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Old May 10, 2006, 2:44 AM   #1
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Ibought my first digital camera last year - a Nikon Powershot 5600. While I was quite pleased in general (I especially liked the size, the incredibly sharp macro feature, the color/b&w/sepia options, and the excellent movie quality), I found that the lag time between flash pictures and the inability to focus in low-light were serious drawbacks. I would have also liked a larger LCD display.

I now have the option of "trading in" the camera (thanks to an extended store warranty I purchased). HOWEVER, my choices are limited, due to the stock on hand at this store. Here are my choices:

Nikon L3
Canon A530
Fuji A600
Panasonic Lumix (forgot the model # -- it's 5 mp, and has 6x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom)

I've just spent a few hours comparing these models online, and am now more confused than ever!! For example:

The Nikon has a larger LCD, but no optical viewfinder, and I'm still concerned about the lag-time issue.

The Canon's LCD is the same size as my old Nikon, but seems to be extremely well-liked by consumers. However, some have complained about the lag time...

The Fuji has the biggest LCD screen -- which seems to be hard to read in bright sunlight, according to reviews. Other than that, I'm unsure of how the picture-quality compares.

The Panasonic is a real wild-card; it has 6x optical-zoom, which is really something, but other than that, the consumer reviews seem to be all over the map...

I repeat: HELP!
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Old May 10, 2006, 1:00 PM   #2
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Steve put the Panasonic LZ3 on his best cameras list. I would trust that it takes decent photos and that is the camera you are referring to. It is the only camera you listed with optical image stabilization, which is a good feature. I'm not a fan of cameras without an eyelevel viewfinder but stabilization helps. Optical stabilization also works well with the high quality movies. The LZ3 also has an excellent f-stop at 6X zoom. It also has a good burst mode which I find useful.

Don't consider digital zoom as it is mostly a gimmick. Just using 2X digital zoom takes a 5Mp camera down to 1.25Mp. Some resample back to 5Mp but you are using only 1.25Mp of the sensor. That is barely good for a 4 X 6 and poor for anything larger or for cropping.

The A530 probably takes very sharp images – most Canons with that lens system do. It is a bit bulky and you will have to buy a charger and NiMH batteries if you don't already have them. Frame rate for the movies isn't great but they are decent size. It is the only camera you listed with an optical viewfinder.

I don't see much to recommend the Fuji. The small and low frame rate movies are useless. It has no eyelevel viewfinder and only 3X zoom. It doesn't have the good high ISO capability of the F10 even though it has the same excellent large sensor.

The Nikon takes good movies but has no optical viewfinder and is also only 3X zoom.

They will all take good photos. I would say if you can do without an optical viewfinder and the size isn't a big factor consider the LZ3. If you feel you need an optical viewfinder the only choice is the Canon. If you want a very small camera your choice is between the Fuji and Nikon.

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Old May 10, 2006, 1:14 PM   #3
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Wow - what a thorough response! Thanks SO much.
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