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Old Nov 16, 2006, 3:53 PM   #1
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I'm looking for a super zoom for under $300.

Primarily, I do (1) daytime outdoor nature and wildlife shots, & (2) indoor and outdoor candids with the occasional posed picture.

Most prints would be 4x6, with an occasional 8x10. I do some (rudimentary) cleanup in photoshop on most prints I do now (on an old Canon A70, 3MP), and don't have a problem with doing cleanup--especially on 8x10's--going forward.

So far, I'm leaning towards either the Panasonic DMC FZ7 (~$260) or the Canon 2S IS (~280). I'm a little concerned about the reviews talking about noise in the FZ7.

I'm also looking at the Fujifilm S5200 (~$240), but I'm concerned about the lack of image stabilization. I'm also considering the Sony DSC-H2 (~$310). I also don't like the proprietary memory cards of the Fuji and Sony, but not that big a deal.

Looking for a little guidance--the reviews start to all blur together, and no one of them seems to stand out head and shoulders above the others. Are the noise issues with the FZ7 likely to be noticible to a hobbyist in the situations I've described above?


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Old Nov 16, 2006, 4:25 PM   #2
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Nope. FZ7 would be my choice.
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Old Nov 16, 2006, 9:28 PM   #3
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It is a close call between the FZ7 and S2 IS. I went through a lot of research in the Spring and ended up buying the S2 IS. I haven't used many of the features, but I'm very happy with the camera. I have shot mostly soccer games (outdoor indaylight) and family functions (some outdoor, some indoor). I decided on the Canon since it took AA batteries, took an SD memory card, felt better in my hand, and seemed to have slightly better professional ratings and ratings among users on this forum.

Not to make it more difficult for you, but the Sony H2 also seems to have good image quality (takes AA batteries and Memory Stick). A friend at work has the smaller Olympus SP-500, which he is very happy with, but it lacks image stabilization.

If you haven't already, take some time to search this forum. There are a lot of posts regarding these cameras.

I think I paid $284 US for the Canon S2 from Dell in March 2006 (with sale and online coupon). Since you're on a budget, maybe thecurrent prices will help you decide.

Good Luck.
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Old Nov 17, 2006, 3:08 AM   #4
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You will notice a noise problem on the FZ7 if you ever shoot at an ISO above 200. And it's even a bit noisy there. So certainly you would have a problem if you want to shoot indoors without a flash, for example.

But it's got a pretty good flash on it. So you don't really need high ISO for very much, as long as you can use a flash indoors.

Also, I'm not sure though that the S2IS is any better, it's also downright ugly at ISO 400. At least not enough difference that you'd notice.Maybe less is made of it in the reviews because it's an older model.

But the Sony H2 is still useable at ISO 400. So it does give you a bit more flexibility in some situations. The question is how often you need it. If your shooting mostly outdoors, I think you might prefer the image quality of the FZ7 there. Otherwise the H2 might be a bit better for it's all around image quality for an all-in-one camera.

Ergonomics is a personal preference, but I prefer the feel of the FZ7.

For myself, I thik I'd take the FZ7, but I also already have a Fuji F30 for indoors and low light. I don't gernerally need a superzoom there. But, I thought it worth mentioning, that the FZ7 combined with the fairly inexpensive F20, would make a very nice convenient two camera solution if you do want to shoot much in low light (even if that's not in the budget right now).

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