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Old Jan 25, 2008, 2:44 AM   #1
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I have owned a number of P&S cameras over the years, at least 6 of them, mostly Kodak brand. Recently I moved into a DSLR and got the Canon Rebel XT and now 4 lens, with filters, ect. I love the flexibility and image quality it offers, But its primary use is for pro shooting. And I need to also get something to take with me, a good all around camera. I am planning a trip to Vegas next month and I want to be able to have a good range camera in my coat. The DSLR just wont work for that.

So I am looking at a few P&S cams that have higher zoom and IS. Would like something that is compact , though it seems "high zoom" and "compact" dont typically go hand in hand. I used to own a 12X Kodak P850 but found it to be bulky, slow, and had soft images, non effective IS.

Anyone with advice on what cam to consider next?

here are the models I have considered so far:

Canon SX100 (10x)
Canon S5 (12x)
Canon A720 (6X)
Panasonic DMC-TZ3 (10x)

(note: Sony and Fuji is left out because I prefer SD card compatibility)

THE PROBLEM IS all of the reviews seen say that the above cameras take noisy images above 200 ISO.

Do they make a high zoom P&S that is compact and takes decent photos?
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 9:09 AM   #2
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techgeek419 wrote:
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...here are the models I have considered so far:

Canon SX100 (10x)
Canon S5 (12x)
Canon A720 (6X)
Panasonic DMC-TZ3 (10x)......THE PROBLEM IS all of the reviews seen say that the above cameras take noisy images above 200 ISO.
You could consider the Kodak Z712is or Z812is, fairly direct but much cheaper & lighter competitors to the Canon S5is. Excellent electronic viewfinder - live preview with settings visible. Very good image stabilisation, not bad higher ISO performance. Also small & light (by superzoom hybrid standards) - My Z712 fits in a 6 x 6 x 5 inch case with lots of room for accessories, batteries etc., total weight 860g; camera & battery alone 360g.

Very full controls - can't really understand why folk call this class of cameras 'point & shoot', when dSLRs can do P&S as well. Better images, but bigger, heavier, more money, more lenses.

Last edited by Alan T; Feb 5, 2010 at 10:12 AM. Reason: Removal of "&amp" for "&" from old forum software
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 11:03 AM   #3
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Have you considered the Panasonic FZ18? It has a wide-zoom, IS, and RAW capabilities. High ISO performance can be a negative, but ISO of 100, and maybe 200 should be fine. Steve's has a good review on it, but this review on Megapixel.net goes into greater details about the RAW performance.

http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/pan...8/fz18-gen.php

dhc
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 1:44 PM   #4
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Hi Techgeek,

Compact, decent photos and high zoom - not requirements that sit easily togther!

I've got the PanasonicFZ 18 and love it - but it won't fit in your coat pocket. I've also got the Ricoh R4 as a handbag camera (I believe they're now up to R7) which has 28 - 200mm zoom, IS etc. No viewfinder, and I couldn't say how good the photos are, as I generally go for holiday snaps, - BUT it is tiny, and will quite happily slip into your pocket; the leather thin case that you can get for them is super.

The other option I eyed up was the Canons S80; it's a few years old now but a lot of semi-pros raived about it as it offers a viewfinder,RAW, fullmanual control and a28 - 105mm zoom, if I remember correctly. NoIS.One of the other threads mentions that they might be bringing out the S90 soon. Not as small as the Ricoh, but it would fit into a large coat pocket.

My sister purchased the Pannasonic TZ3; she's been very pleased with it but it is heavy for a compact having a metal body. Has a longer zoom than the Ricoh, but it is larger. Again, no viewfinder.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 2:16 PM   #5
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Alan T wrote:

Quote:
You could consider the Kodak Z712is or Z812is, fairly direct but much cheaper & lighter competitors to the Canon S5is. Excellent electronic viewfinder - live preview with settings visible. Very good image stabilisation, not bad higher ISO performance. Also small & light (by superzoom hybrid standards) - My Z712 fits in a 6 x 6 x 5 inch case with lots of room for accessories, batteries etc., total weight 860g; camera & battery alone 360g. Very full controls - can't really understand why folk call this class of cameras 'point & shoot', when dSLRs can do P&S as well. Better images, but bigger, heavier, more money, more lenses.
Thanks for the replys so far.

Alan, as mentioned I had the Kodak P850.. took some good photos with it, but couldnt get over the lack of good IS and lots of soft images. Has this improved that much in later Kodak models?

Whats the difference between the 712 and 812, is it purely MP?
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 2:38 PM   #6
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If you're looking for a no-noise digicam above ISO 200 you can stop your looking right here and save yourself a lot of time and energy. There's needs to be some realistic expectationsattached to your search for a digicam.

The Fuji F50 does pretty good from what I've seen. The Panasonic TZ3 is very good up to ISO 200 and, depending on the subject, can do OK at ISO 400..

