View Full Version : Friend is looking into getting a camera

15-11-2014, 12:28am
I can't remember the form factor that he was interested in, but thought I'd go through the options.

He wants something which can give good zoom, provide great image quality, and lots of functions, similar to DSLR. He would prefer not having to change lenses, he just wants to be able to get great quality prints and photos when he takes the shot.

Based on that, bridge cameras was the thing that popped into my head, and the Sony RX10 was the go - a good standard zoom of 28-200, f2.8 constant, and has one of the best quality images to date for bridge cameras. However, it's expensive.

So a cheaper option which I found and think would be suitable, and probably fit the bill much more is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 - this is the camera I'm thinking of suggesting. Decent image quality between high-end point & shoots, and basic DLSR, 25-600m, constant f2.8, and is half the price of the RX10 (or there about)

But before I make the final call, just wondering if anyone else has any suggestions, alternatives in mind?
Something of a smaller form factor?
Or micro 4/3 cameras, do they have any available which are fixed lens and super zoom?

Thank you in advance.

15-11-2014, 11:32am
He needs to decide what size camera he is comfortable with.

"Having to change lenses" is a very poor reason for selecting a camera because (a) you don't ever "have to" change lenses on an SLR or a mirrorless camera, you only change if you want to, and there are plenty of long focal length range lenses available, some of them very cheap. Added to that, (b) changing a lens takes 5 seconds. It's nothing. See if you can get him to understand that.

However, the extra size and weight of an SLR over a mirrorless and a mirrorless over a bridge cam is quite significant. Even the smallest SLR won't really fit in your pocket, so there is a price to pay there.

Let's approach this from another angle: what is it your friend is hoping to gain over what he (presumably) already has, which is a telephone? Telephone cameras are very good these days, and P&S cameras have lost a lot of ability over the last few years - gone are the days when you could expect basic "real camera" features like a fair-dinkum viewfinder and raw file output from a P&S cam. So the gap between a good telephone camera and a typical P&S has got smaller and smaller.

So your next question is: does your friend have any specific feature in mind for his camera that he hasn't already got in his phone? If so, is there a P&S model which can provide it, or will he need to go to a mirrorless or SLR unit to get it?

The obvious things to want (he may have different thoughts, but these are the obvious ones to me) are (a) decent size sensor for decent image quality and especially to make it usable in poor light, such as indoors; (b) a real viewfinder 'coz you simply can't compose as well or hold the camera properly still for clear shots when you have to hold it at arms length; (c) decent and convenient control over things like exposure and white balance. Of these, (c) is standard on SLRs and mirrorless units but also available on all other sorts of cameras provided you are prepared to hunt around to find the right model; SLRs have (a) and (b) as standard; mirrorless units usually have (a) but not (b); and there is a surprising number of P&S cameras which offer either (a) or (b), but it's very hard to find one which offers both.

15-11-2014, 1:26pm
The other point to take into account is the size of these great quality prints your friend wants(or needs).

If they are only the average little 5x7/4x6 sized prints, then the reality is that just about any new camera will give them this ability.
Although as a keen photog yourself it is incumbent on your to explain to them that the camera doesn't make great prints, the photographer does .. the camera simply allows him the ability to print them as best as they can be captured!

DPR have a review of the FZ200, although the studio comparison images are of the older studio scene and not the new studio scene, so you can't compare them to the RX10 directly.
Of course the usual limitations apply when looking at review images such as those.

The FZ200 is a much older camera tho, so this should be taken into account with respect to pricing(vs the RX10).

Something to take into consideration with the FZ200/RX10 comparison is that the FZ200's sensor is half the size of the RX10's sensor.
The nett effect is: while the supposed f/2.8 aperture of the FZ200 sounds great, the ability to separate subject from back/foreground is much more limited on the FZ200, even when compared to the RX10 .. etc, as sensor size increases.
So with that too, you can extrapolate that the newer and larger sensor of the RX10 would allow the ability to capture cleaner images at higher ISO settings too.

.. etc, etc .... you know the rest ....

Panasonic have a newer model(FZ1000) that more directly competes with the RX10.

HERE'S a link to DPR's review of the FZ1000 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz1000). You should take the time to have a look at the comparison table they provide which gives you an understanding of the point of aperture and sensor size and how they interoperate.

And like Tony said, you don't have to change lenses, just because the ability is available!

So something like a m4/3rds camera, with a superzoom type lens could be seen as a fixed lens equivalent if that's all they want(or need).
Another (camera + interchangeable lens you don't have to change) option could be something like a Nikon D3300+18-300 lens ... would allow similar in light gathering ability + IQ to the RX10 or FZ200.

I don't know how much all these cameras/lenses all cost, but it sounds like it's an important factor in the overall equation.
The D3300+18-300 would be in the $1500 range .. as a guide.

17-11-2014, 6:14am
Thank you for the suggestions, and I didn't know they had the FZ1000 now - thanks.

I'll have to ask my friend again with regards to size - I forgot what he said initially.

I also apologise as I forgot to mention that his max budget would be about $500 - which is why I looked into a bridge first, as they are generally cheaper than a DSLR.
Of course, I'm sure you can still find a great DSLR and tele combo, and it's definitely something to consider. And because I wouldn't know of this combo, hence I'm on here too :)

So, he has an iPhone 4s, or 5s, or something, and he's wanting more. He's interested in great quality photos (true, it does come down to the photographer, but having a camera you can rely on is also another thing right? So crisp images, clean, etc), can zoom (somewhere between the 200-400mm line), can work well during darker situations, and he said preferably not have to change lenses (true, you can buy a zoom lens, but it comes down to total costs for lens and body right? But I think he just has a feeling of just incase, less complications, etc)

He's simply interested in getting that quick shot, memory, fun. He's not interested in pursuing much more really, but whenever he feels like doing something extra, like a little macro, or zoom, or some colour effects, etc (like what phone cameras have), it'd be nice that they were there.

I'll ask again about camera size.