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Old 01-11-2013, 02:44 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letthewookiewin
I never knew picking a camera could make my brain hurt so much. This is as hard as trying to pick which WDW resort to stay at. I had less problems figuring out who to marry than this.

i know what you mean. The problem is their is no "perfect" camera. That's why making a list of what is important and prioritizing it can be very useful. A dSLR gives you better image quality, but they are larger and more expensive, a p&s is nice and portable at the expense of image quality or other features. Then you have the micro 4/3 cameras that have probably become mature enough of a market that they are a great compromise between the two.

It's kind of like a camera bag, you will never find the perfect one. It's just a matter of finder the one that best suites your needs, but also realize their will will always be a shiny new one you want or think is better.

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Old 01-11-2013, 03:02 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
Your fuji should be able to get you as close as that picture.

But all those other things, like the graininess, the slow shutter button --- those issues will exist on all point and shoots. Some will be better than others. But none will be as good as a dslr.
Those super zoom cameras are can give you very good telephoto results if the lighting is excellent. Once there is movement, or once the lighting becomes challenging, it becomes a much more difficult scenario.
Most of the graininess issues come at the further distances. My biggest issue with it is the slow shutter. Sometimes I find myself acutally saying, "yes you stupid little thing, I pressed that button because I want you to take a picture".

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegood2 View Post
i know what you mean. The problem is their is no "perfect" camera. That's why making a list of what is important and prioritizing it can be very useful. A dSLR gives you better image quality, but they are larger and more expensive, a p&s is nice and portable at the expense of image quality or other features. Then you have the micro 4/3 cameras that have probably become mature enough of a market that they are a great compromise between the two.

It's kind of like a camera bag, you will never find the perfect one. It's just a matter of finder the one that best suites your needs, but also realize their will will always be a shiny new one you want or think is better.

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Now I would put my priorities at quicker shutter speed than my Fuji, good quality with at least 16 MP, and a minimum of 24x optical but it didn't have to have more than 30x.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:25 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letthewookiewin View Post
Most of the graininess issues come at the further distances. My biggest issue with it is the slow shutter. Sometimes I find myself acutally saying, "yes you stupid little thing, I pressed that button because I want you to take a picture".



Now I would put my priorities at quicker shutter speed than my Fuji, good quality with at least 16 MP, and a minimum of 24x optical but it didn't have to have more than 30x.
From the further distances, you may be getting motion blur, or you may be getting graininess from noise, as the camera ups the ISO.
The solutions are: Faster lens, tripod, camera with bigger sensor (such as dSLR)

The shutter -- A p&s shutter won't shoot until the focus is locked. Zooming in from a far distance, it may be having trouble with focus, thus not firing right away. Same solutions --- faster lens, tripod, and a camera with a better focus system (dSLRs have the best focus systems, compacts have a wide range in quality of focus speed)

You say "at least 16mp" -- But mp have very little to do with quality. For a 8X10 picture, there is no difference between 8mp and 50mp. (If you want to print a poster, you may want more mp). In fact, if you squeeze TOO MANY mp into a small sensor, it reduces image quality.

A 24X zoom.....
If we consider "1 times" to effectively be about 24mm, you are looking for an effective zoom of about 576mm. On a standard crop dSLR, that would be about a 400mm lens. I've never even seen a 400mm lens on an amateur dSLR.
Canon has a zoom lens that is 100-400mm... It is "on sale" on Amazon for $1300, and it is the size of a truck.
In other words... Your typical dSLR owners really don't use 400mm lens, they don't get "24 times."

BUT... Many photographers accomplish telephoto results in post-processing by cropping their picture.
In other words, if you crop a 16mp 200mm picture--- Cutting out half the image, you then basically end up with a 8 mp 400mm picture.
(This is where more mps are helpful -- they give you more room to crop).

