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To the Pros: help me decide on which to buy


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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Oct 2012, 17:13:51 BST
Last edited by the author on 24 Oct 2012, 17:14:33 BST
Anne says:
Hi all,

I'm hoping some of you can help me. I love photography, and I love to capture the important and not so important moments that'll mean something to me even 10 years later. Okay I won't bore you...

I'm looking for a nice compact camera that takes super photos and won't weight down my bag once I add it to the masses I carry around. I'm work as a Producer in the 3D/vfx industry and it's important for my career and personal life to be able to capture things on the go.

Now I'm loving so far: the Canon ixus 520HS. 12xOptical zoom is awesome for such a small camera and I've seen what previous versions of it can do.

So help me... I also like the Lumix range from Panasonic

Budget: £250 or less.

Thanks so much!!!

A

Posted on 24 Oct 2012, 20:28:29 BST
Last edited by the author on 25 Oct 2012, 03:34:23 BST
Graham H says:
There are soooo many you could go for that will do what you want. It's really personal preference.
Anything by Panasonic is a good choice, and the Canon IXUS is fine too.

I guess it really depends what you want to do with it. In my case, I don't need a huge zoom range because I have a DSLR for that. But my carry-around camera will be mainly for street stuff and family/friends etc. Quite a lot of the time it'll be in low light too, so I value a fast lens more than a long zoom for those reasons. Hence why I have the Fujifilm X10 and I love it.

Fujifilm X10 Digital Camera - Black (12MP EXR CMOS, 4x Optical Zoom) 2.8 inch LCD Screen

Obviously the X10 is a little above the budget you were looking at, so maybe you might do well to consider the sort of conditions you'll be most likely to be using it in and what sort of thing you'll be photographing? There isn't a single small camera that does everything equally well really.
A cheaper camera with a huge zoom range will almost certainly not be a top performer in poor light, for example. Would you need all that zoom ability or would you find a wider angle more generally useful?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2012, 22:58:56 BST
Anne says:
The X10 looks like a sweet little retro camera. I'm liking it a lot!

I favor a camera that will take good macro shots (I have a fascination with macro) and wide angle as well. Then zoom. I like the ixus because it is nice and compact but packs a punch.
this has given me a lot to think about. Thanks so much!

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 09:25:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Oct 2012, 12:02:33 GMT
Graham H says:
Well, I'm a little out of touch with digital compacts these days, so I'm not going to trumpet the virtues of one over another. I'd be very wary of internet "experts" who do that! Best to get the opinion of an owner of each model on your list and then decide really. But what I can do is to tell you about my X10 easily enough.

It might look like a sweet little retro camera, but it's also an extremely competent and well engineered photographic tool.

The reason I bought it is that it's extremely capable yet easy to use in the way that film cameras were. As I still use mainly film, I find this very useful.
You want to switch it on and take a pic? Turn the lens barrel to switch on, turn the lens barrel more to zoom in and out, then fire. Simple as that. Usually on a compact you'd have to press and hold a power switch to turn on, then press fiddly little "+" and "-" buttons to zoom in and out. The X10 is incredibly quick to use from "cold".

It can do a hell of a lot of useful things too. It would take me ages to list them all here, and there are reviews available anyway, so I'll save myself some typing. But I would say to check one out for yourself, most definitely. But make sure you're shown it by someone who knows them. They're a little idiosyncratic in their menu layout, so not instinctive to use like a Canon IXUS for example. But they're worth persevering with, because once you've configured it how you want it, it's a tremendous creative tool.
But then it should be - It's aimed at photographers, not tourists. You can tell that when you pick one up. It's not a shiny plastic toy covered in high-tech sounding acronyms. It's a solid, beautifully built metal brick of a camera with proper controls knobs that you twist. And the only writing on it is the white script on the top. There is nothing visible from the front. It's completely unobtrusive.

