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Old Apr 26, 2010, 11:12 PM   #1
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Default zs3/SX210IS/f200EXR

First of all I have to say you all must have the patience of a saint to put up with all us Noobs asking advice.

Grovelling over.

I hope to keep this specific.

I am looking to buy a new point and shoot, know what the various manual controls do, individually, but have no experience of manipulating them.

My criteria :

decent zoom, decent low light performance and some semblance of manual control/manipulation. (I have decided the S90 is not for me, I'll want auto for majority of the time). I want a decent zoom, and don't want anymore than a 28mm at widest, 25 being great. But don't need the extent of the 300mm at the far end. Also I may want to print the odd pic.

I have seen the SX210 in the flesh and it's a fine handling camera, good size and a really intuitive menu system (as far as I can tell).

Can't get to see the ZS3 or F200EXR in the flesh.

I have been looking on FLICKR at the various images produced for the above three. Dangerous game I know as I'm looking at someone's ability to compose and probably manipulate an image more than actual camera output.

But I have to say, I'm loving the F200EXR images that I've seen more so than the other two. Should I consider the F80 as well ?

So, question:

Am I being too particular for what I ultimately want, a portable manageable P&S ?

Will, I, with my limited experience/demands not even notice the difference between the three. Will the EXR feature really add another dimension ?
Can an amateur achieve a similar dynamic range, which I don't know much about, but *think* I can see in example images ?

As an aside, I love the look of the Panny and the Canon, but am telling myself ignore the looks and go for image.

I know the comparable sony wx1 gets great reviews, but I am going to have to draw the line somewhere.

Hopefully someone can shed some light/clarity.

I have read that the output, color wise of the Canon is a more natural representation, and have enjoyed the colors I've seen from eg the S90 on FLICKR.

I really am on the fence three ways here, lot of questions, so any input appreciated.

Last edited by bluestack; Apr 26, 2010 at 11:18 PM.
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Old Apr 26, 2010, 11:35 PM   #2
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bluestack-

Welcome to the Forum. We're glad you dropped by.

We have an ongoing thread that offers a direct comparison between the Panasonic ZS3 and the Sony HX5 camera. There is also a discussion of P+S automation in the same thread that might be of interest to you.

I could very well be incorrect in my estimation, and if I am, I offer my apologies right up front. However, I am guessing that you really like automation in your camera. If that is the case, then Fuji's EXR system might not appeal to you.

The Fuji F-70EXR and the F200EXR models are capable of excellent image quality, but to get that image quality, the user must make multiple small manual adjustments to get that excellent image quality.

The Canon SX-210 has not received very good professional reviews that call out the image quality as measurably decreased from the camera that it replaced, the Canon SX-200.

So you have ruled out the Canon S-90. I did the same thing because I wanted more zoom and camera flexibility. I chose the Panasonic ZS3 as my alternative camera, and yes, it gives me much more flexibility, but that comes at a cost. The ZS3 has a weak built-in flash unit and its high ISO capability goes only to ISO 800.

If you can live with those limits, the ZS3 is a very good choice. And guess what the ZS7, the replacement for the ZS3 does? It adds even more automation. Starting Wednesday (04/28) we will be adding the ZS7 to the Compact Zoom Comparison thread.

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Old Apr 27, 2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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I have been happy with the Panasonic Z line of cameras. I think they have a really nice lens and a great image stabilization system. The 12mp imager also fairs better than the new 14mp in the canon sx210.

the f70exr i also own, but unless you are into setup and changing settings, its definately not a point and shooter. well, not a good one anyways. if you are into fiddling and playing with settings it performs admirably.

however, for point and shoot and for 95% of shooting conditions my ZR1 (same sensor, similar processor, slighly different lens than the ZS3) does better and does it with much less fiddling. the flash is weak, but so are most compact flashes, if you keep it inside 10-12 feet it does fine for me.
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Old Apr 27, 2010, 6:55 AM   #4
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I just read this about the Canon SX210 and it's a big negative imho: No live histogram or bracketing. I do like "Canon color" though.
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Old Apr 27, 2010, 7:30 AM   #5
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I don't know other people experiences, but let me warn about battery consumption of the zs3. For a whole day out i need 3 batteries.
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Old Apr 27, 2010, 9:47 AM   #6
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Your experience is surely greatly different from my experience with the Panasonic ZS3. Are your batteries old or are you overcharging them? . I usually get around 250 shots per charge.

I have found that batteries usually last a year and then must be replaced. A generic replacement, guaranteed to work with the ZS3 only costs $(US)10.00.

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Old Apr 27, 2010, 8:06 PM   #7
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I bought the zs3k -in China- in May 2009, just released. The original Lumix battery fully charged lasted 70 picks. With the days and use it improved somewhat, to about may be 120 or so. I mean in normal use, which implies zooming in and out, focusing, checking the picks on the lcd, changing settings, may be shooting a short 3' video, etc., all in saving modes. Pretty disappointing. I ended up buying two more 'generic' spare batteries (which avoided me to update the firmware, as you know).
I would add not so good battery lasting to the very well known inconveniences of the zs3: weak flash, noisy low light picks and unpleasant full zoom results.
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Old Apr 27, 2010, 8:37 PM   #8
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I am getting 200+ photos on a single charge for my ZS3. Guaranteed replacement batteries cost around $(US)10.00 on www.ebay.com. They are guaranteed for 1 year and to be compatible with the ZS3 camera.

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Old Apr 28, 2010, 2:29 PM   #9
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Sarah et al,

thank you for such detailed feedback. I have also read the direct comparison.

It seems the Canon isn't all that well regarded, so I'm inclined to drop that one - even though it's user interface seemed easy to use. I want to get as decent an image as possible.

I am veering towards the ZS3.

You were correct-ish Sarah, :-)

I want a camera that will give me a decent image out the box (P mode as suggested), but I do want to experiment and take time to get the most out of a camera and image.

For this reason, I still have the F200EXR on my shortlist.

So :

If i can't get the ZS3, what is a worthy successor, should I go up, ZS7, or down ZS1 ?

If I was to get the F200EXR are the EXR settings something that can be mastered and become intuitive ?

Should I consider the other F*EXR camera's and if so what are the pro's and cons ? It looks like the F80EXR offers better zoom, better range, or am I missing something ? The F80 is more expensive. The numbering led me to believe the F200 is better.

Hards80, in your opinion, does 'perform admirably' compare to ZS* quality ?

Thanks again,

Blue.
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Old Apr 29, 2010, 11:54 AM   #10
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Blue-

The ZS3's are going fast and the price continues to escalate, so the ZS1's have become popular as an alternative because they are still priced around $180.00. Both are very good cameras. A further alternative complete with the upgraded OIS and the new imager, is the ZR1, a very small and highly pocketable camera. Amazon has it at around $185.00, but that too is experiencing something of a rush as well.

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