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Choosing a camera - some questions

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by neenaw, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. neenaw

    neenaw
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    Hi! I've been given the task to pick out a digital camera for a friend. I know the basics of photography but have never had any hands on experience, so what I know is from what I've read.

    I had decided on the Panasonic FZ20 cos of the great reviews it has received as well has having a a decent number of megapixels and large zoom which my friend is looking for.

    Thing is tho, she is a beginner with not only photography but with digital cameras so I'm starting to have 2nd thoughts about whether this would be a good choice of camera after all. My main question is related to this:

    How easy is this camera to use? Does it have an automatic setting?

    See she is used to an ordinary automatic camera that does everything for you, flash and all. So, if she was in a certain situation where she just wanted to take some snaps without having to muck about with manual settings etc would she be able to do this with the fz20?

    The reason I chose the fz20 over a simpler camera was cos she is interested in learning about photography and manual settings but a lot of the time i'm sure she'll just want to point and shoot.

    The types of pictures she'd be taking vary. Anything from wildlife, scenery, people, buildings, animals and indoor gigs (another reason for the fz20 is the way it is able to take in a lot of light in low light situations).

    Price wise, she won't go any higher than what the fz20 costs which is about £350 (cos she's wanting a large memory card and small carry case so that bumps the price up quite a bit).

    So, if anyone can offer any advice as to whether a camera like the fz20 is suitable for a beginner or whether it'd be better going for something along the lines of the canon powershot range then it'd be muchly appreciated! :thumbsup:

    Thanks!
     
  2. mjw123

    mjw123
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    What about the only slightly lesser FZ3 - It's only £199 and possibly a bit more beginner friendly. OK it's not got 5mp but it's far smaller and lighter and will mean it's taken out and used more often.

    Don't get me wrong the FZ20 is superb but all things considered the FZ3 might be a better option for now. She could always upgrade in a year or so if she wants more from the camera.

    I'd sat the FZ20 might be too good for her as a beginner.
     
  3. seany

    seany
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    It's a great camera. You've mad a very good choice, it has a lot of scope. She can stick it on point and shoot, and later when she gets used to the camera she has the scope to get her hands dirty.

    You'd have been hard pressed to find her a better starter cam
     
  4. neenaw

    neenaw
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    hey thanks! i'd considered the fz3, especially cos of the smaller size but apart from that (and price) i didn't see any other reasons to go for it or how it would be easier to use than the fz20. you did make a good point tho about size - bigger maybe meaning it won't be carted about as much. that's definitely something i'm going to consider more and speak to her about. maybe going into town to check out the cameras first and let her 'get a feel' for them and see whether she feels the fz20 is too big for what she wants.

    seany - thanks! every time i'd read something more about the fz20 i was sure i had chosen a good camera. put it this way, if i was buying a camera i'd be buying that one! so it definitely has an automatic mode then? cos then it's ideal really.

    thanks again! :thumbsup:
     
  5. mjw123

    mjw123
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    Sean - do you not feel the FZ3 is a better 'starter cam' than the FZ20 ?
     
  6. Smiffy 2

    Smiffy 2
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    Just to throw my three halfpence worth in!
    I bought the FZ20 in October last year and am really pleased with the results I have obtained from it.
    The menu system is fairly easy to learn (much easier than an Olympus I previously owned) and the results, on auto, are superb.
    My 13 year old daughter has a smaller Samsung digi and picked my FZ up and started "snapping" with it straight away so it must be fairly easy to use.
    Very little shutter lag, good low light capabilites, and it feels a quality piece of kit in the hand.
    Once you friend has got used to using it in "auto" mode, it has a raft of features and settings that she can begin to explore and experiment with, and being digital she is not going to waste a fortune on developing to find out which type of setting suits her style of photography.
    Panasonic didn't feature in my list of "names" when I decided to buy a newer camera, I thought of the more regular names of Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Minolta that sort of thing, but after reading early reviews of the FZ20 it offered everything I wanted in a camera and more.
    Highly recommended.
    Rob
     
  7. seany

    seany
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    Well going for a an ixus to a 20D in a year has taught me really to skip as much as you can. It's more really then a starter cam the zoom and the res togather are a fine duo. After having the S1 3.2mp and now having a 8mp dslr. I realise now that 3mp is not really enough. Sooner or later they'll need or want more
     
  8. mjw123

    mjw123
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    Doesn't allways follow though - my March winning pic of the month was only 4mp :p
     
  9. seany

    seany
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    To be fair 2mp could have been used for a close up shot like your winner mj. What i'm saying is that she will want more mp sooner or later, it does give more scope for editing printing ect. MP is not an issue for the comps here. It's about shots viewed on the web that would get taken apart if placed on fred miranda:laugh:


    But when it comes to editing printing ect then 5mp does have more scope then 3mp so better to go for the one with more scope.


    So it actaully does always follow that its better to have more scope, because less scope is simply that. Better to have 5mp and not need it then 3mp and need 5mp.
     
  10. mjw123

    mjw123
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    Fair enough - If there was a huge premium price wise i'd go for the 3mp but as it's only £100 more i'd probably agree.

    It's like driving a fast car - it's nice to have that speed but it's not often you really depend on it.
     
  11. seany

    seany
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    Best thing about larger mp for me at the momeant is cropping. I've had printed a portrait of my partner that i love at A4 that i love and i have some hiking shots that i want round that size.

    But cropping at the momount is what i love more then anything.

    Hoping that in time when i have the right gear that i might be able to start for the past time to pay for itself. But i've got a lot to learn and that's really why i bought my camera
     
  12. neenaw

    neenaw
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    thanks guys, i'm sticking with the fz20 :)

    i spoke to my friend about it and the issues of it being bigger and heavier than many other cameras doesn't bother her. she says she definitely wants to learn about photography but also doesn't want to spend a couple of hundred quid now, only to need another camera a year or so down the line. she wants a camera that will help her learn and also be good enough for when she wants to experiment with manual settings etc. so based on that, and on reviews and what you guys have said, i think the fz20 is the perfect camera for her. wish i could afford one!

    thanks again! :thumbsup:
     
  13. Smiffy 2

    Smiffy 2
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    She won't be disappointed neenaw and her reasons for going for it make perfect sense.
    Rob
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
     
  14. mjw123

    mjw123
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    Yep Enjoy - I went for the FZ3 for size reasons but if it wasn't for that i'd have opted for the FZ20...superb camera.
     

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