Recommendation for superzoom compact

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by ajramirez, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    I do not know how many of you feel this way, but every time a friend or acquaintance asks for advice on which camera to purchase, I simply cringe. Anyhow, I very recently got asked by a colleague at my firm who came to me a very specific set of requirements.

    He needs a camera to shoot photos at his youngest daughter┬┤s graduation from business school (MBA program). He does not know how far away he will be from the stage, so he wants to make sure that he has enough reach to shoot the photo from anywhere. I explained to him the difficulty of what he is asking for, considering the probable difficult lighting. I suggested he should get an interchangeable lens camera (m4/3 or DSLR) with a two lens kit including a telephoto zoom, but he does not want to deal with changing lenses. I even offered to let him borrow my DSLR and a couple of lenses, but he declined.

    It seems that the only remaining option would be one of the superzoom compacts. My concern would be high ISO performance if the lighting conditions are not ideal, but I assume this is a problem without a solution.

    Any idea what I should recommend?

    Cheers,

    Antonio
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I think the current generation of superzooms are all about even from what I've seen. The Panasonic FZ200 has a constant f2 (or f2.8...I forget) so you can stick to lower ISO, but the sensor seems to be one stop worse than the competition as well. Yeats has been trying a few of the latest crop of superzooms......search out his recent posts.
     
  3. demiro

    demiro Serious Compacts For Life

    527
    Dec 15, 2011
    If I had to make that recommendation I'd suggest the FZ200 as well. It is a constant 2.8. I don't think other top line cameras from major manufacturers (Sony, Canon, Fuji, Nikon) are much off in terms of performance, but the Panny seems a bit ahead of the pack giving you 2.8 at the long end, even though the long end isn't as long as the competition. It goes to 600mm, where everyone else seems to be crashing through 1000mm. I'm guessing 600mm is plenty for a B-school graduation ceremony.
     
  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Speaking as a novice here I think Blur is the enemy more than Iso
    I get reasonable results at 1600 off the F660 but handhold on zoom is really hit & miss (& actually more miss than hit)

    If he can get a reaonably sharp image from say a 4X then maybe better off cropping especially if he isn't used to the camera
     
  5. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    I'm still cringing after reading the OP. I have a friend who is a very good photographer. In the past I have come to him asking about the best P&S for gifts. He has consistently pointed me to Panasonic cameras for people who wanted superzooms. Good luck.

    Gary
     
  6. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Yeah, there's a good chance that this won't end well, as the father is expecting the camera to do everything for him with little or no input (skill or practice) on his part. If he really wants nice graduation photos of his daughter, take the money he would spend on a camera and hire a pro that can get access to the good shooting positions. Better yet, find the pro that's already being paid to document the event and slip him a $20 to take extra photos of his daughter.
     
  7. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I actually had thoughts similar to John's. But perhaps we're overthinking it. Does the father plan on printing out an 18 x 24 of the graduation? Probably not. But if ultimate quality is what is needed, none of the cameras he will consider will come close to doing the job in a dimly lit auditorium.
     
  8. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Lili
    Oh God, what a tough question.
    Especially w/o knowing the layout or lighting at the graduation.
    THe Pannys are well rated indeed esp one with constant aperture zoom.
    Plus they tend to have excellent OIS
     
  9. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    As Luke suggests, I'd go with the Panny FZ200. The Canon SX50 has a sensor that's a bit better, BUT, the Panny's f/2.8 constant zoom more than makes up for it, IMO, in dimly lit situations. Also, the Panny reportedly has a much better EVF and faster AF. The Fuji HS50 I've currently auditioning is defective (more on that later today) but I've taken enough pics with it to say that the IQ is nothing special, and the lens moves to f/5.6 pretty quickly. Compared with the Canon & Fuji offerings, the Panny will have a one-stop advantage at 80mm, 1 2/3 at 170mm, and 2 stops at 290mm.

    I'd hope your colleague would be OK with using an EVF, as attempting long-range shots thru and LCD is pretty shaky.
     
  10. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    I took a look at the FZ200 review at DPR and it seems to be the most sensible recommendation, so thank you all. I do tend to agree with John that the situation has disaster written all over it. Hopefully, it will turn out okay.

    Thank you again!

    Antonio
     
  11. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Lili
    I second the above, esp the advice about using the EVF; it is far far far more stable.
     
  12. I came from the Canon Superzoom and they are pretty nice. My mother still uses mine and is more than happy.

    [​IMG]

    The biggest issue of course is quality.
    Your buying a camera system for $3-400 which includes lens. As long as conditions are fair, you can get pretty good results.
     
  13. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    Works for me.
     
  14. Hikari

    Hikari SC Veteran

    292
    Jan 5, 2013
    Maine, USA
    Since this is a one-time deal, why not rent the equipment?
     
  15. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Antonio, even if you recommend the FZ200 please stress to your friend the importance of using the viewfinder and not the rear LCD - using his own face to brace and stabilize the camera. Also mention that he probably can't realistically use any camera handheld beyond 600mm. And, finally, I fully agree with those who suggest your friend find a photographer who is already shooting the event and offer a few extra dollars to shoot extra photos of his daughter. Consider it cheap insurance.
     
  16. Garylh

    Garylh SC Veteran

    I am in the camp of rent something like an omd for a week w/ either the 14-140 or 45-200.. Renting ahead of time would provide your friend time to get acquainted. Omd image stabilization is really good..

    Even a used fz200 in good condition is over 400 usually unless u find a deal. I think the fz200 is a good recommendation, but maybe also add the Fuji xs1 to the possibility list. The shots Yeats has posted on his bird work w/ the canon super zoom changed my attitude about them...

    Good luck w/ helping your friend
    Gary
     
  17. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@┬┐@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    This. I wouldnt even consider any of the others. The X-s1 has the sensor that the X-10 has. It may not be as long as the others but I cannot believe that more than 24x will really be needed in these circumstances.
     
  18. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Depending on location, hiring a pro might be cheaper than buying a new camera. Good luck Antonio, let us know what your friend decides upon, and how everything turns out.
     
  19. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    The X-S1 is much larger/heavier and also much more expensive, the Panny responds to the Fuji's larger sensor with a fast lens... there's always a trade-off.

    I kinda sorta wanna recommend a DSLR + 18-250 lens... but we know so little about Antonio's friend and his abililites and long-term photographic interests, it's dicey to seriously recommend anything at all.
     
  20. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    I started the digital photography with Oly UZ's. But I haven't checked lately the UZ options, since Olympus ep series with 14-150mm covers that for me.

    The latest small UZ's are interesting with their extra reach. FZ200 has a good review in dpreview, so that might be the best option esp Panasonic has one of the fastest af in mirrorless cameras.

    I saw also fuji x-s1 review at Fujifilm X-S1: the First 100 Days and it was not recommended due to af after a year of use...