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Old Saturday 7th April 2012, 13:16   #1
Reg10
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Question Which camera to buy

Have read some good advice on here by members suggesting to others what to buy but as expected none really matches what I want to know, which is;
As a now retired person interested in photography, wildlife and bird watching but only to the point of doing it for my own pleasure, ie not interested in competitions, shows, bragging rights in the hides etc, and not rich what do I upgrade to.
Currently using a low cost bridge cam from Fuji S1800, well aware of its limitations having owned it a year, slow to turn on, slow to focus, v.slow write to card etc.
Have been looking at Nikon D3100 with standard lens but then would need to buy a decent long lens to go with it or the new Fuji HS30EXR apparently much improved version of HS20 or perhaps a panasonic 4:3rds SLR.

Given that I will probably not buy another decent camera as eyesight will be shot in a few years probably, what does anyone recommend
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Old Saturday 7th April 2012, 20:54   #2
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Hi
I'm a HS30 owner and it is quick to start, quick to focus and I am finding the 2xdigital zoom on top of the 30x optical zoom gets some great record shots of birds. I have large hands and one of the original reasons I chose Fuji was how well it sat in them. I found it easier to handle than the Panasonic fz series and Sony. Also I love the manual zoom.
My second choice would be the Panasonic FZ150, hardly read anything negative about it and it too is super fast. It just didn't sit right for me.
All the best,
Ian
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Old Sunday 8th April 2012, 06:32   #3
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I would look at the Nikon 1V1, as this allows you the option of adding longer telezoom lenses, either directly in Nikon 1 format, or via the FT-1 adapter.
I think it will also be a more flexible solution than a fixed lens bridge camera.
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Old Sunday 8th April 2012, 11:23   #4
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Thanks for the comments, I have to say really not sure about the Nikon 1V1, would have to go and handle it both in standard format and with a telezoom lens attached before any further comment. I have a good Canon compact already so the need for the Nikon compactness is reduced.
Will go and have a look at the FZ150 and a HS30 hopefully side by side and see what I think.
Thanks again for the comments, more welcome
Greg
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 15:09   #5
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The panny DMC-G3 with the 100-300mm lens is what I'd recommend--or the FZ150 if the lower cost is significant to you. The G3 is the camera I've been happiest with. Should have somewhat better image quality at high ISOs than FZ150, and slightly better image quality. Believe it also has a larger viewfinder and having a manual zoom lens, as on the G3, is a big help in bird photography IMO. You need to zoom out to find small birds in a tree before you can zoom in for a frame-filling shot--and that's hard to do with an electric zoom operated by switch. But FZ150 is an excellent camera as well.

Would not recommend larger DSLRs as they are heavy and you need a larger and heavier lens with them to get adequate magnification because of the larger sensor size. Not something you need to lug around if your not doing competitions, etc.

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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 16:22   #6
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"DMC-G3 with the 100-300mm"
That's nearly a 1000 in UK , a Canon 550d with 70-200 F4 L series is around that money .
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 16:34   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Froggy View Post
"DMC-G3 with the 100-300mm"
That's nearly a 1000 in UK , a Canon 550d with 70-200 F4 L series is around that money .
Not sure what your point is, and don't know anything about UK prices. But 300mm is 600mm 35mm equivalent for micro 4/3rds camera because of 2x crop factor; plus you get 2x virtual teleconverter at small picture size on G3, extending "reach" to 1200mm. So don't think I'd compare it to a 200mm on a regular DSLR.

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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 16:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Froggy View Post
"DMC-G3 with the 100-300mm"
That's nearly a 1000 in UK , a Canon 550d with 70-200 F4 L series is around that money .
Jim is right, using the full number of pixels, the reach of the panasonic solution is about twice the reach of the Canon mentioned here. Obviously, you can purchase a much longer (and heavier lens) for the Canon setup to equal or surpass the panasonic reach.

For the OP: unless you are interested in the very best and expensive lenses I would not go for the Nikon 3100 you mention. If the actual picture quality of your current camera is more or less as good as you want it, then I would probably recommend the newest generation of superzooms, FZ150 or the fuji you mentioned. If you want a better output, I would second Jim's recommendation of the Panasonic with 100-300 (I have the slightly more expensive GH2 camera with that same lens. Actually, if the price of a GH2 has fallen to almost the same levels as G3 (as I think I read somewhere), then I probably would take GH2 over the G3 ...)

