Camera Choice for Sailing

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by IYC Mike, May 17, 2008.

  1. IYC Mike

    IYC Mike Guest

    I may have made my mind up, but before I buy I'd welcome any comments.

    I sail a small cruiser in the Thames Estuary and very much enjoy
    taking photos from the boat, of other boats and wildlife; currently
    with a 35mm SLR. However, I use digital for other photography and now
    wish to try digital on the boat and need a different camera (for very
    good reasons).

    Boat photography is very demanding! Subjects are often a long way away
    needing a large focal length, and the platform is unsteady making this
    difficult to use. Sometimes, eg at the start of a race, a suitable
    subject happens suddenly so you need to make a rapid change of focal
    length - no time to change lenses, a good zoom is a must. Weather is
    often grey, so you need to juggle (with the film camera) fast shutter
    speed, aperture and film speed to get good results; I generally use
    400 ASA film.

    To photograph things on your own boat, a degree of wide angle is
    generally needed. With a 35mm SLR you might as well throw the 50mm
    lens overboard ... :)

    And just to make camera choice a bit harder, cost comes into it for
    this reason; insurance does not give very good cover. Generally, water
    damage tends to be excluded!!! I ask you ... what's most likely to
    happen on a boat. :) So I don't want to spend too much and was
    thinking around 100 UK pounds.

    So I need:
    . a really good zoom lens ...
    . ... which will work well at or near full aperture and high zoom
    . image stabilisation of high quality
    . good P&S and also good manual controls
    . compact size (she's only a small boat)
    . ability to work at higher ISO settings, to enable very fast shutter
    speeds
    . fairly fast reaction time for action shots
    . good picture quality generally, of say up to A4 size
    . lowish cost so I won't be too put out if it gets ruined

    I know I have to compromise!

    Now some comments on this. Some image quality issues can be tolerated;
    the viewers are often pleasantly surprised that I've managed a
    reasonable picture at all. As as long as I capture the essence of
    what's going on, that's fine usually. However, I sometimes have time
    to do a careful job (in quiet conditions) of getting everything right
    and, with a steady hand, get good results ... such 35mm photos have
    been enlarged to 10 x 8 very well and I still want to have this
    ability.

    I've done a lot of research and read loads of reviews, and seen many
    relevant posts here.
    My provisional choice is the Panasonic FZ8.

    It seems to match my list very well, with one exception; its noise
    problems at higher ISO settings. Use at higher ISO is on my list, to
    enable high shutter speeds (to combat shake) on dull days.
    As far as I can see, this problem is offset in 3 ways:
    . excellent lens will work well at wide aperture
    . better than average OIS, giving about 3 stops improvement over my
    35mm SLR, and possibly 1 stop over most othe OIS systems
    . ability to save raw for critical shots where I intend to enlarge or
    crop.

    It's just a bit over my intended budget but that's not hard and fast.

    Above all, I see that John Navas uses one with good results and likes
    it generally, especially for boat photography.

    Any comments welcomed.
    IYC Mike, May 17, 2008
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. IYC Mike

