snubbr.com

Super Zoom or Entry Level DSLR?
Up until now I've been very much a P&S person and so have stuck to small cameras. However, I'm going to Africa soon to visit a charity project so would like to upgrade my camera. I'd also like to be able to take decent photos of my Bengal kittens when I return. I want the flexibility of some manual control but I don't want to be lugging around a lot of kit or be constantly changing lenses - it will simply put me off using the camera. I also want to avoid the shutter lag of small compacts that makes photographing the kittens impossible. I'll be printing out at up to A4 size and using photos in presentations etc.



I had just about decided not to go DSLR and narrowed it down to a choice between the Canon S5IS or Panasonic FZ18. However, someone has suggested the Pentax K100D Super as an entry level DSLR alternative - not much heavier than the Canon, reasonably priced and with perhaps more flexibility for the future..

Does anyone have any views? I know it's my choice ultimately but would the Pentax be a reasonable option for what I want to do? Would it give noticeably better IQ than the Canon or Panasonic? If so, is there a lens option that would see me through my trip to Africa without having to change lenses too often? Alternatively, are there strong views between the Canon and the Panasonic - I'm going round in circles with the reviews!!..

Comments (21)

Hi,.

Saw your post and thought I would my two cents into the ring..

If carrying around something larger is not good for you then go for a superzoom camera. Yes with a DSLR you have future flexabiltiy but to get any quality lens that can reach out the distance of your superzoom you will pay a premium price. I mean yes you can get Pentax with a kit lens but it's still a kit lens and don't forget less third party lenses are available for a Pentax. Canon/Nikon you have a TON of choices..

I see no reason you cannot print to A4 with a superzoom. I've printed a few years back on a Canon G4 13 x19 and looked pretty darned good..

Just realize this....the smaller the sensor the more noise of course I believe people make WAY to much out of noise...in the film days we all talked about how tight the grain on Ilford 800 was etc....

I think any camera will serve your purpose either the Canon/Panasonic or any other superzoom....personally if I was looking for a a superzoom I like the Fuji's. I think Fuji pays less attention to megapixel wars and more attention to just getting the image processing right..

Now the wrinkle is this.....if you don't think you need the long crazy reach of the superzooms then something like the Canon G9 makes a WHOLE bunch of sense. It has RAW capability and although you don't want to shoot it now I bet after a while using RAW you won't go back....at least it's there for you later..

Go to your local shop and hold them in your hand...which one "feels" right to you? That is always overlooked by people paying way to much attention to reviews..

Regards,.

Chuck.

'A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there - even if you put them.

End to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched frometernity.' Robert Doisneau..

Comment #1

The big questions would be how much telephoto range you need and whether you will be shooting in lower light..

I have not liked the megazoom cameras. They tend to be the size of a DSLR and not give any advantage except in tele range. There are pocket cameras that will be 90% as good as a DSLR when used in good light. They also do not suffer from the lower quality of a huge zoom range...

Comment #2

That's a tough decision. I'm sure you want to keep your kit to a minimum..

Try the Pentax K100D with the Tamron or Pentax 18-250, vs the Canon S5. With that lens the Pentax has roughly the same zoom as the Canon..

The S5 is very much smaller and lighter, but it does have a bit of shutter lag. Using manual settings is possible but a little difficult, -especially- manual focusing. It has supermacro capabilities, after a few settings, it can even focus on, say, a fly crawling right on the lens. The S5 has shake reduction in the lens, so you will see the effect in the viewfinder.The S5 has the fliparound screen which is very useful in some conditions..

The Pentax/18-250 will be fast to shoot and faster to set manually for those rare times. But it is much larger and heavier. The Pentax shake reduction is in the body, and you don't see the effect in the viewfinder, but you'll see the effect instantly on the screen after you shoot..

Both use AA and SD I'm sure you know..

Image quality is a bit better with the Pentax.The Canon is very good enough for A4..

You wouldn't go wrong with either. I'm assuming price is not much of a concern here. So get both!.

More seriously, I might go with the S5 for this trip, and still plan to get the K100D or other DSLR when you get back..

Take a second camera too for backup, some cheap P&S that also uses AA and SD...

