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'Super Zoom' Cameras with Control Dials
Hi,.

I will shortly be upgrading my Fuji s602z to (quite probably) one of the new 'super zoom' cameras. Whilst I would love a DSLR, money, size and weight are, sadly, issues. Anyway, this is not the point.  .

My current camera has a control dial, which I use to set shutter speed, aperture etc without having to wade through the menus. This is an invaluable feature for me, but, when I look around at the new wave of cameras, only the Panasonic FZ50 seems to offer this dial. Of the current crop, the FZ18 looks like being a good bet, but I'm not sure I can get by with having to press buttons and navigate menus to change settings. My s602z may be old and frail, but at least it's a pleasure to use..

So, I'm wondering, what other cameras in this class have control dials for this purpose? Are they a forgotten feature, reserved only for DSLR?.

Cheers, Mark...

Comments (22)

The Fuji s9000/9500 and s9100/9600 (slightly updated model) feature a single rear command dial: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilms9000/.

As does the Sony H7 and H9 (surrounds the four-way controller):http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyh7/http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyh9/.

The Ricoh Caplio GX100 has both a front command dial and a rear tilt dial:http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/ricohgx100/..

Comment #1

So go with the FZ50. You will also appreciate the zoom and focus rings on the lens barrel.Joel Orlinsky.

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

Comment #2

I'll check out the first bundle to see if any of them offer the balance I'm after - thanks.  .

I would like the FZ50, but it's bulkiness puts me off somewhat. It's twice the size of it's competitors, so maybe I'd be better off with a DSLR. Unfortunately, I can't find a shop anywhere near me that sells this camera, so I can't go and have a look in person...

Comment #3

Well the s9000/etc are somewhat more compact, yet also feature zoom and focus rings. The only thing is that the f-stop at the tele-end is a slower than the Panasonic...

Comment #4

I'm rather torn between the FZ50, FZ18 and D40(x) at the moment. I want DSLR handling, but without the bulk. I guess that's a lot to ask (and lots of people are after it), but a few buttons here and there and some attention to detail goes a long way..

I'll give all your suggestions some thought. In the meantime, I'm going to try and find a local camera shop that stocks the FZ50 so I can see just how bulky it is.  ..

Comment #5

I was in the same position. I was never able to find a local store that carried the FZ50. Instead, I just ordered it from an online dealer that had a good return policy. Once I got my hands on it, I didn't even think of returning it. I love it. It is large, but it is well balanced and handles nicely.Joel Orlinsky.

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

Comment #6

Righto..

Oh, though since you mention the D40/D40x as an alternative, I'm wondering if you've also looked at 4/3s DSLRs like the Olympus e330*, e410, and e510. These cameras use a 2x crop factor, rather than the 1.5x crop found in the D40, which has the benefit of generally making the system a bit more compact (as is demonstrated especially in the e410)..

Of course 4/3s cameras usually don't perform as well in low-light (high ISO) as many other DSLR systems... primarily due to the smaller sensor size... however, said performance is still better than just about any compact fixed-lens camera..

*(no longer in production, but still readily available)..

Comment #7

I hadn't noticed that camera - it's a slightly different take on things, so I'll check it out properly..

To be honest, I'm seriously considering the D40/D40x, although need to get my hands on both that and the FZ18 before deciding. No shops around here seem to have the FZ18 - I don't know if there's a UK supply problem or something. The FZ18 does more for the money, but the DSLRs are more enjoyable to use and with better image quality. The D40 18-55mm can be had for the same price as the FZ18. It's a dead heat!..

Comment #8

Mark_ wrote:.

To be honest, I'm seriously considering the D40/D40x, although needto get my hands on both that and the FZ18 before deciding. No shopsaround here seem to have the FZ18 - I don't know if there's a UKsupply problem or something. The FZ18 does more for the money, butthe DSLRs are more enjoyable to use and with better image quality.The D40 18-55mm can be had for the same price as the FZ18. It's adead heat!.

Mark... the D40 is a small and light DSLR, but the FZ18 is smaller and lighter..

If you can find an FZ7 or FZ8, try handling them. The FZ18 is only a little bid heavier, and just a tiny bit larger, and the controls are very similar..

This comparison might help...

Http://www.dpreview.com/...Cpanasonic_dmcfz8%2Cpanasonic_dmcfz18&show=all.

MartyPanasonic FZ7, FZ20, FZ30, LX2Olympus C4000, C7000..

Comment #9

Thanks, Marty..

I finally got to a shop yesterday and was able to handle the Nikon D40 and D80, the Canon EOS 400D and the Panasonic FZ8 (in that order). Despite there being a lack of memory card in any of them (which rather restricts what you can test), I was able to gain a bit of knowledge on how they handle..

Firstly, I was impressed with the D40 - it feels solid and of decent weight, without being too bulky. I wasn't bowled over by it's quality, but it felt like I could be with a little bit of time to play around. Next up, the D80 was quite a bit bigger and heavier, but felt very nice in the hands. That's the camera I would like, if only my budget stretched!.

The Canon appeared similar in operation to the Nikon, but, crucially, it felt a lot lighter and smaller and, therefore, less comfortable to hold..

Finally, I took a look at the FZ8. Wow, that is a small camera! I have big hands, which meant holding the thing was uncomfortable and it was very hard to keep it straight and steady. The EVF and LCD were, after using the SLRs, very poor in comparison. All this succeeded in doing was leaning me towards an SLR..