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/gallery/2900447#156043664

Not so much noise, but noise reduction issues are what's problematic with all digicams, even the "good ones". If you picked one that offers RAW capture (not too many of those around), once you get above ISO 200 you can switch to that, control how much noise reduction gets applied and be left with some noise that's more grain-like, vs. the smeared, no noiseeffect so many give. Take a look at this review of the CanonG9 and pay attention tothe comments this guy makes about noise...he has the type outlook sensible people should be taking about the subject. Many think/worry more about it than they need to be...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...G9-Japan.shtml

As you can see above, I have a TZ3 and love it for the reach, but if I'm shooting in my more common focal length range (28-105mm or so) and want more manualcontrol or RAW option for higher ISO files....or want to simplyuse a very cool camera, I use the uniquePanasonic LX2, which I just recently purchased...

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/gallery/3986208#231772875

The primary format it uses (16:9) is something most probably don't wanna use, but I like it alot. I typically carry both it and the TZ3with me every day in a small Lowepro bag.
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 2:46 PM   #7
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techgeek419 wrote:
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.. took some good photos with it, but couldnt get over the lack of good IS and lots of soft images. ....

Whats the difference between the 712 and 812, is it purely MP?
The sharpness is fine so far as I'm concerned, but then I don't have a dSLR as well. It's a bit soft at max 432mm equiv. zoom, but I suspect most of this class of lens will be.

712-812 differences are discussed in thread...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...jump_to=846316

There are lots of examples, (some from me since May07) sprinkled around these forums. 100% crops are most useful, of course. See...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=18,

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=18,

...which I found again by typing "712 full size site:http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/" into Google, a technique taught be my the estimable member round here 'BillDrew'.
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Old Jan 31, 2008, 2:07 AM   #8
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well I ended up getting a Canon SX100. Obviously there is no "high quality" compact high zoom camera that exists, but that one is as good as it will get.

I passed the panasonic Z18 due to lack of zoom in movie mode (canon has some but not full), and also the pany had a MUCH higher price tag.

I did consider the Kodaks, and loved the feature set and affordable price point of the Kodak z712is... HOWEVER, it's not compact at all, might as well use my DLSR if I want to carry around a bag. Plus for that size (much like the p850) I'd at least want a hot shoe (the canon S5 nails it, but far too pricey at $350 street)

Bottom line, for a tad over $200 I get a "pocketable" cam with high zoom. Not bad. And I will just have to live with the high noise issues which seem to be common with most all cameras in low light above ISO 200. Will post updates on the cam performance once I get to using it more...
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 4:47 AM   #9
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wanted to pop in here and post a follow up to the Canon SX100.

I've taken a number of test photos with it already, and yes some noise at higher ISO's, but I went back and compared to some of my Kodak shots and wasnt much worse. Higher ISO in low light = more noise.... no matter how you look at it.

However, there is ONE observation I wanted to mention. I did find the Canon to have one plus and one minus when compared to my older Kodaks.

On the plus side it did well at lighting. Shadows were nicely accented, and it white balance was much better.

And on the minus... I found that the color saturation was just not what I expected. Maybe I am just used to Kodak colors, but it seemed like the shots were just less vibrant. Or maybe Kodak over saturates, which is something I recall reading about somewhere recently.

So I went back to the drawing board, and looked at the Kodak ultra compact models, recognizing a trade off of losing the higher zoom. Again keeping in mind I want sometthing "pocketable". AND GUESS WHAT? It appears Kodak does NOT make an ultra compact that has IMAGE STABILIZATION. I was shocked. Well to theire credit there is one coming out in April 2008.. but didnt they kind of miss the boat on that? Canon has UC with IS, Panny has em, Sony has em. But no Kodak...uhhhhh!

So over to the panny...nice and compact, most all models have IS.. SD card... looked good.. but then I will have to live with NO ZOOM in MOVIE MODE... oh well.

Geez, what do I have to do? go and design my own camera, because people just cant make one that does it all!!! panny kodak and canon should pair up for IS with zoomed video and vibrant color....

how did I get myself into this mess anway?
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Old Feb 9, 2008, 5:52 AM   #10
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techgeek419 wrote:
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... I found that the color saturation was just not what I expected. Maybe I am just used to Kodak colors, but it seemed like the shots were just less vibrant. Or maybe Kodak over saturates, which is something I recall reading about somewhere recently...
I think saturation levels vary from camera to camera just within one manufacturer's models, depending on the whims of the programmers. For consistency with all the other digicams I have owned, I now have my Kodak Z712is always turned up to "High Color" (most saturated of 3 levels). I had often found myself post-enhancing the saturation.

Its imagesnow look more natural to my eye than the "Natural Color" middle level. Such are the wonders of the world, that as I look around me on a nice day, I frequently think "Wow! the saturation's well turned up today!"
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