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Old Dec 16, 2005, 8:09 PM   #1
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I've been researching long zoom (10x plus) cameras, looking for something with image quality comparable to the Oly 8080.

I've considered the Fuji S9000, Fuji S5200, Panasonic F30, Oly SP500 and many others.

I want sharp images, good color and highlights, etc. I'm beginning to think I can't get the quality I want from a P&S. Have I missed anything? Do I need a dSLR? Any recommendations?
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 8:12 PM   #2
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Kodak P850:

-12x zoom


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Old Dec 17, 2005, 3:09 AM   #3
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B1ue wrote:
I want sharp images, good color and highlights, etc.
So (overprocessed) Disneyland look with blown highlights?
If you want wider dynamic range and not so heavily clipped highlights with black shadows then high megapixel count in smallest sensors combined to heavy Disneyland processing isn't best combination, that's clearly visible in reviews of many high megapixel automatic P&S cameras. (some have even sharpening artifacts because of excessive "sharpening"... which actually means enhancing edge contrast)
Also RAW and good processing would give additional dynamic range for hardest circumstance shots.

So you can get good results from non-SLR in harder circumstances, automatic point&pray cameras with point&pray shooting style just aren't best ones for that and it requires lot more tweaking of camera's processing settings or using RAW (and histogram to make sure sensor captures widest dynamic range) and good processing.

Also in some conditions results from manual exposure can look much better even though it might be technically "bad", like under/over exposed compared to how camera would expose... like this in which getting right exposure is important for not having completely burned sky or right exposed sun but way too dark image otherwise.
Or how about this little post processed night lanscape which was taken in JPEG with camera whose in camera processing quality is really mediocre.
(here's what it looked in reality, although eye saw some details from ground, but not much about on what where you were stepping on... ironically I broke couple toes ~35 hours later in daylight)

And zoom number doesn't mean nothing solid, it's still 10x zoom nevertheless focal length range is 10-100mm or 100-1000mm. So instead of that number you should think what kind targets you photograph, is it general photography with architecture, sceneries and such or wild animals from long distance.
That's because very long tele ultrazooms sacrifice wide angle for more media sexy bigger mm-number.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 8:44 AM   #4
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Blue.............I don't think any of us can get a photo worthy of printing and putting in our photo album. We need to hire a full time photographer to follow us around with a cart full of cameras to take our pictures for us. Unless we are at Disneyland then we can use a one time digital and the KODAK picture maker to print them out.
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Old Dec 17, 2005, 2:26 PM   #5
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The FZ30 is the only prosumer camera dpreview has tested that has slightly higher resolution than the Oly 8080. It does that with a smaller sensor, so it is noisier. But the noise isn't bad for any normal use at ISO 80 or 100. Keep in mind that stabilization lets you take the same shot at ISO 100 that you would need ISO 800 for with the Oly. That only applies to still subjects, stabilization doesn't help for action.

Raw is a practical mode on the FZ30 with a tad under 4 seconds cycle time. And there isn't a buffer to fill. I have no idea why the 8080 doesn't buffer raw shots since you can shoot a burst in raw and the buffer will hold it. But you have to wait over ten seconds between raw shots, and I find that impractical. My D7i takes about the same cycle time as the 8080 in raw, and I found I missed so many shots it isn't useful for most situations. After a raw burst with the 8080 you have to wait over a minute before you can shoot again.

So for my use where I would use raw in most situations with the FZ30 and probably rarely on the 8080 and others you mentioned with raw, I would probably get images pretty close to the 8080, and in a lot of ways better. And color etc is not a factor in raw as you make all of the settings like contrast, sharpening, saturation and white balance in the software rather than the camera. With raw, all you need be concerned with while shooting is composition, focus and exposure.

I have a wide format printer and like large images for the wall. So noise is a factor. But I have never printed anything on photo paper that didn't go through Photoshop. Selective noise reduction works fine for large images.

You would almost certainly be happier with images from a DSLR. That is especially true if you shoot action at high ISO. But if the images from the 8080 look good, you could probably do as well with the FZ30 in raw. And if action is your bag the S9000 gives high ISO capabilities albeit with a lot of noise compared to the F10/11.

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