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Old Jan 10, 2006, 7:00 PM   #1
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I'm looking for the biggest bang for my buck. Low price and high versatility if such a product exists. I'm an experienced novice who wants to devote more time to the passion I have for photography. If anyone knows the best camera with the following I'd greatly appreciate the advice.

all purpose but specifically shooting wildlife, landscapes, outdoors, random abstract tiny stuff, and occasional action shots

Low noise at the telephoto end of the lens

good macro capabilities

no larger than 8X10 prints

I keep coming back to the Kodak z740, Minolta Dimage z4 or z5, Panasonic FZ5, andFuji s5200. Has anyone had experience with said cameras? Pros? Cons?

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Old Jan 10, 2006, 7:49 PM   #2
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did you try a search for each of those models, theres like, alot of stuff on here already about them all.... trying to save you a wait

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Old Jan 10, 2006, 11:17 PM   #3
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The Fuji S5200 would probably be your best bet. I just got mine and have been very impressed with all aspects thus far.

According to most reviews, the Minolta Z4 and Z5 aren't very good in comparison to other Minolta cameras and the quality can be a bit soft, unsaturated and they have average noise in most photos.

The Kodak Z740 produces nice clear images, but it doesn't offer much flexibility in manual modes. The noise starts to get very noticeable at ISO 200, and I think the ISO can only reach 400.

So it should come down to the Panasonic FZ5 and the Fuji S5200. Both are great cameras. Again, the FZ5 can only reach 400 ISO (I think), where as the Fuji can reach 1200, which makes it ideal for low light photos. The Panasonic has far more noise in comparison to the Fuji as well.

The FZ5 does have image stabilization, which is a pro, but the Fuji has anti-blur mode, which is just as effective, or as Fuji says, even better. You can pick up the Fuji for a lot cheaper ($120 less) and it uses AA batteries, not expensive lithium ones.

GO WITH the Fujifilm :-)
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Old Jan 11, 2006, 12:11 AM   #4
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kodak z series are garbage
I have the Fuji S5200 and I wasnt happy with it at first because the pictures didnt really come out as good as I though. After using it for a few months now, I think this is a great camera for the money.

The thing that I like the most about the camera is the Natural Light mode. I find myself using this mode if I want to take a quick picture if I am in doors in low light.

The camera is super fast to start up and shoot compaired to other camera. When you turn it on, its pretty much ready to shoot.

Another thing that I love about the camera is that it use standard AA battery. I am using a set of 2500mah battery and taken about 400+ pictures and no blinking low battery light yet. That is close to about 1,000 pictures with two sets of battery that I bought for about $20.

I think the anti blurr mode on the camera is stupid. It is nothing compaird to IS. On a camera with IS you can change different settings like shutter speed and stuff like that. The anti blurr mode is just something on the camera that is fixed, you cant do anything else, kinda like auto mode.

The macro mode on the camera isnt that great compaired to other that I've tried. It does the job but I think the Minolta does a better job. I am about to buy a Raynox macro lense and see how that goes.

Another thing that I dont like about the fuji camera is the zoom in/out button. It is right next to the EVF so it makes it kinda hard to zoom in and out if you are using the EVF. Other cameras they place it in the front. But I've got used to it.

Other then that I still love the camera.

Oh btw the camera is 1600 on the ISO.
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Old Jan 11, 2006, 10:55 AM   #5
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Don't have much to add on the Minolta and Kodak. But for the FZ5 and S5200, here's the bottomline:

1. If you like to take lots of outdoor shots, choose the FZ5, the lens is sharper than the S5200.

2. If you do lots of action shots, especially low-light action shots (concerts, basketball, hockey, etc) , pick the S5200, the S5200 has usable iso800 right out of the camera, if you shoot in RAW, iso1600 is usable as well post-processed. The FZ5 iso400 is about what you get on the S5200's iso1600, however, the FZ5 has no RAW, so it's more difficult make the image usable beyond 4x6 prints. Also, the FZ5 does not have a manual focus, so you cannot lock the focus for a long duration, which you will miss dearly, especially if you take lots of pictures in continuous mode.

3. For low-light shooting of static objects, such as in a museum, the FZ5 is better because it has I.S. so you can get cleaner, less noisy images by keeping the iso low.

4. The FZ5 has a slightly better macro than the S5200 out of the camera, but not by much, if you want good macro, consider the Canon S2 IS as well.

Both cameras are good, since you do more shooting outdoor, I would give a slight edge to the FZ5.


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Old Jan 12, 2006, 1:52 PM   #6
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Pick up a copy of this week's Amateur Photographer dated 14 January, it has a group test featuring both the Panasonic and Fuji cameras you mentioned.

I won't tell you which one they reckoned was the best, I don't want to spoil your fun reading it.
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 5:39 PM   #7
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Just my personal opion but the Fuji S-5200 is the best of this group of cameras, but the Canon S-2 is even better, though at a higher price.

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Old Jan 12, 2006, 11:46 PM   #8
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Here in Germany I would guess that more FZ5 cameras are sold than all other ultrazooms combined. Its small size and prize combined with fine image quality makes it so attractive. The big FZ30 on the other hand lies like led in the shelves of the dealers. If the prize of the FZ30 continues to fall at the current speed that camera will be cheaper than the FZ5 in a few months.
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 2:22 AM   #9
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@ kassandro:
I don't think so. The FZ30 currently is at around €550 in Germany, the FZ5 at €320.

The FZ20, however, is going to have the FZ5's price tag in a few months.
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 3:35 AM   #10
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Well, that statement was not absolutely serious.
http://www.mediaonline.de is a good site for watching trends. This site is updated daily and they only offer cameras, which they have in stock. The FZ5 is always sold quickly there and the price of the FZ30 falls almost daily, currently it is at 519€. Although the FZ20 is no more produced it is more available than the FZ5. I am myself thinking about buying an FZ30, but it is too early now.
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