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Compact camera with best wide-angle capabilities?

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1. Posted by Budges (Budding Member 33 posts) 7y


Can anyone suggest which compact cameras out there have the best wide-angle lens?

(The reason I am asking is that I am weighing up the pros and cons of compact vs DSLRs. While I would ultimately prefer a compact camera for ease of transport I do not rule out getting a DSLR (and carting it around) if it will give me the types of photos I want. The main reason why I would choose a DSLR over a compact camera is for the use of wide-angle lens (and maybe playing around with fish eye).

Please note at this stage I have limited knowledge about cameras....also I have read those other recent threads arguing about compact cameras vs DSLRs and hope not to start a new debate that repeats what has been said before).

Any advice greatly appreciated,

Thanks, Mark.

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4817 posts) 7y

Looking around at dpreview for a bit, the Panasonic Lumix LX3 might be interesting, given your criteria. On the wide-angle side it goes down to 24mm-equivalent, which would be as wide as 16mm on a (not full-frame) DSLR. It has a "Highly Recommended" rating, and also came out on top in their enthusiast compact cameras group test.

Looking a bit further, it seems to be friggin' expensive for a compact camera, though. You could get a Nikon D40 (or maybe even a D5000) for the same price, so I'd only consider it if ease of carrying around is really worth a lot to you.

There's a ton of compact cameras out there with 28mm-equivalent lenses nowadays, which I guess technically still counts as wide-angle. Hard to pick any out. Canon powershots are generally pretty okay, or maybe the Panasonic TZ5 from that same group test? Oh, or again Panasonic, the TZ6 (also known as ZS1; yes, camera naming sucks), which is a whole lot cheaper, starts at 25mm, and is a joint winner in the compact super zoom group test.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Jul-2009, at 09:27 by Sander ]

3. Posted by Budges (Budding Member 33 posts) 7y

Hi Sanders,

Thanks heaps for the taking the time to look around!

How does the focal length translate into the angle that the given lens can "see".... just so I can get a picture in my mind of how much better a lens with shorter focal length is?


4. Posted by Budges (Budding Member 33 posts) 7y

(Sorry...Sander...I apologise!)

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4817 posts) 7y

Hard to find some really good examples of this, but here's a few (from completely different lenses and shooting position, so only look at these to get an impression of what a given focal length translates to).

  • 24mm equivalent (the same as 16mm on a Nikon DX DSLR, 15mm on a Canon APS-C DSLR, the same as on that Panasonic Lumix LX3)
  • 27mm equivalent (the same as 18mm on a Nikon DX DSLR, 17mm on a Canon APS-C DSLR, and a bit wider than on the Panasonic TZ5 and most other "wide angle" compact cameras.)
  • 36mm equivalent (the same as 24mm on a Nikon DX DSLR, 22.5mm on a Canon APS-C DSLR, and roughly what you'll get on most non-"wide angle" compact cameras).

(The "DX" and "APC-S" types of DSLR I mention are to distinguish these from the more professional (and way more expensive) "full frame" DSLRs, which have much larger sensors and because of that no "crop factor", e.g., one could take much more wide-angle photos with them.)

P.S. No worries on the name. I get that a lot. Confused me to no end, until someone explained that "Sanders" is a really common last name in the USA and people instinctively read it as such.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Jul-2009, at 14:23 by Sander ]

6. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 7y

Figuring focal lengths and angles is a dead end.

Just try them out in a shop. It'll save you time.