Cameras and Lens, oh my!

My wife and I are doing a bit of international travel soon and I had decided that I’d buy a new point and shoot camera to take with me. The trouble was that although there were a few new cameras out, none seemed to be available locally. I really like to try a point and shoot out before I buy it – to see how big it is for real (in my hand), to take a couple of shots, try turning it on/off to get a sense of how fast I can take a shot, etc.

I’d narrowed choices down to:

  Nikon Coolpix P6000 (B&H) Canon PowerShot G10 (B&H)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (B&H)

  image image image
Optical Zoom 4x 5x 2.5x
Optical Stabilization Yes Yes Yes
GPS Yes No No
Weight 8.5oz (240g) 0.77 lb (350g) 8.0oz (227g)
Dimensions 2.6 x 4.2 x 1.7”
(66 x 107 x 42mm)
3.1 x 4.3 x 1.8”
(78 x 109 x 46mm)
2.4 x 4.3 x 1.1”
(60 x 109 x 27mm)
RAW? Yes (1) Yes Yes (2)

(1) New RAW, NRW, supported by Adobe imaging products through Raw Update

(2) RAW Not yet supported by Aperture or Lightroom 2.1

Again, without seeing them, I wasn’t sure of how’d they feel. Would they fit in my pants pocket (without a carrying case)?

 image

The only camera that seemed like it might fit would be the Panasonic. So, I compared it’s size against my current favorite, the Canon Powershot 870:

image

(The Canon is on the left, Panasonic on right).

So, the Panasonic would be a bit bigger, but it would probably fit in my jeans pocket. However, there were three things that kept me from jumping and buying the Panasonic:

  • Lens cap. Like a DSLR, it has a lens cap that must be managed. There’s a little “tie” of some sort that it ships with, but I like the convenience of not worrying about extra pieces when I’m carrying a point and shoot camera.
  • Zoom. A sad 2.5x zoom. I can’t always use my feet to get me closer to things – so zoom comes in handy. 2.5 is really sad.
  • Proprietary RAW. There’s no indication that Adobe will support this custom RAW format any time soon. I like Lightroom 2.1 … I don’t want to use more than one tool to process my images.

The image quality, from what I’ve read is pretty good on the LX3. Better than a lot of cameras before it. The low light handling is also good (from what I’ve read).

The Canon, although the G9 was well rated, is just too big and heavy for the point and shoot style camera I’m looking for.

Then there was the Nikon … cool that it had built in GPS, (yet I read some people suggested it drained the battery too quickly and wasn’t as accurate as other GPS chips – here for example), it was a bit bigger than I would like. The RAW support, although more proprietary than the preview RAW formats released by Nikon cameras (NEF), is supported by Lightroom.

In the end, I decided not to buy any of these for now – and I’d rather wait for something that doesn’t have as many compromises for me. I bet they all will take great pictures – and if your needs are slightly different than mine, you’d likely be very happy. (If you don’t have a desire to carry the camera in a pants pocket….)

What did I do instead? I bought a new vibration reduction telephoto zoom lens for my D300! :)

imageI bought the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC LD Asph. Macro Lens. It’s a 72mm 3.5-22/6.3-40 f/Stop lens with great wide-angle to awesome zoom abilities in a very compact lens. I own the 18-250 (no vibration reduction), which I’ve taken many thousands of photos with and been extremely happy with the high quality images. So, I had no reason to doubt that this lens would be equally good for my needs. I could have bought the Nikon 18-200, but the Tamron is a bit cheaper, has a better zoom range, and the brand has proven it’s capable of good things.

Both lens are about the same length and weight – so I couldn’t see any reason not to go with the slightly more capable lens. I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t have expectations that a $600 lens will be of the same quality as a $5000 lens (unlike some people in forums who seem to expect that).

I don’t have any shots I can post yet from the Tamron 18-270mm, but when I do, I’ll be sure to link to them (they’ll be on my SmugMug page).

 

 

One Comment

  1. I have recently come from Dubai where I paid a visit to my friends. We took many shots with Panasonic Lumics. I was quite satisfied with the quality.

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