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In the market for a new camera
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Douglas Raymond
(Dougr320) - F

Locale: Indy
In the market for a new camera on 02/08/2011 16:35:02 MST Print View

Hi all,

I had a pretty nice newer olympus waterproof digital camera, but somehow managed to loose it. I'm no pro by any means, I'm a pretty much a camera noob. I've been weighing my options and since I really cut down my pack weight I don't really mind carrying around a pound of camera gear.
I want to get something that handles easliy. Yet I also want a good optical zoom and excellent picture quality as well as a little more features than the basic point and shoot. I have always had good luck with canon but this nikon I saw at best buy seems really nice for $199 even though its a little bigger than a little point and shoot. Heres a link, let me know what some of you are using.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: In the market for a new camera on 02/08/2011 18:42:17 MST Print View

They just announced the L120 with 21X zoom versus 15X zoom in the L110. In the same announcement they had the S9100 which is a compact with 18X zoom.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Nikon Coolpix on 02/08/2011 19:35:35 MST Print View

You'll discover that that Coolpix is ok in daylight , but has terrible auto-focus in anything near dark. The lens will be very slow at full tele. Above the lowest isos you will have significant noise in the photos as well as lots of purple fringing. It will do macros well. The amount of pixels is larger than it needs to be. I'm a long term Coolpix fan , but I jumped ship to the Canon s90m and s95.They are only twice the price. And this year I'd jump to the new Olympus XZ-1 if it's speed-light options pan out. Otherwise if you are not shooting Raw buy an old Nikon Coolpix 880 with the wide angle and 3x tele for next to nothing on eBay.

Edited by Meander on 02/08/2011 19:36:43 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Nikon Coolpix on 02/08/2011 19:45:25 MST Print View

John brings up a good point. Many of the modern compact cameras are good, but some compromises had to be made to get them to market at such an affordable price. Maybe it is an auto-focus weakness that would require a big camera to overcome. Maybe it is chromatic aberration. There are all sorts of problems that could arise.

The more that you can spell out what kind of photos you intend to get, the better you might be able to steer around those weak features. As a general rule, the closer you stay toward the half-dozen or so big brands, the better off you will be.

If you are a lightweight backpacker and you really need to keep camera weight as a top priority, then so be it.

On the other hand, if you just want to shoot some snapshots, you can save money with some of the off-brands.


Douglas Raymond
(Dougr320) - F

Locale: Indy
re on 02/09/2011 13:24:08 MST Print View

I'm really just starting off with cameras. I would always just bring my camera along on trips snap a bunch of shots and tray to find a few good ones to share the woods with less outdoorsy family and friends. My pack weight is in the 7-10lb range depending on season so having a 14oz camera with a lot more features and better picture quality would be fine with me since all the other light weight gear I have offsets the camera weight in my mind. As far as what I take pictures of mostly of scenery, some of myself and camping buddies and whatever forest creatures I am lucky enough to come across.

Brian Barnes
(brianjbarnes) - M

Locale: Midwest
RE "In the market for a new camera" on 02/09/2011 13:36:15 MST Print View

Do you have a specific price range you want to stay under. I'd second John's recommendation of the Oly XZ-1. As far as point in shoots go, its specs look like an ideal backcountry camera. The Panasonic LX5 also gets great reviews. But both cameras are in the $400-$500 range.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: re on 02/09/2011 14:01:30 MST Print View

Hi Doug,

Do you think you might get more involved in photography as your results improve? For anybody looking to grow in the hobby I suggest a system camera rather than an all-in-one solution.

The Nikon L100 looks nightmarish to me for a couple of reasons: the gaudy zoom range and no EVF (separate electronic viewfinder). Big zoom ranges like this take their toll on lens quality and speed (although this isn't bad at f/5.6 on the long end) and composing a shot with a 400+mm lens using the back display, especially in the sun, is tough. Any of the other cameras mentioned in this thread will give better results and be more fun to use (and allow far more control over camera settings).

If you think you'll be tackling photography more seriously over time, then the "mirrorless" system cameras deserve a look. You can get a body and lens within your weight range, you'll gain complete control over the camera and you'll be able to add lenses and accessories as you discover what types of photography most excite you (landscapes, portraits and wildlife have vastly different equipment demands). Most importantly, the camera output will be far better because the imaging chip is several times larger.

Panasonic G series and Olympus Pen series micro four-thirds are the most mature systems, with many body and lens options and lots on the way (including lenses from three more makers). Careful shopping can fetch a body and two-lens kit for under $500 (even $400 around the time a body is being replaced with a new model). Sony's NEX series is younger but gaining ground, though there are fewer choices as of now.

Sorry if I've muddied things, but perhaps it will help in sorting out some priorities.



Frank Deland

Locale: On the AT in VA
new camera on 02/09/2011 15:03:58 MST Print View

I fit Rick's descrpition of what could happen to you. I recently upgraded from point and shoot to a DSL, Olympus Evolt 620. There is a review of it at this site.

