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fralico Jan 16, 2006 5:18 AM

I now have an SLR with (among others) a zoomlens of 100-300 mm. The body is giving some problems, so I'm going to switch to a digital camera. Since I do not want to haul all my lenses etc around any longer it will probably be a compact camera. However, we spend most of our holidays in Africa. This meansthat I need a fast camera to capture the animals during gamedrives. I have experienced that 300 mm is notalways enough to get nice close-ups of the animals or to get a nice frame-filling picture, so I think that I might need12 x zoom (maybe even with a teleconverter)

What camerawould you recommend?

tennisforums Jan 16, 2006 5:40 AM

You might want to take a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ5 and the Canon S2 IS.

B-H Jan 16, 2006 11:30 AM

There are lots of 12x zoom cameras out there. the S2 and FZ5 are good, but if you're used to an SLR you might want to think about something a little higher up, like a Panasonic FZ30 or Fuji S9000.

mtclimber Jan 17, 2006 10:51 AM

Quite honestly, because I own and use both the Canon S-2 and the Fuji S-9000, it is my opinion that the output from the Canon S-2 is sharper and more dependable than the images from my S-9000.

This could be a matter of personal preference, that is true. However, the Canon S-2 is an excellent and dependable camera and costs $100 less. That is something to consider.


Hards80 Jan 17, 2006 12:36 PM

the panasonic lz-30 with its image stabilized leica 35-420 lens is probably the best bet for your coming from an slr.. it offers better controls than much of the competition.. the biggest advantages being the manual zoom ring (MUCH MUCH faster), fulltime manual focus, and some of the better shot-shot times in its class.. and with RAW support and many features it has alot of room to grow into..

the s9000 from fuji also boast great handling with its manual zoom ring and wealth of image control.. and for scenic shots its 28-300mm lens is probably superior.. but being shorter on focal length and lacking image stabilization it is not quite as good for telephoto shots..

the others in this class, ths S2's, the sony H1s, and panasonic Fz-5 etc are all great cameras in their own rights.. but the aforementioned cameras offer controls that are more slr like and responsive and offer a little more room to grow into..

just my 2 cents, good luck!

peripatetic Jan 18, 2006 2:48 AM

Panasonic LZ30 would be my recommendation for sure.

If you have some serious cash to spend you could also try the Leica D-Lux2 (Panasonic LX1) with a Leica spotting scope and attachment. Prob ~$4000 in total, excluding tripod.

I have never tried one but it offers a massive zoom range (up to the equivalent of 3000mm ? can that be right ? but it says 20x-60x zoom! ) and I have seen some birdy-folk using them where DSLRs just don't have the reach they need. Photographing small birds across rivers and so on.

umbalito Jan 18, 2006 4:02 AM

Panasonic FZ20 (one model down from the FZ30), very cheap right now. With a 36-432mm zoom lens capable of f/2.8 from wide to telephoto. This might be your best bet. Best bang for your buck.

The Panasonic FZ30 goes from 35-420mm but isn't quiet as fast (f/2.8-f/3.7) but has an "extended zoom range" of up to 19x ~665mm at 3mp. But it is similar to digital zoom. But my main gripe with this is that is is priced close to lower end DSLR bodies like the Nikon D50. Although of course a similar SLR lens would cost a lot more.

Canon S2 IS is 36-432mm (f/2.7-f/3.5) It is loaded with lots of features such as a great movie mode with stereo sound if that is something you want. I have owned one, but I personally did not like mainly because of ergonomics. It is small, and you say you have an SLR, so the S2 might feel different. Personally I always kept pressing the macro and manual focus buttons at the barrel even when I had the adapter on as there wasnt any place for my left hand. But of course, if you like your camera's small, then it is a good bet.

But the Panasonic FZ5 is smaller still. Its 36-432mm (f/2.8-f/3.3) but its not as loaded with features as the S2.

The Panasonic FZ20 and 30 have manual focus rings for more precies focusing. The FZ30 also has a manual zoom ring, although I don't think it is as advantageous as a manual focus ring.

Hards80 Jan 18, 2006 10:43 AM

i think the mechanical zoom ring is VERY ADVANTAGEOUS, especially for someone used to a dslr.. its very difficult to go from a smooth, continuous zoom to a motorized push-a-button zoom on the other models mentioned.. therefore, i think you are better off w/ the FZ-30..

fralico Jan 21, 2006 11:32 AM

Thanks for your advice.

Today I have seen and felt some of the cameras you recommended. The Panasonic FZ 5 and the Canon S2 are too small, I think I will have problems with those. The Panasonic FZ 20 does not feel very good, my "trigger" finger has difficulty in finding the trigger.

I think I'm going for the FZ30, because of the manual zoom ring and the OIS.


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