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Panasonic FZ18 or Nikon D40x ?
I'm looking to move up from my little pocket 3x zoom Sony digital to something more substantial. I need a camera which has a good zoom to it and also doesnt take forever to take the picture when I push the button. My kids are just not getting into sports, motocross and t-ball so far, so I want a good camera to help me get the shot of them I want..

Originally I had thought I would get a DSLR and have been kind of steered to the Nikon D40x by some friends. Having never had an SLR all of the terms and using the camera seem confusing to me..

Today I ran across the Panasoni FZ18 and it really seems to get some great reviews..

I'm wondering if the Nikon would be too much of a camera for me when all I really want to do is be able to point and shoot and get a great picture. I'm not really interested in packing around a bag with different lenses in it and would like a camera that has an all around lens for whatever situation I'm in. Does the Nikon come with such a lense?.

I know that speed is important because of the sports shots but it sounds like the Panasonic is very fast and works well for taking sports shots. What I wonder is, is it fast enough?.

I also question whether I need to spend the difference in price between the two. I realize they are two totally different cameras, but would like to know if the Panasonic would fit my needs..

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. THanks in advance...

Comments (14)

Nikon, I have an Olympus E-510 and I love it, plenty of lens and accessories are available for my camera, but I read an interesting post the other night comparing cameras to cars. You can get parts for a Ford or Chevy, but it's a pain if you own a Pontiac, there's just not the aftermarket parts and accessories. Well I drove 1 hour and 45 mins. in Christmas traffic to get the Camera store the other night and they had a ton of Nikon and Canon stuff, thank God I was looking for a tripod. Besides the Nikon's the better camera.Tim..

Comment #1

I own an FZ18 and a D50 (generation before the D40X - 6mp sensor). The dSLR gives me better images in almost all situations...but I have a bag full of lenses - well, only 4 and they aren't pro quality but certainly more than one lens. And an external flash. And a few other doo-dads. And I have an interest in photography beyond just pointing and shooting and am trying to learn to take better photos. Fpr me, it's a hobby as well as a family camera..

Having said that, I really like the FZ18. It does a lot of things and performs well in good light. It is not as easy to track a moving subject with it, though. Burst mode and a prayer to the camera gods can sometimes make up for that - or at least get you a good shot out of a batch. And it doesn't do great in poor light. Noise will be an issue.

Versatile, fun, nice color and it exposes well. And does ok in auto mode..

My own personal opinion is that, if you aren't willing to carry the lenses to take advantage of the dSLR, don't want to spend the extra $$ and, probably most importantly, don't want to learn to use it, you are probably better off with a PS...FZ18, FZ50, G9, whatever than a dSLR..

Stu - Camera User (see profile for gear)http://www.DigitalPhotoPeople.comhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/stujoe/.

...

Comment #2

I took the liberty of double quoting some of your lines, because there's no way of bolding or underlining..

Turtletrax wrote:.

I'm looking to move up from my little pocket 3x zoom Sony digital tosomething more substantial. I need a camera which has a good zoom toit and also doesnt take forever to take the picture when I push thebutton. My kids are just not getting into sports, motocross andt-ball so far,.

So I want a good camera to help me get the shot ofthem I want..

Originally I had thought I would get a DSLR and have been kind ofsteered to the Nikon D40x by some friends..

Having never had an SLRall of the terms and using the camera seem confusing to me..

Today I ran across the Panasoni FZ18 and it really seems to get somegreat reviews..

I'm wondering if the Nikon would be too much of a camera for me when.

All I really want to do is be able to point and shoot and get a greatpicture..

I'm not really interested in packing around a bag withdifferent lenses in it and would like a camera that has an all aroundlens for whatever situation I'm in. Does the Nikon come with such alense?.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. THanks in advance..

The PROBLEM is that no camera takes great pictures. People take great pictures. Cameras just ease (or complicate!) that process..

To answer your question (which I read as what camera's better for me): the Nikon will get you better image quality, at a higher price point and a higher weight and volume..

If you are going to use auto or scene modes, probably the Panasonic is better for you. It's quite a nice camera...

Comment #3

There is no doubt the D40x is a better camera. All the FZ18 has over it is that it comes with a very big zoom and IS for a lot less money. The FZ18 can take movies, and no DSLR will take a movie (!)..

The Nikon is faster, has an optical viewfinder ( so you can track things when they are moving while shooting ! ) and a better AF system ( better for sport ). It can shoot at ISO 800 comfortably, whereas the FZ18 can just about make 200 ( uncomfortably ). This means the Nikon does not need IS as much as the FZ18..

If I were you I'd look at the Nikon D40 and Pentax K100D and Olympus E-410. These are excellent entry level DSLRs and with their kit lenses make for a great package. The Olympus would be the lightest of the three. The D40x is certainly very nice and if you can afford it over the D40 go ahead, however the extra resolution is not that important in an absolute sense..

However, if your priority is an all-in-one that does "enough" I'd look at the Canon S5 and S3 and the Fuji S9100/8600 and S6000/6500 ( no IS on the Fujis ). Of the 18x zooms that are all the rage, I'd suggest the FZ18 is the best of the bunch. I find a DSLR too heavy in many circumstances and a good bridge camera is quite handy..

