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Old Jan 13, 2005, 10:27 PM   #1
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I have a Epson 3000z 3.3mp camera that comes with 3x optical zoom, 15fps movie w/s and a 1.8 inch viewfinder. It's been a good camera. But I realize I want to do more serious work yet I don't want to give up the movie capability, sound, etc that the Epson provides. Up till now I could not find a camera that had the features of the Olympus 7070. Either they had less megapixels, less of an optical zoom (the 7070 has 4x and 3x digital too) and most do not have the articulating 1.8inch LCD screen. And several do not have the diopter adjustment on the viewfinder. I'm just wondering what I am missing? What is it about this camera that is bad? Or is it possible that Olympus has come up with the best value on the market today in the non SLR 7+MP camera category? The digital SLRs like the Rebel give me the flexibility of interchangable lenses, but I can buy the 3x adapter for the 7070 that pushes the zoom to 300mm. And I can buy a close up lens attachment and even an underwater housing. Great since I am a diver. Again, is there anything major that I am missing here? Maybe it takes terrible photos? If not I plan to buy it before I go on a Caribbean cruise in March. Next I'll need a new printer that will also print to CDs and DVDs. I've been wondering if Epson will upgrade its R300 since it came out last January. But nothing was introduced at the recent photo show so I'm wondering if there will be anything out by this May or June.
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Old Jan 13, 2005, 10:44 PM   #2
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7070? is that new? or do you mean the 8080?
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 8:16 AM   #3
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7070 was just intoduced. It either came out at the CES show in Vegas or at some big photo show they have every year. I think it was CES.
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 12:32 PM   #4
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8Mp are alotto cram into a 2/3 type sensor (8080) - but 7Mp are comparatively even more to cram into a type 1/1.8 sensor (7070). I'd bet that noise levels would be objectionable by ISO 200, maybe not. I lament the mexapixel race - would like to see Oly introduce a 6Mp version of the 8080, lower noise, improved dynamic range, could add a bigger buffer to let you capture 10 RAW/TIFF or 20 JPEG at 3fps. But, sadly, we don't spec the cameras, and are left to hope for that dream camera that has all of the features we want.




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Old Jan 14, 2005, 5:26 PM   #5
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I guess I will just have to wait to see what this review site and others say about the camera. I hope it is before I go on my trip.
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 7:50 PM   #6
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The Sony 7MP 1/1.8" CCD (which is the CCD this new Olympus uses) seems to be pretty good compared to most newer sensors. The models released with it so far have lower noise compared to models using the Sony 5MP 1/1.8" CCD or the Sony 8MP 2/3" CCD. So, it appears that Sony has made some improvements in the CCD Design.

Noise levels will probably be a little higher than your Epson (which used a Sony 3MP 1/1.8" CCD), but they shouldn't be too bad in typical shooting environments.

Your Epson does have a brighter lens than most (it's twice as bright as the lens on the Olympus C-7070WZ when at full wide angle, and more than three times as bright when at full zoom).

The lenson your Epsonis rated at f/2.0-2.5, and the lens ontheOlympus is rated at f/2.8-4.8. Note that f/2.0is twice as bright as f/2.8 (when at wide angle); and f/2.5 is 3.4 times as bright as f/4.8 (when at full zoom).

So, if you take many existing light photos, I'd take this into consideration. Your Epson would be able to shoot at shutter speeds at least twice as fast for any given lighting level and ISO speed compared to the Olympus.

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Up till now I could not find a camera that had the features of the Olympus 7070. Either they had less megapixels, less of an optical zoom (the 7070 has 4x and 3x digital too) and most do not have the articulating 1.8inch LCD screen.
Keep in mind that the Olympus C-7070WZ starts out wider than most models. So, don't look at the 3x, 4x, etc. numbers without comparing focal lengths (as the x factorsare only indicating the amount of difference between the wide angle and full zoom settings and have nothing to do with angle of view/magnification). This camera has a 35mm equivalent focal range of 27-110m (which is about the same on the long end as most models with a 3x optical zoom).

