Getting a new digital camera (update: Durable P&S)

Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
My older Cannon point and shoot took some lens damage and I need a new camera. I'd like something that will give me better pictures, last longer, and is just not a normal point and shoot. I'd like a nice (but not $$$ nice) camera that I can still fit in my pocket. Can I get a little guidance?
This is on deals.woot
http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/3212718a-7b6a-4ba2-b959-bd786b955329/olympus-pen-e-p1-12-3mp-dslr-digital-camera#26
And while I like the idea of playing with lenses, things like the lack of flash make this seem not quite right for photos godknowswhere.

A friend suggested
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004H8FNGM/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
saying that its a pretty hard core camera that can take a beating

And another friend suggested
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/752064-REG/Panasonic_DMC_ZS8K_LUMIX_DMC_ZS8_Digital_Camera.html
but also mentioned a camera with a rotating lens ring that is "really wonderful", but he can't remember the name of it.

ceres wrote: »
Skoal Cat is correct.
Skoal Cat on

Posts

  • locomotivemanlocomotiveman Registered User
    The Pen is a well respected camera from a well respected line, and that Sony looks good as well. I don't know much about Panasonic's point and shoots, but don't recall ever hearing anything negative about them.

    It is amazing that even after more then 2 years so many so called camera people on woot don't know what is and is not a DSLR.

    aquabat wrote:
    I actually worked at work on Saturday. Also I went out on a date with a real life girl.


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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I was eyeing that e-p1 as well, and then I tried to find lenses for it and there's not a whole lot of options (I wanted a fast normal zoom), and most are quite a bit more expensive than equivalent Tamron/Tokina options for Canon/Nikon mounts.

    I think you're going to have to decide if you want a beefy P&S or something where you can change the lenses (be it an ILC or DSLR).

    Skill and technique greatly inform the quality of pictures, but that aside, usually a bigger (physically, not in mpixels) sensor means greater light-gathering capability and less noise. What situations are you going to be shooting in (sporting events, indoor social gatherings, outside, wildlife, vacation, nighttime)? What type of photography are you interested in (macro, portraiture, landscape, architecture)? How comfortable are you with manual controls, and is that something you'd be interested in?

  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    What are your specific goals for the camera? You want a durable one that takes panoramic shots? Or you just want something INTERESTING?

    I use a Canon Powershot S95 for publication quality point and shoot shots at work. It can take some pretty good shots for a tiny handheld, but it's slower than many similar cameras if you're looking to quickly fire off several shots.

    What is this I don't even.
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    I want it to take family photos, I want to bring it skiing, kayaking, mountain biking... but I also want a fast shutter speed to catch some quick sports shots.
    Those are my most important features.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    Ive had an Ep1 and they are amazing little cameras image quality is awesome and is a step up from point and shoot without looking like one of them people walking around places with a huge DSLR. However the Ep range (Ep1, 2 and now 3) do lack flash and can be quite weighty compared to other models. While flash isn't needed in good light once you are indoors you will be wishing you had it and at around $200 for the official flash gun (last time i checked) is way too expensive.
    What I would advise is to look at the Panasonic version of the Pen the Panasonic GF range Especially the GF1 and GF2 or the lower end model Olympus e-pen EPL range. Both have built in flash and generally seem to be better reviewed received by the public.
    On the good side you can use almost any micro 4/3 lens from panasonic as well as Olympus range so getting more lenses shouldn't be as big a problem.

    On the Sony camera its an excellent point and shoot but is far too expensive compared to similar spec models and the forced touch screen for almost all commands will drive you nuts eventually.

    I have REZ for the Dreamcast PAL for sale £35. Other Excellent retro games for sale PM for details
  • AtomikaAtomika Emily Poppe, RN Registered User regular
    I've loved the Alpha Series cameras from Sony. I have the a33, which is the entry model and is discontinued now, sadly, but they have the a35 (even cheaper), the a55, the a65, and the a77. They start at $550 for the body, $650 for a kit with a 18-55mm lens. Great cameras. Very versatile.

  • ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    I've loved the Alpha Series cameras from Sony. I have the a33, which is the entry model and is discontinued now, sadly, but they have the a35 (even cheaper), the a55, the a65, and the a77. They start at $550 for the body, $650 for a kit with a 18-55mm lens. Great cameras. Very versatile.

