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Old Aug 5, 2007, 4:21 PM   #1
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I am looking to buy a new camera...don't know a whole lot about them~ I have been doing a little research online and seemed to have narrowed my search down to the 2 cameras I have listed above. Kodak Z712 IS and Canon A710 IS. Can anyone offer any info that could help me make my decision? I would like a camera with good zoom power and like the idea of the image stabilization. I don't want something too bulky or heavy. Thanks for your thoughts! ShellyB:-)
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Old Aug 5, 2007, 6:53 PM   #2
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Shelly-

Both the Kodak Z-712 and the Canon A-710IS cameras are excellent. They are also priced about the same as well. I have used both cameras and I have found the A-710IS to be a bit sharper in its focus than the Z-712. However, the longer reach of the Z-712, with its 12X of optical zoom is double the 6X of optical zoom on the A-710IS. However the Canon S-3IS, offering 12X optical zoom is only about $30 to $40 more expensive than the A-710IS and is also a viable choice as well. Sizewise the Canon S-3IS is just about the same size as the Kodak Z-712.

Some folkshave expressedconcern that the flash recycle time on the A-710IS is too long do to the A-710IS using just two AA sized batteries. That flash recycle time is not a factor for the Z-712 because it is designed to use the Kodak KLIC 8000 battery, nor for the Canon S-3IS as it uses four AA size batteries.

A camera with a longer zoom gives you a real ability to stand back while still capturing the scene in a close up manner due to its extra zoom. None of these three cameras offer a true wide angle setting.

Please tell us a bit more about your photo needs and the kind of photos that you like to take. I have attached one of my favorite Kodak Z-712 photos. It was taken of downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn Cruise terminal. I apologize that squeezing it down small enough to post does distort it a good deal.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 12:10 AM   #3
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mtclimber wrote:
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.....the longer reach of the Z-712, with its 12X of optical zoom
I have been experimenting a lot with full zoom, because I have fine views very close to home. I've seen things on the resulting images recently that I didn't know were visible from our garden, though I've lived here 25 years. I'll post examples elsewhere in due course.

This shot, resized only, illustrates a slight disappointment for me with the long zoom. The corners are darker; there are signs of vignetting.

This may be normal for very long zooms, and is not a serious problem for single shots. But I make lots of very wide panoramic montages, and when stitched, unfortunate dark bands appear in the sky at the overlap. I'll still be able to do it, but I'll have to go back and repeat the sequence with a much bigger overlap and smaller stops. Fortunately I've learnt the lesson on shots near home that I can easily repeat.

The image stabilisation and low weight of the Z712 make it surprisingly easy to take excellent hand-held shots with a 432mm equiv. lens, which I could never have done before. This one is at 1/500s, f/5.7. and on the original the (non-hazy) foreground is very sharp.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 5:50 AM   #4
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we tried out the kodak at bestbuy the other day and found that the zoom took forever to fully extend. also the kodak has no custom white balance feature. i'd go with the A710 IS or the A570 IS over the kodak but your needs may be different than mine. btw, i read somewhere that the kodak has an optical viewfinder but it didn't - the canons do, which is pretty sweet.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 9:08 AM   #5
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pcake wrote:
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...i read somewhere that the kodak has an optical viewfinder but it didn't - the canons do, which is pretty sweet.
The optical viewfinder is unnecessary because of the excellent electronic eye-level viewfinder, which will show all the image data & settings as well as what you're about to shoot.

On my previous cameras I've always wanted an optical viewfinder only because LCD screens are often unusable because of excessive ambient light. Even then it's often difficult to see what settings you're using. An electronic viewfinder performs both functions very well.
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 10:58 AM   #6
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Here is a perfect example photo for you. This photo was taken with my 3 year old Canon S-2IS. There was no post processing, the photo is straight out of the camera. Of course I may be wrong, but to me it has more sharpness and pop than my Z-712 can provide under similiar circumstances.

This photo was taken indoors without flash at ISO 50. The IS did the stabilizing.

