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Old Jun 22, 2010, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default What is most important for a compact? Zoom or low light?

I posted a couple weeks ago thinking I need to update my old slow Canon G2 to possibly two new cameras since we have a baby. I thought of maybe getting a compact now so I will always have one with me, and then maybe getting a DSLR or bridge camera later on, especially when the baby is moving around.

So I think in that post, and reading others, I am really leaning toward the ZS6 since it is on sale at Costco. I just want to make sure before I take the plunge what most people like their compacts for. I do think HD video is important, so I can take short clips if needed. So do most people think zoom is more important, or low light? I am thinking since it will be taken everywhere we go, it is going to be outdoors a lot, or taking closeups of people which the flash should cover anyways. The other thing I am wondering about is how to view the video in HD that is taken from this camera. I am sure if you play it from an external hard drive you can play it on the TV, but to get it on a disc, do you need a blu ray burner?

I just wanted any last minute suggestions of anything else I should look at. Thanks again for all the help.

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Old Jun 22, 2010, 3:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by dj76 View Post
I posted a couple weeks ago thinking I need to update my old slow Canon G2 to possibly two new cameras since we have a baby. I thought of maybe getting a compact now so I will always have one with me, and then maybe getting a DSLR or bridge camera later on, especially when the baby is moving around.

So I think in that post, and reading others, I am really leaning toward the ZS6 since it is on sale at Costco. I just want to make sure before I take the plunge what most people like their compacts for. I do think HD video is important, so I can take short clips if needed.
If you want to take video clips interspersed with still shots, there’s a difference between the Costco ZS6 and the ZS3/ZS7 models that you should be aware of.
--- The ZS3 and ZS7 cameras have a dedicated record video button. While you’re taking still pictures, just press the video record button and you’re recording video. Press it again to stop video recording and you're back in still mode.
--- The Costco ZS6 has a different method. There’s a movie mode position on the function wheel. The wheel has to be turned 2 clicks from auto mode (or 3 clicks from program mode) to the movie mode position. Then press the shutter to start/stop video recording. Then rotate the wheel 2-3 clicks back to the still mode you were in. Not as fast and convenient as the ZS3/ZS7 method.

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So do most people think zoom is more important, or low light? I am thinking since it will be taken everywhere we go, it is going to be outdoors a lot, or taking closeups of people which the flash should cover anyways.
My take is that for travel, like a trip to Alaska, 10x+ zoom is very important. For home, taking pictures of family and friends, 3x to 5x zoom is fine. For non-travel, a good percentage of our photos are taken indoors be it in a home, restaurant, or hotel venue so low-light quality is important.

If you don’t mind a 5x zoom, maybe hold off until August 2010 when Samsung is rumored to release their TL350 (WB2000 outside of the U.S.) Then compare it to other cameras you're interested in. The TL350/WB2000 seems to have the potential for low noise indoor images. It has a 36 MP/cm2 sensor density which puts it between the LX3's 24 MP/cm2 sensor and ZS7's 50 MP/cm2 sensor. (lower number is better) Plus it has the backlit CMOS sensor which improves low-light ability and a Schneider Kreuznach F2.4 lens at wide which also improves low-light ability. These 3 properties combined might give it superior low-light without flash and low-light-flash abilities in the compact P&S category. It will also have 1080p HD video recording ability.

http://www.samsung.com/sg/consumer/c...ype=prd_detail

Sky

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Old Jun 22, 2010, 3:22 PM   #3
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dj-

Suppose you could have a definite low light capability, 10X optical zoom, a 24mm wide angle, HD video that allows zooming, and is pocket size. Look at the Casio EX-FH-100.

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Old Jun 22, 2010, 4:40 PM   #4
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(You can find a review of the Casio EX-FH-100 at dpreviews.com. It is tempting.) We have the ZS-7. The video is easy to use and does well at home using available light at night. The image quality is sharp, both video and stills. But I still don't think the color is true when compared to my old Kodak V550 or my current Canon SD3500. In short, it's worth having the 10X zoom, video that zooms, and low light capabilities.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 6:02 PM   #5
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So do most people think zoom is more important, or low light?
That's a completely subjective question and really up to you to decide. I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking. Every now and then I will go to a concert or museum. So for me, the zoom is more important. Someone who spends little time outdoors (most of America) might find low-light to be more important.

