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Old May 27, 2010, 1:24 PM   #1
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Default need compact or ultra-compact with good video

I've been using a Canon S3 IS for a few years and while I love how easy it is to get good images, the video quality and especially camera noise during recording is really irksome. I also need something much smaller that I can keep in my bag. I had picked up the Sony HX5V this week but have been disappointed both with the image quality and audio quality.

With my Canon, I can usually just keep the ISO at 100 and turn the EV down a couple of notches, it gives me really decent pics with little fuss. (I'm actually a little baffled at how these settings seem to work in almost every shooting situation!) It's not quite as peppy as it used to be though, especially in regards to charging the flash. How are the newer Canons with that?

Well to sum things up, here is my list of wants in a new camera:
--small form factor
--720p or better video
--no audio issues during recording, or better yet, AWESOME audio.
--minimal tweaking for good images
--8MP or more
--optical image stabilization
--budget is under $400, I don't mind spending much less than this

Normally I'm a stickler for "more" optical zoom, but I'm starting to feel that the smaller form factor will negatively offset any improvements. I'm open to recommendations. Another point of discussion is sensor size.. back in '06 when I picked up my Canon, I'd tried out another Canon that had a 1/1.7" CCD. Now it looks like everything is 1/2" or smaller. Irksome! Well thanks in advance for any suggestions and discussion.
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Old May 27, 2010, 2:03 PM   #2
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Most compact and ultra compact P+S cameras are currently using 1/2.33 sized imagers. There are no "larger imager" P+S cameras, excepting the Canon S-90 and G-11, which do not do HD video.

So the best choices are in the Panasonic line of cameras, which also do feature zoom. Take a look at the ZR1, the ZS1, the ZS3, the ZS5, and ZS7.

Sarah joyce
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Old May 27, 2010, 2:20 PM   #3
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thank you, Sarah. I will definitely take a look at the Panasonic cameras you've mentioned.
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Old May 29, 2010, 11:06 PM   #4
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Default Hi, I'm back again

I sent back the HX5 and ordered a ZS3.. I haven't seen one in person but I did handle a ZS5 in-store and decided I'm in love with the product line. We'll have to see how the video shooting pans out, but I am in awe of how the shots came out. They had the SD compartment blocked off so I couldn't get any samples to bring home, but what I saw on the camera display was enough to sell me on image quality-- particularly with macro.

What brings me here again tonight is that I am having second thoughts in reconsideration of a ZS7 over ZS3.. I do recall reading how folks felt the ZS3 outperforms in terms of image-quality, and that the increased resolution of the ZS7 is basically overkill. I wonder if there are any comments on those two aspects, or if there are any other noteworthy improvements I should consider in favor of the ZS7. Thank you in advance--
Alicia
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Old May 29, 2010, 11:31 PM   #5
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The ZS3 is generally considered slightly better in terms of IQ vs the ZS7. Personally I feel the additions on the ZS7 are worth the marginal drop. ZS7 has GPS (not essential but it is handy), full manual controls, picture adjustment (this is a must for me now) and better image processing in-camera (improved NR for example) to name a few. Ergonomically, I was thrilled that they moved the shutter button to the outside of the camera as it was just awkward where it was on the ZS3.

In the end, it will depend on where your priorities lie. if IQ is king above all else, then go for the ZS3. If you are willing to sacrifice a very small amount of IQ for the other features, then go for the ZS7.
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Old May 29, 2010, 11:33 PM   #6
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Alicia-

The image quality differences between the ZS3 and the ZS7 are seen by most folks are rather small. Naturally there are proponents for each camera. Some folks claim a large difference in image quality. I have not found the difference to be that large, personally.

So from my own point of view I do not feel that you can go wrong with either camera. The ZS7 had GPS and that appeals to some folks. If you don't want the GPS, there is the ZS5 and Costco sells the ZS6.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 30, 2010, 12:34 AM   #7
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Hmm.. I can see where just the ergonomic improvements might have me leaning toward ZS7. I want to say that the added manual controls are important, but I so rarely venture out from my niche once I find usable settings.. :/ I guess after the refund clears for the Sony I'll order the ZS7 and give the two models a proper side-by-side! Thank you all again.
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Old May 30, 2010, 9:12 AM   #8
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Congratulations, Alicia-

You have made a fair and thought out decision. Happy shooting.

Sarah Joyce
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