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Old Dec 26, 2006, 10:41 PM   #1
Em
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Santa brought me the Sony H5 7.2mp. I have an older 5mp Sony and I like the familiarity, but I recently saw the Fuji S9100 with 9mp and very impressive reviews. The prices are fairly comparable, so not really an issue.

Myconcerns are....

Image stabilization...I lose too many shots to wobbly hands. I do have a tripod and should use it more often.

Movie mode. I have a "real" camcorder, but I like the convenience of being able to take little movies on the spur of the moment, so this feature is necessary.

My most frequent subjects are small (fast) children, both indoors and outdoors. They grow too fast and I want to be able to take the best possible pictures I can.

Which would you suggest for a not-quite beginner? Any input would be much appreciated and I'd also look into any other cameras, but these were the two that, after reading many many reviews, stood out.

THANKS!
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 1:39 AM   #2
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I have the S9100. It is a good camera. Among the things I like about it is its wide angle capability at 28mm, which is good for large group pictures. However, Santa may have chosen wisely for youwhen he/she got you the Sony with its IS. For people with shaky hands, the IS is a big plus. My brother got a Canon S3 two weeks ago. It's comparable to the Sony, although I have heard that the Sony has slightly better low light capabilities. What I don't really like about the Sony are its proprietary memory cards - I prefer SD or CF cards. The Fuji S9100 can use CF cards or xD cards. The Canon uses SD cards. All 3 of the camera mentioned here have a pretty short shutter lag. I think the S9100 is the largest of the three. I would go to a camera shop and handle the alternative cameras before making a decision to return or exchange the Sony.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 10:22 PM   #3
Em
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Thanks so muchfor your comments Robbo.

I read that the Fuji has some sort of IS capabilities but notthe same thing as the Sony. Frankly, I'm confused by the difference in that regard. Maybe someone can explain it using small words and short sentences?

The low light difference is material, though, in that sometimes there's just not enough time to set up proper lighting when you are trying to capture little kids in action. Thanks for bringing that up.

I have some Sony memory cards already and Santa bought a 2g one for $39, which is decent, so that'snot a problem.

I'm still drawn to the higher mp even though I won't be making poster-sized prints very often, if ever, but the Sony has a higher level zoom, so.....

What are the movies like on the Fuji? Sound quality? My old Sony has great sound quality, so I assume the new one does too - how about the Fuji?

Thanks.
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Old Jan 1, 2007, 3:28 AM   #4
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The Fuji's film clips are pretty good, both video wise and audio wise.

The Fuji reduces blurry pictures in low light by automatically upping the ISO, which increases the shutter speed. The downside of this is higher noise in pictures. However, it reduces both the blurriness caused by unsteady hands and that caused by the motion of the thing/person you are photographing.

The cameras with IS reduce the blurriness caused by shaky hands or slow shutter speed. However, they don't reduce the blurriness caused by the motion of whatever you are taking a picture of.

IS is really handy when you are taking a picture of a stationary or very slowly moving object in somewhat dim light. Normally a shutter speed of 1/10 second produces blurriness in handheld shots. However, IS can give you pretty sharp images at that shutter speed.

IS is not that handy if you are taking a picture of, for example, a fast moving car in dim light. During that same 1/10 of second, the car might travel about 10 feet, which means you may seem a car shaped streak in your image.

Ideal would be a combination of Fuji high ISO capable sensors with other companies' IS technology. It hasn't happened yet, though there are rumors that Fuji will introduce IS in its next generation of advanced digicams. Also, Sony is getting pretty good at fairly high ISO's and IS.
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Old Jan 2, 2007, 5:23 PM   #5
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I cannot comment on the Fuji 9100, but did handlethe 6000/6500 before purchasing a Sony H5 in Singapore for a long holiday in Australia. I had researched for a long time and had come down to the H5, Panasonic FZ7, Canon S3IS, and Fuji 6500. The large 3" screen and Smart soom of the H5 were probably differentiating factors. I had finally ruled out a budget SLR since our main pictures are holiday landscapes and don't need high performance in low light. Maybe for the next camera!

The H5 has fulfilled my requirements of good picture quality up to ISO 800, great zoom, sufficient manual control, and good movie mode. Its our fourth digital camera and best so far. I took 1000 pictures and several gigabytes of movie clips.Picture quality is very good and the trial shots showed that the ISO capability was acceptable up to 800 - much better than our other cameras. We didn't take our camcorder and the final video quality of the H5 (on Fine, not the default Normal) was excellent (a DVD with video, photos and music), so the camcorder won't get much use now. Although video editing from solid state memory is a bit fiddly due to the number of short clips and conversion required, the convenience of one camera is great.

The two real negative in practical use for me are:

1) As all the reviews state, battery life is not great - use of the EVF for composition makes it acceptable but you still need a couple of spare sets, and charging of AA batteries takes a lot longer than the lithium batteries on our other cameras.

2)Manual settings in stills of exposure type, e.g, spot, and focus, e.g., centre weighted, are carried over to the movie mode, and these settings are not ideal. If you only shoot in Auto, this is not an issue - I would have thought that the Movie mode should have the Auto settings of focus and exposure.

I'm sure that any of the cameras have one or more negatives in practical use, but all four were very similar in specification.

For me, extra megapixels were not required, and although I would like a manual focus ring, the Fuji cameras were larger than I wanted. Since I try not to use flash indoors, the low light performance fo the Fuji sensor in the 6500 was attractive, but the H5 is fine for my use. Perhaps you will need the Fuji for your fast children indoors, but the experts seem to recommend SLRs for the more demanding subjects.

Hope that you are satisfied with whatever you purchase.
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