    ransley Guest

    On May 17, 5:44 am, IYC Mike <> wrote:
    > I may have made my mind up, but before I buy I'd welcome any comments.
    >
    > I sail a small cruiser in the Thames Estuary and very much enjoy
    > taking photos from the boat, of other boats and wildlife; currently
    > with a 35mm SLR. However, I use digital for other photography and now
    > wish to try digital on the boat and need a different camera (for very
    > good reasons).
    >
    > Boat photography is very demanding! Subjects are often a long way away
    > needing a large focal length, and the platform is unsteady making this
    > difficult to use. Sometimes, eg at the start of a race, a suitable
    > subject happens suddenly so you need to make a rapid change of focal
    > length - no time to change lenses, a good zoom is a must. Weather is
    > often grey, so you need to juggle (with the film camera) fast shutter
    > speed, aperture and film speed to get good results; I generally use
    > 400 ASA film.
    >
    > To photograph things on your own boat, a degree of wide angle is
    > generally needed. With a 35mm SLR you might as well throw the 50mm
    > lens overboard ... :)
    >
    > And just to make camera choice a bit harder, cost comes into it for
    > this reason; insurance does not give very good cover. Generally, water
    > damage tends to be excluded!!! I ask you ... what's most likely to
    > happen on a boat. :) So I don't want to spend too much and was
    > thinking around 100 UK pounds.
    >
    > So I need:
    >  . a really good zoom lens ...
    >  .    ... which will work well at or near full aperture and high zoom
    >  . image stabilisation of high quality
    >  . good P&S and also good manual controls
    >  . compact size (she's only a small boat)
    >  . ability to work at higher ISO settings, to enable very fast shutter
    > speeds
    >  . fairly fast reaction time for action shots
    >  . good picture quality generally, of say up to A4 size
    >  . lowish cost so I won't be too put out if it gets ruined
    >
    > I know I have to compromise!
    >
    > Now some comments on this. Some image quality issues can be tolerated;
    > the viewers are often pleasantly surprised that I've managed a
    > reasonable picture at all. As as long as I capture the essence of
    > what's going on, that's fine usually. However, I sometimes have time
    > to do a careful job (in quiet conditions) of getting everything right
    > and, with a steady hand, get good results ...  such 35mm photos have
    > been enlarged to 10 x 8 very well and I still want to have this
    > ability.
    >
    > I've done a lot of research and read loads of reviews, and seen many
    > relevant posts here.
    > My provisional choice is the Panasonic FZ8.
    >
    > It seems to match my list very well, with one exception; its noise
    > problems at higher ISO settings. Use at higher ISO is on my list, to
    > enable high shutter speeds (to combat shake) on dull days.
    > As far as I can see, this problem is offset in 3 ways:
    >  . excellent lens will work well at wide aperture
    >  . better than average OIS, giving about 3 stops improvement over my
    > 35mm SLR, and possibly 1 stop over most othe OIS systems
    >  . ability to save raw for critical shots where I intend to enlarge or
    > crop.
    >
    > It's just a bit over my intended budget but that's not hard and fast.
    >
    > Above all, I see that John Navas uses one with good results and likes
    > it generally, especially for boat photography.
    >
    > Any comments welcomed.


    With boat movement a fast sensor is best, Fuji has been a step or two
    ahead of the competition and Panasonic a step behind, you may only
    need 5-7 mp resolution, Fuji may or may not have something like sonys
    smart zoom feature that will allow more zoom at reduced MP. Panasonic
    would be best for stationary use at 100iso, the Fuji may do as good or
    better at 400iso For a boat where there is alot of movement Panasonic
    would be my last choise.
    ransley, May 17, 2008
    #2
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  3. ransley wrote:
    []
    > With boat movement a fast sensor is best, Fuji has been a step or two
    > ahead of the competition and Panasonic a step behind, you may only
    > need 5-7 mp resolution, Fuji may or may not have something like sonys
    > smart zoom feature that will allow more zoom at reduced MP. Panasonic
    > would be best for stationary use at 100iso, the Fuji may do as good or
    > better at 400iso For a boat where there is alot of movement Panasonic
    > would be my last choise.


    However, for use on a moving boat, the excellent image stabilisation on
    the Panasonic cameras may produce a greater percentage of sharp pictures
    than the higher ISO in the Fuji! You pays your money and takes your
    choice....

    David
    David J Taylor, May 17, 2008
    #3
  4. IYC Mike

    ransley Guest

    On May 17, 9:15 am, "David J Taylor" <-
    this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:
    > ransley wrote:
    >
    > []
    >
    > > With boat movement a fast sensor is best, Fuji has been a step or two
    > > ahead of the competition and Panasonic a step behind, you may only
    > > need 5-7 mp resolution, Fuji may or may not have something like sonys
    > > smart zoom feature that will allow more zoom at reduced MP. Panasonic
    > > would be best for stationary use at 100iso, the Fuji may do as good or
    > > better at 400iso For a boat where there is alot of movement Panasonic
    > > would be my last choise.

