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Old Nov 15, 2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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I've narrowed my choice down to these three "ultrazooms"...but keep going back and forth on them. I coudl really use some insight. I've gotten my hands on each of them (but never in the same store at the same time - all my local shops seem to be missing one of the other or don't have them functional). I'm going to mainly shoot on Auto for now (playing around a little bit with ap-priority and exposure comp), but want the flexibility to explore once I get myself a bit more experience. I'll be shooting a mix of indoor and outdoor. Don't need a flash hot-shoe, but still need the flash to be good at moderate distances and to not wash out the image.

Some thoughts/questions...

I wish there was a site that compared them all side by side for size/dimension, but I can't find anything like that. I was hesitant to go with one of these over something of the Canon A-series size, but after handling them, I think the size isn't really that big a deal for me. But I'd still like to see them all lined up together. Any suggestions? Dpreview has good dimensioned drawings, but no review of the Z712.

Image quality...Every review gives the IQ for each of these some knock (noise at higher ISO, colors not balanced, bad exposure compensation, etc.). For general everyday use, how would you rank the three on IQ? Not an easy question with a straightforward answer and open to lots of ambiguity...but I'm curious to see what everyone has to say.

As for usability and ergonomics, I want to be able to scroll through the settings pretty quickly and intuitively. I've been using a friend's A710IS and I really like the layout/access to the menus...does Canon carry the same style over to the S3?

The Kodak did feel a bit "cheaper" but was much simpler in its controls and design. Do they just bury alot of "button" fucntions in their menus?

THe FZ8 has that little joystick thing and the directional buttons. Any reactions/opinions on those?

The FZ8 and the S3 put the zoom controls in the ring under the shutter button, while the Z712 has the zoom control on the back side (for your thumb, where I think it's kind of in the way). Reactions from the more seasoned photogs out there on zoom placement?

Lens covers? Are they "snap-on" for each of these? Included? What about a lens cover strap?

Alternative models...The three I picked seem to be the best comparison, but heach has a little/big brother...S5IS, FZ7, Z812...thoughts on if I should swap any from my list?

I think that's enough questions for now. I'll call around today to see if I can find a local store that has them all. But in the meantime, any comments would be most appreciated. Thanks!





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Old Nov 15, 2007, 3:41 PM   #2
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db1975va wrote:
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but no review of the Z712.
If you search round here especially in the Kodak forum, you'll find dozens of comments on the Z612, 712, 812, and pointers to comparative reviews at www.wrexcam.comof the Z812 and Canon S5is. I have a Z712is and I'm delighted with it. If you look at my user profile under the 'Posts' tab you'll see lots of images taken with it since May and also find your way into the various previous discussions very like the one you're starting here.


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Old Nov 16, 2007, 8:50 AM   #3
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Alan T, thanks. You were really helpful in response to an earlier post of mine. Does Kodak lock you down to use only their Easyshare software? My old DX6440 was like that and I hated it. Just ended up using a card reader instead than their docking station.

I hoped I'd get feedback from someone who's used the FZ8. It gets lots of praise but I'd love to hear some first-hand feedback.
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Old Nov 16, 2007, 9:56 AM   #4
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db1975va wrote:
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....Does Kodak lock you down to use only their Easyshare software? My old DX6440 was like that and I hated it. Just ended up using a card reader instead than their docking station.
I tried Easyshare for a few minutes and then rubbed it out quickly.

What's wrong with a card reader plus Windows Explorer, or Irfanview, or Paint Shop Pro, or numerous other image managers? You arrived at the right answer, in my opinion.

I've bought a load of tiny USB card readers looking like USB sticks, from a 'pound shop' for 1 ukpound each, as stocking fillers for friends & family, so they can show their digicam pictures straight away anywhere to anyone with a computer with a USB socket. That's real 'easy sharing'.

It also avoids getting your camera too close to nasty plugs & leads that can go wrong. The USB socket on my Z712 is the tiniest I've ever seen, and the connectors are obviously vulnerable to damage. One of my early annoyances was a silly red 'share' button on the camera which I kept pressing with my palm by accident, and which I shall never use.

I back up my original camera files from the card reader to a USB drive (or two) after every session, so I keep a complete copy of the whole card. I find I can put them back on the card if necessary.

Elsewhere I also copy the images to wherever I choose to put them, in a structure Ibuild & can modify by myself using basic Windows tools, without the intervention of any software hiding them away where it chooses in a structure of its choice.About every month I back up the images & any amendments to CD as well.

You can also copy the whole lot to any machine anywhere (in the world, arguably), with a simple copy, independent of anything but the operating systems.


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Old Nov 16, 2007, 10:05 AM   #5
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Alan T wrote:
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What's wrong with a card reader plus Windows Explorer, or Irfanview, or Paint Shop Pro, or numerous other image managers? You arrived at the right answer, in my opinion.
I agree and that's my approach with my current camera and with the new one I'll (hopefully) soon buy. FYI, I use Picassa and couldn't be happier with it.

I was just curious to see if Kodak was still locked in to the EasyShare approach. Do they even supply basic drivers for the Z712. My old Kodak cam would only sync with EasyShare software. It wouldn't even show up as a simple storage device you could access using basic Windows tools. I think in trying to appeal to the masses, they had underestimated the common knowldgebase of the average computer user (or perhaps, I just overestimate it!).

BTW, do you have any thoughts on Z712 vs Z812? Worth the $60 to get the newer model?
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Old Nov 16, 2007, 10:32 AM   #6
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db1975va wrote:
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...any thoughts on Z712 vs Z812? Worth the $60 to get the newer model?
Well, I only have the 712. I'm no expert, but given that the sensor is probably the same size, you might even be better with the 612. Some would say so. In fact for most of my photography since I got it in May, I've had it set on 5Mpixels, 'basic' (i.e., smallest file size of three levels), and took thousands of shots with which I am delighted, even when zoomed in to much more than fill my 13x10.5 inch screen (340x270mm). Just lately, I've been using 7Mpix 'standard' quality, with much bigger files, but I don't really need it, except if cropping heavily for some reason.

Right at the start I did test shots of a leafy hedge and field, at 5 & 7 Mpix, and each level of compression. Viewed pixel by pixel it wasn't easy to see the difference, and it certainly wasn't worth using the 'fine' setting.

However, as you may have seen if you followed the link, Steve (not this one here) of Wrexham Cameras has liked all three, and he's pretty trustworthy. He does big prints from their recommended cameras, and has them available for inspection in the shop. I went there to buy a 612, but they hadn't any, and I bought their first 712. My guess is he'd say go with the 812.

Do get your hands on them yourself before buying, though, to see if they suit you.

Good luck!



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