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Old Jun 14, 2011, 1:00 PM   #1
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Default Compact P&S for travel, $250 budget, what to look for?

Hello all,

I'm new to the forum and am looking for some guidance. I'm departing soon for an extended backpacking trip to New Zealand/Australia and will be needing a camera. Now, embarrassingly enough, I've never really owned a "real" camera before. As you can imagine, I'm having a helluva time trying to decide what features will be most valuable to me when I'm half way around the world.

I would imagine that most of my shooting will be done outdoors, and assume a decent zoom would be advantageous. Image quality is my number one priority, but I fear I will regret dragging anything larger than a P&S around with me. Also, I have a Kodak Zx3 to satisfy my video and underwater needs (records in 720p @ 60 fps). Strictly looking for a still image performer.

I've done quite a bit of research over the past few weeks and I believe something like the Panasonic ZS6 would suite my needs very well. Amazon has only a few left for $250, while the ZS7 remains at the $300+ price level. Can I do any better than the ZS6 for $250?


The short version: Given my needs (compact, travel use, still IQ is priority), what's the best camera in the $250 range? And, are there any features specifically I should prioritize over others?

Last edited by harrisonrmatt; Jun 14, 2011 at 2:39 PM.
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Old Jun 14, 2011, 6:32 PM   #2
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I think the ZS6 is a fine choice. The Nikon S8100 is worth a look also, but I personally wouldn't purchase one due to the lack of ASM modes and a focusing ability that is quite inferior to Panasonic's.
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Old Jun 14, 2011, 8:02 PM   #3
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The sony's hx5v, hx7v, or hx9v, and the casio fh100 or the new ZR100 are also good options.
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Old Jun 14, 2011, 11:01 PM   #4
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I would recommend against all of those Sony cams if IQ is a factor in your decision. NR and poor auto exposure plague the HX5V and I have no reason to believe the new models are any better. The hardware is just fine - it's Sony's processing that kills it.
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 12:12 AM   #5
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They did get better with the hx7v and hx9v. Hx5v was the first of it's kind, and they got better.

The panny, sony, casio, and the canon sx210 is also a pretty good, and the olympus VR320 is not bad also. The oly have very nice jpeg's.
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 4:20 AM   #6
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After I paid full price for the Panny ZS7, Costco had a batch for $200 which included a 2G card and case. This was about 6 months ago when they introduced the ZS8 & 10. Amazon has the ZS8 for $220.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 7:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveO View Post
I think the ZS6 is a fine choice. The Nikon S8100 is worth a look also, but I personally wouldn't purchase one due to the lack of ASM modes and a focusing ability that is quite inferior to Panasonic's.
Good, because I pulled the trigger on the ZS6 yesterday, lol. Amazons stock dropped under 10, and I didn't want to risk it with the ZS7 being closer to the $400 mark. I did a little reading about the S8100, but I hated the fact that the lens started at 30mm. It seemed the only area the 8100 had an edge was the LCD display with it's higher resolution - not enough to outweigh what the ZS6/7 brought to the table in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paniolo View Post
After I paid full price for the Panny ZS7, Costco had a batch for $200 which included a 2G card and case. This was about 6 months ago when they introduced the ZS8 & 10. Amazon has the ZS8 for $220.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846
Ahh! Tell me about it... I've been doing all this reading about the ZS6/7 and keep across people claiming they purchased it when Costco had its deal or when Amazon had its deal - so frustrating.

During my research all I read about the ZS8 was that it was an inferior camera to the ZS6/7 - especially when it came to IQ. For me, that was enough to steer me away.


I'll report back my thoughts on the ZS6 when I get a chance to spend some time with it. Before that, I need to learn and understand what ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and all the other fancy settings are and how they impact an image More reading for me.
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 8:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiveO View Post
I think the ZS6 is a fine choice. The Nikon S8100 is worth a look also, but I personally wouldn't purchase one due to the lack of ASM modes and a focusing ability that is quite inferior to Panasonic's.
Good, because I pulled the trigger on the ZS6 last night, lol. Amazons stock was under 10 and I didn't want that to run out and be left with the now almost $400 ZS7. I did a little reading about the S8100, but I didn't like that the lens started at 30mm. The only advantage it has over the ZS6 is the higher resolution LCD, but that doesn't outweigh what the ZS6 brings to the table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paniolo View Post
After I paid full price for the Panny ZS7, Costco had a batch for $200 which included a 2G card and case. This was about 6 months ago when they introduced the ZS8 & 10. Amazon has the ZS8 for $220.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846
Ahh! I know, it sucks. I've been doing all of this reading over the past few weeks and all I see is how many people purchased the ZS6 or ZS7 for $200 when Costco and Amazon had their deals. Oh well.


I'll let you guys know my thoughts about the ZS6 when I get a chance to spend some time with it. I'll first need to learn what exactly ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc, etc all do and how they can affect an image.
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 5:30 PM   #9
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$400 is crazy. I paid $330 the first week the ZS7 was released.
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Old Jun 15, 2011, 10:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
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$400 is crazy. I paid $330 the first week the ZS7 was released.
$390 at Amazon. Ridiculous!

http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-DMC-.../dp/B00395WIXA
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