I leave mine set to to "EXR" mode ("Extended Dynamic Range" which handles extremes of light and dark in the same picture brilliantly) I leave the shutter set to "Exposure Bracket" so that it takes three pics with each press of the button. One at recommended exposure, then one either side of it by 1/3rd of a stop for safety.
I leave the flash set to "Forced On" which means that if I decide I could do with some fill flash then I press the button to pop it up and away it goes. But if I'm in a museum or a gig somewhere I know that as long as the flash is retracted then it physically can't go off. For extra peace of mind, you can hold the camera with your finger over the flash's hidey-hole anyway! Great design.
I also have the custom function button set to toggle between "Film Emulation" settings. In my case "Provia" which is a good, neutral slide film setting, and "Velvia" which is a boosted colour setting like Velvia slide film. Great for scenery and colours.

Obviously it also has a "Full Auto" mode where it will do everything by itself, so you can hand it to Auntie Ethel to take snaps with no problem. The results are surprisingly good in this mode too, but then you don't buy an X10 to leave it set on auto. Invest the time in learning the camera and you'll get some cracking results.

One last thing: Ignore any internet scare stories about "Orbs" (Hard-edged white circles that appeared on bright highlights. There is an example pic in the product gallery in the link below) Only the first ones suffered from that, and then only intermittently. Fuji repaired them all under warranty anyway by retrofitting the newer sensor. Any one you buy new on line will have the newer sensor like mine has. Mine has never given me any problems and I use it a lot!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B005JRGWNS/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_all

Have fun,

Graham.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Oct 2012, 12:27:02 GMT
Anne says:
Those are some great photos! And I don't take tourist-y photos. I want a serious camera that will take awesome shots until I buy my more serious DSLR (although the EOS-M has my name all over it already).

Thanks so much Graham for the time and advice. The X10 will be finding it's way to me soon! My get the IXUS for my mum though so I can play around with it as well.

Anne

Posted on 28 Oct 2012, 13:46:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Oct 2012, 01:20:03 GMT
Graham H says:
All that concerns me a little about you and the X10 is the macro stuff. The X10 can do macro, and can do it beautifully, even giving you the opportunity to manually focus (How many compacts can do that???) but you've not got to be in a hurry if you want to get the best results. But having said that, I think you'll be fine. Certainly I wouldn't change mine for anything else even if money was no object.
I did love the idea of Fuji's X-Pro 1 until I actually tried it. I mean, it's a magnificent camera (as it should be at well into four figures) but it's almost the same size and weight as a DSLR.

I like the IXUS range too. I have the IXUS95IS (for which I wrote the top review on here):

Canon Digital IXUS 95 IS Digital Camera - Silver (10 MP, 3.0x Optical Zoom) 2.5 inch LCD

...and while it's a lovely little device, it can never match the sheer quality and range of capabilities of the Fujifilm X10. But my Mum also has an IXUS (after seeing mine) and she absolutely loves its one-touch simplicity. The movie clips aren't bad either, and she especially loves doing those on her travels!

I took the X10 into town with me this evening. There should be a few more hand-held night snapshots in the product gallery once Amazon approve them.

See you later!

Graham.

PS: If you do get one, let me know and I'll send you the links to the best screen protector, clear MC UV filter and other extras that I've arrived at by trial and error.
Oh, and the "Never Ready" case is bloody expensive from Fuji too, so I haven't bothered with that. Especially as I keep mine mainly in a coat pocket or a shoulder messenger bag. The case needs to be removed to get to the memory card and battery hatch. The X10 does get through batteries too, so taking it out each time you want to slam in a spare battery is a pain in the butt.

I bought two genuine spare batteries on Ebay for a tenner each, so with three available I never have to worry about running out of power.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2012, 14:46:05 GMT
Anne says:
I went into Jessops to have a look at it this morning and actually found a lovely woman who spent about 15 - 20 minutes telling my why that Fuji is so unique. She also showed me the X-Pro 1 (amazing but ummm 4 figures...?). And she also said she loves the IXUS range and will recommend it too but for what I need it for, she said go with Fuji.

That camera is super. I'll purchase it in coming weeks and I'll be sure to let you know. I saw the leather case as well... but the woman also told me for £75, which is what is cost at Jessops, I could get a more practical Lowepro and memory card and still have some change.