Steve has a preview of this model here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/c7070.html

If existing light photos without a flash or tripod is a consideration, you may also want to take a look at the new Canon G6, which has a lens that is bright as your Epson's at equivalent focal lengths, uses the same Sony 7MP 1/1.8" CCD as the Olympus, and has a longer zoom (35mm equivalent focal range of 35-140mm). It does not start out as wide as the Olympus, though (and a wider angle of view can be nice to have).

We'll have to wait for the full review to see how this model compares. But, I suspect that the new Olympus will be a very nice camera.

P.S. --I wouldn'tget rid of that Epson 3000z. It's got it's share of quirks (as all cameras do). But, it's a very nice camera (I bought one when it was first introduced, so I know the kinds of photos it's capable of).

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Old Jan 14, 2005, 9:49 PM   #7
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First off, I agree that the Epson 3000z is a nice camera. Inspite of what the articles say online and in print you can get a very good 8x10 inch print with this camera even though it only has 3.3mp. But it's slow, no articulating screen, no CF II capability, and no 7.1mp resolution. I have decided that whenever I take the next step I will give my youngest child the Epson. I oldest child got a Powershot 75 for her birthday nd she loves it. I was really surprised by the quality of the LCD images, especially the movies. Haven't yet printed out any 8x10s but that will come soon.

As to the G6, I have been to a local Ritz store and seen it in person. I was surprised by the weight compared to my Epson. It weighs 1 lb, just slightly more than the 7070 when they both have batteries. So weight is probably not an issue. But the G6 was just so small in my hands. I like the slightly larger size of the 7070 because I think it gives me more to hold onto. I also like the way the LCD articulates from the upper part of the back cavity versus the G6's articulation from the left side. It's a personal preference. I also like the 5x digital zoom versus the G6's 4x, although I would agree that the extra 30mm zooming power is a plus for the G6. But I find myself more often inside wishing I had a wider zoom than being outside and wishing I had something more powerful than 110. Since I am getting a miximum of 100mm zoom on my Epson 3000z and that includes use of the 2x digital and 3x optical zoom, I think either one of these new cameras will offer a great jump up in power for me.

The 7070 also has a larger aperture range: f2.8-f11 while the G6 has f2.0 to f8. So one is better at one end of the other is better at the other. However, since I take a lot of shots where I want as much control over depth of field the 7070 is going to work better for me, at least in this regard. And the 7070 has 11 resolution settings while the G6 only has 9. Not a deal breaker but it's nice to have the choices. It also has a shutter speed of 1/4000 while the G6 only has 1/2000. That will help with action shots.

I can also get closer in the super macro mode with the 7070 than I can with the G6, I have auto noise reduction at 1/2 second or longer with the 7070 whereas the G6's noise reduction does not kick in until the exposure time is at 1.5 seconds or longer.

I could go on with more comparisions where I think the G6 does not stack up to what the 7070 has to offer out of the box. Combine that with the wide angle and zoom attachments and the underwater housing and I think this is a great camera that anyone would love to have and have for a long time to come. But I think my final decision to go spend big bucks on any new camera has to wait until some of the review sites like this one can post some photos so that I can see just how this new camera is. Afteralll, it's the photos we are ultimately after, not the special features.


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Old Jan 14, 2005, 11:36 PM   #8
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jtmacb wrote:
Quote:
First off, I agree that the Epson 3000z is a nice camera. Inspite of what the articles say online and in print you can get a very good 8x10 inch print with this camera even though it only has 3.3mp. But it's slow, no articulating screen, no CF II capability, and no 7.1mp resolution. I have decided that whenever I take the next step I will give my youngest child the Epson. I oldest child got a Powershot 75 for her birthday nd she loves it. I was really surprised by the quality of the LCD images, especially the movies. Haven't yet printed out any 8x10s but that will come soon.
Yes, 3MP is plenty for an 8x10" print. Unless you're looking at an image very close, most users wouldn't know the difference by going with more resolution.

Where more megapixels comes in handy is for larger print sizes, and it can give you more room for cropping.

Quote:
I also like the 5x digital zoom versus the G6's 4x, although I would agree that the extra 30mm zooming power is a plus for the G6.
I wouldn't worry about Digital Zoom when comparing a camera. In fact, with models I've owned that had it, I disabled it to make sure I didn't accidently use it. All Digital Zoom does is crop a photo, then interpolate it back up to the original resolution (enlarge it again, by adding pixels not captured by the camera, based on the values of adjacent pixels). So, you are not capturing any more detail than you have using optical zoom.

