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Old Aug 4, 2003, 8:21 PM   #1
TJS
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Default Panasonic LC33 vs Canon A70 (and Office Max Discount)

I have been looking for a compact camera for several weeks and have narrowed it down to the Panasonic LC33 or Canon A70. Both seem to be very good and I have looked at numerous sites and sample pictures. The LC33 is a bit smaller (in thickness) and lighter, but the A70 has a great following, support and options and takes better movie shots (at VGA)l plus appears to have better manual options. It also allows add on lenses which may be nice in the future. The prices are similar so that is not a factor. I have heard that the LC33 may not be as good in lower light. Anyone have any comments on the two?

Also, I noted that Office Max is offering a free 128mb memory disk with the LC33 through 9/30/03. It shows up in their rebate booklet , not in their ad flyer - and may be available only on line, as I did not see that model at my local store. They do have the A70 there with a similar offer (128mb free CF disk until 8/9/03).
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Old Aug 7, 2003, 7:50 PM   #2
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I was considering the same 2 cameras but I bought the A70. Let me tell you why.
Picture quality seemed pretty even so that wasn't a factor. What I liked about the A70 was; the full manual controls, the AF illuminator and, the fact that the flash had a much longer range than that of the Panasonic. I don't know how much SD cards go for but, I bought a SanDisk 256MB card (brand new) on ebay for $50.

Mark
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Old Sep 4, 2003, 4:59 PM   #3
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Default Panasonic LC33 vs. Canon A70

I went for the Panasonic for a number of reasons:

LC33 more "pocketable" - I like the A70 handgrip and extra 2 batteries, but it does mean you have to carry it outside your pocket.

LC 33 slightly sharper - this may be subjective, but Steve's shots of his M+M seem to confirm it

LC 33 is USB mass storage device compliant - critical to me as I use OS/2 and so can't use the bundled software


However the other points are equally valid - A70 has manual controls, add-on lenses, etc. I also find that out of the box the LC33 pictures are a little too contrasty, I tend to have to pull up the gamma correction to 1.20 before resizing etc. to send with e-mails. They look very good printed as is though!

Regards,
Russell
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Old Sep 8, 2003, 8:22 AM   #4
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Default Canon A70 vs Panasonic LC33 (update)

Thanks for your responses. I did buy the A70 and have mixed feelings about it. It does produce very nice shots, especially in auto mode, and considering that is what I generally shoot in, I guess the manual features are not that important to me, although in the the future I may play with them more. It also does produce very nice videos with 15fps and VGA while the samples of the LC33 I have seen are only 10fps and 320x280 so they are not as nice, but at the higher res the A70 does take up a lot more room on the CF card so I find that I don't take many movies anyway. After using it for about a month now, one of the biggest concerns is the ability to take audio memos with it. I thought that would be easier, but it requires about 3 menu shifts, which stifles the spontaneous response time. I would like to be able to take a picture of someone and instantly press a button on the fly and get their voice response for archiving relating to the moment at hand (say a nature scene or whatever). If I go home and add the memo, it does not have the same effect, and the subjects are not likely to be there anyway, so I guess I am dissappointed in that aspect greatly. This may sound like a minor issue, but when I review old photos in my albums, the thing I would most like to have with them is a 20 sec sound clip of the "fun" of the moment of the group in them (or myself). I thought I could have that with the A70, but fiddling with the menus out in the sun to get that result has proved frustrating. I don't know if most of the other cameras are like that but I think it is a function the manufacturers are missing out on if they are. The outher issue with the A70 is the size and weight, I think the LC33 is just enough smaller and lighter to make it's general carrying more usable. I find myself carrying the A70 in my pants pocket when I am hiking so I can quickly get to it (without unsnapping or unzipping an extra carrying case) for spontaneous shots of things on the trail. If it was a little smaller (without the extra batteries?) it would fit a little better, and be lighter. I think I would sacrifice the extra time on the batteries over the size and weight issue, especially since the new rechargables are so cheap and effecient. Otherwise the A70 is a very nice value for its cost. You just have to weigh your needs for what is best. I also would like a more powerful zoom, which I can add on to the A70 for about $60 which is a nice feature, although maybe a DSLR is more warranted for those more serious shots in the future.

Tomas :lol:
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Old Sep 10, 2003, 6:38 PM   #5
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TJS:

Let me apologize about the voice memo feature. I didn't even think about that when you asked for an opinion between the two and to be honest with you, I have never even used it on my A70. When people ask for a camera opinion, I think about, picture quality, shutter lag, controls, etc. but, I never think of something like that. Do you know what I mean? To me this is just an added feature that the manufacturer added because, another one added it.
As far as the size concerns go, I usually carry mine around in my front pocket too and find it OK. I'm not really sure how much of a difference you'ld notice with the Panasonic. It really isn't that noticebly smaller. Furthermore, if you want, they do sell cases for the camera that will attach to your belt. That's another option.
Anyhow, in the long run, I do hope you're happy with your camera and it serves you well.

Mark
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Old Sep 26, 2003, 2:13 PM   #6
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I'm thinking of upgrading from the LC20 to the LC33. Any further opinions on the A70 vs LC33 debate?

