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Old Oct 23, 2010, 11:00 PM   #1
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Default Canon SX210 IS vs. Nikon Coolpix S8100

I am looking for a P&S with a long telezoom (10x and up) that also takes good quality, vibrant photos. Good low-light pictures are a plus. I take photos mainly on vacation (primarily cruises), of landscapes, people, food, landmarks, interiors, etc. I have no experience with manual shooting or RAW or any of that complex stuff. I rarely print my photos, mostly share them online in my photo gallery. I've compared the following cameras' reviews and specs, but of course, the more I read, the more confused I get! I'm pretty sure one of them is right for me, but I'm not entirely sure which one it is yet. I also tried them out in the store, so I do know how they feel in hand and liked the experience of both.

Canon SX210 IS:
14MP / 80-1600 ISO / 14X zoom

This seems to be a nice camera, a compromise between the SX130 and S95 which I had also considered. Pluses include lots of features (fish eye, miniature effect) and easy optical zooming in movies. However, I have read a few reviews complaining about image quality on this particular camera, claiming it's not up to the Canon standard. Soft macro shots, slow cycle time, and a not-that-wide lens were other complaints. Does anyone have any thoughts on the image quality or the negatives? Are Canon P&S lenses good, or should I focus more on the CCD sensor?

Nikon Coolpix S8100:
12MP / 160-3200 ISO / 10X zoom

I like the specs on this camera, but it's very new and there are no reviews yet which makes me hesitate. It seems to have everything I would want on paper but I hesitate on image quality. It does have a CMOS sensor, which the Canon lacks. I did read a few reviews of its predecessor the S8000, and the majority of complaints (bad lowlight photos, no zoom during movies) seem to have been fixed, but the mixed shooting performance comments make me nervous.
How is Nikon P&S image quality in general? It seems most reviews think Canons have the best image quality, so should I expect a downgrade if I choose the Nikon? Does the lens (NIKKOR) make a difference?

If anyone has any other suggestions, I'm open to them. Wondering if I should look at Panasonic too, if they have good image quality in the longer zoom cameras. Price does not matter much - just looking for a quality camera that will last a long time. Thanks in advance for any advice you all can provide.
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Old Oct 24, 2010, 12:51 AM   #2
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Nikon's P&S cameras have been weak for quite a few years. The P7000 was highly anticipated - I even wanted one. There are primarily complaints from users though, based primarily on loads of firmware problems and poor performance (not IQ). Although the S8100 looks good for a CMOS camera (not impressed with CMOS P&S cams), Nikon's history in recent years in the P&S market would worry me.

I am not sure where you read that Canon has the best IQ but there's no basis for that at all. The SX210 got trampled by the Panasonic ZS7 in reviews and sales figures. The Panasonic FZ100 beat out the SX30. The Panasonic LX5 and Canon's S95 were ranked neck-in-neck by all of the comparative reviews I saw. However, few argue that the Panny has the better lens. Samsung makes some nice cameras as well, such as the EX1. Now Canon's color is often ranked #1.

Back to the pocket superzooms though .. Canon also has the SD4500 if you're interested in a CMOS sensor for video and the marginal low light benefit. However, I don't think there will be any notable difference in IQ between that and the Nikon S8100. All of the CMOS cameras are going to give you a softer image than the CCD cams, but they will also give you marginally better low light performance and better video.

Personally, I own a Panasonic ZS7 and think it's excellent - but it sucks in low light and thus I purchased a Canon S95 also. I'm not really partial to any brand - as long as the camera is good.
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.
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