Author Topic: Compact camera advice please  (Read 593 times)

richardh1905

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Compact camera advice please
« on: 19:32:05, 07/10/20 »
I've been using the camera on my Samsung Galaxy phone whilst out on my walks, and the results really are quite remarkable for such a small lens, especially for general landscape shots - but there are limitations. In particular, I find the phone camera wanting in the following areas:


- Low light - works up to a point, and then the autofocus gives up. And I do like my sunrises and sunsets.
- Telephoto - pretty useless, which is only to be expected, I suppose. No way could I photograph a distant herd of deer last Thursday.
- Close ups - again, the auto focus lets it down. Flowers would be my main interest here.
- Drains the phone battery, which I might need for an emergency. I've bypassed this problem by buying a cheap lithium powerbank.


So I am looking into buying a light compact camera; don't want to spend a fortune and I don't want to weigh myself down. Not sure what my budget or timescale is yet, or if it is even worth the bother.


It has been a while since I have looked at camera tech, and I am amazed by what is available in a compact - 30x zoom, for example. :o
I note that the cheaper cameras, and those with a super zoom use a 1/2.3 sensor, whereas the more expensive cameras with a more modest but still very useful zoom use a 1" sensor, which I believe improves low light performance, of interest to me. Anyone know how this works out in practice?

I would also be keen on being able to focus manually if I so desire, and an electronic viewfinder would be nice, although not a must have.


I would be interested to hear what compact cameras other forum users use, and of any recommendations, whether they are significantly better than phone cameras, cameras to avoid, or additional points to consider. Thank you in advance :)

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Slowcoach

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #1 on: 19:41:53, 07/10/20 »
Richard, I have used various models of Panasonic Lumix tz models over the years. I currently use the tz90 which has all the key features needed, super long zoom lense, eyelevel view finder, full manual control available. I really rate it, worth a look ?
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GinAndPlatonic

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #2 on: 19:58:27, 07/10/20 »
I am sure there are other newer compacts that give great if not better results , but up to now I have never felt that my Olympus 1s is outdated .
They are no longer made but they often come up on E bay and Amazon "as new". When first sold they were looked upon as a tad expensive for a compact
I have two . One that I keep a wide angle lens attached and the other as is . It is like a mini slr. It has an electronic view finder that shows superb detail and all the oft used parameters are adjustable via buttons or if needed , you can use the on screen menu .
It is small enough to fit in a small over shoulder bag or a large pocket in your jacket .

https://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/olympus_stylus_1_review/conclusion

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B00OZ8HP2E/ref=dp_olp_afts?ie=UTF8&condition=all&qid=1602096886&sr=8-3


https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/USED-Olympus-Stylus-1S-Black-Excellent-FREESHIPPING/332780771416?hash=item4d7b479858:g:ChsAAOSwg2FbWnuM
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beefy

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #3 on: 20:08:04, 07/10/20 »

My camera is an olympus om10 mk 2, Not exactly a compact, but still small, and very versatile  O0
I also have a compact sony
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richardh1905

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #4 on: 22:06:39, 07/10/20 »
Thank you for your replies, Slowcoach, G&P, Beefy.


@ Slowcoach - I have been looking at the Panasonic TZ range - good to get some feedback first hand. The TZ80 would probably be enough for me.


@beefy - My wife used to have a 35mm OM10 - excellent camera.



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Birdman

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #5 on: 22:08:25, 07/10/20 »
I have been using a Lumix TZ70 for the last 5 years, which has a viewfinder (indispensable) and 30x optical zoom. It weighs about 300 grams and it fits in my pocket. The main reason to buy it was the ability to take pictures of some birds and other stuff that is far away.


I'm happy with it, but it is of course a huge compromise. 30x zoom cannot be done with good quality on any camera so the lens quality isn't great. My previous camera (Canon Powershot S95) with 3x zoom is of course better. Also the lens gets a bit soft at its maximum zoom, which is to be expected because of the laws of physics (diffraction), which state that maximum theoretical resolution is determined by the diameter of the objective lens and this is a compact camera.


Also, the lens is relatively slow, which is also expected because it is the only way to get reasonable quality out of a 30x zoom. Otherwise lens errors would become too obvious. 


Another thing I dislike is that it has a 12 megapixel sensor. That is too much for a compact camera. I would prefer 10 megapixel or even 8, which would offer less noise/ higher dynamic range. Unfortunately, most newer compact cameras even have 20 megapixels (which is a marketing thing, people think more=better), which makes their quality worse! It also completely useless (at least at the long end of the zoom), because the resolution is limited by the lens.


Having said all this, I would buy this camera again. It is the compromise that I have chosen. I don't want to carry anything that is bigger and heavier and the 30x zoom was the enabler that I needed to include some bird pictures in my report. So then you get a rather slow camera with optical qualities that are not great but still acceptable for my purpose.