Todally excited and can't wait to try it out.

thank you so much!

Anne

Posted on 30 Oct 2012, 15:03:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2012, 17:22:39 GMT
Graham H says:
Great! Glad you had a chance to play with one. I'm still trying to learn my way around my one. Mainly because its setting can be infinitely customised. You can even control the intensity level of the pop-up flash, which is something I don't ever remember seeing on a digital compact.

My biggest ( and really only) beef with it is the menu layout. It does take some time to learn what it can do and to get comfortable knowing your way around all the settings. That said, it's well worth the effort, because you can do so much with it in almost any photographic situation.

I take mine most places with me, and apart from the beautiful 1970's Olympus OM film cameras that I still regularly use, the little Fuji is my favourite thing to handle. It just oozes quality.
Here's the add-ons that I have on mine and would recommend:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/40mm-Pro1-Pro-1D-Super-Slim-Multi-coated-MC-UV-Filter-for-Fujifilm-Finepix-X10-/400329679434?pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_CameraAccessories_CameraLensesFilters_JN&hash=item5d3582224a

It's hard to find a protection filter for the X10 because it uses a non-standard thread size (40mm). I got one of these from the link above and it's been excellent. No reflections or ghosts even at night amongst bright lighting. It lives permanently on the lens now to keep it clean.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-0-inch-GGS-Glass-LCD-Screen-Protector-for-DC-DSLR-/180649943807?pt=UK_Photography_DigitalCamAccess_RL&hash=item2a0f9362ff

The spec say the screen is 2.8" but it isn't quite. If you buy this 3" GGS screen protector it fits to the back on the screen surround perfectly. The 2.8" one doesn't. It's too small. They're made from toughened, hard optical glass, so none of those plastic tear-off cheapie things. The GGS screen protectors are tough as. All my cameras have them.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/C-in-RED-11mm-Concave-Release-Shutter-Button-Leica-M8-M9-M7-Hasselblad-/380500237199?pt=UK_Photography_DigitalCamAccess_RL&hash=item589794db8f

This isn't strictly needed, but it makes the camera look and feel soooo much better! All my film cameras have this button:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/404383_10150546017437998_2144804269_n.jpg

...and as the X10 has a proper shutter button with a threaded insert, I got one for that too.

Buy a couple of Fuji NP-10 batteries. They need to be genuine ones though. The guy I bought mine from no longer has any, but they can be found for between £10-15 delivered if you browse the usual sites.

I don't like neck straps, so I have one of these on mine:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/150569740356?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

As for memory:

SanDisk Secure Digital High Capacity Card Extreme Video HD 16GB Class 10

One of those cards has more than enough capacity for anything and the fast write speed is great for movie clips. There's no reason not to buy the best memory cards these days given how cheap all of them are.

Be careful with the removable metal lens cap. I dented mine when I sat on it, and I had to order a replacement direct from Fuji's UK operation in Bedford. It wasn't cheap either at £15 plus postage. Some people attach a string to it as a "keeper" but I prefer to carry mine around with the cap off now as I have the filter to protect the lens element. I just fit the cap back again when I'm done with the camera for the day.

Fuji took the very brave step of giving some X10's to professionals to review. It's well worth a read:

http://fujifilm-x.com/photographers/en/shintaro_shiratori/

Must admit, it does take superb people pictures. Even of me!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/488312_10151004712382998_906564182_n.jpg

Posted on 12 Nov 2012, 22:31:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Nov 2012, 22:34:53 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Graham and Anne.

Here's a link to cheap camera cases that you may find useful.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/Camera-Photo-Accessories-/15200/i.html?_ipg=25&_from=&_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ssn=super_cheap_city

Ignore first post, something went wrong with the copied link and it doesn't work.

Graham, I understand your brother is back in the UK, so no more pics of that cheeky squirrel, then?

Posted on 12 Nov 2012, 23:04:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Nov 2012, 23:22:11 GMT
Graham H says:
Hi T.J!