    >
    > However, for use on a moving boat, the excellent image stabilisation on
    > the Panasonic cameras may produce a greater percentage of sharp pictures
    > than the higher ISO in the Fuji!  You pays your money and takes your
    > choice....
    >
    > David


    You might only get 1 step more with panasonic IS to Fujis IS and maybe
    not, but you will get 2-4 more on the sensor, there wont be a
    comparison, dp review put it at a leading 400 iso with 800 usable,
    panasonic cant do that. On land its one thing, on a small bouncing
    boat photographing a small bouncing boat 1 stop is a big deal, and he
    will likely get 2-3 stops better, The new Fujis have I.S. For high iso
    panasonic is the bottom ranked.
    ransley, May 17, 2008
    #4
  5. IYC Mike

    IYC Mike Guest

    > The new Fujis have I.S. For high iso
    > panasonic is the bottom ranked



    Yes, such a shame, on a camera that otherwise fits my needs very well.

    I'll have another look at Fuji's with OIS and see if there is one
    within (or close enough to) my budget. No decision as yet ....

    By the way, I should have been sailing but can't due to a broken
    finger; this does give me time for this kind of research.

    Thanks to all for your help and expertise.
    regards
    IYC Mike, May 17, 2008
    #5
  6. ransley wrote:
    []
    > You might only get 1 step more with panasonic IS to Fujis IS and maybe
    > not, but you will get 2-4 more on the sensor, there wont be a
    > comparison, dp review put it at a leading 400 iso with 800 usable,
    > panasonic cant do that. On land its one thing, on a small bouncing
    > boat photographing a small bouncing boat 1 stop is a big deal, and he
    > will likely get 2-3 stops better, The new Fujis have I.S. For high iso
    > panasonic is the bottom ranked.


    I would recommend using a low ISO with /any/ small-sensor camera. If you
    find the results at ISO 400 acceptable, that does give you a bit more
    margin.

    David
    David J Taylor, May 17, 2008
    #6
  7. IYC Mike

    ransley Guest

    On May 17, 2:45 pm, John Rethorst <> wrote:
    > In article <tMBXj.4963$>,
    >  "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-bit..co.uk>
    >
    >  wrote:
    > > However, for use on a moving boat, the excellent image stabilisation on
    > > the Panasonic cameras may produce a greater percentage of sharp pictures
    > > than the higher ISO in the Fuji!  You pays your money and takes your
    > > choice....

    >
    > If you're sailing on the ocean, what precautions would you want to take to
    > prevent corrosion of your camera by salt?
    >
    > --
    > John Rethorst
    > jrethorst at post dot com


    Id guess it wont last long with salt air and spray,there is alot more
    to go bad then on a 35mm, I think Pentax makes P&S waterproof cameras.
    At 150 though it would not be much of a loss. I dont know if you have
    Hammacher Schlemmer over there because they sell a Fuji and have
    lifetime warranty on what they sell.
    ransley, May 17, 2008
    #7
  8. IYC Mike

    IYC Mike Guest

    On 17 May, 22:33, ransley <> wrote:
    > On May 17, 2:45 pm, John Rethorst <> wrote:
    >
    > > In article <tMBXj.4963$>,
    > >  "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk>

    >
    > >  wrote:
    > > > However, for use on a moving boat, the excellent image stabilisation on
    > > > the Panasonic cameras may produce a greater percentage of sharp pictures
    > > > than the higher ISO in the Fuji!  You pays your money and takes your
    > > > choice....

    >
    > > If you're sailing on the ocean, what precautions would you want to take to
    > > prevent corrosion of your camera by salt?

    >
    > > --
    > > John Rethorst
    > > jrethorst at post dot com

    >
    > Id guess it wont last long with salt air and spray,there is alot more
    > to go bad then on a 35mm, I think Pentax makes P&S waterproof cameras.
    > At 150 though it would not be much of a loss. I dont know if you have
    > Hammacher Schlemmer over there because they sell a Fuji and have
    > lifetime warranty on what they sell.


