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Old Apr 29, 2006, 9:55 AM   #1
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First of all, a big hello to everybody. I'm new to these forums; new to digital photography as well.

I got by with a very old 1.3megapixel Olympus for many years. I didn't know much about photography at that time, and didn't really care much either as long as the pictures looked good. Well, last month I finally bought a new digicam, a Canon Powershot A540. I'm pretty happy with it, and the pictures look good, but I'm also becoming more and more interested in digital photography now. I spend an average of about 1 hour online learning about camera settings, photography tips & tricks, and general guidelines every night now. It's my new hobby and I love it. I already took lots of pictures and now I'm hooked. Here's the dillemma though, the more research I do, the more I find myself craving a new, more advanced camera.

I have narrowed the choices down to the following models:

Canon S3 IS - just came out recently,and I had a chance to check it out in a store and loved it. Don't know about picture quality yet compared to other models, but I really liked the feel of the camera and theoptions, though I don't care for movies that much. But I liked the tilt-screen, the smoothness of the zoom-lever, and the overall functionality of the camera

I also checked out the Panasonic Z7 today. It seemed like a great camera, but felt a bit "plasticky", and I thought the zoom lever was a bit unresponsive compared with the S3. Also I read a lot about image noise, though I think that won't be too much of a problem in my situation since I won't be making big prints anytime soon. I generally liked this camera a lot except for the zoom-lever, which felt kind of "sticky" compared to the S3/S2

I currently live in Japan, so things are a lot more expensive here, but I've been doing a bit of research on ebay and found some american stores which would ship to Japan, so I also looked at the FZ30 (about $700 in Japan, basic model), which I really liked due to the manual zoom ring and the overall professional feel of the camera.

So if you had to choose one of these cameras, which one would you go for in my situation; kinda new to digital photography, but ready to go a bit more advanced? Other than the three cameras I mentioned, do you have any other suggestions?

Also, do you know any good, reputable, and reasonably pricedstores which will ship internationally?

Thanks for all your help.

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Old Apr 30, 2006, 1:43 PM   #2
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Essentially Shaolin, all the cameras you mention have a big following. Moving from what you had to one of these cameras will be enjoyable. You can do what we all do...which is read and re-read all the reviews and commentscontained on this and other sites, but you will eventually reach the same conclusion as most of us...they all are good cameras, and all have slight drawbacks. Unless there is something very specific that you feel is important, eg...the Canons are well liked for their video quality, any of these cameras will be fun to own and use, and the more you read, the more indecisive you will become! If you already have gut feel about the S2...trust your gut feel, buy it and start shooting! If your anything like me, it will take you sometime to even discover what these cameras can do. If BIG prints are not an essential, then any of the models will give you quality images. Its true that these big zooms suffer from noise at higher iso's, but thats the trade off with having that flexibility with the zoom capability. To me, as an amatuerbird photographer, I need that instant opportunity to capture a shot of a rare bird that might be there for a few seconds, and a fair distance from me, hence the ready big zoom. No good switching the lens on a SLR to the best lens in the world...when the subjects disappeared!

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Old May 1, 2006, 2:25 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I think I've become really confused already since I've been reading and re-reading all the reviews and comments of the people here. I think I've narrowed the choice down to either the S3, or FZ7 for now, unless I can find an FZ30 for under $600. This weekend, I'm going to an electronics store, armed with a memory card and I'll ask if I can use my card in the cameras to take pictures, and then compare at home. It's such a tough decision since all these cameras seem really good, but all have their drawbacks as well.

BTW, does anybody have any suggestions about stores which ship internationally?

Thanks for your help.
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Old May 1, 2006, 2:40 AM   #4
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i own the fz30 i think its a great camera. It does everyhing i wantd fomr a camera. Really sharp shots right through the zoom range. butit really depends whats important to you and what you arew looking ofr in a cam. FZ7 is the new series of the fz family. However the fz30 is an older model.

Noise isprobably higher than most cams in this range of cams in the fz30 however i was really impressed with th enoise levels of the fz7 even right upto iso1600. After using the pana cameras i love the way they operate.

thts a relaly good idea to go into a store and play.


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