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Old Mar 27, 2007, 12:41 PM   #1
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I am looking to buy a crossover camera (from compact to a superzoom). I have been reading and researching for weeks and I am more confused than ever. For one thing, almost every site rates the S3 IS as the best in class, yet if you average the ratings of each category when provided (i.e. image quality, performance, etc.) it is lower than cameras like the FZ7/8. In addition, most of the sites which provide user ratings beside expert ratings show S3IS user scores lower than the expert whereas the Panasonic user reviews are always higher than the expert ratings. All of this to say, I am looking for some advice.
I have narrowed it down to the H5, FZ7, FZ8, or the S3 IS. I enjoy shooting night shots and high contrast landscapes. I know that no super-zoom excels (compared to SLR) at these two things but which one will give me the best results in the class.
Your input is greatly appreciated!
Brad
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Old Mar 27, 2007, 1:50 PM   #2
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Brad,

Have you looked at the Fuji s6000fd? It's generally considered the top of the class in the low-light category of the superzooms. I purchased one about two months ago for shooting night time soccer, and while it won't rival the DSLR's, its performance is pretty amazing.....virtually noise free up through ISO 800 and usable with noise reduction software up to ISO 3200. Since I haven't used the other cameras, I can't comment on a comparison, but if you'll read the posts on this forum, one of the problem areas with the Canon is low-light work.

Cons to the Fuji are its size (biggest in the class), lack of image stabilization, and use of xD for storage.
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Old Mar 27, 2007, 2:28 PM   #3
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A lotdepends on how much control you want. For example, the S3 IS doesn'thave a manual zoom control or focus ring on the lens barrel, and limits ISO to 800 with pretty high noise levels. It has no hotshoe either, so it's the weak built-in flash or nothing. You might want to consider the new Fuji S6000fd, which has all of these features except the hotshoe and adds face detection, a natural-light mode andISO 3200, just toname a few. Steve's review of the S6000fd is very comprehensive and informative.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...i_s6000fd.html

If you want something that approaches the capability of a DSLR but without the hassle of carrying extra lenses and gear around, the new Fuji S9100 is worth a serious look. It's more expensive than the S3 IS or S6000fd, but adds a lot of functionality, including a hotshoe and a PC port to control an external flash. It has a 9 Mpimager and from what I've seen so far, top-notch picture quality. This is the camera I'mconsidering to replace my S5200.

http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/fuj.../s9100-gen.php

I hope this helps a bit.:-)
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Old Mar 27, 2007, 3:38 PM   #4
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Yep, it's enough to give you a headache :-)

"Problem" with reviews is that they're just opinions - everybody has them. Just check the Panny line, so many "noise issues" yet the review here disagrees? Depends on the user & the settings = variables.

It really comes down to listing your shooting priorities & then matching the camera to them.

You mention "night shots" (or let's say low light) - freehand or on a tripod? You mention landscape, wide angle important?

The Fuji mentioned gives you a bit on both of those. Wide(er) angle than most & good low light performance............but no IS & you get a bit shorted on the max zoom. Canon give excellent movie performance but not the best under low light shooting.

Truth is there is no perfect camera - there's just what matches your needs best. By cramming so much into a single camera there are compromises - whichcomprimises can you live with?

On the up side there isn't a true dog in the bunch, under the right circumstances they're all capable of producing some fine images. Check the camera forums - I'll bet you'll find some excellent pictures in every one of them.


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Old Mar 30, 2007, 11:42 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention the new Olympus SP550 UZ. I had a look at one at FutureShop the other day, and it's quite an impressive piece. It's loaded with features, but the one that really stands out is it's 18x lens, the longest by far of any superzoom camera. It's expensive - about $250 more than the S3 IS, at least here,although the FutureShop guy said they're selling like hotcakes.
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