Yes, he's back in this country again now following a change of employer.

He tells me that he plans to use his remote-control technique for wildlife again just as soon as he's settled here properly and has some free time. Although I get the feeling that most of the squirrels he shoots from now on will be grey ones! :-)

Just seen that link. They look reasonable quality, don't they? Certainly a far better price than the frankly silly cost of the Fujifilm one. Mind you, calling it "P U Leather" is a bit naughty. It's either leather or it's polyurethane.
Unless of course it's the hide from the incredibly rare plastic cow.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Nov 2012, 11:51:25 GMT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Graham.

The quality is surprisingly good, especially judged on the build of the case I bought for my Sony NEX 5N recently. When Sony launched the original NEX 5 over two years ago, I purchased the branded case for it at around £80(!) and this was with the larger snout to take the zoom lens.

I ordered the inexpensive complete case from this company, instead of getting Sony's original small snout designed for the 16mm pancake lens, at the time I took delivery of the truly excellent little Sigma 30mm lens, as I anticipated the case would fit with the Sigma attached. And it does, just, but I have to leave the lens cap off. No big deal. No misrepresentation by the seller, it was sold as being for the 16mm Sony lens.

PU leather is an unusual product as I discovered when, two years ago, the front of the case for my Panasonic Lumix LX3 fell off and I didn't notice and lost it. I didn't fancy buying another genuine Panny case, very high price, albeit genuine leather, when all I really needed was the snout portion, and so I looked around. I discovered a complete case for, at that time, a good price of £29, and it was sold as being leather. I purchased it and was very pleased, especially as the snout was slightly larger than the original and allowed me to fit a Delkin folding LCD hood to the LX3's screen, something physically impossible with the Panny original.

When I posted a review on Amazon, someone raised the question of PU leather and which was what he believed the case was actually made from. I'm no leather expert but do understand that finished leather can have quite different appearances and this case certainly absorbed the brown polish I applied, so it seemed it was leather and not polyurethane. But this wasn't the end, as I went on the net to find out and found this comment, surprisingly from a specialist watch company:

"Note: PU leather - often called 'bonded leather' - is leather made from the inner splits of the hide finished with a polyurethane coating. This leather is made resistant to water penetration and has also a high resistance to scratches."

Probably running close to the wind under the Trades Description Act, but better perhaps to have a waterproof material that looks and behaves remarkably like the real thing, it definitely doesn't look plasticky at all, than expose an expensive case to rain. My Sony case comes with a recommendation (warning?) not to get it wet!

Posted on 21 Nov 2012, 23:08:59 GMT
Anne says:
TJ and Graham... thank you both so much and sorry for the late reply. Haven't bought my X10 yet (was almost tempted by the Canon EOS1100, simply because I can share it with my little brother who needs a DSLR), but I will get it soon. Just had some other commitments to take care of... I will look into the case as well.

Thanks both!

Posted on 21 Nov 2012, 23:21:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Nov 2012, 23:28:52 GMT
Graham H says:
No worries Anne.

I managed finally to meet Dr G Austin in person last week at the NEC Birmingham (Classic car show) after posting with him in "Film Corner" for several years on here.

He had a play with my own Fujifilm X10 and was quite impressed too. In some ways (Notably the fill-flash capability in the abominable lighting at the NEC) the X10 surpassed even the good doctor's Sony DSLR.
No surrprise really though, as I already know that the X10 performs better than would my Nikon DSLR in those self same circumstances.
And it doesn't make my shoulder ache either. ;-)

Of course, I do have some damn heavy cameras. But after a while you get sick of lugging them about. I very much doubt I'll ever buy another DSLR. By the time my D90 is due for upgrade I believe mirrorless technology will have advanced to the point that there won't be a need to have to drag around a huge piece of kit anymore.
I'll welcome that day as long as there are no performance differences.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012, 13:04:38 GMT
Hi Graham,
Yes I was impressed by the X10. I'm not a lover of flash but the X10 flash was very good. I always use an old fashioned bounced flash on my Sony if I feel inclined. That means operating it manually.
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