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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 20:49   #9
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Hi reg 10,I've just got my fz 150 about 2 weeks ago having part exchanged it for my fz 100 i thought the fz 100 was good but the fz 150 is excellent i took this pic of a kestrel in a tree with it and i'm very chuffed with the out come hope this will help with your choice
yours dave
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 20:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davecr24 View Post
Hi reg 10,I've just got my fz 150 about 2 weeks ago having part exchanged it for my fz 100 i thought the fz 100 was good but the fz 150 is excellent i took this pic of a kestrel in a tree with it and i'm very chuffed with the out come hope this will help with your choice
yours dave
Thats a cracker how far away was the photo taken?
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Old Monday 9th April 2012, 21:48   #11
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i was about 80 feet plus it was up in a tree forgot to say i had a 1.7x convertor on as well but usually kestrel's tend to fly away before i can get a pic but not this one :)
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 11:32   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Moore View Post
Not sure what your point is, and don't know anything about UK prices. But 300mm is 600mm 35mm equivalent for micro 4/3rds camera because of 2x crop factor; plus you get 2x virtual teleconverter at small picture size on G3, extending "reach" to 1200mm. So don't think I'd compare it to a 200mm on a regular DSLR.

Jim
I am merely pointing out the possibilities of a higher quality route for the future .
If the op chooses , he can get a teleconverter too .
Not forgetting there is no viewfinder lag so BIF is possible too .

Only pointing out other possibilities .

Edit to say :
I looked into that Panasonic and it is much better than I expected from an evil !
Good ISO , noise and detail , the only downsides would be handling with a tele lens , speed of autofocus(?) and viewfinder lag .
He doesn't express a wish to buy into a system were it gets to the point that a great lens collection warrants upgrading the body .
In respect of these points , the advantage of going into DSLR doesn't make sense for the OP .
Won't remove earlier comments as I don't believe in that kind of edit , make a mistake in honesty sort of thing .

Last edited by Froggy : Tuesday 10th April 2012 at 11:58. Reason: As indicated .
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 12:23   #13
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Originally Posted by Davecr24 View Post
Hi reg 10,I've just got my fz 150 about 2 weeks ago having part exchanged it for my fz 100 i thought the fz 100 was good but the fz 150 is excellent i took this pic of a kestrel in a tree with it and i'm very chuffed with the out come hope this will help with your choice
yours dave
Great picture Dave, will have to have a look at the FZ150 for sure.
Thanks
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 12:33   #14
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Originally Posted by Froggy View Post
I am merely pointing out the possibilities of a higher quality route for the future .
If the op chooses , he can get a teleconverter too .
Not forgetting there is no viewfinder lag so BIF is possible too .

Only pointing out other possibilities .

Edit to say :
I looked into that Panasonic and it is much better than I expected from an evil !
Good ISO , noise and detail , the only downsides would be handling with a tele lens , speed of autofocus(?) and viewfinder lag .
He doesn't express a wish to buy into a system were it gets to the point that a great lens collection warrants upgrading the body .
In respect of these points , the advantage of going into DSLR doesn't make sense for the OP .
Won't remove earlier comments as I don't believe in that kind of edit , make a mistake in honesty sort of thing .
I am going to check out the FZ150 and the HS30EXR.
You are quite right I have no intention of buying into a system and buying lots of lens so for me at least superzoom is the way to go, possibly with a teleconverter in due course.
One question what is BIF?

Thanks for all the comments it has helped clarify a few things in my mind, now for the hands on test!
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 12:42   #15
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BIF , birds in flight
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 12:43   #16
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I love my Panasonic FZ150. It allows me to be a birder first and foremost and to get good quality images of birds often in poor light or at close to medium digiscoping distances. It's small, light and compact when lugging around bins, scope, tripod etc and around 360.

There is a thread here http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=210341
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Old Tuesday 10th April 2012, 19:24   #17
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BIF , birds in flight
Many thanks
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Old Sunday 6th May 2012, 13:22   #18
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Just a quick update, have been and tried albeit in a limited fashion the FZ150, HS30EXR and DMC G3 and after a lot of thought plumped for the HS30EXR.
Reasons for choice, it feels good in the hand, love the manual zoom and it does everything I want.
Will let you know how it goes after I have used it for a while, in the meantime thanks again for all the suggestions.
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Old Sunday 6th May 2012, 21:25   #19
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Reg will be interested to see how you find this cam.I am still looking for a decent bridge zoom cam.I tried the Pan 150,too small ,and fiddly contols,similar experience with the Canon ,this cam is on my list,but would love to see some shots,and hear how the handling etc.
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Old Tuesday 8th May 2012, 09:27   #20
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Originally Posted by christineredgate View Post
Reg will be interested to see how you find this cam.I am still looking for a decent bridge zoom cam.I tried the Pan 150,too small ,and fiddly contols,similar experience with the Canon ,this cam is on my list,but would love to see some shots,and hear how the handling etc.
It should arrive in the next couple of days, so will post first impressions not long after that along with some images and then maybe a fuller report after a week or two. :)
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Old Thursday 10th May 2012, 17:42   #21
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It should arrive in the next couple of days, so will post first impressions not long after that along with some images and then maybe a fuller report after a week or two. :)
Well I have had my HS30EXR less than 24 hours and tomorrow it is going back because after less than 25 shots it has developed a "Lens Control Error" as it tries to focus.
Having read a Fuji forum in which this error comes up a number of times on many different models over a considerable period of time I am beginning to wonder whether to try something else!

