Old 12-24-2009, 11:17 PM   #1
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Default Canon SX20IS...A good railfan camera???

Hello everyone, I was wondering for someone who doesnt have the budget for a DSLR would the Canon Powershot SX20IS be a good option for a camera?

What are the Pros/Cons of this camera

Any help would be appreciated.


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Old 12-25-2009, 12:26 AM   #2
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Check out Dpreview.com or fredmiranda.com for reviews.
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Old 12-25-2009, 01:57 AM   #3
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It should do perfectly fine for most railfan shots. I have a S5 and it does a good enough job. I might look at a SX10 though, one model down so you can get it for cheaper. The only differences are 2 more megapixels (more megapixels on the same sensor = more noise, same problem i have with my S5) and HD video.
I personally like Dcresource for reviews, they provide good photo comparisons and their video demo is often of trains.
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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While the SX20 is no doubt a good camera, I would say that there are better alternatives, most notably the Panasonic FZ35. While it doesn't have the tilting screen or hot shoe and has slightly less zoom (but not really enough to notice the difference), it is marginally less expensive, shoots in RAW mode, has a Leica manufactured lens, and is considerably smaller than the SX20. I use the FZ28 (predecessor to FZ35) and have no regrets.

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-...1773173&sr=1-1

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Edit: This one also does the RAW mode/HD video and is around the same price as the Panasonic:

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-HZ25W-...773728&sr=1-23
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:43 PM   #5
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Save up the money and buy an SLR.

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Old 12-25-2009, 09:09 PM   #6
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Bad plan,
Buy yourself a decent camera now, either the Canon S series or another super zoom would work good. You can take perfectly good pictures with it, i had have 200 shots in the database, never used a SLR. Once you know how to use light and compose a picture and can take good shots with the Point n shoot, you can buy a SLR if you so choose, and by that time you will have money for one and a decent lens more than likely.
The FZ35 does like a good camera and maybe better than the SX20/10, the ISO performance does look to be better from the reviews. The one thing i really do like about the S series though is the tilting screen (well i did till mine shorted out and now everything is in red o vision, pro turns into a con if that happens), the use of AA batteries (When the battery indicators starts flashing as you hear TFM SD70MAC's roaring in the distance you know what i mean) and that the controls are pretty similar to what you will find on a Canon SLR making the step up easier.
If you want to go for a SLR and you have the means to do so, by all means do it. For some reason people think a SLR is needed to take good pictures, far from the case, its the photographer not the camera. I had a friend who until recently was using a Kodak clickbox digital camera and was taking pictures the same quality as a SLR, me and most people who had seen his shots were astounded if not actually mad at what he was using.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikos1 View Post
Once you know how to use light and compose a picture and can take good shots with the Point n shoot, you can buy a SLR if you so choose,
That's wacko crazy talk, you first want to learn manual exposure.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikos1 View Post
Bad plan,
Buy yourself a decent camera now, either the Canon S series or another super zoom would work good. You can take perfectly good pictures with it, i had have 200 shots in the database, never used a SLR. Once you know how to use light and compose a picture and can take good shots with the Point n shoot, you can buy a SLR if you so choose, and by that time you will have money for one and a decent lens more than likely.
The FZ35 does like a good camera and maybe better than the SX20/10, the ISO performance does look to be better from the reviews. The one thing i really do like about the S series though is the tilting screen (well i did till mine shorted out and now everything is in red o vision, pro turns into a con if that happens), the use of AA batteries (When the battery indicators starts flashing as you hear TFM SD70MAC's roaring in the distance you know what i mean) and that the controls are pretty similar to what you will find on a Canon SLR making the step up easier.
If you want to go for a SLR and you have the means to do so, by all means do it. For some reason people think a SLR is needed to take good pictures, far from the case, its the photographer not the camera. I had a friend who until recently was using a Kodak clickbox digital camera and was taking pictures the same quality as a SLR, me and most people who had seen his shots were astounded if not actually mad at what he was using.
Nikos, my plan isn't a bad one. Perhaps when you've operated an SLR, you will agree with me, but until then, I would take others opinions into consideration. While an SLR at times, can appear quite expensive, it is ultimately the way to go if a beginner is learning to become more serious with the hobby. If he is just wanting to take photos for when he is occasionally trackside or has no real serious interest in photograph, then sure, a P&S is a good idea. They produce good images.

