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Vernel Fall, Merced River, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Advice for new point-and-shoot

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Advice for new point-and-shoot
May 29, 2018 06:41PM
My Panasonic Lumix ZS20 VERY suddenly gave up the ghost (and I mean VERY suddenly as in...took it out to take a picture...no problem...100 feet down the trail took it out again and got nothing but black on the screen (LCD works in all modes other than viewfinder, already taken pictures are fine, the lens cover is retracting properly but still, the lens seems like it no longer sees anything)).

Since I know that a number of you carry Lumix cameras, I'm wondering
  1. Has this ever happened to you and, if so, were you able to fix the problem?
  2. If you "fixed it" by buying a new camera, what's a fairly comparable unit in terms of features and price?

If I DO get a new one, the main features I'd be looking for would be
  1. Good image quality (duh!)
  2. Reasonably high-quality video ability (I currently carry a separate dedicated video camera but lugging both is definitely not convenient)
  3. GPS
  4. Reasonably high degree of optical zoom...10x or more (although that seems to be pretty widely the case in most reasonably good P&S's these days)
  5. Reasonably good battery life (200-300 pictures/charge and a number of weeks in standby (i.e., sitting in the case unused)).
  6. Fairly rugged (I carried Canons for many years and never had a problem with any of them (only upgraded to get newer features) but every Lumix I've had has developed problems within 2-4 years)
  7. Despite that, I wouldn't mind sticking with another Lumix if, for no other reason, I have a large number of extra batteries! (they seem to last much longer than the cameras)
Re: Advice for new point-and-shoot
June 01, 2018 10:19AM
I am still using a ZS50 for telephotos and sometimes, sunsets, panoramas and video. I had two ZS19s before that. The second one, I got a three year Panasonic warranty but they didn't honor it because they said that I abused the camera. (I keep it very protected when not shooting.) And the biggest problem, before camera failure, has been dust getting into the lens assembly.

So after that experience, I used my old Olympus for a few months...very slow and it used the xd cards. It had the most beautiful color though. Then I bought a ZS50. Two cameras failed within the first three months...eligible to return to Costco. I bought a Square Trade warranty with this camera and had to use it on my third ZS50. I had an incident like you...The camera stopped working after I took a few shots in Zion Canyon, then right before entering the water for the narrows, it stopped. ! Luckily I had my phone to take photos.

Sent it to Square Trade and they replaced the lens assembly and had it back to me in a week. In time for our next Zion trip. It has been working OK since...eight months (the camera originally stopped working in five months.)

Too bad that the ZS50 uses a different battery than the old ZS cameras. We have a lot of batteries as my husband has the ZS7 and it uses the same battery as the ZS19. And charger. And his camera still works fine after over eight years, although he uses his phone more for photos.

I believe that the new ZS takes 4K video. And I also believe that, unfortunately, the ZS cameras are destined to fail, if you happen to use it a lot.
Re: Advice for new point-and-shoot
June 02, 2018 06:07PM
Yes, the reliability definitely seems hit-or-miss with the Lumix line...my ZS20 was unpredictable prior to this one...in particular, it was very prone to (presumably) getting small specks of dust or dirt stuck in the automatic lens cover such that the cover wouldn't completely close (fortunately, it only briefly had a problem with not opening)...eventually it would clear up. Also had the more-than-occasional need to reset the camera by popping out the battery. And speaking of batteries, I used to be able to leave the GPS function on all the time...about 3 or 4 months ago, the battery suddenly started routinely draining in a matter of hours. A few weeks ago, it suddenly started behaving normally again!

My wife's Lumix, by contrast (I think she's got the ZS10 but I can't recall off the top of my head) has never given her a single problem.

I always liked my Canon P&S's but the last time I looked for one with GPS (3 or 4 years ago, IIRC), the reviews for the model I liked consistently complained about terrible battery life (I forget the model number but I think I posted about it in this forum.

I'll probably bite the bullet and buy a digital SLR at some point (I have a fairly nice film SLR but haven't used it in years). After years of doing only commercial artwork, my wife is finally starting to get back into painting and I'd like to bring her back high-quality photos to work from when I hike to places on my own. For "memories-of-the-hike" type photos, however, a good-quality P&S is fine and not only easier to carry but easier to get to on the trail.
Re: Advice for new point-and-shoot
May 29, 2019 06:08PM
Hi Ruth,
Since posting this last year, I've picked up a Canon SX730 P&S (I rather like this but I still miss some of the features of my Lumix...not least of all that the Canon does not have GPS) and a Canon EOS Rebel DSLR. I usually don't do much processing of my pictures other than the occasional crop or color tweak so I haven't invested in Photoshop although I expect I will if I ever get serious about the DSLR work.
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