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Old Apr 28, 2008, 4:46 PM   #1
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About to buy my first digital camera (I used film cameras -- still and movie -- from the 1960s to y2k -- tired of the weight and hassle), I want something pocketable (largish pocket), with diverse pluses including stabilized large zoom, good photo quality, cost-effectiveness. Likely uses: garden, home, landscape and human pictures and short videos, mainly for websites. Some macro (toads, herbs, bugs, etc). Mostly tripodless. I'd like few limitations.

I was about to buy a Sony H-3, now lean toward the newer Panasonic TZ-5, because of its size, 28mm wide angle, upgraded auto functions (over TZ3), good LCD, 1280 x 720 pixel 30fps movies, up-trending reviews, ease of use, build quality and optional blueness. Apparent negatives: lack of manual controls, video sound quality, low-light photo quality (compared with Sony H3, and esp some Fujis -- though I've seen good indoor TZ5 samples), video autofocus hunting when zooming (turning off autofocus may be cure enough?), and no articulating LCD (as on Canon A650, etc). And no review yet from Steve.

Price matters, so the Canon A720 and Panasonic LZ8 appeal (their less-wide angle lenses and smaller zooms and video resolutions don't), yet I'd go as high as $400 if features were superb. I have an unpocketable Sony video camera (DCR-TRV480-- so have memory sticks (pro/duo), but also have SD cards because of my cell phone/cam. Having that mildly useful digital8 video cam leaves me less likely to buy a hybrid (like Sanyos), though they tempt. I lean toward AA batteries (TZ5 doesn't use them). Probably don't want to bother with "raw" or anything hard to learn. I use a Mac -- maybe some cameras are especially compatible, or not?

Canon G9 seems a bit bulky and costly, a less wise buy, now, for me, than the TZ-5 and H-3 -- which are the two on which I mainly seek opinions/comparisons.

Any recommendations?
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 6:17 PM   #2
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They are both good cameras but the Sony H3 is a little more bulky and harder to fit into your pocket.

The TZ5 has been getting great reviews.
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Old Apr 28, 2008, 10:32 PM   #3
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I don't think the Sony H3 is a pocket camera any more than Canon S3 is. Those types of cameras are classified as something else. Not sure what the classification is, though I'm 65% sure they're called "super zoom" cameras or something like that. I hope someone else comes along to clarify this. :-)

For a pure pocket camera I like the Canon A720 because it zooms in closer than any other pocket camera out there. Or at least it held that distinction back a few months ago. I'm not referrring to the digital zoom, I'm referring to the optical zoom. Digital zoom is too unreliable which is why I focus on a pocket cameras optical zoom capability. 8)
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Old Apr 29, 2008, 12:14 AM   #4
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RanchDressing wrote:
Quote:
I don't think the Sony H3 is a pocket camera any more than Canon S3 is. Those types of cameras are classified as something else. Not sure what the classification is, though I'm 65% sure they're called "super zoom" cameras or something like that. I hope someone else comes along to clarify this. :-)

For a pure pocket camera I like the Canon A720 because it zooms in closer than any other pocket camera out there. Or at least it held that distinction back a few months ago. I'm not referrring to the digital zoom, I'm referring to the optical zoom. Digital zoom is too unreliable which is why I focus on a pocket cameras optical zoom capability. 8)
The Sony H3 is not really a pocket camera, though it could fit into a very large pocket. It is much smaller than the Canon S3, which is definitely NOT a pocket camera. However, the TZ5 is a pocket camera (for large pockets) and roughly equivilent in size to a Canon A720IS.

I own the Canon A720IS and it's a fine camera, but its lens range is from 35mm to 210mm, a 6x optical zoom. The Panasonic TZ5 is a superzoom (10x optical zoom, 28mm to 280mm) in a compact camera body. The Sony H3 also has a 10x optical zoom (38mm to 380mm). The original poster made it clear that his choice of cameras was between the TZ5 and the Sony H3.
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Old Apr 29, 2008, 8:28 PM   #5
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Thanks for your responses. Yes, the Sony H3 is a little bigger than the Panasonic TZ5, probably enough to matter to my pocket and me. Pocketability is in the eye (or pocket) of the beholder (or clothes-wearer).

Your comments are deft, AndyfromVA. (By the way, I grew up in Alexandria, VA, but hopped away, long ago, as do many frogs.) I could be persuaded away from the TZ5/H3 choice, though less likely toward the cameras I mentioned or others of which I'm aware, than toward something I've not considered, like some new camera. (Is the upcoming Panasonic TZ50 worth an added $100 for its wireless connectivity?) The often-praised Canon A720, which I would have chosen last year (or a TZ3) is competitive with a TZ5 (for me) largely because it costs about $100 less today -- but the now-$265-ish TZ5's added features seem worth the diff. Maybe.

RanchDressing, my guess is that you were thinking of the larger, older Sony H2 or H1, not the H3, when you compared its size with the Canon S3. With so many letters and numbers and models out there, it's easy to confuse them (as I nearly did in my opening message, catching several errors before posting, but not a punctuation glitch or two). As Andy indicates, the TZ5 is zoomier than the Canon A720, and they're about the same size. But whether the TZ5 is a better buy is debatable. The A720 may have a superior macro mode and often yield better photos, and have better video sound and excel in some other ways (others may know; I don't), and it does cost less. And if it's slightly larger, that's because it uses AA batteries, which I assume I'd prefer. Hmmm.

Maybe we should add the A720 as a third strong candidate. 3 determined candidates can make for an interesting race, eh? Also there's the TZ50 and potentially other last-minute dark-horse candidates .... either unconventional or at the convention..... (Note to self: Focus, frog, focus, or I may elect an unsavory bug.)
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Old Apr 30, 2008, 8:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Your comments are deft, AndyfromVA. (By the way, I grew up in Alexandria, VA, but hopped away, long ago, as do many frogs.) I could be persuaded away from the TZ5/H3 choice, though less likely toward the cameras I mentioned or others of which I'm aware, than toward something I've not considered, like some new camera. (Is the upcoming Panasonic TZ50 worth an added $100 for its wireless connectivity?) The often-praised Canon A720, which I would have chosen last year (or a TZ3) is competitive with a TZ5 (for me) largely because it costs about $100 less today -- but the now-$265-ish TZ5's added features seem worth the diff. Maybe.
Hey, thanks for the compliment.

Though I like my Canon A720IS I'd get the TZ5 if price were no object. Yet, as you note, the A720IS is $100 cheaper. For the extra $100 you get more optical zoom, a wider wide angle, a better LCD screen, and a camera that has more solid construction. But you give up the A720's manual controls and optical viewfinder.
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