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Old Sep 20, 2008, 2:59 PM   #1
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Hi. I've been researching several sites trying to determine which superzoom to buy. I think that I'm lost in information and am paralyzed in making a decision. I need some help.

I am looking for a superzoom camera with good photo quality and good first and next shot shutter speed (next shot more imporatant). I am an amatuer photographer and plan on using the camera to take photos of my children, vacations, outdoors, etc. I like the superzoom so that I can sneak up on an image and capture it without being noticed (especially my infant's expressions). Oh, my price range is $250-$450.

I have had Canon's all of my life and have been happy with them, although I am open to switching. Here are some of the models on my short list. What do you think?

Kodak EasyShare Z1012 IS, Canon PowerShot SX100 IS, Canon PowerShot S5 IS, Olympus SP-570 UZ, Olympus SP-560 UZ, and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

Are there others I should consider?

Thanks, Allison


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Old Sep 20, 2008, 4:51 PM   #2
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Allison,

You should add the Sony H50 and the Panasonic FZ28 (FZ18 replacement). Canon has just announced the SX10 IS, but it looks like it will exceed your budget at $500.

You can also check out Steve's Best for the Super Zoom category for others.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

Dennis


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Old Sep 20, 2008, 5:36 PM   #3
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Allison-

Welcome to the Forum. Personally, I am sort of a ultrazoom nut. If you want to stay at the bottom level of your budget, I can heartily recommend either the Kodak Z-1012 and the Sony H-10 and both of these cameras are on Steve's Best Camera List.

Here is a Kodak Z-1012 photo sample:





Here is a Sony H-3 photo sample. The Sony H-10 is exactly the same as the H-3 but it has a larger LCD screen.



Next (moving upwards price-wise)would come the Panasonic TZ-5, one of the smallest and most compact of the ultrazooms. And here is the TZ-5 Photo Sample:



Then you have the Panasonic FZ-18 with 18X optical zoom and great reviews. Here is the FZ-18 photo sample:



The new Panasonic FZ-28 is the successor to the FZ-18 it has 10mp 18X optical zoom. Here is the photo sample from the FZ-28



The Nikon P-80 is not on Steve's Best Camera List. It is a 10mp, 18X OpticalZoom camera. Here is the photo sample from the P-80:



next comes the Canon S-5 which has recently increased in price. 12X optical zoom with8mp. The photo sample was taken with the S-5 and the EX-430 External Flash:



While I do own the Olympus SP-550 and 560, I would not recommend them to you.

Now if you really want to save money on an ultrazoom, the Kodak Z-712 is still available at less than $(US) 200.00. It has 7.3mp with 12X optical zoom. Here is the Kodak Z-712 photo sample:



And if you are a Star Wars Fan here is a Kodak Z-712 photo taken at the Star Wars Museum in Las Vegas:



And yes, the Fuji S-8000fd IS is on Steve's Best Camera List, but I personally do not recommend it, as these other cameras that I have listed do a much better job of taking your photos. But to be fair, I will post a photo sample from the Fuji S-8000 because I do own one:



All of these cameras have Image Stabilization or IS and all of these camera, with the exception of the Nikon P-80, are on Steve's Best Camera List.

I hope that this info helps or at least provides a springboard to a broader discussion of ultra zoom camera that you might consider, Allison..

Sarah Joyce

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Old Sep 21, 2008, 6:59 AM   #4
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Thanks Dennis and Sarah for your comments.

I think that I have narrowed my search down to

Canon PowerShot S5 IS
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 (not on Steve's best list; is it becuase it's new?)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H50


If price is not an option between these 4, is there a clear winner?

Thanks, Allison
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Old Sep 21, 2008, 8:31 AM   #5
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Hi Allison,

I am in the same boat as you are and am interested in the same 4 cameras. Right now I am leaning towards the FZ28 which I believe is not on Steve's list because he hasn't reviewed it yet. From what I hear, it is very similar to the FZ18 with a newer processing engine (Venus IV) and a more powerful flash. Obviously there is also a small increase in megapixels as well. Sarah makes a compelling argument for the FZ18 with that sample image she provided with the tulips however, she recommends the FZ28 as the better camera. I tried out the Sony in a store and I really liked it but from what I have read the FZ18/28 are better. Not sure how the canon stacks up but the review I have read make me a little nervous.
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Old Sep 21, 2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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Allison and Mark-

The Canon S-5 is a great camera if you can live with the limitation of keeping the ISO setting at ISO 250 (which the camera is able to set when using Auto ISO) and below. The lower ISO will give you very good IQ. However, some folks rebel a bit at that ISO rule. The S-5 has a small imager (1/2.5) and is therefore, it isprone to showing noise if used at ISO settings above ISO 250. I already owned the Canon EX-430 flash that I use with my XTi, but the S-5 really needs an external flash to be able to reach out and get those photos that you desire, beyond the rather limited10 to 12 foot flash range zone, when using the S-5's built-in flash.

