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Old Aug 25, 2009, 2:50 PM   #1
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Default Panisonic DMC ZS1 or ZS3

I'm thinking about purchasing one of these as a travel and everyday camera. The price difference is about $100-$130 between the two cameras.

I don't expect that video is likely to be a big use for me but I guess one never knows what or when I may use it. Aside from the HD video on the ZS3 the big difference seems to be the 3.0 inch 460,000 dot screen vs. a 2.7 230,000 dot screen for the ZS1. There also seems to be some difference in the sensor although as best I can tell, there isn't much image quality difference.

If the HD video isn't an issue, does the difference in the screen quality justify the difference in price? The screen is pretty important since it is the one feature that is always being used, but I don't know if paying the extra money makes sense. For what its worth, the issue for me is more one of practicality than budget. I would rather use the $100 + for something else if I don't have to spend it, but I would rather spend it for the better camera if its going to make a real difference in my experience because I expect to keep the camera for some time.

Last edited by Jazzer251; Aug 25, 2009 at 2:54 PM.
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 5:35 PM   #2
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Default The alternative to the ZS1/ZS3 Cameras!


There are two alternatives to your situation:

(1) You can opt for the ZS1 which has a LCD with fewer pixels, and a "normal" video clip feature, and save the money. But before you go that route, I think you might want to know a few more facts.

FACT: Both the ZS1 and ZS3 do very well in good outdoor lighting. When you want to take photos inside they struggle desperately. Most user try to avoid indoor photos. Why do they do that? Because the built-in flash on the ZS1/ZS3 is amazingly small and lacking in power. The result is that the real effective flash range of the built-in flash is 6 to 8 feet.

FACT: Suppose you could purchase a highly rated camera with a 3.0" LCD, HD video clips, and a record breaking flash range indoors of 20 feet, that was just a bit larger than the Panasonic ZS1/ZS3 cameras for $(US) 240.00? That might get you attention, right?

Well, the Sony H-20 camera, price at $(US) 240.00 is the wise and logical alternative to the Panasonic ZS1/ZS3 cameras. Check it out, please It is a pretty amazing camera that gives you the same features, even including Intelligent Auto Mode, while producing even better photos, and saving you CASH.

Please don't get me wrong. I own 7 different Panasonic cameras and like them, a lot. However, I honestly think Panasonic went wrong on the ZS1/ZS3 camera, by stripping out features, because they were introducing more cameras very much like the Zs1/ZS3.

Here is a sample flash photo taken with the Sony H-20 at 17 feet using the built-in flash. The H-20 is currently rated as the most user friendly camera in the travel zoom market. I just handed the camera to my non photographer husband and said, "Honey, please just snap a photo of me, please."

The ZS1/ZS3 camera would produce a very, very dark photo in that situation where you could not identify who I was. Think about that, please.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 7:15 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. I will check out the Sony as you suggest. My biggest concern about Sony cameras (and perhaps I should rethink my concerns) is the fact that they use their own proprietary memory rather than SD cards which is what I have for all of my other electronic devices that use such things. I really wish Sony would change their position on this.

I am going on vacation through some national parks at the end of the week and had hoped to buy a new camera, but I'm thinking at this point I may just use my 5-year old Kodak DX7440 and revisit the new camera issue when I get back. As I mentioned in a prior post (asking whether I should replace the Kodak) I have not used the many manual functions on the Kodak , but have often been happy with the pictures I have taken. I do, however, miss a longer zoom (mine is 4x) and a bigger lcd screen (mine is 2.2 inches, but I have an optical view finder). I am thinking of using my trip as an opportunity to experiment with some of the manual controls (I realize the panasonics I mentioned have none) and really get a sense of how I want to use the camera. Then when I get home I may be in a better position to assess my needs.

I also understand there are many new cameras coming out soon, so perhaps something even better is right around the corner.

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:45 AM   #4
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Despite the enthusiasm of many over the ZS1 and particularly the ZS3 for its movie capabilities, I personally have been disappointed with the results I've seen from both models in less than ideal lighting (bright sunlight) conditions. Worse yet, the fact that they don't offer any adjustments to important settings such as sharpness, noise reduction, etc., really bugs me. I don't have anything against AUTO mode however, if the camera does not produce great results in all different conditions and you can't tweak it to improve its performance in any way, you're stuck with whatever the camera gives you. And that can be very very frustrating. A couple of months ago, Costco offer the ZS1 with a $70 discount. I almost bought it. Today, I'm glad I did not spend the money on it.

Moving on to your concerns about the memory card type for the Sony, yes, it is unfortunate that Sony has its own proprietary memory card (some of their newer models are now using SD card). However, IMO memory stick is superior to SD in any way, shape or form. They don't give you errors like the SD cards do, they are faster and the duo is very small. The downside is that they cost a bit more and can only be used on Sony equipments. But, I think the memory format is a small price to pay if the camera is a good one. I have several Sony cameras and love them all. This is not to say that every Sony camera is great. You have to be selective as they can be a bit inconsistent with their products. The H20 is a very capable camera (although not as small as the ZSn cams). The only drawback is its not-so-wide lens (it starts at 38mm, which makes it not ideal for indoor photography in confined spaces). Other than that, it is certainly a good alternative to the ZS1/ZS3. Another option if the memory card format is indeed a show stopper, is the Canon SX200 IS. It's also a 12x zoom but it offers all sorts of manual controls. The drawback of this model is its retarded flash implementation (it pops up as soon as you turn the camera on, whether you wish to use it or not). Perhaps Canon will hear the many complaints from the users and change that behavior moving forward.

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