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Old Mar 7, 2008, 9:55 PM   #1
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I am in the process of trying to decide on a new camera, someone directed me to this site. I am upgrading from a Canon Powershot A520.

I am looking for higher end zoom, my budget is approx $400-$500. I will mainly use the camera for taking pictures of my family (especially sports related), concerts, including videos.

I have 2 cameras in mind, the Canon Powershot S5IS and the Panasonic DMC FZ18, I would appreciate any advice on these models or similar models.


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Old Mar 7, 2008, 11:31 PM   #2
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Cindy,

I can't help you with the FZ18 but I've had the S5 since last July and about 5,000 frames so here goes.

The S5 is a great camera outdoors and in good light. It's color quality is terrific and noise is not a problem at 80 & 100 ISO. At 200 ISO you can notice some noise but not bad. Anything more than that is a problem.

Although the Optical zoom is 12x (as opposed to 18x on the FZ1 the S5 has a really decent digital TC of 1.6 and 2.0. This gives you (or at least me) a usable 24x zoom (850mm equivalent). These work pretty well. The rest of the digital zoom is the normal DZ horror.

Indoors, in low light, the S5 (and every other super zoom) has problems. But within your budget you can get the S5 plus the 430EX flash ($225 US at Amazon) and that is a great combination. The hotshoe is the main reason I moved to the S5 from my S2.


Finally, you can see a lot of S5 shots (including some dedicated test shots) on my pbase site at http://www.pbase.com/johngalt_ny Almost everything on there is S5 except the Alaska stuff (which is S2 thus the same lens). Make sure you go to the S5 Test Shots gallery. You might also take a look at the EVENING HOWL gallery under Animals. Those are long S5 shots of wolves including some at 24x.Also, face detection, which I thought was a gimmick, is actually very useful. Take a look at the portraits section of my galleries.


Hope this all helps. Let me know if I can tell you anything else.

JG

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Old Mar 9, 2008, 1:08 AM   #3
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That is a very nice collection of shots, John. There are some great S-5 shots there. You should be proud. It is hard to beat the S-5+EX-430 Flash combo.

Now do you honestly need the expense and the weight of the DSLR and a couple of lenses?

Sarah Joyce (in Australia tonight)
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Old Mar 9, 2008, 1:33 PM   #4
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Thanks Sara, and as usual your question is dead on.

I've been looking at dSLRs for a month now and figuring I'd do something in June or so. All the while I've been wrestling with whether it's even a good idea since the S5 does so much. Still, I'd like to see what the APS-C sensor can do so I arranged to borrow an XTi for a couple of days in in April. If there's not that much difference I'll have answered your (and my own) question.
JG
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 1:08 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the advice, I must say I am leaning towards the canon. Also the salesman at Future Shop also recommended it over the Panasonic, surprising because the Panasonic was more expensive.

Your pictures are fantastic, you have a good eye. Do you use the camera for video? Just curious how it performs. I will probably contact you again if I decide to get this one for some tips if thats ok.

Thank you again.
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 8:16 PM   #6
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No problem Cindy. Contact me anytime.

In defense of the Panasonic, a friend of mine has an older FZ50 and he loves it. I just like the S series better plus I like the better access to settings that Canon has.

I have used it for video and it comes out fine for viewing on the computer. I don't shoot it for more than 60 secs or so but the S5 will go as far as your memory card will take you. I've never tried to put it on a TV. For that I use a camcorder.

Call whenever you want more.

JG


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