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Old Jan 7, 2005, 10:15 PM   #1
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I am honestly fairly new to the digital camera scene... about as new as I am to the expectant father scene. :G So, I now find myself in the area of looking for my first digital camera. I believe I have done quite a bit of homework through the web... btw, this website is the cream of the crop for camera info. However, there is not one single camera that steps up and smacks the others. It's quite aggravating.

What I would like in a camera is a decent movie capability, Image Stabilization, at least 4MP, and decent Zoom. All around the $300-400 price range. But for some reason no one makes a camera that suits.

I started with the Canon S1 IS. It looked good until I found it had no AF-assist lamp making low light photos difficult... exactly what a new kid is going to be in for the first months of his life. Why would they leave that off when they put it on almost all of their other cameras? The Minolta DiMage Z3 also fell off my list for the same reason.

The Kyocera M410R was looking pretty well until I come to find out it has no image stabilization for a Super Zoom camera. What were they thinking?

So I was brought to the Panazonic cameras... FZ series. But why did they limit the movie resolution to 320X240? Everyone else makes cameras with 640X480. Plus the FZ15 in my price range doesn't even record sound. It would also be convenient to be able to buy rechargeable AA batteries instead of their $50 proprietary batteries.

So, does anyone make a camera with an AF-lamp, Image Stabilization, at least 4MP, decent zoom, good video, and preferably with AA's? Is there one that may be released soon from the CES going on right now? I don't know if I can wait for anything coming for the Photo Marketing Association show in February for new cameras. My boy is due the end of Feb to the beginning of March.

Am I being too picky about video or AF-lamps? Any advice or news would be much appreciated.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 2:00 AM   #2
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If you need movies, get the Canon S1 IS. If not, go with the FZ.

Go to batterybarn.com and get the Panasonic batteries for $25 or $30 each. Proprietary batteries are better than AA's, IMO, because they're lighter, last longer and are simpler.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 2:21 AM   #3
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:-) like you i research carefully before i buy something. IMHO there is never will be the perfect camera you are looking for. someone will always find a negative about every camera that comes out and write about it. i think you just have to pick the one with the best features for what you use the most. i just bought the minolta z3 and in think its awesome, going from a manual slr. the good points: super fast zoom, fast autofocus, fast startup, the antishake is incredible - i can handhold 1/2 second shots. the knocks against the z3 have beenpoor low light focus, noisy pictures at high ISO, and sometimes poor exposure. i have noticed the focus problem. sometimes it's annoying when it can't focus when zoomed in inside, but wide shots are not a problem andmanual focus works fine. i haven't noticed the noise problem yet,and no camera will get the correct autoexposure all the time, butit's pretty good in my opinion and there are plenty of manual exposure settings. movies are ok, but you're not going to get video camera quality from any still camera.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 4:08 PM   #4
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Canon S1 IS looks closest to your requirements. However, as you mentioned, it has poor low-light ability (no AF assist lamp, slow focus in low light, etc), 3MP (not 4MP as you want), etc.

If you wait one more year (or at least 6 months), and if Canon releases an ultra-zoom in 2005, it will likely solve some of the S1 IS shortcomings (AF-assist lamp, focus time, etc). In fact, I think the lowest ultra-zoom in 2005 will be 4 megapixels (versus the 3 megapixels right now for the cheapest ultra-zooms). So waiting may be benefitial... BUT... you have a kid coming and you really can't wait. So I would recommend that you get some camera long before the baby comes and you practice with it a bit and learn. Since digicams don't cost anything to try (don't have to spend money developing film or anything), you can experiment with them...

Video in digicams is not anything great (unless you are shooting in bright light ie. sunlight, bright room, etc)... and AF-assist lamp only has a range of a few meters and the pics still likely won't look good with it (it just helps to focus)... so I think these aren't THAT big of a deal...

If you shoot with a flash and stay within range (around 3 meters or so) then low-light really isn't an issue. But I'm not sure if you can take baby pics with flash (will the baby start crying or somethign? :?).

To sum up, I think the best bets are the Canon S1 IS... or the Panasonic FZ3... you have decide if you want better indoor performance (FZ3) or better video (S1 IS)... I would stay away from the rest of the ultra-zooms because they don't have image stabilization (except Konica Minolta Z3)...


Another idea is to go for a low-zoom camera. I would argue that these have better low-light performance, are easier to use, have less noise, etc than the ultra-zooms (at a given price range). Do you really need zoom? If you don't, then look at some low-zoom ones or mid-end prosumers (like Canon G6)...

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Old Jan 8, 2005, 10:43 PM   #5
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just maually set the hyperfocal distance to 10 feet and everything from 5 feet to infinity will be in focus at f2.8 at wide zoom. Then save this as profile to the custom "c" setting on the dial and recall it in low light situations.

