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Old Jan 19, 2009, 10:59 AM   #1
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Hi, I'm looking to buy a new digital camera. I don't want to go in for an SLR right now, but I want the following features in my camera.

- High Optical Zoom (at least 15x)
- High resolution (at least 8 MP)
- Manual control over Exposure times (preferably a bulb (B) setting through some very short times (like 1/2000 sec or so))
- Continuous photo shooting (Like sports mode or burst mode)
- Macro mode (for clicking shots of butterflies or other such object at close range)

I know it's a very wide range of specs, but its something I need. I have been doing a bit of reading and research for the past few days, and I have come to a fork and am having difficulty to decide between these 2 cameras.

Nikon Coolpix P80
Canon Powershot SX10 IS

The P80 is cheaper, has 18x zoom, gives me 13.5 fps in continuous shooting at 3 MP, has manual control of exposure times from 8-1/2000 second, but gives high noise at ISO settings above ISO 200, is not so good in very bright or dull conditions. These are the significant pros and cons of the P80 I could gather from the net.

The SX10 IS on the other hand, sports a 20x zoom, is good in low light as well as bright conditions, is very stable at high zooms, gives low noise even at high ISOs, has manual exposure settings of 15-1/4000 second, but gives only 1.4 fps at full resolution in continuous shooting mode. I don't know if it gives higher frames in lower resolution.

I have not used either of these cameras; the info is just from the reviews online.

The SX10 is a bit costlier than the P80, but both fit into my budget. I would really appreciate it if you would help me decide on one of these cameras or suggest one with the features I need for a similar price which I may have not come across. Detailed descriptions are welcome.

I do not have anything against any brand, so please feel free to express your opinions. Thank you very much…

Saff.
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 5:13 PM   #2
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Hi Saff,
There are a lot of cameras in the price range you are looking at that fit the bill but you need to decide what priorities are the most important. I see a lot of people on this forum who really like the pany fz 28 and the canon you're talking about also gets kudos. If it's zoom you want there is a fair size group to choose from, Olympus, Nikon, Fuji, Panasonic, Canon, and possibly Kodak and Casio. If it's night time shooting you'll want to pick one with a hot shoe for better flash ability. If you read some of the posts you will see some are more prone to noice in low light at ISOs above 200 then others. If movies are a priority then some have better abilities such as being able to zoom while filming while others don't. This is all dependant on if you want a bridge camera which is what I'm hearing from your short description of what you want. If it is be prepared to learn how to use manual controls to get what the camera is capable of, most auto shots have a tendency to use to high an ISO or some other thing that hurts the quality of the shot. I'm sure others will give you their ideas, if not just go through some of the posts and you'll get an idea of what is liked and disliked. I have the oly sp 560, most don't care for it but I get decent results although I do touch up if needed in photoshop. Here's a shot from the 560 to give you an idea of bridge cameras capabilities. I would not recommend the 560, there are better more advanced cameras out there now but still it does a decent job for a bridge camera. Good luck with your choice.
Eric
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 7:43 PM   #3
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Thanks a lot Eric. i have used a semi-professional ca,era before, so i can handle manual controls. i will try to see the cameras you have suggested. thanks again mate.
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Old Jan 19, 2009, 9:33 PM   #4
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Saff.. have you seen this recent (as in last week) comparison test?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q109superzoomgroup/

The final results put the Canon SX10 and the Panasonic FZ28 at the top... with an honorable third-place mention for the Olympus SP565UZ, which is virtually the same camera that Eric has. The Nikon P80 finished well down the list. None of this information takes anything away from the advice and suggestions Eric has for you, either. But if you haven't seen the comparison test, you might find it very helpful. Take your time... read the whole thing and look carefully at the many sample photos in the studio and in the real world at different ISO settings. The pix don't lie.

My own personal advice? Any of the top three finishers - the Canon, Panasonic and Olympus - will do you just fine. Just decide which has the features that meet your personal needs the best. And take to heart their thoughts on the limits of image stabilization with zooms over 500mm.
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Old Jan 20, 2009, 8:56 AM   #5
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Saff,

Not to confuse you but if zoom is a big part of your goal two new superzooms have just been announced. Kodak has a new camera the Z 980 with a 24x optical zoom, and Olympus just announced the SP 590 with a 26x optical zoom. Availablility and time frame I'm not sure about but I will definitely be looking at reviews on the 590 as it looks very similar in specs to the 560. This along with the tcon 1.7 will bring out over 1000mm of zoom which is pretty impressive. You would need a backpack to carry the two or three footlense needed fora dslr with that magnification : )

Eric
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Old Jan 20, 2009, 9:51 AM   #6
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Thanks a ton Biro, and thanks again Eric. I dunno how i didnt pay heed to the oly first. i remember i had come across it. that is one camera which satisfies all my needs perfectly. i am repelled by the Panasonic somehow, i dunno why. I liked canon too, but the conts shooting mode very few shots per sec.

I just hope i can get some good photos to view the quality of the output of the oly SP-565 UZ.

Thanks a mil friends :-)
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Old Jan 20, 2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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Hey Eric, if possible, could you please load some of your camera pics os direct me to the pages if you have already loaded them else where. Thanks a ton.
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Old Jan 20, 2009, 12:36 PM   #8
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Saff,

The bird was taken at full zoom with tcon attached, using a tripodfrom around 30 feet away. 100 ISO, 4.5 aperature, shutter speed around 60 but I didn't keep exif so I'm just guessing. Here's the other extreme a macro, the superzooms do quite well on macro shots. I've spent a lot of time working with the manual modes and still a lot of my shots are not keepers, focus issues, light issues, abig learning curve to master the camera. But being digital it doesn't matter as much, you just delete and start over.

Eric
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Old Jan 20, 2009, 1:09 PM   #9
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I had the Olympus SP-560. I thought it was a good camera. I have the Panasonic FZ-28. I think it's a better camera. Better image quality. Faster full resolution burst mode. Less distortion. Less purple fringing. Less noise at higher ISO's.
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Old Jan 21, 2009, 8:48 AM   #10
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You might want to try using the Comparometer to view side-by-side images for some of these cameras. It does not have the Oly 560, but it does have the 570 model, as well as the P80 and FZ28, etc.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

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