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Old Jun 25, 2007, 1:30 PM   #1
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It's (long past) time to replace my Minolta S404 and any advice on acquiring a new camera would be appreciated.

Primarily I do outdoor/nature photograpphy, usually in the Sierra Navada range, and along the california coast. Some indoor photography (family, L.A. Auto Show). Some auto racing events (Fontana, Long Beach, Laguna Seca).

DSLR. Yes, I know I would be happier with a DSLR, and they would serve my intended purposes better. I started out with the Canon A1 way back when people actually all used film, so I'm not intimidated bythem as some seem to be. However, I have a really big problem with the cost: I can get decent superzooms for $300 or less, and about the cheapest DSLR is the Nikon D40 and that will run over $700 for the camera and a telephoto lens. So unless someone is willing to throw money at me (pause for responses....no? dang!), they would seem to beout of the picture.

6 megapixels is probably adequate for me given my printer. More would be nice, but not strictly needed. I'd prefer not to go under 12x zoom. I've useda friend'sCanon S3 IS, and have gotten good results with it both outdoors and indoors, and I like the way it works, though I have not had an opportunity to use it at an auto-racing event (I suspect superzooms in general are inadequate to that task, but some more so than others). However,if there is something that mightfit me better, I'd like to take a look at it before buying.
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Old Jun 26, 2007, 11:05 AM   #2
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Go to Steve's Best Cameras list and check the the "Superzoom": http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html.

The only issue I see is if your auto races are night time. All of these cameras will handle daytime races. I have taken non-flash photos of the QCA Auto Show (which is not in the same league as LA) with my Kodak Z612 and it handled the job nicely in auto mode (no pun intended but welcome). If you're doing night auto racing the the Fuji S6000fd, with it's high ISO capability, would be the choice.

If night auto racing isn't an issue then all the camera on Steve's list will do an excellent job and will produce similar results to what you've experienced with the S3. The lightest, smallest of the group is the Kodak Z612 if size, weight is an issue in the high country. Kodak has a new entry in the field, the Z712 which is the same size as the Z612 but has better high ISO capability and added an in-camera panoramic capability.

Canon's upgrade for the S3 is the S5. The concensus seem to be that Canon's changes on the S5 are incremental enough that they likely didn't break anything but I haven't looked at pictures personally as I have with the Kodaks.
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Old Jun 26, 2007, 12:41 PM   #3
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I've been wading through the superzoom reviews at Steve's Digicams (always my first source when looking for a new digital camera), and yes, I went straight to "The Best". Missing are the Panasonic FZ50 reviews and Canon S5, alas (found one for the S5 elsewhere, though). The S5 will probably carry a price premium over the S3 by at least $100 (and it seems to be more than that as I check around) for a while. I'm not convinced so far that it is worth the extra money, and I'm probably not willing to wait for the price to drop as demand is satisfied. As the price of a superzoom gets close to $500, I start leaning towards the Nikon D40 and biting the bullet on saving up for the telephoto. So the S3 price of just under $300 is attractive.

Weight and Size: Actually (hunting through my closet) I prefer the heft and size of my old 35mm Canon A1 tomy smaller and lighter Minolta S404 digital camera. I'monly on day hikes, soI'm not lugging around a 50-80 pound pack where weight and size is at a premium, thankfully.

Night Racing: not out here on the Left Coast, beyond maybe Irwindale Raceway, and I'm more of a road race kinda guy.

Thanks for the reply. Appreciate it.
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Old Jun 26, 2007, 1:23 PM   #4
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You can't go wrong with anything on Steve's list and the S3 is definitely there. My reasons for the Z612 included better price for the Z612 at the time (last Christmas and the differential is still there because both camera have come down in price), family loyalty (my sister lives in Rochester) and I had extremely good performance and reliability from my prior Kodak digitals.

On the other hand I think the Z712 and the S3 are selling at about the same price now.
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