    Hi,
    it's not really the ocean, it's weekend estuary sailing and cameras
    are not left on board. I use common sense to keep the camera dry, such
    as dodging spray as much as possible, keeping it covered etc ... a
    good lens hood will help. I do take a bit of a risk to try to get a
    great shot .... to me, if getting that 'once in a lifetime' shot meant
    ruining a camera, I'd do it; not everyone's choice I know.

    I may be wrong, but I think most underwater cameras tend to have very
    limited features, unsuitable for what I want.

    In 30 years sailing, often with a camera, I've only had 2 fail on me
    and one was probably just with age. That makes me just a bit more
    willing to try a better camera. What I've done up to now is buy 35mm
    SLRs cheap secondhand and consider them 'disposable'; but basically
    they stand up to it. I got a lovely Pentax K1000 for £5 a few years
    ago .... still going strong.

    Re the suggestion of Fuji; I'm looking; but care is needed as some of
    theirs claim an IS system which I think is just automatically raising
    the ISO? But the more expensive S8000fd seems to have proper OIS so
    I'll look into this one, as I guess I'd need true OIS *and* a higher
    ISO ability to truly beat the Pana FZ's. That superb lens on the Pana
    still tempts me ... :)

    Great discussions, thanks!
    IYC Mike, May 18, 2008
    #8
  9. IYC Mike

    ransley Guest

    On May 18, 3:54 am, IYC Mike <> wrote:
    > On 17 May, 22:33, ransley <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > On May 17, 2:45 pm, John Rethorst <> wrote:

    >
    > > > In article <tMBXj.4963$>,
    > > >  "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk>

    >
    > > >  wrote:
    > > > > However, for use on a moving boat, the excellent image stabilisation on
    > > > > the Panasonic cameras may produce a greater percentage of sharp pictures
    > > > > than the higher ISO in the Fuji!  You pays your money and takes your
    > > > > choice....

    >
    > > > If you're sailing on the ocean, what precautions would you want to take to
    > > > prevent corrosion of your camera by salt?

    >
    > > > --
    > > > John Rethorst
    > > > jrethorst at post dot com

    >
    > > Id guess it wont last long with salt air and spray,there is alot more
    > > to go bad then on a 35mm, I think Pentax makes P&S waterproof cameras.
    > > At 150 though it would not be much of a loss. I dont know if you have
    > > Hammacher Schlemmer over there because they sell a Fuji and have
    > > lifetime warranty on what they sell.

    >
    > Hi,
    > it's not really the ocean, it's weekend estuary sailing and cameras
    > are not left on board. I use common sense to keep the camera dry, such
    > as dodging spray as much as possible, keeping it covered etc ... a
    > good lens hood will help. I do take a bit of a risk to try to get a
    > great shot .... to me, if getting that 'once in a lifetime' shot meant
    > ruining a camera, I'd do it; not everyone's choice I know.
    >
    > I may be wrong, but I think most underwater cameras tend to have very
    > limited features, unsuitable for what I want.
    >
    > In 30 years sailing, often with a camera, I've only had 2 fail on me
    > and one was probably just with age. That makes me just a bit more
    > willing to try a better camera. What I've done up to now is buy 35mm
    > SLRs cheap secondhand and consider them 'disposable'; but basically
    > they stand up to it. I got a lovely Pentax K1000 for £5 a few years
    > ago .... still going strong.
    >
    > Re the suggestion of Fuji; I'm looking; but care is needed as some of
    > theirs claim an IS system which I think is just automatically raising
    > the ISO? But the more expensive S8000fd seems to have proper OIS so
    > I'll look into this one, as I guess I'd need true OIS *and* a higher
    > ISO ability to truly beat the Pana FZ's. That superb lens on the Pana
    > still tempts me ... :)
    >
    > Great discussions, thanks!- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    A Fuji F50 has 2 types of IS, electronic settings and mechanical, I
    only recommend Fuji because they are known for their sensors, go to
    www.dpreview.com and read reviews, the F30 is the only P&S they called
    a "classic" because of its high iso class leading performance.
    Panasonic tops out at 200 iso, Fuji 800 iso for usable work. You have
    no substitute for high iso as you will get the fast shutter speed you
    need. You will need around 1/1000 sec to get good photos. What you
    also need to look into is lens speed, low iso and a slow lens and what
    you get will be worthless in a boat especialy a small one that
    bounces. Fuji has had the fastest small sensor, its well known, Sony
    was and still may be making Canons Nikons and others sensors but keeps
    a slightly better version for itself. The Fz30 you are looking at I
    havnt researched it lens but it might not get you much with a fairly
    slow lens and low iso, reviews put 400 iso at not very good. Its a
    great camera for land but I think you can do alot better with other
    manufacturers. You shoot now at 400, but what speed is your lens,
    compare that in you figure to a new camera. Id guess you want easily
    1/1000 sec or photos wont be sharp, for water use a polariser filter
    would also do the most for your photos. 150 isnt much for a camera and
    it will get you something that will blow away 400 film, my 150$ sony
    is as good as Kodachrome 25 asa and it now worth maybe 60$. Get
    something with the fastest lens, highest iso you can, but that leaves
    panasonic in last place for the sensor. You need to go to review sites
    to do real comparisons on performance you can see.
    ransley, May 18, 2008
    #9
  10. ransley wrote:
    > You need to go to review sites
    > to do real comparisons on performance you can see.


