Thursday, 23 September 2010

Which Camera?

The time has come to buy a new camera but I keep procrastinating and delaying because there are just so many different models to choose from.  I’m also a bit frustrated at the moment because no matter how much my photography has improved over the past two years, the one area that has simply not improved is my concert photography.

Obojeni Program at Exit Festival 2010
Obojeni Program at Exit Festival 2010 by Exit Festival

Quite simply, I want to take photos like this one.  Now December1975 gave me some excellent technical advice but one thing is for sure, I need a camera with better image stabilisation and better zoom than my current camera.  I’m looking for what is known as a ‘bridge’ camera as I am not quite ready for a DSLR.  I definitely want a viewfinder but appreciate an LCD screen and I’d like the ability to put my own penlight batteries in.  Video is not really a concern for me.  This is my current shortlist:

Fujifilm FinePix S2800 HD Digital Camera
14MP
18x Zoom
3.0 inch LCD Screen

£199
Fujifilm FinePix S2800 HD
Pentax X90 Digital Camera
12MP
26x Optical Zoom 
2.7 inch LCD screen

£215
Pentax X90
Canon PowerShot SX20 IS Digital Camera
12.1MP
20x Optical Zoom
2.5 inch LCD screen

£274
Canon Powershot SX20
Nikon P100 Digital Camera
10.3MP
26x Optical Zoom 
3.0 inch LCD screen

£277
Nikon P100 Digital Camera 

 

I guess what I am looking for from you, dear reader, is some advice.  Do you have any experience with any of these cameras? Are there any you would steer clear of or anything I should beware of? 

Any advice would be absolutely appreciated and I hope you don’t mind if I ask you lots of questions in return.

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17 comments

  1. Hi Emm.

    I used the Fuji Finpix S5000 for a couple of years and was very pleased with the results and their latest model looks good.

    I personally would spend my money on a lower end DSLR like my Canon EOS 1000D which was a bit more expensive than the Fuji but I got a couple of kit lens with it.

    Its a bit of a steep learning curve when you start but I am convinced my photos are better now.

    Also consider, what you spend on the Fuji now with a little bit more could launch you into the DSLR market without the bridge camera step.

    PS Don't forget the UK VAT increase :-)

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  2. Hi Emm...good luck on your search..i am hunting for a new one too! My camera is waaay old in ditigal time..it is about 7 years old. so thanks for these camera spotlights.they all look great!.I have no idea what to buy either!
    Hope you find one soon!
    Kiki~

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  3. I am also in the market for a new camera but I'm looking for a waterproof feature!

    My husband recommends http://dpreview.com/ . They do exhaustive testing and tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the cameras they review. You might want to check out your models there. It is a daunting marketplace! Good luck!

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  4. My favourite topic! But to start with some bad news. If concert photography, or any low light photography with movement involved, is really important, then none of your selected cameras will do an awful lot to improve your photography. In fact, no bridge camera will. You'll certainly not capture anything like the photo in your post. If you're lucky, you might come away with a couple of 'okayish' shots, but nothing more.

    Ignore how many megapixels a camera has, what it's highest ISO setting is and whether it has a CMOS or CCD sensor, and worry only about how big the sensor is, how bright the lens is and how it handles high ISOs.

    And by the way the EVF viewfinders on bridge cameras tend to be rubbish bordering on unusable. And Image Stabilisation is useful but won't work any miracles.

    You're going to have to make a sacrifice! Whether it's the amount of zoom, the price you pay or the amount of equipment you end up with is up to you! The key for low light photography is owning a camera with a larger sensor and/or a brighter lens.

    If you can live with less zoom, then have a look at the Canon s95. Really bright f2.0 lens and a larger sensor than you'll normally find in a compact. It, and the S90 before it, have gotten rave reviews and are popular with pros who want a pocketable compact to carry around.

    http://amzn.to/cuZPko

    If you can't be persuaded away from a bridge camera (and there's no reason other than concert photography not to be persuadable - I think there's a lot to be said for bridge cameras and I love them, but remember their key feature is in flexibility not in any specialisation) then I would pick the Panasonic FZ38 over the ones you've listed.

    Its replacement model has come out which offers no significant improvement in image quality, just a slightly longer lens. So you'll get the FZ38 at a fairly good price - cheaper than a couple you've listed.

    http://amzn.to/9Vng9s

    But the camera I have to recommend (not surprisingly seeing as I just bought one!) would be the Olympus Pen E-PL1. It's got a massive sensor, it's still a small format camera, it's got a great Jpg engine and it's designed specifically for someone who feels they're not ready to step up to a DSLR yet!

    It comes with a kit lens that is ok, and will get you going, but you can add lenses to your collection as time goes by, and a decent viewfinder too. There's an underwater case you can buy too. It's a camera you can use with confidence from day one, but also one you can grow with. And you'll get pretty good concert photos from it too, potentially better than the photo you've posted here.

