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Need help deciding on which digital camera

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by ThePinGuy, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. ThePinGuy

    ThePinGuy Member


    I am looking to buy a new digital camera for my upcoming trip. Please let me know what models you think are good. I am looking to spend in the $200-$250 range.

    Thanks for the help!
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  3. havoc315

    havoc315 Active Member

    First it's a question of what you're looking for, your priorities. Is super portability a priority?
    Is a big zoom a priority, or is image quality more important? That price range is about compromises.
  4. ThePinGuy

    ThePinGuy Member

    Image quality and a good zoom are top priorities. The camera that I was considering is the Nikon CoolPix S9300. Any opinions on this?
  5. havoc315

    havoc315 Active Member

    Unfortunately, that's the trade off. You can get very good image quality with limited zoom -- you may find the Canon S100 in your price range.
    Or you can get very good zoom, with so so image quality. (To get big zoom in a small package, they shrink down the sensor and put on a slower lens, lowering the image quality most of the time). I don't really know the Nikon, but the Canon sx260 and Sony hx20 are good examples that might be found in your price range.
  6. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Image quality is somewhat relative to the user and a bit subjective in that respect. What one may find low image quality another may be ecstatic with. And you get out what you put in... meaning someone who knows how to push a camera can pull great shots out of just about any camera.

    I'd start looking at places like dpreview.com. They have some good buying guides and their reviews are pretty straightforward and fairly unbiased. There's a lot of models out there and it's hard to narrow it down and make a truly good rec. based on just a few things.
  7. havoc315

    havoc315 Active Member


    At least according to this review, the image quality on the Nikon s9300 is not very good. Gets noisy at low ISO. Very slow in low light.

    And if you're planning on using it for travel, it has a very poor battery.
  8. SplashMo

    SplashMo Active Member

    It is 100 over but:


    THis is a very nice deal on an interchangable lens camera. I have seen the same thing for 300.

    A panasonic LX-5 or LX-7 would b egood and sometimes dip into the $250 price.

    Canon S95/S100 should be available in that price range. Otherwise I like to stay with Canon, Panasonic and Fuji in the lower price cameras and then check reviews or post back here with a few choices to pick from.
  9. mikegood2

    mikegood2 Active Member

    I agree with havoc315 on the Canon sx260, which I just saw at BestBuy for $199 and probably would be my pick of I were in the market for a mega zoom. I just bought my brother the Panasonic Lumix ZS20, which has a 20x zoom, GPS, touch screen, etc., and he has been happy with it so far. You also may want to look at a variety of cameras in the 10 a 12x range.

    You do need to keep in mind the more you zoom, the more likely your shots will appear "blurry" or out of focus. Outdoor you would probably be fine, but if you fully zoom you may need a tripod, monopod, or try to keep it propped for better stability. Indoors I would keep away from zooming in more than 8x.

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  10. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Saying that zooming out makes images blurry is like saying that pushing the gas pedal on a car makes you speed. There's more to it. A basic understanding of how camera shake and shutter speed relate to each other can help someone overcome this problem fairly easily.
  11. mikegood2

    mikegood2 Active Member

    Of course it does, but many casual shooters, and this is not aimed at the OP, do not understand that. I could have gone into more detail about how the aperture # tends to go up the more the zoom, or how the shutter speed needs to go up also, I just didn't want to go into that much detail. Maybe I "dumbed" it down too much, I just wanted to bring it to the attention of the OP or anyone else looking into a mega zoom p&s. In the case of the Nikon that he listed, if you read the reviews on it, or some other mega zooms, "blurry" photos are a common complaint.

    I just bought my brother a Panasonic Lumix ZS20, to replace his two year old Nikon 9100, the biggest problem he had with that camera was blurry photos and speed. I've discussed shake and shutter speed and it has never really stuck. He, like many other photographers, will never take a camera out of auto and just want zoom in and shoot. That's why I would have preferred getting him a 8-12x camera, but he wanted 16 - 20x.

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  12. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Burry photos are a common complaint with many cameras. It's about a lot more than the zoom. I don't think it's a reason to stay away from a super zoom point and shoot. Just because you know one person who has a certain type of camera that might not be the best choice for doesn't mean that type of camera wouldn't be perfect for someone else.
  13. mikegood2

    mikegood2 Active Member

    Hey photo_chick, I've only been back on the DIS boards for a week now but have enjoyed reading your posts and useful advice during that time, but I thing you misread my original post. It was in no way meant to try and talk him out of a mega zoom, I thing they are great p&s's! I just wanted to point out that the super zooms greatest strength can, in some occasions, be a weakness. Of course blurry photos are a common complaint for many cameras, I just thing it is more common for super zooms (when zoomed in more). There's a reason why you see a monopod attached to the lens of sports photographers. :)

    As far as my brothers camera goes, he does get great shoots from his camera, and loves the super zoom. It's just so easy to zoom in all the way, that people can forget some of the tradoffs. It just gets him in trouble sometimes ;)

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  14. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    It is hard to tell sometimes what people mean in text. when we have no intonation or body language things don't always come across.

