Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 27, 2010, 8:47 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 105
Default Zs7 or Entry Level DSLR, changing gears...help me decide.

Dear Fellow Forum Dwellers:

Okay, I like many other posters here have gone back and forth and back and forth on which camera to purchase out of this compact/superzoom category. I have even considered a Micro 4/3 and a dSLR...and would love to go that route, if the camera would fit in my pocket. I have had a dSLR in the past, and unfortunately I did not use it as much because it was less portable and therefore spent a lot of time at home. I will most likely get a micro 4/3 or dSLR in the next year, but what I am looking for now is the most flexible, multi-use camera that is capable of taking a crisp picture, and will have the flexibility and features to take that money shot at a moments notice.

I just got rid of my Canon g9, which I loved. It was a great camera, however my requirement to constantly upgrade and change my electronics overcame that love and has brought me to this point. The good news is that the proceeds from the sale has give me enough money to get whatever I want up to about $600 without feeling like I am wasting money or overspending. So i guess that is my budget line for the camera.

Key features

** Must Haves **
- $600 or less
- Largest Zoom I can get my hands on (10x minimum)
- Widest Lens I can get my hands on (28mm or less 35mm EQ)
- 10MP or greater, I would like to get 10 - 12, but would be willing to go higher if the other features outweigh the large picture size.
- Good to Great Image Quality for Prints 8x10s or less, mostly would be 5x7s or less.
- Must have a good auto mode that I can just point and shoot without tinkering.

** Like to Haves **
- Good Depth of Field, coming from the g9, which IMO had decent depth of field, I always liked blurring out the background with shots of my son, or nature photos and other shots. I am not an expert photographer, so if I am explaining that wrong I apologize in advance.
- Flash that avoids Red-Eye.
- Decent Macro photography capability
- Panoramic Mode
- High Speed Burst Mode, or Continuous Shooting 1-2fps without stopping.
- Good Low Light performance
- Good manual functions for tinkering for that money shot when time permits.

** Would be nice but don't have an immediate need **
- Geotagging
- HD Video (Usable Quality)

The cameras in consideration are as follows -

- Canon PowerShot SX210 IS
- Ricoh CX3
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7
- Samsung HZ30W
- Samsung HZ35W
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5
- Casio Exilim EX-FH100
- Canon PowerShot SX200 IS
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3

If there are others to put on this short list please let me know. I would like to get peoples opinions on image quality, features and any other pertinent information when considering these cameras.

Thanks

- mackloon

Last edited by mackloon; May 30, 2010 at 3:27 PM.
mackloon is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 27, 2010, 10:21 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

macloon-

Unfortunately, not one of the cameras that you have expressed interest in, excepting the HX5 has your needed high speed burst. Yes, it is natural to want as many features as possible, but these are P+S cameras, not DSLR cameras that you have in your list.

I also notice that every camera on your consideration list fits into the compact zoom class of cameras. Is camera size a really high priority? Do you know that for around $(US) 330.00 you can purchase the Panasonic FZ-35, a 14 ounce super zoom camera that will give you much better image quality, a very usable electronic view finder, and a user friendly, full featured camera.

You have not listed a proposed budget, but full featured super zooms are priced, in some cases (Kodak Z-981 is currently $266 at Amazon with a nice 26mm wide angle and 26 to 676mm on the zoom. That is 26X optical zoom.) the Z-981 is priced even lower than some of the compact zoom cameras.

We have the makings of an excellent discussion. The first issue we have to deal with is the camera size priority. Must the you new camera be a compact zoom class camera?

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27, 2010, 10:40 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 105
Default

SJ

Size is a concern, it is actually the #1 concern. Basically, this camera has to fit in my pocket or I am not going to use it.

I will probably supplement this camera with a dslr or an fz35 sized camera soon, but for the time being, this will be it.

I also was reading up on the Ricoh CX3, anyone have a take on that one?

When it comes to continuous shooting, how do the listed cams score as far as fps and max shots?

