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Old May 23, 2010, 7:27 AM   #1
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Default FZ35/S90 Combo -- enough?

I think with my current combo (noted above), and assuming I am not ready/willing to go to a DSLR or other interchangeable lens system at this point (maybe a mistake), I have my bases covered pretty well in terms of zoom and low light.

The one thing I do feel I'm lacking, however, is a compact superzoom like the ZS3/ZS7/SX210/ZR1. Over the summer I hope to be doing some more traveling, including some hiking in national parks and walking around in small villages and cities. For hiking, I'm thinking a smaller camera might be useful, but the S90 zoom may be limiting. I also like to take candids and the FZ35 may be a little large to be inconspicuous, while again the S90 zoom could be a factor.

Aside from the issue of money (which is always an important issue), my concerns about buying yet another camera at this point are that it will take away from time learning/becoming really familiar with the other cameras I am using and that once I add a third P&S into the mix it will complicate the issue of "which camera(s) do I take with me?" when planning for vacations or just going out and about. Inevitably, there will be a camera or cameras that winds up seeing much less use. The problem is, it's difficult for me to know in advance which will become the favorite.

So, my question for those of you who have been around the block for some time and with many camera purchases under your belts is whether in your opinion I would be better off "toughing it out" (I realize how ridiculous this sounds) with what I have and just deal with the fact that at times I may either have to carry a little larger camera than I would like or have a little less zoom than I would prefer/may need, or if it makes sense to consider adding to the arsenal.

I do realize in the end this is only something I can decide, but I always appreciate hearing the opinions and wisdom of the friendly folks on this forum.
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Old May 23, 2010, 9:44 AM   #2
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Larry-

The Panasonic ZR1 ($166 at Costco) has 8X optical zoom (25mm to 200mm) all in a very small credit card size package. It is a very good little camera and very inconspicuous. It would cover the S-90's low zoom capability.

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Old May 23, 2010, 2:10 PM   #3
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Sarah,

that's what I was thinking more so than one of the ZS series, which are great, but even a bit larger than the S90. Given what I currently have, I think the ZR1 might fit a nice niche for me at a reasonable price. It's smaller and lighter than my S90, has a longer zoom (but not as long as the FZ35)and somewhat wider lens, HD video and is perfect for those times when I don't want to mess with manual controls (plus it would hardly add any bulk if I wanted to carry it along with the S90). The S90 can handle the lower light situations and most situations where I need a small camera and won't need a longer lens or where I otherwise want to take more control. I can use the FZ35 for car trips and other times where a slightly larger camera just won't matter and/or when I know I will need the added zoom and control versatility.

Maybe a bit of overkill, but I suspect over time I will learn exactly what I use in which situations and what I am willing to live with in terms of camera size and image quality. In the meantime I'll have everything covered without completely breaking the bank. (Well, at least that's a good rationalization ).
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Old May 23, 2010, 2:23 PM   #4
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Larry-

I am pleased that you like the idea. I think that the "fit" for the ZR1 is just about perfect for your use.

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Old May 24, 2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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First, let me say that not all Costco stores have the ZR1 anymore. At least the 4 local stores I have access to no longer carry the ZR1. They now have the FH20 instead (or the ZS6).

With that said, I'm sort of on the same boat. I have a couple of m4/3 cameras (G1 and EP1) + the FZ28 + other older models (Sony R1 and H1) and just yesterday I decided to buy the ZS7. I asked myself the same exact question you asked and that is, "do I did to spend $300+ on yet another camera?". And the answer is...I'm not sure. Yes, I bought it but I'm not sure I need it. At least not a $300 camera. Perhaps the ZR1 (Amazon has it for $184, which is just as good of a deal as Costco's in terms of $$$ since I don't pay taxes and s/h) was a good compromise. What I don't like about it is the lack of manual controls. But, perhaps there is no need for manual controls. The purpose of such a camera is to allow one to take it everywhere w/o the bulkiness and capture those special moments, whether on a hiking, skiing or beach trip. Maybe I'll take that route as well. We'll see.
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Old May 24, 2010, 8:49 PM   #6
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Well, I went to Costco and they did indeed have a ZR1 left with the case and 2GB card (not sure how many others they may have had because they have taken all but the display away and they had any stock in the back). Since I wasn't sure if I would get the chance again, I bought it, but I'm still considering the issue. Looks pretty in the package, though :-).