You can do the same thing later using software, with more control over the framing and interpolation process. I use irfanview for this process (it has a sophisticated Lanczos based interpolation algorithm, and it's a free software package).

But, I wouldn't use anymore than needed. Because resolution is computed by multiplying width x height, if you crop a photo to make it look like you used twice as much optical zoom (or use 2x Digital Zoom), it takes 4 times the resolution to maintain the same amount of detail in pixels per inch compared to using using twice as much optical zoom.

In other words, you end up with 1/4 the pixels captured by the camera using 2x Digital Zoom. The camera is simply enlarging the image again after cropping it (adding pixels based on the values of existing pixels). So, the more Digital Zoom you use, the more quality degrades.

Basically, there's no substitute for Optical Zoom, if you really need to bring a subject in closer. For example, even a 2 Megapixel Camera with a 200mm lens, can capture just as much detail (real pixels representing your subject)as an 8 Megapixel Camera with a 100mm lens using 2x Digital Zoom.

Many users think that they can use a higher megapixel model with Digital Zoom and still get good detail -- not realizing that it takes 4 times the resolution (versus twice the resolution) if they crop a photo to make it look like twice as much optical zoom is being used -- if they want to maintain the same amount of detail in a subject.

Here is a table of popular "long zoom" models that compares their resolving ability:

http://www.geocities.com/digital_ray...oomzoomv6.html


Quote:
But I find myself more often inside wishing I had a wider zoom than being outside and wishing I had something more powerful than 110. Since I am getting a miximum of 100mm zoom on my Epson 3000z and that includes use of the 2x digital and 3x optical zoom, I think either one of these new cameras will offer a great jump up in power for me.
The Epson 3000z has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 102mm (without using Digital Zoom). Again, Digital Zoom does not increase detail captured anyway. It's only cropping a photo (removing the outside edges) to make it appear that more optical zoom is being used. Then, it adds pixels not captured by the camera to enlarge the image again.

The wider angle lens of the C-7070WZ would be a good thing for many users. I personally take most of my photos at the wider end of the lens, too.

Quote:
The 7070 also has a larger aperture range: f2.8-f11 while the G6 has f2.0 to f8. So one is better at one end of the other is better at the other. However, since I take a lot of shots where I want as much control over depth of field the 7070 is going to work better for me, at least in this regard. And the 7070 has 11 resolution settings while the G6 only has 9. Not a deal breaker but it's nice to have the choices.
You have tremendous Depth of Field with a small Digital Camera, thanks to the small sensor size, and short actual focal length of the lens. Shooting at f/8 on a Digital Camera with a 1/1.8" CCD is like shooting at an aperture smaller than f/32 on a 35mm camera from a Depth of Field Perspective (and most 35mm lenses won't go with apertures that small).

See this handy online Depth of Field calculator to see how this works, making sure to use the actual (versus 35mm equivalent) focal length of the lens, after plugging in a camera model with the same size sensor as you want to compare. The lens on your Epson has an actual focal length of 7-21mm. You can use the Epson 3100 to see how this works:

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

The small size of the lens is why you don't see many models with an aperture smaller than f/8. Even at f/8 you start getting some diffraction error, causing softer images.

At full wide angle on a camera like the G6, at f/8, you have a hyperfocal distance of 3.57 feet (everything fromless than 2 feettoto infinity would be acceptably sharp at that focus distance).

The short actual focal lengths of the lenses on a non-DSLR model is what makes it very hard to blur backgrounds by using a larger aperture (smaller f/stop number) unless you are very close to your subject.

Quote:
And the 7070 has 11 resolution settings while the G6 only has 9. Not a deal breaker but it's nice to have the choices.
If you like 4x6" prints, the 3:2 Aspect Ratio Mode of the Olympus could come in handy, to prevent the need to crop images later. Many users like this feature (but a 4:3 Aspect Ratio works better for larger prints).

