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Discussion in 'Photography' started by Matt Weldy, Mar 25, 2005.
What is the best digital camera in the sub 400.00 category with at least 5mp
What kind of camera are you looking for? Something for simple snapshots that you can put in a pocket? Something that's more feature rich, that offers manual controls, etc. but not really pocketable, if at all? What do you expect to shoot under what kinds of conditions? Why "at least 5MP"? I ask that because MP count is not everything and
I was looking at the sony dsc-w5 (5mp) or the dsc-p200 (7.2mp) The reviews I read are 50/50. I think the image stabilization would be a nice feature but how necessary is it? The dmc-fz5 looks like a great camera but a little pricey. Basically what I want is to be able to take (mostly still pictures/landscape and family stuff) and get real good quality. I have a decent 35mm slr that I would use for other stuff. I want to be able to go to like disney world and take a couple hundred pictures come back print them and have the average person not realize they came from a digital camera. I will probably be taking the pictures to a store (kodak machine) for the printing. Dosent have to actually fit into a pocket since I would be carrying around a dv cam and case anyways. Also I dont want to take the 200 pictures and have half of them fuzzy. Hope this helps. There are just so many out there and I am just a point and shoot guy.
For that, 4MP should be plenty enough, and you could check out the Panny FZ4, instead of FZ5, if the price makes a diff to you. 4MP vs 5MP is a rather small diff, and you won't see it on 4x6 prints -- you'll need to go to at least 8x10 to start noticing a diff, and even then, it's still quite small. 5MP is really only ~11% gain in resolution, not 25%.
For reference, one of Nikon's current pro digital SLR is only 4MP -- and this despite the new revision (D2Hs) that just came out this month for >$3K(!). Canon's previous offering in that market -- pro photojournalism -- was also only 4MP, and it was good enough for Sports Illustrated's needs as late as the Super Bowl just over a year ago. Used bodies of that Canon model still goes for $1.7-2K. Of course, these pro DSLRs do offer higher quality pixels than the consumer compacts, but the point is that MP count is not as big a deal as camera makers (and sales droids) would have you believe.
As for the usefulness of IS, well, most of the IS implementations on consumer compacts seem to gain you ~1.5-2 stops in shutter speed for handholdability, ie. to avoid camera-shake induced blur. That means you can handhold the camera at ~1/3-1/4 the shutter speeds you normally can w/out IS. That's pretty useful for the kind of uses you mentioned, if you ask me, unless you always shoot in bright daylight or always stick w/ flash for lower lighting situations. If the alternative choice has a brighter lens, then that would offset the advantages of course, but not too many
I really appreicate all your help but what do you think about Hewlett Packard PS945. It dosent have image stabilization. I am kinda worried about not having that. I want to be able to get the best picture possible and I want to take me out of the equation. Should I not be that concerned with image stabilization. I really like that panny fz5 you told me about. My question is does the price difference justify the image stabilization.
Well, like I said, it's a personal kinda thing, but it's pretty safe to say that IS is worth a good price premium, especially for long telephoto shooting. And there are probably a few other things better about the Panny than the HP -- well, for one thing, it's got a longer telephoto and boasts a Leica lens, which is certainly very nice sounding. In the SLR lens world, you typically have to pay a substantial premium for IS, and most who buy such lenses do find it worthwhile. Likewise, most who buy compact digicams w/ built-in IS also find it worthwhile. It's even led to new approaches to IS as seen in the current runs of Minolta digicams (and their new DSLR too) w/ their patented anti-shake technology -- and they're getting a sizeable following in large part for this feature.
But honestly, I have not used the Panny's myself and can only give you my views based on reviews (of other similar Panny's) and what I know about cameras and photography in general. You might want to do a search for a few other Panny owners on this forum though as a few here do own the slightly older, similarly spec-ed FZ20. They all seem to love their FZ20's.
Anyway, I don't believe the FZ5 is available just yet. Ritzcamera.com lists it for $500, but I suspect it'll come down closer to $400-450 when it actually hits the street. The FZ20 can already be had for just under $500 as it is. And personally, I would give good consideration to the FZ4 as that will likely be $50-100 cheaper. If you ask me, the IS is definitely more valuable than the extra MP (from 4 to 5). Only way for the IS to be less valuable is if you always use a tripod anyway.
Ok last question I went and played with the fz20 tonight and boy do I love it. The zoom is awesom the store was too small to actually take a picture with the zoom actually extened. Unitl I pointed accicently towards the floor and it focused on the different fibers in the floor that I am not sure even if I was on my hands and knees would look that good. However given the features I found the fz20 for 419 before shipping or is the upcoming fz5 pretty much the same. My baby is coming the first week of may and I guess the fz5 should ship 4/10 but not sure.
Again thanks for all your help and I do like this camera I never thought to look at panny.
Greetings Matt. I would like to recommend the FZ20 if you can get it in your budget. It is an incredible camera and bridges the gap between point and shoot and digital SLR nicely.
Personaly I prefer the size and feel of the FZ20 over it's smaller siblings and the bulk of the market out there. Try Steve's camera forum for feedback from owners and information on other models.
maybe I am just stupid but where do i find steves camera forum?
From what I can tell, the FZ20 should be somewhat better than the FZ5 unless Panasonic has improved their in-camera image processing in the last 1/2 year, which is possible. Still, the FZ20 also allows adding an external flash (although it's not TTL from what I understand) and probably has a slightly better lens, if nothing else. If you can get it new for $420, then that's great deal.
I'd also agree w/ Emmett's point about size. When the camera is too small, they will affect your ability to get good shots.
For reviews, there's also this one from dpreview.com. DPR is one of the best sites for camera reviews although they didn't put as much into this one as ones for other more expensive cameras:
There's also www.imaging-resource.com as well for quality reviews.
Matt just wanted to say that I didn't post the web address as I thought I may be stepping on Ron's toes.