Teacher: Re decision between micro 4/3rds or high end compact?

Started Dec 22, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Lichenophile
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Teacher: Re decision between micro 4/3rds or high end compact?
Dec 22, 2011

Hi:

I'm trying to decide whether to go for a micro-4/3rds camera or a high end compact. Feedback is most appreciated. I'm a naturalist educator. My camera budget is $420 max. None of the micro 4/3rds cameras seem to have a built in GPS.

Most of my pics will be taken outdoors and be of plants and lichens, frequently in forested (ie. low light conditions) and damp/misty/rainy/dirty conditions in the Pacific NW but I also hope to travel to sunny dry areas for photos as well.

I want to be able to take clear, crisp closeups of lichens and plants showing their pertinent growth/reproductive/seed details as well as overall pictures of larger plants/trees and scenic shots clearly showing habitats.

I also want to take videos of natural scenes such as a spider building a web, a slug eating a mushroom, a frog moving, rivers flowing to the ocean and driftwood and tidal action...and of course pics of friends at events/holidays as well.

I participate in lichen surveys where having GPS coordinates for herbarium samples is useful. (I don't own a GPS or smart phone!) Also, I do basic microscope work and use an Olympus dissecting scope (Model SAZ3060) with 26 mm dual eyepieces and a compound Aus Jena (Zeiss) Laboval Compound scope with dual eyepieces at 22 mm across. It would be great to have a camera that could fit an adaptor to at least take photos via the dissecting scope without undo distortion, where images are clear, crisp and not too dark.

I plan to use these botany-related photos mainly for educational purposes: In displays at 8 1/2 by 11' size, (poster size would be great but not essential), 'flash cards,' presentations (I have only an old-fashioned overhead projector at this point) and possibly create a simple Plant Id and Trail Guide booklet/small book for a local state park, and to share photos via Internet. I have a HP Photosmart Plus printer and just got Adobe Lightroom and Window's Vista. I have some experience with shooting in Manual focus and using RAW setting and some basic editing/cropping experience.

So, what's the feedback...should I go for a Micro 4/3rds or focus on a higher end compact? Also, which cameras in particular would you recommend...I'd like to narrow down my choices to 10 cameras at the most. Thanks so much, Melissa

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