which one I really like! whichever one feels better, i'm getting!!! haha. I will definetly look into the terms you mentioned also. I need as much knowledge on the subject as possible, seeing that I am new to everything and all. Honestly, I just want to take some great shots and have a camera I can grow with as a beginner. I would just go and buy the canon elph or some other pocket camera if I wasn't hoping to broaden my horizons with camera skills and such. So, thanks for the info!! ..

Comment #4

I agree with Dave, there is no one BEST camera for everybody. Easiest to use will be a compact with optical viewfinder, not a fancy SLR-like megazoom. My camera has 6Mp, 8Mp would be nice, but I wouldn't make that a must-have for any point-and-shoot. I also have the twist LCD on my Canon S3. This is useful mainly for shots where you need to hold the camera well away from your face. I have found that handy from time to time.

This feature simply pumps a lot more brightness into the LCD so that it can be viewed from an acute angle. Sounds crude, but it really works. Some Panasonic models have this, and there may be other brands with it..

Also agree with Dave on the importance of the camera feeling natural to you. Not only in the feel of the camera, but also in how easy it is to get to the controls that are important to you. I hate diving through mystery menus!.

I'm VERY confused about your need for a megazoom for shooting buildings! When shooting buildings I almost always need a wideangle setting, not telephoto?!?!?! And the megazoom models only gain you more telephoto focal length, not a wider angle..

All point-and-shoots are challenged when it comes to low light shooting. But the "scenes" that are now built into most of them try to make this more foolproof. Just don't forget to take it out of AUTO and dial in the right SCN setting..

For image quality for specific cameras you can dig into the numerous online camera review sites..

When in doubt start out with a modest compact (not ultracompact) that has some provision for exposure control beyond just full AUTO. There are several of these from various brands. Buy from a store with an easy return policy in case you change your mind about your initial choice. For a camera that is super easy to use I would steer clear of the fancy SLR-like megazoom jobs..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #5

RyanPK1981 wrote:.

My last digitalcamera that I owned (which I owned for about a month before sellingit to a friend because I hated the pictures so much) was a nikoncoolpix and EVERY indoor shot was blurry..

For that (blur-free shots indoor), you need a camera which has much better high ISO performance than typical P&S camera. You need a DSLR, which can shoot at even ISO3200 with usable results. e.g. Pentax K100D super or Nikon D40 (or Canon 350D) with 18-55mm VR (or I.S.) lens.Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #6

ANSWER

Comment #7

Midwest Shutterbug wrote:.

Define "Usable".

I consider essentially noiseless (and without NR artfacts) 5"x7" print and slightly grainy 8"10" print at 300 DPI as usable..

Not everyone, sees everything, the same..

Most can observe exceesive NR effects or soft images (lack of fine details) on prints. (They may not know the exact reason for that however.).

Imagine a 'Blad H3D-II owner wonders how in the world we get usableimages from our little camera's, with their horribly under-sizedsensors..

Exaggeration. Current entry level DSLRs cost few bucks more than a good P&S prosumer camera. And the jump in pixel size is around a factor of 10x (from a typical P&S and DSLR camera with similar resolution). While that factor is not as much for H3D (which has much higher resolution too). The context is low light performance. H3D is not meant for indoor snapshots.



The Original Poster doesn't sound like someone who is ready for aDSLR, not to me..

Now that is a myth. A DSLR can be used in AUTO or scene mode just like a P&S camera. That won't deny user the advantage of DR, faster focusing and less noise..

Don't think they want to spend that kind of money ,nor invest that amount of effort into learning about the finer pointsof photography, let aloen teh mount of effort needed to understand aDSLR..

That "effort" will help as much while using a P&S camera. Current entry level DSLRs can be had for less than $550 with twin kit lenses..

Just as I am not ready to drop $24,000 (US) for a H3D.not tomention the extra cash for the lenses it would require..

A DSLR with twin kit lens will give as much as 10.7x zoom at afforadble price. The jump from a top of line P&S and entry level DSLR is not as high..

Wish I could remember the name of the Pro who shoots nothing but P&S.his images are simply stunning. Why he made more last year, from hisimagery, than I will in my Lifetime..

