Advice on buying a new compact camera

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selbypaul
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Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby selbypaul » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:39 am

I folks
I'm looking to buy a new camera for butterfly photography. My priorities are:
a) Must be a compact camera
b) Must be value for money
c) Auto focus macro function that takes focused macro photos with a simple point and click

Reason I say this is because when my excellent original Pentax compact camera (from 2004) broke, the new compact Pentax compact camera I bought in 2011 really struggled to focus in macro mode. I had to take perhaps 10 photos of butterflies close up to get one that was focused. My original Pentax was a simple point and click and took amazing macro photos.

Does anyone have any knowledge in this area to provide me with advice on which camera I should look to buy?
Thanks in advance
Paul

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MikeOxon
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Re: Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby MikeOxon » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:50 pm

I've used both Canon and Panasonic Lumix compact cameras and found that they work well for butterflies.

I particularly like the Lumix TZ series for the excellent Leica lenses and broad zoom range, which makes them very versatile. It is often easier to photograph butterflies using the zoom, because you don't have to get so close. Whereas many compacts only have a macro setting at the wide-angle end of the zoom range, my Lumix also has a tele-macro setting. Mine's now an older model (TZ 25) but I assume that the newer models have similar features. I changed from Canon when Panasonic introduced their 'travel' cameras but Canon now do similar models as well.

Mike

Chris Jackson
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Re: Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby Chris Jackson » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:29 pm

Hello Paul,
Your question is very good. I too would like the answer to what is THE ideal no-fuss compact camera.
I know that Colin (aka CFB) down here in the South of France uses a Canon PowerShot S100. The quality of his photos is very good, compared with my FZ150 bridge camera. :(
Part of the question is, I think, what is the success rate necessary to obtain the desired result, the suitable quality of photo ? Is it necessarily better with more expensive and complex kit ? - not so sure.
With my bridge camera, I have success rates ranging from 1 decent photo from 5 shots, to 1 from 20, sometimes 1 from 50, and even occasionally 1 from 200 for certain open-wing shots I was intent on getting.
Camera manufacturers should ask us, the public, what we need. I'm sure we could give them some very precise answers, and I'm sure they could produce it. :D
Cheers, Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

selbypaul
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Location: Sheffield

Re: Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby selbypaul » Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:42 am

Thanks both. Useful advice indeed. Any other views?

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MikeOxon
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Re: Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby MikeOxon » Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:57 pm

Chris Jackson wrote:Part of the question is, I think, what is the success rate necessary to obtain the desired result, the suitable quality of photo ? Is it necessarily better with more expensive and complex kit ? - not so sure.

One problem here can be expecting too much of the camera. No camera knows what is in your mind, when you take a photo. Technology can do a lot to help but, in the end, it's down to the photographer to make some appropriate choices.

You want an uncluttered backgound? - then you have to choose a wide aperture; you want to stop movement? - then you have to choose a fast shutter speed; you want optimum image quality? - then you have to choose a lower ISO. Often, these factors are mutually exclusive, so you have to make a judgement. To improve your success rate then you have to learn not to press the shutter when there's no hope of a decent photo :)

Like all skills, it's a matter of practice and gaining experience of what works and what doesn't. Paradoxically, I think you can learn more from a simple camera because then you are not fighting the 'intelligence' (so-called) of a sophisticated one.

For example, auto-focus is great as an aid but only you know which bit of the subject is most important to your idea of the picture and, therefore, where to place the optimum focus spot. All too often, the camera will 'choose' the wrong thing.

Perhaps, one day, cameras will be programmed with every possible photo the designer thinks you might want to take but that would be the end of any creativity or innovation.

selbypaul
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Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:44 pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby selbypaul » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:29 pm

All good points, thanks MikeOxon

selbypaul
Posts: 274
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:44 pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: Advice on buying a new compact camera

Postby selbypaul » Sat May 21, 2016 6:57 am

Hi everyone
Just to say that, based on the excellent advice you provided, I bought a Lumix TZ40 compact camera back in late February. After having used it for the last 3 months, I can confirm it really is brilliant at macro photos for a compact camera. Even better is the fact you can zoom in macro mode, and the stabilisation feature (anti shake) allows for superb photos without having to get right up close to the butterfly.

So thanks again for the advice, it really is appreciated
Paul


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