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-   -   Canon SX200, Samsung WB550 or Panasonic DMCZS1K (

nech770 Dec 23, 2009 7:56 PM

Canon SX200, Samsung WB550 or Panasonic DMCZS1K
I posted a request for advice yesterday but got no responses... I have been lurking a while and have always been impressed with how helpful people have been.... quite surprised nobody responded... maybe it is due to the holidays.... I want some advice since if I find a good boxing day price I want to take advantage of it.

I am looking for something for basic family use... taking pics of the kids, during school plays, at the park, birthday parties etc.....
Here is what I would like in a camera...
  • Budget - $250-$300
  • Good clear pictures - wont' be printing larger than 5x7 maybe occasional 8x10 but I want to occasionally crop the photos
  • Easy to use in variety of settings inside and out - mostly will be in auto mode - although the option to control some stuff may lead me to learn more about photography which I have been wanting to do
  • Good Zoom - 10x at least - can't always be in the front at school plays etc when I have other little ones that require a quick exit...
  • Wide angle
  • Small size - so I can put in purse or diaper bag and not add a lot of weight
  • Movie mode is a nice bonus but doesn't need to be HD as I don't even own an HD TV - Zooming in movie mode is good but not essential
I am leaning towards the samsung - but am concerned someone I know in photography told me that I should stick with companies that make cameras - and Samsung is not a camera company... but then I was told they are hitting the market pretty hard and really are coming out on top.
  • Panasonic - less attractive as it does not have HD video, and from what I have been reading not good indoors.
  • Canon SX200 - a little more than I want to spend.. but if it is heads and shoulders above the others I am willing to spend a little more.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance

mtclimber Dec 24, 2009 11:40 AM


In the $250 to $300 range, Personally I see the Sony H-20 as one of the better choices. It has the best auto mode in its class, the best built-in flash in its class, takes HD video and allows you to zoom while filming. It is also priced less than the Canon SX-200.

The Canon Sx-200 is a good camera. However, some folks are very preturbed by the fact that the pop-up built-in flash pops up and into your hand hold area whether you need the flash or not everytime the SX-200 is powered up. Early SX-200 cameras could not zoom while taking HD video. I understand that has now been corrected, but there is still some older stock out there so please be careful in making your selection.

The Panasonic ZS-1 is well priced and it takes wonderful photo outdoors. Problems crop up when you need flash indoors. The built-in flash unti is so small and very under powered that indoor image quality is measurably and negatively affected. I would think twice on the ZS-1. I own one and have to cope with that veryb problem quite frequently. The result is that I never use the camera inside very much at all.

I have no hands on experience with the Samsung WB-500 itself, but my experience with Samsung cameras in general has been very/rather negative. So I would pass on the WB-500.

Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 24, 2009 11:49 AM

Thanks for your reply... The sony is too big... I also want to have the wide angle that is does not have... so that is ruled out.
You are saying that samsung not a good idea - it seemed best bang for buck... has a 24mm instead of 28mm that the canon and panasonic have
Besides the flash issue with the canon and it is more expensive are there any other drawbacks?
I really like the size of the fuji f70 but I have read from your reviews that it is hard to use... so I ruled it out.. How hard is it really?
I am so confused..
Might spend a little more and get the canon... not sure..
Are there any others I am overlooking?

nech770 Dec 24, 2009 11:57 AM

oh yeah maybe you can explain the difference between 24mm and 28mm wide angle? is 24mm really better? I was told that 24mm will make people look fat... something about distortion... it is one thing that attracted me to the samsung was it had the widest angle lens. Maybe it is something I don't need.

mtclimber Dec 24, 2009 2:08 PM


A 24mm (in 35mm terms) lens is typically a great landscape lens. At 24mm you can use to taken photos of a larger group, and fit them all in, but, the will indeed look like they ate very well over the Christmas Holidays and gained 7 to 12 pounds in the process.

I have ordered in another Fuji F-70EXR to take another look at it. I really did not have the time to devote to the F-70EXR to be fair with my analysis. Now with time between Christmas and New Year's Day, I will have enough time to look more closely at the Fuji EXR system. The camera is due to arrive next Monday, December 28th.

