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Old Jun 23, 2005, 4:00 AM   #1
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Any comments on how image quality compares with these two cameras. The Canon certainly wins on features. I guess with the different release dates, we're unlikely to see any head-to-head shots under the same conditions.
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Old Jun 23, 2005, 7:10 AM   #2
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I have a FZ20 and a Canon A300.

The latter one as you maybe know, is a cheap one, no optical zoom, 33mm, 3Mp.
It has better battery life (with 2 NimH), better WB and colors (I love Canons' VIVID mode).
Great for panoramas, also for its small optics is better in preserving details in the shadows and in HL when they are present in the same scene (wide Dynamic range).

On the other hand FZ20 is a great cam, despite issues like lower Dynamic range, color casts, poorer battery life, a few noise. The latter 3 are improved in FZ5, which can thus be compared to FZ20 and is smaller although weaker in make than the more expensive FZ.

Canon S2IS:
it seems noiier, less capable in resolution and more affected with CA and PF than FZ5.
Now that it is a 5Mp, it's also harder to get rid of the noise and of HL burning...
Canon, IMO, is definitely missing the train of UltraZooms, actually led (I mean in the quality rather than in market) by Lumix.

S2IS has come out nearly 1 year after FZ20 !!!
With no improvements (although admittedly I envy the many functions, Canon colors (?) , batteries and twistable LCD of S2). But from the pics I have seen Canon has many IQ problems. On the othe hand, contrarily to Lumix, Canon retains the nice habitude to publish Firmware updates (as it was for S1IS), which Lumix does't do !!

If I was buying one cam NOW, I d be very undecided between S2, FZ20 and FZ5 because none of them is perfect and each one has better features in some areas...

Considering the price and size too, FZ5 is unbeatable for those who don't want to spend much and want a very compact cam...
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Old Jun 23, 2005, 7:12 AM   #3
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I had both cameras.. and returned one. I returned the FZ5, and for me, it wasn't because of features.

Both cameras are excellent, but in side by side testing, most shots tended to look better on the Canon S2. Image quality was similar, but the Canon generally seems to have better color.

The FZ5 is an outstanding fast action outdoor sports camera.. it's smaller and ligher, and it fun to use, but it suffers from a weak flash/flash adjustment, poor auto white balance indoors.This tilted it to the S2 for me. The S2 produced very well all around. The S2 flash fills the room much better, as you can see from the "room" photo on the link I provide. Standing at the same spot, with the SAME apeture and shutter speed, and same lighting, I had to up the ISO to 400 on the FZ5 to get an image as bright as the S2 at ISO 50.

You can see some resized comparison shots(same camera settings), the Canon colors are more accurate, the crib and the chairs are excellent examples. Many shots are very similar in quality. (I took several shots with each camera and put the best ones online.) This being said, while the S2 on average produced what I thought were the better shots, though I gotsome special shots from the FZ5.

My reasons for the S2:

FZ5 like: Smaller, Lighter, Faster Focus..fun!

FZ5 Dislikes: Review mode a bit clunky(slower, zoom into a "rotated" image and it "rotates" back, dissapointing flash photography. LCD very dark/murky in low light. Auto ISO will go all the way to 400... do you really need to control in manually. Movie mode is weak, and useless indoors. FAT16 format limites you to 1gb cards.

S2 likes: Features, Buttons for everything on camera, Menu system/review mode is much more refined, quicker, and intuitive,better flash, better auto white balance, better color saturation(indoors, cloudy days), more control ofimage pocessing in camera. Flip Out lcd that gains up in low light. Outstanding movie mode. AA batteries produce 550+ shots per charge. 2 sets of batteries get you 1100+. Custom timer mode lets you set timer and number of shots taken. Fat 32 card format allows for 2gb+ cards.

S2 Dislikes: Could be smaller/lighter, Plastic Tripod Mount, Auto focus is fast, but could be faster. LCD can be hard to see in bight sunshine... but you can tilt the LCD to get the best angle.

Check out the comparison shots at:


To summarize, with image quality NOT being that much different, it comes down to whether you want features vs size. I liked the canon pics better.. so for me, the only advantage of the FZ5 was the size, feel, look and handling/autofocus.

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