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Old Mar 8, 2007, 10:17 AM   #1
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I'm interested in getting a general purpose point & shoot mainly for my wife, but I'll probably use it a bit too. I'm replacing a Sony DSC-P92 that was a decent camera at one time, but has been repaired numerous times and now almost refuses to take a decent picture indoors. A camera with an extended zoom range seems like it might be a lot of fun.

I like the look and feel of the Panasonics, but everyone complains about noise. I've heard comments ranging from "excessive noise makes these cameras useles" to "you'll probably never notice it unless you make prints the size of movie posters". The FZ8 has a lot of features that sound useful, large LCD, raw mode, nice viewfinder, manual focus and many manual controls if I ever want to do more than just point and shoot. The TZ3 doesn't have some of the features of the FZ8, but it's a lot smaller, metal body, maybe lets you zoom in movie mode (not sure about that).

The Canon S3 IS also sounds attractive with a better movie mode, flip out (but smaller) LCD, but a little less resolution (probably not worth worrying about) and no raw mode. I consider Canon a "safe" brand - probably because they are actually a camera company.

I don't know much about the Kodaks. The Z712 is coming coming out soon. Other Kodaks I've handled feel a little on the "cheap" side.

Sony supposedly has some good superzooms, but I probably won't go with another Sony after my bad experience with the P92.

I know all of these are new cameras except for the S3, but I'm sure some of you have experience with earlier models and have many opinions on these brands. Any advice is welcome.

How useful is RAW mode on a camera like this? It sounds like it might be fun to play around with but I don't know how much I'd actually use it. As far as I know, the FZ8 is the only one in my price range (under $350) that has it. I get a discount on Panasonics through my work that makes the FZ8 and TZ3 about the same price as the Canon S3 IS (around $300).
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Old Mar 8, 2007, 6:45 PM   #2
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My wife likes thesize/feel/weight of my Kodak Z612 very well (at $200 I happily buy her one too if she wanted then we couldSHARE the accessories that I "NEED".) Make sureyour wifeputs her hands on all the cameras under consideration. The P712, which is more expensive than the Z612, is both a bit larger and heavier than the Z612 so would probably suite you better. But if the camera is for her then her feel for it what counts.

Both the Z612 and the P712 have RAW outputs and the P712 processing is said to be biaseda little more toward RAW than the Z612. My guess is the Z712 will be biased like the Z612. That said I can't ever see that I'd be using RAW or anything but the best level JPEG. I work close to a 60 hr week and I don't have time to Photoshop my pictures to the nth degree. I try to have everything right when I trip the shutter. With a 6 MP image stored at fine jpeg you can still do minor color/contrast/brightness adjustments as well as minor cropping/rotating and still have plenty of detail to fill a computer monitor or print at 11x14 (or probably larger) if you use lossless jpeg when you re-save.

Storing at best quality jpeg also means I don't need a gazillion2 GB SD cards to shoot pictures for an afternoon.
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Old Mar 9, 2007, 8:37 AM   #3
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Really it comes down to what features matter most to you.

Do you need/really want the extra control of the FZ8? Does the smaller size outweigh the extra features?

Just ask yourself these questions - the more honest you are about the answers the more pleased you're likely to be with the camera.

For example for me size is an issue, I might think "it would be very cool to have XYZ features".............but an honest answer is that I'll NEVER take anything but a pocket camera 90% of the time. I simply can't be bothered dragging around a larger camera.

Translation - my wife's Dimage Xt gets the yeomans work @ family gatherings etc. & my Z612 gets used for dedicated photo stuff.......if I had to pick one it would be the smaller less featured camera.

The canon gets you the tilt/twist screen & better movies - that a deal maker?

You get a nice discount on the Pannys & they're very good - that would swing it for me unless I needed the above.

Feel is important, if you think the Kodaks feel like toys then not likely you'll be happy with one in the end .

Both the Z612 and the P712 have RAW outputs

Really? Where did I miss that setting on the z612?

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