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 24, 2009 2:41 PM

thanks I would love to hear your revised opinion of the fuji.. when I played with it at henrys seemed quite nice but then when I went to futureshop it seemed hard to take decent photos... so it worried me.. maybe at henrys they set it up a certain way for good shots or at futureshop with all the people touching it... the settings might have been changed the other way... also hard to tell from the pic on the screen the quality of the pic.. I don't care if the screen is not so clear, but the pics are good on the computer and printing out..
thanks again for replying

mtclimber Dec 24, 2009 2:55 PM

I agree, nech-

I am looking forward to a second look at the Fuji F-70EXR, because I have seen some really excellent photo samples from the camera. I have been told by a good photographer friend that the key is mastering the EXR system which at first glance seems very/somewhat "un-photgraphic" in its approach.

I will keep you posted.

Sarah Joyce

rinniethehun Dec 24, 2009 3:01 PM


Here is a handy focal length comparison tool which you can use to see the difference between 24 and 28mm focal lengths. If you are concerned about available light photography, also consider the Fuji F100 and F200EXR - they are both very good.

Good luck with your search.

the Hun

mtclimber Dec 24, 2009 4:24 PM

Good news, Nech-

The UPS lady just dropped off the Fuji F-70EXR. That was nice of Zmazon to get it out early. So the luch dishes are done and the new F-70's battery is now in the charger.

More later...

Sarah Joyce

mtclimber Dec 24, 2009 7:02 PM

1 Attachment(s)
OK, Nech-

Here is the 1st photo out of the F-70EXR taken indoors at ISO 1600. I think it looks pretty good, what are your thoughts?

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 24, 2009 7:56 PM

Glad to hear that - excited to hear what you think..

mtclimber Dec 24, 2009 8:38 PM


I am not satisfied with the photo at all, but, it is a one step along the way toward really understanding EXR. I will keep you posted.

Sarah Joyce

Mark1616 Dec 24, 2009 9:31 PM

Initial thoughts are that the WB looks off and that the skin looks plastic. Can't say anything about quality/noise as we don't have a 100% crop.

nech770 Dec 24, 2009 10:20 PM


Originally Posted by Mark1616 (Post 1031210)
Initial thoughts are that the WB looks off and that the skin looks plastic. Can't say anything about quality/noise as we don't have a 100% crop.

What does that mean WB off? And skin looks plastic? I will take a look on my computer.. my laptop screen always makes everything look off... but I don't see what is wrong - isn't ISO 1600 very high aren't you supposed to stay under 800 for good pictures? The reviews I have read say stay under 800 or there is too much noise... but I honestly don't know what that means...

Mark - what does a 100% crop mean? I can't zoom on this one... it is not 100%? please explain. Sorry if this sounds like a silly question but I am new at all this wanting to learn.

Mark1616 Dec 24, 2009 10:51 PM

Hi nech, I was answering Sarah's question "Here is the 1st photo out of the F-70EXR taken indoors at ISO 1600. I think it looks pretty good, what are your thoughts?". So WB is white balance, in very basic terms under different lighting the colours captured by a digital camera are affected so white isn't always white. In the photo this looks to be off so the colours are not accurate to what they eye would see. Sarah is giving an example for you of an image to hopefully help you in deciding if there is enough quality there, however reducing a photo from full size to web size potentially hides a lot of things.

This thread will help answer your questions around this and the 100% crop issue.

Why a resized photo is no use in showing camera quality

Don't worry, your questions are not silly at all and our goal is for you to learn and get the best advice so you can get the photos you desire so keep asking away :)

As for the noise issue, this is basically reduced image quality, innacurate pixels/colour caused by increasing the sensitivity to allow the sensor to capture a shot more quickly. Everything is a trade off in photography so you need to find the right balance.

Have a look at which allows you to change the ISO settings on the compared cameras and you can see the noise coming in as you go up the range. I know these are not cameras you were looking at but I was checking out something on the K-x yesterday and remembered they had this feature.

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 12:01 AM


I agree with you that the WB is way off. But that was the result of fooling around for 15 minutes on a very busy day. The pressure will slack off tomorrow, then I can do more learning and experimenting.

It most probably sounds stupid, but this EXR system will take something of a learning curve. I see this only as the front door to a long corridor. I can explore in silence, which is probably better, than posting poor but progressively better photos. When I do have a good answer, I will also post a 100% crop as well.

Merry Christmas.

