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Old Dec 5, 2007, 2:47 PM   #1
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OK, after doing some more research, I'm looking at the following three cameras for something with a sharp auto focus that can handle a good macro mode as well as a long zoom. I currently have a Canon 2IS which does a decent long zoom, but auto focus in macro almost doesn't work. Let me emphasize that auto focus is a big deal for me since I can't seem to get manual focus to get me very close (may be an issue with the S2, or my eyes).

I also don't want a camera with interchangeable lenses because I'll be doing a lot of hiking, and don't want to spend a lot of time switching between two or three lenses.

I like the SX100 since it appears to be the easiest of the three to carry around, and it's about the same price as the Panasonic. However the SX100 only does 10x while the other two do 12x.

The DMC-FZ8 looks like it might have slightly better picture quality than the other two, and the price is right. It also looks like you can add an adapter and get a 3x add-on, though I can't find any indication if that works or how well. On the other hand, the reviews I've found indicate it has some fairly significant noise issues that are best overcome with their RAW format and turning down the NR, which implies I'd probably need a much larger SD card.

The S5 IS comes closest to the S2 IS which I already have. However, I'm not sure I'd say that's a plus. The S5 IS has a factory-made add-on available to take it to 18x, which would give me a fairly long zoom, and there seems to be a lot more support out there for Canon products, but then it's a physically large camera, and more expensive than the other two.


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Old Dec 5, 2007, 8:59 PM   #2
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I am in a similar hunt myself, and it is daunting. The fuji Super CCD's are the way to go for low light, especially if you have very stable hands or are planning to use a tripod--though the canon will do a little better with brighter environments for reasons listed below. Aside from that you really don't need to worry too much about image quality amongst those candidates. The key differences amongst them are going to be in the on camera processing. The S5 will probably have the best colors and slightly higher noise levels at higher ISO, but in general retain greater detail. Other cameras generally have greater noise reduction which will impact color and detail, of course when you run a pass through some noise reduction software on your computer (which only takes a moment) you will get similar reduction in image quality. But, you can pick a few key favorites and spend more time editing that particular picture and end up with a more desirable image than if the on camera editing functions had blurred out your detail and colors.

You could always use raw, like you said, but that involves alot more memory and even more time editing--I see the canon approach as the most all around user friendly with the best balance.

I have seen some impressive macro with the S5, though, if you want wide angle landscape photos it might not be the best--though it does have a stitch assist option that seems to work remarkably well.

But what is really helping me in my decision is looking at real photos and chatting with owners. Seek out forums where people own the camera, I know for the S5 I have been posting a bit over on the Flickr Group forum. They are great people, and have some incredible photos and advice to offer. you will see ALOT of examples of nature photos and more super macro photos than you will know what to do with.
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