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Old Jun 26, 2004, 2:31 PM   #1
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Thank goodness there are sites like this to help in this decision. the more I read, the more confused I get. I have an Olmpus 3040, I'd like to upgrade. I take pictures of my fast moving kids, indoor and outdoor. I'd love a good zoom, a quick start up, and at least a 4 megapixel. Photos are printed 4x6, sometimes 5x7 and rarely 8x10. this is why I don't think I need to go with a highter megapixel. I've read about the FZ10, sounds good.. but worried about the low lighting situation for indoor pics. I plan to take photo classes, so love the idea that it's a bit more than a point and shoot. any suggestions for me? Or is the Fz10 the good choice? I looked at the Minolta Z2, sounds like not so clear pics are taken. Any other cameras I should be researching? I can't spend more than 600.00

thanks so much, I'm sure you get lots of people asking for "what's the best camera" and I know it depends on what you are using it for.

Melanie:?
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Old Jun 27, 2004, 12:10 AM   #2
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Melanie, I would be concerned about the lack of af assist on the Panasonic, for your use. From what you said about the type of shots you are looking to take, the IS and long zoom of the FZ10 are not really the features you would need. You might want to check Steve's review on the C-5060 - it looks quite fast and has a lens range that might better suit the type of shots you want to take (better wide angle). And, it is within your budget! Good Luck.
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Old Jun 27, 2004, 12:13 AM   #3
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ps-you might also want to check out dpreview.com if you haven't seen it.
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Old Jun 27, 2004, 6:40 PM   #4
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See the Kyocera M401R that we recently reviewed:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/m410.html


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Old Jun 30, 2004, 10:11 AM   #5
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If you are planning to take a photo course be sure to get a camera with a hotshoe. An inexpensive automatic flash attachment makes a world of difference in flash photos compared to any built-in flash. They are very easy to use once you understand how the automatic sensor in the flash relates to the camera settings. That will be covered in the most basic camera course and you will be happy you have a camera you can buy a $30 flash attachment for and improve your indoor photos measurably.

There is a feature you should look for that is necessary IMO for "fast moving kids" called "continuous focus". You can push the shutter halfway and pre-focus on your subject, which allows you to capture a frame just when you want it since newer cameras typically will capture the image within about 1/10 second with pre-focus. Without continuous focus, pre-focus is nearly useless in dynamic situations because the subject often moves before you snap the picture and the focus was locked where it originally focused. With continuous focus mode the camera will continue to focus and you still get the fast response when you push the shutter. If you don't pre-focus pictures of kids are also often out of focus if they move during the shutter lag. With continuous focus the camera focuses all the way to shutter release regardless of how you shoot.

I have 2 cameras with and 2 without continuous focus and can tell you there is a big difference in the results shooting kids, candids at a party or shots in any dynamic situation. It is usually buried deep in reviews. I think photographers of the level that do good reviews probably use an expensive DSLR to capture their own memories and use the test cameras only in static situations. I've never seen a reviewer test the continuous focus mode. Some are better than others but I have no way of knowing which cameras do better with continuous focus as it isn't tested.

The FZ10 has both a hot shoe and continuous focus, but I'm not sure it would make for the best family camera. The flash is weak and you need an external unit to have good versatility taking flash shots. I find mine focuses well in most indoor situations, but it doesn't have an assist light and can have problems in very low light. I rigged a little white LED light on mine and it will focus fine with it in complete darkness, but that is something that really should be built into the camera. I like the stabilization and don't intend having another large camera without it. With stabilized cameras on the market I don't think there is any reason to have a long telephoto lens without it in your price range. If you really need a 10X or better 4Mp camera there isn't really anything that compares to the FZ10.

You might want to look at the Canon G5 and the Sony V1. They both have full manual controls for your course and a hot shoe. The Sony is small enough you might be able to carry it all the time in your purse. They are both 4X optical zoom, which is enough for most family photos. The G5 has a faster lens and you can get available light action shots in lower light.
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 11:02 AM   #6
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I love my FZ10. We've been taking great indoor shots in normal lighting conditions with the built in flash, and since buying a Sunpak 383 external flash, they've gotten much, much better. For outdoor shots, there is nothing in its price range that can compete at long zoom, with 12x optical and IS. Any low-light problems we'd been having were fixed with a little manual focussing and the new external flash.

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Old Jun 30, 2004, 2:35 PM   #7
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I would suggest the FZ10.


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