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Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: chas_m
Date: April 18, 2007 12:55PM
I don't take huge numbers of pictures, but that will start to change over the next few months, and I have decided that I want a consumer-grade digital camera with really good OPTICAL zoom (10x or better). Naturally being on MR & DM, I am cheap about it too. smiling smiley

After dickering between a Kodak Easyshare 7.1MP with 10x or a Panasonic Lumix that is only 5.1 but has 12x, today's DM (and MR) have deals on those and another one:

1. Fuji Finepix S700, 7.1MP 10x zoom PLUS 2GB card for $210 (this is my new fave choice)

2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1S 5MP 10X zoom, $180

3. Kodak Easyshare Z650 or Z612 (6.1MP, 10 and 12x zoom respectively), roughly $210

I've decided against RAW shooting, but I'll entertain opinions about why I really don't want ANY of these, but if anyone here owns or has thoughts on these models, let me know. I'm not a camera jockey, but I need to get in closer than I'm often able to. In particular, if any of these work well in low light or stage lighting I'd like to know. I'm off to DPreviews to see what they say.

Thanks!



chas_m




[crawlingfromtheusa.blogspot.com] <-- Moving to Canada blog
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: incognegro
Date: April 18, 2007 12:59PM
my thoughts on these, though i don't own any of them, is that with a longer zoom you may want image stabilization. the Lumix provides that, and their lenses are supposed to be pretty good for a consumer camera.



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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: deckeda
Date: April 18, 2007 01:19PM
"only 5.1" megapixels is not a drawback. Anything in that range is fine. 3MP is fine (if anyone still makes one?) unless you need large prints or heavy cropping.

Anything north of about 7MP in a point-and-shoot is actually more of a liability, because the image sensors on these are still relatively small. More pixels occupying the same area = less sensitivity per pixel = more noise (and small cameras already have a lot of noise.) Chalk it up to the ridiculous "megapixel wars" the marketing departments wage.

Get image stabilization if getting a long zoom. Otherwise it'll be useless without a tripod because these cams don't have super-fast lenses.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Bixby
Date: April 18, 2007 01:20PM
Canon seems to have a good reputation in this market as well.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2007 01:21PM by Bixby.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 18, 2007 01:21PM
Panasonic. Absolutely.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: April 18, 2007 01:51PM
Optical stabilization is a *must* at 10x or more. Even at 5x or more.

All of these long zoom cameras have very small CCDs/CMOSes and therefore have high noise, but the way to mitigate a bit of that noise is to get a *lower* megapixel sensor. As deckeda said, 5MB is by no means a drawback and in this case, may be an advantage.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Go To Top
Date: April 18, 2007 01:51PM
The best:

Canon S3 IS.

We have had the S1 IS and S1 IS for some time including weeks in Alaska and Kenya.

Wonderful machines.



A man who is of "sound mind" is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
(Paul Valery)
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: robfilms
Date: April 18, 2007 01:58PM
chas_m-

the above comments on needing image stabilization with a long lens are correct. it is very difficult to hold steady and shoot at the long end of anything beyond 4x.

i also agree that both canon and (to a lesser degree) panasonic make wonderful point and shoot cameras.

but my take on these types of cameras are their ability for them to deliver during real world situations. so my suggestions focuses (get it!) on storage and batteries. i would not buy a camera that relied on anything other than sd or compact flash cards (with sd being prefferred). to get caught up in fuji's or olympus' reliance on other types of media will not allow u to purchase the vastly cheaper and more convenient sd cards. i also would not buy a camera that relies on a proprietary rechargeable battery. to do so will force u to purchase another battery (these cameras chew batteries) and there again is no market forces to demand cheaper prices. i would only buy a camera that uses rechargeable aa batteries.

i find several websites helpful:

[www.megapixel.net]

[www.dcresource.com]

[www.steves-digicams.com]

i'd be interested in what u finally choose.

happy hunting

be well

rob



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2007 02:01PM by robfilms.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: pRON aHOLIC
Date: April 18, 2007 02:04PM
In this point of these types of cameras the feature set is pretty similar. I think what you need to do is try them out in your hand, feel the grip, see what the zoom speed is like. Also you will want to take in to account the bulk of the camera or lack there of if that is what you like.

