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Old Mar 14, 2008, 7:04 PM   #1
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Hey guys my first big post.

Anyways I'll make it simple and hopefully you can chime in. Wife and I want to upgrade from a Canon A75, our one and only ever digital camera. We've never had the chance to play with newer cameras longer than taking pics for friends so I'd like to know what to expect so to speak.

I've been focusing on the superzoom cameras, primarliy the Panasonic F18, Fuji S8000 and Olympus SP560. These seem to offer all the features we'd like over a full price range within $150 of each other. Having read every review on the planet I'm really confused now and I'm looking for the non professional reviewer answer.

Not having anything over a 3.2 megpixel and no image stabilization etc for years will I truly notice the image cons that these reviews point out between each camera? We want good quality pictures in a point and shoot package. It will be nice to have some room to play around with features too.

I think the main features we would like would be the following:
Wide angle - really want this
Macro - she likes shooting her flowers
Extended zoom - 10x+ (this may be more of a bonus)
Something not huge but fun to play with
Some manual adjustments to play with settings in lower light

All in all we just want to take some nice pictures and have no desire for a DSLR. If I don't have to pay top dollar for what reviewers deem the best will I notice the difference?

Oh and with all this said could we simply get away with a Panasonic TZ3?

Hope I make sense.

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Old Mar 14, 2008, 11:26 PM   #2
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Thomas-

The acknowledged king of the hill in the ultra zooms, if you want 18X zoom, is the Panasonic FZ-18.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 3:41 PM   #3
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thomasmagnum wrote:
Quote:
Wide angle - really want this
Macro - she likes shooting her flowers
Extended zoom - 10x+ (this may be more of a bonus)
Something not huge but fun to play with
Some manual adjustments to play with settings in lower light
Quote:
All the requirements that you listed are available with the TZ3... plus the price is really good-- $230 most places. Go for it.
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 8:09 PM   #4
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There is a $(US) 50.00 Fuji rebate available on the Fuji S-8000 on sales completed through 03/31/2008. This might make the Fuji S-8000 a bit more attractive at 18X optical zoom.

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Old Mar 17, 2008, 9:10 PM   #5
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thomasmagnum wrote:
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Oh and with all this said could we simply get away with a Panasonic TZ3?


You can do a lot of things with the TZ3. Here's a folder of over 300+ images that I've uploaded to my website over the past year I've shot with my TZ3..

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/galler...qatr#266591609

There are some type subjects where I would not want the TZ3 as my only camera...

1. Flash shots- the TZ3's flash is rather weak and, like most built-in flashes on digicams, not of the best quality light. When it comes to flash shots, it's important enough to me that I use either an Olympus E510DSLR ora Panasonic FZ50 with a separate TTL flash.

2. Really low light- The TZ3 is great at ISO 100 and 200, which is good enough forwell over 80-85% of what I do. Used in AUTO ISO mode, it will even pick intermediate settings like ISO 125 or 160. Once you get to ISO 400, noise and noise reduction really starts cutting into the image quality. You can see this in some images in the above folder as I've included files shot all the way up to ISO 1250, where things get really ugly once you start looking at file bigger than an equivalent of a 4x6 sized print.

All that said...to be honest, with one or two exceptions....mainly the Fuji F series, this is pretty much the same with any digicam.

With the extended optical zoom, you have access to an optical zoom range from 28mm to 420mm. Just to give you an idea of that range, here an image shot at 28mm..



Then, from the same spot, I changed the resolution to 3MP and zoomed to the maximum tele end, giving me an optical zoom setting of 420mm, which recorded this..



That, is a lot of opticalzoom range for a camera so small.
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 10:36 PM   #6
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With all due repects to Gregg-

The Panasonic TZ-3 does do very well indeed with outdoor photos. However. it is a slug when it comes to indoor photos, or with photos taken with the camera's built-in flash. I bought the Panasonic TZ-3 thinking that it was indeed something of a "wonder" camera. But alas, it was not at all.

I have actually produced much better image qualityphotos with the rather ordinary Sony H-3. It has a better flash range, and it has better image quality and sharpnessthan the Panasonic TZ-3. You see, I really do own both cameras. the Sony H-3 is, without a doubta much more capable camerathat producews the photos that you want to post/stick into your family album. Please do not be confused.

It is indeed your money, and you may spend it as you desire. Just take a good look at the Sony H-3, before you decide, irrevolably, on the Panasonic TZ-3. What do I know, you might ask? Well, I am a Professional Digital Camera Instructor, who just happens to teach for the Canon, Nikon and Kodak Camera Companies, as well as the major cruise lines of the world, if that matters.

The choice is of course yours! But you might take note of the fact that I have made over 6,300 posts on this Forum.

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Old Mar 17, 2008, 11:43 PM   #7
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Sarah,

Your first recommendation of the FZ18makes moresense than the H3, which barely has what one would even call a semi-wide angle view at 38mm, when the OP made it pretty clear in the original messagehe wants a wider view.

As I alsomentioned regarding the flash and low light shooting with the TZ3, "slug" might be a kinder description of the TZ3's performance once you get into low light than I would give it.
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Old Mar 18, 2008, 12:02 PM   #8
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Thanks, Greg, for getting me back on course,

The Panasonic FZ-18 and the Fuji S-8000 both have wide angle capabilities and they are therefore much better choices for the OP. The TZ-3 is also a possible choice if you can deal with its somewhat reduced (flash) shooting capabilities. There are indeed many, many folks who find the TZ-3 a perfect match for their photographic needs.

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Old Mar 18, 2008, 2:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your replies. Since posting I have visited a few stores and come down to a few conclusions.

-the F18 doesn't seem worth it when every other camera is $100 less in Canada
-The TZ3 feels like a brick and as per mt's comments and I would like better indoor photo capabilities
-the Fuji S8000 feels bulky and the wife and I [yes I hate to admit it ] have small hands
-the Sony H3 lacks the wide angle which is my personal must have feature

We're down to 2(maybe 3 see comment at bottom) cameras as per feel and sample images I've seen around the net.

Olympus SP560uz - seems to do all the things we like, feels good in the hand for its size, but has a slightly bloated menu

Sony DSC-H7 - lightweight and decent features, but a sub par lcd screen and bulky
mtclimber have you had a chance to use the H7 at all?

lastly one question to you guys. The Olympus does not have the auto pop up flash, you have to manually release this. Does anyone think this could be a major issue?

I just had a chance to look through Greg's album for the TZ3 and WOW now I'm really confused as what to get.................... Maybe I didn't give the TZ3 enough of a chance......




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Old Mar 18, 2008, 4:15 PM   #10
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The TZ-3 is a good camera and Greg's photos with it are really great. So that might be your best option, considering your need for a wide angle capability. I have never used the H-7, but I do have a lot of experience with its bigger brother, the H-9, and it does have its faults in the high zoom range that the new H-50 is supposed to address.

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