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Old Jul 30, 2010, 10:22 PM   #11
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I just purchased (and kept past the last returnable date) a Sony HX5 after comparing it to Canon SX210, Kodak z950, Panasonic FH20, Panasonic zs6, Panasonic zs7, Sony H55, and Samsung HZ30W (all purchased and returned). I also tried (in store) the Casio FH100 and Pansonic zr3. Unless I missed one, I think I tried pretty much every long zoom out there. I recently sold all of my old cameras (9, ha!) and bought an olympus e-pl1 and wanted a purse-able compact to go with it. I primarily take pictures indoors of family. The HX5 isn't perfect, BUT i found it captured the most realistic colors, even at higher ISOs or with flash. It does produce pictures a little less sharp (but not bad) than the best, but since I usually just share over the web or 4x6 prints, accurate colors and exposures are my priorities. As well, the movie mode on the e-pl1 isn't so hot so I wanted the long zoom & HD movies for the all-important school "wheels on the bus" recital up on the distant stage. I found the sony's movies to be well exposed and with good focus, and to me, I found the sony picked up more sound, total, than the other cameras, which I think is a good thing.

I'll point what I didn't like about the other cameras, because I found it difficult to find reviews that were comparing more than a couple of cameras...and somebody might find it useful, even though I am by no means an expert.

Canon SX210: Images a little soft. In Auto Mode, it seemed to use only ISO 80 (or 100, I can't remember which was its lowest) OR ISO 800. Color accuracy was very inconsistent, from great to truly awful greenish-yellow cast. Since I'd like to be able to use auto mode in a party situation, this was a deal breaker, which I hated because I've had 6 Canon cameras.

Sony H55: Blurry, flat pictures every time.

Panasonic FH20: Great outdoors, but very poor indoors, subjects came out "day-glo"

Panasonic zs6/zs7: The zs6 movies were very dark so I tried the zs7, which did have a nice movie mode, but otherwise they were the same. Yes, it's a sharp lens, but indoor image quality was very poor. Pictures becase noisy at even lower ISOs, and color accuracy was absolutely horrible. Nearly all indoor shots were blurry with an orange cast.

Kodak z950: Great pictures, decent enough movies for my purposes, very accurate colors. BUT, even with super fast SDHC card, the camera would let you take 3 pictures and then say "processing". You might be able to take more pictures but there would be a good 7-8 second delay between each until you let the camera rest for about 30 seconds to quit "processing". I took one camera back thinking it was defective but it turns out that it's part of the camera design so I had to pay a restocking fee.

Samsung HZ30W: A runner-up to the Sony. Took great pictures, nice and sharp, but I felt the Sony's exposure were a little better. But considering you can get the Samsung at costco now for $199, around $150 cheaper than most of these cameras, and you can change the settings to get the picture you want, it was a VERY close second to the Sony.

Cameras I tried only in-store: Casio FH100 - maybe this was a bad unit but it seemed very slow and and the pictures were horrible. The menus are not intuitive but I made sure I was using highest image quality and set it to full auto to bypass whatever some person had set on the camera. Panasonic ZR3 - pictures in-store seemed at least comparable to the zs7 I was buying, but I didn't take it home.

Hope this helps somebody - feel free to ask me for more details and maybe I can dig through the pictures I took for more info.
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 7:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keldunwoody View Post
I just purchased (and kept past the last returnable date) a Sony HX5 after comparing it to Canon SX210, Kodak z950, Panasonic FH20, Panasonic zs6, Panasonic zs7, Sony H55, and Samsung HZ30W (all purchased and returned). I also tried (in store) the Casio FH100 and Pansonic zr3. Unless I missed one, I think I tried pretty much every long zoom out there. ...snip...
Hi keldunwoody,

Thanks for your very informative comparison of so many P&S cameras. Very interesting stuff and nice post!