First impressions based on less than 25 shots are good, it feels well balanced, most things are at your fingertips, menu system reasonably obvious, the manual though is IMHO terrible.
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Old Friday 11th May 2012, 10:01   #22
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I'm in a similar position to you Reg, though I have been running slrs for many decades, I only use them rarely now ( if it is pouring with rain, likely to have to crop or I need to look like a 'proper' photographer for any reason).

Like you I don't like powered zooms, and have Fuji HS20 in the 'stable'. I do not know who it or its handbook were designed for, other than to discourage you, however it is capable of good photographs, the EXR dynamic range feature for instance is brilliant. Up to the announcement HS30 with its much better viewfinder I came to the conclusion it was the best 'fit' superzoom for me, but it will never be my favourite camera.

I am unhappy using long lenses on m4/3 as I find that my hands are less good at holding small cameras steadily any more. If it wasn't for that they would be my first choice, especially as their evfs (other than the Olympus VF-3) are getting better all the time. The new OM-D plus battery grip might be a perfect solution other than the price.

I will be taking delivery of another superzoom, hopefully today, which I may hate so no comments on what it is. If it works for me I may be a bit more forthcoming.

N.B. My favourite camera is the Ricoh GRD IV but photographing birds with a fixed 28mm equiv lens is a challenge.
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Old Friday 11th May 2012, 19:25   #23
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I'm in a similar position to you Reg, though I have been running slrs for many decades, I only use them rarely now ( if it is pouring with rain, likely to have to crop or I need to look like a 'proper' photographer for any reason).

Like you I don't like powered zooms, and have Fuji HS20 in the 'stable'. I do not know who it or its handbook were designed for, other than to discourage you, however it is capable of good photographs, the EXR dynamic range feature for instance is brilliant. Up to the announcement HS30 with its much better viewfinder I came to the conclusion it was the best 'fit' superzoom for me, but it will never be my favourite camera.

I am unhappy using long lenses on m4/3 as I find that my hands are less good at holding small cameras steadily any more. If it wasn't for that they would be my first choice, especially as their evfs (other than the Olympus VF-3) are getting better all the time. The new OM-D plus battery grip might be a perfect solution other than the price.

I will be taking delivery of another superzoom, hopefully today, which I may hate so no comments on what it is. If it works for me I may be a bit more forthcoming.

N.B. My favourite camera is the Ricoh GRD IV but photographing birds with a fixed 28mm equiv lens is a challenge.
Like you I have taken delivery of another superzoom today having decided that if I bought another HS30exr I would be forever wondering when it would go wrong.
I am going to say nothing about this one till I am happy with how it works and then will comment. The only thing I will say it that it has a power zoom
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Old Thursday 17th May 2012, 22:52   #24
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I am also in this quandry.
I have been a very happy owner of a Panasonic FZ45 and more recently a Fuji HS30. However, I have recently found myself "hitting the buffers" in terms of picture quality, I don't know what it is but something about them just give the quality of image I was expecting, especially the Fuji after extensive use.
Now I am aware of the small sensors, I wrote a review on the HS30 slamming Fuji for cramming 16 million pixels onto a tiny sensor. This does lead to a "muddy" image on occasion, it just seems to lose the crispness I hope for, not an issue for record shots but definitely one when trying to take shots of a higher quality.
So here is my latest question to myself:
Do I go for the Fuji X-S1? The bigger sensor and lower megapixels should give a sharper image with more fine detailing but will I again hit the buffers in hoping for something that isn't possible?
Or for the same money (About 550) do I look for a good quality Canon 30D and Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens second hand?
Obviously aware that a 300mm lens will not give me the reach of the X-S1, even with the 1.6x crop factor on a 30d giving 480mm (Fuji X-S1 is about 620mm equivalent).
But on the flip side I get a full blown DSLR which image quality wise should be superior to that of the Fuji, even with only 8.0 megapixels available (Obviously megapixels isn't everything but for cropping it can help I believe).
The ultimate aim would be to go for Canon's excellent 400mm f5.6 prime lens but even second hand it is still around the 700 mark.
These are just my own observations and questions based around my understanding of cameras (Very basic!).
If anyone has anything further to add that would be great.
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Old Friday 18th May 2012, 09:51   #25
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Or for the same money (About 550) do I look for a good quality Canon 30D and Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM lens second hand?
I had a quick look and :
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Canon-400D...item2ebe2964fa

Not a bad start , seems there's plenty out there .
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