camera and binocular recommendations for the amateur

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Jul 8th, 2010, 10:34 AM
  #61
 
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The new technology rolls out so fast that it is hard to keep up. Even a generation or two back will probably provide most people with great photo results. Thanks for the reviews. I'll be checking those out!

TC, you're right about spouses not relinquishing the glasses. When the protests and persuasions start getting loud, that's when it gets annyoing for everybody.

To reply to your question, Tom, my binocs are Monarchs not Swarovski. But they are brand new, thanks to Nikon. I sent my old ones in (15 years old or so) because one of the eye cups was ripped. I got a brand new pair for the minimal shipping and handling charge. What a wonderful surprise!

THANK YOU NIKON!
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Jul 8th, 2010, 08:50 PM
  #62
 
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Pretty good service by Nikon … good on them!
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Jul 9th, 2010, 07:16 AM
  #63
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Hi Lynn, Good for Nikon. I just got a brand new pair from Leupold. I had lost a tiny little screw that allowed for the adjustment of the eye cup. I asked them to send me the screw in an envelope, but they insisted that I send in the binoculars. They even paid the shipping both ways. I got a brand new pair in return. What a warranty!

Twaffle, Your photos are AMAZING! I am green with envy. They make me want to go back to Africa right now!
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Jul 10th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #64
 
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I am floored by the responses on this post!

elizabethj- I have had my camera- the Lumix FZ 35- for about 2-3 weeks and I love it. It is so light, nice and compact-given the extended zoom, the battery lasts for a while and it takes great video. I work as a nanny and have been practicing basic functions with the kiddos at the pool. I still have som honing up to do, but I am positive that I made the right choice. My one complaint- no paper instruction manual. It is a PDF on a CD-ROM. I can print it out, but it just seems like a hassle that could have been avoided. I have a photography class booked for 7/20 and have been jotting down the questions I want addressed- it is a one-on-one for an hour- pretty informal.

I also decided to upgrade the binos, I went for a pair of 8 x 42, waterproof- although I forget the brand. Thanks everyone for your feedback on this. I know they will come in handy at some point.

Have fun everyone!!
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Jul 12th, 2010, 01:49 PM
  #65
 
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Just when you thought this post might die. I have to share.

We needed three pairs of binoculars that we "may" never need again so I didn't want to spend a lot on them. I talked myself into getting one better pair. I ordered a pair of Green Ring Mesa Leupold 8x42s that someone mentioned on this thread. They were on sale and I was quite convinced that the Leupold were much brighter than the other comparably priced ones I tried in the store. I also bought two Campor's own (made by Brunton) 8x40s. They are on sale for $29. I was hoping to borrow the other two pair but figured there was nothing to lose at $29.

I'm no expert but I can't tell the difference other than Campmor's being a little lighter. I'm running around my yard looking in every dark area in the woods, holding the two together switching from one to the other, looking neighbor's dark windows (just kidding), and I can't tell the difference. Campmor has a big selection to try in store but they only have one store, in NJ. Here's a link. BTW, another plus, their return policy is one year, with receipt, unused.

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___86647
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Jul 12th, 2010, 07:13 PM
  #66
 
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TC … thank you.

L2T … sounds like you've got a great deal.
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Jul 13th, 2010, 07:33 AM
  #67
 
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This post has been very helpful for me as well. I have been debating between the DMC-ZS7 and now the FZ35. I had not even heard of the mega zoom types of cameras. The FZ35 sounds amazing but I'm very torn about buying a camera I can't fit in my pocket. The ZS7 will fit in my pocket but the FZ35 won't. Is it worth that extra zoom length (12x vs. 18x)? I'm not convinced it is yet. Also the ZS7 has the geo tagging which sounds pretty cool (though your battery takes a hit). I'll have to make a decision soon but it's definitely a tough one? What do others think about pocket vs. non-pocket for a 22 day long Africa trip?
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Jul 13th, 2010, 09:24 AM
  #68
 
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I generally carry one of each when going someplace with photo ops. DH often carries the pocket camera while I carry the super zoom.
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Jul 15th, 2010, 12:17 PM
  #69
 
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I made a final decision and went with the FZ35! Ordered it last night. I'll post my thoughts on moving from only using a pocket camera all my life to something a little larger.

What sold me on the camera was looking at the sample images on Amazon. The detail was incredible compared to what I've been used to with a pocket camera.

One last thought is that the FZ35 came out in July of 2009. I was tempted to wait a bit to see if a new model came out, but after reading the specs on the camera I couldn't think of a whole lot that could have been improved on that would make me pay more for an updated model. The only thing was possibly a reduction in size, but that would have probably been quite limited anyways. Plus, who knows if a new model will even come out before my trip in September!
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Jul 15th, 2010, 12:43 PM
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Congratulations, the FZ35 came out on top of the dpreview of the super-zooms-
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q110...oup/page19.asp

Yes there will be a new one out, is ever year. But always very little difference from current model. It's mostly a marketing sales thing. And it's good to get the camera now for Sept because you need to work/practice with it a LOT. The more the better. And become familiar with the xxx page manual (I hate those, but when all else fails, RTFM ).

regards - tom
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Jul 15th, 2010, 05:39 PM
  #71
 
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My Nikon Action EX ATB 8 x 50 binocs are awesome. Sell for $140 or so...great optics for the $$$

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-7245-Ext.../dp/B0001HKIK4
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Jul 15th, 2010, 05:39 PM
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Sorry.. 10 x 50
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Jul 17th, 2010, 01:29 PM
  #73
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Thanks all! Appreciate the continued comments and weblinks.

long2travel--now that you have had your binoculars for a little while, are you still thinking the less expensive ones are as good as you initially thought? I was pleased to see Campmor has a very reasonable rate for shipping to Hawaii (this is pretty rare).

