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Old Feb 21, 2005, 9:20 PM   #1
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Hi to all, been in and out of this site for years and currently have a Canon powershot A70. I'm not a real techo so if anything I say does not make sense you know why

Well, i'm travelling the world, doing SE Asia then up and over to europe on the trans mongolian express.
My requirements (min);
-4+ MP
-8x + optical zoom
-Runs on AA batteries
-Apeture and shupper speed priority
-movie mode
-can atach filters etc
-fast operation
-high quality photos of coarse (sharp and clear)

Now, those are the basic requirements, I have done literally weeks of research and there are some cameras out there which seem to be perfect however they use a rechargable non standard battery which is hopeless for travel (like the panasonic's).

So, from what I have researched I am down to a few cameras;
-Canon PowerShot S1 IS (but only 3.1mp)
-Fuji FinePix S5500 (also known as S5100 I believe, I'm in Australia)
-Kodak EasyShare Z740 (a new cam and no reviews on this one, uses 2x AA and appears to be ok, no anti-shake but noone seems to have these cams, well not ppl who give their opinions)
-Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 + Z5

Now, after researching all these cams my list came down to the Konica minolta z3/z5 and the Fuji S5500.

-Fuji S5500/5100-
-No anti-shake (image stabalization)
-Shutter speed only goes to 15sec when only in fully manual mode

-I have tried this camera, a mate has one and hell, the photos are wonderful, lag between shots and general startus etc is acceptable (not as fast as the Konica minoltas)
-Can easily add on filters etc (the main reason for this simply is camera protection)
-Very nice feeling camera, sturdy but light.
-Wide ISO options
-good movies

-Minolta Z3/Z5-
-Image quality from what I have read is not fantastic

-Well this camera seems to have everything going for it but the reviews I read, and photos Ive seen from this camera are not fantastic, also adding on filters etc seems more difficult?

The canon seems almost perfect but is 3.1MP and adding filters etc seems to be problematic...

Mind you i'm not travelling for another 6 months and I am aware that more cameras will be released, when you go deep into cameras/reviews it gets very confusing. I am going to be taking a small expandable tripod and the basic table style tripod (flexable little legs)but do not want to have to pull out the tripod for every shot, only the special ones.

So, really the Fuji seems perfect, my question to the pro's is; How important is anti-shake? (image stabalization) ? If it's not as bigger issue as people seem to make out I think the Fuji will do the trick, it's a nice looking and feeling camera that takes wonderful pictures and movies. I can live without being able to set a 15sec shutter speed on auto mode. (mainly night/moon/night landscape).

The Minolta seems perfect, anyone added filters etc to your Z3/Z5 camera? What's the photo quality like? I am aware the Z5 is very new and no reviews have been writen as yet.

So to the pro's... what would YOU reccomend?
Is there any hard evidence on a Canon S2 IS ever being released?
This camera needs to be well built/tough this is very important, the minotas seem very feminine and flimsy...
Damn I'm really in a tangle....

Thx to those who help! Greatly appreciated...
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 10:02 PM   #2
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Wow, 8x or higher zoom that runs on AA's is really limiting yourself.

One thing you may want to concider is a camera that uses the same memory card as your current cam. I think you are using a CF card? This could save you some cost in terms of memory cards.

Not a lot of really good cams run off of AA's. I know the Canon PowerShot Axx series does, and the A85, A95 lets you add lenses and such. But this wouldn't be too much of an upgrade from what you currently have.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 12:15 AM   #3
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I don't see where proprietary batteries are that bad for travel. The chargers are small and light, and all the chargers I have seen are dual voltage. Eagle Imports has some good spares for $20 for the Panasonics and most others. My Eagle spares have worked as well as the originals. $40 worth of Eagle spares along with the original will take a lot of pictures until you get somewhere with electricity.

Alkalines don't work that well. Battery life is poor compared to NiMH or lithium. If you are going to carry NiMH AAs you have the same problem as with the lithium batteries except that the chargers are a little larger and you have more and heavier batteries to carry. I guess you can use alkalines in an emergency, but rechargeables do fine unless you are completely away from electricity for weeks. And in that case the self-discharge on the lithiums is less.

I like stabilization. It lets you take shots in more conditions without a tripod or flash. And the Panasonic's ability to keep f2.8 all the way to 12X is another plus for shooting in less than perfect light. The 5100 is good at not losing light at full zoom, but the Z3 loses over a full f-stop.

Stabilization is also good for wide angle in places where you can't use a flash. If you can steady yourself you can take pictures at some pretty slow shutter speeds. The great burst mode on the FZs give a better chance of getting a shot at slow shutter speeds because there are moments of less shake than others when you are holding the camera. I always fire a 3 burst when handholding at slow shutters.

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Old Feb 23, 2005, 1:33 AM   #4
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Well, if you don't mainly photograph animals I suggest buying camera with good wide angle, ultra zooms have crappy wide angle or actually many don't have it.
28 mm would be best, otherwise you would have to buy wide angle lens unless you're ready to take lot of steps backward, and often.