I actually bought the hx5v and the zs7 which are still sealed on their boxes, I am only keeping 1, and I am still not sure if it is going to be either of them.

Can anyone comment on the hz35w, and it's image quality, as well as the image quality of the others listed.

Thanks

mackloon
mackloon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27, 2010, 11:04 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

mackloon-

OK, I got the size message.

I bought and returned the Samsung HZ35w. It was one of those cameras who specifications looked sterling on paper, but failed to produce in reality. I felt the image quality was below par and the focus was a bit erratic. So I returned the camera.

Looking at your group of cameras, I have bought tested and used the Panasonic ZS1, ZS3, and ZS7, the Sony HX5, the Samsung HZ15W, HZ35W, the Ricoh CX1, and the Canon SX-200. The best of that group, that I purchased and kept were clearly the Panasonic cameras, especially the Panasonic ZS1($179) and ZS3($237) which were bargain priced when I purchased them.

I feel that the Sony HX5, the Canon SX-200, and SX-210 has basic and well known design flaws. The HX-5 is a very nice camera with some unique features like the Twilight Mode and the Hand Sweep Panorama, but that does not overcome the flawed White Balance and less than great image quality.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; May 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM.
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 27, 2010, 11:46 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,130
Default

** Must Haves **
- $600 or less That shouldn't be a problem in this class.
- Largest Zoom I can get my hands on (10x minimum) Ditto.
- Widest Lens I can get my hands on (28mm or less 35mm EQ) Same.
- 10MP or greater, I would like to get 10 - 12, but would be willing to go higher if the other features outweigh the large picture size. Same.
- Good to Great Image Quality for Prints 8x10s or less, mostly would be 5x7s or less. The HX5V isn't really usable at 8x10. It's fine at 5x7. All of these should be fine at 5x7.
- Must have a good auto mode that I can just point and shoot without tinkering. Canon, Panasonic and Sony all have this covered pretty well. I am not sure about the others. WB needs to be manually set indoors for the HX5V.

** Like to Haves **
- Good Depth of Field None of these cameras have good DOF. You can achieve bokeh to a point though.
- Flash that avoids Red-Eye. I don't use flash so I can't answer this one.
- Decent Macro photography capability I have been satisfied with macro mode on both the ZS7 and the HX5V.
- Panoramic Mode Only the HX5V has anything like iSweep. The other cameras - if they have a panorama feature - will only be an assist feature and will still require you to stitch all of the image together in post.
- High Speed Burst Mode, or Continuous Shooting 1-2fps without stopping. I think most of these cameras should be capable of doing 1-2fps burst. Only the HX5V has a truly fast burst mode at full resolution (10fps).
- Good Low Light performance None of these cams have good low-light performance due to their tiny sensors. The Exmor cameras will do slightly better (HX5V, CX3 and probably that Casio).
- Good manual functions for tinkering for that money shot when time permits. That rules the HX5V out.

** Would be nice but don't have an immediate need **
- Geotagging Only 3 of the cams you listed have GPS.
- HD Video (Usable Quality) Most of the cams listed have this I think. The HX5V and ZS series are the best of the bunch in this area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
Can anyone comment on the hz35w, and it's image quality, as well as the image quality of the others listed.
There have been a couple recent posts about the Samsung HZ35W/HZ30W but the short version is that no one is impressed with the IQ or the size.
__________________
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.
FiveO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 28, 2010, 5:18 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 105
Default

What is the realistic print size of the isweep photos considering the vertical pixels are only 1080? What are your guys thoughts on the Ricoh CX3? Do any of these cameras have continuous modes that do not buffer out? Sometimes I like to shoot like 20+ shots of the same thing, and then pick out the best of the best. As far as image quality I have read that the ZS7 is actually less than the ZS3. I also read that the ZS7 only accepts Panny branded batteries. I like to get 3+ batteries to take with me in case I blow through a bunch of shots, however with a continuous mode that flops out at 3 shots.