Another point of note is that it has been repaired twice (free of charge within the extended 5 year warranty), in both cases it was the lens retract that started failing. Granted, it has had lots of use on many great adventures. All pictures in my reports (link below) from September 2015 onward are taken with this camera.
« Last Edit: 22:13:53, 07/10/20 by Birdman »
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

Dodgylegs

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #6 on: 22:39:00, 07/10/20 »
I would be interested to hear what compact cameras other forum users use...

When looking for a camera upgrade, possibly 13 years ago! I discovered a camera review site 'Steve's Digicams', an American site that appears to do full reviews on most cameras (although some have different names to UK market). The one that stood out was because body of camera easy to hold, important as someone with largish hands, small enough to stick in pocket and more importantly takes good photos! Impressed by review so bought one and have been very impressed. Now have three, one with telephoto lens fitted, (used mainly for taking racing car shots, which I'm told are impressive for a small camera), the other two bought cheap off eBay incase, due to age, it started to let me down, it hasn't. Realise this Canon Powershot AS720IS is old and has been replaced by newer models but it is still fine for me. Review still on site, maybe check site Richard, for full review of any camera interested in.



richardh1905

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #7 on: 22:46:00, 07/10/20 »
Thanks Birdman, Dodgylegs :)

Interesting what you say about the number of pixels, Birdman - I believe that less megapixels within a given sensor area means that more light reaches each 'pixel', giving better results in low light conditions. I'll give the TZ70 a look.
« Last Edit: 07:56:18, 08/10/20 by richardh1905 »
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Dodgylegs

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #8 on: 23:28:56, 07/10/20 »
Richard believe this is what TZ70 is in states panasonic-lumix-dmc-zs50-review.html

richardh1905

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watershed

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #10 on: 08:18:23, 08/10/20 »
Hi Richard,
              I have had 2 Panasonic TZ70's. I used the first as I walked the coast of Shetland, and I took photos every couple of hundred yards, so literally took many thousands of photos on it. It eventually succumbed to fungus in the lens due to damp. it still works , but you get slightly grey spots on the photos. After reading reviews I realised the best replacement was another one. I have used it for the last 2-3 years it too got fungus, but they cleaned it under the warranty. (Would have been too expensive otherwise). I formed my own company 2 years ago as I was approached to come out of early retirement, to train new staff a couple of days a week and to write procedures. I needed a camera to photograph items of Plant :) so I splashed out on the Panasonic DC TZ 200 (tax deductible) as it came out best in reviews. It has a 1" sensor, which makes it a bit bigger and heavier.
Comparisons:-
TZ70 more compact, due to the smaller sensor.
TZ 200 clearer image, very noticeable on water/sea shots and plumage and hair, birds Otters etc.
If used mainly for posting on Forum and blogs, buy the TZ70 as when you down size picture there is less difference in quality.
If used on lap top screen 13"or bigger TZ 200 noticeably better.
TZ 70 uses less power. although I bought an extra battery for both.
The ideal, for me, would be camera of TZ 200 picture Quality, with size of TZ 70, with weather proofing.
Although, Now I have finished the coast, If the weather is bad, I don't feel obliged to take the camera out to record a picture and expose it to the rain/snow etc.
 
« Last Edit: 08:53:29, 08/10/20 by watershed »

Jac

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #11 on: 08:27:27, 08/10/20 »
I changed from Panasonic Lumix to Sony and wish that I hadn't simply because I find close-ups/macro  (I like insects and flora) much more difficult.

On a slight tangent, has anyone downloaded a 'bokeh' app to their phone to enable sharper close ups with blurred background?
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Birdman

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #12 on: 08:42:50, 08/10/20 »

Interesting what you say about the number of pixels, Birdman - I believe that less megapixels within a given sensor area means that more light reaches each 'pixel', giving better results in low light conditions. I'll give the TZ70 a look.


Yes that's correct. And because compact cameras have such tiny sensors, you get very little light per pixel, i.e. very noisy pixels. Things get even worse when the camera has a slow lens (as is the case with a superzoom), because that requires higher sensitivity (ISO number) that generates more noise. This noise has to be electronically reduced in the camera, which reduces the resolution and makes the picture look 'processed' (you lose lots of fine detail and textures). Also, the sensor will still saturate at high light levels (the 'bucket' overflows) and then the whites wash out (information that can never be recovered). In other words, the dynamic range of the sensor is reduced. So having more pixels works against you with small sensors. Therefore I prefer less but bigger pixels, so the camera needs less processing and small details and textures are better preserved.


« Last Edit: 09:25:31, 08/10/20 by Birdman »
My travel and walking reports: https://www.hikingbirdman.com/

richardh1905

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #13 on: 09:12:47, 08/10/20 »
Thank you all for your comments; very helpful indeed.  :)
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richardh1905

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Re: Compact camera advice please
« Reply #14 on: 13:44:57, 09/10/20 »
Just had a quick look at the TZ70 operation manual: my heart sank - it is 305 pages long!  :o
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