BTW pcake, the fact that the Z-712 does not have a custom white balance is really not a negative at all, as the Z-712 is very white balance tolerant. Now on my Panasonic LX2, custom white balance is an absolute must, simply because it is so white balance intolerant. A custom WB is required any time you are in a mixed light situation. This photo is a good example, the Canon S-2's WB was in auto, had the photo ben done with the LX2, it would certainly have required a custom WB.

Here, Shelly, my point is simply that you are going to get better and sharper images from the Canon A-710IS or the S-2IS than from the Kodak Z-712. And yes, I am indeed a Kodak Z-712 owner, but I must be truthful and honest.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Aug 6, 2007, 11:06 AM   #7
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pcake wrote:
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we tried out the kodak at bestbuy the other day and found that the zoom took forever to fully extend. also the kodak has no custom white balance feature.
I have never heard of anyone complain that the zoom was too slow. More frequently the comment is too fast. It is definately not slow on my Z612. I'd suspect the batteries were really low.

The manual white balance issue is somewhat of a red herring in my opinion. Kodak's auto white balance is extremely good. I shoot available light under all kind lighting conditions and my Z612 just simply get's it right
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 1:57 PM   #8
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Hi Sarah~

You asked for a bit more info in regards to my camera needs...I guess I am looking for something that takes decent pictures, has some zoom potential to take shots of my sons swim meets, and football games. I would like something that has short shot to shot picture times and something with great battery life.

I am not a camera expert by any means...very much a novice! I began my search on the internet and read the reviews on several cameras. I also obtained a copy of consumer reports from a friend which had an article about the best digital cameras. As much as it helped me, I think it equally confused me! I have heard great things about the Canon cameras and initially was leaning in that direction. I checked out the A630/A640/A710IS power shot series. I like the image stabilzation feature and the longer optical zoom on the A710. Will the A630 4X zoom be enough to suit my needs? That is when I checked into the kodak series and found the Z612 and Z712IS. I like the simplicity of the kodak cameras as they seem less complicated to use. However I don't see too many reviews on the kodak cameras...as they don't seem to rank as high as the canons.

:-) I guess to sum it up...I would like a camera that takes good pictures, has some decent zoom capabilities, image stabilization would be a plus, quick shot to shot time, (I don't want one that has the delay before the shot is taken either) good battery life is also important to me. The LCD size isn't as important...but the bigger the better I guess. My eyesight is not what it used to be! I would like a camera with a separate view finder if possible as well. I saw the lumix cameras but they do not have the separate viewfinder which I think I would use. I did look at the Canon S3 IS as well as you mentioned...might be worth another look~ Thanks again for your thoughts!
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Old Aug 6, 2007, 2:32 PM   #9
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Shelly-

Many thanks for the detailed post. Having raised eight children and yes, I sat through many swim meets too, I think that you would be better served with great zoom such as you would find on the Kodak Z-712 or the Canon S-3IS.

Both cameras use an EVF (an electronic viewfinder) which is a small LCD screen that is used just like a regular optical viewfinder. I have both the A-710 and the S-3 on order and should receive them by the end of the week. Then I will be able to provide some sample photos and an honest evaluation of the shutter lag etc.

Both cameras are equally easy to use, I just think that the Canon S-3IS will produce better image quality for you. The Canon S-2 sample that I posted is my husband. That is the kind of sharpness to a photo that I like.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 12, 2007, 12:16 AM   #10
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Hi Shelly,

Movie mode may not be a consideration for you, but if it is, the Canon S2/S3/S5 has one of the best video modes with CD-quality stereo and optical image stabilization. That's actually what prompted me to get a superzoom in the first place, since most digital cameras have poor sound.
The Kodak is $70 cheaper now than the Canon S3IS at Amazon.com, and seems like a good deal. I guess it comes down to the feel of either (like zoom speed, etc.) and whether you need video.
By the way, I'm so glad you settled on a superzoom - they make much more interesting pictures. Once you own one, you may find it hard to go back to 3X zooms!

Jack

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