Comment #3

I reckon to answer this for yourself you need to visit each camera options forum here on dp. check out the pics and how people use theirs. You should get an idea of what you are after..

If you are not sure and have lots to learn, buying a dslr and body may not be ideal. I have a fz50 and have learnt to use a camera as well as care for it...and hopefully my understanding and skill has improved. I will probably upgrade (cash willing) to a better dslr in a years time than I would have got buying one first off as I now know what I am likely to use it for. As to what type of slr, I chose the panny after about 3 months of info scouring and it seems to work. Others will rave about theirs...check out the forums.

Cheers.

Liam.

My photoblog at : http://coolpix.shutterchance.com/archive.phpmy galleries at : http://s224.photobucket.com/albums/dd243/liambeattie/..

Comment #4

On the pentax k100d super-.

-the camera itself would outperform the mentioned p&s or any other p&s for that matter. when you got back from your trip the pentax pics are going to be better for everyday shooting plus any kind of special pics that you make take(macro,telephoto, etc.).

-which bring me to the subject of lenses. and here is the problem; you would need the equivelant of a big telephoto; you are talking inthe 400-600mm range. the longest of a doall zoom right now is the tamron or pentax 18-250. the 250 becomes the equiv of 375mm on the pentax which isn't quite long enough. try-http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/Safari-Tips.shtmlhttp://www.luminous-landscape.com/techniques/digital-safari.shtmlhttp://www.luminous-landscape.com/workshops/safari-primer.shtmlhttp://www.luminous-landscape.com/locations/namibia-equipment.shtml.

The question for you should be Not what camera should I buy for the trip, but unless you are throwing the camera in the trash when you get home. the question should be What camera should I buy for the trip AND using it at home later? you could be sinking money into a camera for a one time use..

When you buy a camera, no matter what, you also have to consider the accessories needed for the trip. like memeory cards(how many, what size), more camera batteries and how to charge them in africa,tripod/monopod/beanbg???, do you need a external flash?(the builtinflashes on ANY camera is good to 15ft max and even then there is light falloff on the edges, flash batteries(what kind, how many), camera case to put this stuff in, cable release?, more lenses(telephotos for animals will not work with landscapes, or macro(if you plan on doing any), wideangle zoom(10-20 or 12-24??), just plain everyday shots-lens). for the last the 18-250 would work but for long distance animals may not probably not be long enough. so for the animals you would need some kind long distance telephoto..

Just remember changes lense in africa is something you do want to do if possible, from all I have read the dust is bad news..

Please read the above 4 articles to get some ideas on lens type and length, also other equipment...

Comment #5

Just checked the canon S5 IS is the equiv of 36-432mm lens. it has a 4x digital zoom, but you should never use it, it simply degrades the pictures..

So the pentax with the 18-250 is the same as 27-375mm vs the canon at 36-432mm. the pentax gains on the wide end but looses a little on the telephoto end. but the question is 375 OR 432mm long enough for africa's animals. as I asked please read he 4 articles in my other reply and decide for yourself...

Comment #6

Constantly changing lenses - it will simply put me off using the camera>>>.

You have answered your own question. Go for one of the superzooms, and if wildlife are on the agenda go for the longest telephoto..

If a pocketable camera remains attractive, consider the Canon G9 and have your feet do some of the zooming.

You only really need a DSLR if you intend to sell your photos or have them published in glossy magazines..

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

Comment #7

Thanks for all the replies folks, they've been really helpful and I appreciate the time you've put into responding..

For those wondering about the pictures I'll be taking in Africa - they'll be mainly people and places. I'm visiting a charity project in an urban area of Addis Ababa so it definitely won't be wildlife photography and it'll be a case of snatching photos when the opportunity arises rather than having time to set up shots. It's a once in a lifetime trip and I want to make sure I capture it in the best way through the photographs I take. I'll be using them to illustrate the work of the project when I get back and hopefully raise funds for it..

I've got a Canon IXUS 860 as a pocket camera and my dilemma is really whether the Canon S5 or Pana FZ18 is going to add significantly enough to the pictures I take to justify the outlay, or whether, for a little bit more money, I could go SLR and make a much bigger difference (I'm not looking to spend much more than 600). I've handled both the S5 and the FZ18 and found the Canon more comfortable in my hands. To my surprise, I also preferred the heavier weight which was one of the things putting me off an SLR and made me wonder about the Pentax K100D Super..

