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Old Jun 6, 2007, 8:18 AM   #1
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I'm going on an Alaska cruise in August and would like to get a new digital camera. I currently own an Optio S (the original Altoids box model), which I love but would like a camera with a longer zoom and a decent movie mode. The ability to use SD cards and AA batteries are important to me but not deal breakers. I will seldom, if ever, make prints so most of the time my pictures are going to be viewed on a computer screen. At this point I'm very confused after reading countless reviews and researching. Price is not a problem.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Bob
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 9:38 AM   #2
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I just have some general comments.

1. Since you will only ever be looking at these photos on a computer, a 3 megapixel camera would be plenty. But I would hate for you to catch that once-in-a-lifetime photograph, and not be able to print and frame it. So I think you should probably get a 6 megapixel camera, just for that eventuality, but anything more would be a waste.

2. I would go with rechargeable batteries instead of AAs. The ship will probably be charging an arm and a leg for batteries, and will also have a finite supply. But recharging rechargeable batteries will be free. I would get 2 or 3 batteries, and maybe even two chargers.

When you return, please be sure to post some of your favorite shots.
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 10:21 AM   #3
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rcfuzz-

You might take a look at the Kodak Z-612. It got a great review from Steve. It is easy to use, it has IS and 12X optical zoom. You really need only one spare battery. I have a great deal of cruise experience, having done 554 of them. The battery life on the Z-612 is good.

Sarah
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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Since I work in TV production, I have an unlimited supply of AA batteries (these are used in the studio for the wireless headsets and microphones and are changed twice a day and then tossed with a near full charge - you just can't take a chance on a live TV show), so batteries are not a problem. I agree about getting more megapixels than my little Optio. Thanks.
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 12:27 PM   #5
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mtclimber wrote:
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rcfuzz-

You might take a look at the Kodak Z-612. It got a great review from Steve. It is easy to use, it has IS and 12X optical zoom. You really need only one spare battery. I have a great deal of cruise experience, having done 554 of them. The battery life on the Z-612 is good.

Sarah
I read the review and it looks promising but I think I'd like a camera with anti-shake features.

I've been researching cameras for a few weeks but never saw them physically, so today I went to a few stores to get my hands on a few. The pictures on the web do not do justice to the small size of some of these cameras, most of which weigh nothing. I was especially surprised to see how small the Canon S3 really was... and so many buttons. Others were very cheaply made. I was most impressed by the Lumix FZ8K. It felt very substantial in my hands and had good viewfinders. Only drawback was no AA batteries but I could live with that.
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 1:54 PM   #6
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rcfuzz wrote:
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mtclimber wrote:
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rcfuzz-

You might take a look at the Kodak Z-612. It got a great review from Steve. It is easy to use, it has IS and 12X optical zoom. You really need only one spare battery. I have a great deal of cruise experience, having done 554 of them. The battery life on the Z-612 is good.

Sarah
I read the review and it looks promising but I think I'd like a camera with anti-shake features.

I've been researching cameras for a few weeks but never saw them physically, so today I went to a few stores to get my hands on a few. The pictures on the web do not do justice to the small size of some of these cameras, most of which weigh nothing. I was especially surprised to see how small the Canon S3 really was... and so many buttons. Others were very cheaply made. I was most impressed by the Lumix FZ8K. It felt very substantial in my hands and had good viewfinders. Only drawback was no AA batteries but I could live with that.
The Z612 has anti-shake, it's called optical image stabilization (OIS). I've used my Z612 for six months now and I can testify that the OIS works.

The Z612won't work with AAs but the Kodak KLC8000 LiIon rechargeables (there are said to be third party equivs.)give a fairly impressive number of shots. I took 318 photos at an airshow this weekend and didn't have to swap to my second battery.


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Old Jun 6, 2007, 2:42 PM   #7
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rcfuzz-

The Panasonic FZ-8 is impressive. However, it is not without its own faults as well. You see, I own both the Kodak Z-612 and the Panasonic FZ-8 so I have some hands on experience with both cameras.

Both cameras have Image Stabilization or Anti Shake which is the term that Pentax uses. Both cameras are excellent when taking photos outside. Inside both cameras do well with flash when you respect the flash range restriction. Neither camera is good indoors or outdoors in a low light level shooting environments when the ISO setting has to be raised above a 200 ISO setting. Noise in that situation becomes very visible in the photos.

The lens used on the Panasonic FZ-8 is impressive and a bit better than the Schneider lens used on the Z-612. However, there is also a price difference between the two cameras, with the Panasonic FZ-8 being the more expensive camera, close to the price of the Canon S-3IS, which is also an excellent outdoor camera that pretty much shares the same faults as the Z-612 and FZ-8. The Canon S-2IS just received the Consumer Reports award for this category, and it is still available on line at about $30 less than the Canon S-3IS camera. The award was made in the July 2007 issue of Consumer Reports.

Handling the cameras is very important, as the camera must feel "right" when in your hands. Have fun making your selection and do get in lots of photo practice before your once in a lifetime cruise to Alaska, so that you will feel fully comfortable with your new camera and get so really great photos.

Sarah
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 2:48 PM   #8
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I understand your requirement for AA batteriesbut second the opinions put forwad by the other posters.We have 4 digital cameras and only one uses AAs. It has three disadvantages.

Battery life is much poorer

The AAs take ages to charge (but you can get fast chargers)

The charged AAs must be used straight away before they lose their charge.

Sanyo Eneloop AA batteries do keep their charge longer, but I personally would not want another camera with AA batteries.

Sarah/mtclimber - 554 cruises must be a record. This includes all types of boats?
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 3:05 PM   #9
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
rcfuzz-

You might take a look at the Kodak Z-612. It got a great review from Steve. It is easy to use, it has IS and 12X optical zoom. You really need only one spare battery. I have a great deal of cruise experience, having done 554 of them. The battery life on the Z-612 is good.

Sarah
I second that. I've just acquired a Kodak Z712is, a nearly identical model, but with more (unnecessary) pixels, and sold without the rechargeable battery.

Image stabilisation in a fully-featured camera as small as this and at such a low price verges on the miraculous, compared with every camera I've had in my 48 years of photography. The only thing missing is an external flash syncsocket.

The IS may come in useful at sea, alongside appropriate medication. It will assist enormously when using the long zoom (432mmm in old money, which is huge). Landscapes of spectacular mountains & fjords from the sea can be a bit photographically disappointing even when visually stunning, unless you can arrange to fill the frame.

Have a great time. I can remember a friend's Alaskan cruise images quite vividly, and I want to go!

The Z612 or 712 are small, but won't fit in a pocket. My much-loved and still-heavily-used Casio EX-Z750 does fit easily in my shirt breast pocket, and is also very fully featured.

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Old Jun 6, 2007, 3:17 PM   #10
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1eyedeer wrote:
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Sarah/mtclimber - 554 cruises must be a record. This includes all types of boats?
She teaches photography on cruises and has been quoted as saying "Tough job but someone has to do it.":-)
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