The DSLRs will give the best image quality under all circumstances but at a cost and weight premium. Do not be intimidated by their complexity. The entry level models are packed with consumer-friendly modes..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #4

Thank you for all of your comments. I don't think I will ever be one to carry around a bag full of lenses or accessories for the camera as I really just want to be able to point and shoot. I'm a bit concered about the comment about not being able to get the shot I want with the Panasonic..

If I get the Nikon, is there one lens you would suggest which basically "does it all"? Does the Nikon come with a lens that would be satisfactory that I could zoom in with, or if not can you suggest one that would that I would most likely be able to leave on all the time?.

Thanks again for the help...

Comment #5

Turtletrax wrote:.

Thank you for all of your comments. I don't think I will ever be oneto carry around a bag full of lenses or accessories for the camera asI really just want to be able to point and shoot. I'm a bit conceredabout the comment about not being able to get the shot I want withthe Panasonic..

If I get the Nikon, is there one lens you would suggest whichbasically "does it all"? Does the Nikon come with a lens that wouldbe satisfactory that I could zoom in with, or if not can you suggestone that would that I would most likely be able to leave on all thetime?.

It's a compromise. PROBABLY the best suited lens for your described usage would be the 18-200 (that equivalates 27-300mm). I am not sure about the prices, but I believe it's roughly twice as expensive as the Panny. And quite large and heavy. And the panasonic has 28-504mm equivalent. So, there is no one lens..

Also consider that the long Nikon zoom comes with some compromises, as well. Even more, if you want to do something "specialized" with the dslr, you'll need a specialized lens - i.e. macro, low light sports, long distance sports, etc...

Comment #6

There is the Tamron 18-250. Versatile and well regarded. Relatively cheap for what it does, but not relative to a bridge camera..

I would point out you could buy a DSLR like the K100D with the 18-55 and have enough for FZ8 or Fuji S6500 as a bridge or a TZ3 as a compact. Just to illustrate the relative cost. A bundled DSLR two lens kit, like an E410 would possibly be cheaper and really very effective if you want to go that route..

In general super-zoom lenses are not great lenses, just versatile. All lenses are compromises, of one type or another..

It really depend on how much you want to spend and what you want to carry. If money and weight are not objects then teh DSLR gives you teh best image quality possibilities..

I would point out that, not unusually, I have both a DSLR and a bridge camera. I use them both..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #7

Hi,I just ran into the same situation a few months ago and here is my decision:I bought a FZ18 instead of a Nikon DSLR..

My main use is for my kid and somethimes for landscape or a little action shooting. FZ18 is much much better than my exisitng Nikon P&S (3x, 7MB) for both performance and quality. There is almost no delay when the flash is off but there is still a little delay when the flash is on..

I hate to change lens and carry a big bag. D40x doesn't have dust remove system and dust can go in during lens change. D40x doesn't have in-body anti-shake. The cost is very high to buy VR 18-200 ($750). D40x doesn't have LCD live view and video..

The only problem I have with FZ18 is date imprint (I need to manually to it for every photo). Other than that, it works well for me..

If you need to shoot high quality/clean photo in low light w/o flash or very fast action photo, FZ18 won't be the one for you. You need something even better than DX40 ($2K-5K range). I would save money to get such a camera in 2 years (that time it would be <$1k). Keep in mind D40x/FZ18 will all become gabage in 5 years..

Good luck!FZ18..

Comment #8

Thank you for all the tips. The last week I have been to the store twice testing both the D40x and the FZ18. I think I've come to the conclusion that it will take too long between pictures for the FZ to be able to take another shot. When I push the button on the D40x I can push it over and over taking shot after shot. One of the things I want to be able to do is take picture after picture without having to wait between shots. Is it possible to do this with the FZ or was my testing of the two correct?..

Comment #9

If you're looking for rapid fire capabilities, and the focus speed and accuracy you need for motocross, look into something like a used Nikon D1H. It's a pro camera from a couple of generations back, but it's still a stellar performer. You can nab one for $500, which is a deal..

You might be spooked by the 2.75 MP count, but don't be. It takes amazing images that print beautifully...

Comment #10

You need to check continuous modes in the reviews..

Basically DSLRs do best here. Also, faster equals more money..

Bare in mind that on a bridge camera ( like a FZ18 ) the EVF will go blank while writing files to the card, so in continuous mode it can be hard to track your subject if it's moving..

DSLRs use optical viewfinders ( and have better AF systems ) so continuous shooting speed alone does not reflect the advantage a DSLR has over a P&S..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #11

I dont have the Panny, But Stephen is absolutely right. If shot to shot time is important to you the DSLR is the answer. Faster shot to shot and faster auto focus while tracking.... The lens is gonna be something you need to factor in to the cost equation though.tafkag.

'It came to me in a vision... a vision brighter than the sun itself'But, I over exposed and blew the highlights..

Comment #12

Thanks. The shot to shot speed is highly important to me and I think in the end I will just be frustrated with a non DSLR because of this one feature..

With that said I have looked at the D40x, D40, D80, and just tonight discovered the Sony A700. While the Sony is quite a bit more money, it looks like a great camera..

Is there an "all in one" type lense that you can recommend? I'm leaning toward the D80 because of the IS built into the camera rather than the lense (correct me if I'm wrong about that). Most of my shots will be outside shooting anywhere from 5 feet away to 100 feet away..

Thank you so much for all your advice...

Comment #13

The D80 does not have in-camera IS..

OTOH, for the kind of action you're talking about, IS isn't really an issue...

Comment #14

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