And image stabilisation is even more important with ultra-zooms, remember "equation" for longest shutter time without blurring, 1 / 35mm eq. focal length, so with ultra-zooms it goes all way to 1/380s (or 1/420s in 12x zooms) meaning you don't take photos using tele without tripod in other conditions than full daylight.

BTW, you didn't tell what budget you have.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 8:20 AM   #5
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I just ordered an S5100 for many of the reasons that you suggested. It's also currently a bargain at the lowest online prices.

Sony is supposedly coming out with a 12X optical zoom camera in June. It's MSRP is reportedly $500 US. It has a stablizer and uses AA batteries. If you can wait till then, maybe you would have another choice.

I don't think stabilization is that important for daylight shots. Will you be taking many super zoom shots at dusk or in the darkness?

Good luck! We expect to see some pictures when you get back.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 9:23 AM   #6
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ashpete wrote:
... Well, i'm travelling the world, doing SE Asia then up and over to europe on the trans mongolian express. ...
Sounds like a good trip.

Probably the most important thing about any camera you get is to have it in your hands at least a month before you go, preferably a few months before. You really don't want to spend your vacation reading a camera manual. Since the view on the LCD isn't adequate to see the quality (or lack of) in your shots, you need to spend some time looking at your pictures on a large screen and printed.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 10:09 AM   #7
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It is a sunny day here in Florida. I just went out and metered on several areas in the shade and got 1/60 – 1/100 second at f2.8. Any camera with the same f-stop will meter about the same shutter speed.

As E.T. already pointed out, the reciprocal of the equivalent focal length is generally considered to be the slowest speed at which you can handhold using good technique and get sharp photos. With a 10X zoom that is usually 1/380 for shutter speed. You can take the 10X photo at 1/100 second and it might make an acceptable 4 X 6. But crop before you print or decide the shot will look great blown up on your wall and you would be disappointed unless you are Superman holding the camera.

Lots of stuff you want pictures of are in the shade even on sunny days. And according to where you are in the world it isn't always that sunny. If you plan on getting a long zoom without stabilization and you want really sharp photos, make sure to have your tripod with you.

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Old Feb 23, 2005, 5:05 PM   #8
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The really limiting factors in your listare the movie requirement and the AA batteries. The Canon S1 ISmight be a good choice - even though it's 3.1 Mpixels, its still a great camera; picture quality is high, and the video mode is second to none. Still, it's not going to give you a lot of "I wanna blow that up 'n put it on my wall" kind of pics.

I can certainly understand why you want to use AA's for that trip - they'll be available everywhere, even when electricity is not. However, I routinely travel to remote areaswith a small camcorder and digital camera with Li-Ion batteries, and I haven't had a lot of trouble getting recharged. I carry 2 sparebatteries (plus the ones in the cameras), fully charged, at all times, soI can take ~700 pics and ~6 hours of video before recharging; it'susually enough to get me through4-7 days of a vacation. I'm a little more choosy with my pics; frankly it's storage media that's usually limiting, not power. For that matter, you can get a 6-cell AA battery pack and run it in through the AC adapter (ie 6 AA NiMH batteries for a 7.2 V. camera - I should say, I've SEEN this done, but I haven't done it myself - so be careful....).

I'd strongly recommend you reconsider trying touse a still camera for videos. The movies you'll get from a digital still cam will be similar to webcam quality, not DVD.It's important to remember that ata reasonable framerate and video frame size the storage requirements are huge - the Canon S1 IS at highest quality uses 1 GB per 9 minutes of video, and it's not even DVD quality. I'd get a separate video camera for a few hundred bucks, and use MiniDV tapes. There's really no comparison for video quality.

You'll find a bunch of wonderful still cameras,like the Panasonic FZ3, FZ15, and FZ20, the Olympus C-760/765/770, the Canon Powershot G5/G6, A95/520 or the S60/70, and several others become contenders if you drop the AA battery and movie mode requirements. I know, I'm proposing a bunch more money, but I'd predict with confidence you'll be much happier with the results. For that matter, there's nothing wrong with the A70.... maybe you should use that and just get a camcorder. If you need a super zoom, get the Panasonics - they're head and neck above the crowd. High quality, croppable pics - then go with the Canon G6, or maybe the upcoming Oly C-7070. The Oly C-8080 is coming down in price dramatically in N America now, it's the ultimate in picture quality, only beaten by the dSLR's.

Anyways, that's my two bits. Good luck on your trip - it sounds like "a beaut"! ECM

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Old Feb 25, 2005, 9:03 AM   #9
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Kyocera M410R sounds right up your street. Go check out in the Kyocera forum for pics and info

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Old Mar 10, 2005, 4:53 AM   #10
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Trans mongolian express? i'm envious. I've read so much about this so good luck and enjoy your trip!

I had similar requirements for my camera. albeit in a compact scale I got the Sony W1. I agree with the others. For travelling the long distances, I'd highly recommend AA NiMH batteries. Charging points are few and far between (esp in eastern asia). I hate the fact that you need the camera (and sometimes cradle) to charge your Li-ion batteries. pah!

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