Out of these 3 you listed I would go Panasonic first, fuji and then canon S3. Sorry, I can't get over my Kodak bias but it would finish third if I I didn't pick the Canon.



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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: kahuna1342
Date: April 18, 2007 02:19PM
I second the nomination of the Canon S3 IS. I have had a S1 IS for nearly three years now and it has been a great camera. The image stabilization it definitely a must. Probably going to get a S3 IS myself really soon.

If you have a Office Depot close, they have 20% off all Canon and Kokak over $199. Makes the final price of the S3 $280! Also, Best Buy has the SanDisk Ultra II 2GB SD card to to with it for $35.





Two wrongs don't make a right, but, three rights make a left.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: chas_m
Date: April 18, 2007 02:43PM
Guys:

Can't tell you how illuminating this has been. Wasn't even thinking Canon, now I'm really looking at it. Didn't really think through the whole "image stabilisation" problem till you pointed it out, and I'm surprised that everyone seemed to think the Panasonic doesn't suck.

I love this forum. Thanks!



chas_m




[crawlingfromtheusa.blogspot.com] <-- Moving to Canada blog
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Go To Top
Date: April 18, 2007 02:47PM
CR has Canon as number one brand of camera. S2 as best value of all cams.



A man who is of "sound mind" is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
(Paul Valery)
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: bassguy
Date: April 18, 2007 02:52PM
i've been using the Kodak 4mp version of their 10x zoom camera for about 3 years and I still really love it. It uses a proprietary rechargable battery - bought a 2nd one, and keep them both handy. Each one will last for at least 75 flash photos, or more outdoor shots than I've ever figured out. So I've never had a battery problem.
Very happy with the photos, the ease of use, and the flexibility. Good camera.
John
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Z
Date: April 18, 2007 02:54PM
The Canon S3IS is a good camera, the Sony H5 is a good camera (if you don't hate Sony) (the upcoming H7 and H9 look to be interesting as well), the Panasonic FZ8 is a good camera.

Like pRonnie, I, too, have a bit of an anti-Kodak bias, though some of the results that I've seen from their superzoom cameras are quite impressive (thinking the P880 here). The S700 from Fuji just came out - haven't tried it out or read any of the review sites on it, so can't comment. Some of their pocket point and shoot cameras with the Super CCD imaging chip are impressive, but I haven't looked into which chip they're using in it. I've read that the TZ1S is a bit noisy in the images, but otherwise interesting. If you're not printing anything large, it could work fine for you.

5 or 6 MP should be fine for what you want to do. More megapixels, as stated above, demands more from the camera, lens, etc, and doesn't automatically equal better pictures.

Read some reviews, go try them all out and see how they feel in your hands, and pick one. Then let us see what you can do!

(just reread your post - all of them will be a little tricky to get good shots in low lighting from far away... just the nature of the beast)

Z



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2007 02:57PM by Z.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: davester
Date: April 18, 2007 03:29PM
Check out the reviews here (scroll down to "10-12X Optical "Super" Zoom":
[www.steves-digicams.com]

At this point, I wouldn't buy any kind of point and shoot without IS. It gives you at least two stops more than you would normally have, and therefore to shoot in lower light and with less noise.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2007 03:30PM by davester.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: deckeda
Date: April 18, 2007 03:47PM
If interested in the The Canon S3 IS, look for the older S2 IS. Check out the dpreview reviews on these; they are nearly identical (the S3 is newer but represents a slight change in philosophy, not so much a technical advantage) --- and the S2 can usually be found for $100 less.

Be not afraid of its proprietary battery; it's shared with other Canons I think, so extras are easy to find.

