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Old Dec 1, 2004, 10:56 PM   #1
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This is a followup to my post asking about lens quality. I am looking for a digital camera for genaral purpose use. I will mostly be making 4x6 prints but would like to do some 8x10 as well. I have been looking at cameras with 4-5 megapixels and 3x zoom. Picture quality and build quality are most important to me. The cameras I have considered so far are:

Canon A85 and A95

Pentax Optio S40 and S5I

Panasonic DMCLC80S

Any opinions on these cameras or recomendations for others in the same price range are greatly appreciated.


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Old Dec 2, 2004, 8:13 AM   #2
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the canon is certainly a good camera to choose, pentax and panasonic choices are not really mainstream and i would not recommend, as your not afraid to look at other makes check out the olympus 8080 for comparison, i am a big olympus fan anyway so maybe biased, but the lens quality, if you do your own homework, you will find are second to none on the market, olympus has been making medical equipment for years and has perfected lens development, don't know about you but if they need to look up my colon i would want them to get the best picture possible, LOL.
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 10:03 AM   #3
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the pentax s40 is a good camera, it's got all you want.

But on the other hand, it do have problems to take good pictures indoors without flash, it takes a long time to "expose the film" and therefore the picture often gets unsharp. If you decide to use the flash it takes a few seconds (!) to reload the flash.

I am satisfied though, I have a small, quite cheap, camera.

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Old Dec 2, 2004, 10:24 AM   #4
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The Canon A85 and A95 are both excellent cameras with advanced features you can grow into. They are both on Steve's Best Camera list. Movies are high quality but jerky at only 15fps.

The S5i is small enough to fit in an Altoids tin. It is the smallest and lightest competent camera you can get. You give up some features to get the tiny camera, but it has a lot of neat stuff. You get a lot more pictures from a camera you always have with you than the bigger and more competent one sitting at home. The only thing that really recommends the S5 compared to the A85 and A95 is the size. The S5i is also on Steve's list of best cameras.

IMO there are better cameras than the S40 in that size range.

Panasonic has become quite mainstream with the FZ series – you see them discussed here probably more than any other cameras. But the 80S is a dud. I don't really see anything to recommend that camera. You might want to take a look at the Panasonic FZ3 though.

I don't think you can say that a particular brand has superior optics. I have had an Olympus C50 for a couple of years and taken thousands of good pictures with it. I wouldn't say the optical qualities are stellar though. You have to evaluate each model, and compare not only optical quality but noise, features, size etc. Most cameras from major makers have suitable optics. You can see some difference viewed 100%, but viewed at screen size or printed 8 X 10 they all look pretty good. And you skill at post processing for a print is more important than the native optics of the camera IMO. Large prints or extreme crops do show some difference in optics, but still not to a great degree.

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Old Dec 3, 2004, 1:41 AM   #5
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As huge a fan of Panasonics as I am, I'll admit their sensors are kinda grainy. The Optio cameras have pretty bad lenses. So, if you want 3X zoom and nice pictures, I'd say the Nikon 4100/5200, the Canon A89/A95, and the Fuji E510 would be best. They take nice, sharp, well-exposed pictures. I'd personally choose the Fuji, cuz it has a bigger screen, manual exposure settings, is powered by AAs, and can have lenses added to the front. The Nikons are smaller, though. Tough choice...

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