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Old May 30, 2010, 5:03 PM   #1
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Hi,

I am looking for a compact camera that has excellent photo quality. I have researched many different cameras and I need help deciding. I have read that the Fujifilm 200 exr is very good but I am worried that it will be too complicated as I don't have any experience manually adjusting settings as I usually leave the camera on auto. If anyone can tell me of a camera at around 300$ that has excellent photo quality and isn't too complicated and confusing to learn it would be greatly appreciated.

I would also like the camera to have good low light photo quality.
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Old May 30, 2010, 5:35 PM   #2
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I am in the same boat and came up with my 2 choices. The Samsung HZ30W and the Panasonic ZS5

Thanks
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Old May 30, 2010, 5:48 PM   #3
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I have been looking at the Zs7's reviews and one said that it had dissapointing low light photos. If anyone has used the fujifilm f200exr, the zs7 or the sony hx5v can they please tell me the difference in photo quality and simplicity of use.

If anyone had any other suggestions for cameras that take great pictures and are not only for expert photographers it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 30, 2010, 8:08 PM   #4
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shadeshade-

Welcome to the Forum. Let's see if we can get a good starting point to our discussion.
Your priorities are to achieve "... excellent image quality," simplicity of use, and low light capability.

Please keep in mind that excellent image quality and low light capability are something that is unique to DSLR cameras, not pocket size P+S cameras. In terms of simplicity of use the Fuji S-200 EXR, while a fine camera, will take multiple small adjustments for each photo taken. So we have some really contradictions going on in our discussion.

Excellent image quality is produced by a high quality lens, like the ones found on the Panasonic ZS5 and ZS7, which are designed to a Leica formula. Low light capability is a function of the high quality lens and the physical size of the imager being used in the camera. The ZS5 and ZS7 both use 1/2.333 imagers that are 15X to 20X smaller than the physical size of the imagers traditionally used in DSLR. cameras.

Therefore, it is understandable that the ZS5 and ZS7 will havevery good image quality, but not low light capability, due to there markedly smaller imagers.What we are dealing with here is the Physics of lens design and image technology.

So, the ZS5 and ZS7, which are the top rated cameras of their point and shoot camera class: compact zoom cameras, are easy to operate, have very good image quality, but do not have high ISO/low light capabilities like DSLR cameras have.

There also will be very few cameras in the P+S camera field that can beat the ZS5 and ZS7. They are the Canon S-90, the SD-4000, and the G-11 models. Each of which are specialized cameras with imagers that are either of a different design or physical size.

So in terms of small pocket size cameras, only the Canon S-90 and the SD-4000 compete with the Panasonic ZS5 and ZS7 in terms of small pocket size cameras. The G-11 is a physically larger camera. The S-90 and SD-4000 do compete because they have faster, wider aperture lenses than those that are fitted to the ZS5 and ZS7.

So there are the choices, the ZS5, the ZS7 (both with wide angles and long zoom, or the S-90 and SD-4000 with wide angles, but much less zoom.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 30, 2010, 8:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for your suggestions. If I am looking at the three models you suggested the zs5/zs7 the s-90 and the sd4000 am I wasting my money buying cameras with advanced functionality that I will rarely use? Or will I be able to figure out all of the manual controls so they become second nature and I won't be overwhelmed and just use auto and the other basic features.

And even if I do just use auto and other simple features such as, changing scenes, will I be wasting money because auto barely uses these cameras advanced technologies?

Basically I am nervous that I will buy a camera that is too complicated for me. But I want good quality photos. Are these cameras user friendly or only for seasoned veterans?
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Old May 30, 2010, 8:47 PM   #6
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shadeshade-

If you live within the USA, Costco is the unique, and oly distributor thus far of the Panasonic ZS6, a stripped down ZS-7 model without the GPS feature. a different lower resolution LCD screen, and a different video format at a lower price.

The Panasonic ZS1 and ZS3 (last year's models) have also gone through a positive sales surge due to their lower prices and less features approach. So there are indeed options available to you the purchaser.

The Canon S-90 and SD-4000 fall from consideration due to their higher prices and lack of zoom capability.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 30, 2010, 10:32 PM   #7
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Low light means S90 f/2.0 lens. As good as it is, you will not get good low light picks with the ZS3 Vario Elmar f/3.3-4.9 lens and tiny sensor, as Sarah said. If you don't need 12X zoom the S90 is your camera. Today you claim for full Auto; tomorrow you'll ask for more.
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Old May 30, 2010, 11:08 PM   #8
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We recently bought a ZS-7 and a Canon SD3500. On Thursday evening I tested the Canon at the local skate park as dark fell, still a vague light in the east. On auto it took fairly good shots showing near objects clearly. Tried the night shot mode and was largely unsuccessful, a lot of noise.
The next day, we took both cameras to the museum at Ghost Ranch to photograph a fiber arts show. Photography is allowed provided flash is suppressed. Both cameras did well using available light on auto. Details are clear and colors are true. But note, the photos are intended for use on a website that I maintain and in newsletters so they will not be larger than (probably) 4 by 6. IMHO, the ZS-7 photos are slightly sharper than the Canon's.
I'm in the process of reading the manuals. And as you can surmise, I'm strictly amateur. Nevertheless, you may find the ZS-7 a good stepping stone to developing your photographic skills. The Canon at 5.6 oz with an easy to use touch screen is a good carry around camera. The Canon tends to be slow between shots.

Last edited by mmrudy; May 30, 2010 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Add a note
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Old May 31, 2010, 11:52 AM   #9
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shadeshade-

In my opinion the Panasonic ZS5 and ZS7 clearly out perform most any other camera in the compact zoom class.

Sarah Joyce
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