What compact camera that is pocketable can provide good depth of field? Is there an equation to calculate that? Am I ignorant in saying that about the G9 that it had good depth of field?

How would the G11 compare to the above mentioned cameras? Is there anything rumored on the horizon that may fill this void, I am willing to wait for a little if required.

I know that is a lot of questions... Any feedback or direction is greatly appreciated.
mackloon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 28, 2010, 5:50 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,130
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
What is the realistic print size of the isweep photos considering the vertical pixels are only 1080?
They are actually usable at 100% but look considerably better at about 2/3 of that. Since you mentioned that you are really interested in this feature, I should mention a recent experience with it. My wife brought the HX5V hiking and we took 3 panoramas at the summit of the mountain. All 3 were throw-away shots as the HX5V changed exposure during the sweep making for an image with a large block in the middle that was very drastically different from the 2 ends. This is the first time this has happened so it is not a major issue but it is something to be aware of. *Edit: Here you go:



Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
What are your guys thoughts on the Ricoh CX3?
Reviews say the IQ is as good as the ZS7. I don't know anything about it aside from what is stated in the reviews really. It uses the same sensor as the Sony but it lacks the Sony's key features. However, it lets you turn off NR and it has a much nicer LCD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
Do any of these cameras have continuous modes that do not buffer out? Sometimes I like to shoot like 20+ shots of the same thing, and then pick out the best of the best.
The HX5V has the fastest full resolution burst mode by far and yes, you have to wait for the buffer - 16 seconds. TheZS7 by comparison only does 2-3 shots in full res burst but the camera is done writing within 1s or so after the 2-3 image are snapped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
As far as image quality I have read that the ZS7 is actually less than the ZS3.
This has been discussed ad nauseum both here and elsewhere. The difference is there but negligible. No one should be printing at 100% anyway with any of these cams. As I stated in other threads, I think the features on the ZS7 far outweigh the negligible drop in IQ. If IQ was all that mattered, you could wipe out half of your selections I bet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
I also read that the ZS7 only accepts Panny branded batteries. I like to get 3+ batteries to take with me in case I blow through a bunch of shots, however with a continuous mode that flops out at 3 shots.
Untrue. It accepts Panny batteries or batteries licensed by Panny. There are sure to be unlicensed knock-offs that work as well once the camera has been out for awhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
What compact camera that is pocketable can provide good depth of field? Is there an equation to calculate that?
Larger apertures will give you better bokeh. The Canon S90 goes to F2.0 so it will give you a better effect than say a ZS7 which only goes to F3.3. here's one done with the ZS7. It can do a bit better but just as an example:



Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
How would the G11 compare to the above mentioned cameras? Is there anything rumored on the horizon that may fill this void, I am willing to wait for a little if required.
The G11 would crush them all in terms of IQ though i don't think you'd notice it much at 5x7. At 8x10, it would be a different story. The Canon S90 uses the same sensor as the G11. The Panasonic LX3 and Canon S90 are generally considered the best pocket cams in terms of IQ. They lack the features you are seeking though.

No, there will probably never be a camera that fills the void. You can only cram so much into those tiny casings. The pocket cams that have bigger sensors are forced to ditch the bigger lenses.
__________________
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.

Last edited by FiveO; May 28, 2010 at 2:47 PM.
FiveO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 28, 2010, 9:51 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 105
Default

This is all good information. I really liked the LX3 and the S90, however the lack of zoom turned me off.

Are there any compact cameras out there with a manual focus ring?
mackloon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 28, 2010, 10:56 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

The Samsung EX-1

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 28, 2010, 12:36 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 978
Default Don't forget the FH100

In case it hasn't been mentioned, the Casio FH100 does have a very fast burst mode; in fact it is one of the champions of burst modes - 30 9 megapixel images per second. I have its older and bigger brother, the FH25 and like it quite a lot for its burst mode and ultra high speed video.
However, if it's like the FH25, it's best suited for daylight photography and flash lit images. Above ISO 200 its image quality isnt' great - lots of noise.
robbo is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:39 PM.