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Old Jun 8, 2010, 12:07 AM   #1
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Default Camera for Hubby: Panasonic ZS5 or Ricoh CX3 or another?

Okay, so I'm trying to buy a camera for my husband for our anniversary next week (June 15th). I have researched P&S cams until my head feels like it's going to explode (literally, I have headaches from staring at specs and reviews on my computer). He doesn't like our current digital camera because it's too bulky. He doesn't necessarily need something to fit into a pocket, but he would likely wear it in a small case that clipped to his belt. Not sure where to draw the "size line" on that, but thinking something like the G11 will be too big at almost 2" deep.

Most of the use is taking pics of our kids, indoor and out. But we like to take hiking vacations and want something able to capture landscapes, too. Need at least a 5x zoom, so S90 is out. While I would love some manual modes to play with, it's not necessary, since my husband will never use anything but an "auto" setting, so I'm really looking for a camera with the best image quality with IQ. Which is where I'm finding trouble. Most professional reviews are based on using the best settings for each picture. Hard to know if that same camera would perform as well in just "Auto".

Am looking at the Ricoh CX3 and the Panasonic ZS5. Also considered the Fuji EXR cams, but many complaints about the Iq boosting ISO way more than necessary. Not sure if there's an easy fix to this, but in general if there's a setting that needs to be changed each time you turn the camera on, my husband won't do it.

I am open to other camera suggestions. No video necessary. Budget is not an issue in this category of camera. Image stabilization is important, sometimes we're even taking a picture while holding a kid. Any other questions, just ask! I would love some advice, particularly on the Ricoh since reviews are so scarce on that, being a newer and lesser-known camera.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:39 AM   #2
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The Ricoh CX3 is a little better indoors than the ZS5 but the CX3 has the same trouble in very bright light as the HX5V (it struggles). The auto mode is supposedly better on the Panasonic (according to reviews) but I have not tried the CX3 so take that FWIW. Honestly, you really can't expect the best shot every time with any camera's auto mode but you can hope for "good enough." If you decide on the ZS series, you might want to consider the ZS6 or ZS7. ZS5 is about $240, ZS6 $290, ZS7 $305. The Ricoh CX3 was about $350, not sure if it has come down at all. Both the CX3 and ZS series cams are good P&S cams.

The Sony HX5V might be worth considering also as the auto mode is quite good. However, the IQ is better on both the ZS7 and the CX3. Also, the HX5V requires manual setting of white balance indoors so that wouldn't make hubby happy.

The Fuji EXR cams require a lot of fiddling to get the best pic so I would avoid those entirely based on your stated needs.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 10:31 AM   #3
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jsmurfette-

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

Considering that you want the very best image quality in the automatic mode, I would definitely drop the Ricoh CX cameras and the Fuji F70/F-80 EXR cameras from consideration. The Ricoh image quality goes down hill in a hurry outside, and the Fuji's require multiple small adjustments with every shot to obtain the nest image quality.

My top choice would be the Panasonic ZS6 for $239 now on sale at Costco, followed by the ZS5. Both cameras do very well in the automatic mode and have beautiful image quality while retaining a very small and pocket-able physical form factor and having a 12X optical zoom (25mm to 300mm) that would be perfect for vast and gorgeous landscape shots.

Having raised 8 children with my husband, I can identify with the statement shooting while holding a child. The ZS5 or ZS6 is surely up to that task.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 12:20 PM   #4
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Thank you all so much for your info. I was leaning towards the Panasonic, so having a few out there who are familiar with the other models I'm considering agree with that choice makes me feel at ease.
I actually hadn't heard of the ZS6 (didn't know it was available). I will look into that, since I really don't need the video or GPS of the ZS7. Specs said it had the higher res LCD screen of 460k, and up to 3", so that change alone might be nice. Thanks again for your input.
I'll be back when I'm ready to buy my DSLR. My current SLR is film, so just waiting to save up the bucks to get a good one.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 12:38 PM   #5
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jsmurfette-

I am happy that we could help out. We are always here and happy to lend a hand with camera information.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 2:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmurfette View Post
I actually hadn't heard of the ZS6 (didn't know it was available). I will look into that, since I really don't need the video or GPS of the ZS7. Specs said it had the higher res LCD screen of 460k, and up to 3", so that change alone might be nice.
If you can, definitely compare a 230k and 460k LCD. I think the 460k LCD is well worth it alone.
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