    You should also handle the cameras to see how they suit you - and, for
    example, how well you can use then with gloves on should that be a need.
    Many of the reviews simply use the cameras with as-delivered settings,
    which may well not be the ones which you want, or which produce the style
    of images you want.

    David
    David J Taylor, May 18, 2008
    #10
  11. IYC Mike

    IYC Mike Guest

    On 18 May, 12:46, ransley <> wrote:
    > On May 18, 3:54 am, IYC Mike <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > On 17 May, 22:33, ransley <> wrote:

    >
    > > > On May 17, 2:45 pm, John Rethorst <> wrote:

    >
    > > > > In article <tMBXj.4963$>,
    > > > >  "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk>

    >
    > > > >  wrote:
    > > > > > However, for use on a moving boat, the excellent image stabilisation on
    > > > > > the Panasonic cameras may produce a greater percentage of sharp pictures
    > > > > > than the higher ISO in the Fuji!  You pays your money and takes your
    > > > > > choice....

    >
    > > > > If you're sailing on the ocean, what precautions would you want to take to
    > > > > prevent corrosion of your camera by salt?

    >
    > > > > --
    > > > > John Rethorst
    > > > > jrethorst at post dot com

    >
    > > > Id guess it wont last long with salt air and spray,there is alot more
    > > > to go bad then on a 35mm, I think Pentax makes P&S waterproof cameras.
    > > > At 150 though it would not be much of a loss. I dont know if you have
    > > > Hammacher Schlemmer over there because they sell a Fuji and have
    > > > lifetime warranty on what they sell.

    >
    > > Hi,
    > > it's not really the ocean, it's weekend estuary sailing and cameras
    > > are not left on board. I use common sense to keep the camera dry, such
    > > as dodging spray as much as possible, keeping it covered etc ... a
    > > good lens hood will help. I do take a bit of a risk to try to get a
    > > great shot .... to me, if getting that 'once in a lifetime' shot meant
    > > ruining a camera, I'd do it; not everyone's choice I know.

    >
    > > I may be wrong, but I think most underwater cameras tend to have very
    > > limited features, unsuitable for what I want.

    >
    > > In 30 years sailing, often with a camera, I've only had 2 fail on me
    > > and one was probably just with age. That makes me just a bit more
    > > willing to try a better camera. What I've done up to now is buy 35mm
    > > SLRs cheap secondhand and consider them 'disposable'; but basically
    > > they stand up to it. I got a lovely Pentax K1000 for £5 a few years
    > > ago .... still going strong.

