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Old Oct 30, 2004, 9:50 PM   #1
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[align=left]:?[/align]




[align=left]I am in the market for a new dig. camera. I currently use a Kodak DX4330. While the camera is easy to use it does have a few issues that bother me and I would like a new camera.[/align]




[align=left]Are there any cameras that match what I am looking for:[/align]




[align=left]At least 3mp[/align]




[align=left]Good zoom....the 4330 has only a 3x optical and I would like more[/align]




[align=left]Image stabilizer[/align]




[align=left](not sure if this is possible) some kind of lit up LCD for shooting pictures at night or in low light. The LCD on the 4330 leaves a LOT to be desired.[/align]




[align=left]The "ready" lite NOT beside the view finder. The green ready lite on the 4330 is right beside the viewfinder and in low light or night time situations it blinds me. This is my biggest issue with this camera.[/align]




[align=left]I would like to have some manual settings but have the option for auto[/align]

I would prefer an SD memory card if possible as I already have several of these but it isn't a must.


I primarily take pictures of a VERY active 3yr old and a 6mo old baby.



[align=left]Are there ANY cameras out there like this?[/align]




[align=left]Thanks![/align]




[align=left]Sherry[/align]
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Old Oct 30, 2004, 10:22 PM   #2
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Well, the FZ20 by Panasonic has just about everything you asked for and more. The only thing were it falls short of your requirements is the LCD screen. I have heard that the LCD screen and viewfinder are hard to see in dark situations. I have only had my FZ20 for a week now and have not had a chance to see if this complaint is a valid one or not. The reviews do mention this problem so I am thinking this is a problem.

The FZ20 is a 5 mp, 10X optical zoom camera. It has imagine stabilization (which I feel is a must for any ultra zoom). It's fast , responsive, user friendly and I feel that the picture quality is very good (some have complained about too much noise but I have not noticed a problem).

The FZ20 also has a hot shoe so that you can add an external flash if you like. It's built in flash is quite strong and effective in many situations.

This is not a compact camera. It's an SLR type build. Very comfortable in the hands and easy to reach controls. It can be used on manual of auto settings. There are several different modes available for different situations.

Here is Steve's review of this camera.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/fz20.html

Here is another one done by Jeff

http://dcresource.com/reviews/panaso...ew/index.shtml

There are plenty of great camera's out there and it all depends on what you want and need in a camera. Check out the various forums, try to narrow it down to 2 or 3 that you are looking at and then ask questions on the forums, read reviews, look at sample galleries and then decide for yourself what camera is going to be the best for you.

I only mention the FZ20 because it does have most of what you listed AND because I am enjoying my FZ20 very much and thinks it's a great camera.

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Old Oct 30, 2004, 10:25 PM   #3
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Sorry, made a mistake , the FZ20 has 12X zoom not 10X. Just noticed my error when I read my post!



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Old Oct 31, 2004, 7:47 AM   #4
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If you want to filter cameras by features, you can do so at dcresource.com or dpreview.com. Go to dpreview.com and on the menu on the left, pick 'Buying Guide'->'Side-by-Side'. Then enter the features you need. I don't know how thorough or accurate the search filter is but it is very easy to use...


You need to give a price range... otherwise it's hard to say... I'm ignoring DSLRs in my post (I don't know anything about them and I have a feeling that is not what you are looking for)...

Quote:
[align=left]At least 3mp[/align]
Easy to find... nearly all cameras are 3MP+, with the latest general point&shoot cameras at 4MP+...

Quote:
[align=left]Good zoom....the 4330 has only a 3x optical and I would like more[/align]
This will limit you... By going for 3x+ you are basically moving out of the general point&shoot market, which is where most cameras are...

You have to decide if you want an ultra-zoom (10x+ optical zoom) or slightly higher zoom (4x,5x, 6x) ...

Ignoring price and sticking with one brand (that I'm familiar with ), examples of ultra-zoom would be Canon Powershot S1 IS (10x) and Canon Powershot Pro1(7x); examples of slightly higher zoom is the Canon Powershot G6 (4x).

Another option is to get a 4x or 5x zoom camera and buy a telephoto lens adapter to increase the range up to, say, 7x. I don't know if adding extra lenses is something you want to consider...