Sarah Joyce

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 12:48 AM

1 Attachment(s)
OK, Nech and Mark-

Here is a 100% crop of a photo of a US $1 bill. The photo was of the whole bill, naturally this photo at a 100% crop, just shows the right hand lower corner. This photo was taken under a 60W ceiling light bulb at ISO 1600. The WB is not quite perfect, but beginning to get much, much closer. That looks pretty good for a $(US) 200.00 P+S camera at ISO 1600, at least to me. No noise reduction software was employed.

Sarah Joyce

Mark1616 Dec 25, 2009 3:40 AM

Thanks Sarah, do you have the one of your husband as something like a note is hard to see quality in something we are used to seeing and for most of us shooting people will one of the most regular things?

Thanks and have a lovely Christmas.

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 10:26 AM

That is an interesting point, Mary-

After a lot of thought last nigh I chose the $(US)1 note last night before going to bed, as we were really focused on the WB problem. I thought that most of the readers are used to seeing the note in daily life and could relate to the color (WB) and the intricate design in the corner area.

So I guess you are saying that was NOT a good choice. Strange, I thought it might be a good choice as most of the viewers would know what the colors should really look like.

Sarah Joyce

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 11:06 AM

1 Attachment(s)

It is very early on Christmas morning, so I am the only one up. This is a photo of a camera, not a person, but I believe that it serves the purpose nicely.

Here is the photo taken with the F-70EXR.

Sarah Joyce

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 11:10 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Here is the 100% crop of that same photo.

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 25, 2009 11:33 AM

I am nowhere near a photographer.. I think for a point and shoot mega zoom camera the results are really nice...

Did you need to play with the settings a lot? Was this on auto mode? Just trying to get a feel for how complex the camera is...
Also did you zoom in?
People keep talking about posting with EXIF what is that?

nech770 Dec 25, 2009 11:42 AM

I was also reading that with the compact cameras that have a small sensor sometimes a higher megapixel can actually result in a lower quality... because each pixel is so much smaller...
So the fact that the F70 reduces the megapixels to 5 from 10 (they combine sensor pixels or something to now have 2 pixels act as 1 - if I understand correctly) in the lower lighting EXR mode is actually a good thing that increases the sharpness correct?

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 1:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)

The set-up on the F-70 is very simple indeed. The F-70 essentially has two automatic modes. One is very traditional, it is a small red camera symbol or icon. The there is a mode labeled "EXR" which is another automatic mode. All the photos posted thus far have been taken using the EXR mode.

The last photos posted of the Canon SX 110 camera were taken using the macro or close-up mode, rather than by using the telephoto function. The pixel binning function that you described in your last post, is used when the F-70 is using the the numerically high ISO setting mode, for example when you are calling for ISO 1600.

So yes,while understanding the EXR mode is complex if you approach it in photographic terms, if you just use the EXR automatic mode, the F-70 does a very creditable job, using a fully automatic EXR mode where the camera itself, select the appropriate EXR mode to use and takes the photo.

EXIF is a term used to describe the exposure information that is recorded automatically by any digital camera whenever a photo is taken. Special software, and some photo editing programs can read that EXIF data. Here is how the EXIF data from the last photo posted looks like.

Sarah Joyce

Mark1616 Dec 25, 2009 1:43 PM

I was interested particularly in the potential plastic skin tones and noise at these higher ISOs at the range from Fuji is very interesting.

Have a good day with the family and hope they boys (big and small) enjoy their new cameras.

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 4:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Mark-

The cameras were a big hit. They have been doing videos of everything in sight. That is the fun of Christmas.

I did get Bradley to sit down long enough for a photo to show skin color, and texture for you. This photo is at ISO 400 indoors without any flash straight out of the F-70 camera with only re-sizing.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah Joyce

mtclimber Dec 25, 2009 4:52 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Here is the 100% crop of the same picture.

