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Old Dec 18, 2005, 11:33 AM   #1
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i want a digital camera which will take pictures close up - i.e., shots of kids, people, etc. from a distance so they are unaware i am taking picture and so dont freeze up.

then i would like to take pictures of scenery at far distances (think mountains of utah as an example) which bring the subject much closer than i can produce with my 35 mm camera.

from my very limited knowledge, it would seem little compact cameras are typically 3 mp and 3 optical zoom. when i require something like 8 or 10 optical zoom, the camera seems to become clunky, heavy, and loses the streamline appearance.

to accomplish close up pictures, as described, what is the power of megapixels and optical zoom that i would require?

and secondedly, are there any particular cameras u would recommend?

any input and information on the above subject would be of immense help as this area seems huge with countless alternatives available.

thanks so much


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Old Dec 18, 2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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How much you'd like to spend also factors into the situation.

If you want to take wide angle shots of vista's, and pictures of people, generally it's nice to have a lens that is 28mm (in 35mm camera terms) or wider.

For far away distances (telephoto), you'd probably want a camera that is at least 200mm or perhaps even 300mm (in 35mm camera terms) at the long zoom end.

The number of megapixels doesn't really factor into the equation of wide angle versus zoom. The number of megapixels represents how large a print you can make from your photos.

Typically a 3 to 5 megapixel camera can print images up to 8 by 10inches and still end up with a quality print. A 6 to 8 megapixel camera can create an image than could be printed larger than an 8 by 10 inch print, which is getting towards creating a "poster sized" print.

For most consumers, a 3 to 5 megapixel camera is fine, and for more discerning consumers who want the best image quality or want to print large prints, they will look at a 6-8 megapixel camera.

Having all this in a streamlined package is a pretty tall order.

If size of camera (and budget)were no issue, the Panasonic FZ20 would be an excellent choice. Although not quite 28mm at the wide end, the FZ20more than make up for it at the long zoom end, plus the quality and responsiveness are awesome. Many, many people on this forum rave about the FZ20. The FZ20 sells online for just over $400.

The Minolta A200 also does the 28-200mm focal length well, but again, this is not a streamlined camera, and it sells for over $500 using an online retailer.

A more "pocketable" camera might be the Panasonic LZ1, which has a 37-222mm lens, four megapixels,and "image stabilization" that will keep your pictures sharp even in low light situations. With an online retailer price of around $200, it's a compelling offer for someone like yourself.

-- Terry

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Old Dec 18, 2005, 3:42 PM   #3
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mjoancam wrote:
...think mountains of utah as an example...

when i require something like 8 or 10 optical zoom, the camera seems to become clunky, heavy, and loses the streamline appearance.
Sounds like nice place for using real wide angle.

That's because there isn't way to make high quality, fast, longer zoom lens into small package.

From bigger zoom cameras with wide angle A200 is from smaller end of size scale... also reason why it's lens part is little longer than in some others is its mechanical zoom. (which beats button zooms to crack of ground)

Although Ricoh has one compact camera with 28-200mm.
Here's only review of it I've seen, its lens appears to be somewhat compromise for keeping size and price down.
(that review shows well difference between 28mm and 200mm field of views)
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Old Dec 18, 2005, 5:30 PM   #4
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My brother just bought a Nikon S4. It has a 10X zoom (about 37-370mm) and fits in a shirt pocket. It has little manual control and lacks even a viewfider. No stabilization. It uses AA batteries and he tells me it has very good battery life. Take a look at that one. You'll be hard pressed to find a big zoom in a small camera, tho' this one meets those requirements.
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Old Dec 19, 2005, 6:20 PM   #5
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Indeed, compact zoom is tought to make. And yes, the Nikon S4 does seem to pull it off. The Panazonic LZ1 and LZ2 are also not very big at all (the LZ2 is going for $199 on Amazon, not too shabby).

For you to take pictures from so far away that people don't notice you (or don't think you're taking a picture of them), you probably need about 300mm equivalent (which corresponds to around 8 or 10X optical zoom). If you want a camera with that much zoom that is not huge, this page


Suggests these:

A lot of the 10X-zoom cameras that Olympus makes are not huge. E.g., the Olympus C-765 and C-740 (which are still available from Amazon despite being older cameras). Harder to find are the C-700, 730, 755, and 770, of the same series and with small differences (mainly just resolution). They all have a nice 10X zoom lens on a fairly compact body. No IS, but they do have AA-power and manual controls.

The Olympus C7000 only has 5X zoom but offers high resolution and a relatively compact design. Kinda pricey, though, last time I checked.

There's also the Fuji S5000 / S5100 / S5200 / S5600 series. They're smaller than they look in pictures (like the Minolta A-series already mentioned, but cheaper), have 10X zoom, AA power, no IS though, and by no means "streamlined". (Why is that important, anyways? Are you going to attach it to the wing of your airplane? )

There's also the Nikon 4800 - not too huge, 8x zoom, no IS.

And the Casop P505 - also only 5X zoom and 5MP, no manual controls, fairly small.

And the Pentax Optio SV - super tiny, 5MP, manual controls, but only 5X zoom.

Of course, you'll get better ultra-zoom pictures if you can zoom even more (like 400mm, which is usually equivalent to around 12x) and if you have image stabilization. This will mean getting a fairly bulky camera, though. For that, the Panasonic FZ series would be my top recommendations, closely followed by the Kodak P850 and the Minolta Z3/Z5/Z6. Pricier and also quite good are the Sony H1 and the Canon S2-IS.

You mentioned you wanted to take pictures of distant mountains in a way that brought them closer. Someone then said you should have a lens that can go pretty wide (like 27 or 28mm). I don't think this is quite right: The wide lenses are good if you want to take in a whole panorama, or as much of a view as you can. If you just want a picture of one mountain and you're not at the base of the mountain itself, then you don't need a lens that wide. Something as narrow as 38mm might do it. And if you want to zoom into the mountain to bring it closer and see small details, then of course the more zoom the better.

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