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Old Mar 23, 2010, 6:32 PM   #1
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Default Need a new pocket P&S - part 2

OK, so I have researched extensively and I'm still at a total loss as to what I should get. FYI, I wear relaxed/baggy fit jeans so my pockets are decent sized. Most of the enthusiast forum discussions are useless as they get lost on pixel peeping and theoretical tangents rather than real world performance for the intended target audience.

Here are some key points:

  • will primarily be used outdoors during the day for hiking shots (landscapes, wildlife pics of us and the dogs, etc)
  • occasionally used for sunset and dusk shots on the trail (this is a tough one I know for a pocket cam)
  • occasionally used for indoor shots at aquariums, museums, zoo buildings, in the house, etc. My old Canon SD870 is completely incapable of obtaining any usable shots without a flash indoors.
  • AWB that works properly is essential and for this reason I am wary of anything made by Panasonic. I have a Panny high-end consumer cam with terrible AWB; greenish skies, yellowish indoor shots, blue snow (even in snow mode), etc. The sample shots I have seen in reviews of the ZS3 reflect this same behavior on the indoor shots at least. Using manual WB more than rarely defeats the purpose of a P&S.
  • Ease of use ... I was all set to buy a Fuji until I saw the ridiculous lengths which you have to go through to get quality images. It's not that I am incapable but simply that I don't want to go to these lengths. I want quality snapshots.
  • I will be viewing these on a 50" 1080p plasma so they need to look good at this size and resolution at the very least.
  • HD video would be nice but I don't need it.
  • Zoom ... I don't know. I have been using a Canon SD870 w/ 3.8x for some time now and while I find it suitable for most shots, there have been occasions where I really need a much longer range. We have had more than a few bear sightings and due largely in part to lack of a decent zoom, I have never gotten a decent shot. Moving in close and asking the bear to hold still wasn't an option.
  • IQ, DR, etc are all of course important. Detail is important though I realize that expecting any details in distant foilage with this type of camera is pretty hopeless.
  • Price is always an issue but I typically keep my cameras for 3+ years so I would rather spend an extra $100 now than be disappointed for 3 years. Besides, I have a knack for bargain hunting so I don't ever expect to pay anything near retail.
  • I primarily use "scene" modes assuming they work well following by Program modes. Any other modes are merely a bonus for me.
  • Battery life as good as my Canon SD870 would be fantastic. I have never, ever had it go dead on me, even utilizing it for hundreds on shots on a 2-day backpacking trip in 20F weather.
  • Custom timer .. does anyone offer this besides Canon? Our 3 dogs are kind of like 3 kids when taking a photo. You can't get them to stop looking around and fiddling so Canon's custom timer is great. (i.e. 10 seconds, 5 shots)
  • I don't want to have to rely on PP to fix my photos on a regular basis. Severe PF/CA in 50% of my photos? No good.
The new Sony HX5V sounds promising though there are virtually no reviews on it yet and I have never owned a Sony so I am not familiar with their problem areas. The Panny ZS3 is said to suck indoors and I am always wary of the AWB on any Panasonic (though I think their build quality is second to none). The Fuji F200EXR and F70EXR both have their appeal but it sounds like they might be a lot of hassle for a P&S type user like myself. I'm happy to tweak a setting here and there for each shot but my memory sucks (blame college) and I don't want a laundry list of how-tos to get a good shot. The Canon S90 looks great but the 3.8x zoom is a bit of a letdown and I'm wary of Canon's build quality in recent years (aside from their DSLRs). It seems like a great cam for its size though and much easier for a newbie to use than the Fujis.

Feedback on the above cams for someone like me? Any other ideas?
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 6:37 PM   #2
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The is a user review by GreenBaron of the Sony HX-5 in the Sony P+S folder that you ought to take a look at, when you have a chance. It appears to be the kind of camera you are looking for in your search.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 7:59 PM   #3
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It certainly looks promising. I've posted there asking about the NR in comparison to other cameras in this class as well as low-light performance.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 8:34 PM   #4
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There were several "low light" photos in the greenbaron's post.

There is also a review here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/So...-shot_DSC_HX5/

Sarah Joyce

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Old Mar 23, 2010, 9:36 PM   #5
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Imaging Resource just posted their Sony HX5V review.

Dennis
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 11:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
There were several "low light" photos in the greenbaron's post.

There is also a review here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/So...-shot_DSC_HX5/

Sarah Joyce
I saw the night shots and they looked pretty bad but I am more interested in less extreme circumstances such as indoors at home or a museum. I had read that review but missed the part that referred to NR and low-light. They didn't comment favorably. :x

Quote:
Originally Posted by denncald View Post
Imaging Resource just posted their Sony HX5V review.

Dennis
Yeah I read that and it sounds pretty good but their reviews are a little sparse in regards to the discussion of real-world IQ.

Last edited by Acheron; Apr 3, 2010 at 2:29 PM.
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 1:19 AM   #7
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Despite the claims from some reviews saying AWB worked well on the Panasonic ZS3, I see the exact same problem that has plagued my current and previous Panasonics in this sample (greenish tint).

http://a.img-dpreview.com/reviews/Q2...czs3_iso80.JPG
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 9:58 AM   #8
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acheron-

Yes, the WB was off by a smidge in your sample photo. But it was very easily corrected. The problem might have also have been caused by atmospheric condition from looks of the sky in the photo.

That does happen on occasion. Was this a recurring problem with your ZS3?

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 11:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
acheron-

Yes, the WB was off by a smidge in your sample photo. But it was very easily corrected. The problem might have also have been caused by atmospheric condition from looks of the sky in the photo.

That does happen on occasion. Was this a recurring problem with your ZS3?

Sarah Joyce
Well the other cams in the comparison did not display the sky as overcast.

I did not own a ZS3 but I have a owned a couple Panasonic cams in the past and I currently own a high-end Panasonic camcorder. It is built well and takes fantastic video but the AWB is off very often. I have found AWB and general color cast to be an issue with all of Panasonic's cameras and camcorders - at least at the consumer level. I was hoping that they corrected it in the ZS3 but it looks like they didn't.
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 12:50 PM   #10
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The conditions in the sample photo we are discussing call for Cloudy WB or a custom WB. Regarding the HX-5 night photos: those were taken with the WB set to AWB. The correct setting would have been tungsten/incandescet WB. That is why they have a yellow cast to those photos. As much as we would prefer for Auto White Balance to handle everything, it surely does not. That is why there are other WB Pre-Sets such as Cloudy, Tungsten/Incandescent, Sunshine, Flash in some cameras and the various fluorescent settings. When the lighting conditions change, you should change the Pre-Set WB.

I have had nothing but excellent success with the WB on my FZ-35 camera from Panasonic.

With the Sony HX-5 you would have far fewer settings to attend to in the camera. Thus, that might be a good choice for you.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Mar 24, 2010 at 12:57 PM.
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