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Old Sep 19, 2007, 1:44 AM   #1
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Hi,

I appologize for repeating a common question, but I haven't seen a post with all four of the above cameras compared (S700, Z712IS, S5IS or FZ8).

My wife and I would like to purchase a digital camera that gets us closer to the action when attending our kid's soccer, bowling, gymnastics and/or band concerts. We currently have a Canon A520 and for a brief time had an A560 (developed a spot on the sensor -we returned it to Circuit City for a gift card). The outdoor image quality is fine for close ups, but the 4x zoom really doesn't get the job done from any distance. Also, the indoorIQ is not great.

We have little or no experience with advanced digital cameras, but I'm not intimidated by technology. In fact, I get a kick out of it.We don't mind spending the money to get good IQ, reliability and usable features; however, we don't want to overbuy. We've narrowed our selection down to theabove cameras, but have found no review or rating that helps us to arrive at a conclusive decision.
  • We would be willing to step-up to the S5IS (it's the most expensive at the moment) if it truly presented a clear advantage over the others. [/*]
  • The FZ8 is significantly cheaper and has a great lense, but most reviewers comment on the noise issues (and poor reduction process)[/*]
  • Z712IS seems to be easy to use, but lacks the IQ and features of the others. Plainly put, Kodak seems to have the beginner stigma attached.[/*]
  • S700 - No IS or Super CCD, but great price (and fairly strong reviews). Doesn't really present cutting edge technology.[/*]
  • Many new models will be shipping soon (Z812IS, S8000FD and SP-560), should we wait?
[/*]
Any words of wisdom would be helpful, too much information has rendered us powerless to make a decision. Are there any clear winners here? Should we just go for the cheapest or most comfortable?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 2:41 AM   #2
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OH Man, hands down, I would purchase the Canon, S5IS, this is the third generation, I belive of this model, and it's *clearly* superb over any other brands/models in the same class; I call it my "throw down" camera, when I'm using the digitial SLR. First off, if you've went to www.usa.canon.com and then to the camera section and read all about Canon's technologies, it's amazing!

I especially, first like thier lenses, they're all UD glass and the amazing sharperness I get, coupled with a very, nicely done, saturated pictue (not over saturated), allows for the true colors to come through and this incredible sharpness comes from Canon's ability to reproduce precisely what we see through the lens to even what comes out of the Canon Printer, for example. I use the Canon Pro9000 and since Canon's pictures are saved using the latest version of "Exif 2.2", then this indicates that the Canon camera, captures more "meta" data, actually, the color-space that it captures is called the sYcc color space. Color space describes the range of reproducable colors beingthat a camera can "see", a printer will print, or a monitor can display. so Canon cameras and especially Canon photo printers use the sYCC color space, which allows for a wider color gamut of colors, throughout a larger tonal range to be recorded and then reproduced than sRGB.

Long used in the video world and in Kodak's original Photo CD format, YCC represents the familiar Red, Green and Blue (RGB) channels as a luminance (Y) and two color-difference channels, Cr and Cb. (Cr is chrominance red; Cb is chrominance blue), with the green being handled by the luminance component. A variation on this color space, called LAB, has been available in Photoshop for some time but sYCC is simply YCC created from sRGB color space.

Why do you care? Previously, when sYCC images captured with digital cameras were transferred to a computer, all of the monitor colors outside the sRGB range would be discarded (aka clipping.) EXIF 2.2 allows more accurate image processing because handling sYCC images directly using compatible applications and printers means that virtually all of the original digital camera image can be accurately printed. Yes, this is geeky stuff, but who knows, we may have a pop quiz one day here at AIRC.

Enough about color, but the lens and what gets recorded (the image), is what should be the deciding factor in a camera purchase. So if you like the same imagines you've seen for it (off of Canon BeBit web site, then hands done, that's the one).

Lastly, I like Canons IS Image Stablizer technology is awesome in this camera, extremely response and the zoon is faster that I can blink my eye at. Basically, I call this camera, my little DSLR becuase of it's overall capabilities. It'll take a long while to use it at all it potential, but it's *NOT* hard tolearn and use the distinct featues of this model. Just start out in "auto" mode and slowly move yourself to Aperture Priority and the Shutter priority, this teaches you about your picture taking skills, and another thing, the Exif data shows up and in the software, we can literally, "see" the settings that were used for a particular shot. Also, did you know that this model, will essentially record video and sound (STEREO), sound, with the ability to zoom/pan while recording. Then, hook it up right to the TV and watch it. I think the buffer can handle so much, that you can even record up to 2 hours, if you have a large enough card! I've always told my friends that I think this camera doubles as a great camcorder too.