Quote:
It also has a shutter speed of 1/4000 while the G6 only has 1/2000. That will help with action shots.
You don't need 1/4000 second for action shots. ;-)

Also, you have to have enough light to use it. Action shots is where the brighter lens of the G6 would have a big advantage in real world use.

For example: on an overcast day, with an EV of 12 (the way light is measured), at maximum zoom on the C-7070WZ (where the largest available aperture is f/4.8 ), you'd need shutter speeds of 1/180 second for proper exposure.

In contrast, the G6 could shoot at ISO 100 and 1/500 second in the same lighting and focal length, since it's largest available aperture would still be at least f/2.8 at a 35mm equivalent focal length of 110mm.

So, you'd need to shoot at higher ISO speeds with the C-7070WZ, just to get shutter speeds close to what the G6 woud be able to achieve at lower ISO speeds, adding noise to the C-7070WZ images.

If lighting was lower, then you may not be able to get shutter speeds fast enough to prevent motion blur for some action shots with the C-7070WZ, regardless of ISO speed. So, the brighter lens of the G6, allowing shutter speeds 2 to 3 times as fast as the C-7070WZ, depending on amount of zoom used, can be a big help for stopping action.

The aperture scale (in one stop increments) goes f/1.0, f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8.0, f/11, f/16, f/22, etc. With each one stop move to a smaller aperture (represented by larger f/stop numbers), you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure.

Here is achart you can use to get anidea of the shutter speeds required for any EV and Aperture (but make sure to use your camera's metering, as lighting can vary -- this is only to give you an idea of how it works). It's based on ISO 100. So, each time double the ISO speed, you can use shutter speeds twice as fast:

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleedawson/dcnotes/tables.htm

Quote:
I can also get closer in the super macro mode with the 7070 than I can with the G6, I have auto noise reduction at 1/2 second or longer with the 7070 whereas the G6's noise reduction does not kick in until the exposure time is at 1.5 seconds or longer.
Yes, the Olympus models have very good macro ability. As far as noise reduction, this is not noise reduction as you think of it. This is a dark frame subtraction method of noise reduction.

Dark Frame Subtraction Noise Reductiontakes two photos (one of your subject, and another with the shutter closed).

Then, it looks for hot pixels in the dark frame exposure, and maps them out in the actual exposure (by interpolating values from adjacent pixels to replace the pixels thatare hot). It knows where to find them, since two exposures of the same length, taken about about the same time, usually have hot pixels in the same locations.

Canon probably didn't implement it until exposures were longer, since it didn't expect to find hot pixels on shorter exposures (and dark frame noise reduction doubles your exposure time).

Quote:
I could go on with more comparisions where I think the G6 does not stack up to what the 7070 has to offer out of the box. Combine that with the wide angle and zoom attachments and the underwater housing and I think this is a great camera that anyone would love to have and have for a long time to come.
I'm sure the C-7070WZ will be a nice camera. I just wanted to make sure you are comparing the right things for your use. Most users complain about blurry photos from slower shutter speeds more than anything else. Since you're used to a model with a brighter lens, I just wanted to point out the benefits of the G6 in this area.

Quote:
But I think my final decision to go spend big bucks on any new camera has to wait until some of the review sites like this one can post some photos so that I can see just how this new camera is. Afteralll, it's the photos we are ultimately after, not the special features.
I think it will probably do very well, based on previous Olympus Models.


Edit - Added:

I'm not trying to "sell" the G6 over the C-7070WZ... I just want to make you aware of some of the differences, since you already have a model with a brighter lens.

Personally, I like a model with a wider angle of view like the Olympus, and I've always been impressed with images from Olympus models.I also think it's a better looking camera compared to the Canon. ;-)

I have no reason tothink that the new C-7070WZ won't be a great choice in the new 7MP category. Hopefully, Steve will have the review of this model up in the not too distant future, so you can see how it compares.

If you really need better control of Depth of Field (for example, using a larger aperture to help your subject stand out from backgrounds, then I'd encourage you to look at one of the DSLR models instead). Likewise, if you really need to bring a subject in closer, I'd encourage you to look at a model with a longer optical zoom.

