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Old Jan 5, 2011, 9:37 PM   #1
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Default Panny Lumix DMC-ZS3/TZ7 (dislike)

Hi All,
I've owned a DMC-ZS3 for about one year now and I must say, I've never liked it. Need a new camera.

After researching cameras and hearing recommendations here, I purchased it. And it really did what it claimed to do. It's a good camera, but its pictures are below my requirements.

NOTE: I DO understand that the camera I am looking for is highly ideal. I'm just asking for your camera ideas, so no harm is done by asking.

Originally, I was after:
#1 A pocket camera
#2 that took great photos
#3 that took great movies

well. #1 and 3 were met well. exceeding my expectations. i even made a little money by making a film for a competition using my camera. but the pictures are just bad in my opinion.

I realize that the camera I'm looking for may not exist as these are high expectations. but where better to ask? also its been a while since I did my research so maybe the lumix camera have improved their picture quality. ?

please recommend some pocket-sized camera that take great pictures and movies.

for movies: i would like avchd because i think the format looks great! or maybe its just the cameras captures that look great.

for pictures: id appreciate manual control, but snap-shots are a must. also, I don't need the largest photos in the world, but I do need to see great clarity when i zoom in to 100% size.

for the camera itself: it has to be small. i imagine that to take the photos i want, it would need a decent amount of glass. those tiny 1/2 inch lenses give me the creeps for some reason.

i require no more than this.

If you have any ideas on camera that I should research, please let me know. I need to make a decision and sell this camera before my next trip!

Please and thanks,
Marco.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 9:45 PM   #2
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I use a G10 and love it. Absolutely superb photos, fits into a (larger) pocket, lots of glass, but only OK video. I believe the later incarnation the G12 has great video and still produces very good pictures, albeit not with the extreme resolution of the G10. Other people will recommend a camera I've not so far seen, the SD4000, which is small enough to fit into most pockets.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 9:51 PM   #3
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Hi Peter,
thanks for your ideas. I've seen the G10 and G12 at the shop and I must say they are too big for me. I have seen their pictures on this website and know they are great cameras though. The SD4000 doesn't have enough glass. I could be assuming, but doesn't a small lens make it really difficult to take good photos?

Please keep the ideas coming. I saw a sony pocket camera today with AVCHD video and a decent amount of glass. Can't recall the model though.

Keep it coming

Thanks,
Marco.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 10:02 PM   #4
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Panny LX5
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 11:17 PM   #5
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The ZS3 takes excellent photos; that's very widely accepted. You have to realize the limitations of a 1/2.33" sensor though. You're not going to be able to take good shots in low light (aside from slow shutter of course) or high ISO without some serious compromises. You're also not going to get large prints from it. You honestly can't tell me these aren't great photos.

Anyway, the LX5 and G12 are both good suggestions but if you want something smaller, try the Canon S95 or the Olympus XZ-1 (just announced at CES, not yet for sale). You'll get better low light performance and at low ISO you can get larger prints as well.
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 1:03 AM   #6
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Agreed, I can't expect the best quality images from such a small sensor. Can you tell me more about that? Maybe this is as good as it gets for a camera so small?

Another problem may be that I am misusing this camera. Those images you linked are indeed very awesome! But mine never look as good. (Composition aside). For example, look at this picture taken outdoors a couple of days ago.



its grainy as heck! what am i doing wrong here?i often dont use iso higher than 200 but in this photo it was auto so who knows.

Five O any tips on getting the max out of the camera? Or are the preset modes good enough?

Keep the camera recommendations coming as well plz.
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 2:11 AM   #7
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oops. thats not the photo i meant to link.



Thats the one. a little less light than the first. the first is *OK* as best. (to me). but i dont always have a glowing sun lighting my subjects. the one ive posted here is too grainy for my requirements.

any ideas?
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 3:03 AM   #8
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OK I've been doing some reading about sensor sizes and it seems it is a critical factor for good pics.

Question is, is there a camera as small as the ZS3 that has a decent sized sensor? A big one? That takes good movies?
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 3:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsilvio View Post
OK I've been doing some reading about sensor sizes and it seems it is a critical factor for good pics.

Question is, is there a camera as small as the ZS3 that has a decent sized sensor? A big one? That takes good movies?
In bright sunlight, there isn't going to be a huge difference in small prints. Unfortunately, less-than-ideal light is pretty common in which case sensor size and lens brightness really come into play. The Canon S95 has a 40% larger sensor and brighter lens and is actually smaller than the ZS3. I own one and love it. The video quality is very good but you can't zoom during video. The new Olympus XZ-1 should be excellent also (and I am nearly certain you can zoom during video) but it looks like it might be somewhere between the S95 and LX5 in terms of size. The XZ-1 was just announced though and isn't on the market yet. The LX5 is also excellent but it doesn't meet your size requirements.

Unfortunately, you can't keep the zoom and the larger sensor in a pocketable camera. There have been a few technical discussions on it in recent posts but that's the short answer.

Finally, in reference to your photos above, you can use exposure compensation to reduce blown highlights or in-camera contrast -1/-2 on cameras that offer that option. All compact cams with fixed lenses, even those with larger-than-average sensors, suffer from a limited dynamic range - but some more than others. Aside from that, you can lower the ISO to reduce noise though it will darken your image if there isn't enough ambient light. I must say that ISO 400 looks pretty good on the ZS3 at that size in terms of noise/detail balance.

p.s. my advice will cost you a few guitar lessons. I got an electric acoustic last xmas from my wife and still haven't gotten around to getting a single lesson. :x

Here's one of my S95 pics, reduced to 1920x1080.

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Old Jan 6, 2011, 3:58 AM   #10
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ive been researching since i last posted and found the Canon S95. it seems to meet my requirements the best. I've looked at the Sigma SP1 and the LX5 but as you astutely observed, they are too big for me. I've just been comparing sample photos here on steves digicams and the zs3 seems to be bested by the S95 when it comes to low light shots (by far).

I will google those other suggestions and see if I can wait for cool cameras. but the S95 seems very nice at the moment.

also, I've been playing guitar for about 14 years now. id love to write you some tips for learning fast and getting right to the fun. email me @ [email protected]. id steer you straight in return for the wonderful camera advice.
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