Camera for a longer stay abroad

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by fotoguy, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. fotoguy

    fotoguy TPF Noob!

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    Hey there, I'm new to this forum and I'd like to hear your advice.

    Looking for a nice camera for my longer stay abroad, I discovered the Canon Powershot S90 and S95. I already own a Panasonic Lumix TZ5 with superzoom, but I don't really like the lens and a lot of people told me that a compact camera with that much zoom can't be really good.

    However, I'm wondering if you think it is worth it getting the S95 which has HD Video (nice to have), a "better" stabilizer and it is smaller. Do you think this would be worth 80€ more to spend? Also, I'm not sure if the Camera will arrive in time since I have not ordered it yet and I'm leaving on September 8., but I could try.

    Looking forward for your advice, fotoguy


    (Oh, I just noticed that this is the wrong category, but where does it fit? Can anyone move my thread please? Thank you so much)
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  2. fotoguy

    fotoguy TPF Noob!

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    Any opinions?
     
  3. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Where are you going? Maybe you can find it cheaper where you're traveling.
     
  4. Idahophoto

    Idahophoto TPF Noob!

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    You didnt really give much to go on. But for basic shooting the S95 should be more than capable. I have heard nothing but great reviews on that camera line. Ill go with the G11/12 myself do to the fact I want the flash feature and I prefer a bit larger size but the two seems to be real close in performance and features.
     
  5. fotoguy

    fotoguy TPF Noob!

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    I'm going to Spain and it's probably not going to be cheaper there. Well I just want to take cool pictures and have a nice camera for the future. Does anyone know if the video-funkction is good or just nice to have?
     
  6. Idahophoto

    Idahophoto TPF Noob!

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    I say just nice to have. I never use them myself, but there are other who really like em.
     
  7. 786soul

    786soul TPF Noob!

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    The S90 is a great little camera, one of my friends with a Rebel XT swears by it as his out and about camera.

    I found the Panasonic LX series camera excellent. I have an LX3 which was just replaced by the LX5. Both are great and definately ones to consider.
     
  8. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    My wife's been using a Nikon P5100 for a couple of years and finds it very capable when doing video. She likes the size, too. Very pocket-able! I like it because it has a hot shoe dedicated for the Nikon flash units. That was a must for me. It's a good picture taker, too, when using it in automatic noise control.
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Its probably one of the best superzooms I've had the pleasure of using. It is however not without its limits. You just have to understand those limits and work within.

    TZ5 at the longest end

    [​IMG]

    As with most P&S, low light is where they begin to suck... it doesn't matter which P&S. The TZ5 usually travels along with my Metz CS-2 optical compact flash. Get the flash off camera and reduce the built-in flash, you get some really nice results:

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/...s/176457-p-shooters-flash-metz-28-cs-2-a.html

    Anyway.. I shall move on...


    I believe the S90 (and the S95 which replaces it), LX3 (and the LX5 which replaces it), and the G-series (Canon G11) all would be a worth while upgrade from the TZ5 image wise. These are high end P&S designed to deliver results that even DSLR experienced photographers would be happy with. They all have features (RAW for example) specifically aimed at the photographer's P&S types. BUT.. they are still tiny sensor equip cameras AND have limitations that need to be understood in order to get the most out of them. Specifically, low light and high ISO performance. Some better than others... One thing they all have in common is a relatively higher price than all the other consumer level P&S.

    One thing all of the cameras mentioned above lack which happens to be the TZ5's strong point is focal range (zoom). All of the cameras being recommended have a zoom of 2x to 5x. The TZ5's zoom is whopping 10x with newer versions in the 12x range. A lot of the IQ high end p&s achieve is through their optical design.. which is much more difficult and more complex to manufacture with zooms of a long focal range. Most notably the LX3 with its very wide and fast f/2 Leica optics but it too only has x2.5 optical zoom versus the TZ5's slower less performing 10x optics. So its a trade off between Image quality and zoom range.

    So things to consider:

    * How important is the focal range? Would you miss or feel limited by it?
    * How important are the advanced features in the high end p&s? (You will pay extra for them)
    * Is high ISO performance important? In my opinion, they all bad relative to the current market DSLRs out there (which is no surprise). Some perform better but in general these tiny sensors still might disappoint. Just asking this question to set your expectations.

    As for video, I don't really know but I've been running into bits of information leading me to believe that many are fairly limited. Some you cannot zoom while recording. Some have limitations on the size of the video file hence length. Just something to look into before you decide.

    With that said, the LX3 is probable the best (most enjoyable) P&S I have ever had the pleasure of owning. The f/2 optics are first rate, the 24mm wide angle, and the quality of build is very high. However, It is EXTREMELY limited in zoom (LX3 2.5x and LX5 3.5x). The S90 and S95 would be a very close second choice.... If the camera must be pocketable, then definitely place the S90 or S95 at the top of your list as the LX3/5 is barely pocketable and the G-series are even larger. S95 would be your best bet if video becomes a higher priority (check for limitations).

    Quick sample from the LX3.
    [​IMG]


    I'm drooling for the LX5 right now but at the moment I am enjoying my interests within the m4/3rds camera systems. Much larger sensor than any of the P&S but very compact (lenses are tiny compared to DSLRs). Larger sensor translates to better final image quality and high ISO performance. It is also the most adaptable for vintage glass (which is why I got it in the first place). Just something you should at least look into if and only if the camera doesn't have to be pocketable. You can start by looking into the Olympus E-PL1 which is just about the same price as many of the P&S mentioned in this thread.

    If I had to absolutely make due with a bare minimum on an extended trip, I can make due with TZ5 + CS-2 flash + pocket tripod.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  10. fotoguy

    fotoguy TPF Noob!

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    Hey, thanks for yours answers, especially "usayit" with your quite comprehensive answer ;)

    Well the thing is that I'll be new to the city and I'll be going out a lot, traveling, partying, daytrips. Since I don't want to carry and extra bag for a camera I'd like to have a pocket size cam. The size of the TZ5 is okay, but I'd prefer an even smaller one. My experience with the TZ5 is that the zoom really is amazing, but only under very good light conditions or with a tripod. Since I don't carry around a tripod that's not too much use unless the sun is shining ;)

    However, I'll be in a city most of the time and that's why I decided that I don't really need the extra zoom and I'd rather have a better picture quality especially under low light conditions and in buildings and at night.

    Oh yeah, what do you think of the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS?
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  11. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sounds to me your priorities are:

    1) pocketable (judging from your SX210 IS interest)
    2) good performance under low light.

    I think the S95 (or even a good priced S90) will be your best bet. It only has 3.7x zoom (as with most high end p&s) but has a better than average low light (for a P&S) performance and a fast f/2.0 optics. It's also smaller than either LX3 or G-series. I wouldn't push any of these past ISO 400. Past ISO 400, the Canon's noise reduction kicks in a pretty heavily and looses details while the LX3's preference to maintain detail is over run by noise. You can do a bit with flash but the built-in flash is pretty anemic which is why I bring along an external flash.

    I don't have experience with the SX210 IS but its slower glass is going to work against you in low light. Further reading I found here:

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q210grouptravelzoom/
     

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