Tullio, I saw from another of your posts that you decided to sell your FZ28 and use the G1/ZS7 combo. I'm probably driving myself a little nuts for no reason, but I can't seem to settle on a camera or combo that seems right for me. The S90 and FZ35 are both great cameras, but I go back and forth about whether maybe to consider a micro 4/3 (maybe an EPL-1) or a small DSLR and a ZS7 and sell both the FZ35 and S90. From a financial perspective, the combo I have (with or without the ZR1) probably makes the most sense, but the other toys are tempting and everything has its pluses and minuses.

The truth is I know I should be taking more pictures and enjoying what I am lucky enough to have instead of worrying so much about new gear. My cameras are capable of taking some great images, I need to catch up with them so I can say the same.

Best of luck with your new ZS7 when it arrives.
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Old May 24, 2010, 8:51 PM   #7
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Costco had it for 167 still?
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Old May 24, 2010, 9:42 PM   #8
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Jazzer, I certainly sympathize with you. I feel exactly the same way. In one hand, I want to have (and keep) them all. I have the EP1 and I now want the EPL1. Then I want the Pentax K-x, just bought the ZS7 (but think that perhaps the ZR1 would be a better compromise) and still have the FZ28 on top of it. But, the bottom line is, I hardly use the FZ28, I like the EP1 but the lack of a built in flash is a huge negative plus the fact that using MF lenses w/o an EVF is almost impossible for me. So, why keep these cameras? As Sarah suggested on another post, the longer I wait, the more prices will drop.

The FZ35 + S90 sounds like a good combo but neither performs like the EPL1. So, I'd buy the EPL1 and sell the S90. That way you still have the long zoom in a mid-size body and a good performer compact camera you can actually expand on. As for the ZR1, you should keep that one as well. It's a good camera for the money. Then, once you buy a long zoom for your EPL1, you can sell the FZ35.
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Old May 24, 2010, 9:45 PM   #9
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Congratulations, on your new ZR1 camera, Larry-

The odds were on your side and you were very lucky indeed to find the camera at your Costco store.

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Old May 25, 2010, 7:40 AM   #10
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Shoturtle, actually it was $169 (maybe $169 and change?). They also had the ZS1 for about $159, which I thought was a great deal, but I liked the idea of the smaller size, better video if I want it (although I tend not to use video much) and better image stabilization so I decided to go with the ZR1 as planned.

Thank you, Sarah. Maybe it was meant to be :-).

Tullio, thanks for the commiseration. Your plan sounds like a good one and something I have been considering seriously. The one thing that is stopping me a little is the nice size of the S90. The EPL1 is small, but I don't really have to think twice about grabbing the S90. It's great if I'm going out to a restaurant or a small jazz club (plus I just ordered a grip and a little device to fix the loose rear dial -- but I can probably return those without any questions if I want to). The S90 also has a better LCD, I think (although the ability to get an EVF for the EPL1 is a BIG plus -- not to mention the much larger sensor of the EPL1).

I definitely plan to go check out the EPL1 to see how it feels. I'll keep everyone posted. I'll also be very interested to see what you ultimately decide. The ZR1 probably is a nice compromise vs. the ZS7 and the smaller size and weight is very helpful for a camera of that type. But if you really want/need the manual control (or the longer zoom ability), you will probably be happier with the ZS7 in the long run and will forget about the price difference quickly. Tough decisions.
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