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Old Nov 8, 2010, 8:49 AM   #1
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Default Compact with super zoom wanted

Hi All,

I'm a very amauteur photographer who has owned a number of camera's before.

My very first digital camera back in 2004 was a Casio exilim model, it was great in terms of picture quality for point and shoot. I didn't have to alter the brightmess/sharpness etc. But the optical zoom (3X) wasn't good enough for me.

A few years later I bought he panasonic FZ8. This was my favourite in terms of image quality and zoom. The optical zoomed pictures were not 'grainy' when viewed on a computer. The camera also took some great indoor pictures without a flash - again these weren't 'grainy'. I took these photo's using either 'scn' or 'i'. The only problem with this camera was its size, it didn't fit into my pocket.

I then bought a panasonic FS5 to fit in my pocket. The zoom wasn't what I wanted and it gave rubbish indoor pictures (v dark and grainy) without a flash. I mainly used the 'i' setting but I really did not like this camera.

After those I bought the Fujifilm finepix S1500 because of the good zoom, but I hated how each picture looked cold' unless I selected 'chrome' which wasn't always an option on some of the settings.

Basically I'm looking for a camera that works as well as the FZ8 but which isn't bulky. My main criteria is a goodoptical zoom. I have looked at reviews of the panasonic TZ10 however and there seems to be an issue with grainy pictures at a high zoom or indoors. I know you can overcome this with certain techniques, but I am a point and shoot kinda photographer and I'm not interested in having to re-set settings (i.e sharpness/ISO etc) I would like the camera to be able to auto set these. I.E when I half depress the button, what I see on the screen is the photo I want to take.

I hope I'm making sense. If not it's probably due to the fact I am not a photographer, I just want a decent camera.

Any thoughts please? Thanks

Last edited by fimonkey; Nov 8, 2010 at 8:54 AM.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 9:30 AM   #2
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Well the lens on the TZ10 is as good as you will find on a pocketable P&S. The issues at full zoom are indeed there, but this is true of all cameras of this design. Indoor pics without flash are disappointing and even fall below much of the competition, but low light pics without flash are going to be poor for all cameras with such a tiny sensor and not-so-bright lens.

Since a longer optical zoom is your main criteria, you will have to give up low light (indoor) picture quality without the flash because the larger sensors and long zoom don't fit in these style cameras together. The closest you can come top having both is the Nikon P7000 which has a 7x zoom. Next is the Canon G12 with a 5x zoom and then the rest go down to 3.8x zoom.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 5:01 PM   #3
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Another compact super zoom Fuji F300EXR.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 9:14 PM   #4
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Perhaps this group review of so-called compact travel-zoom cameras will be helpful. Take your time, read the whole thing and don't just rush to the conclusion at the end:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q210grouptravelzoom/
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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Fuji F70EXR at amazon for $179 USD. 10X (27mm to 270mm) lens.

Sharp photos.
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Old Nov 8, 2010, 11:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armadilloshield View Post
Another compact super zoom Fuji F300EXR.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Fuji F70EXR at amazon for $179 USD. 10X (27mm to 270mm) lens.

Sharp photos.
Neither of these has the larger sensor for indoor pics without flash though, which is what the OP requested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biro View Post
Perhaps this group review of so-called compact travel-zoom cameras will be helpful. Take your time, read the whole thing and don't just rush to the conclusion at the end:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q210grouptravelzoom/
That comparative review is horrendous. The details on virtually all of the cams are inaccurate and they fail to even discuss the main strengths and weaknesses of the cams. For example, they rate the ZS7's low light performance (w/o flash) as mediocre. It's not. They rank the Casio as having the best IQ - not even close. They fail to discuss the ridiculously high amount of noise reduction on certain cams like the HX5V. They don't mention the HX5V's awful sound or LCD either. I doubt they even used most of these cams for more than 30 minutes.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 2:49 PM   #7
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Armadillo and Terry, I've been put off by my last experience with fuji so would prefer to avoid that make.

FiveO, thanks for your great replies but I'm confused by what you mean when you say "tiny sensor and not-so-bright lens". The panasonic FZ8 takes great indoor pictures, I take it this model therefore has a better sensor and bigger lense?

I'm reading other threads similar to mine on this forum and the array of models suggested is astounding, I'm more confused than ever! What would be a good lense size and a bigger sensor size?

Good zoom and good indoor piture quality. Are the two mutually exclusive? The ZS7 seems to be getting good reviews on this forum, what are your thoughts?

Last edited by fimonkey; Nov 12, 2010 at 2:51 PM.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 2:57 PM   #8
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Ah am I being a muppet? Are the ZS7 and the TZ10? Looking at reviews for both http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...s7-review.html I'm now thinking of the ZS3. .. I'm not really interested in gimmicks such as GPS.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 3:00 PM   #9
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hmmmmm. The canon xs210 and sony HX5. This review looks interesting, can it be trusted? http://www.trustedreviews.com/digita...hot-DSC-HX5/p1

I've tried to compare them using this site http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sidebyside.asp but cannot find the Sony model. Any ideas on how I can compare them and which ones out of these three take the best indoor picture without flash please?

Really appreciate your help so far. Thank you.

Last edited by fimonkey; Nov 12, 2010 at 3:07 PM.
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Old Nov 12, 2010, 7:06 PM   #10
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fimonkey,

The FZ8 has a smaller sensor but a brighter lens. However, it has a more powerful flash and higher pixel density. You still can't argue science though - light gathering ability is dependent on the lens and sensor size.

The same goes for the SX210 and HX5V. The HX5V has a backlit CMOS sensor which is going to give you a slight improvement in low light over an equivalently sized CCD sensor. However, the improvement is not as vast as some people seem to think with this camera. Sony cranked the NR (noise reduction) way up so the cleaner images in low light are at the cost of massive amounts of detail.

I am certainly not saying that these cameras are bad in any way. I am simply saying that you can't dispute science. If enough light can't be gathered, the ISO has to go up and/or the shutter speed ha to go down. The bigger the sensor and the brighter the lens, the lower either/both of these can be. Too slow a shutter and anything moving in your image will become blurred. ISO 800 is generally the limit of usable photos for most of the pocket cams but I think the S95, LX5, etc are still usable for small prints up to ISO 1600. I don't like to use anything over ISO 800 on my ZS7 and really prefer to stay at ISO 400.

p.s. The Sony HX5 is the HX5V in the US and most of the world. (V has GPS)
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