    It's a bit more cash, but considering how much you like photography and use your camera, it's well worth the investment.

    http://amzn.to/anoLD8

    And of course, if you or someone you know is heading off to the US soon, you could pick one up there for about a hundred quid less!

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  5. By the way, DPReview is very good, but sometimes goes into too much details and peeps and pixels more than is necessary. Photography Blog is a good alternative - more a laymans sort of site! Here's their Olympus Pen review.

    http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/olympus_epl1_review/conclusion/

    And I know you've said you hate Disqus, but I implore you to give it another try! I had a devil of a time getting my first comment to publish, and I'll receive no notice if anyone replies to it, so I have to keep coming back to you blog to check, and I always forget....!

    Actually...I'll just post this comment from my Google account, then I will get an email...

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  6. I was looking to purchase the Nikon P100 Digital Camera after I got more experience with my present kodak.

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  7. You have already done the hard part of narrowing down the cameras you might want. I suggest reading the reviews of people who already own each of these cameras and maybe see sample photos taken outdoors and indoors. Since you want to take better concert photos which are usually in low lighting, get one with longer optical zoom and selectable ISO settings. Higher ISO works better in low lighting, but will introduce more noise. dpreview is a great site and do a search on youtube for additional reviews.

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  8. I learned on a Canon AE1 way back when, and I've stuck with Canon ever since. :)

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  9. I have what is now an out of date Canon - EOS 400D - but I do like it. I can use it at its simplest and yet explore the extras it offers. Not that I'm in any way an expert so I'm interested to read what others have to say.

    PS I hate Disqus with a vengeance. I hope you don't convert. :)

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  10. I know exactly what you mean. A new camera is something I need to get. Recently I have missed out on so many good pictures because my zoom wasn't up to the job. I think all the makes you have mentioned make good cameras and the prices don't seem bad for what you get.

    I'm still doing my research, but I'm pretty keen on the Canon EOS 1000D, which is a DSLR however it also has the ability to be used exactly like a point and shoot camera, which will give me time to learn how to use it to it's full potential without rushing things.

    Because I'm a patient man, I intend to wait until the Xmas sales and save a few quid!

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  11. Well, my photography tutor said that concert photography is one of the most difficult. You'd need a really good tripod and lenses that capture whatever little light there is.

    Have a great weekend!

    Many thanks for visiting Norwich Daily Photo and leaving your comment. Come visit again tomorrow!

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  12. Incidentally Emm, if you really, really want zoom then the Canon SX30 will hit the shelves soon, with a frankly ridiculous 35x lens on it!

    And tsk...you Disqus haters! Honestly, I will just never get why Blogger users choose a buggy, non threaded comment system that locks out non Google users from email updates (and Google users too with the embedded system here!) in preference to one that does, and takes about two to three seconds to install after sign up!

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  13. Good luck on your search, Emm.
    I'm stuck with an old Canon model.
    I need to get a new one. Canon always.

    Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

    Big hugs!

    B xx

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  14. Hi everyone! Thank you so much for your comments. They have really helped me out. At the moment, I think perhaps I will try hold out for a DSLR and I'll most likely go with Canon. The next step will be to go into an actual camera shot and hold some in my hands etc.

    Gary - firstly, thanks for breaking my heart about the concert photography :*( Al I wanted for the Muse concert was to take one single, solitary decent photo. I didn't and it has left me heartbroken nd sad.

    When you use the embedded comment system here, you can sign in using your name and url and then you simply select "subscribe by email". Sure, you need to be signed in to Google / blogger to do it but Google users can get email replies and a link back to their blog.

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  15. I'm glad that you've decided to go with a Canon DSLR.

    As for the advice on concert photography, don't listen. You can take amazing shots without a tripod, you just need to know how to do it.

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  16. @Emm - I would shop around further than Canon. They make nice DSLR's, but so do Nikon, and both Pentax and Olympus will give you way more for your money...not paying so much for the name, you see.

    You're not going to convince me that Blogger comments are the best solution, any more, I guess, than I'll convince you about Disqus! But Disqus has made some massive improvements lately, so I urge you to have another look anyway.

    @Phoenix - She won't get a result like she posted from a compact camera, that was the point I think that has been made. A tripod helps, but a camera capable of taking high ISO shots is crucial.

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  17. @ Phoenix: Well, I shall have to go to Exit Festival next year (oh, the hardship!) and just practice with my new camera.

    @ Gary: I think perhaps I should have posted one of my own photos from that particular concert as they weren't bad but even from the front row, I wasn't able to get such a close up view. I know this guy has a £1K or £3K camera but I just wanted something to take home that represented what I had actually seen.

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