Still, I've used a Kodak P&S, and I regret not upgrading to an SLR sooner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
That's wacko crazy talk, you first want to learn manual exposure.
Ha...



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Old 12-25-2009, 10:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
I had a friend who until recently was using a Kodak clickbox digital camera and was taking pictures the same quality as a SLR, me and most people who had seen his shots were astounded if not actually mad at what he was using.
[B.S. Flag]

Whatever you were using to judge probably was not apples to apples, sorry, as there are so many variables. For instance:

- What medium were you comparing shots with...monitor, prints?
- What size images were the comparisons made at? Looking at a semi-thumbnail image can sometimes look better than the same image at 1024 pixels.
- What post-processing was used? And who did it? Perhaps the P&S guy is far better than the dSLR guy. I've seen shots that were taken with nice dSLRs, but the person didn't know how to process the shot.

And on and on. To say a P&S is equal to or better than a dSLR is pretty much foolish. You yourself said it's the photographer...true to a point, but the same principle applies to the person's workflow.

[/B.S. Flag]
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:08 PM   #10
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Theres another point, what are you shooting for. For the internet, a standard sunny day shot with probably not look that much better taken with a SLR than a point and shoot. If you want to print at large sizes, then yes a SLR will be better.
I never said a P&S is equal to a DSLR, just that the price tag on the camera does not solely define the quality of the image. In the same regard i know a person who has been shooting with a DSLR but still cannot figure out which side of the track to stand on.

From what i remember from earlier posts, the OP does not have a camera capable of producing images that are RP quality, a 2 or 3 mp clickbox from what i remember. If he cannot shoot at all, it might be a better plan to get a decent superzoom rather than waiting a potentially long time to get a SLR, and then a decent lens on top of that. I was in the same position about a year and a half ago, i took the easy route and got a Canon S5. Even though it is not a DSLR, it is a camera with plenty of manual controls and i have benefited as a photographer from it, and was right off the bat able to take images that i would not have been able to with a SLR until i invested in some more expensive lenses than the starter kit. Do i want a DSLR? Of course, would love one, but do i need one to produce good images? no.

The choice is up to the OP, since he apparently has enough for the SX20, he could get a Rebel XT or maybe a XTi +starter lens with the same amount of money, so the choice is up to him.
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase55671 View Post

Still, I've used a Kodak P&S, and I regret not upgrading to an SLR sooner.



Ha...



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They, Canon P&S do ok to great. I am thinking of getting a panasonic GF1 or Olympus Pen E-P2 for days I want to pack light.
I add My camera bag with the 300mm is 23 pounds + Not good for some trips as I don't like lock up what I don't want to drag with me.
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:37 PM   #12
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I own a Canon Powershot SX20IS, and it is one damn good camera. I went into our local Electronic Store looking for a camera that wasn't your typical standard Digi Cam. I wanted one that could take high quality pics & vids, as well as have other functions to go with it. I liked the look of a FujiFilm camera that looked similiar to the Canon range, but the Sales Rep advised me for what I using it for, it would be better to go with a Canon. He showed me the SX10IS , but when I saw the 20, it was love at first sight. The best thing about the SX10IS & SX20IS is the "Powershot". What that means is if your taking a picture of a locomotive (Yard Shot or idling), you can have the Diesel in colour and the rest of photo will be in black & white. Bad thing is - Pixel size is a @#$%*&. all your photo's will be shot at 4000x3000.