Unfortunately, there is no one "perfect camera" for all users and shooting conditions. So, you have to make compromises, selecting the one that fits you the best (and each user will have different preferences and requirements). Then, take advantage of a camera's strengths, and work around it's limitations.


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Old Jan 15, 2005, 11:49 AM   #9
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Thanks for spending a lot of time addressing each of the point in my last email. You obviously know a great deal more about these cameras than I do. And you made some very good points regarding advantages of the G6, especially with respect to its ability to take photos without blur in low light situations compared to the 7070.

The last thing I want to do is buy a new camera and find that I really don't get a whole lot more than my current 3000z provides. My most common problem has to do with wanting to crop and still produce a 5x7 or 8x10 print and that is the main reason I wan to upgrade to a 7+ MP camera such as the 7070 or the G6.

Are there any other models that have most if not all of the features of these two that I should consider? My upper price range is $800 and I woud prefer to spend no more than $700. I have a Canon Rebel so I realize I could go with the digital model and be able to use my lenses. But it doesn't have the articulating LCD screen, nor the movie mode and I really like those two features. Plus I am trying to reduce the size of my digital camera from what I have with the 3000z and the Rebel certainly will not accomplish that goal. But maybe something else does? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

And thanks again for the detailed nature of your last response.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 1:19 PM   #10
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jtmacb wrote:
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Thanks for spending a lot of time addressing each of the point in my last email. You obviously know a great deal more about these cameras than I do. And you made some very good points regarding advantages of the G6, especially with respect to its ability to take photos without blur in low light situations compared to the 7070.

Depending on the lighting conditions, you may have problems with either model. That's one of the advantages of a DSLR (ability to shoot at much higher ISO speeds).

Also, you can always use a tripod to prevent motion blur from camera shake (as long as your subject is stationary), or use a flash if within the flash range.

But, from time to time, I see a user that is accustomed to a model with an f/2.0 or brighter lens, that buys a new camera, and can't figure out why their photos without a flash are blurry inside. With the older 3MP models with bright lenses (Epson 3000z, Epson 3100z, Olympus C-3040z, Sony DSC-S70, Toshiba PDR-M70, etc.), you could usually get away with taking photos in a well lit interior without a flash or tripod.

So, when these users buy a new model, with higher noise as ISO speeds are increased, and a lens that is not as bright, they are sometimes disappointed (asking why their photos are blurry and/or grainy in the same conditions).

I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the differences, since you own an older model with a brighter lens. Very few current models have a lens as bright as your Epson's (with the G6 being one of them).

Of course, the 3000z did have some quirks (for example, a tendency to use 1/15 second shutter speeds with flash indoors, which sometimes resulted in motion blur from ambient light exposure). So, you needed to adjust it's settings for best results. Likewise, it's viewfinder has a lot of parallax error (sometimes resulting in focusing on the background versusthe subject at closer ranges). But, in general, it was capable of some really nice photos (very bright and sharp lens, with very good image processing algorithms).

Quote:
The last thing I want to do is buy a new camera and find that I really don't get a whole lot more than my current 3000z provides. My most common problem has to do with wanting to crop and still produce a 5x7 or 8x10 print and that is the main reason I wan to upgrade to a 7+ MP camera such as the 7070 or the G6.
Well, a 7MP model would give youabout twice the resolution. Now, this doesn't mean that you can print at 11x14" versus 5x7" (since an 11x14" print has 4 times the area as a 5x7" print, you need 4 times the resolution to maintain the same amount of detail).

One of your problems may be how you are cropping and printing your images.

You could probably get away with cropping a 7MP image to make it look like you're using twice as much optical zoom (or use 2x Digital Zoom), and still get an acceptable quality 8x10" print -- depending on how much detail you really need.

Some subjects interpolate better than others. For example, foilage (where you may only a few pixels representing something) doesn't enlarge well. This is because your brain fills in the gaps at smaller print sizes, and when you interpolate, you don't have enough real detail captured to make an enlargement that your brain accepts as detail.

Yet, a larger subject that has more pixels representing it in the original image can do very well at larger sizes using good interpolation algorithms. Portraits are great example.