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The other thing I am wondering about is how to view the video in HD that is taken from this camera. I am sure if you play it from an external hard drive you can play it on the TV, but to get it on a disc, do you need a blu ray burner?
You can convert to H.264 and put it on a regular DVD which you can then play in a Bluray player, PS3, etc. Obviously you can fit a lot less HD video on a DVD than a Bluray disc but DVDR are a heck of a lot cheaper and so many people go with this method.

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(You can find a review of the Casio EX-FH-100 at dpreviews.com. It is tempting.) We have the ZS-7. The video is easy to use and does well at home using available light at night. The image quality is sharp, both video and stills. But I still don't think the color is true when compared to my old Kodak V550 or my current Canon SD3500. In short, it's worth having the 10X zoom, video that zooms, and low light capabilities.
Actually, the color is extremely accurate on the current ZS models. If you doubt it, look at the color charts found on a number of pro reviews. However, Panasonic tends to lean towards the cool side when using AWB and a number of people prefer warmer images (such as Canon provides). I am one of those people but am still happy with my ZS7.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 6:46 PM   #6
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Indoors, you will need to use a flash more when shooting you new baby. As most point and shoots are not great in low light without a flash. To be able to shoot without a flash you will need to give up the zoom. And go with a g11, s90 or lx3 for a point and shot. But if you need better low light for evening indoor shooting, you will benefit from an dslr with a big aperture lens more.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 9:43 PM   #7
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Hi again dj76,

Check out Sarah Joyce's post in the Casio forum here:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ca...oom-award.html

Sarah posted two high ISO images from her newly received Casio FH100 and they look very good. As Sarah posted earlier, it might be the current long zoom and low light performer.

Sky
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 10:09 PM   #8
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You are 100% correct, Sky-

But because the Casio EX-FH-100 is a "minority" camera, it will not get much attention. The folks at DPR were correct, but, let's be honest here, it takes an extra effort and a bit of going against the "grain" to seriously look at a Casio camera. I am not sure how many posters here on the Forum will actually do that.

I took a chance and purchased a Casio EX-FH-100, but I don't honestly think that many people will put money out front in a "could be", "may be" situation, no matter how good the minority camera might be.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 23, 2010, 12:40 AM   #9
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You are 100% correct, Sky-

But because the Casio EX-FH-100 is a "minority" camera, it will not get much attention. The folks at DPR were correct, but, let's be honest here, it takes an extra effort and a bit of going against the "grain" to seriously look at a Casio camera. I am not sure how many posters here on the Forum will actually do that.

I took a chance and purchased a Casio EX-FH-100, but I don't honestly think that many people will put money out front in a "could be", "may be" situation, no matter how good the minority camera might be.

Sarah Joyce
You made the same claims about the HX5V, recommending it to anyone and everyone who was seeking a travel superzoom camera. Then you did a full 180 and now after a few days are making the same claims about the Casio FH100. I don't mean this is a nasty way, but perhaps you want to wait a little longer this time and give yourself a chance to discover all its pros and cons before so heartily recommending it.

The Casio isn't any more of an improvement within the class than any other camera. It is certainly better in some areas and certainly worse in others. It suffers from the same poor bright light performance as the HX5V and you can't zoom in video. Pro reviews also specify a poor macro mode and LCD. Dpreview actually stated the video was simply poor in general. That all-in-one "nearly perfect" pocket superzoom just doesn't exist yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhotogrpahyBlog
Unfortunately the image quality doesn't quite match the extensive feature list, with the EX-FH100 suffering from less than stellar images in low-light due to obvious noise and softening of fine detail at the relatively slow speed of ISO 200, which gets progressively worse as you move up the range.
As I have said in other posts, I think the backlit sensors are "enough" of an improvement over the competition for such tiny sensors. They are by no means "good" though as all of the detail is lost anyway. Compare the Casio FH100 low light images to the S90 and you you can see that Sony's backlit sensors are 95% gimmick.
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Old Jun 23, 2010, 9:56 AM   #10
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Five-O-

Yes, there was more than a little "edge" to your initial paragraph. But with that said, I agree with you and have indeed written cautions into my posts about the Casio EX-FH-100, cautioning that these shots are indeed preliminary.

Like a lot of folks, including my friend the green baron, we wanted to like the HX5, but ultimately it had too many faults, and I reported those faults and have since suggested the Panasonic ZS-series as an alternative choice as a result. Time and experience are valuable learning tools.

As you can see, Five-O, I have been around here for a long time and have made many posts. One of the things that I have liked best about this Forum has been the friendliness. I would like to see that friendliness continue in full measure. That is what makes us here in this Forum, a good deal different than the forums at dp review.

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