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Old Jan 14, 2005, 10:36 PM   #1
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Hi everybody! I'd like to ask your opinion to help me decide between the Panasonic FX7 camera and the Sony P200.

In one hand, I have FX7 that is smaller and lighter than P200, with a larger LCD (2.5") and using SD cards. In the other hand, I've got Sony P200, with it's Image Processor and better batteries. For me, 5MP is more than necessary, so P200's 7.2MP is no advantage. The same way I think about the optical viewfinder: I'll always use LCD anyway... What I need to know to decide myself is about the quality of pictures... I've read that Sony made great advances with the P150 model (the Carl Zeiss lenses helped a lot...), that became the "better" model for Steve in the category of "5-7 Megapixel Consumer". But I don't know a lot about the FX7... It's Leica lenses are great (in my opinion, better than Carl Zeiss), but it's not enough to have an opinion about the quality of pictures FX7 takes.

About the price: Memory stick pays the FX7 camera...

Other questions:
- Does P200 have an Optical Image Stabilizer as FX7? Is it important?
- The flash range of FX7 (I read it's 13.1 feet) is really bigger than P200 (11 ft.)?
- Which one takes better pictures with low light conditions? And outdoors?
- Is there a better battery model for the FX7?

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Old Jan 15, 2005, 12:23 AM   #2
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The FX7 is the only pocket camera with stabilization. Many people consider it most important for a long zoom camera, but I find it very useful at wider angles. You can handhold shots in 1/4 to 1/8 the light with stabilization. It doesn't help for subject movement though. Since you don't use the optical viewfinder you wouldn't have one of my objections to the camera. The other is that it has no manual exposure modes. I would probably have bought one if it had an optical finder and manual exposure.

The 7Mp CCD on the Sony is better than the 5Mp one on the FX7 IMO. The cameras with the 7Mp sensors have been testing out very well compared to the 5Mp. But that is a relative thing. The noise hasn't increased with the increased density as has always seemed to be the case. If you don't need the 7Mp that isn't very significant.

Some companies rate the flash at ISO 100 where it should be rated and others rate it in auto. It appears the FX7 might crank up the ISO in flash situations more than some other cameras, so I wouldn't put much faith in the difference in flash range.

I think they would both take good pictures outdoors in bright light. I haven't seen sample photos from the P200 but they are likely good. The FX7 would be better in low light without the flash because of the stabilization – both outdoors and indoors. For flash shots they both have assist lamps and good low light focus based on P150 reviews.

Many cameras have aftermarket batteries available with higher power than the factory batteries. You might check on the Panasonic board to see if anyone has found one that works.

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Old Jan 15, 2005, 10:04 AM   #3
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I myself own the P150, and it is an awesome little camera! If what I read about the P200 is true, and it's basically the P150 with a 2 inch screen, then I can't help but reccomend it to everyone I talk to. The P150/200 takes great pictures, and is really fast. It's also pretty robust ( I just went to a party where everyone would grab it out of my hands to takes some pictures, then drop it trying to give it back to me). I really can't reccomend the P200 enough. Go with it, you wont have any regrets

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Old Jan 15, 2005, 12:11 PM   #4
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The P150 or P200 seems great, but there's quite a few comments in forums about blur problems. (See, e.g., the one copied below.) Do you (or anyone else reading this) know why this is the case, and if there's work-arounds that are easy enough to be practical?

The below is quoted from the amazon.com P150 page:

Reviewer: * Tragically Disappointed "andrew19906"

You must be wondering how somebody could rate this obviously awesome camera two stars when all the other reviews are so glowing. Let me explain. My purchase goal was to find an idiot-proof, ultra-compact, high resolution point and shoot camera. Maybe I have high expectations, but I wanted a no-fiddling camera for what I consider "easy shots" and I didn't want to have to settle for 4 mega-pixels. Basically, that's it. I didn't care about video mode or manual settings or any advanced feature. If necessary, I was prepared to give in and settle for the new Canon SD300 (4mp) which my friend had bought. That's why I was hoping desperately that the P150 would work out. And it almost did.

The fatal flaw was motion blur on over half of what I consider easy shots. It doesn't matter how many pixels you have or how vivid the colors, if you get blurry pictures more than half the time, the camera is not usable. Blur cannot be corrected.

So, what's an easy shot?

Example easy shot #1: indoor, reasonable light, flash enabled, standard automatic mode, very low motion. The Sony auto-focus stubbornly insisted on using 1/40th shutter speed. If the subject moves at all, you get blur. The cause of the blur may partly be due to a design that places the lens on the far left of the camera body which amplifies camera movement. I tried both single and monitoring auto-focus modes to no avail.

Example easy shot #2: outdoor, sunlight, flash enabled, standard automatic mode, moderate motion (somebody walking at a distance). More motion blur! Yes, there was a workaround if you resort to using the special "sports" scene mode which uses a much higher shutter (with great results) or manual settings. But that shouldn't be required for a point and shoot camera for such an easy shot.

What made the blur so irritating was that it was not predictable. In some cases, a slower shutter would be used and in other almost identical shots a faster shutter would be used. In addition, you can't see the blur on the LCD, so you don't know when to retake the picture.
Its really unfortunate that a camera with such potential has such a fatal flaw. And if you're wondering maybe I didn't read the manual or don't know how to hold a camera or drink too much coffee, believe me I tried everything. If your comfortable using manual shutter settings or using special sports mode for indoor low-motion shots, then get this camera.

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Old Jan 15, 2005, 12:19 PM   #5
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It seems to me that there are sporatic reports of motin blur, maybe one out of every 100 I read. Then again, most of those probably come from holding the camera wrong and what-not. I have had no such blur problems with my P150, so perhaps it's just a factory defect?

I just tried and example number 1, and got a beautiful shot, so I really don't know what else to tell you, besides the fact that I still highly reccomend the P150/200.

Best of luck!~Jack
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Old Jan 23, 2005, 5:52 PM   #6
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I too, have been looking at the Panasonic FX7 vs. Sony P200, but also would throw in the Canon SD300. I'mlooking to replace my dying Canon S30, which the wife (and I) have used to take pictures of our kids over the last few years. I have an FZ1 which I love to use. The FX7 would be a natural choice, as something to always have in the pocket - and the OIS and the Leica lens seems ideal.

However, my wife pretty much just points and shoots. I'm concerned that the FX7 will required some thought, especially in indoor shoots where one might need to force a lower ISO to avoid noise. Because of this, I'm thinking that a Canon SD300 might be the better camera (and one I received this past Friday and have been playing around with). Guess I'm looking for an ultracompact with the best image quality, given an additional need for fast start-up, low shutter/focus lag, and quick recycle times. Oh, and a 2" or larger LCD is also desired. The only other camera that I think I'd consider is the Sony P200 - the P150 reviews are quite good (memory sticks be darned!), although 7 megapixels seems extreme to me! How can I be considering cameras from4 to 7 MegaPixels for the same purpose?!?!

So - should I put my lust for the FX7 on hold due to the need to avoid auto mode to limit noise?

Also, playing around with the P150 in stores, I wasn't too excited about the control/menu look/operation. Maybe it's just because I'm already use to Cannon and Panasonic.


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Old Jan 23, 2005, 7:22 PM   #7
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The motion blur issue is what steered me towards the FX7.
It's hard to avoid in all handhelds a certain percentae of the time...

Lots of cheap aftermarket batteries are available for it.
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