Still haven't bought my camera. I think I'm narrowing it down a bit though. Thanks for all the great advice and links here.

I liked the Panasonic Lumix ZS6 I saw the other day, but I haven't seen any recommendations for it on this thread, nor in the review that Tom shared. Can anyone comment?

TigerPhotog--are your binocs lightweight and not too big?
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Jul 18th, 2010, 04:54 AM
  #74
 
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Elizabethj - Yes, I still like them. Actually, I just returned the Leupolds and bought a third pair of the Cabelas. I guess the worst case could be that you lose the shipping if you don't like them and want to send them back. You have a year to decide.
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Jul 18th, 2010, 05:12 AM
  #75
 
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I just wanted to add a comment. I don't think the Luepolds were bad in any way at all. They were great binoculars and you can tell they were made a little better and had some features like adjustable eye relief that the others didn't have. In our situation, first trip to Africa, three of us, little or no need for full sized binocs at home (already have several compact ones), it just didn't make sense to spend $400 for good ones. I would rather put the money toward the two new cameras I need which I will use when I'm home. If we find we are addicted to Africa and go back every year we can get an expensive pair will have only lost $29.
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Jul 18th, 2010, 05:48 AM
  #76
 
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Oops, meant to say Campmor's not Cabelas. Must need that second cup of coffee.
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Aug 1st, 2010, 07:09 PM
  #77
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Aloha All---well, I did it! I bought a camera and binoculars. Just purchased the FZ35 online today and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it sooner. It's going to be cutting it close from when it arrives and I depart for my trip, so I'm a bit worried that I won't have any time to try it out. The other thing I'm concerned about is no instuction manual--only CD. I had great plans to read and digest all of the instruction info on that long plane ride. Actually, it almost steered me toward purchasing a different brand, but I really thought the FZ35 was what I wanted so I went for it.

Just wondering if anyone has gone to the trouble of downloading the instructions? I emailed Panasonic today to see if they could send me one.

So....I believe 3 people on this thread (bluesphee, jkiefer and crosscheck) purchased the FZ35? Any comments/tips now that you've had it awhile?

The binoculars I purchased (online) were the ones TigerPhotog recommended. Haven't gotten them yet, but hopefully they'll arrive sometime next week.

Just call me queen of procrastination! Hope it all works out......
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Aug 1st, 2010, 07:46 PM
  #78
 
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Congratulations, a fine camera. A zoom lens that will give you everything you need for safari.
Yeah, a printed manual would be so nice as you try to learn the camera. Shame, manufacturers just don't seem to care.

Guess you know, you can download the Panasonic manual -
http://service.us.panasonic.com/oper...?model=DMCFZ35
Would expect Panasonic to refer you to do same, to download yourself, we'll see, thanks a lot Panasonic.

It uses a special Li-Ion battery so you should get another one of those, for one in camera and one charging. And of course several SD memory cards, maybe 6 cards, 4 gig each. Maybe more than 6?

And if you don't have another video camera, be sure and try the FZ35 video capability. Really nice with real sound from safari.

And of course you WILL report back to us after safari!!!

regards - tom
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Aug 1st, 2010, 08:12 PM
  #79
 
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Hi elizabethnj,
Returned home last week and I was thrilled with my FZ35 - Never looked at the manual, just kept it on automatic the whole time. A photographer friend came over when it arrived to give me a few lighting hints, and I'm sure there was all sorts of stuff I should have learned, but even in my clueless state, it worked fine.

My friend told me to be sure to close the lens cap in between shots to keep out dust and that turned out to be great advice - You should probably also bring a little air pump blower. I only had two memory cards, but we had four other smaller cameras (for the four of us) and a small, old laptop (vaio) for downloading.

The zoom was terrific and I was sorry I didn't have this camera with me last year in the Galapagos (though I'm still in love the the Canon G10, in spite of the limited zoom, which my younger son used on this trip). I will try to post a few photos before you leave.
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Aug 1st, 2010, 09:38 PM
  #80
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I'm feeling better already--great tips and feedback.

Tom, thanks for the web link and suggestions for the extra battery and memory cards--much appreciated.

crosscheck, thanks for the tip about protecting it from dust. Reassuring to know you were happy with it even in your "clueless" state, which is how I am, and (despite best intentions) will probably continue to be.

I was intially having buyers remorse as soon as I hit that final sales button but feeling much better now.

Now, gotta research those packing and tipping threads....but welcome any more camera/binoc comments.
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