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Old Mar 23, 2008, 12:30 PM   #1
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Budget

up to £300ish

Size

smaller the better (but am used to Canon S2 IS)

Features

Megapixels not really an issue (and I gather that more is not necessarily better e.g noise, purple fringing etc.)

Maybe 7 - 10 ?

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom =

See post title !

* How important is "image quality" to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)

8-9/10

Do you care for manual controls?

Would be nice

General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for?

General purpose - snapshots, outdoor scenes/views, maybe some with a bit more "thought"

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?

Not planning to

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?

Some

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?

Not many

Are there particular brands you like or hate?

Have always used Canon - but am prepared to try others if they are better

Are there particular models you already have in mind?

S5 IS ... actually would probably go straight for S3 IS, but no longer available in UK

Panasonic FZ18

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

Rotating LCD (really got used to this on the S2), image stabilisation (doesn't this come as standard on ultrazooms ?)



I have read many reviews now, and it seems that the S5 has some serious issues e.g. chromatic aberration, purple fringing, lower battery life etc.

In fact the S3 sounds like a better camera - but can't get it anymore (new) ...

Is there a "perfect" ultrazoom out there ?

Or should I be thinking about a "proper" SLR ?

I guess I want too much - compact digital with big zoom, near faultless image quality, good high ISO performance AND rotating lcd


thanks


swayzak
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Old Mar 23, 2008, 12:52 PM   #2
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swayzak-

Yes, a DSLR camera would give you a lot more options, but at a much greater cost, greater size, and greater weight. All three of those factors seem to be contrary to your stated desires.

That leaves the ultrazooms. If max zoom is desired, then the Panasonic FZ-18 is the king of thehill amog the 18X optical zoom cameras, followed closely by the Canon S-5 with 12Xoptical zoom.

I own both the FZ-18 and the S-5. I tend to use the S-5 more and I particularly like the hot shoe on the S-5 where I use the Canon EX-430 Flash. The Panasonic FZ-18 does not have a hotshoe, so you have to use a slave flash with it, as the best alternative.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Mar 23, 2008, 1:05 PM   #3
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thanks

Is the image quality similar between the two ?

Are they both equally poor in low level lighting (as seems to be a recognised problem with cheaper digital cameras) ?
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Old Mar 23, 2008, 1:44 PM   #4
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There are a lot to choose from within the ultra zoom ranks. The pany 18 gets great reviews although some have a blue banding issue that can be repaired. The S5 is pretty decent also. There are several Fujis to choose from and of course Olympus sp's 550, 560, and now 570 which comes with a hot shoe. You will never get the quality from a point and shoot that you get with the dslr so it's a matter of choice. I chose the Oly 560 mainly because of the zoom and the fact I have an older model so understanding the menu was an easier transition. I've only had my 560 for a couple weeks, the image quality is pretty good but not excellent. If you need excellent get a dslr. Of course I haven't had it long so with some practice my shots may become clearer. I wanted the convienence along with a big zoom and carrying this around your neck is much easier than a big camera with multiple lenses. Here's a shot I took with it from about 30 feet away. I used the landscape/portrait mode which is auto ISO and I increased the sharpness and contrast to +3. I haven't had a chance to use the manual modes much yet but they may increase quality from this. Either way get something that feels good and enjoy.
Eric

http://www.pbase.com/ericsh/image/94532582
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Old Mar 23, 2008, 1:50 PM   #5
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thanks

Actually this could be a possible compromise between image quality & ultrazoom:

http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/consumer/d...ix-s100fs/View

However, does it really weigh almost a kilo (without batteries) !!?

Presumably this is basically a DSLR size ultrazoom ... ?
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Old Mar 23, 2008, 2:24 PM   #6
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I gave this camera some serious consideration as it has a larger sensor which normally relates to better image quality, but not as large as a dslr. For the price you can get a dslr and have the ability to choose different lenses. It is heavy and the lens sticks out quite a bit. I like the camera but if I'm going to spend 7 to 900 US dollars by the time you add the accessories you'll need, I would go dslr. It really depends on what image quality is acceptable to you. I have a 765C series olympus with a 10x optical that has great quality for point and shoots but at 4 megapixels it didn't quite have what I needed in ability to enlarge beyond 10x12 and shoot beyond 100 yards. I still use it a lot though, at closer ranges it has close to dslr quality. Here's a couple shots from it. You can pick one of these up on ebay for 125 bucks.

http://www.pbase.com/ericsh/image/92842003

http://www.pbase.com/ericsh/image/93366027

http://www.pbase.com/ericsh/image/92853407
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Old Mar 23, 2008, 2:30 PM   #7
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swayzak-

The Fuji S-100fs is indeed larger than some of the typical DSLR cameras, and it is right at the kilo mark weight wise. Thus far the photo samples from the Fuji S-100fs have been good, but they are not earth shaking.

I have attached a sample Fuj S-100fs photo for you.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 23, 2008, 2:36 PM   #8
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swayzak-

Most probably the best compromise in terms ofimage quality, size, price, and weight is the Panasonic FZ-18, if you want 18X optical zoom. I have attached a Panasonic FZ-18 photo sample taken on a very overcast morning for you.

SarahJoyce


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Old Mar 23, 2008, 7:54 PM   #9
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After enjoying spending the better part of this Easter Sunday creating photo samples. It clearly appears that while the Canon S-5 has a bit less zoom (12X optical zoom) it does indeed have better sharpness and resolution. Here are two S-5 photo samples for you. I urge you to capture the posted image of the seagull and zoom in on it. Then you will be able to easily see the beads of rain that the Canon S-5 captured soacurately on the seagull's head and back. IMHO the Canon S-5 is a pretty amazing camera. Please note that this photo was taken amid downpouring rain. There is an amazing amount of fine detail in that photo.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Mar 24, 2008, 6:31 AM   #10
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Looks very nice !

However, I've just seen an S3 on ebay, "as new", for £150 - do you think this would give me better performance (6MP is fine for my purposes) than S5 ?

Any major improvements on S5, apart from hotshoe (which I don't really need) ?
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