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Old Sep 22, 2004, 9:10 PM   #1
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Hello everybody.

I want to buy a digital camera (my first one!) with all the following attributes:
- 3MP or 4 MP
- Big optical zoom (10x at least) and good macro.
- AA Batteries
- Price smaller than US$ 450.-
- MacOS X Compatible (I think this is almost unnecessary because they all are)

After some research, the main options are:
- Konica Minolta Dimage Z1 and Z2 (Z3 has too many bad reviews)
- Canon Powershot S1 IS
- Fuji FinePix S5000
- Toshiba PDR-M700
- Kyocera Finecam M410R

And now is when my problems begin. Konica Minolta Z1 and Z2 are fast, and have long batteries life, but no stabilization and the LCD to EVF mirror and battery door seems fragile. Canon S1 IS is highly popular but slower (or is it?). I never have used a Fuji, Toshiba or Kyocera, so I don’t know them. And so on… So I come here for help. I will list my personal interest and requests, hoping someone can help me.

1. I like taking pictures of landscapes and wildlife (flowers, animals, insects, etc.), hence the big zoom and the macro. But it will be my only camera, so it has to take all kind of pictures.
2. Stabilization is very good, but I don’t know how much help it is, and I don’t know the differences between optical and digital stabilization.
3. I don’t need great video performance. Sure it is fun sometimes, but I want a camera for taking photos, not videos.
4. I’m a beginner photographer so I don’t know anything about noise, color aberration and under/over saturation. Obviously, the camera should take the best possible pictures.
5. I like a fast camera, with short lag.
6. Batteries life is very important to me.
7. I don’t have any preferences about the memory type.
8. Cheaper is better.

I think that is all. Thank you in advance for the help.

Greetings from Chile,

Federico Errázuriz T.

PS: As you can see, English is not my native language so I apologize for all possible writing mistakes.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 10:46 AM   #2
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It doesn't use AA batteries, otherwise the Panasonic Lumix FZ3 has it all. Read this review.

Amazon wants $360 for that cam. And that's exactly in the price range you want.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 10:57 AM   #3
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Another option you may want to consider is a burst mode. The Panasonics have burst modes that can snap several consecutive shots with one press of the shutter. I don't know what other cameras have this feature. I was interested in the Kyocera 410 and the Canon IS also until I discovered they don't have burst modes. I'm waiting for the FZ20, but may re-think the FZ3 as I don't know if I'll use the hot shoe that the FZ20 has. Good luck in making a decision....it's a job!

Sandy
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 11:31 AM   #4
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Minolta Z3 is 12x and also has the progressive capture. Uses AA batteries (you will have to have/buy an NMHI batteries and charger). Seems they have good firmware finally. 4MPixel.
You might want to check out both the Panasonic and Konica Minolta forums. Its less expensive than the Pan. FZ20 and lighter, but that is because the Z3 does not have a F2.8 through out it full zoom. Both have IS.

I'm waiting for more reviews on both camera's. Unfortunately's Steve's review pre-dates the recent firmware fixes on the Minolta which MAY have fixed the exposure issues he raises.

Bill

P.S. Bad reviews were mostly in the Japanese web sites. We have some bilingual speakers who are translating for the forums here. Again, those people who are on the forums and who had experienced the problems seem to have had them cured (fingers and toes crossed) by the latest upgrade. Don't know if Steve still has the camera to check and see if the exposure problems are fixed.
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 3:30 PM   #5
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3 seems very attractive, however, I am not sure about the prop. battery thing. An extra battery cost $54.70 at www.batteryvalues.com (only site I have found it) and 4 NiMH 2100mAh Rechargeable AA Batteries (Kodak Max) cost $14.99 at amazon. I will give a second chance to study this camera.

The new firmware for Minolta Dimage Z3 must be largely reviewed and commented to "erase" all the bad reviews that this camera has recived.

Beside the Burst or Progressive mode, what about the Kyocera? is it a good brand? and Toshiba?

Well, I hope to recive more recomendations.

Thank you all. Greetings form Chile.

Federico Errázuriz
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 3:44 PM   #6
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The new firmware for Minolta Dimage Z3 must be largely reviewed and commented to "erase" all the bad reviews that this camera has recived.

What are the bad reviews that it has received? The only site that I've seen that actually reviewed it was this one, and it did not seem like a bad review.
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Old Sep 24, 2004, 8:19 AM   #7
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chpmmttn wrote:
Quote:
What are the bad reviews that it has received?* The only site that I've seen that actually reviewed it was this one, and it did not seem like a bad review.*
That is true. The review of this camera is good, but there are many user comments saying they have some problems with this camera locking up, and having to remove batteries to start it up again. That is a big flaw to me.
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Old Sep 24, 2004, 9:22 AM   #8
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You can check out batterybarn.com for extra batteries for the Panasonics. They run about $38. Again, keep reading all the forums before you make a decision. From what I've learned, there isn't a "perfect" digital camera YET. There are strengths and weaknesses with all of them, it's just a matter of what it that YOU personally find important with the purchase.

Sandy
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Old Sep 24, 2004, 11:14 AM   #9
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ferrazuriz wrote:
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chpmmttn wrote:
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What are the bad reviews that it has received?? The only site that I've seen that actually reviewed it was this one, and it did not seem like a bad review.?
That is true. The review of this camera is good, but there are many user comments saying they have some problems with this camera locking up, and having to remove batteries to start it up again. That is a big flaw to me.

To be honest, I have a Z3, so maybe I'm a little biased (although if I had to do it again right now i'd probably go with the panasonic since it's currently about $100 bucks cheaper). The problems that people were having are supposedly fixed by the new firmware. I just loaded this but haven't had a chance to try it out, but word on the street is that it is fixing the lockups. hopefully it will because I really like this camera for it's speed and ergonomics if nothing else.
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Old Sep 24, 2004, 11:16 AM   #10
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RE: Minolta Z3 lockup. The people on an other forum who were able to reliably cause this to happen have reported that the current firmware has eliminated that problem. The banding issue (need to really know what you are looking for here) seems also to have gone away. However, there may still be a problem if you try to shoot within 3cm of an electrical wire. Of more concern to me is the reports that the pictures come out "soft". I'm still waiting for a few more reviews. Also, there appear to be a few camera's with intial problems which had to be sent back for service. Reports are that when those returned the problems had been resolved. On the other hand there have been some very good pictures posted by real people over on the km threads..

Bill

PS. sorry about the duplicate answer, we were both typing at the same time.
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