Lastly, and I promise here, but you can e-mail me at [email protected] cuase I'm a camera and printer freak! I work in retail and have done extensive research in Canon especially, I assume that you could probably tell. I don't work for them, just really love em. I think too, the thing that you'll really appreciate is the ability to grow with the camera, as you explore it's vast capabilites and just like I said, it's my miny DSLR: I would even hazzard to say that if you never get another camera, that's okay, and I'd go one further to say that unless you're every ready to step up to a DSLR, then you have the camera for you, for life! I mean, 8MP, the fastest processor in digital cameras (the DIGIC III), 12X Optical zoom, Did you know about the external, attachable FLASH you can "add" to this camera too and I'm talking about the SPEEDLIGHT Flashes, the ones that the professional cameras use! So the 550 Flash I use on my DSLR, I can use on here to, really makes you look like a PRO! Also, you can take off the lens "ring" and thread/fit on a wide angle lens and or add an even closer-up Canon lens too! -Oh, that swivel out LCD, protects the LCD and allow for a better "angled" range to take pictures in, the "face detection technology", LASTLY, as my screen name says, and *Clearly* something that no one but Canon employs is their "iSAPPS", technology! Super Macro is awesome cause I like to capture HIGH close up detial in flowers, and ISO1600!! WOW -In the features section here, look at the sample images:

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...;modelid=15207

Look up the iSAPS technology; this is something pretty AMAZING that Canon has created that's used across many models.

http://www.canon.com/technology/cano...ion/isaps.html

That is for iSAPPS. Basically imagine an entire library of picture taking, from all the great masters, over decades and decades , containg all of the statisticaly analysis that there "great masters" have used to take essentially "perfect" pictures, okay, and it's all on this little chicp on the camera. How it works, essentially, when you "frame" your picture and decided to snap your shot; isapps looks in this HUGE library of pictures taken by the greats, and analyses the picture (scene and whatnot), that *YOU* want to take, along with this information from pictures taken by the greats, so that when *YOU* snap the picture, the result you get is a culmination of the "greats".

INTELLIGENT SCENE ANALYSIS BASED ON Photographic Space, hece iSAPPS

Please let me know if you've decided to get this essentially superb camera! - I'm Charles, btw.
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 11:32 AM   #3
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redlar-

In as much as I own every one of the cameras that you have listed. I would be willing to extend this thread and deal with your concerns.

Panasonic FZ-7 or FZ-8: These are excellent cameras with a great lens. However, neither has a hotshoe and both are very noisy cameras when used above the ISO 200 setting. The FZ-8 is actually a bit more noise due to the third generation processor, than the FZ-7 which has a second generation processor. Either is capable of great photos in good light, if you are willing to accept the limitations inherent in the camera.

The Kodak Z-712: This camera was a large improvement over the Z-612, as it can easily hand ISO settings up to ISO 800, with only very little noise. Like the Pany FZ-8 it has IS, but no dedicated hot shoe. It is also an easy camera to use. However, if you like video clips beware that when the zoom is used during a clip focus is lost during the zoom. The same is true with a still photo, whenever the zoom is mover, focus capture has to take place all over again.

The Fuji S-700: This is a very capable camera and a value for the price if you can deal with the S-700's limitations. The S-700 has no IS, and it has a conventional Sony manufactured imager, not the High ISO capable imagers used in the Fuji F series and on the S-6000.

The Canon S-5IS: This is the king of the hill within this group of cameras. With its current price of around $(US)350.00 it costs more, but in turn also offers a lot more. It has IS, an excellent zoom range, a hot shoe that allows the use of a dedicated flash, and a lens that is not only very high quality, but that keeps its focus when zooming and is capable of excellent IQ, or image quality. If you want to know more about the possible dedicated flash units to go on that hot shoe, please take a look at the Canon P&S Camera Folder. There you will find a 21 page sigle space Flash Tutorial for the S-5IS that I wrote. That will pretty much answer the external and built-in flash questions.

Why do I own all these cameras? Because I am a Professional Camera Instructor and author. So, if you wish, please let's discuss the topic in more detail. However, please know that I will be gone after Friday 09/21 to do more workshops.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 20, 2007, 12:07 AM   #4
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Charles,

Thanks for the incredibly detailed information, I wasn't aware of much of the advantages that you've outlined. It sounds like the S5IS has a great deal of technology to improve shooting, this is the kind of info I need to push me over the edge.


