A rambling response to some questions on buying a new camera

Posted: 27/07/2012 in Africa, Mr Bunny Chow, photography, Zimbabwe
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I just wanted to share the below email exchange between an old family friend and myself as I think the rambling advice I give may be of some use to others out there.

Hi Mr Bunny Chow,

I will be over to the UK in Oct!

My plan is to buy another camera – only a point and shoot as I can’t afford a DSLR and the lenses to go with. Have been pounding round the internet as one cannot walk into any shop here to see things in the flesh.

My choice is between a Canon SX40HS, Nikon Coolpix P510 and Fujifilm Finepix HS30EXR.

They all have pretty good zooms – the Nikon is 42x. They each have similar features/capabilities – Fujifilm is the only one with RAW, which I know absolutely nothing. Nikon has GPS. Canon has the reputation.

None seem to have a socket for remote triggering of shutter.

Prices are much the same.

In all the reviews there are people who rave about their choice, and those who can’t find anything good to say about rival cameras.

I tend to favour the Nikon, because of it’s 42x zoom and from reading the reviews. I would mainly use it for birds and game photo’s.

Do you have any thoughts and/or is there anyone in your circle who could advise?  I know you like your Fujifilm Finepix HS20EXR.

Cheers Hwange

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Hwange,

I’ve been very happy with my Fuji as I was with it’s stolen predecessor an S5000 which gave many happy years of service, saying that I’d be happy to recommend any of your three choices below, Canon and Nikon are the two biggest names in Digital Photography and choosing between them is a bit like choosing a Merc or BMW, i.e. which badge do you want. Fuji do things a little differently, one of the reasons I chose the HS20EXR over some of it’s rivals was the advantage of it using standard AA batteries rechargeable’s are cheap and replacements can be found anywhere even Zimbabwe, I believe the HS30EXR has a proprietary battery so that’s no longer a consideration but what ever choice you do make then I’d highly recommend buying a spare battery or two at the same time.

RAW is basically the file that the camera sensor captures in its entirety so will be aesthetically unpleasing to the eye straight out of the camera and you will then need to use digital post processing software like photo shop, the advantages of this are getting perfect colours and tonality etc, but in reality my life’s too short and jpeg compression software is pretty good at approximating colours as we see them anyway, unless you really want to play with photo shop then don’t consider it as a concern.

Next up is zoom 30x is the equivalent of a 720mm zoom lens in old money, without a tripod you’re going to be on pretty shaky ground at this range so also consider whether you need the extra especially considering that you should be able to get teleconverters for all three.

Have a read of http://www.safari-guide.co.uk/fujifilm-finepix-hs20exr-digital-camera-review.php#teleconverter which is one of the reviews that led me to buy the Fuji in the first place.

He’s also reviewed the HS30EXR and he’s a Zimbabwean.

http://www.safari-guide.co.uk/fujifilm-finepix-hs30exr-digital-camera-review.php

If you can I’d highly recommend trying to find all three camera’s or at least similar models from each brand in your hands and feeling which is the most comfortable for you, some may have fiddly buttons or just feel wrong, I know this can be difficult and I bought my HS20EXR blind although I had handled it’s predecessor.

Now going off on a tangent I completely understand why you are scared of DSLR’s my Fuji is technologically light years ahead of my 6mp Canon EOS 10D which is now nearly 11 years old and battered, scratched and tired, yet it’s simplicity and solidity give me so much more satisfaction to use every day even if the pictures don’t look as good. The current lower end DSLR’s are very plasticky in comparison to my old magnesium alloy beast though and lenses are hideously expensive, especially seeing as you need at least a 300mm for birds etc, I’ve only got a very cheap plastic 50mm fixed length lens and am hanging on to the Fuji for it’s flexibility of zoom.

Still saying all of the above if making the choice today for a superzoom camera today I’d still think like most men and go for the Nikon with the biggest willy.

Hope some of that above waffle makes sense and hope you’ll pop in for a beer or seven in October.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

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Comments
  1. Rachael says:

    Some good advice here. Hope Mr Hwange was happy with his choice, whatever it was. By the way, I have been to Hwange. Irrelevant, but true.

    • Hwange is a beautiful part of the world Rachael my father just led a birding expidition there, look out for the story coming soon on http://www.birdingzimbabwe.com

      Mr Hwange is only coming over to the UK in October so doesn’t have to make his decision until then, purchasing consumer electronics in Zimbabwe is prohibitively expensive if you can even find what you want.

  2. I have a Canon 550D which I imported from London because it wasn’t available here. Once it was, they named it the EOS Rebel T2i, an awkward name. I have renamed it Zoey the Cool Canon………lol

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