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Old Dec 2, 2010, 11:18 PM   #11
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I didn't say that. You asked about a longer zoom and bigger sensor. However, no I don't think there will be any phenomenal breakthroughs in the next couple years in these cameras. CMOS is the new thing in these cameras and still very much in its infancy. It took them a couple years just to get the backlit CMOS sensors from camcorders into pocket cams. Now they need to try to work with this technology to get the most out of it.

The aim within the industry right now is "all-in-one." These pocket cams are focusing more on video and using tricks like stacking to improve low light output quality. They are putting better lenses and better image sensors in phones now. Heck, Panasonic already has a Lumix line of phones in the works.

You have to understand the physical limitations though. All the wishing and research in the world cannot change the physical limitations of certain things. The modern automobile was created over 100 years ago and you still can't get 100mpg in a gasoline-powered car. Time, money and positive thinking still can't change scientific limitations. To achieve this goal, they had to turn their attention towards hybrids and electric cars.

Low light pics are a similar situation. In order to improve low light image quality, you need to gather more light. We do this via the sensor and the lens. Well the sensor and lens are already at or near extremely near their physical limits. If you make the sensor bigger, you need to make the lens bigger. Now the camera is bigger. So no, you physically will not be able to squeeze much more out of these cameras and still have them remain the same size. You will always be forced to choose between zoom and sensor size in this form factor.
That all sorta gets to what I'm wondering: will we see cameras in the near future that will be able to accomodate all these features that I mention? Regarding this statement, let's look at it through the SD4500 Canon. (I agree that they all seem to really be going for the all-in-one dynamic, with this camera being an example.) In this particular camera, they installed one of those CMOS sensors, but... sort of handicapped it with with a lens that can't complement it, as it's predecessor (the SD4000) actually has. But by the same token, the SD4000 doesn't combine all those features either (lacks the big zoom).

And that seems to be common. It's like they can't come up with a way for it all to go together.

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Well if you want to let one experience sway your judgment, that's certainly you're right. Panasonic is and has been #1 in build quality for a few years running. As for their service, well I think everyone's service sucks these days.
The only way that I know that I can express my dissatisfaction is to voice it via the pocketbook (i.e. not buy). I never said I'd never buy a Panasonic, but (given the bad taste in my mouth) just going right back to them doesn't feel right... I know it doesn't really make a difference, but I guess I'm idealistic in a lot of ways.

I've lately begun looking at a Samsung (TL350/WB2000) that has all the features I want... but again--minus the big zoom. This is the new camera on my radar. (Though, I don't know why there isn't too much in terms of reviews, opinions on it.)
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Old Dec 3, 2010, 5:06 AM   #12
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I've lately begun looking at a Samsung (TL350/WB2000) that has all the features I want... but again--minus the big zoom. This is the new camera on my radar. (Though, I don't know why there isn't too much in terms of reviews, opinions on it.)
Well the TL500 has the fastest lens through the focal range so in theory, it should perform the best in low light overall. I don't think Samsung handles noise as well as Canon and Panasonic but that is at least a partially subjective matter. If HD video is a concern though, I don't think the TL500 offers it (not 100% certain w/o looking at specs). The 3 main contenders in this category - the S95, LX5 and TL500 - each have their own pros and cons but I think all 3 are solid camera choices.
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Old Dec 3, 2010, 4:00 PM   #13
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The features/components that interest me include (not in any order):

*Zoom
*Low-light (indoor) prowess
*Wide lens
*High-speed

...among others. All while being able to fit in my pocket. Now having done my share of research on this, it's apparent that there simply is no camera in 2010, that has all those components, which is fine. My question though, is:

Which feature do you think will be making the biggest improvements, in terms of the near (2-3 years) future? i.e. Will we see 30x zooms? Will we see bigger/better sensors (that will allow better low-light performance)? Better battery life? Do you see something else that will be "the next big thing" in the compact P&S market?

