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Old Apr 24, 2007, 2:02 PM   #1
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Hi! First post ever on the boards.

Some weeks ago I decided to go digital and give my old Yashica a deserved retirement after having traveled to lots of countries, seen the Pope (the other one, not the current one) and taken part in the Winter Olympic Games.

Having 28-210mm lenses, I knew I wouldn't settle for less than this while choosing a digital camera. Price is also an issue, unfortunately. Looking for digital cameras online I ended with two acceptable choices: the Fuji Finepix S700 (known in Europe as S5700) and the Sony DSC H2.

Megapixels and optical zoom are similar (Fuji 10x, 7.1MP and Sony 12x, 6MP) and both pretty acceptable to me, but I was impressed with the S700 sensibility (up to ISO 1600 while Sony has up to 1000) and I was told Fuji has lower shutter lag - I like that because I like photographing sports, and we have the Pan-American Games next July, which I'll attend. If the rules are the same as the Winter Olympics, no flash is allowed during competitions, no matter if it's open or indoor venues.

As I told you, price is an issue and the S700, despite being a recent release IIRC, is cheaper than the DSC H2. Besides, I was told that in Brazil Sony support is expensive.

That said, looks like the Fuji is a better choice, but I'm afraid I haven't considered other important things that I should look at, so I'm asking your help.

Thanks a lot for the attention and all the best from Brazil

Marcio
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Old Apr 24, 2007, 4:03 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Marcio.

I can't say anything about the new Fuji S700, because I have yet to see any reviews on it. It is supposed to be an improved S5200, which is a pretty good camera. The H2 is also a good camera, but I think the Fuji S6000FD is better. I don't know what you can buy the H2 for in Brazil, but Fuji has a mail-in rebate of $50 on the S6000FD, and some of the more reliable online merchants are selling it for around $300 (around $250 US after the rebate).

The S6000 has a larger sensor, a wider angle zoom (28mm to 300mm), higher ISO capability (ISO 3200), a stronger flash, and a manual zoom ring (which is a real plus). I would take a look at the S6000 before you buy. It is a larger and heavier camera than the other two, so go to a store where you can handle all three , to help you decide.

Good luck with your search.

the Hun

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Old Apr 24, 2007, 10:49 PM   #3
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rinniethehun wrote:
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I think the Fuji S6000FD is better.
I checked the s6000fd, and with the rebate it sounds tempting. However, size and weight are a little issue to me. My current camera is already big enough, and I wouldn't feel that comfortable carrying around another camera that draws attention - maybe I'm a bit overzealous, having seen people in Rio de Janeiro with huge cameras while my girlfriend and I were using her simple $20 (that's what it may cost nowadays) film point-and-shoot, but I prefer to err on the excess side with this. So, something smaller, lighter and more discreet (like the Panasonic FZ7 - btw, would you consider this one in the same "class" as the Fuji S700 and Sony H2?) would fit me better. The S700, according to Fuji, is 106.1 x 75.7 x 80.7 mm.

The more I read the more confusing it gets sometimes.First I thought I could use higher ISO to shoot pics in places where flash isn't allowed - like manymuseums -or where it isn't effective - like stadiums where the action is far from me -, but now I read about noise and it looks like sometimes higher ISO ruins the pictures because of noise and lack of detail.

I also got more info on burst modes, also useful for sports, and while the Panasonic FZ7 can shoot at will (I mean, as long as you have space in the memory card) at 2.3 frames per second, the Sony H2 can do around 12 frames at 1.5 fps, the Fuji s6000fd gets only 3 frames at 2.2 fps (or shoots at will, but at 0.6 fps). I still haven't found info on burst modes for the S700, but I'm downloading the owner's manual to see if I can find something.

That said, I knowthese dataaren't enough to decide for a camera, and given the lack of reviews, looks like I won't be buying anything right now (so the old Yashica will have the chance to go see Benedict XVI in two weeks). Which doesn't mean I won't keep collecting information and opinions, so feel freeto keep this topic going on!

Thanks a lot for advice and all the best from Brazil

Marcio
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Old Apr 24, 2007, 11:08 PM   #4
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Got the info on the S700 burst mode from the owner's manual. Not good news. Only 3 pics at 1.4 fps. Also shoots at will but at 0.6 fps because the camera adjusts exposure between shots (just like the s6000fd).

All the best from Brazil

Marcio
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Old Apr 25, 2007, 12:30 PM   #5
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Well, more information...

In fact, the more I research, the more confusing it gets :? I read more about the Panasonic FZ7 and now it looks more attractive than the Sony H2. I also compared the M&M man picture from both cameras at ISO 400 to check noise, and liked the FZ7 result better. Maybe tonight I'll prepare a file comparing all three cameras.

I was reading some more info on the Fuji S700 and some websites say it has no Image Stabilization. However, the Fuji press release says

Picture Stabilization mode: A selectable mode, Picture Stabilization uses the heightened sensitivity of the FinePix S700 and high-speed shutter settings to reduce blur caused by hand-shake or subject movement. It allows the camera to automatically choose the correct light sensitivity and optimal shutter speed to produce clear, blur-free images.

So my doubt is: are there different kinds of stabilization mode?