I'm also a fan of cameras that use Compact Flash cards because you can get a FireWire card reader. Don't know if FW readers are available for other types of cards --- remember FW's real world speed advantage vs. USB2's "burst speed" crapola.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Go To Top
Date: April 18, 2007 03:59PM
[Be not afraid of its proprietary battery; it's shared with other Canons I think, so extras are easy to find.

S2 uses AA.



A man who is of "sound mind" is one who keeps the inner madman under lock and key.
(Paul Valery)
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: April 18, 2007 04:14PM
I've got an S2 and have been thinking about getting a black camera. The S3 is a natural upgrade, but the Lumix Z7 in black is pretty good at $240.




I am that Masked Man.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: estnyc
Date: April 18, 2007 04:37PM
Hmm. Fewer megapixles are better? No wonder my ancient 1.5mp Olympus E-100RS takes such decent pictures. Back in 2000 it was pretty rare to find a 10x zoom camera with OIS and 15fps. Olympus has finally come out with a new Ultrazoom 18x camera; it is tempting.

Here are some of my first shots as a legitimate dance photographer in somewhat iffy lighting. Some are almost NSFW:

[picasaweb.google.com]







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/18/2007 04:38PM by estnyc.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: weapon
Date: April 18, 2007 05:23PM
Got to admire dancers bodies but what is with the Cod pieces and mullets.

Russian??

The brunette with the ponytail is stunning.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: pRON aHOLIC
Date: April 18, 2007 06:25PM
The S1, S2, S3 have a great 640x480 movie mode. It is great for quick video clips of the friends, family and kids without using a DV cam and all the time wasted importing DV video. Just shoot video, transfer the .avi file and convert and compress in QT and email to family. It's great.



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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: April 18, 2007 11:05PM
pRON might be able to advise where the sweet spot is with consumer chips and the megapixel crunch.

I'm guessing that over 6MP, you start to get a lot of noise as you try to cram more and more on a small chip. But 7,8, or 9 MP and you need to do some serious work to keep the noise down.

I think a good 5-6MP chip and a long lens works much better than some high-MP cameras with average lens quality and a 3x optical lens.




I am that Masked Man.

Your boos mean nothing to me, I've seen what you cheer for.

Insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence.

I've been to the edge of the map, and there be monsters.

We are a government of laws, not men.

Everybody counts or nobody counts.

When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: bfd
Date: April 19, 2007 12:03AM
… as mentioned, one positive of the Canon is that it takes AA batteries, so you'll almost never be caught with a dead power supply. This is huge … another often overlooked benefit is its great movie mode. Excellent detail - it's not mini or HD DV in resolution though (rather it's VGA @ 30fps).

At 36-432mm, you really can get a good shot. One constraint is the aperture range (f/2.7- f/8). But shutter speeds of 15 to 1/3200 sec helps get around that. The fastest shutter speeds seem to be programmed to only appear at small apertures, so artsy-fartsy work will still have to be done with a real dSLR.

Very good continuous mode, though at times it seems to take awhile for the auto features to lock in. Keeping it out of auto mode helps, but that means some dexterity with manual settings.

As mentioned, the S2IS is a little less expensive, and almost the same camera.

bfd held onto the S1 until the S3 appeared and skipped the S2 altogether.

Here's a shot taken with the S3IS under somewhat challenging conditions - nighttime, no tripod, etc.

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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: pRON aHOLIC
Date: April 19, 2007 12:27AM
Yeah, don't fall for the megapixel seduction. 5-6 is as good as it gets for the consumer chips. The 8, 9, 10mp in this area have to use noise reduction that gives you less than crisp images.

That is why many people have moved to the DSLR aside from more controls and interchangeable lenses.

My personal philosophy is if an all in one camera gets bigger than an S1,s2,s3 then it is time for a DSLR.