Sky
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 9:01 AM   #13
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Samsung HZ30W: A runner-up to the Sony. Took great pictures, nice and sharp, but I felt the Sony's exposure were a little better. But considering you can get the Samsung at costco now for $199, around $150 cheaper than most of these cameras, and you can change the settings to get the picture you want, it was a VERY close second to the Sony.
Very good summary of most of the compact zooms that are on peoples list.
I have today actually purchased a camera after so much dithering about.
I went for the Samsung WB600 (UK model to the HZ30W). In the end it was a choice between this Samsung and the Panasonic TZ7 but a price error in Tesco's store in the UK had the Samsung at 100 instead of its normal price of about 230. The TZ7 is about 190 in the UK. So the price swung it for me in the end. I know that is not the best way to decide on a camera but after so many months of reading and looking at samples I am just pleased to actually have purchased a compact super zoom and can at last start to take some pics!!
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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It is always wonderful to have user reviews, because the detail real world experiences. However, sometime the fact get confused due to the user's inexperience with a particular camera.

It this case of the mini review on the Kodak Z-950, the real facts have become scrambled, and create a wrong impression.

I would like to clear up a big misunderstanding about the Z-950 camera. There have been multiple reports of excessive delays after rapidly taken 3 photos.

That delay is caused by only the Fully Automatic Mode (the little red camera icon) employing a combination of Smart Capture and Perfect Touch post processing that slows down the camera through put measurably.

There is indeed a very simple work-around to eliminate that delay. Shoot the camera in the "P" or Program mode, which works just like Full Automatic, but eliminates the Smart Capture/ Perfect Touch post processing cycle and that delay is eliminated. If you want to add the Perfect Touch post processing, it can be done manually, using the menu, while reviewing your photos.

The Z-950 is a great little camera that is now selling at Amazon for just $110.95. Unfortunately it has gotten a bad reputation simply due users not understanding how the camera is set-up and operates.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 9:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
It is always wonderful to have user reviews, because the detail real world experiences. However, sometime the fact get confused due to the user's inexperience with a particular camera.

It this case of the mini review on the Kodak Z-950, the real facts have become scrambled, and create a wrong impression.

I would like to clear up a big misunderstanding about the Z-950 camera. There have been multiple reports of excessive delays after rapidly taken 3 photos.

That delay is caused by only the Fully Automatic Mode (the little red camera icon) employing a combination of Smart Capture and Perfect Touch post processing that slows down the camera through put measurably.

There is indeed a very simple work-around to eliminate that delay. Shoot the camera in the "P" or Program mode, which works just like Full Automatic, but eliminates the Smart Capture/ Perfect Touch post processing cycle and that delay is eliminated. If you want to add the Perfect Touch post processing, it can be done manually, using the menu, while reviewing your photos.

The Z-950 is a great little camera that is now selling at Amazon for just $110.95. Unfortunately it has gotten a bad reputation simply due users not understanding how the camera is set-up and operates.

Sarah Joyce
I'm sorry, but here, I have to strongly disagree! It didn't matter what I did, full auto, program mode, flash on or off, it was ALWAYS 3 pictures. I kept the 2nd unit until the last returnable day trying to find a workaround, because otherwise I liked the camera so much! I did buy both cameras from my local OfficeMax, so maybe I just got 2 bum cameras.
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Old Jul 31, 2010, 9:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rando View Post
Very good summary of most of the compact zooms that are on peoples list.
I have today actually purchased a camera after so much dithering about.
I went for the Samsung WB600 (UK model to the HZ30W). In the end it was a choice between this Samsung and the Panasonic TZ7 but a price error in Tesco's store in the UK had the Samsung at 100 instead of its normal price of about 230. The TZ7 is about 190 in the UK. So the price swung it for me in the end. I know that is not the best way to decide on a camera but after so many months of reading and looking at samples I am just pleased to actually have purchased a compact super zoom and can at last start to take some pics!!
I'm sure you'll be very happy with your purchase. I recommended the samsung to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and they've both purchased.
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