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  1. #1

    Default Newbie overwhelmed by choice :/

    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 :/ 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 I will have to find the manual out (is this classed as a "bridge" camera?)

    What to do..... Please help
    Last edited by NicciJB; 14-03-12 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Added extra question about sensors

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    NW England


    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.

  3. #3


    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

    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


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