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Old Nov 7, 2007, 7:44 AM   #1
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I'm looking for an 8MP that's going to give me good performance with auto-mode shots, as well as the ability to control exposure, aperture, shutter, etc when I want to experiment with it. I know the two models I listed in the subject are in different classes, but they both seem to be highly rated and at the price I'm looking for (<$300). I've never used any manual control modes on a "smaller" camera, so how easy is it to adjust settings on the Powershot A series? While the Kodak Z812 has more of an dSLR body, are settings easy to change? I'm going out this weekend to get my hands on them in person, but I want to do as much homework ahead of time as possible. Also, if there are other models/brands I should be considering, I'd welcome you rthoughts. Thanks in advance.
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Old Nov 7, 2007, 2:22 PM   #2
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I don't have any direct experience with either camerabut I've used the Z612 extensively (812 controls are essentially the same).I find that I can change the settings quickly under actual shooting conditions.

You really do need to handle both cameras and go through the controls yourself as you plan to do.
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Old Nov 7, 2007, 8:17 PM   #3
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Both are excellent cameras. I owned the z712 for a couple of weeks and sold it for the A720. The Z712 ate batteries too fast, even though I had a charger & 2 li-ions (around 200 shots per charge). With A720, I can shoot close to 200 with alkalines, 400 with common rechargeable NiMH, and at least double that with the LCD off & using optical viewfinder. I just felt more comfortable with AA's that I can get anywhere traveling.

The extra 12x zoom on the z812 isn't as much of a benefit since most of my shooting doesn't go beyond 6x (which is 210mm equiv or 10x - 336mm equiv if you shoot at 5MP instead of 8 through digital zoom). You almost have to use a tripod at high zooms. I really like the A720's portability compared to the z712. If I don't bring my camera because of bulkiness, then I miss out on pictures entirely. Both have manual controls that are fairly intuitive. One major diff is the Z812 does NOT have custom white balance, so you have auto and some presets, or do post-processing.

From all the published reviews, I got the impression the Canon has better color acuracy and sharper pictures overall than the Kodak. The Kodak has better video capabilities (720p MPEG4) (except one person who mentioned something about background noise making the audio terrible. The Canon shoots 640x480 30fps in less efficient compression format & no optical zoom during recording.
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Old Nov 7, 2007, 9:44 PM   #4
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At this site you can compare the imagesfrom a Z712 and a 720IS. Be carefull in making your judgements based on these as they don't precisely repeat their ligthing setups and don't always use the same ISOs: http://www.digitalversus.com/duels.p...=2426&ph=1

My Z612 typically gets 350 shots per charge using rechargeable LiIons and other users have reported similar life on Z712 when using the EVF which is what I use on my Z612. Haven't seen any comments on battery life from Z812 users. The Kodak's Li cells will generally produce faster recycling of the flash than Canon's 2 AAs but the Canon is surprisingly fast for a 2 AA camera.

I consider the coloraccuracy ofKodaks better than Canons but that's that personal taste. I have found the auto-WB on my Z612 to be superb. It's very rarely wrong under any kind of lighting. You would actually do well to take a couple of small SD cards with you when you go to the store and take pictures with both cameras (flash and available light) and then compare the pictures at home.

A400+mm equiv. lens is a must for me and I have knowingly sacrificed pocketability when I chose the Kodak but if the camera has to go incoat or cargo pockets the Canon is the choice.

The cameras are close enough in IQ IMO that you really should, if at all possible take your own test shots under comparable conditions. Let your hands and eyes choose and you won't go wrong whatever choice.
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Old Nov 7, 2007, 11:27 PM   #5
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I own both a Kodak Z612 and a Canon S5IS.

I find the colors of the S5IS more true-to-life than the Kodak when taking photos of the same scene at almost the same time.

The Kodak tends to come in underexposed when I print without any PP.

The video of the Kodak suffers from audio and focus loss when zooming. The Canon is excellent in this area plus the S5IS allows a still shot to be taken even while taking video.

The hotshoe of the S5IS is a great feature allowing more creative flash photography.
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Old Nov 8, 2007, 4:01 AM   #6
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There's a thread with a similar discussion in this very forum, about 3 weeks ago. In it I posted links to my (very trustworthy) local camera shop's comparative reviews of the S5is and Z812is. I have a Z712is myself and I'm delighted with it.

This link should take take you straight to my links, posted in that thread...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...813571#p813571

Good luck!
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Old Nov 8, 2007, 4:14 AM   #7
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bayani wrote:
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I own both a Kodak Z612 and a Canon S5IS....The Kodak tends to come in underexposed when I print without any PP.
That's interesting! It's the opposite with my Z712. I have it set to -0.3EV by default because of it. However, I generally set the exposure by eye for each shot, using the EVF, because it's so easy, and take another if it doesn't look right.

The annoying side effect of overexposure is that 'scene mode - panorama', the only fully auto mode I routinely use, is always overexposed. Iwouldn't mind if it was a little underexposed as in your Z612. One can't repair blown highlights. I can avoid the problem to some degree by including more sky.

Having read all the dozens (hundreds?) of posts round here about the Z*12is series, I do begin to wonder if there's more than usual variability between specimens of camera, rather among specimens of photographer.

The obvious moral is thoroughly to try the individual specimen of camera you're going to buy before you take the plunge.
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Old Nov 8, 2007, 11:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the great info. I think it's going to come down to their overall size and portability. If I decide on a "compact" camera, then the A720 it is. If an ultrazoom, then it'll be the S5IS or the Z812 (or maybe earlier versions of either). The hinged screen makes a good argument for the S5IS, but is it worth the extra $? Good suggestion to take some sample shots with all my demo cams in the store and review them at home? I'll keep you all posted.

PS - Alan T...your local shop has great reviews (Who's their model in the test pics? No wonder you shop there!)
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Old Nov 8, 2007, 12:02 PM   #9
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For a compact ultrazoom, there's the new Canon SX100, slightly bigger than the A720, to fit a faster and longer zoom lens. Smaller than Z812 & S5 though. Everything else seems similar to A720.

Only downside is no optical or EVF for bright outdoors or to conserve power, but supposedly it's viewable in sunny conditions from some reviews. I was considering swapping my A720 for the SX100, but decided the extra zoom & bulk isn't worth the extra $50-60.

I personally don't think the hinged screen is worth it. It adds bulk and costs to a camera. Most LCDs today have wide enough angle, unless you're trying to view it from 90 degrees & beyond (then just set the self timer and put on tripod). It's still possible to take shots from way above or below eye level hand held without swivel screens.
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Old Nov 8, 2007, 12:22 PM   #10
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db1975va wrote:
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(Who's their model in the test pics? No wonder you shop there!)
She's the owner. She's a lovely lady, extremely knowledgable on both photography and computers (as well as posing engagingly). Her teenage son works in the shop quite a bit as well, as does the clever son of an esteemed and brilliant ex-colleague of mine who worked with me in a national research centre. I found out quite by accident who he was.

So they're not short of brain power (but could do with a spellchecker, but who couldn't these days?)
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