View Full Version : Newbie overwhelmed by choice :/

14-03-12, 04:31 PM
Hi there

I'm a point and shoot kinda girl with three budget compact digital cameras behind me (one Samsung, one Nikon, one Panasonic). I love taking photographs and have found several limitations with my current models and therefore decided it's time for an upgrade. These are the things I would like my camera to do/have in an ideal world:

1 Wide angle photo ability (for landscapes, getting in whole of a building etc - recent shortcomings highlighted in St Mark's Square in Venice)

2 Good quality/colour images in low light (eg my Hong Kong night skyline pics were terrible)

3 Reasonable optical zoom

4 Rotating LCD (to take self/couple shots)

5 Optical viewfinder (cannot always see what I am taking in strong sunlight)

6 Spend a max of around 300 - although prepared to go a bit higher for the right camera

7 Ability to take those lovely shots that have a sharp focus with total blurring in the background (seen a lot in macro photography which I would also love to do). Is it called narrow depth of field - please excuse my ignorance? :/

I was thinking of sticking with a compact (with override features?) due to the convenience etc. But am open to other suggestions if I am going to get a load more for my money and it's not too bulky. I have looked at loads online (not in the flesh yet) including:

Panasonic LX5
Panasonic TZ18
Panasonic TZ8
Panasonic TZ20
Panasonic FZ48
Panasonic FZ150
Panansonic FZ45
Canon Powershot G12
Nikon P7100
Sony DSC-HX1 (seen you have recommended this alot on here)

The reason I have been looking at so many Panasonic is that I saw lots of lovely night time/low light shots taken by friends who had a Lumix. I am not sure which model they had. Also, once upon a time in Jessops, they confirmed that Panasonic would be good for low light images, However, this was not proved true in Hong Kong - I am assuming due to the limited capabilities of the camera rather than Panasonic as a brand. Any hints and tips on this appreciated. Can you get lovely low light images with beautiful colours with a decent compact? I have read that sensor size is important when it comes to good low light performance - so what would be the minimum size sensor?

I have always wanted an SLR but am terrified to take the plunge as it seems so complicated :/ :eek: I see Jessops are doing an 1100D starter kit at an affordable price (and note the 1100D is recommended as a good starter SLR). How have others managed when new to SLR - self taught (by what means) or did you go on a course?

Finally, I have a 5.1MP Nikon Coolpix 5400 which I think probably has more features on it than I know how to use :o I will have to find the manual out (is this classed as a "bridge" camera?)

What to do..... Please help :confused:
Nicci :o

15-03-12, 07:20 AM
hi and welcome. I think you need to decide if you want to take the plunge with a DSLR, you can use your nikon in manual, shutter and aperture priorities to get used to it as these are the the modes to get the best out of s DSLR. follow this link and go down the first page and chris cool gives some good links.
this will give you an understanding of what you need to know.

15-03-12, 11:39 AM
Thank you kindly for the reply :)

I guess my first choice would be a really good compact that would offer me the following features:

1 Wide angle photo ability
2 Good quality/colour images in low light
3 Reasonable optical zoom
4 Macro and the ability to create those lovely blurred background/sharp foreground pics I mentioned before (is this an easy thing to create or very difficult?)
6 Spend a max of around 300 - although prepared to go a bit higher for the right camera

This would be more convenient - no faffing with lens changes and heavy/bulky things to carry around as I only usually take a very small handbag out with me and would like to get the camera in there. I may invest in a DSLR later once I have had a play around with the Coolpix?

Another thing I have noticed is sometimes it takes too long for my current camera to focus/shutter to go off which is irritating.

Three more things please:

1) is my Nikon Coolpix 5400 a "bridge" camera?

2) Is there a glossary on this site which explains in very basic terms the differences between, compact, bridge, compact system and DSLR? It get's very confusing :confused:

3) I read that sensor size is important for capturing good quality low light images. Is this true and if so is there a minimum sensor size I should look for/avoid (not sure what the range is)?

I see the LX5 always seems to do quite well although it is going over budget. And maybe the TZ8 and TZ20?

Many thanks again for your help :o