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Tilt and/or Swivel Viewing Screens

3134 Views 21 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  astro
I am almost totally convinced that a good size tilt and swivel LCD is close to the top of the priority list for a camera operator who wants to photograph models that spend a lot of their time below waist level and possibly on the floor.

On this basis, a lot of otherwise excellent cameras are falling off my short list, including all digital SLRs and the otherwise very accomplished and excellent value Lumix cams from Panasonic, Kodak (yes they make a couple of cracking good super-zooms!) and Fuji's 7xxx and 5xxx series. In fact, at present, the only cams still on my list are Sony's F828 and the Canon Pro-1. But I'm very willing to rethink things (yet again!) in the light of any new info or insights from camera enthusiasts here.

Has anyone found a workaround for this problem?
I really want to see what you think about your own cameras, with regard to the LCD and its usefulness, whether you wish you had held out for a T & S screen etc.

Has anyone rigged up a small off-cam LCD or even a tiny TV to get around the problem?

Please post anything that might contribute towards my choosing my next cam, with a view to it providing for my needs over the next several years. It has become urgent after having had mine stolen from my car a couple of days back.
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Astro has got my point of difficulty!

Don't worry about opening up the topic beyond tilt and swivel screens, every one!
It's just that I can't see anything more fundamentally essential to taking a good shot than first being able to actually SEE what you are trying to frame! Until you can do that, it seems that nothing much else matters.
I'm particularly curious as to whether anyone has managed to rig up a small TV or separate LCD screen for this purpose.

I am also very interested in thoughts on the pros and cons of proprietary batteries against the ubiquitous AAs. Greatly in favour of the AAs is that they are MUCH cheaper and, at a pinch when stuck, you can buy bog standard alkalines almost anywhere.
But what does everyone else think?
I am genuinely interested in other points of view - no point in my asking otherwise!

Don't be afraid to say what camera you are using, what you like about it, what you don't like, whether you would buy similar again, or what you have learned that makes you wish you had bought something else instead or why you are thinking of changing it and for what. Let's have a good chin-wag, with photographing slot cars as the central theme!
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Agree that macro ability is VERY high on my list of preferences - but I still suggest that that ability is secondary to being able to line up and frame the picture in the first place! At present, I have tilt/swivel screen as priority No 1, followed by macro ability No 2, followed by everything else in an order of priority that seems to change every time I check my grid of wants and desires!

QUOTE No point in buying an 8MP prosumer camera if you just want to take pics for the web.
I couldn't agree more!
I came to this conclusion some years ago, when I used to do a fair bit of scanning, before I got a digi-cam. I found the novelty soon wore off, spending literally days and even weeks with Photo Shop, and a million A4 prints, wasting VAST amounts of horrendously expensive ink making a mess of prints. Eventually, I concluded that printing was an almost complete waste of time and effort compared with screen viewing. I haven''t printed any pictures, other than thumbnail ID type, for several years!

Yes, apart from the very occasional desire to carry out terrific crops, I really don't want or need any more than 3MPixels, I'm absolutely convinced of that. BUT, if you buy a new camera, it's almost inevitable that it will be more than 3MP, these days. In fact, I am scouring around looking for slightly older, but new, models with a very significant cost saving. eg Sony F717 rather than the later F828 that many people SAY they dislike compared with its predecessor. (Many of the nay-sayers don't seem to have actually USED the new 828 cam though and base their opinions on reviews, so I take with a pinch of salt!)
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Here are my latest thoughts, more or less in the order that they overcame me!

Having first ruthlessly ignored non-tilting LCDs, which removed Fuji's and Panasonic's otherwise good cameras, I got my short list down to the following:

Canon Pro-1. Possibly the best LCD (2"), good all-rounder.
Sony F828. 1.8" LCD tilts but no swivel, good all-rounder in spite of pernickety reviews.
Sony F727. 1.8" LCD tilts but no swivel, good all round, much cheaper than 828 but high cost of Sony Memory Stick tends to cancel this out.
Canon S1 IS. 1.5" LCD VERY small AND hard to see in sunlight but Image Stabilized, great zoom and bonus of excellent video mode. HALF the price of the others too!

I was about to disqualify the otherwise great little Image Stabilized S1 IS on account of its puny sized and low quality LCD. Then two significant factors emerged from my busy mind.

One, that Canon software can enable a video-out mode during record mode. If I have this right, it is immensely significant in that a crappy cam LCD becomes much less important and the S1 IS could go straight back on the list!

Then I thought, IF this is so, maybe I can put the Panasonic Lumix FZ20 (2" LCD) back on the list because, on paper, it is more competent and better value than any other camera here. But I suspect this camera cannot video-out during record, so am frustrated to hell again, as this would otherwise be top of my class! If I thought Panasonic would introduce tilt & swivel I MIGHT even postpone purchase.

The other very significant factor was the PRICE of spare proprietary batteries, most especially Sony - utterly extortionate!!!!
At one point, the little Canon S1 IS was the ONLY camera on my list, because it was the only one with swivelling LCD AND that used cheap AA batteries.
However, I discovered compatible batteries available at less than one third Sony prices, so the earlier list was swiftly re-instated.

I'd gratefully appreciate comments, for better AND for worse on the cameras listed above, most especially from, but not limited to hands-on users - sometimes a more objective view or an unthought of point can emerge from un-biased non-combatants!

My common sense is telling me that that, if it is true that Canon's S1 IS can video-out while recording, then it SHOULD be top of my list. But there is this creepy, insidious (and snobbish!) doubt whether it can possibly be good enough, when it is half the price of the others! What am I not seeing here, or is it simply that the others are all grossly over-priced?