All the best from Brazil

Marcio
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Old Apr 25, 2007, 1:29 PM   #6
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MarcioCampos wrote:
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So my doubt is: are there different kinds of stabilization mode?

Marcio
Short answer, yes. There are essentially two classes of stabilization, optical and digital. Optical stabilization uses either a gyroscopically controlledshiftinglens element or a gyroscopically controlled shifting image sensorto compensate for camera motion. Digital stabilization usually simply alters the camera settings to set higher shutter speeds than the normal auto or program settings would use. These setting changes might also include automatically switching to a (much) higher ISO than would be used in the normal auto exposure. A few, I think, also change the sharpness settings in the imaging processing to attempt to decrease the appearance of blurring.

I'm in the optical stabilization camp since the I can make the other changes myself anyway. That said Fujis have the reputation of havebetter high ISO performance (above 400) than their competitors due to their larger sensor size. This can give some increase in leeway when dealing with subject motion rather than camera motion (shake.)
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Old Apr 25, 2007, 8:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info on stabilization!

Today I had time to make more research on cameras and even compare some shots - as I told you earlier, the Panasonic FZ7 now looks more attractive than the Sony H2 and I started to compare the FZ7 with the Fuji S700. These are a few conclusions:

1. FZ7 has shutter speed up to 1/2000, while Fujigoes only up to1/1000 - I was a bit bummed when seeing this because of my plans of using the camera for sport shots, even if the S700 has a "sports" mode. So I'd like some input from people who take sports pics: in case of "fast" sports, would I regret not having a 1/2000 shutter in case I buy the Fuji?

2. FZ7 burst mode (7 shots at 3.2 fps, unlimited shots at 2.3 fps)looks way much better than the S700 (3 shots at 1.4 fps, unlimited shots at 0.6 fps).

3. However, while the S700 uses AA batteries, FZ7 uses special batteries -How expensive are these?

4. Many reviews have mentioned the FZ7 has an above averagenoise problem and shows noticeable noise even at lower ISO, like 100. I also read it wouldn't be such an issue for 4x6 or even 5x7 prints, but I also like scrapbooking and may use larger prints.

5. The S700 is around 50 dollars cheaper than the FZ7 and, as I said, price is also a little issue.

6. Only thing I haven't discovered yet is the S700 shutter lag and shot to shot time, butI was told Fuji has a very low shutter lag.

7. From ac.smith's description, looks like optical stabilization is better than digital stabilization, in which case the FZ7 gets another advantage.

I guess that, besides waiting for the S700 reviews, it's time to read as much as I can about the FZ7...

All the best from Brazil

Marcio
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Old May 2, 2007, 5:01 AM   #8
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I'll throw in another option - look at the Kodak Z612. Very compact and light, ultra zoom at 12X optical, 50X total including digital zoom - which, by the way, takes very good pictures at this zoom range.

Image stabilization is very good - I've taken free-hand pictures (no tripod) with no movement blur at 50X.


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Old May 2, 2007, 9:09 AM   #9
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Hi, bayani! Thanks for the suggestion, and I had time to give the Z612 a quick look before going to work. Looks a very interesting choice, and side-by-side with the FZ7 I managed to see the following:

same max shutter speeds (1/2000), same zoom, both have optical IS, both use special batteries.

The Z612, however, doesn't have ISO 1600, it goes up to ISO 800. So here's another question: in which situations does one have to go to ISO 1600 in order to get a picture? Anyway, considering what I've read about the FZ7, at high ISO like 1600 the result would be very noisy and wouldn't be that useful. On the other hand, from Steve's sample pictures the Z612 is less noisy than the FZ7 at ISO 400.

Burst modes are a bit different. From Steve's review I see that he managed to get 8 shots in 3.1 seconds, which gives a rate of 2,6 fps (a bit higher than the 2fps described at dpreview, which has no review of the Z612). So it's 8 pics at 2.6 fps (Z612) against 7 pics at 3.2 fps (FZ7). I don't see much of a difference here.

The Z612 is cheaper. That counts a bit.


However, I'll still check some specifications as shot-to-shot lag and other stuff. Anyway, as I said, the Z612 looks like a choice I should consider seriously.

Thanks a lot, and of course more input from you is always appreciated!

All the best from Brazil

Marcio
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Old May 2, 2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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Quoting myself:

MarcioCampos wrote:
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The Z612, however, doesn't have ISO 1600, it goes up to ISO 800.
In fact, I just found out that the Z612 only goes up to ISO 400 in full resolution, and goes down to 1.1 MPixel if I want to use ISO 800.

Looking for "Z612" on the search feature of the forums, I also found an interesting thread here on sports photos (for which ISO is an issue), and about how difficult it is to get good shots outdoor at night, or indoor. I may have mentioned that, despite sports won't be the main use of my future digital camera, I'd like a cam that would allow me decent pics when I go to a sports event (and there's the Pan-American Games in July, and I already got tickets). Folks will suggest a DSLR as done in that thread, and I'll reply I have no budget for that, having to stick within the FZ7/Z612/S700/H2 price range. Any input on this subject as well?

Thanks and all the best from Brazil

Marcio
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