You can buy a refurbished model with two lenses at the following link from a respected camera online store. I find I only use the zoom 40-150mm which is really like a 300mm zoom in 35mm cameras. The camera is not all that heavy

I also took four week online cousre to learn about f/stops, depth of field and other functions of the camera. I know a lot more about photography now in only a short time and my picture taking has really improved (at least I think so).
I also invested in Photoshop Elements 9 and that really helps "rescue" and improve photos even as a beginner.
What is really nice is that I have learned that I have some wonderful opportunities for pictures right out my front door and along my morning and evening walks.

Okay...if I were to invest in a pocket camera...look for the latest Panasonic Lumix in a recent thread (I forget which model)

Edited by rambler on 02/09/2011 15:08:30 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: new camera on 02/10/2011 04:53:21 MST Print View

The guy asks about a $200 superzoom and he gets low zoom high buck suggestions.


Getting a lot of quality with a lot of zoom costs a lot of money. How much do you prefer a long zoom versus great quality? How far can you stretch your budget?

Tyler Barcelli

Locale: Southeast
camera on 02/10/2011 14:16:49 MST Print View

If you want a quality camera with a good optical zoom then check out these ones.

I personally had the Panasonic Lumix fz35 before seeing this review and I was glad to that it was the highest rated. The best part is that it is also one of the lightest cameras I found with all the features I wanted. It comes in around 15oz for everything but a case. Amazon has them for $240 right now so that's good too

Brad Fisher

Locale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
Re: camera on 02/11/2011 06:25:55 MST Print View

Glad to see I'm not the only one hanging around for a good review of the Oly xz-1. A lot of new cameras have been introduced the past couple of weeks, so you might want to wait a few weeks to see how things shake out.


drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: camera on 02/11/2011 08:45:02 MST Print View

Yeah, it's amazing what's come out in the past couple of months. Now you can get a pocketable camera with a big sensor and fast glass or a similarly compact superzoom camera. I'm anxiously awaiting reviews for all these cameras.

Scott weaver
(rexton) - F
Re: Re: camera on 02/26/2011 05:39:48 MST Print View

I like Nikon Coolpix S6000 easy and work well. IF you need more info on the same or relevant cameras you try Testfreaks. Good info.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: new camera on 02/26/2011 20:11:07 MST Print View

Photos for screen saver? Check
Photos for printing 5x7? Check
Photos for Printing 20x30? Most don't really do this as its expensive.

This will determine what camera you want.

Frankly speaking, if you stitch pictures together then an old 3MP camaera is perfectly acceptable for all of the above. I have them hanging on my wall to prove it. If you pixel peep yes, you can tell, otherwise from more than 3 feet away you cannot. For the first two of the above an old 3MP camera is perfectly acceptable for prints up to 11x13 all day long. For cropping purposes, a 6mp cameras helps. After this, the only thing you really want is image stabilization.

What helps even more is the lense. Get a fast lense. F2.0 is good. Most compacts aren't this fast. A very few select compact cameras have this. Start there then look at zoom range. Two such cameras are listed above in previous posts. Get their older cousins and save yourself $200 from the latest and greatest cameras whom are no better than their older siblings.


BUT! Cameras with larger sensors have far better color profiles used in them creating far smoother realistic images.

Optimum for me personally is the GH1 and GH2 put out by panasonic. I have not personally used the GF1 or Olympus PEN cameras. Of course they cost a lot more. But, you get what you pay for as well. Everyone and their mother, sister, and brother wants a Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic currently can't build them fast enough. Gives 1080p 24fps video good enough to shoot a real movie. Total weight with a 3x zoom is about 1.2lbs. Extra battery needed though as their batteries are rather small though I have gotten 600 pics without flash on them. Also, every Micro four thirds camera without a mirror can put Every lense ever made on them. = ability to buy very good cheap lenses.

Nikon d7000 would be my next best favorite as Nikon has the best color profiles IMO. Of course here we are talking 3lbs of gear. 2lbs for the camera and a minimum of 1lb for the lense. More like 2lbs for the lense when all is said and done for around 4lbs of gear total. Of course in this range there are a myriad of options ranging in price from $300 on ebay to $1500 etc.

Mark Hyams
(markhyams) - F

Locale: New Mexico
E-PL1 on 03/10/2011 20:12:29 MST Print View

I picked up an Olympus E-PL1 with the 14-42 zoom on Amazon for $370. Deal! Fits your bill:

-about 1 pound (a little less)
-much higher quality pics than a compact (4/3 sensor)
-interchangeable lenses will give you lots of expandability options for the future
-optional EVF if you like shooting eye-level

I've only had the camera for a month and haven't taken in backpacking yet, but so far I'm impressed. Previous camera was a Canon S90 (nice size, but image quality was good but not stellar), and before that a Canon XSi DSLR (great image quality, but big and heavy). The Olympus PEN series fits nicely in between these two extremes.