After a long phone chat with Nuro, I feel logically compelled to add the great value Canon A95 to the list (and apologise to Jimster for taking no notice until now!)
Damn you, both, for making it even more difficult!

(But you ARE right and thank you!)

A95 looks EXCELLENT value but . . .
has no diopter adjustment on optical view finder - close to essential for specs wearers, who need to take them off to get the eyes close enough to use it. Shame,as I can't see a way round this important problem.
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I finally found a few of these cameras in shops where I could actually check a few things out.

Re Canon A95
Having made the important point that this model has no diopter adjustment on the optical view finder (correct) and concluding that it was no good for specs wearers . . . on actually using the view finder without specs, I discovered that I could see perfectly clearly through it! It appears that the view finder native optics have been carefully designed in favour of shortsighted people, presumably on the basis that short sight is so common. Worth knowing, so I pass it on!

I also discovered a Sony F717, on the shelf, at the same price as the lowest quoted price seen on the net - £440 and the shop willing to haggle a little even on that! A few real world points emerged from the hands-on experience here.
1. I always thought it was metal bodied. It isn't, it's plastic - slightly disappointing.
2. The tiny body is a little uncomfortable in the right hand - it just didn't feel 'natural'.
3. A demo showed that a TV CAN be used as a large scale viewing monitor on this model - VERY handy indeed.
4. The battery is charged IN the camera. Although at first thought convenient, this means that you cannot charge a flat battery while continuing to use the camera with a fresh one - a definite negative.
5. Still a very good camera though, with superb macro!

I also read some very favourable reviews of the Panasonic Lumix FZ series - those with a x 12 zoom Leica lens and Stabilised Imaging. Problem here is I can't find a dealer less than 150 miles away who actually stocks these and am wary of net purchase without hands on. Frustrating, as they seem to be truly excellent cameras at a very competititive price.

My short list isn't one bit shorter than it was two weeks ago!
But at least the wallet isn't any lighter . . . yet!
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A genuinely interesting 'perspective' from film users.

I decided about 4 years ago that, as 25% (at MOST!) of my film prints were actually worth preserving, and that a huge amount of shots were blown off simply to get the film finished to look at the odd ones I thought I wanted, I was wasting a lot of money on processing and printing vast amounts of garbage! That's when I went digital and I sold my EOS 50e a year later when I belatedly realised that I would almost certainly never use it again. I love the immediacy of digital and the ability to retake and experiment until it's as 'right; as I am ever going to get it.

I also discover that I haven't used my own printer for three years!
Having seen just how good an A3 print can be using a decent ink jet and good photo quality paper from a decent digital camera source, I also know that I will never go back to film or producing my own prints again. It just isn't economical for me. I honestly think that film of all types will eventually disappear except perhaps as a very expensive niche market for real enthusiasts - sorry!
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Nearly another week gone by and the old wallet is still only lighter to the tune of several over priced magazines, some petrol and a few parking fees.

So who can tell me what they think of a fairly high end camcorder with decent still picture capabilities instead of a digicam? Until recently, their still pic capability was a little lacking, but they are improving all the time. I am thinking on the lines of a Panasonic GS 400 with a nice big 3.5 inch LCD and still pic capability of 4 megapixels. Or maybe a Sony or Canon equivalent
Sounds good to me.
So talk me out of tripling my budget, someone, please!
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Another week later and this time I didn't buy any more overpriced mags and what's more, I managed to park without paying as well!
Whoooo! Life is so exciting!!!

Now we have Nuro trying to persuade me to multiply the budget by about ten with that HD camcorder from Sony.
Well, I'm thinking about it . . . ok that's quite enough time on that!

In my reckless piece of parking payment avoidance, I happened upon a slightly obsolete but brand new Sony TRV 50, the one before the TRV 80, which was when Sony (stupidly) switched all their camcorders to touch screen operation, thus ensuring you can do nothing 'on the fly' and that your screen will be covered in crap at all times if you do use it! Cretins!

The TRV 50 can be operated manually OR by touch screen, so that's ok.
Anyway, this little chap can do 1MPixel still pics and I have to say I was surprised by how well they looked on a 15" monitor at full resolution. It will also macro right down to 10mm, which was even more impressive. And yes, I did all this hands-on, not with 'one that was prepared earlier'!

Shelf price was crazy at £999 but, after pointing out the error of their ways, this was swiftly reduced to £720. Still too much for a cam that is no longer in the catalogue. More enquiries produced a 2nd hand 'as new, in box' model at another branch (of Jessops) at a more attractive £404 and this is getting me a bit too excited for comfort! With a 12 month warranty, how can I lose? On the other hand, if this TRV 50 produces still pics that are surprisingly acceptable at just 1MP, would it be worth spending more on something similar that runs up to 2, 3 or even 4 MP?
So, let's try to maintain my cool (and weight of wallet) for a bit longer!

Who among you has a camcorder with still pic ability?
What do have and what do you think of it?

The camcorders I particularly have in mind are the Sony TRV50 mentioned and maybe a 2nd hand TRV 900 or 950, a new Canon MVX3i or a Panasonic GS400. Note these all have 3.5" screens which I value highly above 2.5 inchers.
List price on these would be up to £1200 but I'll eat my hat if I can't get around 25% off that!

Shoot my choices down in flames or whatever, really. I appreciate informed and knowledgeable comment from those with more experience than I have.
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