    >
    > > Re the suggestion of Fuji; I'm looking; but care is needed as some of
    > > theirs claim an IS system which I think is just automatically raising
    > > the ISO? But the more expensive S8000fd seems to have proper OIS so
    > > I'll look into this one, as I guess I'd need true OIS *and* a higher
    > > ISO ability to truly beat the Pana FZ's. That superb lens on the Pana
    > > still tempts me ... :)

    >
    > > Great discussions, thanks!- Hide quoted text -

    >
    > > - Show quoted text -

    >
    > A Fuji F50 has 2 types of IS, electronic settings and mechanical, I
    > only recommend Fuji because they are known for their sensors, go towww.dpreview.comand read reviews, the F30 is the only P&S they called
    > a "classic"  because of its high iso class leading performance.
    > Panasonic tops out at 200 iso, Fuji 800 iso for usable work. You have
    > no substitute for high iso as you will get the fast shutter speed you
    > need. You will need around 1/1000 sec to get good photos. What you
    > also need to look into is lens speed, low iso and a slow lens and what
    > you get will be worthless in a boat especialy a small one that
    > bounces. Fuji has had the fastest small sensor, its well known, Sony
    > was and still may be making Canons Nikons and others sensors but keeps
    > a slightly better version for itself. The Fz30 you are looking at I
    > havnt researched it lens but it might not get you much with a fairly
    > slow lens and low iso, reviews put 400 iso at not very good. Its a
    > great camera for land but I think you can do alot better with other
    > manufacturers. You shoot now at 400, but what speed is your lens,
    > compare that in you figure to a new camera. Id guess you want easily
    > 1/1000 sec or photos wont be sharp, for water use a polariser filter
    > would also do the most for your photos. 150 isnt much for a camera and
    > it will get you something that will blow away 400 film, my 150$ sony
    > is as good as Kodachrome 25 asa and it now worth maybe 60$. Get
    > something with the fastest lens, highest iso you can, but that leaves
    > panasonic in last place for the sensor. You need to go to review sites
    > to do real comparisons on performance you can see.- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    Hi,
    Good advice about dpreview; I've studied all the relevant reviews
    there already.

    The Fuji F30 and F50 are excellent cameras and superb value; but with
    only 3X zoom, they are nothing like what I want, which is a great
    pity. Remember, conditions vary enormously; there are plenty of nice
    times, sheltered water, boat steady, when a really long lens can be
    used, even in a good sailing breeze. At present I often use an 80 to
    250mm zoom on a 35mm camera, so 250 is the absolute minimum and I
    really want 400; assuming that OIS will make that as useable as 250.

    I've had a careful study of the Fuji S8000fd on dpreview, as this is
    the Fuji with a long zoom and full OIS. However, its noise performance
    at 100 to 400 looks little if any better than the FZ8 or FZ7; perhaps
    at best, 1 stop better (ie Fuji at 200 equivalent to Pana at 100).
    Definitely better at 800 and above, no doubt; but that's not where I
    intend to go. Overall, the FZ8 seems a better rated camera. For my
    needs, there seems very little in it between these two ... no evidence
    here of a significantly better CCD, and the OIS systems seem about
    equally effective.

    Let's see how exposures might work out. Sun over water, say 1/125 sec
    at F16 using 100 iso; that's 1/1000 at F5.6, or 1/2000 at F4. The Pana/
    Leica lens should work OK at that. That's slightly better than I
    manage at present ... 1/1000 sec fastest shutter, and an F3.5 lens
    that I don't like to use below F5.6. OIS should give a further
    significant advantage on top of this.
    Cloudy, I guess at 2 stops down, say 1/1000 at F2.8 if the lens will
    do it, or 1/500 at F4; still at 100 iso. Or say 1/1000 at F4 at 200
    iso.
    Very dull, another 2 stops down .... say 1/500 at F2.8, 200 iso; or
    1/250 at F4, 200 iso. Here I'd be looking for OIS to be helping. If I
    get 2 stops worth out of it, results should be as good as 1/1000 at F4
    without it ... and no way can I shoot at 1/1000 af F4 in very dull
    conditions with 35mm!!!

    On reflection, I don't use 400 asa film that much; more often it's 200
    asa.

