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Old Nov 5, 2004, 3:23 PM   #1
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Hello,

I'm just starting out in the world of digital photography. I'm looking for a good quality amateur camera, with high image quality, reasonable motion stills, and the ability to take a few seconds of movie footage. I'm trying to keep my spending to about $300. The main thing I want to use the camera for is for amateur outdoor wildlife and landscape shots, and for family shots of course, but they are secondary.

The camera I'm leaning towardsd right now is the Fuji Finepix S5500 zoom. I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts/opinions on this camera, or any other cameras within my budget that would perhaps be better.

Cheers,

Adam.
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 4:22 AM   #2
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So no replies yet. :sad:

Will somebody pleeeeeeaaaaaaaassssssseeee help?
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 9:44 AM   #3
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Let me brighten you up by replying ... I'm just a newbie but I've been doing a lot of research before I bought my Canon Powershot S1 IS last week... you should consider everyone's opinions...

Smileyguy wrote:
Quote:
reasonable motion stills
What's motion stills? Pics of the video? Do you have a computer? If yes, you can capture still frames and edit the video on a computer.

Quote:
, and the ability to take a few seconds of movie footage.
Are you going to be satisfied with a few SECONDS of footage? I wanted video too but I wanted long video (several minutes) or else I didn't care about video. The way I look at it, several seconds of video is next to useless. I mean, what are you going to show with it? You can't show anything meaningful with a few seconds. If you want video, I recommend looking for one that captures several minutes (the good ones capture until the memory card runs out).

Another thing about video is that you should look for the resolution and frame rate. I personally did not want anything less than 640x480 for resolution. The smaller resolutions aren't that big and not suitable for television (although you can still watch them). I also wanted 30 frames per second (fps). If I remember correctly, movies run at 24 fps and I wanted something at least matching that. The lower the frame rate, the more the video will seem to be "skipping".

So to sum up, if you care about video--like I did--then you should go for something that records as long as possible (seconds are useless), 640x480 or higher, and 30fps. Such a camera will produce camcorder-like video (it won't be the same as a camcorder but close). If you think video is not that important to you, then you should NOT CARE about video at all. As far as I'm concerned, the few seconds of video or the low-resolution/low-frame-rate videos are next to useless...

(NOTE: If you DO go for video, you need to spend some money on high-speed large size memory cards. For reference, my Canon S1 IS can shoot 9 minutes (only) with a high-speed 1GB compact flash memory card, which costs around US$70. Obviously this adds to the cost. The fortunate thing, though, is that memory cards continuously drop in price so you can probably buy a 4GB high-speed card for US$100 in one year or 1GB for $25--I actually bought my Lexar 40x 1GB for $40 after mail-in-rebate NOW so it isn't that expensive if you wait for deals)

If you have a high-speed internet connection, review sites like this one (Steve's) and dcresource.com have short video clips demonstrating the camera capability. You should check them out.

Quote:
I'm trying to keep my spending to about $300.
If you want a decent amateur-photographer-oriented camera, you will probably end up spending around $500 after everything is included. I bought my Canon S1 IS for US$350 but it came to around $550 after including memory card, AA battery recharger, batteries, bag, etc. You don't need to buy all of these at once, and these will last a long time (eg. battery recharger), but nevertheless, they are additional costs to look at.

I think $300 to $400 is a good target for the base price of a camera (for a low/mid-end prosumer camera).

Quote:
The main thing I want to use the camera for is for amateur outdoor wildlife and landscape shots, and for family shots of course, but they are secondary.
hmm... wildlife requires high-zoom... landscape requires wide-angle (zoom is not needed)... family pics require a camera that can focus well in low-light (indoors, night) and have easy-to-use settings I guess...

When I was deciding, I decided on an ultra-zoom (10x+ optical zoom). I think an ultra-zoom is perhaps best for you too...

Quote:
The camera I'm leaning towardsd right now is the Fuji Finepix S5500 zoom. I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts/opinions on this camera, or any other cameras within my budget that would perhaps be better.
Your budget and situation is somewhat similar to mine. That Fuji is a pretty good one. I personally think the best ones (around this price range) are the Canon Powershot S1 IS and Panasonic DMC-FZ3. Even though I'm a newbie, I THINK a key feature on ultra-zooms is image stabilization (IS). I primarily looked at cameras with IS so this ruled out many cameras. The Fuji you mention does not have IS but it is 4 megapixel (MP) whereas the Canon and Panasonic I mentioned are 3 MP. Here is a side-by-side comparison, courtesy dpreview.com:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...mcfz3&show=all

If *I* had to pick, I would go with the Canon or Panasonic over the Fuji. Unless you want to print pics larger than 8x10 (my max is 8x10), the extra megapixel isn't THAT important. Given that, the lack of image stabilization and a few other features lead me away from the Fuji.

My recommendations, which I've been repeating for a while now, are to go with the Canon Powershot S1 IS IF you want video; and go for the Panasnoic DMC-FZ3 IF you care about image (and don't care about video). All of these have flaws (Canon=purple fringing at telephoto, auto-focus problems in low-light; Panasonic=low-res video, proprietory batteries) but they are better than the competition IF you care about image stabilization.

Anyway that's my recommendation... consider other people's befefore you buy something.... Other ultra-zoom cameras in this price range are from Konica Minolta (Z2,Z3) and Olympus.
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 11:58 AM   #4
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I maybe wrong but maybe by "motion stills" he means taking photos of moving objects?
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 1:11 PM   #5
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Yep, that's what I meant!

I'm tempted by the Cannon. I've been offered one at a very cheap price, about 200 euro. The IS is another crucial factor.
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 5:01 PM   #6
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I would pick the Canon over the Fuji because Canon has image stabilization (BTW, the S1 is what I ended up buying--haven't used the camera yet though). But as I noted, Canon supposedly has problems focusing in low-light.

Overall, I think the Canon S1 IS is the best "all-in-one" camera. If you want easy-to-use features, high zoom, excellent video, etc, it's the best. The picture quality isn't as good as the Panasonic DMC-FZ3 but it makes up for it with its video (assuming you are goin to use video)...
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 5:03 PM   #7
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I still dont' get what you guys mean by motion pics :?: What's the difference between that and video?

Are you talking about taking pics of fast moving objects? Is that what you mean by motion pics?

Hope you guys clarify my confusion

:?:
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Old Nov 6, 2004, 5:11 PM   #8
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I still dont' get what you guys mean by motion pics :?: What's the difference between that and video?

Are you talking about taking pics of fast moving objects? Is that what you mean by motion pics?

Hope you guys clarify my confusion

:?:
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Old Nov 7, 2004, 5:55 AM   #9
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Yep that's what I mean. As I said I'm interested in wildlife photography, which will often mean having to shoot (photographically of course!) animals moving at speed. So I need these shots to come out clear.

Hey, Chirstmas is coming, so how about spending that little bit extra and going for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20?
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