    The Sony Alpha series always get excellent reviews and are at generally good prices, I really been waiting until the lens mount support increases. Do you know id the NEX series from sony support Alpha lenses?

    I have REZ for the Dreamcast PAL for sale £35. Other Excellent retro games for sale PM for details
  • AtomikaAtomika Emily Poppe, RN Registered User regular
    Ziggymon wrote:
    I've loved the Alpha Series cameras from Sony. I have the a33, which is the entry model and is discontinued now, sadly, but they have the a35 (even cheaper), the a55, the a65, and the a77. They start at $550 for the body, $650 for a kit with a 18-55mm lens. Great cameras. Very versatile.

    The Sony Alpha series always get excellent reviews and are at generally good prices, I really been waiting until the lens mount support increases. Do you know id the NEX series from sony support Alpha lenses?

    Yes, with a LA-EA1 mount adapter.

  • locomotivemanlocomotiveman Registered User
    There are also the many many Minolta A-mounts that will fit the Sony as well.

    aquabat wrote:
    I actually worked at work on Saturday. Also I went out on a date with a real life girl.


    Can you like, permanently break the forums?
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    So there seems to be a general consensus that moving to a lense system is pretty bad ass. I'm pretty concerned with durability though, my Cannon took a fatal blow in my suitcase sandwiched between all of my clothing.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    The large sensor in a DSLR/ILC gives you a significant leg up on P&S cameras w/r/to image quality. However, I'd personally never take such a camera skiing, biking or kayaking (I never was a very good biker/skier, and I've never kayaked); I just think those activities exposed you to much more risk of camera damage. As for transport during travel, the camera ALWAYS goes on the plane with me. My carry-on is usually a camera bag with room for 3-4 lenses, a laptop, and other small items for carry-on.

    For family pic duty I'd surely get a DSLR/ILC (you often have to shoot in terrible lighting conditions), for the sporting activities I'd get a P&S w/good manual controls.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    Since I'm only buying one camera right now, lets go with the P&S version. I need to be able to take this thing with me where ever I go.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • locomotivemanlocomotiveman Registered User
    What on earth did you do that a camera broke in a suitcase like that?

    aquabat wrote:
    I actually worked at work on Saturday. Also I went out on a date with a real life girl.


    Can you like, permanently break the forums?
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    I checked it :(

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    The 2 P&S's you linked in your OP are considerably different from one another. While they both have 1/2.3" sensors (I'd personally look for something with a 1/1.7" class sensor or larger), the Panasonic's a superzoom (16x) and the Sony is a ruggedized/winterized compact 4x normal zoom (slightly edged out by the Lumiz DMC-TS3 over at DPReview here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q311waterproofcompactgrouptest/). So do you need the range more or the weatherization?

    My MIL has an earlier generation of your OP-linked Panasonic (the ZS5) and seems satisfied with the quality of pictures it turns out.

    I'd put those both solidly in the "normal P&S" category, and I'd think you'd need to move up to something like a Canon G12 to break out of that category. Well maybe not a G12, but what lifts a P&S out of that class is going to vary by user; I'd like something with a manual focusing ring, that allows for user-defined white balance, and that shoots in RAW.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    I know Cannon's can take custom firmware which opens up shooting in RAW and several other things, but my now broken P&S was a Cannon. Are they more fragile?

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • chr1sh4ll3ttb3chr1sh4ll3ttb3 A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    The G12 isn't. Metal body what what..

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    I don't think fragility is so much determined by brand, more by the type of camera. Some of the newer rangefinder-style cameras I've played with feel like they might stand up to a knock better than a compact P&S, but they have their own issues (high price, typically a fixed focal length (no zoom)). Plastic housed cameras also feel less sturdy than metal housed cameras, but I'm not sure if that really translates to them being less likely to take a drop. The more fully featured P&S (G12, P7000) seem to be built up a bit.

    If you're really concerned about knocks I'd probably get one of those ruggedized models like in that waterproof shootout I linked. Just know that they have to make compromises to put something together in that form factor with the added protection (e.g. you might be getting a smaller sensor, or an abridged zoom range, or fewer external controls/buttons/dials, than what you could get in a non-ruggedized slim camera form factor).

    For the kayaking, if you don't get a waterproof camera, there may be a waterproof housing available for whatever camera you get, but it won't be cheap.

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