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Old Apr 24, 2005, 4:20 PM   #1
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I bought a Z740 today and I am very impressed. I have owned a LOT of digital cameras and from the short time that I have spent with this - I like it a lot, if this was image stabilised (and £100 more), it would be a hard act to beat.

Some quick observations, the first thing that hits you is that it is so light to hold and carry, helped by the fact that it only takes 2 x AA batteries. The lens looks nice and big, letting plenty of light in. The AF assist lamp is very bright (brightest I have seen) and the flash is powerful, so indoor shots are good (and not over exposed as one reviewer noted). The colours are nice, quite punchy, and that's just with the setting on neutral, you can go to vivid colour if you want.

Outdoors the zoom is nice, I did a church steeple clock and it looked good and even a little digital zoom was OK. When I down loaded the images, the church stonework and surrounding grassland looked very natural. I have not printed any images yet, but expect my 7 x 5 prints to look good. When I snapped at the weather vane on the top of the steeple, there was a lot of sky in the shot and the camera got the exposure right, also I could not see any noise. (it was bright day)

I have yet to test some action shots to see how the auto focus copes with speed but from what I have seen so far, the focus lock looks fairly fast and accurate. The only downside that might interest the reader here is that from shot to shot, the EFV locks up (blank) and it feels like it takes a long time to save the image (I am in 5MP mode). However, burst mode does get round this to some extent, though obviously there comes a point when the buffer will have to empty out. This is not a problem for me as a snapper, but it may bother you.

Other than this, so far, I have only praise for the thing. For completeness, it is worth mentioning that last week, I bough a Minolta Z5, I thought it was noisy generally but I had a real problem indoors with it, no AF assist lamp and a weak flash meant that I could not focus and was limited to setting the manual focus to 6 feet and then snapping away - rather hit and miss for a modern camera. I changed it for the Cannon S1 - IS. The image stabilisation was lovely but the Auto Focus was so slow that in many of my shots (nothing too outrageous, just ducks on the ground etc) the target had moved away by time the focus had locked. For me, the frustration just ruined the photography experience - Hence the Z740, which was a bit of a gamble as it is not widely reviewed yet - the bottom line is that the Z740 looks like an above average, real good all rounder.

I will come back with some more observations as I get a better feel for the camera
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 4:33 PM   #2
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Here are some shots (and comments) on my web site that show the pull of this lens

the shots are NOT intended to reflect image quality as they are heavily compressed to aid fast downloading - but they may be interesting to potential buyers.

http://www.btinternet.com/~norm.smith/photography.html
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 8:37 PM   #3
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double post
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Old Apr 26, 2005, 8:38 PM   #4
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It's been said that Kodak digicams compress the images too far. Now, I've never had a problem with how much my DX7630 compreses the images so it may not be that important to others. However you stated that with a 256mb card your 5mp Z740 can store 159 pictures. My 256mb equiped Panasonic FZ3 holds 155 images with a 3mp sensor. Clearly the Kodak is squezing down the images quite a bit. Again I've never had an issue with the file compression on my Kodak but I'm wondering if we are lossing something from it?
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 2:48 PM   #5
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From those sums, I suppose there must be something being lostby comparison, though would it be enough for anyone to even notice in say an 8" x 6" print, which is the biggest i ever go (most of my stuff is done to 7 x 5).

I was amused to read in a recent review about ANOTHER camera that the reviewer thought that ISO's up to 200 were OK but that at 400, 'under high magnification' there were signs of noise / picture breakdown. Would most of us ever notice that in ourstandard to large print ?, I doubt it and the kind of people who might look for that are probably not going to be using mid ranged products anyway. I cn just imagine that one line putting buyers off, when in reality, it would never effect their photography.

I think for anyone who just wants a competent camera that takes nice pictures that can be turned into nice standard prints, theywill be well served by the Z740.

It's interesting to note that with his particular camera, regardless of the professional type analysis that comes from reviewers, I am noticing thatevery day users of the camera are starting toreport 'it takes nice pictures' as being a characteristic of the camera.The early signs of a good reputaiion are there.
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Old May 4, 2005, 7:16 PM   #6
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I have substaantially updated my web review of the Z740 and included a few pics.



http://www.btinternet.com/~norm.smith/photography.html


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