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Old Dec 28, 2008, 1:42 PM   #1
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Where we take pictures
95% outside pictures
90% on vacation
90% walking around and exploring or on tour

What we take pictures of
90% us with landscape, landmarks etc in the background
75% one person in the foreground
20% two people in the foreground with a small tripod using a timer
5% group or family in the foreground
5% zooming in on landmarks
5% landscapes

We like to take lots of pictures, then pick and chose, crop and maybe brighten up the darker pictures afterwards. For this reason we like to also backup our photos to an external hard drive in case the sd card gets damaged or a camera gets stolen/lost. We currently use a Sanyo Xacti HD700 for videos and it does a great job of giving you an interface to copy files from the sd card in the camera to the hard drive. I would love this capability in a camera, but haven't seen this kind of capability in a camera yet.

We like to take pictures of ourselves using a small pocket able tripod and a timer function on the camera. I'm sure all cameras have this standard screw in receptor and a timer for tripod usage, but because of how we use this, a smaller camera may be better.

We never use a viewfinder and would prefer a larger LCD screen with no viewfinder.

We don't know a lot about photography. Our knowledge could be summed up by saying, we know to try and make sure the sun is behind the person taking the photo! So we aren't very aware of what sort of features are worthwhile getting for us, but features I think we'd like are:

The ability to take wide landscape photo's.
Simple setup and use of a good auto feature set which lets the camera decide how to take the photo.
The ability to use our current collection of SD cards. I think this rules out Sony products.
Good image stabilizer
We don't need video capabilities on this camera and while I like the idea of camera's with super zooms, I'm not sure how/if we'd use the functionality much.
Low light capabilities would be nice sometimes, but I don't think it's important enough to prioritize it.

From my research it seems that Panasonic and Canon make some great camera's now. The camera we're looking to replace is a KONICA MINOLTA DiMAGE X50 which was stolen. We currently have a Sanyo Xacti HD700 and a Casio Exilim EX-Z4. We don't need this camera to be highly pocket able if that meant sacrificing picture quality.

We're looking at going to Egypt next year and would like to get something a little more capable for taking great pictures. We'd like to keep price below or around $300, but could go higher if it made a difference.

With my limited understanding it seems like:

Canon SD880is
Canon SD990is
Casio EXILIM EX-Z300
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ50

We aren't sold on any of the above camera's I'm just trying to give examples. Maybe you know of a great camera we should consider which isn't listed? I've been reading a lot through this forum lately and would appreciate guidance from some of you pros out there. We don't often print out our pictures and if we do it's usually just a small photo, so we don't need something to print posters out with. The big thing is we don't want to sacrifice picture quality unnecessarily with the decision we make.

I tried to list out everything, but if you're unclear as to what I'm asking please let me know so I can try to clarify so your help will be even more useful to us.

Thank you for your help with this decision. It's so confusing with all the choices out there these days.
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Old Dec 28, 2008, 2:08 PM   #2
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It might help you to read this article, which compares the top premium compact cameras around today.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q408premiumgroup/
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Old Dec 28, 2008, 9:23 PM   #3
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Either the Canon SD-880 or the Panasonic TZ-4/5 camera will serve you best. They are made of metal. They are compact and easily packed, and they are excellent cameras.

The TZ series from Panasonic were designed to specially be Travel Cameras with somthing extra to offer the user. They have 10X optical zone beginning in a 28mm (in 35mm terms) great wide angle format. That gives you the advantage to fit every thing in with on that famous dance step called, "one more step back, please!"

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 6:05 PM   #4
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Thank you for the advice and links Andy. That is a great website and after looking at their last major reviews I can really see where our current camera is lacking compared to these new machines.

The Panasonic LX-3 looks amazing, but I just couldn't live with having to put the cap on and off manually and then having it hanging off the camera when taking pictures. It's really too bad they did that to what otherwise looks like such a great camera. That 24mm lense looks awesome.

I think we'll get one of the 2 you suggest Sarah. I was hoping to get a response from you as I have read many of your well educated responses to other people asking for help.

I think it will just come down to price and which of those cameras is cheaper to buy.

Thanks again for the help so that we feel assured we aren't missing something or making a mistake with our choices.
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 6:25 PM   #5
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VooDoo-

The Panasonic TZ-4 is the same as the TZ-5 except that it does not have a video clip capability and the LCD is a lesser quality than the LCD on the TZ-5. Right now the TZ-4 is selling for less than $(US) 200.00 and the TZ-5 sells for around $(US) 220.00

The form factor of the TZ-5 is very compact and easily pocketed. The 28mm wide angle and the 10X optical zoom puts in a class by itself. I sincerely think that it meets your needs quite nicely and it would serve you well. Oh yes, one more point its about 1/2 the price of the LX-3.

Here is one of my own sample photos from the TZ-5. This photo was taken without flash using a ISO setting of 800.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 6:38 PM   #6
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I've liked the looks and feel of the Panasonics since I first saw them, but I try to stay objective and get what best serves us. My wife even jokes that I let my old Konica Minolta get stolen on purpose so I could get one of these Panasonics.

I might have to put some of those free trade rules to work for my benefit now as even with the Canadian Dollar going a lot lower lately, the cheapest I can find a TZ5 in Canada is $330!

Thanks for that picture and more advice Sarah, those flowers look brilliant.

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Old Dec 29, 2008, 7:21 PM   #7
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VOODOO-

To overcome the exchange rate you can always purchase the TZ-4 to save some Canadian dollars. Here is another TZ-5 photo of minefor you.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 29, 2008, 9:42 PM   #8
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True. A TZ4 and 880IS are about the same price. I'm a little worried about the reviews of the Panasonics as they make it sound like the picture quality isn't as good as the Canons, but your pictures look fine to me and now we're hungry for strawberries!
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Old Dec 30, 2008, 12:15 PM   #9
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VooDoo-

For most folks, the issue that brings them down on the side of the Panasonic TZ-4 is the 10X of optical zoom available. The Canon SD-880 is a very good camera, but it falls a bit short when the optical zoom is seriously considered.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 31, 2008, 12:14 PM   #10
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
Canon SD-880
Sarah Joyce
Im thinking the same, 880 will work great.

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