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Old Feb 16, 2008, 12:53 AM   #1
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I am looking for an ultra zoom camera that has it all - great lens, at least 8MP, image stabilization and the ability to take great sports (action) shots and indoor pix. I can't get a dSLR because I don't have the money, and they are kind of heavy to carry around. I have looked at the Canon S5, the Sony H9, and the Panasonic FZ18. I have been comparing them for days, and I still can't figure out which one has the most of what I want. Can anyone help me?
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 3:05 AM   #2
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The Fuji S8000fd has better high ISO performance, but the stabilization on the FZ18 gets you about 3.3 extra stops compared to the S8000fd's 1.3. If you can live without stabilization, the FUji S600fd is one heck of a camera. I don't much care for the Olympus, Canon, or Sony offerings, but the new unreleased Kodaks look quite promising.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 3:31 AM   #3
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I've got an fz18 and think it's great, it's allowing me to learn raw shooting and writes super fast, but go to popphoto.com and look at the super zoom comparisons. The Oly doesn't fare well. And I here the kodaks are looking good also but check it out there.


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[img]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/Owner/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot.jpg[/img][img]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/Owner/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-1.jpg[/img][img]file:///C:/DOCUME%7E1/Owner/LOCALS%7E1/Temp/moz-screenshot-2.jpg[/img]http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/4836/shootout-18x-evf-superzooms.html
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 12:09 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for all the input. The popphoto comparison was very informative. I was also took your advice and checked out the Kodak, but it doesn't look like it has a "manual" option. One thing I wanted that the Panasonic didn't have is "color accent". That looks like a fun option. So far, I'm leaning towards the Panasonic, but any more input would be appreciated.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 2:02 PM   #5
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You really should check out the Canon S5, it is an exceptional camera that has a better manual mode than any other out there. It also has a hotshoe for an external flash and a flexi LCD screen like on the DSLR's. Get one in your hands and you will be sold on it. It is a solid camera, and the video mode is as good as a videocam.
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Old Feb 16, 2008, 3:18 PM   #6
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I have the Olympus SP-560. I like it, especially for outdoor daytime shots and portraits. However, I think I would pick the FZ-18 if you are interested in sports shots.

It has a faster burst mode at full resolution. It focuses faster. It has a slightly better lens. It's not built as sturdily as the 560 or Fuji S8000fd, but it looked and felt sturdy enough for me when I handled it in a store.

Both the 560 (570) and 8000fd have very, very fast reduced resolution burst modes, but the image quality isn't the best.

I heard the S5 focuses very, very fast and has a hot shoe, which can be an asset for indoor shots. The question you need to ask yourself is, "Do I need the extra telephoto range for many of my shots?" If the answer is yes, I would go for the Panasonic.
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 12:37 PM   #7
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I was pretty much sold on getting the FZ18, based on what has been said here and the reviews I have read since my first post. My friend just reminded me that she has the Panasonic FZ30. I have looked at her pictures. They're OK, but not great. Her indoor Christmas pictures, shot with a flash, seem pretty noisy and kind of dark. She usually uses one of the auto modes. Now, is she not using the camera right, or is the FZ18 better than the FZ30?
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Old Feb 17, 2008, 6:36 PM   #8
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your requirements are similar to mine - a large sensor (for low noise), image stabilization (in-camera stabilization, not lens), 10x or better zoom and i would add articulating (at least up and down) live view lcd and raw format.

i also have an fz30 and i am not pleased with the noise. i am looking at the new fuji s100fs which has everything. my konica-minolta (now owned by sony) takes better pics but has slower recording, a smaller lcd and shorter zoom than the panasonic.

i would hope that the newer panasonics deal with noise better but i would not pick the fz18 because the sensor is the smallest of the fz18, fz30 and fz50. the smaller the sensor the more noise. panasonic is notorious for being noisy. my fz30 is noisy at iso 200. please look at some sample images and read the reviews at different digital camera sites for the fz-18 before you buy it. i take a lot of my pics in late afternoon light so i need to be able to use higher iso.

btw, one site i looked at that reviewed different cameras for noise showed the canon s5-is to be even noisier than the panasonics. plus, canon needs to add raw format to their cameras before i will give them any serious consideration.

i may get a sony dslr a-300 which is being priced almost the same as the aforementioned fuji . . . if i can hold out 'til april!


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Old Feb 18, 2008, 3:04 PM   #9
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Either you can throw a lot of money at it with a DSLR and a few good quaility lenses plus a flash or get a superzoom. If it is was me I would get the FZ18 for its long reach, wide angle, and image stabalization. At under 350 dollars you can't beat it and it is the top rated zoom of the 18x models out there.

If good pictures in good light are good enough that is probably the route to go. To get fantastic pictures well open the wallet and start carrying around a ball and chain.
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Old Feb 19, 2008, 4:25 AM   #10
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sandykor wrote:
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IHer indoor Christmas pictures, shot with a flash, seem pretty noisy and kind of dark. She usually uses one of the auto modes. Now, is she not using the camera right, or is the FZ18 better than the FZ30?
It might be that the built-in flash's power was inadequate for the situation. A built-in flash has its limitations.

If you intend to take a lot of indoor photos and at some distance from the subject, you might want to consider a camera with a hotshoe for an external flash like the Canon S5IS:

1. the built-in flash, because it always flashes straight on to the subject, tends to cause skin tone to be too "white" or bright at times

2. the built-in flash effective range is just a few meters

3. an external flash will allow you to bounce-flash giving you skin tones that are softer and closer to actual

4. an external flash will allow longer distance shots (a Canon 430ex, for instance, has a guide number of 40 meters)

Plus, the Canon S5IS has excellent video.
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