My point and shoot is less than 4X zoom. But it is 20mp.... so I can crop, and basically turn it into 8-12X, with still keeping high image quality.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:03 PM   #34
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Between picking a camera and the new class I just started (legal and ethical issues) I'm pretty sure my brain is about to explode.

boBQuincy, what do you think about the shutter speed of the Panasonic? The speed info on that is listed as...
Shutter Speed/Shutter System
Type:Focal-plane shutterShutter speed:Still Images: 1/4000˜60 and Bulb (up to approx. 120 seconds)Motion image: 1/16000˜1/30 (NTSC), 1/16000˜1/25 (PAL)

Then the Sony as...
hutter Speeds iAuto(4'' - 1/4000) / Program Auto(1'' - 1/4000) / Shutter Priority(30'' - 1/4000) / Aperture Priority(8'' - 1/2000) / Manual(30'' - 1/4000)

I can't make heads nor tails about what any of that means.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:12 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letthewookiewin View Post
Between picking a camera and the new class I just started (legal and ethical issues) I'm pretty sure my brain is about to explode.

boBQuincy, what do you think about the shutter speed of the Panasonic? The speed info on that is listed as...
Shutter Speed/Shutter System
Type:Focal-plane shutterShutter speed:Still Images: 1/4000˜60 and Bulb (up to approx. 120 seconds)Motion image: 1/16000˜1/30 (NTSC), 1/16000˜1/25 (PAL)

Then the Sony as...
hutter Speeds iAuto(4'' - 1/4000) / Program Auto(1'' - 1/4000) / Shutter Priority(30'' - 1/4000) / Aperture Priority(8'' - 1/2000) / Manual(30'' - 1/4000)

I can't make heads nor tails about what any of that means.
Those speeds are irrelevant to what you're talking about. That's the speed that the shutter opens for, now how long it takes to click the shutter.
So in other words... On the Panasonic, you can take pictures with the shutter speed open for as little as 1/4000th of a second -- WHich is never really necessary. Or you can keep the shutter open for up to 120 seconds. (Also never necessary except for some types of night photography on a tripod).
On the Sony-- You can open the shutter for as little as 1/4000th of a second, to keeping it open for a whole 30 seconds.

Really, for 99% of your pictures, the shutter speed will be between about 1/10 and 1/250. You'll likely never get near the extremes.

The issue you are having -- it isn't shutter speed. It's focus speed. How quickly does the camera focus, to allow the shutter to get pressed. How much lag is there between pressing the shutter button, and the picture actually being taken.

The specs you posted have nothing to do with that issue.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:28 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havoc315 View Post
Those speeds are irrelevant to what you're talking about. That's the speed that the shutter opens for, now how long it takes to click the shutter.
So in other words... On the Panasonic, you can take pictures with the shutter speed open for as little as 1/4000th of a second -- WHich is never really necessary. Or you can keep the shutter open for up to 120 seconds. (Also never necessary except for some types of night photography on a tripod).
On the Sony-- You can open the shutter for as little as 1/4000th of a second, to keeping it open for a whole 30 seconds.

Really, for 99% of your pictures, the shutter speed will be between about 1/10 and 1/250. You'll likely never get near the extremes.

The issue you are having -- it isn't shutter speed. It's focus speed. How quickly does the camera focus, to allow the shutter to get pressed. How much lag is there between pressing the shutter button, and the picture actually being taken.

The specs you posted have nothing to do with that issue.
Hmmmm, neither list focus speed under the specs. I did find a review of the Panasonic that said this about the focus speed..
The DMC-G3 now offers a powerful Light Speed Auto Focus (14-140mm ~0.1sec, 14-42mm ~0.18 sec., 45-200mm ~0.15sec.)
Is that the kind of thing I need to be looking for?
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #37
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Hmmmm, neither list focus speed under the specs. I did find a review of the Panasonic that said this about the focus speed..
The DMC-G3 now offers a powerful Light Speed Auto Focus (14-140mm ~0.1sec, 14-42mm ~0.18 sec., 45-200mm ~0.15sec.)
Is that the kind of thing I need to be looking for?
Yes.... but...... You won't typically find specs like that listed. The best is when you can find an independent third party that tested the focus speeds. But really, focus speed is dependent on so many factors, it's hard to list it as a spec. Depends on the lighting, depends on the focal length (focus speed can be different zoomed in, versus zoomed out). It can depend on the contrast of the picture. (Try taking a picture of a field covered in snow... the camera may never be able to focus). That's why the G3 only listed "approximate" focus speeds.

Really, in determining whether focus speed is going to be good --- You look at other factors. What TYPE of focus system does it use? Phase detection system is usually faster than Contrast detection. Most dSLRs use phase.. most compacts use Contrast.
You look at the number of focus points a camera has. I've seen dSLRs with as many as 99 focus points. My compact camera -- the Sony RX100, has 25 focus points.. which is a huge number for a compact system. (and as a result, it focuses very fast).

Thing is..... Virtually all cameras will have similar focus speeds, under IDEAL circumstances. You're not going to notice the difference between 0.15 seconds and 0.22 seconds. Every modern model camera is built to POTENTIALLY focus in a fraction of a system.

