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  1. #1
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    Cameras and video cameras

    Hey people, I'm looking at getting a new digital camera, as mine is almost five years old and very average!

    The camera I've been looking at is the Panasonic Lumix series, 12 MP and 12x optical zoom. What do you all recommend??

    I'm also looking at getting a video camera as well, any ideas? It needs to have a hard drive in it.
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  2. #2
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    My digital camera is also five years old and is a bit past it now. I don't use it much though as I have mostly switched to a 35mm SLR. Personally, I don't think I would buy another compact digital camera and instead get a digital SLR.

    However, if I did get a compact, I would probably go for something by Canon.

    My Mum has a Panasonic Lumix camera, but that is a couple of years old now. I can't remember what model it is, but it is the same as my Grandfather's which I think was recomended in a magazine or similar. The photos from it seem to be very good, and it is nice and easy to use, as well as small. The photos do seem to have the artifacts that are associated with compact cameras that have a very high number of megapixels.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the megapixels.

    Can't really comment on video cameras. It was years since I used one, and that was back when MiniDV was popular and VHS-C still popped up occaisionally.

    Just out of interest, why is a hard drive a necessity?

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    Hmm, I just don't know with cameras anymore....too many options! I will have to look at Choice,will give me a good indication.

    I just don't want to mess around with tapes etc...more stuff you have to buy etc..
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    I wonder if we took full advantage of 12MP camera....
    if you want to print a normal size photo (10x15) cm why do you need 12 MP ??? Is there a printer that could deal with it?
    I know that for someone that works with digital software, 12MP could be cool, you could zoom and zoom a picture with excellent quality... but if for normal use... does the printer use the 12mp definition? in a 10x15 paper.... does it do all that pixels ????
    Other thing is that a 12mp is not very fast i supose, so you should need a really fast memory card... imagine taking 10 shots in a row with a 12mp....? how many mbytes each iamge? 7/8 ? plus 10....
    there are some good cameras that could take several photos per second.... so you really need a fast card
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  5. #5
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    I always go for Canon cameras, and have done for many years. Some other makes sometimes seem to have a few more features, but most features on a compact digital camera are nomally gimmicks. As for what to recommend you look at, it really depends on your budget. You can get a decent compact for under 200, with the Canon IXUS range being my favourite for a very long time. They have all metal body construction, are very robust, are easy to use and take great pictures as they always have good lenses.

    Although Panasonic have been making some nice ones lately in their Lumix range. Avoid most other makes, especially Samsung, Fuji, Ricoh, and Olympus. Some of those do make much better DSLR cameras in the more expensive marketplace, but don't make very good compacts. Sony do make a few quite good models, but they are hard to use compared to Canon and Panasonic. The newest Sony compact uses an extra wide screen with touch control and a PSP system interface. But it suffers from bad control. Sony also still insist on using their own memory stick storage, which is much more expensive than SD or CF cards.

    But if you were interested in something that offered a lot more manual control, bigger zoom range, and many more features, then the slightly more expensive super zoom cameras are a great range to look at. They offer similar features and manual controls to a DSLR, but without the huge 600+ price.

    For the super zoom cameras, I would recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 (210).

    For compact cameras I would recommend the Canon IXUS 105 (130) or the Canon IXUS 120 (169). The 120 has a wider angle lens ( so you can fit much more into the shot), is thinner and some other extras.

    Or if you did want to splash out on a proper DSLR then Canon, Sony and Nikon all do entry level models that start around the 360-450 mark. The Nikon D5000, the Canon 1000D and the Sony A330.

    For the camcorder, were you thinking HD recording? You can get some nice HD camcorders at the moment. They are nice and small and have very easy controls and great image quality. The Panasonic HDC-TM700 is one of the best at the moment, but costs 650 due to its spec. Panasonic and Sony do some other cheaper cameras on their HD range that are worth looking at too. The Samsung HMX-R10 (300) is also quite an interesting one to look at, filming in both 1080 and 720 HD, and also offering 9MP stills shooting. You could even use this and not need a compact stills camera.

    You said a camcorder with Harddrive, but have you also considered memory card? You can fit quite a lot onto a 4GB or larger memory card, and unlike a built in and fixed HDD, which is normally around 30GB, you can just swap over memory cards like tapes.

    If you wanted to go for something more fun then the less traditional upright camcorders are becoming more popular recently. The Creative Vado HD for example is only 110 and is great. But slightly better is the Flip Mino HD (150) which is a similar design, but came first, and is now on its second generation design. Avoid the Sony Bloggie and its other models in this shape/design as they are not any good, unlike their more traditional HD models which are good.

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    Thanks Harrison, you're a gun! That is basically the info I needed, will look over it and will let you know what I'm gonna do!
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    In addition to above, Sony have just released a couple of new compact models you might be interested in.

    Especially the Sony Cyber-shot SDC-TX7. This is quite an expensive one at 285, but it has full HD video recording built in, so could be a great solution for both video and stills photography. It records video in 1080i AVCHD format with stereo Dolby Digital audio and the reviews are saying the quality is very good.

    There is also the Sony Cyber-shot SDC-TX5 which offers the same 10.2MP as the TX7, but is designed to be waterproof, shockproof and cold proof, so if you were intending taking it when doing sports it could be a good option. It is about the same price as the TX7, but offers a smaller touch screen and only 720p video recording, so if video recording was an important element then the TX7 would be the one to look at with a larger 3.5" widescreen touchscreen, 1080i video and loads of other features.

    I think that although Sony still use their own slightly more expensive Memory sticks the slight cost over standard SD/CF cards is worth it if you like one of these 2 models. Worth trying them out in a shop though to see if you get on with the touchscreen interface. They also have a cool panoramic mode where you can simply rotate the camera and it works it out for you.

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    Another one for you to also look at is the Canon Powershot SX210 IS. Its quite a top end compact, but the price has been coming down since its release. The biggest selling feature is a 14x optical zoom and 14MP image size. It's also much smaller than most super zooms and is more like a thin normal compact. It also offers a lot more manual controls in addition to the auto settings to experiment more.

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