Lots for me to think about and only a little time to decide!!..

Comment #8

Ginny....

Welll people shooting...that's my area (photojournalist here)..

Canon Powershot G9...or get the Leica V-Lux....although a Panny sort of it has Leica glass and Leica imaging processing..

Safe travels and have fun shooting!.

Regards,.

Chuck.

'A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there - even if you put them.

End to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched frometernity.' Robert Doisneau..

Comment #9

Must admit I hadn't even considered the Leica - do you think it's worth the extra money compared to the Panasonic FZ50 and would both be significantly better than the Panasonic FZ18?.

Looking at the Canons - would you recommend the Canon G9 over the S5? I've seen some conflicting reviews of it (although I suppose that's true of every camera!!)..

Comment #10

One aspect has not been mentioned. AF speed..

For e.g. animals which are not sleeping, children playing, etc. a proper DSLR has huge advantages. For action shots a superzoom is pretty worthless IMHO...

Comment #11

That's at the back of mind and is partly what's making my decision so difficult. Although my trip to Ethiopia is what initially prompted me to get a new camera, I also want to be able to photograph my three wonderful Bengal cats when I get home - they very definitely don't stay still for more than a split second. I've tried the Canon S5IS and it's significantly better in terms of shutter lag than the little compacts I've used before but still leaves something to be desired..

Somehow I seem to be talking myself into the Pentax K100 Super. Maybe I should go for the Canon G9 for Ethiopia and the Pentax for the cats...

Comment #12

Ginny,.

Yep I think it's worth the extra money for the Leica branded camera. So folks will tell you that the extra money is just for the little red dot....disagree with that. From my understanding and some folks over on the Leica form and a local Leica dealer is that Leica's image processing is different than Panny and I'm sure you know/heard Leica service is second to none..

Well I have to say I've played around with the G9 at my local camera store for a few hours and will more than likely buy one. Hard to justify another camera when I'm always looking to add lens for the DSLR gear or my M4 P Leica. But if I was in the market for a good portable camera that produced nice quality shots and has a fair amount of manual controls AND has RAW processing I would buy a G9..

I must stress though...the feel of the camera in the hand....the ergonomics of it for you is sooooo important. Pick them all up....forget everyone's reviews.....forget the salesperson bias....and go with your gut..

Chuck.

'A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there - even if you put them.

End to end, they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds, snatched frometernity.' Robert Doisneau..

Comment #13

Ginnym wrote:.

For those wondering about the pictures I'll be taking in Africa -they'll be mainly people and places. I'm visiting a charity projectin an urban area of Addis Ababa so it definitely won't be wildlifephotography and it'll be a case of snatching photos when theopportunity arises rather than having time to set up shots. It's aonce in a lifetime trip and I want to make sure I capture it in thebest way through the photographs I take. I'll be using them toillustrate the work of the project when I get back and hopefullyraise funds for it..

With that additional info, I think you should go for the Pentax plus the 18-250. The quality will be a bit higher, everyone agrees. It has a bit wider zoom than the S5, which is something it seems you'll be able to use..

Something I forgot and nobody else mentioned, any P&S also has a bit of "zoom lag" along with shutter lag. The Pentax+18-250 is zoomed manually and is much faster and surer to zoom where you need it..

You have a usable P&S already for backup or lightweight use..

I disrecommend the Leica for this. That has Leica quality at a Leica price. Leica service if ever needed also comes at a Leica price. The quality would not be too much better and probably not even noticeable at A4 and smaller..

So If the Pentax+18-250 size and weight is not a problem, I would tend toward that one now. All together they should price around 600, I hope..

(Disclaimer, I own the Pentax K100 and the older 18-200 and a few other lenses, and also the Canon S3 (not S5, the older yet still available S3) - and a couple P&Ss. And I use all for different purposes, but I use the Pentax 9x more than the Canon. I'm keeping the Canon for functions it has or easy use in some situations that the Pentax doesn't, or when I can only take something smaller where I still need superzoom with an amateur appearance, and for backup.) (And plenty of film SLRs and lenses and more but that's a different story.).