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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: haikuman
Date: April 19, 2007 04:03AM
I am not even shopping for a camera and I want an S3 IS .....now ~!~
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: SteveO
Date: April 19, 2007 08:59AM
I have the Pana TZ1 you mentioned, Chas. Bought it for my World Cup trip last June. I would definitely not hesitate to buy it again. It takes great pix that are true to life, it has video with sound and ZOOM -- many of these cams DO NOT let you zoom while you take video. Without that zoom feature, the vid capability is useless imho.

I thought it might be an issue when I bought this cam as my last cam, a Casio 4mp (~2002) was AA rechargeable, but yhe proprietary batt argument is N/A. I had my camera constantly snapping and taping in Germany and CR, and I think I charged the batt maybe once. There is a very accurate indicator on this cam that lets you know incremental batt use. I have never been caught with a dead batt. Something else to consider is the charging cradle on a propretary batt is MUCH smaller in your luggage than a AA cradle/cord.)

Plus the TZ1 fits in my hand and pocket nicely, and the controls are intuitive...it's not too small like some cams, but not unwieldy, either. I got it at Newegg last June for around $315, I believe. It was new on the market then. Also, if you drop down to 3mp, the zoom increases to 12x. For the money and rock-solid quality of Panasonic, I don't think there's a better camera out there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2007 09:01AM by SteveO.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: davester
Date: April 19, 2007 11:52AM
The thing I find annoying about all these cams is that the makers all concentrate their resources on making lenses with long focal lengths. Every single one (I 'm pretty sure) of these 10x-12x cams has a "wide angle" that is around 35mm (35mm equivalent). To me, it the critical focal length range to have as a base is from around 28 to 100. Why do so few makers make non-SLR cameras with true wide angle lenses (except as expensive or optically poor add-ons)?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: Z
Date: April 19, 2007 02:59PM
FWIW - the new 18x Olympus SP550UZ went wide at 28, but promised too much overall and seem to have delivered a less than stellar total package. I was unimpressed with the speed of the camera functions when I played with it in the store one day, but perhaps the firmware update they issued recently saw to some of those problems.

The new 15x Sony H7 and H9 cameras for the year start at 31mm and only push it up to 465mm... but they're not on the market yet so hard to say how the optical quality will turn out. I've got the 0.7x wide angle adapter from Sony for my H1 (drops to 25.2mm equiv), and while there can be some distortion at the edges of the image, I've managed some good results with it.

No news that I'm aware of from Canon yet on an S4, so hard to say. The Panasonics FZ's all start at 36mm... as you likely know. The TZ series seems like an interesting compromise with the 28-280 range.
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Re: Now I need help re: 10x optical consumer camera
Posted by: croppled1
Date: May 13, 2007 09:03PM
I have been needing a camera for a long time . I am disabled and need to keep up with a insurance claim plus have some sort of hobby and nowadays this is a cheap way to relax , have fun , its almost necessary too so you can sell items online .

Anyways you are were great people with good advice . I have spent a ton of time and was thinking of buying a S700 . I might still though its getting some negative reviews . My research has shown the S3 is probally the best camera for the money now at roughly $300 bucks in the super zoom catogory . Guess what there is no S4 but there is a new S5 available July 15th 2008 and if your willing you can order in advance of the release now at Amazon for $499 . I know thats what I want and should buy to be 100% happy for the next 4 years . However reality of $$$ is causing me to decide on either the S3 of Fuji S700 . It has been years since i bought last I have a 1.5 mega pixes HP somewhere in the house ...no zoom 15 years old paid 300 it was considerred cool back then . I just wish the S700 had a dual image stabilizer . I can't say what I will do but any of these three I think are fine with the more you pay the more you get . The S3 is probally the best all around value . I really liked the pic someone sent in . I read a reveue of the S3 by a private detective and he said it was the best camera he ever used in survialance able to freeze tags on moving cars with clarity in low light . Wish I was rich I'd reserve that S5 now . I just want to be able to blow up posters of my best shots . I prefer my own phots to paintings on the wall . God Bless nice thread of people who care .
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