And, along the same lines then, what features are pretty much "maxed-out" in terms of compact (pocketable) cameras? i.e. Does 10-15x seem to be pushing the limits of how much zoom can fit in your pocket?

The reason I ask all this is because I'm just gonna get a camera that has some of the features I want, and just complement my purchase in a couple years, with another compact P&S that brings the other feature that I want in my camera--but does so with a marked improvement (like, if bigger sensors are brought to the market in 2012, low-light pictures become markedly better)!
Dude, all the things that you're asking for in a P&S are almost Sci-Fi !
Try waiting 50 years...
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Old Dec 4, 2010, 12:15 PM   #14
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Well the TL500 has the fastest lens through the focal range so in theory, it should perform the best in low light overall. I don't think Samsung handles noise as well as Canon and Panasonic but that is at least a partially subjective matter. If HD video is a concern though, I don't think the TL500 offers it (not 100% certain w/o looking at specs). The 3 main contenders in this category - the S95, LX5 and TL500 - each have their own pros and cons but I think all 3 are solid camera choices.
The TL500 is a different beast--I'm looking for a pocketable camera. So that, the LX5, wouldn't apply. The S95 I suppose does. Ido definitely want HD video too. I'm reading some good reviews of the TL350/WB2000 though, albeit somewhat limited (amount of reviews). Funny thing is, what may have a big effect in my decision may be the AMOLED screen of the Samsung. Do you or anyone else, have any comment on AMOLEDs and your personal take on them? They're so vibrant, it just makes viewing the photos and stuff on the camera a real pleasure.

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Old Dec 4, 2010, 7:20 PM   #15
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The TL500 is actually the biggest of the 3 so yeah, it's not pocketable. The S95 is definitely pocketable and is actually quite a bit smaller than the ZS7.

Here's a couple 3-way pics of the S95, LX5 and TL500.






The AMOLED screens are very nice but I wouldn't personally base my entire decision on it. The ZS7 has a decent screen and the S95 has a very nice screen. True though, neither screen compares to the AMOLED.

You might want to check user reviews on the TL350. If I remember correctly, that is the one with the major firmware issues - camera locking up, etc. Maybe someone else can confirm but I'm 95% certain it was that model. Otherwise, I do think it's a nice camera.
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Old Dec 4, 2010, 11:35 PM   #16
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The AMOLED screens are very nice but I wouldn't personally base my entire decision on it. The ZS7 has a decent screen and the S95 has a very nice screen. True though, neither screen compares to the AMOLED.

You might want to check user reviews on the TL350. If I remember correctly, that is the one with the major firmware issues - camera locking up, etc. Maybe someone else can confirm but I'm 95% certain it was that model. Otherwise, I do think it's a nice camera.
You are right... all the reviews seemed to be from months ago, so I'm sorta assuming this issue has been addressed by Samsung (Though, opinions are still conspicuously uncommon for a camera that's been out as long as this one has.)

And--no... I'm not basing my entire decision on it. It's more like the icing on the cake.

Lemme ask you this... You know what I want (long zoom, low-light, pocketable HD cam/corder)... If my plan is to buy another camera in a couple years (i.e. a complement to the camera I buy now), which area stands to bring the most improvement during that time? Does that make sense?

i.e. If I buy the ZS5 this year, can I expect/optimistically hope for low-light abilities to improve, more than: If I buy the TL350 for it's presumed better low-light shooting than ZS5, can I expect that my superzoom pocket camera in two years will be a better gain? Sorry if that's confusing.
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 12:02 AM   #17
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Well I think low-light improvements are an aim of camera manufacturers right now but unfortunately I think they will continue to do it with tricks such as pixel binning and stacking b/c they don't really have any other choice. A bigger sensor doesn't sell more cameras in the mainstream market and since it costs them the zoom as well, most camera makers go for the zoom.

I don't think you're going to get beyond the 15x zoom on say the SX210 either in a few years. As it is, the lens quality on that camera is the biggest complaint about it. Also, I think the ZS7 and SX210 are already pushing the limits of "pocketable" and a bigger lens would make the camera even bigger.

