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Old Sep 12, 2009, 9:36 AM   #1
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Default Why can't I find my perfect camera? Please help

Hi all, this is my first post on this forum but I've been reading other posts for months trying to find out which camera may be best for me. Now as I'm still confused I'm asking for your help! Please

I am very much an amateur. I prefer cameras which are very much point and shoot - the manual controls confuse me, so I'd want a camera which chooses the best settings and takes the best possible picture. My ideal camera must be compact - ideally the size of the Panasonic FS15 but I maybe willing to push its size up to the Panasonic TZ7 at the most. I'd like at least 4x optical zoom and would prefer a wide-angle lens but this is not a must. HD video recording is also important for me. The types of photos I take are usually whilst on holiday and mainly of people - indoor and outdoor. My budget is around 250 ($400) though this is a little flexible.

My last camera was the Sony P100 which I had for about 4 years and was happy with the picture quality on the whole - the pictures mostly turned out great, with good detail and vibrant colours. Unfortunately it broke when water accidentally went on it

A few months ago I purchased the Panasonic FS7 and Sony W220 and after comparison shots thought the FS7 was much sharper in IQ. I then decided to return both and bought the FS15 given it had more megapixels, wider angle and more optical zoom. After taking hundreds of photos whilst on holiday I realised the FS15 wasn't great. The photos weren't as good as the FS7 and on the whole weren't detailed, the colours not vibrant and flash wasn't great. I've now sold this and since have tried the IXUS 100 and Fuji F200EXR. From my test shots in various scenes (indoor, outdoor, +- flash) on the whole the FS7 was the best for IQ in my eyes. The others generally disappointed me - is this something to do with all the photos I've taken have been viewed on my 17" laptop screen? I know viewing photos on screen aren't maybe a true reflection of the photos that are printed, but I rarely print my photos and generally just view them on my laptop.

The cameras I've been thinking of are the IXUS 120 or 200, Sony WX1/TX1 or maybe the Panasonic TZ7 (though I'd prefer something a little smaller). However on the whole I feel my old Sony P100 took better photos than all these cameras I've tried so far - surely a more advanced camera 5 years on must take better photos? I realise most people won't know much about these newer cameras as they've just been released so I may have to wait for reviews.

Thanks for any help and suggestions.

Last edited by drkash; Sep 12, 2009 at 9:38 AM.
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Old Sep 13, 2009, 11:21 AM   #2
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One of the biggest problems of today's cameras is the fact that manufacturers try to pack as many MP as possible (it's more of a marketing issue than a real technical need) without increasing the sensor size. The results can sometime be disappointing and that's when people say "my 5-yr old camera takes better pictures than the new ones". The reason is because those old cameras most likely have no more than 3-6 MP, which is a good number for the sensor size of those cameras. The down side of it is that enlargement of those 3-6 MP images are much more limiting. But, it appears that the MP war is finally coming to an end and some manufacturers are even reducing the # of MP of their newer models over old higher MP models (the Canon G11 is a good example as it offers 10 MP vs. 14 MP of its predecessor, the G10. That's a huge drop). Not only that, they are also increasing the sensor size and the combination of the two makes some of the new models real good performers.

As for which camera to get, the first question to ask yourself is: do I want to have some control over the settings or let the camera do it all at all times? The answer will determine whether you should be looking for something like the TZ7 (full automatic) or the f200EXR (semi-full automatic) or other brand/models that may offer total control over their settings. The main problem with fully automatic cameras is the fact that you must rely 100% on the camera's judgement of how to adjust itself based on the scene/object being photographed (landscape vs. beach vs. portrait, etc.) and the location (indoor vs. outdoor vs. flash vs. no flash). The TZ7 for instance does a real good job outdoors but its performance declines indoors while the f200EXR performs well in low light due to its larger sensor but it lack in reach (5x zoom vs. 12x of the TZ7). Usually, the longer the lens the larger the camera but today's mid-zoom cameras are very compact. When the first batch of 12x zoom cameras came out (Sony H1 and Canon S1) a few years ago, the cameras were almost bigger than the current 24x zoom cameras. At the same time, the smaller the camera the less reach it offers.
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Old Sep 13, 2009, 3:51 PM   #3
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I would actually prefer a full automatic. I think reading around and looking at my pictures from the FS15 I think the lack of vibrancy in colours (the pictures generally appeared dull) was one of the factors I didn't like, which I gather will probably be similar in all Panasonics?? Looking at the SD780/IXUS 100 they're colours were vivid and bright and thats what I like on the whole. I think I'm leaning perhaps more towards the Canon SD940 or 980, pending on some expert reviews, or the TZ7
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Old Sep 13, 2009, 4:47 PM   #4
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drkash-

I understand what you feel about Lumix. I have used the FX37 before and I felt the same way you do. It seems Canon's a bit saturated color adds 'Pop' to the images from my experiences with the SD400.

You could also ask about the SD940 or 980 in the Canon P&S section and the TZ7 in the Panasonic/Lumix P&S section here in the forum.


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Last edited by hiro1963; Sep 13, 2009 at 4:59 PM.
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Old Sep 13, 2009, 8:40 PM   #5
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The TZ7 has a color mode setting, which allows the photographer to choose between 'standard/natural', 'vivid', B&W, etc. Usually standard/natural tend to produce less saturated images while 'vivid' produces images with more saturated colors. From images I've seen from the TZ7, color saturation is nice and rich, even in standard mode. But, I think color saturation is a very personal taste. I prefer less saturated colors so to me the TZ7 works well in standard mode.
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