Roughly speaking, when you go into the ultra-zoom cameras, you will have certain unique issues (eg. warping at wide-angle (low zoom), vignetting and purple fringing at the tele-photo (high zoom), poor performance in low-light, etc). Ultra-zooms also have low megapixels compared to similarly priced point&shoot or general cameras. For instance, a 3MP 10x zoom camera costs the same as a 5MP (or higher) point&shoot/general camera (eg. Canon Powershot S1 IS vs CAnon Powershot A95). Lastly, and this may be a huge issue for some, a lot--if not all at this price range--of the ultra-zooms have EVF (electronic viewfinders; not optical!!!). These EVF suck badly and is a huge drawback to the ultra-zooms. All you see are highly pixellated images that are hard to focus ...

If you are looking at ultra-zooms around the US$300-$500 range, I like the Canon Powershot S1 IS (I just bought this last week; this has some flaws though) and Panasonic DMC-FZ3 (all the way up FZ20--but FZ20 costs more). Other brands to consider include Konica Minolta and Olympus (but some of thse don't have image stabilization)...

Quote:
[align=left]Image stabilizer[/align]
There are very few cameras with image stabilization. In the price range that I was at (around US$300-$400) I only found 3 or 4 cameras.

When I was considering the cameras, image stabilization was a KEY REQUIREMENT for me. This requirement, along with the price, basically reduced my choices down to a few.

Quote:
[align=left](not sure if this is possible) some kind of lit up LCD for shooting pictures at night or in low light. The LCD on the 4330 leaves a LOT to be desired.[/align]
Some of the latest cameras have brighter screens and/or brightness controls for the LCD and the viewfinder. Unfortunately, the two ultra-zooms that I like (Canon S1 IS and Panasonic DMC-FZ3) dont' seem to have them. You have to read a review thoroughly to figure out if a camera has these brightness controls...

Quote:
[align=left]The "ready" lite NOT beside the view finder. The green ready lite on the 4330 is right beside the viewfinder and in low light or night time situations it blinds me. This is my biggest issue with this camera.[/align]
You have to individually check out the cameras to figure this out... I'm not really sure about this issue...

Quote:
[align=left]I would like to have some manual settings but have the option for auto[/align]
Most ultra-zooms have manual options. If you go into the ultra-zoom area, I think they are more geared towards the low-end prosumer crowd. You'll find that the cameras are larger (usually SLR-like; definitely not compact) and they have more options/controls... Nevertheless, check the camera to see if they have what you need...

Quote:
I would prefer an SD memory card if possible as I already have several of these but it isn't a must.
Since there are only 3 or 4 cameras with IS (image stabilization), you don't have much choice. I think the Panasonic uses SD but don't remember...

Quote:
I primarily take pictures of a VERY active 3yr old and a 6mo old baby.
You may not need an ultra-zoom for that purpose. A general camera seems best for portraits and objects that are close by. Are you sure you need more than 3x zoom?

Since it looks like you'll be taking a lot of indoor pics, make sure your camera has auto-focus assist lamp (this is a light that helps the camera focus in low-light situations (liek indoors or nights)). My Canon S1 IS does not have AF-assist lamp and supposedly has major difficulties focusing indoors

Quote:
[align=left]Are there ANY cameras out there like this?[/align]
Your requirements are similar to what I wanted. I decided I wanted an ultra-zoom (10x+) and not general or point&shoot cameras. You seem to be of similar opinion, although I'm not sure how useful zoom is when you are taking baby pics. Yes, it helps to be able to zoom in on the little guys without disturbing them but I don't know... hmm... :O

I also wanted 3MP+ (most pics I print will be 4x6) and manual controls...

My price range was around US$300 to $500 (lower the better; I can spend extra money on memory cards, rechargers, etc)...

I also wanted image stabilization so my choices were narrowed down to 3(?) (Canon, Pansonic, and Konica Minolta... there might be another one with IS but I can't remember)...

My decision came down to the Canon Powershot S1 IS and Panasonic DMC-FZ3. The decision between these two was VERY TOUGH I picked the Canon primarily because of its [email protected] video. Pansonic has much better image quality though.

The Canon supposedly has horrible auto-focusing problems in low-light and since you are taking indoor baby pics, I would stay away from Canon. For you, I would recommend the Panasonic DMC-FZ3. If you want more MP (megapixel) and better body, while spending more $$$, consider the FZ15 and FZ20. I imagine that you would want to blow up your baby pics (maybe create a large poster or something) and getting more megapixels might be well worth it.

Hope that helps... I'm sure I overloaded you with info :?
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