The TL350 will do slightly better than the ZS5 in low light simply b/c the CMOS sensors are a little better in this regard. The sensor is still about the same size though (slightly smaller actually) and the lens only goes to F2.8 so it won't be nearly as good in low light as the S95. You gain only 1.2x zoom w/ the TL350 over the S95, but you do also gain better video capabilities. So it depends on what's most important to you.

My recommendation is still the S95 or ZS6 but as an alternative to the ZS6, check out the Samsung HZ30 also. It's a little bigger but also a nice cam and low light is slightly better than the ZS6. The HZ30 also has a stronger flash than the ZS6 I believe.

Keep in mind that many cameras from 5 years ago still offer better still image quality than many of the new cameras on the market now. They shrunk the cameras, shrunk the sensors, upped the MP (which lowered the pixel density since the MP went up and the sensor went down) and most of the cams are built in China now. So a camera you buy today certainly won't be obsolete in 2-3 years and it may even be better than what's on the market then iof they continue w/ the trend of more MP and tiny sensors.
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 2:21 AM   #18
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You probably would be suited for this camera...just change the lens module as required...
http://www.ricoh.com/r_dc/gxr/
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 12:34 PM   #19
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The TL350 will do slightly better than the ZS5 in low light simply b/c the CMOS sensors are a little better in this regard. The sensor is still about the same size though (slightly smaller actually) and the lens only goes to F2.8 so it won't be nearly as good in low light as the S95. You gain only 1.2x zoom w/ the TL350 over the S95, but you do also gain better video capabilities. So it depends on what's most important to you.
I do want/need video. As it pertains to video (and camera for that matter... sorry if this is an elementary question BTW), in the TL350 that I'm talking about: Does the "wide-angle" aspect of it (i.e. 24mm) bring more usabiility to the zoom?

The other P&S cameras that I had in the past had a less than 5x zoom (5x, 3.8x), but basically, I never used it (and now just look at 3-5x zoom as worthless) because the zoom never gave me a good-looking shot. It was either too "zoomed in" (i.e. no perspective, background), or it was simply grainy, or whatever... I just didn't like it.

Now, when I view zoom tests of Lumix ZS cameras on youtube (i.e. ZS cameras have "wide-angle" lenses, with a "25-300mm" range), the scene it shows is quite nice... like, if I wanted to zoom in on a couple drinking coffee across the street, it would properly fit them in a scene. Whereas my previous cameras, if I did something like that, it would maybe show their faces really zoomed in, but not the overall scene.

Basically, does the wide-angle nature of a lens offer more usability of the zoom? Because as I've said, I want that big zoom. And a large part of that is, in my experience, the 5x zoom was a worthless function because of what I describe. But if the wide-angle makes the small zoom more useful, then obviously that's a big plus.

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Originally Posted by FiveO View Post
Keep in mind that many cameras from 5 years ago still offer better still image quality than many of the new cameras on the market now. They shrunk the cameras, shrunk the sensors, upped the MP (which lowered the pixel density since the MP went up and the sensor went down) and most of the cams are built in China now. So a camera you buy today certainly won't be obsolete in 2-3 years and it may even be better than what's on the market then iof they continue w/ the trend of more MP and tiny sensors.
Great point. As I read reviews, I did notice A LOT of people talking about how their old such-&-such camera took much better photos than the current camera (whatever one they were reviewing at that time) that they had... and I never put 2 & 2 together. I just thought these people were being myopic or just being spiteful about their disappointment with their new cam.

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You probably would be suited for this camera...just change the lens module as required...
http://www.ricoh.com/r_dc/gxr/
Thanks LTZ... but this cam seems too big for my needs (i.e. fit in my pocket). I'll look at Ricoh cameras though, now that you directed me there. Thx.
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 5:24 PM   #20
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The ZS cameras have excellent lenses for what they are and yes, the long zoom is quite useful.
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