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Old Aug 25, 2003, 6:38 PM   #1
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Default Zoom vs megapixels

I am interested in getting a better digital camera. I currently have a Kodak DX3215 - it only has 2x zoom and 1.3 megapixels. I'm not happy with it anymore and it is time to move on up.

I want to take pictures of my kids at their various activities which include soccer and marching band - I would like to actually see My kid instead of just a field with a bunch of kids on it (there he is, 3rd from the right!) I also want to take regular family photos.

I also want to print decent pictures - 4 x 6, some 5 x 7 and the occasional 8 x 10.

I'm also concerned with shutter lag - I realize that all digital cameras will have some lag, but would lean to a camera with the least amount, all other things being equal.

I was thinking of the Fuji Finepix 3800 or the Olympus Camedia C730 or C740 - both have optical zoom - at least 6x. Both are 3 megapixel cameras.

Someone told me that I should consider cameras that are 4 or 5 megapixels but have only 3x or 4x zoom. They said that with the higher resolution, I could then zoom in on the picture on the computer and just crop to what I want and still get good picture quality.

Is this true or should I go with the higher optical zoom? Thanks for any opinions or thoughts on this!
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Old Aug 25, 2003, 6:49 PM   #2
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you might also want to find a camera that can change iso settings. i think the fuji 3800 is only iso 100 or 200. you might want to find a camera that has 100 200 400 and posibly 800 iso for those pictures in overcast or poor lighting. also figure what price range and go from there. there are so many digital cameras out there that it can be mind boggling at times.

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Old Aug 26, 2003, 10:34 AM   #3
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I'd personally go for the higher zoom, but there's MANY other factors affecting picture quality. For a mom with kids on the go, I'd get the 10x zoom. There's plenty of times that you are watching sports from the sidelines or are far back in an auditorium that you'll appreciate having the extra magnification.

An excellent camera that would fit your needs that you may not have considered is a refurbished Olympus C-2100. Pluses over other current options that are available are cost savings, image stabilization, full camera controls, focus assist lamp, and low shutter lag, to name a few.
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Old Aug 26, 2003, 6:12 PM   #4
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My suggestion would be to forget the consumer digital and think seriously about Canon's new dSLR. The EOS-300D will not be a dead end when you want to expand what you do with your camera and your investment in lenses will last decades.

If you will only have one or two digicams, one should definitely be an SLR. There are only a few (very, very few) consumer/prosumer digicams which are suitable for capturing quick moving subjects, and even those which "can" do this have shutter lag or other limitations which make them less versatile in certain situations. This requires a brief explanation.

There are several main factors which allow you to capture moving subjects:

1. Shutter Speed
2. Shot to shot time
3. Shutter Lag and autofocus time

Nearly all decent digicams have the ability to use a stop-action shutter speed. Some (a few) will have decent shot to shot or burst capabilitie. But the real issue is that even those which have two of the above three covered - rarely if ever have all three. To get all three you need the SLR.

For example. The most excellent Olympus E-100RS at 15 frames per second full resolution can shoot frames faster than any commonly produced film SLR and nearly twice as fast as the closest digital SLR. One would then think that this camera would be ideal for getting those "snap" shots of your kids doing interesting things. Unfortunately not so. Though you can start shooting and capture 26 images faster than you can blink you eyes three times, the first image must be made with the "pre capture mode" if you wish to be sure you capture "the moment." This means you have to focus by pressing the shutter half way and hold it while the camera continues to cycle five images in and out of the buffer. When the "event" occurs, you press the shutter all the way and get up to 15 frames per second for up to 26 frames or more. So what's the down side? You can't just pick up the camera and shoot - you have to pre-focus and hold the shutter half way down. Not too easy unless you want to wait all day until the "event" happens. Neither autofocus nor shutter lag are really great, but they are "compensated" by the tremendous burst speed and pre capture modality. Oh - resolution is 1.5 megapixels. Very good 1.5 megapixel resolution, but still low resolution.

Other cameras like the Olympus E10/E20 have extremely fast autofocus and near zero shutter lag. Where's the catch? Shoot a burst of four shots as fast as you can press the shutter, then wait over 20 seconds for the buffer to clear before the next shot. Also, on the E10 top shutter speed is under 1/700th second.

Fuji S602Z - post capture mode similar to the pre capture mode on the E-100RS and "can" capture good sports shots of moving subjects, BUT - relatively slow autofocus negates low shutter lag so not great for those snap shots.

Sony F707/F717 - same situation. Too much lag even though plenty of shutter speed and decent autofocus.

All the above cameras are excellent tools, but if you need a low shutter lag, high speed shutter, and good shot to shot and burst capabilities, you NEED an SLR.

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Old Aug 26, 2003, 6:17 PM   #5
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Lin, you convinced me!!!!! now it's a matter of saving my money to buy one next year. maybe i'll give my wife my s602z.

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Old Aug 27, 2003, 5:36 AM   #6
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I'm not a pro like Lin, but in answer to the question, 'which camera would I consider next after a 602' - it actually was the EOS-300D, based solely on their paper spec., although I read you'd need to consider a second lens soon after purchase if you want more flexibility.

You have to be prepared to tow the kit around, but I could see the 602 still relevant for certain jobs, and the dslr putting magic into shots which the 602 can only achieve a fair result for. VOX
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