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Old Aug 13, 2010, 10:00 AM   #1
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Default Superzoom versus compact

Hi,

I'm looking at the moment to upgrade from my old Sony DSC-S40, to a camera with a bigger zoom - say x12 or higher. My main priorities are good image quality outdoors (and reasonable indoor/low light) and good zoom. Ability to mess around with settings would be a bonus - I'm a complete newbie at that so want a solid auto mode as a base for future experimentation. I will be using it for a mixture of things - landscape shots incl low light if poss, holiday shots, macros of insects, bird shots, and indoor family shots.

I was initially looking at a compact and was torn between the Panasonic TZ10 and the Samsung WB650 as generally these seem to get the best reviews. Both get mixed reviews however, though more reviews say the Panasonic has slightly better quality images, but the comments about lense flare, regularly blown highlights resulting in washed out skies, and poor low light/indoor performance puts me off. Its hard though to work out if the above issues the panasonic has are also found on the Samsung, and whether the Samsung low light performance is actually better. The video in Panasonic and the macro seem slightly better. I would be interested in anyone's thoughts on the Panasonic issues and whether they are actually noticeable in practice; likewise on the Samsung.

Since my mother has now decided she wants a superzoom camera that has also got me wondering whether that might be a better (if slightly less stick-in-your-pocket-on-a-walk friendly) option. I am however confused as to whether superzoom cameras have even worse low light and indoor performance than the TZ10 and WB650. Could anyone shed any light on this to help me make up my mind...?

Any help gratefully received - trying to decide on which camera is driving me mad! I suspect any one I pick will look miles better than my old Sony, but I want something that will last a while.

AshL
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 11:21 AM   #2
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In general the superzooms will have better low-light capability than the compacts, due to the fact that the flashes on them are much stronger and usually the lenses are a bit faster.

Take a look at panasonic's excellent fz35/38. seems like it would be a great fit for your needs if you decide to go with the bigger superzoom camera.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 12:16 PM   #3
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I agree with Hards, 100%-

It would seem that the Panasonic FZ-35/38 would meet your needs rather nicely. The FZ-35, also know in Europe as the FZ-38, is a very user friendly camera and can easily use an ISO setting of ISO 800 when operating in a low light environment.

We also have a large group of FZ-35/38 users in our Panasonic Point & Shoot Folder. There you can find lots of photo samples, and see the FZ-35/38 photo tips and "how to's" that are swapped regularly in that folder.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Aug 13, 2010, 12:29 PM   #4
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I've bought the WB650 after a difficult decision between it and the TZ10. I don't think there would be any difference in highlight clipping levels in day to day shooting other than the Samsung seems to keep the sky blue even when slightly clipping, the Panny errs on making the sky have a turquoise cast sometimes when clipping is approached. A lot of Panny images seem to have a slightly green cast anyway. I can only speak from studying other people's images though. The Samsung lens is astonishingly good for a small camera IMHO. No PF seen yet, no haze, just less crisp at the borders without the red/blue fringing seen in some long zoom cameras.

I think the main choice has to be whether you want the slightly better pixel level detail of the Panasonic or the truer colours of the Samsung. I went for the colours as it's the first thing I notice in any image.

Disappointments? No panorama mode or exposure lock. No burst mode at full resolution, although the continuous shooting mode will suffice for me at about 1 fps forever. That's it really as I wasn't expecting perfect IQ in one of these type of cameras.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 2:32 PM   #5
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I just ordered a TZ10 because having the camera in my pocket was a major requirement for me. But if pocket size is not a requirement for you then you can get better image quality from cameras with bigger size.

Just make sure you don't mind the bigger size. In the past I had both a "superzoom" and an ultra-compact. I found myself using the ultra-compact much more since it was much easier to take it with me everywhere.
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 3:22 PM   #6
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Zoo-

You are correct. Tolerance of camera size seems to vary from one person to another. So we will have to wait and see how the OP responds to the FZ-35 camera suggestion.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 5:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions. Hmm, the fz35/38 sounds very tempting - I think I'll have to go have a look at one and see whether I think its pocket sized enough for me. I tend to go walking with binoculars, plus ipod for the bird/butterfly/bee guide, so don't want a heavy camera also. It might also be a good one for my mother, and then I get to test it out

If I do go for the ultracompact, it sounds as if not much to chose between the panasonic and the samsung, and the issues some people have raised on the panasonic aren't actually much of a problem day to day? I know what you mean about the green cast on the panasonic, though some of the macro shots people had on this forum were amazing . Then again, the x15 zoom on the samsung is nice...
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Old Aug 13, 2010, 5:11 PM   #8
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Hi AshL,

I own the FZ35, and don't find the size a problem. While not a pocket camera (not my pockets anyway), it' very light and only weighs 14 ounces. I carry it around with me outside a lot, along with binocs and other things, and don't find it cumbersome. It was also a camera I bought without actually handling in the store, and I've been very pleased. If you bird, you will find the 18x optical zoom appealing .

Laurie
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Old Aug 14, 2010, 12:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveB View Post
No PF seen yet, no haze, just less crisp at the borders without the red/blue fringing seen in some long zoom cameras.
While I agree with you that the WB650 is a good camera for its class, I am not sure how you're missing the PF. PF is quite bad on the WB650. I noticed it with the first couple shots I took and it's quite apparent in review samples also.
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