I've owned the camera for 9 weeks now, and I've taken close to 200 shots.
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikos1 View Post
I never said a P&S is equal to a DSLR, just that the price tag on the camera does not solely define the quality of the image.
I guess I interpretted this statement incorrectly which is what sparked my reply:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikos1
I had a friend who until recently was using a Kodak clickbox digital camera and was taking pictures the same quality as a SLR
Does that statement not say that the image quality from your friend's clickbox = an SLR? Where'd I read it wrong?
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:54 PM   #14
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Same quality picture, but there are other factors he's probably thinking about, like depth of field control, other manual controls, shooting speed, focus speed, shutter lag, etc..
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Old 12-25-2009, 11:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween View Post
I guess I interpretted this statement incorrectly which is what sparked my reply:



Does that statement not say that the image quality from your friend's clickbox = an SLR? Where'd I read it wrong?
Okay shall i rephrase to say what i intended.
SLR does not = automatic good pictures.
PNS does not =automatic bad pictures.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Okay shall i rephrase to say what i intended.
SLR does not = automatic good pictures.
PNS does not =automatic bad pictures.
An SLR will produce a better result than a P&S. Simple as that. An SLR enables you to do more. While P&S cameras have advanced over the years, an SLR will still allow you to do more. Capturing more detail, advanced settings, different shooting methods, and so on.

Bluntly, P&S can produce good quality photos, but comparing them to an SLR is irrelevant.

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Old 12-26-2009, 12:58 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase55671 View Post
An SLR will produce a better result than a P&S. Simple as that. An SLR enables you to do more. While P&S cameras have advanced over the years, an SLR will still allow you to do more. Capturing more detail, advanced settings, different shooting methods, and so on.

Bluntly, P&S can produce good quality photos, but comparing them to an SLR is irrelevant.

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Old 12-26-2009, 01:11 AM   #18
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I don't know too much about the S20IS, but you might want to consider the S90 in roughly the same price range if image quality is important and telephoto is not.
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Old 12-26-2009, 01:14 AM   #19
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I think it would be a good camera for you, especially for railfanning. I also recommend the Canon Powershot G11, although it may not have a huge zoom, it does have alot more manual SLR like features and gives you much more control. I have actually thought about picking up one for myself when I want to travel lite.

http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/d...powershot+sx20

Chase, some people may not want a DSLR, they are big and bulky and not the easiest things to carry around.
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Old 12-26-2009, 02:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I think it would be a good camera for you, especially for railfanning. I also recommend the Canon Powershot G11, although it may not have a huge zoom, it does have alot more manual SLR like features and gives you much more control.
So does the SX20. It doesn't have RAW mode, but I expect a CHDK will fix that if it's not already available.
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:16 AM   #21
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I'm a DSLR guy through and through, but what I thought Nikos was comparing was photographers, not cameras. He said the photog uses a PNS and gets good results from it, creditting the shooter at least as much if not more than the camera.
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:32 AM   #22
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I think the answer is, ultimately, do you feel you are outgrowing P&S? If so, go with a DSLR. I'm still learning how to work mine, but the results I get so far surpass what I could do with my old P&S.

However, if you don't know for how much longer you wish to do railroad photography...go with the P&S.
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Old 12-26-2009, 03:44 PM   #23
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Quote:
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There you go with your two-tenths again!

When you're young like Chase, you don't get to put in the entire 2 cents. haha
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:30 PM   #24
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We have got a Canon G10, which John normally uses. Great little camera, does RAW files as well though the largest size jpg is more than adequate for web use, not much in the way of shutter lag either.

A train moving about 40 - 50mph
Image © John Cottrell
PhotoID: 295808
Photograph © John Cottrell


Taken from a moving train
Image © John Cottrell
PhotoID: 295811
Photograph © John Cottrell


Handy for carrying around in a pocket as well, but I really notice the difference in quality of the images from the G10 compared to our 30D when viewing the files at 100% size when processing.

Edit here are two similar photos from the two different cameras

G10
Image © John Cottrell
PhotoID: 285692
Photograph © John Cottrell


30D
Image © John Cottrell
PhotoID: 295806
Photograph © John Cottrell

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Old 12-26-2009, 05:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
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When you're young like Chase, you don't get to put in the entire 2 cents. haha
No, when you are young like Chase, you think your opinions are worth 0.2=0.20=20 cents!
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