    Yeah, what I got from your post was a message that said "don't buy super zooms because they will have camera shake problems that cause blurry photos."

    That zoom can make things a little more challenging, especially if you don't know why you're having problems. And not just with super zooms, but with a telephoto zoom on a DSLR as well.
  15. Crew-JTA

    Crew-JTA Romans 8:28

    I'm so glad I stumbled on this thread! I hope it's been as helpful to ThePinGuy as it has been for me. I have actually been trying to decide between the Canon sx260 and the Panasonic Lumix ZS20. I like them both, but I wonder which one has better results in low light. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions?
  16. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    You can compare the specs to see which one should be more capable in low light situations, but that's only part of the story and the specs of a lot of cameras are really close.

    Look at the aperture... that f/ number that they list on the lens. The lower that number is the wider the aperture opens, and the more light the lens lets in. And look at the ISO range. The higher ISO a camera will go to, the more light it will be able to gather. Of course there is the issue of noise at higher ISO's, and that's where things get more subjective. You have to just look at samples and see if you can live with the amount of noise a camera has at higher ISO's.

    A good way to get a real world idea of the ISO performance of a camera is to search Flickr. Look for images shot with those and look at the EXIF data to see the ISO used. It's not a scientific approach, but it can give you an idea of how they will perform in real situations.
  17. havoc315

    havoc315 Active Member

    Judging by the specs, both should be pretty similar.


    Someone else may be able to give you hands-on input.

    Overall, superzooms are not going to be great in low light. They have small sensors, and usually slow lenses, which make them poor low light performed.

    The only superzoom I know of, with decent low light performance, is the Panasonic FZ200 -- and that 's because it has a better lens at a much higher price. The sensor still isn't a good low light sensor, and I've still read you shouldn't go much over ISO of 400 or hit noise issues.

    Compact cameras, and especially super zooms, are about compromise.
    Bigger sensors bring better image quality, and much better low light performance.
    But the way to get a big zoom at a low price, is to shrink that sensor down. (A tiny sensor can get big zoom results in a compact package). So the super zooms use tiny sensors, reducing the image quality, and greatly reducing the low light performance.

    With something like the Lumix of the SX260 -- you may or may not find the compromise worthwhile. Depends on how discerning your eye is, what size prints you may make, and how challenging the lighting situations will be.
    I promise you, you won't get a single decent dark ride picture at Disney World with any super zoom compact camera. On the other hand, in bright daylight, you may find the image quality perfectly acceptable.

    So it's really, super zoom OR low light? You need to ask yourself which is a higher priority.
  18. mikegood2

    mikegood2 Active Member

    Hey Crew-JTA, I've researched both cameras, so I hope I can help. First of all, I don't thing you would go wrong with either camera. If I remember correctly, the canons low light quality was better than the Panasonic's, but the ZS20 has better and faster focus for indoor use. The SX260 gets better reviews overall, but they both rate well. Some advantages of the ZS20 is the auto AI is considered one of the best around. Even though some consider the touch screen as a gimmick, I though it was nice and actually very useful (much more than I thought). I also believe it is more responsive, and may get a slight edge for video speed and quality.

    My suggestion is try them out at a big box store and see which one fells better to you. For myself I would probably give a slight edge to the Canon, but for my brother the Panasonic was the better choice. Again, I don't think you would go wrong with either. I've seen the SX260 advertised for $199 lately and I believe the ZS20 is just under $250 on Amazon. You also may want to look at the Pan zs15 for just over $150. It is 16x and also lacks the GPS and touchscreen, but photo quality was rated slightly higher.

    I don't have any of my research notes handy now, but if you have any questions just ask and I'll take a look.

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  19. mikegood2

    mikegood2 Active Member

    I agree! My intention was never "don't buy a super zoom", I just wanted them to know some of the potential cons. I've never been a big fan of emoticons, but they can come in handy in a discussion thread. ;)

    I think I also misread your response as an attack on me. I do agree that a better understanding of photography helps, but sadly a lot of shooters are lacking. I know you mentioned that flash in dark rides is one of your pet peeves, which I agree with, but I think most of it is because people are shooting in auto and have no idea how to turn the flash off.

    The fact that the notification ding for your post woke me up and I couldn't fall back asleep also didn't help. :(

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  20. Crew-JTA

    Crew-JTA Romans 8:28

    Wow! You guys are awesome! Havoc315, Mikegood2, and photo_chick, you have all given me some homework. I'm generally a point and shoot kind of girl, but the more I research the more likely I think I'll be to actually use the features I'm looking for. Thanks again for your help. Off to do a little more digging before bed!
  21. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

    Oh no! I had to make my husband turn off his notifications at night. They kept waking me up.

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