Correct. But did you read OP's reason of selling his Nikon P&S? That is why a DSLR was suggested. A good compact P&S camera is convenient & portable proposition. A camera which one can carry along with under most circumstances..

In the end, it's not the brush that makes the Artist, the pen thatmakes the Writer, nor the camera that makes the Photographer..

Yup. But can M Schumacher win a F1 race with a Rally Car?Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #8

Ever heard of paragraphs ? .

RyanPK1981 wrote:.

Can someone tell me what the BEST, easiest to use, megazoom camerawith at least 8 megapixels and possibly a vari-angle lens flip outlcd screen would be? I have looked into the canon s5 is and also acouple of the panasonic lumix models and I am BEYOND confused aboutwhich camera to pick. I want to make the best decision but it seemslike there are pros and cons for each model. I want something thathas a really nice ease of use for a beginner. I have never shotphotos with a digital camera before and I want something that willmake things very simple and easy to learn. I looked at the canon s5is in a couple stores and it seemed almost a little too confusing,but I am in LOVE with the flip out LCD screen. That is something Ithink I definetly want in a digital camera.

I alsowant a camera that will take the best blur-free indoor night shots(such as at parties or gatherings with low lighting). My last digitalcamera that I owned (which I owned for about a month before sellingit to a friend because I hated the pictures so much) was a nikoncoolpix and EVERY indoor shot was blurry. I don't want to deal withthat with the new one I purchase. Can someone tell me if thepanasonic is a good choice? Or is the canon s5 is the best to gowith? please help!!!..

Comment #9

LOL..

Sorry about that. I guess I let my sentences run on. I didn't know paragraphs were that important in forums. lol...

Comment #10

Since this post was from a week ago you may have already purchased a camera, but I just wanted to put my two cents in about my Panasonic..

I have a Panasonic FZ-5. It has an anti-shake feature, many different modes to shoot in, and takes great pictures. It was my first digital camera that was not just a point and shoot. I could challenge myself with it, if I wanted to. I just bought a new DSLR because I've learned how to take pictures with this more simple camera..

I don't know anything about the Canon you were considering, but I can certainly vouch for Panasonic Lumix cameras..

Http://sjo.smugmug.com/..

Comment #11

Thanks for your help and comments. I still haven't bought a camera and I am now slightly leaning towards the DSLR since that is what most people are telling me to get since I want to shoot a lot of indoor shots in low light situations. I would rather not deal with a lot of noise issues, so most people have told me to definetly go with a DSLR because of less noise in them than compact digitals..

The panasonic Lumix fz50 is still extremely appealing to me though. If I DO get a digital it's definetly going to be that model..

Now, I am just trying to do my best and find the best, low priced, budget D-slr that is under 650.00 US dollars. I have heard a lot about the nikon D40 and people have really defended it after my remarks about the megapixel amount in it. 6 seems really low, but I guess it outperforms many of the 10 megapixel cameras..

I am now just really focusing on trying to find the best lens Kit deal. I want the lens that I get with my camera to be highly functional and something that I am not going to have to replace or upgrade shortly after. I really want something with image stabilisation since I do tend to have shaky hands..

Anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do about that?.

Thanks!!! ..

Comment #12

RyanPK1981 wrote:.

I am now just really focusing on trying to find the best lens Kitdeal. I want the lens that I get with my camera to be highlyfunctional and something that I am not going to have to replace orupgrade shortly after. I really want something with imagestabilisation since I do tend to have shaky hands..

Anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do about that?.

Just buy a lens with image-stabilzation e.g. 18-55mm VR & 55-200mm VR to go with D40, or buy a camera with in-body image-stabilization (more economical as on date). e.g. Pentax K100D super with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens, or Olympus E510 with twin kit lens. II & III options might cost you less than $650.Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #13

Go over to the Sony SLR forum.Just place a post for " David Kilpatrick".He has a Sony A200 he mentioned he is selling..

In the post, ask if he still has teh camera and may want to ask other forum members about him..

FYI< He is a photo Guru with decades of experience and is literally on the few Minolta-Sony suers that everyone and I do mean EVERYONE , pays attention too..

For your usage, that camera will fit perfectly.Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #14

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