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Old Sep 20, 2007, 12:25 AM   #5
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Thanks for your response Sarah Joyce!

It sounds as though you feel that the $100 premium for the S5IS is easily justified.

I've read similar comments regarding the FZ8 and S5IS having issues with ISO above 100. Do you feel that the S5IS does a better job with indoor photos (than the FZ), I would be shooting the occasional Chorus Concert? The Z712 seems to be good up to ISO800, does that mean that it would be better for concerts or late afternoon soccer games? I'm inclined to stick with the Canon, as we have their software installed on our computer already (because of our A520).

The lack of a great local camera shop (salesman) makes these decisions far more difficult than they should be! As an aside, I'm still stuck with the Circuit City gift card from the return of the defective A560 (developed a mystery spot on the sensor). They have the S5IS, but the price is fluctuating by about $50 weekly. I've got to catch them on the downswing.
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Old Sep 20, 2007, 8:15 AM   #6
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mtclimber wrote:
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I'd love to see your entire list of cameras. You seem to own most every one ever made :-)
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redlar-

In as much as I own every one of the cameras that you have listed. I would be willing to extend this thread and deal with your concerns.

Panasonic FZ-7 or FZ-8: These are excellent cameras with a great lens. However, neither has a hotshoe and both are very noisy cameras when used above the ISO 200 setting. The FZ-8 is actually a bit more noise due to the third generation processor, than the FZ-7 which has a second generation processor. Either is capable of great photos in good light, if you are willing to accept the limitations inherent in the camera.

The Kodak Z-712: This camera was a large improvement over the Z-612, as it can easily hand ISO settings up to ISO 800, with only very little noise. Like the Pany FZ-8 it has IS, but no dedicated hot shoe. It is also an easy camera to use. However, if you like video clips beware that when the zoom is used during a clip focus is lost during the zoom. The same is true with a still photo, whenever the zoom is mover, focus capture has to take place all over again.

The Fuji S-700: This is a very capable camera and a value for the price if you can deal with the S-700's limitations. The S-700 has no IS, and it has a conventional Sony manufactured imager, not the High ISO capable imagers used in the Fuji F series and on the S-6000.

The Canon S-5IS: This is the king of the hill within this group of cameras. With its current price of around $(US)350.00 it costs more, but in turn also offers a lot more. It has IS, an excellent zoom range, a hot shoe that allows the use of a dedicated flash, and a lens that is not only very high quality, but that keeps its focus when zooming and is capable of excellent IQ, or image quality. If you want to know more about the possible dedicated flash units to go on that hot shoe, please take a look at the Canon P&S Camera Folder. There you will find a 21 page sigle space Flash Tutorial for the S-5IS that I wrote. That will pretty much answer the external and built-in flash questions.

Why do I own all these cameras? Because I am a Professional Camera Instructor and author. So, if you wish, please let's discuss the topic in more detail. However, please know that I will be gone after Friday 09/21 to do more workshops.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 20, 2007, 10:36 AM   #7
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As an Instructor, you pretty much have to be able to pick up any camera and know where everything is located, or where to find it on the menu. That is why the student is attending your class. So, I not only teach photographic techniques, but I am also able to help my students one on one with the details of their cameras as well. Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 21, 2007, 9:22 AM   #8
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dequardo wrote:
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mtclimber wrote:
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I'd love to see your entire list of cameras. You seem to own most every one ever made :-)
Sarah always has very practical advice that based on her own personal experience. As interesting as a list of what she currently has would bea list of cameras she's returned because she was disatisfied with their performance would be of at least equal value.

A. C.




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Old Sep 21, 2007, 9:23 AM   #9
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Agreed!
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Old Sep 24, 2007, 1:16 AM   #10
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Sarah,

Thank you very much for your advice and discussion on the attributes of various P&S models.

I finally went out and bought the Canon S5IS and the Speedlite 430EX flash.

Took an initial set of photos - just a few because of a busy weekend but will take it on a more extensive shoot next weekend.

You are absolutely right - the Canon is certainly in a differenct class from the Z712 (I have a Z612).

And the hot shoe makes a big difference. I did some test photos of the Z612 and the S5IS using the onboard flash and the external flash set on bounce for the S5IS.

The bounce flash pictures bring out the natural skin tones of the subject and the natural colors of the surrounding objects.

And my concern about long recylce times for the on-board flash were unfounded on the S5IS.

And the camera has the feel of a DSLR.

Thanks a lot for your guidance.

Gary
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