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Old 12.06.2016, 18:49
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Compact camera specifications

My first off topic post, but there seem to be a lot of photography experts here and it seems too weak a question to be posting on a proper photography forum.

Old camera is dead, and we're in the market for a new one. Primary aim is taking family pictures. It needs to be smallish: not necessarily tiny, but no SLR. We'd like some zoom, but we don't need a massive 30x or so.

The old one was a Canon SX130IS, which took pretty good pictures and I was pretty happy with it. But pictures were often a little blurry and indoor pictures were not always great. I'd like the replacement to perform better in low light and to yield sharper images for printing in photo books etc.

I'm no photography enthusiast, but would like to to take more of an interest if I find the time, so could imagine playing around increasingly with manual controls. However, we do a lot of quickly picking up the camera and capturing a moment, so good fast point-and-shoot is more important.

So I've done quite a lot of reading and figured out that a wider aperture would improve the low light performance and bigger sensor would improve general image quality.

I thought about the Panasonic DMC-TZ101 because it is small, has a 1 inch sensor, has f/2.8 at the widest angle, and it has a 10x zoom. It seems to me that most superzooms use a narrower aperture.

So, my two questions are:
1) Is choosing a camera with a wider aperture actually going to give me an unwanted low depth of field when in point and shoot mode? We would want to be taking pictures of the kids and the background in focus without going through multiple settings.
2) When used in point and shoot mode, will there actually be a noticeable quality difference in low light and in sharpness or are the extra specs only noticeable by enthusiasts?

Old camera was 3.4-5.6 aperture, 28-336mm focal length, 1/2.3 sensor. DMC-TZ101 is 2.8-5.9 aperture, 25-250mm focal length, 1 inch sensor.

Thanks!
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Old 14.06.2016, 12:20
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Re: Compact camera specifications

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1) Is choosing a camera with a wider aperture actually going to give me an unwanted low depth of field when in point and shoot mode? We would want to be taking pictures of the kids and the background in focus without going through multiple settings.
2) When used in point and shoot mode, will there actually be a noticeable quality difference in low light and in sharpness or are the extra specs only noticeable by enthusiasts?
Thanks!
1. No it wont.

2. There will be almost no noticeable difference in good light. The specs will show in some specific situations. Low light, moving objects, that sort of thing.

I would strongly suggest to look into Compact system cameras with interchangeable lens. Getting a decent lens instead of all that built in zoom will give you a reasonable increase in low light and indoors performance.

And why would the shallow depth of field be unwanted? Make it your friend , learn to use it. Its not that hard.
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Old 14.06.2016, 12:39
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Re: Compact camera specifications

These threads are a little hard to answer without knowing important little things like your budget.
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:09
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Re: Compact camera specifications

Budget is probably around CHF600, if it's going to result in an improvement in image quality, but I could go a little higher.
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Old 14.06.2016, 13:24
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Re: Compact camera specifications

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The old one was a Canon SX130IS, which took pretty good pictures and I was pretty happy with it. But pictures were often a little blurry and indoor pictures were not always great.
This is almost certainly down to the user rather than the camera -- my suspicion is that you were trying to handhold slow shutter speeds and that you're not steady enough.

Quote:
I'd like the replacement to perform better in low light and to yield sharper images for printing in photo books etc.
For low light performance, particularly without flash, you are looking for a fast lens with a wide aperature and good performance at high ISO. You also need to know how to put these two elements to work for you.

Quote:
1) Is choosing a camera with a wider aperture actually going to give me an unwanted low depth of field when in point and shoot mode? We would want to be taking pictures of the kids and the background in focus without going through multiple settings.
Most experienced photographers seek out (and pay premium for) wide aperature lenses precisely because it allows them a shallow depth of field. This is why the shots from a pro don't look anything like the snapshots you take.



Quote:
2) When used in point and shoot mode, will there actually be a noticeable quality difference in low light and in sharpness or are the extra specs only noticeable by enthusiasts?
The wider aperature should help in point-and-shoot mode as well. However, it's only ever going to take you so far -- there are obviously limits of what you can shoot hand-held.
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