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Old Aug 25, 2007, 10:06 AM   #1
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Let me start off by saying I have never used a digital camera. I am new to this site, but I have been reading a lot of the forums and now I'm really confused. I would like to buy a new camera in the $400 to $500 price range. My main criteria is sharpness of image and second macro capability. I was pretty much sold on the Sony DSCH9 but after reading the reviews maybe not so much. Then I was thinking the canon s-5 or the Panasonic FZ. Now I'm not sure of anything or even which mfg to go with. Please help, remembering my criteria which camera is considered the best. I should add that I have been shooting with my old Cannon F1 so I dohave some knowledge of how to use manual settings.

Bob
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Old Aug 25, 2007, 10:59 AM   #2
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Bob-

As your original question was about Sony cameras: Most folks acknowledge that the Sony H-2/H-5 models were the fastest focusing and had some of the very best sharpness. The H-2 is the stripped down version of the H-5, and they share the same lens and focusing module. You will actually find more H-2 cameras in use than the H-5.

The H-7/H-9 cameras are once again a related pair in the same manner as the H-2/H-5 twins. There are many very happy users of the H-9 camera. I see fewer photos posted from the H-7 camera lately.

I am attaching a photo sample from the H-9 camera that demonstrates quite well both the macro capability and the sharpness of the H-9. You often see H-2 cameras on sale over at e-bay. They are currently running at around $200.00. if I can help you out with any more questions, please feel free to ask, as I check this folder every day.

Sarah Joyce.
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Old Aug 27, 2007, 9:18 PM   #3
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If sharpness is what you like, the Panasonic FZ have definitely an edge due to their use of the famous Leica lenses. On a well exposed photo on my FZ8 I could count hairs easily! It's so sharp.

Now, for macro ability just buy a Raynox DCR-250 or DCR-150 (cost between 40-50$ new on ebay and other stores) and you will get fantastic macro shots. See here for examples :

http://flickr.com/groups/panasoniclu...7601304623457/

Personaly I don't like the H9, not only for the bad reviews it got but the proprietary format of the memory annoy me to death. The 3" LCD is nice though.

The Canon S5 is also very nice. The tilting LCD can be a plus for macro shots.

The Panasonic FZ50 has the best image quality due to its bigger sensor. But it's also much bigger and heavier. It also has the most features (tilting LCD, hot shoe, manual zoom, manual zoom ring, remote shutter...).

The Panasonic FZ18 is just out and boast an impressive 18x zoom. First reports seem to indicate that the lens on this model is nothing short of phenomenal: no distortion at wide angle and tele.
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 8:00 AM   #4
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Thank you for the replys to date. But now after a little more confusing research a new animal apperars in the form of the canon G7 and now the G9 with it's raw feature.How desireable is that feature?How does the G series compare to the S series?
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 9:29 AM   #5
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Bob-

The Canon G-series has always been measureably physically larger than any of the Canon SD-series cameras. The Canon G-7 is very highly regarded, however, with the soon to happen introduction of the G-9, it has become hard to find. The G-7 does not have a RAW capability, whereas the G-9 will have a RAW capability.

There are a good number of photographers who really like raw and the extra workflow involved to both process and store RAW images. I personally do not. However if that is something that appeals to you, the G-9 has that capability.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 10:28 AM   #6
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For some reason, no one seems to consider the Fuji S6000fd, .. but they should. I've had the Canon S3 IS and suffered the noisey pics at ISO 200 and above. I experienced the mis-focusing and other fun attributes. I then exchanged it for a Fuji S6000fd and could not have been happier. The only thing it's missing is optical image stabilization but that never slowed me down, nor does it stop my wife who now uses it, from achieving awesome pictures. Take a serious look at that camera...

* Macro and super macro modes
* The lens goes wider angle than most other superzooms
* Focus is fast and accurate
* Pictures are sharp, rich and just beautiful
* Nice big 2.5 bright LCD
* Accepts lens attachments/add ons
* Manual zoom ring (very very nice feature)
* Manual focus ring (if you ever need it)
* Full control of pic size/quality
* Supports RAW format
* Face detection
* The coolest thing, its the only superzoom where you can get honestly great images at higher iso settings. My wife leaves the camera on ISO 400 99% of the time and even uses ISO 800 if need be. It's as good as some DSLRs in that respect.

Standard macro at full zoom


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Old Aug 30, 2007, 10:43 AM   #7
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another one...

Supermacro mode
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 10:53 AM   #8
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ISO 800
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 10:57 AM   #9
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Highway-

Those are very impressive photos from the Fuji S-6000. I would agree, it is a good alternative choice. I own one myself. However, most folks purchasing a camera today are looking for the IS feature.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 30, 2007, 11:03 AM   #10
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mtclimber wrote:
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Highway-

Those are very impressive photos from the Fuji S-6000. I would agree, it is a good alternative choice. I own one myself. However, most folks purchasing a camera today are looking for the IS feature.

Sarah Joyce
Sarah- Yours is a good point, however many find afterwards, it's not as important as other features. I like to make sure people really consider their options. IMO, having image stabilization at the sacrifice of many other great features isn't worth it, but I know to some it is. I 'thought' I needed it (I.S.) , but later found that overall image quality, focus accuracy, quality at higher iso settings, and a wider angle lens was way more a valuable trade off.

That is one of the main reasons I posted the humming bird picture. Full zoom, hand held, bird on the move, no optical stabilization and the pic is still sharp thanks to a fast shutter with the higher iso settings.

And who knows, maybe there will be an S6X00 (?) with all that + optical stabilization.
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