Yes, the reason that the Panasonic FZ-18 is on the BEST CAMERA LIST and the FZ-28 is not, is simply because it is pretty new and Steve has not yet reviewed the camera. Mark was correct in stating that. Is the FZ-28 that much of an improvement over the FZ-18? I think that it is. The Venus 4 processor provides a good bost in performance and the ability to now use higher ISO settings is a plus. I have tried ISO 800 and find it very useable. I wish that the FZ-18 and the FZ-28 had hot shoes but they don't, so I will have to depend on my FZ-50 if I want to use my Olympus FL-50 Flash.

The FZ-28 offers a very usable, verycompact, all in one package, that is hard to resist. At high ISO settings it will not outperform a good DSLR camera, but that is the price that you have to pay to get an all in one camera solution of sorts. Interestingly enough, the FZ-28 IQ is very similiar to the IQ of the FZ-50, albeit in a smaller package. Now that I have the FZ-28, I tend to shoot more with it than I do with the Canon S-5, the Sony H-50, and the FZ-18.

The Sony H-50 is a good camera. It does produce some occasional CA, it is able to be used at higher ISO settings. ISO 800 works well on the H-50. It has a fairly powerful built-in flash, that is even more powerful than the built-in flash on the FZ-28. It is compact and very portable and has excellent sharpness and IQ. I am not in love with the H-50's menu system and have in the short time I have had the camera, been frustrated by not being able to instantly go to my desired feature. With the help of the documentation, I did sort things out. So I will have to use the H-50 for a longer period before I am totally comportable with it.

My husband and Idepart tomorrow moring (09/22) on a two month long contract teaching digital cameras and I will be taking along the FZ-28, the FZ-50, the H-50, and a DSLR. I carried the S-5 and the XTi on the most recent contract. So I am surethat by the time we return in early December, I will have some much more concrete opinions on the H-50 and FZ-28cameras.

Based on less than one week's shooting with the FZ-28 and theH-50, I would have to say that I lean toward the FZ-28, but in all fairness that may just be the fact that I have used Panasonic cameras for years and picking up the FZ-28 was just like being at home once again with the camera. I have not even opened a single page of the FZ-28's documentation, or even charged the battery that came with the FZ-28. I just took the battery from my TZ-5 and put it into the FZ-28 and began cranking off the photos.However, me assured that the S-5, the FZ-28, and the H-50 are all top notch cameras. It would be difficult to go wrong with any of them.

Here is that FZ-28 photo again:



And here is that same photo taken with the Panasonic FZ-50. Notice how close the IQ is, or is it just my imagination?



I will be happy to post more photo samples for you if that would be helpful.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Jun 24, 2009, 2:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
The FZ-28 offers a very usable, verycompact, all in one package, that is hard to resist. At high ISO settings it will not outperform a good DSLR camera, but that is the price that you have to pay to get an all in one camera solution of sorts.
I agree...you have to pay some price when you want every thing in one camera...

Last edited by Harrison1; Feb 9, 2010 at 3:17 AM.
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Old Jun 24, 2009, 3:13 AM   #8
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I have a Kodak Z1012, and its predecessor Z712 (which I use more often), and have been delighted with both. If I didn't have them, I'd have an FZ-28, based on all the advice I've found here and elsewhere. If you search in the relevant Kodak & Panasonic forums here, Allison, you'll find plenty of specimen images from both.

The Kodak offers remarkable value for money, and it's considerably smaller and lighter, which means you may carry it with you more often. This also means it feels rather more plasticky. The Z1012 just fits, with spare batteries, SD cards, cleaning materials and a tiny tripod, in the little bag seen in the silly picture of me at...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/biweekly-shoot-out/156308-wheels-but-not-tyres-real-thing.html

For shots of the children, I've successfully used 'first burst' (take 3 quickly and save them) and 'last burst' (take up to 30 shots, and save the last 3) for my son skimming stones, for example. The older, smaller Z712 saves 6 shots in each case. But rapid action shooting of children with any camera needs good technique. Prefocusing on a likely fixed distance is a good idea with many cameras in this class.

I especially like its electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 'live view', on which I adjust the correct exposure by eye before shooting, (though for some reason this seems to be a minority view round here).

Last edited by Alan T; Jun 24, 2009 at 3:18 AM.
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Old Jun 24, 2009, 3:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrison1 View Post
I agree...you have to pay some price when you want every thing in one camera...
Welcome to Steve's Harrison..... did you know that you replied to a 9 month old thread LOL??

You still make a valid point and I would say that you will never get everything in a camera which is why I have so many.
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Old Jun 24, 2009, 6:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1616 View Post
replied to a 9 month old thread LOL??
Oops. I wonder what she got, probably for Christmas?
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