Your problem is --- Cameras often encounter less than ideal circumstances. That's where your camera is having the sticky shutter. It's just having trouble finding focus. And that comes down to so many factors --the quality of the lens, the sensor size, the focus system, etc, etc.

For example, if you are zooming in to Cinderella's Castle in low light, hand-held, with no tripod... Some cameras may hunt forever, and never be able to get focus.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:56 PM   #38
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Really, in determining whether focus speed is going to be good --- You look at other factors. What TYPE of focus system does it use? Phase detection system is usually faster than Contrast detection. Most dSLRs use phase.. most compacts use Contrast.
You look at the number of focus points a camera has. I've seen dSLRs with as many as 99 focus points. My compact camera -- the Sony RX100, has 25 focus points.. which is a huge number for a compact system. (and as a result, it focuses very fast).

Thing is..... Virtually all cameras will have similar focus speeds, under IDEAL circumstances. You're not going to notice the difference between 0.15 seconds and 0.22 seconds. Every modern model camera is built to POTENTIALLY focus in a fraction of a system.

Your problem is --- Cameras often encounter less than ideal circumstances. That's where your camera is having the sticky shutter. It's just having trouble finding focus. And that comes down to so many factors --the quality of the lens, the sensor size, the focus system, etc, etc.

For example, if you are zooming in to Cinderella's Castle in low light, hand-held, with no tripod... Some cameras may hunt forever, and never be able to get focus.
The number of focus points has little to do with focus speed, more is not faster. Many of the experienced photographers on this board use only the one center focus point so they know what the camera is focusing on, to avoid having the camera decide where to focus. The focus method (contrast vs phase) is not usually an issue unless we are serious sports photographers (phase is better for sports).

Sensor size rarely affects focus speed because the main sensor is not used for focus in phase detect (most dSLRs) and the entire sensor is not used in contrast detect (most mirrorless and P&S).

Focus speed can be affected by the lens, those that let in less light can take longer to focus. 24x zooms often fall in this category and this could be one of the problems with the Fuji.

Cindy's castle is actually easy to get in focus, it has nice sharp lines that are usually lighted, surrounded by darkness. A nice clear contrasty subject, good for focusing. A difficult subject would be as described, a field of snow with no contrasting detail to focus on.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:04 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by letthewookiewin View Post
Between picking a camera and the new class I just started (legal and ethical issues) I'm pretty sure my brain is about to explode.

boBQuincy, what do you think about the shutter speed of the Panasonic? The speed info on that is listed as...
Shutter Speed/Shutter System
Type:Focal-plane shutterShutter speed:Still Images: 1/4000˜60 and Bulb (up to approx. 120 seconds)Motion image: 1/16000˜1/30 (NTSC), 1/16000˜1/25 (PAL)

Then the Sony as...
hutter Speeds iAuto(4'' - 1/4000) / Program Auto(1'' - 1/4000) / Shutter Priority(30'' - 1/4000) / Aperture Priority(8'' - 1/2000) / Manual(30'' - 1/4000)

I can't make heads nor tails about what any of that means.
I took one of those classes, my first response to the teacher was "I work for a Fortune 100 company, what use do I have for ethics?" He didn't get the joke.

The shutter speeds listed are used to regulate the amount of light entering the camera. They are not of much concern since most cameras have enough of a range to handle almost any brightness.

As Havoc noted, your main concern is probably how fast the camera take the photo from the time you press the button. DPreview.com sometimes tests this. In the case of the G3 it is pretty fast, I have not missed many photo opportunities due to the camera. Most dSLRs are at least as fast, many P&S are not. Another spec is how fast can it get the next photo, most non-P&S cameras are fast enough (about 3 per second for a G3).
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:52 PM   #40
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The number of focus points has little to do with focus speed, more is not faster. Many of the experienced photographers on this board use only the one center focus point so they know what the camera is focusing on, to avoid having the camera decide where to focus. The focus method (contrast vs phase) is not usually an issue unless we are serious sports photographers (phase is better for sports).

Sensor size rarely affects focus speed because the main sensor is not used for focus in phase detect (most dSLRs) and the entire sensor is not used in contrast detect (most mirrorless and P&S).

Focus speed can be affected by the lens, those that let in less light can take longer to focus. 24x zooms often fall in this category and this could be one of the problems with the Fuji.

