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Old Mar 27, 2006, 3:27 PM   #1
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I am looking at replacing my aging Nikon Coolpix 2100 digital camera. Read lots of reviews, opinions, Consumer Reports, etc. and generally I have found that Panasonic and Canon are two brands that have been generally liked by average consumer.

I am not a photo enthusiast. I need a camera for general point-shoot kind of thing. My main theme for photography would be my son and remaining would be vacation shots. There is couple of features that I am looking in my new camera:

- At least 5 megapixels or maybe 6 megapixels.
- I don't have much idea about which lens is good or not. But I am more than willing to trade-off megapixels for getting a better lens.
- At least have 4x optical zoom. I would prefer to have 6x or 10x optical zoom.
- If the zoom is 6x+ then I would like to have image stabilization.
- The size of the camera should be something that I can fit in my jeans front pocket. So I don't know whether it is called a compact, sub-compact or whatever.
- It should use Compact Flash or Secure Digital card. My current Nikon uses CF card, my PDA has both CF and SD card, so I would like to reuse them without buying any more additional memory.
- Since I need CF or SD card that pretty much drops out Sony, Olympus and Fuji.
- Would like to stay away from Konica-Minolta since they are no longer in the camera business.
- I would prefer that it used AA kind of battery. This is not mandatory, but it would be nice to have.
- The movie video shooting that the camera supports should have audio in it. My Nikon does movie recording but without audio, which is a big bummer. I have a camcorder for proper video shooting, but the movie shooting in camera is just for something to be shot on spur of the moment.
- I would like it to support rapid burst shooting. My Nikon has it and I have used it for those dolphin shows that happen in Sea World.
- Would like if the camera had a very short shutter lag. My current Nikon's biggest problem is the delay. My son is doing something and I decide to take a shot, by the time the camera takes the shot, the delay is too much and my son has moved away from whatever he was doing.
- Would prefer to have both optical viewfinder and LCD screen. Again not a mandatory feature but would be nice to have both. The Panasonic's that I have seen, all of them have just LCD.
- Price range is around $300.

Some of the models that I have seen are:
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ3. 5MP, 6x optical zoom, $230.
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ5. 6MP, 6x optical zoom, $280.
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1. 5MP, 10x optical zoom, $350.

The price that I have given above are pure approximate that I got from Google. Once I narrow down on a model, I will then go price-hunting.

Among all the above models, I am leaning more close to the DMC-LZ5 model. It has nearly everything that I am looking for.

The perfect camera for me, IMHO, would be DMC-TZ1. It is absolutely great, but it's not out in the market yet, there are no in-depth reviews available yet. It was supposed to be released in March, but couple of websites indicates that they will have it in stock only in May. I am going on a vacation around April-end, so I got to have a camera in my hand, before my vacation.

So, does anybody have any personal opinion on any of the above mentioned Panasonic models?
How does Panasonic compare against a Canon or Kodak or Nikon model?
Is there some other model with some other manufacturer that somebody can recommend?


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Old Mar 27, 2006, 4:16 PM   #2
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Yours is a huge request, in terms of features and the ability to carry it in your front jeans pocket. None of the Ultra zooms, even including the TZI are going to make it into your front jeans pocket with ease.

In fact there is a very good reason why it should not go into your front jeans pocket: pocket dust contamination, which has also been discussed on this forum. The Panasonic LZ-5 is a reasonable choice, and it includes a lot of your requirements.

In terms of ultra zoom cameras, surely the Canon S-2 and the Sony H-1 should be considered, as they are the leading ultra zoom contenders on the market right now and they have recived excellent professional reviews, and great user response. They both have IS and they use AA batteries.

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