Also, I believe the Fz3 has no manual focus this is a BIG downer if using conversion lenses. The fz3's longest shutter is 8 seconds vs 15sec on the S1, personally I wishthere was a bulb setting!

Also, every other complaintI've readlike freezing screens are usually by people who never read the manual. If you reserch this camera, you will find there a workarounds for all its limitaions, but man no other camera looks quite as nice as this. Also, remeber heavier cameras have always been preferred for making steady pics a long zooms.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 1:28 AM   #6
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Check out the Fugi S5100, and it's reviews, it's nice robust cam, just bought one, picked it up to try it in the store, and never could put it back down, good pics, good video, good lens, good shutter speed, & metering, (never missed the Canon S1IS because of this), or the Kon Min Z3, sharper pics, & faster all around,then either of these,good price too, good luck, Mike
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 5:13 AM   #7
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If you are able to spend around 100.00 more (499.00 at B&H Photo), you may want to consider the Panasonic DMC-FZ20. I was all set to buy a Canon S1-IS until I did a research on Image Stabilization. Of the several cameras that was offering this feature, I settled on the Panasonic for these reasons:

Panasonic DMC-FZ20 Canon Powershot S1 IS

1.36-432 mm 12 x zoom 38-380 mm 10x zoom
2.5 megapixel 3.2 megapixel
3.4x digital zoom 3.2 digital zoom
4.Lens thread on lens Optional with Bayonet mount
5.LCD screen 2" LCD screen 1.5"
6.Highly Recommended Just recommended by DP Review
7.Comes w a battery charger No battery charger
8.Compact SLR like

I have been a Canon user for a while and own two old Canon SLRs and a digital G3. In fact, I never even knew Panasonic made digital cameras until I started looking for a new camera. From the reviews I have read, everyone is pleased with their choice of the FZ20.

I, too agree with Tacticalnuke's comments about batteries.

Here is a link that compares cameras with image stabilization:


Best wishes, :bye:

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Old Jan 9, 2005, 3:40 PM   #8
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If I buy before the PMA in February, I will be buying either a Canon S1 (lenscaplarry, do you have a good website for these workarounds?) or a Panasonic FZ3 or FZ15. I was informed by my wife, that movie was not needed. I do have a 3 year old Sony camcorder, just a little unhappy with it. My uncle has a Fuji S5100 that I played with a little. Lots of blurry pics from him, and he is a photographer by trade. He says quantity makes up for it.

Anyway, thanks for the battery link, tacticalnuke. I will be looking into that.

I feel like I am leaning a bit closer to the FZ15 right now, since my only complaint was movies and batteries. So, is there that much of a difference between the FZ3 and the FZ15 besides 1MP? Is it worth the extra cash? Honestly, burst shooting interests me. And I remember hearing that there is a difference between the FZ3 and FZ20 with the Fz3 being better... but nothing comparing the F15.

Thanks for the responses. This newbie is most appreciative.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 5:40 PM   #9
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I did, and I'm trying to find it. Thing is I copied and pasted all the info to word and printed it all out. so, I had no need to keep the links.

The FZ15/20 are better cameras. And they have the options which the Fz3 did'nt have which made me get the S1. However, theywas more then a $100 difference whereI live, otherwise I would have probably done the same thing. But both those other cameras are bigger then the S1..

[align=left]Dimensions (H x W x D)

3.43'' x 5.02'' x 4.18'' [/align]


[align=left]Dimensions (H x W x D)

3.43'' x 5.02'' x 4.18'' [/align]

[align=left]Dimensions (H x W x D)

2.69'' x 4.25'' x 3.34'' [/align]

(4.4 x 3.1 x 2.6 in)

check out pics online...

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Old Jan 9, 2005, 6:28 PM   #10
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I have the Kyocera M410R, I chose this after trying the FZ3 and the S1-IS.

I'm really happy with the results I've had and will not be changing it.

Yep it has no AF assist lamp but nor does the canon, from the reviews I've read the EVF doesn't 'gain-up' either on the panasonic or the canon so not only can you not focus you can't see what to focus on either! Panasonic does have af assist lamp though.

The main reason for buying this camera was the quality of the EVF, which in my opinion is the best out of all these 3 cameras.

The speed, shot to shot time is one of the fastest.

It Uses AA batteries!!!

The movie mode is very good and will play continuously until card is full.

Okay it's already been said that there is probably never going to be that perfect all round camerabut results from the Kyocera are very good, have a look at the Kyocera Posts to see some sample shots. There are some that have been taken in low light Hand-Held so it is possible to get these shots with out IS.

Admittedly it's not the best in low light but very few of the Ultra-zoom digicams are. For this reason it may be an idea to look at a smaller zoom digicam.

Try lots of the cameras in a shop find one that you feel comfortable with.

Most cameras at present are all quite good and the ones you are looking at will give good results, just try them before you buy.

Beware of the high MP's crammed onto small sensors!

good luck


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