If I were you, I'd download irfanview from http://www.irfanview.com (it's free). Make sure to download the free plugins, too. Then, go to some of the sample images in the reviews here, and download a full size original of a scene like you would normally crop. Crop it with irfanview. and go to the Image, Resize/Resample menu choice. Select Lanczos from the list of "slower" interpolation algorithms, and enlarge the image again.

To prevent pixelation (where you begin to see "jaggies", grain, etc. -- which is caused by a lower number of pixels per inch), enlarge the image back up to at least 180 pixels per inch before printing. Anything muchlower than this and you begin to see problems on most inkjets.

For example, if printing at an 8x10" size, crop and enlarge the image (using Lanczos) back up to 1440 x 1800 pixels (8 inches x 180 pixels per inch = 1440 pixels; 10 inches x 180 pixels per inch = 1800 pixels).

With some inkjets, 240 pixels per inch is better.

Then, print an image to see what to expect from models you are considering. Note that Digital Zoom on newer models will use similar interpolation algorithms. Personally, I prefer not to use Digital Zoom, since you can more carefully crop for framing later using software.

Again, interpolation (or Digital Zoom) does not increase the amount of detail captured by the camera. Only Optical Zoom can do that. But, it does prevent pixelation (from not enough pixel density for good quality prints).

So, your problem from cropping may be from the way you are enlarging your images, if you are enlarging them at all before printing (you need to use a more sophisticated algorithm for best results, versus the simple enlargement techniques used by many image editors).

BTW, there is a very good software package capable of interpolating an image so that it's output is optimized for the printer you are using, too. Check out Qimage Pro if you have time (they have a trial version so that you can see how it works). You may be pleasantly surprised at how much better an image looks printed using sophisticated interpolation techniques, versus the way you're currently trying to crop and print.

http://www.ddisoftware.com/qimage/

Quote:
Are there any other models that have most if not all of the features of these two that I should consider? My upper price range is $800 and I woud prefer to spend no more than $700. I have a Canon Rebel so I realize I could go with the digital model and be able to use my lenses. But it doesn't have the articulating LCD screen, nor the movie mode and I really like those two features. Plus I am trying to reduce the size of my digital camera from what I have with the 3000z and the Rebel certainly will not accomplish that goal. But maybe something else does? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Well, there is no free lunch. Most models with more optical zoom (ultra zoom category) tend to use even smaller sensors than you find in a model like the C-7070WZ. Otherwise, their lenses would need to be larger and heavier to get the same 35mm equivalent focal lengths. As a general rule, smaller sensors mean higher noise as ISO speeds are increased (and you need higher ISO speeds in some conditions to get shutter speeds faster).

Also, the more zoom you use, the faster shutter speeds need to be to prevent motion blur from camera shake if you're not using a tripod. This is because camera shake is greatly magnified as more zoom is used. The "rule of thumb" is you need shutter speeds of 1/focal length to prevent motion blur from camera shake. For example, if using a 35mm equivalent focal length of 100mm, you want shutter speeds of 1/100 second or faster. Or, if using a 35mm equivalent focal length of 400mm, you want shutter speeds of 1/400 second or faster.

This is only a rule of thumb, as some users can hold a camera steadier compared to others.

When comparing cameras, you may want to look at the settings you were using for photos that you had problems with using the Epson 3000z. The free Irfanview package I mentioned above lets you look at the camera settings used (with much more detail than you had in a package like Image Expert that shipped with your Epson).

If you open an unedited original with irfanview, you'll see this information under Image, Information, EXIF. That way, you'd know if doing something like increasing ISO speed would have helped (each time you double ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast); or usinga larger aperture would have helped, etc.

You could also get a better idea what percentage of your photos needed a longer zoom.

Trying the above techniques may let you know if something like the Olympus may be a better choice, or if you may need to go with a model with a much longer zoom lens (for example, one of the 10-12x Ultra Zoom Models. Again, there are always tradeoffs (size, weight, noise levels, etc.) when buying a camera.

Unfortunately, you can't have a model with a super bright lens, longer focal lengths, low noise, high resolution, ability to get a shallow depth of field easily using larger apertures, greatmovies, etc., in a smallcamerawith current technology.So, you need to decide what features are most important, based on the way you usea camera more often.
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