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mjoancam Dec 20, 2005 4:07 PM

To all those who responded to my plea for help, thank you very much. It is like having a graduate course with so much information given that I can barely absorb it all. so now more questions are raised.

After the raves i heard about the Nikon S4 i was certain that I had found my very own camera. However, more information flowed in giving the top picks for zoom cameras and found ithe nikon listed about number 14 in the selection list with Panasonic FZ5 being at the top.

Then I was exposed to several other information that I don't understand. for instance, there is no AA power in the top pick and hi quality video is poor. What is AA power anyway and if i am purchasing a still camera, what is this comment about hi quality video; which is a camcorder, isn't it?

And finally, Nikon S4, horror of horrors, i have learned has no stabilization. How important is this aspect anyway? can i do without?

I live in ontario canada and the price for the nikon at best buy is $499.99. interestingly, on amazon it is in the lower $300 range. As I am told that canadian warranties are not necessarily recognized by the u.s.a., i suppose i will be forced to purchase in canada.

i have really, really appreciated the input so far. please continue to educate me if u would. and thanks - i know that the right camera is out there waiting for me - now which one is it?



tclune Dec 20, 2005 4:50 PM

The comment about AA power was referring to the camera's battery. The FZ5 uses a proprietary battery instead of AA size batteries. For people who worry about such things, the concerns are two-fold. If you are on a trip and the battery runs out, you can pop into a drugstore, buy some AA batteries, and you're back in business. Most folks buy a second battery for travel, so they aren't likely to run out anyway. The second concern strikes me as more serious -- if you keep the camera for a half-dozen years, will you be able to get a replacement battery when your current one(s) need replacement? With AA batteries, the answer is almost assuredly "yes." With a proprietary battery, the answer is less certain. I wouldn't think of this as a deal-breaker for the camera of your dreams (I bought an FZ20 and am quite willing to run the small risk that the camera outlives the supply of rechargable batteries). But it is worth making a conscious decision about.

If I were faced with the prospect of paying 40% more for a 1-year warranty, I would save the money and take my chances. You maybe more risk-averse than I am, and it would be perfectly reasonable to come to a different conclusion. But, in all honesty, the repair service for Panasonic in the US has a terrible reputation. If I were worried about these things unduly, I'd opt for another camera in the first place. I am not familiar with the Nikon repair reputation, so it may be better.

Wildman Dec 20, 2005 5:30 PM

The biggest issue with a long zoom camera is the lack of stabilization, but it's not a deal-breaker, simply because there's no small (pocket-sized) 10X zoom camera with stabilization. It'll be here someday... ain't technology great?

My brother recently bought an S4. He tells me it has great battery life from two AA's. His biggest complaint is lack of an optical viewfinder. It has no manual settings capability, but if you're interested in just taking snapshots, it seems a good choice. It has a lot of automatic settings, so could probably meet your needs.

I have a Canon EOS-20D, a digital SLR and I really love the camera, but I often miss shots just because it's a hassle to carry around. My wife's little A75 is always with her (in her purse). It takes good pictures. The 20D is photography and the A75 is snapshots. The 20D with a decent lens costs $2,000. The A75 (or equivalent) is a lot less.

normc Dec 22, 2005 2:03 PM

Have you considered that an 8MP camera will give you the ability to crop out and enlarge and still have some good 4x6 or even 8x10 images. I am a big fan of large lens image stabilization cameras...but I am also finding that my 7-8 MP cameras will work and when you add a W/A lens you got the landscape ability as well. .....just an idea?

Steve40 Dec 22, 2005 2:49 PM

During my lifetime of taking pictures, I have seen a lot of changes. I started with an old 620 roll film bellows Kodak camera. Then moved on as has everybody, with changing technology.

As far as zoom goes, I would not let that be a deciding factor in my camera purchase. As as towhether it had lens stabilization or not. I would go on many of the other more important features the camera had, and whether it suited my purposes or not.

Tripods were invented before lens stabilization, and are more reliable. Other than that I do much of my zooming with my feet, even though my camera has zoom.

I am afraid that modern technology has reduced the modernphotographer, to an addicted button pusher. And related real creativity, and artistry to techno-addiction.

Aumma45 Dec 25, 2005 9:40 PM

Boy, you sound like you have been around forever. So proud have gurus like you. See the stuff you have had to say, you couldn't get that in a book. :-)

sw2cam Dec 25, 2005 10:47 PM

Image stabilization is not what some think it is. It helps but at this point and time will not replace a tripod or a block wall to set the camera on. I rather see all hi zoom cameras have a remote shutter, wired or wire free. I don't know how good Panasonic treats it's customers in the US but I do know how a few are. KODAK the best I have ever delt with onthe 3 times I needed them. NIKON has been very good on 2 items. SONY has been good on 2 items. CANON by far the worst to deal with on more then 4 items.

Panasonic FZ5 and Nikon S4 quiet different rigs.

Steve40 Dec 26, 2005 6:23 AM

Well - I haven't been around quite forever yet. But I have spent 50 odd years of my life, behind the shutter release of lots of different cameras. Digital cameras still have a way to go, although they have come far since the concept started.

They are presently caught up in the same one-upsman ship, that the computer went through. The computer industry almost ruined it's self by this. For a while instead of working out other problems, they had a new model every month or so. People started to by less, thinking I will wait a few months on the newest up-grade. The problem for a long while it just never slowed down, and the few months turned into a few years.

Digital cameras are currently caught up in the MP wars. Although it is not good salesman-ship, to tell most people they will not really benefit from a gizallion Mp camera. And they could get by with less, and spend less, never the less this is true. Really the more MP past the 4 mark you cram onto a CCD's surface, the more chromatic aberrations you come up with ( the blue fringies). This is not a fault in the lens, but in over crowding the number of photo-sites on the CCD's format size.

Back to stabilization issues, I really miss the old cable, or air release feature of the 35mm cameras. To make a wired or wireless release, just increases the cameras cost again. And is no more efficient, than the aforementioned mechanical way. This is one of the big improvements the manufactures are letting slide by. And the whole matter of it is, it wouldn't take a brain genius to do it.

At present we are paying for all this experimenting, and when it stops! if ever. You will be able to buy an every day snap-shooter for $25.00, and still get pretty good quality. Maybe even 4 MP. Of course taking in to account,all the other idiotic inflation, this day may never come. I don't think I will even get into the DSLR idiosyncrasies, I've spent to many nickels now. :lol:

BillDrew Dec 26, 2005 9:00 AM

Steve40 wrote:

... I am afraid that modern technology has reduced the modernphotographer, to an addicted button pusher. And related real creativity, and artistry to techno-addiction.
I agree, the introduction of sheet film so the photographer didn't have to go through the artistic step of preparing his own glass plate negative was just the first step on a long downhill slide. We won't even talk about the artistry involved in grinding your own lens.:-)

Steve40 Dec 26, 2005 10:33 AM

That might be getting just a little to fundamental, for most folks. I know the other side of the coin.If no one did any experimentation, we would still probably be living in caves, and running out to get logs lightning set on fire.

On the other hand? --- no; a-bomb, greenhouse gas effect, super drugs that have spawned super viruses. Just to name a few of our legacies from experimentation, might be a blessing. In disguise of course!. Oh!-- and I forgot the cancer, and various other maladies we get from all the crud they stick in our food, so it does not go bad as fast. So who cares if we don't last as long, it's good for new customers to experiment on, and general population control. After allif we lived to long, we might wise up. :-)

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