So, in short (and, as expected), I found the Nikons were much better suited to my hands and were more comfortable and pleasurable to use. I've all but ruled out the FZx, although would still be interested to see and use the FZ18. My decision is now between the bargain D40, the (arguably) slightly better (but more expensive), D40x and the more, more expensive D80. Unless I can find a bargain D80, I will almost certainly plump for one of the D40s. The advantages of the D40x (image size, ISO100 and, allegedly, better dynamic range) are nice, but are they worth the extra cash? That's for me to decide.  ..

Comment #10

Just to add to your confusion, check out the Pentax K10D. I have large hands and found the D40 too small and the K10D just right...

Comment #11

I was tempted to suggest the K10D myself.... but I didn't want to add to the confusion....

The Nikon D40 is a pretty good camera, but there are better ones out there.MartyPanasonic FZ7, FZ20, FZ30, LX2Olympus C4000, C7000..

Comment #12

Mark_ wrote:.

My current camera has a control dial, which I use to set shutterspeed, aperture etc without having to wade through the menus. Th.

Only the Panasonic FZ50 seems to offer this dial..

The Pany FZ18 has a near-equivalent: a joystick. It lets you quickly access key settings and is an, err, joy to use, for me anyway. Once I get the hang of it, I'll be able to change settings without taking my eye away from the viewfinder..

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

It doesn't have a hot shoe or twist LCD like the FZ50, but it does have an effective High Angle viewing mode. I've been pleased with the built-in flash and, to my surprise, there is no light fall off when shooting wide angle..

I've only had the FZ18 for a few days. While I had deep reservations about buying a wide-angle superzoom, the camera performs well beyond my expectations..

Gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Pany FZ18 & TZ3, Canon SD700, A570 & S2, Nikon 5400http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #13

The K10D seems to be a little pricier than the D40, but I'll read the reviews regardless. Might have a play around with it in the shop, too..

The D40 felt comfortable to me, as did the D80, so now I'm looking at the price/features trade-off. As you say, it's a nice camera, but it's lacking a little in features, namely the lack of autofocus motor (which I'm not too bothered about), bracketing and gridlines. As I say, the D80 is the one I'd like, but size and price pretty much rule that out..

I didn't really want this thread to become another 'which camera should I buy?', but it seems to have done! I'm still focused on comfort and usability more than anything, so it'll be interesting to see how the K10D (or, indeed, the K100D) feels...

Comment #14

Thanks for the info, Gail. Whilst I haven't yet found an FZ18 to handle, I did manage to try out an FZ8, but found it too small for my hands and somewhat fiddly, especially after playing with some DSLRs. The joystick seemed to work ok, but didn't feel as responsive as a wheel. All this aside, I would still really like to try the FZ18 before I make my decision, as it's slightly bigger and may be more comfortable and, pound-for-pound, you get a lot more for your money than you would with an SLR..

This whole process has made me realise how comfortable my aged s602z is!  ..

Comment #15

The fit, feel and ergonomics of a camera are extremely important, imho. The FZ18 is just perfect for me. The FZ50 is much heavier, if you don't go the DSLR route.gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Pany FZ18 & TZ3, Canon SD700, A570 & S2, Nikon 5400http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #16

Going for a super-zoom vs dslr is tempting..

Do any of you people who are monitoring this thread have experience with the super-zooms?What's your experience with the image quality?.

Obaone..

Comment #17

Oba1 wrote:.

Do any of you people who are monitoring this thread have experiencewith the super-zooms?What's your experience with the image quality?.

I've owned the Canon S2 and now the FZ8. Do they have dslr quality? No, particularly for low light shots..

But is the quality more than good enough and acceptable to those of us who no longer want to mess with the bulk, weight and cost of a dslr? You bet it is!.

If you care to take a look, here are some shots I took with each camera:.

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

S2: http://www.pbase.com/gailb/s2.

Gail ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailbMy digital camera BLOGs: Pany FZ18 & TZ3, Canon SD700, A570 & S2, Nikon 5400http://www.digicamhelp.com/camera-logs/index.php..

Comment #18

I oba1..

Some pictures of FZ3 and FZ50..

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

RegardsFrancisco..

Comment #19

Thank You! Those are beautiful pictures, exactly the kind of photos I would like take..

I'd absolutely prefer a super-zoom, due to the smaller size and flexibility. I almost bought one, when somebody said that the IQ is no good enough. I think you with your pictures proved the opposite..

Now, if I should decide to go for a super-zoom, which one is best, do you know? S5IS, Sony's, or the Z18? Perhaps the Fujifilm? Do you have an opinon?.

Regards oba..

Comment #20

Many thanks! My comments to Gail apply to you too..

Thank you,.

Oba..

Comment #21

I own the Leica V Lux 1 which is virtually the same as the FZ50. I'm more than happy with it's image quality and handling. I don't know why people get so hung about it's size, to me it's the perfect camera size, shape and weight. DSLR's are more expensive, heavier, require at least two lenses, (three to match the focal length of my Leica), and that all adds up to headaches for what I want to do, which is enjoy my day out AND take photos.Regards,PJGhttp://thoroughphoto.com.

'Remember there's a winner in every race.'..

Comment #22

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