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Old Mar 21, 2010, 1:40 PM   #1
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Default What's the best non-dSLR super-zoom bridge camera?

I previously posted that I am looking to replace my old Nikon 5700, and have been reading and comparing dSLRs and super-zoom bridge cameras.

I think I have pretty much ruled out buying a dSLR due to cost and need for multiple lenses. So the question is: What's the best non-dSLR super-zoom bridge camera among current models?

I have been waiting for reviews on the Nikon P100 and the Fuji HS10. The Nikon P100 seems to have missed the mark on IQ. Still waiting on some decent reviews on the Fuji HS10.

However, if it too fails to live upto it's potential, what options do I have? I really like the manual zoom option on the Fuji. Are there any other cameras that have that feature besides the previous Fujifilm Finepix S200EXR?

The other cameras in this category: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35, Sony Cybershot DSC-HX1, and Canon PowerShot SX20IS all have motorized zoom. But I am not ruling out any of them just based on zoom.

Am I overlooking any other cameras or is it between these 4? What's the best of the bunch for indoor photography and fast moving kids pictures? I also like doing landscape photography and like the wide angle option.

I know I'm asking a lot, but my goal is to get the best bang for bucks in my $500 budget.

Thanks for your comments and suggestions.
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 2:49 PM   #2
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2raj-

I think that we have been through this discussion before.

I you read in the Fuji P+S folder you will find two important facts. (1) the first review of the Fuji HS-10 from Poland shows substantial image quality loss due to excessive noise reduction (2) the Fuji S-200EXR has some focusing problems.

That leaves the Panasonic FZ-35, the Sony HX-1, and the Canon SX-20. Based on worldwide sales, the Panasonic FZ-35 leads those three cameras. Yes, I shoot with a HX-1 as well, but the unique features on that camera are more of the "golly, gee whiz" kind of features, rather than features that assist in superior image quality.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 4:12 PM   #3
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Hi Sarah,

I saw the images from the Polish site, they weren't too bad, but they weren't great either. That's one of the reason's I'm looking for an alternative.

I have seen the image quality of the Panasonic FZ-35 and am very impressed. So, that's definitely high on my list. I was not aware of the focusing problems with the Fuji S-200EXR.

I may have a trip coming up in April and I want to get a good camera. Hoping for some professional reviews on the HS10 by then, else it's between the Panasonic, Fuji and Canon. I'm not too keen on the Sony because I prefer SD over the proprietary Memory-stick format.

Trouble is, I can't get my hands on the Fuji locally in the DFW area to see what it feels like in hand--as I said before, I like the manual zoom feature. The Panasonic FZ-35 and the Canon SX-20 are available at the local Frys but they don't allow you to take test images home to compare.

Have you tried the Fuji S200EXR and is the Panasonic FZ-35 vastly superior to it?

Thanks
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 4:51 PM   #4
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i would agree that the FZ35 is the best of the superzooms at the moment, good flash, good image quality, dependable metering. (the Canon sx20 is for all intents and purposes similar, but a bit bigger, and uses AA's)

for a trip in April it is definitely your safest bet for coming back with some great pictures.

the HS10 may turn out to be ok and better than the polish site has shown, but i would not expect the reviews to be out in time for april, and would not want to purchase 1 without more/better professional reviews.

The Fuji s200exr has a good following, but is a bit more complicated to setup properly, being of the EXR line, and some ppl have noticed some focus issues as has been stated previously.
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 7:23 PM   #5
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I read the posts about focus problems and wonder if it's the camera having focus problems, or the user--maybe a little of both.

I did realize however that the S200 works better in P mode than Auto, and I'm okay with that, since I'm looking for more than a P&S (but not quite SLR).

I was hoping for some side by side comparison with the FZ35 by users who have both cameras but I haven't found any so far.

So the FZ35 may hold an edge just based on the reviews.

Fuji backers please chime in
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 7:39 PM   #6
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2raj-

I shot with the Fuji S-200EXR for almost a month and returned the camera due to image quality concerns due to focusing. Then I purchased the Panasonic FZ-35 and that was a step ahead in terms of image quality when compared to the FZ-35.

The FZ-35 in my opinion is clearly a step ahead of the Fuji S-200EXR.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 8:39 PM   #7
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Thanks SJ. I'm still hoping someone will post a side-by-side comparison, of the S200 and FZ35, for IQ. Over on dpreview many people seem to like the S200 and have posted some amazing DR pics.

I really like the thoroughness of the discussions here, but it looks like there aren't many S200 backers. In the end, I may just end-up with the FZ35 due to the consistent high marks it gets here and on Amazon.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 10:53 PM   #8
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Your old Nikon 5700 has a hot shoe for external flash. You did not mention the need for one, but if you do need a hot shoe, then realize the FZ35 does not have one. The SX20 does, if that matters. It would to me if I were buying a super zoom.

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