    So it seems I stand to gain a fair amount, even with a degree of
    compromise (noise on the Pana, lens and general abilities on the
    Fuji).
    I'd evidently need to get to know the camera well, and learn to work
    round its weaknesses of course, but (though pretty new to digital) I'm
    an experienced photographer and can do this.

    Though many will not approve, I'm leaning towards the Pana FZ8 for its
    excellent lens, very much for this reason; see the above ... I'll
    often have to push the lens to its aperture limits to use the lowest
    possible iso setting, and it seems the Pana lens will respond better
    to this. It's a marginal choice.

    I guess I'll look out for a very special offer on either.
    IYC Mike, May 18, 2008
    #11
  12. IYC Mike

    JimC Guest

    Mike, if you will put your boat on a reach and loosen the sheets just a
    bit, you won't have to contend with such violent movements. Also,
    obviously a moderate wind will make it easier.

    Jim


    IYC Mike wrote:
    > I may have made my mind up, but before I buy I'd welcome any comments.
    >
    > I sail a small cruiser in the Thames Estuary and very much enjoy
    > taking photos from the boat, of other boats and wildlife; currently
    > with a 35mm SLR. However, I use digital for other photography and now
    > wish to try digital on the boat and need a different camera (for very
    > good reasons).
    >
    > Boat photography is very demanding! Subjects are often a long way away
    > needing a large focal length, and the platform is unsteady making this
    > difficult to use. Sometimes, eg at the start of a race, a suitable
    > subject happens suddenly so you need to make a rapid change of focal
    > length - no time to change lenses, a good zoom is a must. Weather is
    > often grey, so you need to juggle (with the film camera) fast shutter
    > speed, aperture and film speed to get good results; I generally use
    > 400 ASA film.
    >
    > To photograph things on your own boat, a degree of wide angle is
    > generally needed. With a 35mm SLR you might as well throw the 50mm
    > lens overboard ... :)
    >
    > And just to make camera choice a bit harder, cost comes into it for
    > this reason; insurance does not give very good cover. Generally, water
    > damage tends to be excluded!!! I ask you ... what's most likely to
    > happen on a boat. :) So I don't want to spend too much and was
    > thinking around 100 UK pounds.
    >
    > So I need:
    > . a really good zoom lens ...
    > . ... which will work well at or near full aperture and high zoom
    > . image stabilisation of high quality
    > . good P&S and also good manual controls
    > . compact size (she's only a small boat)
    > . ability to work at higher ISO settings, to enable very fast shutter
    > speeds
    > . fairly fast reaction time for action shots
    > . good picture quality generally, of say up to A4 size
    > . lowish cost so I won't be too put out if it gets ruined
    >
    > I know I have to compromise!
    >
    > Now some comments on this. Some image quality issues can be tolerated;
    > the viewers are often pleasantly surprised that I've managed a
    > reasonable picture at all. As as long as I capture the essence of
    > what's going on, that's fine usually. However, I sometimes have time
    > to do a careful job (in quiet conditions) of getting everything right
    > and, with a steady hand, get good results ... such 35mm photos have
    > been enlarged to 10 x 8 very well and I still want to have this
    > ability.
    >
    > I've done a lot of research and read loads of reviews, and seen many
    > relevant posts here.
    > My provisional choice is the Panasonic FZ8.
    >
    > It seems to match my list very well, with one exception; its noise
    > problems at higher ISO settings. Use at higher ISO is on my list, to
    > enable high shutter speeds (to combat shake) on dull days.
    > As far as I can see, this problem is offset in 3 ways:
    > . excellent lens will work well at wide aperture
    > . better than average OIS, giving about 3 stops improvement over my
    > 35mm SLR, and possibly 1 stop over most othe OIS systems
    > . ability to save raw for critical shots where I intend to enlarge or
    > crop.
    >
    > It's just a bit over my intended budget but that's not hard and fast.
    >
    > Above all, I see that John Navas uses one with good results and likes
    > it generally, especially for boat photography.
    >
    > Any comments welcomed.
    JimC, May 24, 2008
    #12
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