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 27, 2009 10:02 AM

To me the photos look pretty good for this class of camera...
So now I need to ask - I have pretty much ruled out the samsung
It is now down to the canonsx200 or the fuji f70 - the canon is selling for $320CAD (@adencameras) and the Fuji is $240CAD($230+$10 shipping).
Am I really getting more with the Canon except the name? I know it has a 12MP and 12x Zoom instead of the Fuji 10MP 10x zoom... but from what I am reading with the small sensor size of these compacts actually increasing the MP decreases the quality... because each pixel is smaller...
The canon flash is also better, but on the down side it always pops up whether or not you need it.
It has HD video while the fuji does not... but if I don't have and am not planning to get an HD TV does having HD video make a difference?
The extra Zoom is nice, the flash is attractive .. but is it worth $80 more?

mtclimber Dec 27, 2009 11:10 AM

Good Morning, Nech-

Frankly , I don't think that the Canon SX-200 is worth the extra $(CDN)80.00. Please remember the Canon SX-200 has HD video, but you cannot zoom while filming. Yes, I revised SX-200 is supposed to be available after the 1st of the year that will zoom while filming, but that is in the future.

The first time I had the F-70EXR, I was in the middle of teaching and I really did not have enough spare time to give it a fair shake. This time I have had a lot of fun with the F-70EXR and gotten some excellent photos for a $(US)200.00 digital camera.

The EXR system takes some adapting, but it works well. I will probably add the F200EXR if we see some sale prices in the next month or so.

So, Nech, I think you are very safe to choose the Fuji F-70EXR camera.

Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 27, 2009 1:13 PM

Thanks Sarah and Mark for your patience with me... I think I will go for the Fuji F70 - I will hopefully - G-d willing post some pics once I get it...
One more question... how big a memory card should I get? Is 4 or 8GB enough or do I need to go up to 16.... right now in my A40.... I have a 512 card that lasts me a LONG time - unless I am going on trips etc...
As the price of the SD cards just keep going down I don't want to get too much and spend a premium... also do I need to get a high speed card? I have seen class 2 and 4 and even 6 - do I need to spend more for the class 6 card?
Thanks again

mtclimber Dec 27, 2009 7:51 PM


You will only need a huge card if you are going to a lot of Videos. I use 512mb cards all the time for normal shooting. Class 6 cards are used for heavy duty video recording only. I think that you can very safely use the cards that you already own.

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 27, 2009 8:01 PM

thanks again

dan d Dec 28, 2009 10:52 AM

I'm in a similar boat. However, I am very impressed by the Canon Powershot CX120 and the Sony Cybershot DSC H20. Neither is a true wide angle -- both start at 35 mm, but they offer many other good features and have high ratings.

mtclimber Dec 28, 2009 11:05 AM


Welcome to the Forum. We're please you dropped by.

The Canon SX-120 and the Sony H-20 are part of the compact zoom class. Both are good to very good cameras, but you quickly discover that the Sony H-20 offers a better feature set with 10X optical zoom, the best automatic and built-in flash unit in class, the ability to take HD video and to zoom while filming, all contained in a very compact camera body.

If I had to make a choice between the two cameras, I would opt for the Sony H-20 camera. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 28, 2009 5:17 PM

So I thought I made a decision on the fuji and the guy in the store told me he totally would not recommend it and I should go with the canon.... I don't know.... he told me that the canon does optical video zoom - you just need to download a CHDK program ..... this looks like a hack to me... allows optical video zoom, raw mode and a bunch of other things... what do you think? it is making the canon look more attractive... I don't know anymore....

mtclimber Dec 28, 2009 7:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi there, Nech-

Yes, I am very aware of the CHDK hack. Some folks like it a lot, but they are in the minority. I looked at it and passed on it. All I can tell you is that I much prefer the Fuji EXR system, as it works very well indeed.

I think highly enough of the EXR system that I just spent $(US)400.00 purchasing a Fuji S-200EXR camera. i can do nothing more than to share that with you, and to add the note that the final decision is up to you.

I have attached a photo taken without flash in our great room of my husband, Bradley, yesterday with my F-70EXR. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

P.S. Is it just me, I wonder? I always suspect camera salesmen of having ulterior motives.

nech770 Dec 28, 2009 7:25 PM

I also wonder if the camera salesman had some sort of motive... I know if they are on commission you can't always trust... I just wish I could see the 2 side by side.. every store I go to either has one or the other working but never both.. one is always out of battery...
I do think I should stick with my initial gut reaction which was go with the F70 as I often do take indoor pics.
Thanks again for all your advice.. btw where is the pic you said you attached?

mtclimber Dec 28, 2009 10:05 PM


I just went back and re-attached the photo. 'Sorry about that!

Sarah Joyce

nech770 Dec 28, 2009 11:19 PM


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