Christmas shopping for a Nikon

Created by sarahsdad on March 15, 2012, 6:21 p.m.
  • If you're concerned about getting close-up shots of things, I'd take the 26x optical zoom of the P100 over all the other features of the L110.
     
    E: Also, both those cameras are still considered point and shoots since they don't have a mechanical mirror system.
  • @sarahsdad: 
     
    Right. Shots from a distance. The 26x zoom will get you a lot closer than the 15x.
     
    There's not a shorthand for one with a larger optical zoom, but a Bing search for digital cameras will let you filter results with optical zoom as one of the criteria.
  • @sarahsdad said:
    " @lane:  Also, for future reference, is there a better shorthand for the difference between something that has a 3 or 4x zoom, and something like what I'm shopping for now? "
    You need to look at what the equivalent focal length of the lens would be on a 35mm camera. For the P100, for example, it is 26mm to 678mm. The shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view will be. Zooming in with a lens is accomplished by increasing the focal length (26mm to 678mm, in this case). Also, the "26x" comes from the ratio between the shortest and longest focal lengths that the lens is capable of; 678 is roughly equal to 26 multiplied by 26. 
     
    On the topic of your camera options. it's a shame that your wife is so fixated on Nikon. Their DSLR cameras are excellent, but their current CoolPix cameras generally don't compare favorably with most of the competition.

  • @sarahsdad: 
     
    The pixel count is largely irrelevant. 10 megapixels are more than you'll need unless you're taking pictures for billboards, and just because a camera has lots of megapixels doesn't mean it has a high-quality sensor. Basically, pixel count used to mean something but it's more or less a buzzword now.
     
    As for ISO: remember when you had a film camera and you bought 400-speed, 200-speed, etc. film? That's ISO. Now, instead of buying different film, you just change a setting on the camera to make the sensor more sensitive (higher ISO). However, the higher you go with the ISO, the crappier the picture looks because it picks up all sorts of nasty light pollution in addition to your picture. Honestly, I'd never even bother taking a picture at 3200 ISO, much less 6400, especially on a compact sensor like you'd find in a point and shoot. Again, it's more marketing than a meaningful feature.
     
    e: for reference, my Canon DLSR only goes up to 1600 ISO, and it's already pretty noisy at that level.
  • I'm just going to throw these two models out there, since I've been researching point and shoots recently. I know they're not Nikon, and they're a little more than your budget would allow, but in my opinion, the Canon Powershot S95 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 are currently the best point and shoot cameras available on the market today.
     
    I agree with CROM that Nikon's current CoolPix series is rather inferior to other cameras of their kind, though Nikon has the most marketing, especially those commercials with fricking Ashton Kutcher. However, I'd definitely recommend Nikon's DSLR lineup even if I've been a Canon user for a decade.
  • @CROM: @Evelgest:  Just in case, are there a couple models from different companies you could suggest? 
     
    Aside from her being a bit set on the Nikon, I tend to be a penny-pincher, so when I suggest something else, it's hard for it to not come off as me trying to save a couple bucks. I can't say for sure, but if there are a couple cameras that have noticeably better features I could point out, maybe that could help tip the balance. 
     
    To add a slight wrinkle, locally we only have some of the big-box places like Target, Walmart, Best-Buy to shop at.
  • @sarahsdad: I've heard good things about the Panasonic Lumix FZ35. It's one of the best in its class ("super-zoom" fixed lens cameras). You can find them for under $300.  
     
    As Evelgest said, the Canon S95 and Panasonic LX5 are the two best compact cameras on the market in terms of image quality and performance, but unfortunately they are outside of your desired budget range (both are around $400). Also, they have a smaller zoom range than you might be looking for. Still, you definitely wouldn't be disappointed with the quality of the pictures they produce.
  • Thanks all for the info and suggestions. 
    I'm going to do the Black Friday thing this year; I'll check back with results on what I was able to lay hands on.
  • Note that you might not be able to find a deal on the S95, but I'm positive its previous version, the S90 will be on sale. Cheers and good luck shipping on Black Friday.
  • @sarahsdad: If you still have to choose between the P100 and the L110, I'll say go for the P100: 
    the P100 is way sharper, is way better in low light, the colors are more accurate and there's less distortion (no matter what focal length). Though, at full zoom, the colors tend to be less accurate and the macro mode really suck. 
     
    By the way, just so you know, with this kind of cameras, the pixel count is almost completely irrelevant as the circle of least confusion of their lens are always bigger than a pixel. 
     
    Also, you can't really compare ISOs from one to another, the resulting picture (at a same speed and focal length) will depend of the ƒ number (aperture) and the size of the lens... the higher will not necessarily brighter, and the lower will not necessarily be sharper...

  • That is indeed a good price, you should be satisfied with it for what you've paid. Feel free to ask away if you have any photography questions in the future, we're always willing to help.