I like the fact that the LC33 is considerably smaller than the LC20, and have been extremely happy with the LC20, and the A70 grip felt very awkward for me. So I'm leaning very heavily towards the LC33 and will probably get it soon to get in on the free 128MB. I know many of the complaints I hear about the LC33 is the lack of manual controls. From using the LC20, I pretty much only use the white correction anyway.

Also, I've seen several negative reviews on Amazon about the SanDisk 256MB SD card having compatability issues with some devices. Anyone have any experience with this memory card with either the LC20 or LC33?
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Old Sep 26, 2003, 3:35 PM   #7
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Default LC33 VS the A70 followup

Hyperman:

Look at my notes above, after using the A70 for awhile, I really like the pictures it produces, but then the LC33 shows great samples in the reviews I have seen. One thing I did notice in the reviews was that it appears that the A70 performs better in low light and indoors - especially in shadowy areas or where the flash may not reach. That may be a consideration if you are going to do a lot of indoor shooting - otherwise it is a close call for most other reasons. I still like the slightly lighter and smaller aspect of the LC33. If audio is an issue, you may want to find out how simple it is to add clips to the photos as I mentioned in my previous response. Good luck.
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Old Oct 2, 2003, 9:14 AM   #8
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Default LC33 and SanDisk SD card

I have the 256MB SanDisk card - works OK for me. Not quite as cheap per MB as the free Panasonic one though!
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Old Oct 3, 2003, 10:24 AM   #9
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FWIW, here are my 0.02$ on this...

I bought both cameras.

The advantages the Panasonic have over the Canon A70 are:
1) can take movies as long as there is place to store them, the limit in the canon is really annoying
2) slightly lighter and slightly more compact
3) slightly faster response. The A70 is not slow at all, and its close to be nagliable.
4) 30-40$ cheaper than the A70.


In terms of image quality (noise levels, color balance, sharpness, resolution detail) and movie quality (while it lasts) - the canon is just better.

Don't get me wrong, the Panasonic very good and produces good images, but the A70 pictures a simply better, at least IMO.


The A70 also offers full Manual controls. I got into digital photography only 6 months ago. After a while on "auto" mode I started to investigate the controls more deeply and I got used used to have the ability to adjust the shutter speed or the arpeture. And I missed it in the LC33.


Someone mentioned the "bulky" grip of the A70, while it is a bit less compact, its feels good, and you can hold the camera for a long time in one hand and the feel is very steardy. A thing I simply can't say for the LC33.

One thing is that the A70 is not pocketable, you can't put it in the front pocket - either carry it in a case or in a Jacket hand pocket (which has a zipper). This is manily due to the big handgrip. The LC33 is more compact but though I could put it in my front pocket, I wouldn't put it in a Jeans pocket, since the lens cover is not very rugged.
The only camera without a sliding lens cover that I would put in a front Jeans pocket, is the Pentax Optio S, but its a lot more expensive and picture quality is doesn't seems as good as the LC33 or the A70.

I bought it for a friend that asked to buy it specifically so I had a couple of days to play with it.

It also boils down to price. SD cards are now as cheap as Compact Flash, so for a 40$ difference I would go with the Canon, if I could find a hot deal on the LC33, around 100$ less than the canon, I'd go for the panasonic.


Erez
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Old Dec 9, 2003, 11:56 PM   #10
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I own the Panasonic LC33. I tested it against my friend's A70.

The picture quality was about the same, the LC33 has a weaker flash, but neither flash is excellent because of the limitations of a compact camera.

I missed the full controls only a couple times, not a big deal for most, but an important factor for many pro's on forums such as these.

I really only missed one feature - 15 sec exposure for constelation shots. The LC33 has only 8 which is not enough for real star photography.

But the reality is that I don't take pictures of stars very often unless I'm testing cameras. I'm too busy as a student with a job. My camera is for general use and occational macro photos.

The LC33 was my selection because Office Max had a sale where it was $199.99, it came with a free SD card (128mb) and a FREE Epson 825 photo printer. The card is worth about $45, the printer was $100 new (and I'd say worth about $85, it's very good!) so no matter what this was a great deal. The LC33 itself has been great, very few poor shots and always user error, not the camera's fault!

I was able to take great night time city light shots with not too much noise and great looking prints with out even opening the manual (the menus are SO easy!). AND I was able to let a 6 year old cousin run around shooting away on simple mode and were got some great results! My mother who knows nothing of digital cameras took some shots and they all cam out perfect (better than my olympus film camera ever did!).

Basically, the A70 is better because it has more controls and an AF illuminator. If those are factors you care about, ever heard of, or require then in all likelyhood you are in the market for an evern more costly camera that has those features and more. For me the LC33 was a great fit because of the quality and cost (though I do miss those other features, even if I would only likely use them a couple times a month at most).

Seriously, if you've never heard of "f-stop" or "AF illuminator" and if you don't think you'll be getting into more advanced photography, this is a great replacement for your point and shoot film camera with more features and a lower price than the Canon A70.

Just my $.02
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