But I haven't been to Africa yet! Have a great trip...

Comment #14

Some have recommended the 18-250 lens. Be aware that the minimum aperture at maximum zoom is 6.3. Some autofocus systems won't work at that aperture and even the best ones will be slower..

For the K100 and that lens, you'll spend about $900. For $1200, you could get a Nikon D40 and the 18-200 3.5-5.6VR Nikkor lens. The Vibration Reduction can be a lifesaver in low light, and the 5.6 aperture at 200mm will still focus fast enough. It's an excellent camera/lens combo giving you 27-300 in 35mm equivalent coverage..

Someone also mentioned noise and focus speed. These are areas where the superzoom P&S cameras can't hold a candle to the DLSRs. If you are going to be taking photos of children running and playing or animals moving around, you'll appreciate the quick reflexes of a DLSR...

Comment #15

No, the advantages of DSLR are not HUGE especially compared to top Superzooms such as the S3 and the FZ18. Doesn't anybody use 'prefocus' anymore?.

Personally, I would take the Panasonic simply because it will cover all your zoom needs and will give quality as good as the Canon in most lighting situations..

Cheers..

Comment #16

I had read somewhere that plenty of journalists are using fixed lens slrs/ super zooms like leicas and pannies. Probably to get rid of tons of equipment, aside from the fact that taking a fortune in equipment into potential hazardous areas does not make sense...not that adis is dangerous if common sense is used..

Enjoy..very envious of your trip .

Regardsliam.

My pics at: http://s224.photobucket.com/albums/dd243/liambeattie/my photoblog: at http://coolpix.shutterchance.com/archive.php..

Comment #17

These are areas where the superzoom P&S cameras can't hold a candle to the DLSRs.>>.

Not entirely true now other than in extreme low light situations, and where subject movement is rapid. Check out my link "Back to the bridge" below where I've been using a Fuji 9100 just like I do a DSLR..

It is the DSLRs that are the Point and Shoots for so many people now, and whilst they can be operated in Auto, P or a variety of scene modes, the whole point of having one is that you can tell it what to do to get your kind of shot. The problem is you need to know why and how..

Viewfinders make a huge difference, and for me as a glasses wearer I'd much sooner use my freind's Olympus which has the exposure data up to one side rather than my own DSLR which shows it at the bottom..

A Nikon with a VR lens is probably the best suggestion yet as it permits entry to one of the top two systems. It all depends on which camera the OP feels happiest handling..

The one thing that really concerns me now is that once someone has talked themself into having a DSLR they'll never try hard enough with a non-dslr to get really good shots. One should not go on a trip of a lifetime with a camera you feel will often fail to come up to scratch. There are of course workarounds but they only come with years of experience..

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

Comment #18

John farrar wrote:.

These are areas where the superzoom P&S cameras can't hold a candle to the DLSRs.>>.

Not entirely true now other than in extreme low light situations, andwhere subject movement is rapid. Check out my link "Back to thebridge" below where I've been using a Fuji 9100 just like I do a DSLR..

It is the DSLRs that are the Point and Shoots for so many people now,and whilst they can be operated in Auto, P or a variety of scenemodes, the whole point of having one is that you can tell it what todo to get your kind of shot. The problem is you need to know why andhow..

I still haven't seen any point and shoot or bridge cameras that can come near any DSLR when it comes to noise performance at ISOs higher than about 200. However, even if you ignore that issue, the point and shoot and bridge cameras still can't get anywhere near DSLRs for overall speed of operation. If you consider the time it takes the camera to focus AND take the picture, nothing beats a DSLR..

If you take nothing but still shots (portraits, landscapes, scenes), then a bridge camera may do well for you. If you want to get pictures of anything moving around (kids playing ball, for example), then the DSLR will make a huge difference..

Plus, you get the superior quality and the option to expand your system later...

Comment #19

I own a Fuji S9600 (=9100) and totally agree, it's a great camera and you can take fantastic pictures with it. But there are some points, where you can find big differences between a bridge/prosumer/superzoom and a dslr (I use Nikon D70s quite often at the moment, but it's unfortunately not mine):.

