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Old Feb 6, 2004, 7:49 AM   #1
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Default Recommendation for 10X + optical zoom camera

I am looking for a digital camera with an optical zoom of 10X or greater (used mainly outdoors for sporting events and indoors for pictures of children). I am looking to pay ~ $500-$600.

I have heard that a zoom this large requires image stabilization (preferred) or a carrying a tripod all the time.

Any comments, suggestions or recommendations are greatly appreicated. Thanks.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 8:28 AM   #2
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I wouldn't say that optical stabilization is "required", but it certainly doesn't hurt.

As for 10x and up, the list is short:

Kodak DX6490 (10x)
Olympus C-750UZ (10x)
Panasonic DMC-FZ10 (12x stabilized)
Minolta DiMAGE A1 (7x but stabilized)

There might be others, I just found this list by looking at what cameras Steve has reviewed (he lists the "x" factor in a nice chart):
http://www.steves-digicams.com/cameras_dig5.html
for 5MP and up cameras
http://www.steves-digicams.com/cameras_dig4.html
for 4MP cameras.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about those cameras, as I have never seen any of them (let alone used them.) You might want to look in the areas dedicated to those manufactuers.

Eric
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 10:06 AM   #3
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Eric provided you with a good list and to expand on two of the cameras:

Kodak 6490. Great point and shoot camer and no real manual controls. My sis has one and it produces very good pics.

Olympus 750: More manual controls and hot shoe for external flash. Picture quality is equal to or maybe slightly better than Kodak.

You need a steady hand for full zoom shots in lower lighting conditions.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 10:11 AM   #4
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Stabilization will allow you to take sharp images in many situations handheld that would require a tripod without stabilization. You can go out on most days with an FZ10 without a tripod and get sharp shots, although if something is in the shade or it is an overcast day you have to crank the ISO up.

The Minolta starts at wide angle, so their 7X takes you only to 200mm equivalent zoom. It is a dynamite camera and the wide angle is very useful, but it isnít really a long zoom.

Steve says a major manufacturer is about to release a stabilized long zoom lens camera. You might wait to see who is releasing the stabilized lens. Panasonic didnít do a very good job on the camera end of the FZ10 IMO although the Leica designed lens is great. But the current competition isnít that much better on the camera end and nothing comes close to the lens. Not only the stabilization is good on the FZ10 lens but that it maintains f2.8 throughout the zoom range gives it another f stop over most competition at long zoom ranges.

So if you consider the stabilization good for conservatively 2 f stops and the f2.8 at 12X worth almost another f stop, you will effectively have 8 times the light to use as shutter speed or ISO compared to current competition. Stabilization is a very desirable feature in a long telephoto. It is also useful for very low light shots at wider angles. I have handheld indoor wide angle shots at 1/6 second that were sharp and others have managed to go even lower. That gives a lot of versatility you could get only with an enormous objective lens without stabilization.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 10:45 AM   #5
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Look at the Olympus 2100UZ and the Canon Pro90. They share the same 38-380mm stabilized lens. Both are out of production but can be found on the Web for the price range you're looking at. Both are superb cameras.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 2:26 PM   #6
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Don't forget about the Fuji S5000!!!! It has 10X optical zoom plus a bunch of other good features. I have one and love it. Although, it is only 3.2 mps and you may be wanting more. I spent just under $500 for the camera and all of the accessories, including memory cards, readers, cleaning stuff, case, etc. My website has some sample shots.
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Old Feb 6, 2004, 4:11 PM   #7
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Also look at the Minolta Z1 (3 MP) which is a pretty cool camera and is cheap! The Z2 (4 MP) will be out soon as well.
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Old Feb 9, 2004, 12:49 PM   #8
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Default Recommendation for 10X + optical zoom camera

I just heard that Olympus has (or will soon) announced a new 10X with IS, 3.2Meg camera called the POWERSHOT S1. It's MSRP is $500 and should be available in the March/April timeframe. As I own an Olympus S100 today, I think I have just found my upgrade!!!
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Old Feb 9, 2004, 1:23 PM   #9
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Thats actually the Canon S1. Looks like a great camera of this type.
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Old Feb 10, 2004, 1:21 PM   #10
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The S1 looks like a nice camera. Flip-out LCD and SHQ in a much smaller camera, although with 4 NiMH batteries installed it will be almost as heavy. The FZ10 is light for its size. This is Steveís first look: http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/ca...4_s1is_pr.html
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