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Old Oct 10, 2008, 5:57 PM   #1
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Hey all, n00b here, not a pro photographer or even a junkie. I'm just trying to decide between four consumer-level point-and-shoot cameras:

* Canon PowerShot G9
* Canon PowerShot G10
* Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5
* Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Since I'm not a pro, I don't give a hoot about having a place to mount an external flash or lens, or "RAW" mode, or excess manual controls, or any of that. All I care is that:

(1) It has the classic "Rangefinder" look
(2) It's compact, or very close to it -- no wooly mammoth dSLR cameras
(3) It takes very high-quality images, at all light levels and all zoom ranges
(4) It takes very high-quality movies with VERY high-quality audio

Please, no suggestions of other makes or models -- I'm only interested in the four mentioned above.

I've read some SCATHING reviews of the PowerShot G10's ability to shoot in low-light levels, apparently the quality is awful? I borrowed a friend's G9 once, and it seemed excellent to me, I didn't notice any issues -- has Canon somehow regressed with the new G10 introduction? Or is this just the pickiness of the junkies, nitpicking over stuff that normal people don't/won't ever notice?

Don't need sample images, just recommendations from people who have actually owned/tried these cameras and understand that what I'm looking for is very specific and not very complicated.

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Old Oct 10, 2008, 11:00 PM   #2
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Toss a coin and you do as well getting Canon and Panyowners to pick for you. Read Steve's and DPReview reviews if they've reviewed the camera and make up your own mind.

A. C.

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Old Oct 11, 2008, 12:00 PM   #3
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Yes, those are comments from the "junkies" to use your word. The comments are valid when viewed in context, such as comparing camera A to camera B. I don't think Canon would take a step back with the G10 versus G9, thus I suspect the comment was most likely directed at the G10 versus another camera or worse, comparing the G10 to a dSLR equipped with a fast lens.

The G cameras from Canon are technically better cameras, much more advanced in possible operation than and allow an external flash to be used with the camera, than the Panny's. I really like the G cameras and have recommended the camera to a friend as the G cameras are physicallywell built and suitable to be thrown around or abused, suchas a backpacking camera. The G cameras have enough standard shooting modes to be acceptable with the point & shoot crowd, but these cameras are really for the advance camera crowd.

I would buy the TZ-5 in a heart beat. The big zoom range andsimple operations make the camera very consumer friendly. Very friendly. Very popular. And within the limits of small camera designs the photos produced are pretty darn good.

BTW, expecting HQ video from these cameras is a relative term. Your definition of HQ may not be my definition.
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Old Oct 11, 2008, 12:09 PM   #4
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I have had a G9 since March, and I like it a lot. It does not take great pictures in low light when compared to a DSLR, but then it is not a DSLR (apples vs oranges). All point and shoot cameras will lose the battle in low light, dynamic range, quick shot to shot, etc. against a DSLR.

I find I can take very good pictures up to ISO 200, over that I begin to see noise in the image. I do use the free Noiseware Community Edition to tweak noise out, and I'm happy with the results with images at ISO 400 and even ISO 800, but not ISO 1600. If you pixel-peep you may not be as happy. If you print normal sizes, you won't really see it.

The G10 is supposed to have an improved image sensor, even though it is the same size (1/1.7") as the G9. It also has the Digic4 processor, which is supposed to improve image noise results. The G10 zoom range is (5x optical) 28-140mm, which is a good change to some, but too short on the tele end for me. The G10 is still "slow" to some with a f/2.8 aperture, while the LX3 has a f/2.0 lens. However, the LX3 is only 2.5x optical, 24-60mm, so it is way too short for me.

I'm going to keep my G9, so I purchased the optional wide angle converter, which allows me go to 26mm wide. With my wide converter on, my zoom range is 26-158mm. My normal 6x optical zoom is 35-210mm, which I use most of the time. I also have the optional tele converter to expand my zoom to 420mm, so I can cover quite a range if I want/need to.

My G9 takes excellent videos, but I don't use the video mode very much. I took a lot of video shots last year with my older Canon A620, and felt they were of very high quality. I believe the G9 takes as good or better video. The main complaint people seem to have is not being able to zoom during a video shot, except in digital zoom. I don't know whether the Panasonic models can zoom during video.

You can use the G9, G10, or LX3 in full auto mode, but you will be wasting money by not using them in semi-auto (P, Tv, Av) or full manual modes. You will have much more control on the outcome, and be able to tweak the shots before you activate the shutter. The G9 LCD only has 230K pixels, so it is not going to be as sharp as the other three cameras with 460K pixels. However, I find my G9 LCD works fine for me.

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