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Old May 7, 2010, 8:55 AM   #1
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I'm looking to purchase a mega zoom digital camera that I would mostly use for outdoors shots with some definite potential for low light, bright light, and other variations. I would use it as an everyday camera, but I'm specifically looking for an extended zoom and I don't necessarily need or even want a lot of manual controls. I don't have any experience with manual control photography. I've been considering the Pan Lumix ZS1, Pan Lumix FH20, Pan Lumix ZR1, Fuji F70(or 72)EXR, and Kodak Z950. These are in my likely price range right now. Any thoughts? If I had to choose today, I'd probably go for the ZS1 (based on reviews I've read), but the F70EXR seems to also be very well received. Thanks in advance!
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Old May 7, 2010, 9:10 AM   #2
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And when I say outdoors, I'm talking about casual hiking and hunting trips, outdoors family events, etc. Nothing professional about the photos I take and I won't be blowing them up into big posters or anything. Thanks!
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Old May 7, 2010, 10:16 AM   #3
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donnylove-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

Both the Panasonic ZR1 and ZS1 would be very useful candidates in your camera search. I tend to favor the ZS1 as it is priced about the same and it offers more zoom and recent copies of the ZS1 seem to have a slightly more powerful built flash unit I have attached a ZS1 photo sample..

I would avoid the FH series with the 14mp imager and the Kodak Z-915/Z950 are a step below in image quality.

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Old May 7, 2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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Thanks for the welcome Sarah and for the advice! I've been leaning toward the ZS1 all along, but I'm an over-analyzer, so I'm always looking for additional info.

Here's another question for you . . . where do you stand on refurbished vs. new? Obviously refurbished equipment is less expensive and I've read several opinions that you may very well get a better product with a refurb because it's been through quality control a second time. Of course the warrant is always lesser, which doesn't really support the idea that the manufacturer thinks a refurb is a better product than new. Your thoughts?
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Old May 7, 2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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donnylove-

Well, here is hands on experience. I purchased a refurbished ZS1, as I wanted a back-up camera. Cost:$128. Performance only about 50% of my own ZS1. A total waste of money. Yes, it works, but lamely.

So onward with the test. I purchased a brand new ZS1 from Amazon for $179.00. So the difference is $50.00. The new ZS1 is beautiful. It is like a marathon runner! Conclusion: refurbished cameras are a dud! That is hands on experience, all in the last 30 days. Wanna buy a sick ZS1?

When you can buy new for $179 and get a full year guarantee, that is the way to go.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 7, 2010, 11:22 AM   #6
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I would agree that for your needs, the Panny ZS1/3 and the ZR1 would be great choices.

The ZS give you a little longer zoom which seems to be a priority for you. the ZS1 would be a great choice if still images are your only concern. The ZS3 adds HD video which you did not outline as a priority, but just reminding you that if you want the HD video, go up to the ZS3, otherwise they are identical performers in still images.

I have the ZR1 which is the same sensor and similar processors as the ZS1/3 and I have been quite pleased with it. Just yesterday I took it out with me for a short hike, and it produced really sharp, well saturated images, as well as some lovely short HD videos.

I also own the F70EXR and while I am very happy with the results, it takes alot of micromanagement of settings to get the desired results, and you have to use it in 5mp mode to take advantage of the EXR system.

It sounds like from your introduction, the Panasonic cameras would be the easy choice in this situation.
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Old May 7, 2010, 5:01 PM   #7
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More great info. Thanks to both of you!
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