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Old Nov 27, 2010, 3:51 PM   #11
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Another gd place for more camera options would b the steves holiday guide 2010.
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Old Nov 28, 2010, 10:04 AM   #12
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I think I'm finding that you can't have zoom plus good low-light capability in a compact/ultracompact, in the year 2010. So I think that means that you should tend to pick one, and pick the one where the technology (as it relates to compact P&Ss) is more mature, and wait for the other to improve to buy another. In that regard, I think that is the zoom capability. "HS Systems" (i.e. Canon) and the like seem to be beta versions if you will, of systems where you will eventually be able to achieve nice, clear improvement in low-light (i.e. indoor) conditions.

I just think these cameras can get a lot better in low-light as sensor technology continues to improve... or even as they continue to push the boundaries of lenses.

You don't know how much this is helping me understand... thanks guys
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Old Nov 28, 2010, 1:11 PM   #13
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Well in terms of low light amongst these cameras, it's best to think of 'bad' and 'worse.' I have the Sony HX5V for example and it's bad in low light - but I also have the Panasonic ZS7 and it's worse in low light. The image quality in good lighting however is quite a bit better on the ZS7 vs the HX5V. Now that said, I think all 3 of your choices are fairly good ones for what they are.

The S8100 does look like a good choice and the only thing that would stop em from personally getting one is Nikon's poor rep in the P&S market for the last several years. I wish there were more reviews of it.

I'm not sure about manual controls on the SD4500. I don't think full manual is terribly useful on a P&S camera. However, I do think aperture/shutter priority and program auto are important. I shoot in program auto 95% of the time and aperture/shutter priority 5% of the time. I've only used iAuto a handful of times since the 2nd week I owned the ZS7 (had it since April) and I've never used it on my Canon S95.
WOW, you are lucky to be able to play with all those cameras!

With the ZS7 (and the manual controls available), I'm confused as to why it gives such poor results in low-light? To my layman P.o.V, aren't adjustments to the: shutter speed/aperture/ISO, normal ways to adjust for less-than-ideal light?

At the least (i.e. if I go the Panasonic route), I'd like to photograph nice-looking cityscapes and street scenes (e.g. Vegas! at night).
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Old Nov 28, 2010, 2:45 PM   #14
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With the ZS7 (and the manual controls available), I'm confused as to why it gives such poor results in low-light? To my layman P.o.V, aren't adjustments to the: shutter speed/aperture/ISO, normal ways to adjust for less-than-ideal light?

At the least (i.e. if I go the Panasonic route), I'd like to photograph nice-looking cityscapes and street scenes (e.g. Vegas! at night).
The ZS7 lens only stops down to F3.3 whereas cameras like the S95 stop down to F2.0 and a lot of the competition stops down to F2.8. Also, CMOS sensors offer a marginal improvement in low light (at the cost of sharpness/detail across the ISO range though). So at the wide end, there is a difference in aperture amongst these cams.

You can of course adjust the ISO but anything above ISO 400 on most of these P&S pocket cams simply doesn't look good. The S95 and equivalent models do a little better and can get you to ISO 800.

Now with a slow shutter, sure you can get good low light pics but obviously only for still objects. Anything that moves will blur and ruin your photo. Here's one I took w/ an 8-second shutter at ISO 80. Now with waterfalls, the dreamy blur of the water created by the slow shutter adds a nice effect but if those were people it would have ruined the shot.

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