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Old May 9, 2007, 3:48 PM   #1
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I am new to this site, so any help/comments is appreciate.

I have narrowed my search of a ultra zoom camera to Canon S3IS and the new Kodak Z712. I am an amateur photographer, but do want good pictures.I have narrowed my search to these 2 cameras, because I want to be able to use SD cards that I already have. Iwant to be able to take pictures of my kidswhile playing sports, baseball, football, basketball.The S3 is actually over mybudget just for the camera and it seems like I will need to purchase accessories, batteries, etc.,while I have found the Z712 for a little less and comes with everything I would need. Is the S3 that muchbetter of a camera?
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Old May 10, 2007, 11:56 AM   #2
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The Canon S3IS is a highly regarded camera in its class (super-zooms) and has received many favorable reviews. It can be expected to take good photos under most circumstances and has many satisfied users. It will soon be replaced by the S5IS so clearance discounts MAY be available soon.

The Kodak Z712 is a brand new camera (official release APR 30, '07) and no thorough (Steve and DPReview) reviews are available yet. There any comments about performance are speculative at this point. The Z712 is the replacement for the Z612 which has been well reviewed and has a significant number of satisfied users including me.

The first element of difference between the S3 and the Z612/Z712 is the lens. Both are high quality optics covering a very similar range of focal lengths, 36mm-432mm and 35mm-420mm respectively. The largest difference between the lenses is in the maximum available aperture at maximum telephoto, f3.5 vs. f4.8 respectively giving the Canon about a 1 f-stop advantage. This might or might not be significant to a user depending on the light available under the user's typical shooting conditions. It probably won't be significant under normal daylight and indoor flash conditions. The trade-off is that Canon is a bit bulkier and heavier than the Kodaks, in part due to the lens.

Another factor contributing to bulk/weight difference between the Canon and the Kodaks are the batteries. The Canon is powered by 4 AA batteries, either non-recharge alkaline or fairly readily available rechargeable NiMHs. The Kodaks a powered by either a non-rechargeable CVR3 Li battery or a Kodak (third party versions may be available) LiIon battery. The trade-offs: AAs are available anywhere in the world whereas the CVR3 may not be available at Joe's Fast Stop, Willywont, SD at midnight (although if a 24 hr Wal Mart is next door they will be.) My solution – I have two LiIon rechargeable and simply swap between the two (they retain a charge fairly well) and carry an emergency CVR3. The Li's are smaller and lighter than 4 AAs which is another factor that allows the Z612/Z712's to be lighter and smaller than the S3 while still providing excellent battery life.

Up to this pointto this point these factors will be consistent with the Z712. Now the unknowns and suspected: The S3 and Z612 have similar size, MP and ISO/noise performance sensors, the Z712 has a new 7MP sensor which delivers 2 f-stop greater ISO (1600 vs. the 400 of the earlier cameras.) If this is the result of improve sensor performance rather than changes in the noise reduction algorithms this is significant. Does the Z712 deliver? Hasn't been independently test because the camera is too new so it speculation at this point. The Z712 also has a new processor (supposedly built by TI) that promises faster operation, it just hasn't been independently tested.

If you had asked for a comparison between S3 and the Z612 I'd have said that the S3 is an excellent camera and the Z612 offers a terrific price/performance ratio, especially since the list price has dropped to $250, Internet price ~ $225 and the Kodak refurb site price of $180. My personal choice was the Z612 and that was at higher than current prices. The Z712 will, I suspect, be a very good camera but I can't say that with certainty because it hasn't been independently tested yet.

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Old May 11, 2007, 1:38 AM   #3
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Meg5466,

In addition to a.c.smith's comments, you might want to check out reviews on both. In the review I read - I believe in this forum's host - the Z612 showed sharper pictures when at full zoom.

The colors on the Z612 pictures also appeared more natural.

Batteries, as a.c.smith mentions, are an advantage as 1 Kodak KLIC8000 (or an equivalent brand) is much lighter than 4 AA's. After carrying around the camera for a day, you will certainly feel the difference.
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Old May 11, 2007, 7:26 AM   #4
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S3 is a good way, but I suggest you the new S5, which provides you many specific propertis!
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Old May 11, 2007, 8:13 AM   #5
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The S5 appears to offer many of the same improvements compared to the S3 as the Z712 compared to the Z612. It also has the same problem. It is too new to have been independently tested soany recommendationsare speculative. Since it was just announced 7 MAY it will probably take a while longer to get into the supply chains whereas the Z712 is already available at the retail level.

Praise is never given for waiting for a better camera. Praise is given for the photos you take with the camera you have. Photographers make photographs, not cameras.


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