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Choices, Choices...Panasonic Lumix

by EMG0916 / May 7, 2010 2:04 AM PDT

I'll try to make this run-down as brief as possible, but essentially I'm having trouble deciding what type of new camera to get.
I currently have a Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ5 (10x Optical Zoom, Mega OIS, Leica 28mm Wide Angle Lens, 9.1 MegaPixels) and I absolutely love it. I was offered a deal I can't refuse where my father will buy my camera off me and give me money toward a new one. I'm just not sure if I should stick with a mega zoom like I have right now or move up to a dSLR. The third option is to buy one of Panasonic's new G series cameras with interchangeable lenses. I'd like to get another Lumix, but I might be willing to compromise on that if something else tickles my fancy. The things that I absolutely need in my camera are:
-A zoom equal or greater to my current one (10x Optical and 64x Digitial)
-Megapixels equal or greater to my current camera (9.1 MP)
-A Wide Angle Lens
-Power Optical Image Stabilizer

Do I move to a dSLR? Stay with a mega zoom? Go intermediate with the G series or another interchangeable lens camera that's not SLR? I would consider myself an amateur who wants to delve more into the world of photography but doesn't want to shell out copious amounts of money (think "broke college student")

Thanks!

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Choices
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / May 7, 2010 1:03 PM PDT

Thinking broke college student, I would recommend that you bypass the Panasonic G series and also DSLR cameras, for now.

But you should get ready for those cameras in the near future.
You should get acquainted with manual controls on whatever camera you get.
You can't get the full benefit of a DSLR until you know how to use manual controls.

The replacement for the Panasonic TZ5 is the ZS5 and ZS7.

Panasonic has added manual controls such as Shutter and Aperture Priority to the ZS5 and ZS7.

The main difference between the two cameras is the ZS7 has built-in GPS (global positioning system). A neat feature for some people, but not for everyone. And it shortens the battery time when turned-on.

Here is a specifications comparison of all three cameras:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp

..

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suggestions...
by mcm10 / May 7, 2010 2:34 PM PDT

As an owner of a Panasonic superzoom (a 5 year old FZ5) and a fan, I too have looked at all of the reviews of the G series as well as the Olympus E series. I will probably get the new G10 which is basically the G1 with HD video capability; price is $600. However, you will not have the zoom range you're used to and adding another lens will make it pretty pricey. The GH1 comes with a 10x zoom but is going for about $1150 now. A friend has one and the stills and video are very impressive, as is the quality and handling of the camera.

There are some good deals in basic (but very capable) DSLRs now. The best deal I've seen is the Olympus E520 which can be had for an incredible $475 with 2 lenses! This would give you a big step up in image quality and a total zoom range of more than 10x. See Amazon's deal:
http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-E520-Digital-14-42mm-40-150mm/dp/B001Q3M4IQ/ref=dp_cp_ob_p_title_1

The Oly e620 is the newer enhanced version of the 520 and is a step better, but a 2 lens kit is another $130 more than the 520. Check out the reviews on Dpreview, they highly recommend both Olys... note that they do not do video though, if you need that, the Pentax K-X has been highly praised as a budget DSLR that does pretty good HD video and is around $650 for 2 lens kit.

Note that with any of the above, you will miss the compactness of your TZ5!

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dslr
by run_va / May 10, 2010 2:46 AM PDT

I would move to the dSLR if you're giong to get serious about photography. I do love that Lumix though...my brother has taken some great photos with his.

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Choice
by hjfok / May 10, 2010 6:58 AM PDT

I agree with snapshot2's thoughtful reply. Since your budget is tight, you should bypass the interchangeable lens options. The lenses will cost more than the camera body if you want wide angle,10x equivalent zoom and image stabilization. The weight of the interchangeable lens systems is also significantly more than the megazooms. Concentrate your effort and resources into learning and advancing your education while in college. Spending money on unnecessary extravagance (especially on borrowed money) is not a wise decision. You can still get a lot of great photos from a megazoom without breaking your savings account. I know it sounds parental, but this is one advice that is more valuable than the choice of camera. One of the hardest lesson a student has to learn is to live within one's means. If you have some extra money to spend, then learn how to invest and use the profit to buy what you want later.

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FZ 35?
by EMG0916 / May 10, 2010 7:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Choice

Looking at the situation with a more pragmatic point of view, I've decided to go for a mega-zoom. I figure that if I really want an SLR in the next few years, I can buy a film SLR for much cheaper and still be able to experiment in photography.
Has anyone heard reviews of the Lumix FZ 35? It looks too good to be true!

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