Cindy's castle is actually easy to get in focus, it has nice sharp lines that are usually lighted, surrounded by darkness. A nice clear contrasty subject, good for focusing. A difficult subject would be as described, a field of snow with no contrasting detail to focus on.
Hmm, suppose you are correct about the sensor size. Technically, you are 100% correct about focus points not affecting focus speed -- but I think many point and shooters are actually expressing frustration with not finding focus at all. I have experienced pushing the shutter button on a p&s and getting nothing -- almost feels like the camera is broken. In reality, it's just that the camera isn't snapping the pic, because it can't focus. More focus points can increase focus reliability (though I usually use spot as well). I'm not a fan of the Nikon J1, but it does focus at an amazing pace, and Nikon at least claims it's partly due to all the focus points and phase detection.

The castle at night, I agree it's a nice clear contrast. But I can image having trouble focusing at night, if you are zoomed in with a 300mm+ focal length (on a slow lens and small sensor and handheld ). Maybe I'm wrong, but I could imagine even tiny bits of motion blur could really make focus difficult.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:17 PM   #41
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The castle at night, I agree it's a nice clear contrast. But I can image having trouble focusing at night, if you are zoomed in with a 300mm+ focal length (on a slow lens and small sensor and handheld ). Maybe I'm wrong, but I could imagine even tiny bits of motion blur could really make focus difficult.
I agree, especially since most superzooms are f/5.6 or slower at the long end. That may be changing, Panasonic's new FZ200 goes to 600mm equivalent and is f/2.8 all the way, amazing! That may be a good camera for the OP, lots of zoom and a fast lens although it still has slow focus at the long end (up to 1 second) and only average shot-to-shot times.

Back to our age old problem, no one camera does it all.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:44 PM   #42
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I agree, especially since most superzooms are f/5.6 or slower at the long end. That may be changing, Panasonic's new FZ200 goes to 600mm equivalent and is f/2.8 all the way, amazing! That may be a good camera for the OP, lots of zoom and a fast lens although it still has slow focus at the long end (up to 1 second) and only average shot-to-shot times.

Back to our age old problem, no one camera does it all.
Different cameras definitely have different strengths. So often we see the request for, "a camera with a great zoom, great image quality, and great in low light, for under $300" -- may e some day, such a camera will exist and knock all the other cameras out of the market.

But I had the same thought for a camera for OP -- the FZ200. You're getting 2 big elements there, huge zoom in a fast lens. Not going to get that in a dSLR lens without spending $$$$$$$.

If the weather is nice this weekend, I might try my new extreme telephoto option. Recently got the Tamron 70-300.... Haven't tried it with my 2x converter yet. (I mostly stopped using the converter when I switched to digital, when crop factor gave me reach). If I can still get sharp images with the doubler (I know light will have to be good), that will give me effectively 900mm. May force me to try some birding.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:53 PM   #43
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To totally hijack the thread, I tried a Canon 70-200 with 1.4x converter on a micro 4/3, 560mm equivalent but that's a long way from 900!

But back to helping the OP, Panasonic has a 100-300mm zoom lens for these cameras and that is 200-600mm equivalent! With the 14-42 kit lens that's about 43x total zoom.

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Old 01-11-2013, 09:14 PM   #44
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Fantastic moon shot. I got a decent one with 2x converter on 210mm, for effectively 630mm. I still had to crop a ton.


Moonshot by Havoc315, on Flickr
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:09 PM   #45
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If they could get me close to the picture on the first page, then I would be happy. I just don't see the Fuji doing it.
I need to dig out the panoramas my husband shot with my DD's Fuji S1000 on our last trip. They're not quite what is on the first page of this post, but they're pretty close. DH was shooting hand held and did the panoramas in camera. Honestly I was shocked at how well they came out (as far as stitching and such) and it really got me to take another look at the camera. I'm not trying to sell you on keeping the Fuji here. I'm just saying with a little knowledge many cameras can get you great results.


Did anyone address the noise (graininess) on the long zoom shots? I didn't read all the responses yet so if I'm being repetitive, sorry.

When the camera is zoomed out the maximum aperture is smaller so it lets in less light. This means the camera either needs a slower shutter speed or higher ISO setting. If it goes to a higher ISO setting you will see more noise. This will happen to a degree with any zoom lens that does not have a constant aperture through the focal range.

The one thing I have noticed on DD's little Fuji is that it is a tad slow to focus. You really need to pre-focus the thing. And of course that can easily lead to missed focus. It's one of those frustrating issues that plagues some lower end point and shoots.
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