View Full Version : A new camera for my better half ( and Me ! )

13th May 2009, 06:33 PM
Hello All,

I am looking for a new digital compact for my better half,which I can also use (:D ). Up to now she has use a Ricoh ( film ) compact,and I have to say the pics were terrific from it.

We are going on a cruise later in the year and I would like to get her up to digital speed as it were.

I would welcome all suggestions / experiences before committing to what might be a large some of money.

If it can prtoduce RAW files so much the better.

Thank you all


13th May 2009, 08:02 PM
Whenever this question is asked, I offer the same advice:

Make a list...

1. Must Have's

2. Don't want's

3. The absolute Max Cost

The latest TIPA lists some brilliant cameras that you should consider.

13th May 2009, 09:23 PM
It depends a lot on what you already have and how much you want to spend.

I take that you already have an Olympus DSLR.

Camera's I like:
- E410: light weight and sometimes better than the E520 (banding and noise)
forget the E420, Oly replaced it already by the E450
- E450: if you can not get a hold of the E410
- E620: bigger than the E4xx
- E30: on my wishlist

- all the kit lenses
- 7-14mm
- 11-22mm
- 12-60mm
- 50mm Macro
- and so on

So see what you don't have and make up your list.


13th May 2009, 09:39 PM
A couple of months ago, the weekend before we went to Syria & Jordan, I bought a Ricoh GX200. It was always intended to be a supplementary camera for the trip, along with the E-3 and 3 lenses, but it was strongly suggested in the end that I leave the Oly behind:(

I picked the Ricoh out as it has both a very wide angle lens and a detachable tilting electronic viewfinder, along with raw in .dng format and a very good IS system.
I wasn't sure about the viewfinder at first, but now really like the idea of having a live histogram in the corner of it when I choose to.
The lens seems to have a very good control of distortion, though the sensor is a bit noisy.
Very good at wide angles, but doesn't do the telephoto thing at all.

If you are going somewhere sunny I would strongly consider something with a real viewfinder, either optical or electronic. Almost everyone in our tour group was struggling with just an LCD screen, some almost giving up as they couldn't see to frame anything.

LCE in Manchester did me a stunningly good price matching deal, knocking over 100 from their normal price, so it's well worth shopping round for this one.
Unfortunately I'd no chance at all to practice with it before I went away, so I took loads of memory cards and shot in raw all the time, rather hoping for the best as I didn't get chance to review anything until I got back to Sheffield.
I still needed to keep copying cards to my netbook though as the raw files are over 14 meg each.
The results can be seen on my flickr account in the link below, but the camera is capable of far better:rolleyes:
They were largely just batch processed, cropped, resized and uploaded since there were so many of them.
Very much a large collection of snapshots to remind me of somewhere I doubt I'll get chance to visit again.

14th May 2009, 09:17 PM
Get the Panasonic G1 with 14-45 and add the 45-200mm. Superb lens quality (brought out by processing with ACR not the bundled Silkypix), easy handling, excellent image quality, all up probably weighs less than the camera bag, lots of features for the enthusiast, and it is the way forward.


15th May 2009, 01:08 PM
Jack, I may be wrong, but I get the impression from Jack's post that you're looking to get a compact/point and shoot rather than a dSLR even if they are as small as an Oly E420 (which I have and like very much) or Panansonic G1 (which a lot of people say is superb).

I looked into this very recently and there is some great kit out there, you just have to bear in mind what you expect to be using the camera for and in what conditions as you will find yourself in for the majority of the time as there are trade-offs between image making quality and flexibility as you would expect.

I brought it down to a shortlist of three:-

Canon G10: about 350, larger, quite chunky "compact", flexible 5x zoom, from 28mm wide angle so fits most scenes in, bigger sensor than true compacts with manual control too, RAW. Reviews say IQ up to 400 ISO are fantastic. I just didn't like the styling and I admit that I prefer to stick with the Oly, Panasonic, Leica 4/3rds "gang", but this camera is regarded as awesome if you do the research, the only thing I saw was a slow continuous frame rate so if you need that then watch out.

Panasonic LX3/Leica D-Lux 4: These are basically the same camera, but in my view, the Leica in it's brown leather case is one of the most desireable photographic objects around at any price! The LX3 costs about 350 but seems to be quite hard to get at the moment, the Leica is 500 from Harrison Cameras online with the leather case. Very small and light, larger sensor, manual, RAW, wider (24mm) but shorter zoom at 2.5x. I have the Leica and it lives up to the hype in my view, its trump card being its F2.0 lens and 24mm wide, great for indoor/low light shots without a flash, street photographapy as well as landscape. Ive taken 400 ISO which are fine, even 800 aren't too bad but 80 ISO is obviously best. For general use, the shorter zoom is something that could restrict your wife, for sports for example, you have to be prepared for that and move to get the shot you want rather than the shot moving to come to you!

Panasonic TZ5/7: These are very flexible compacts, with a 10x - 12x zoom capabiltiy and with a huge reputation and they can do HD video too. The TZ5 is the old model from 1 year ago and the TZ7 the latest. They both cost about 300 although the old model if you can find it is less than 200 now and that's what I went for with my wife, got her a refurb TZ5 off eBay for 150 and its great, you just have to bear in mind that the "happy zone" of a true compact with the smaller sensor is narrower - i.e. the conditions need to be good, but its hard to argue with the capabilities and Panasonic rule the roost in this class of camera right now.

Should have said, that with all compacts, watch out for how wide the lens starts at. They are quoted in 35mm equivalent terms and the norm until recently was 35mm which can be a little tight for what many people use a compact for, far better to start at 28mm or even less with the LX3/D-Lux for example.