- You can NEVER change your lense (I would love to have a quick prime lense for low light conditions, e.g. in a jazz-club)- The electronic viewfinder is useful, but you can hardly focus manually with it.

- When taking photos of moving objects the Shutter lag is just too long (and yes, I do prefocus); I often take pictures of dogs, and they move a lot..

- There is no TTL for external flashes (perhaps different for bridges from other brands).

- The high ISO-performance is day and night, a bridge-camera has a compact-camera sized sensor. it's many times smaller than any dslr-sensor. A Bridge is definitly a compact camera. Even though it may look like a dslr..

I think especially the "moving objects" are important for you, so this would be a "pro" for an dslr. But there is one thing that hasn't been mentioned in this thread. I think you want to take photos of people in Africa in everyday situations. With a "normal" compact camera as G9 it would be much less likely that they notice you taking pictures, and you could get more natural photos..

What I don't really understand is, why everybody talks about superzooms and long tele. You said, that you don't do a Safari. I think a wide angle is more important than a long tele. I use the focal lengths 28-35mm very often, and hardly ever 120mm+..

If you take a bridgecamera, think about wide angle, the difference between 28 mm and 38mm doesn't sound big, but it is huge. So, have a look at the fuji bridges, too..

But I'd take a DSLR, 600pounds is enough to get some nice equipment to start with. And I do NOT agree with people who say, you can only use a dslr when you know a lot about theory. Every entry-level-dslr has automatic- and scene-modes. It is not more difficult, than a p&s, but the possibillities are there and wait to be discovered..

Well, I don't know, whether I could help you, or just confused you more. It is a difficult decission. But the most important is the person behind the camera. Get one or two good books about photography (there are lots of threads on this topic). And enjoy your trip!!!!..

Comment #20

It's all very helpful - thanks. I've now been given the opportunity to take a Panasonic FZ18 with me to Africa which I think is is just about small and light enough to be my P&S for the trip It offers a wide angle and zoom but is just about small enough to be used discreetly..

I'm fairly settled on the idea that I'll get a DSLR too - not sure whether it would be sensible to take it to Africa or save it for when I get home. The ones various people have suggested are the Pentax K100D Super, Nikon D40X and Canon EOS400D or possibly the Olympus E4/510. I'd be starting from scratch so would initially need one with a decent kit lens that I can add to over time. Any views would be welcomed..

Thanks for those who've wished me well on the trip to Ethiopia. I feel slightly uneasy about the amount of money I'm considering spending on a camera, knowing that the money could keep a village of children in school for a year or a clean water supply. I just hope that the pictures I take will play a positive role in supporting the community there by raising awareness and generating support...

Comment #21

Click Here to View All...

Sponsored Amazon Deals:

1. Get big savings on Amazon warehouse deals.
2. Save up to 70% on Amazon Products.


This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

Categories: Home | Diet & Weight Management | Vitamins & Supplements | Herbs & Cleansing |

Sexual Health | Medifast Support | Nutrisystem Support | Medifast Questions |

Web Hosting | Web Hosts | Website Hosting | Hosting |

Web Hosting | GoDaddy | Digital Cameras | Best WebHosts |

Web Hosting FAQ | Web Hosts FAQ | Hosting FAQ | Hosting Group |

Hosting Questions | Camera Tips | Best Cameras To Buy | Best Cameras This Year |

Camera Q-A | Digital Cameras Q-A | Camera Forum | Nov 2010 - Cameras |

Oct 2010 - Cameras | Oct 2010 - DSLRs | Oct 2010 - Camera Tips | Sep 2010 - Cameras |

Sep 2010 - DSLRS | Sep 2010 - Camera Tips | Aug 2010 - Cameras | Aug 2010 - DSLR Tips |

Aug 2010 - Camera Tips | July 2010 - Cameras | July 2010 - Nikon Cameras | July 2010 - Canon Cameras |

July 2010 - Pentax Cameras | Medifast Recipes | Medifast Recipes Tips | Medifast Recipes Strategies |

Medifast Recipes Experiences | Medifast Recipes Group | Medifast Recipes Forum | Medifast Support Strategies |

Medifast Support Experiences |

 

(C) Copyright 2010 All rights reserved.