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mrwinky Dec 6, 2004 12:09 PM

Ok So I thought I would post here to get peoples insight and help on a new camera purchase. My wife and I are in the market for a decent inexpensive camera to replace our curret Canon A20. We want a camera that has a "good" optical zoom. But wont break the bank, with have a recent addition to the family, our camera is used non stop on Baby pictures and other family shots since my oldest son is now playing Hockey. The camera we have been looking at is the Minolta Z10, with an 8x zoom and a price that does not break the bank ($330 right now) oh yea I'm in canada at moment so all prices are CDN :) I've heard people talk about the Panasonic z3?? or something like that, but its $570, which is over 200 more, is it really worth it? I've also looked at the Z2, and Z3, but they are 200, 250 more respectivly. I was in the local shop recently and the gentleman was recommending the Nikon coolpix 4800, but I really dont like the fact it requires its OWN battery pack. Since there will come a day at the zoo, or some where when the battery runs out and they dont sell that type of battery, so AA are a good choice for us. I also would prefer to stay SD, since i tends to be a little cheaper :) I guess I'm just looking for some input and recommendations, as well what people thoughts on the Z10 are. For us a big feature is being able to power up the camera and take hte shot as quick as possible, as we all know baby's dont pose for ever :) and with our current Canon A20 it's 5-10 sec from power up to baby shot, which is far far to long.

Thanks in advance

Winky from up north

slipe Dec 6, 2004 2:39 PM

The Z10 looks like it might be efficient enough to use AAs, but it is about the only camera with which that is even an option. Generally Alkaline batteries become a cost factor and most people buy a charger and NiMH batteries for them.

I doubt you are planning to buy a super capacity memory card on your budget, and proprietary batteries will fill a 256Mb card at best quality with most new cameras with power to spare. You are much more likely IMO to have the alkalines run out of power and not have a spare set since you run them ‘till they quit. You tend to always have a full battery with rechargeables unless you don't regularly charge them.

All I'm suggesting is that you not eliminate a camera that comes with a lithium rechargeable battery and a charger just because of the battery. They work fine from my experience. Steve recommends you purchase a charger and NiMH batteries for it, which add to the cost a little. Pay now or pay later with alkalines.

The Z10 looks to be a nice camera if you need a long zoom on a budget. Steve and Dave at Imaging Resource thought it a good buy for the price. This is Jeff's pros and Cons at DCRP:
What I liked:
 Excellent value
 Very good photo quality
 Full manual controls
 Supports wide-angle conversion lens
 High quality (but small) LCD
 LCD still usable in low light situations
 Good redeye test performance
 Nice macro mode
 Can use optical zoom in movie mode
 Histograms in record and playback mode
 Great battery life
What I didn't care for:
 Above average purple fringing; some jaggies in images
 Low light focusing wasn't great; no AF-assist lamp
 No sound in movie mode
 Plastic body feels a bit cheap
 Continued concerns about durability of Switch Finder
 No door over memory card slot
 Camera bundle is not great

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