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Old Nov 23, 2004, 12:17 PM   #1
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Hello everyone,

I'm just getting into the digital cameras world, so I want to buy a good camera, but I do have some demands :

- High zoom (at least x10)
- Good video mode, good quality captures, no time limit.
- RAW mode.
- No need for more than 3-4 Megapixels
- Prefferably one that uses a CF card.
- Not large.

and last but not least - Good Quality pictures.

I thought of the Canon S1 IS but it doesn't have RAW support. Is RAW that important?
Any other sugestions (same price as the S1 more or less ...)

Thank you
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Old Nov 24, 2004, 10:03 PM   #2
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Oh, and one more question -

Is the lack of the AF Assist function really makes a difference? Does that mean that the camera won't be able to focus well at night/dark?

Anyone got this camera and can tell me that from experience?

Thanks.
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Old Nov 25, 2004, 6:58 PM   #3
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I'm a newbie like you and I just got my S1 IS this week. Don't have enough experience to say anything concrete but I think your criteria needs to be tweaked...

First of all, I personally, as a newbie, think that image stabilization is very important for ultra-zooms (10x+). I think IS is more important that most of the factors you listed.

Secondly, things like memory card formats are largely pointless. You'll likely be able to get a 1GB (low-speed) memory card for under US$50 within 6 months (actually, I bought a Lexar 40x speed 1GB CF card for $40 (it's US$80 but has $40 manufacturer rebate--hope I get that)).

As far as camera not being large, all ultra-zooms (10x+) are SLR-like size. So they are basically larger than compact (and obviously ultra-compact) but are a bit smaller than DSLR. You are basically out of the compact size arena...

I'm just a newbie so it's hard to say how important RAW mode is. *I* personally don't think it's that important for someone like me, who is not an expert in image editing software and won't be one for a while--if ever. I plan to print pics or post them on the web using JPEG, with very little editing. So raw mode is not important to me. However, I think the serious amateur photographers really like the raw mode.

It's hard for me to tell how good the AF-assist lamp (since I don't have another camera with it--unless you count my film SLR camera). Most reviewers point out that the S1 performs horribly in low-light and the lack of an AF-assist lamp is one of the causes. I think the Af-assist lamp DOES matter--although I'm not speaking about experience. Do keep in mind that the range of the lamp is only a few meters so this comment only applies to short-range pics (eg. within a room)...

I think the best ultra-zooms are the FZ series from Panasonic. The one that is comparable to the S1 IS is the FZ3 (a more elite version is the FZ20, with bigger LCD, 5 megapixels, flash hotshoe, etc). The FZ3 is the best ultra-zoom IMO if you don't care about video. FZ3 has 12x zoom, better picture quality, and can keep its aperature at F2.8 throughout zoom. If you care about video, then the Canon S1 IS and Konica Minolta Z3 are competitive (in fact, I bought by S1 IS over the FZ3 because of the video). Ultra-zooms from Olympus and Fuji are also worth considering but they don't have image stabilization (so they weren't on my short-list).

So, you'll have to make a decision between video and picture quality. If you go for pic quality (eg. panasonic FZ3) then the video really sucks (eg. no [email protected]). If you go for video (say Canon S1 IS), then the pic quality isn't as good as the FZ3 pics from its Leica-branded lens.
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Old Nov 25, 2004, 7:53 PM   #4
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First of all, as a new user, don't be too demanding on your camera, unless you really know what you are doing or want.

It is very easy to get a bit overwhelmed by the choices today. And I've seen some really unusual demands by some new users in terms of very advanced features, such as RAW, yet still wants it in lower spectrum of the price range.

There are some things that you need in a camera and some that are nice to have but not absolutely necessary and some are just gimmicks. You'll need to differenciate the important features and the gimmicks.

Based on your "wants" listed, the Canon S1 IS seems to be your obvious choice (minus the RAW mode, which I don't think is neccessary for a new user).

I'd also agree with Siva on the memory format issue, there is not much difference today on memory prices and it's falling across the board.

I've a Oly C770 for it's very compact size and great pics, though no RAW, no CFs, no IS, ...

There are so many choices out there. It's a matter of going out there to test the different cameras and see which one you like.




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Old Nov 26, 2004, 4:26 AM   #5
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they are both very good and very capable cameras in the HANDS of someone who has read the manual and has a basic understanding of each one's potential.

i've seen some of the sample pictures from both cameras and i have to say that the canon's pictures look more "alive".then again u can fix those problems in photoshop

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Old Nov 26, 2004, 5:40 AM   #6
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Sivaram Velauthapillai wrote:
Quote:
I'm a newbie like you and I just got my S1 IS this week. Don't have enough experience to say anything concrete but I think your criteria needs to be tweaked...

First of all, I personally, as a newbie, think that image stabilization is very important for ultra-zooms (10x+). I think IS is more important that most of the factors you listed.

Secondly, things like memory card formats are largely pointless. You'll likely be able to get a 1GB (low-speed) memory card for under US$50 within 6 months (actually, I bought a Lexar 40x speed 1GB CF card for $40 (it's US$80 but has $40 manufacturer rebate--hope I get that)).

As far as camera not being large, all ultra-zooms (10x+) are SLR-like size. So they are basically larger than compact (and obviously ultra-compact) but are a bit smaller than DSLR. You are basically out of the compact size arena...

I'm just a newbie so it's hard to say how important RAW mode is. *I* personally don't think it's that important for someone like me, who is not an expert in image editing software and won't be one for a while--if ever. I plan to print pics or post them on the web using JPEG, with very little editing. So raw mode is not important to me. However, I think the serious amateur photographers really like the raw mode.

It's hard for me to tell how good the AF-assist lamp (since I don't have another camera with it--unless you count my film SLR camera). Most reviewers point out that the S1 performs horribly in low-light and the lack of an AF-assist lamp is one of the causes. I think the Af-assist lamp DOES matter--although I'm not speaking about experience. Do keep in mind that the range of the lamp is only a few meters so this comment only applies to short-range pics (eg. within a room)...

I think the best ultra-zooms are the FZ series from Panasonic. The one that is comparable to the S1 IS is the FZ3 (a more elite version is the FZ20, with bigger LCD, 5 megapixels, flash hotshoe, etc). The FZ3 is the best ultra-zoom IMO if you don't care about video. FZ3 has 12x zoom, better picture quality, and can keep its aperature at F2.8 throughout zoom. If you care about video, then the Canon S1 IS and Konica Minolta Z3 are competitive (in fact, I bought by S1 IS over the FZ3 because of the video). Ultra-zooms from Olympus and Fuji are also worth considering but they don't have image stabilization (so they weren't on my short-list).

So, you'll have to make a decision between video and picture quality. If you go for pic quality (eg. panasonic FZ3) then the video really sucks (eg. no [email protected]). If you go for video (say Canon S1 IS), then the pic quality isn't as good as the FZ3 pics from its Leica-branded lens.
I tend to disagree on the "Memory cards format doesn't matter" - I live in Israel, and it matters here. While a 1GB CF card (not low speed) costs around 100$, a 512MB xD card costs twice (and I couldn't even find a 1GB xD card).

Secondly, lets assume that RAW is not that important. How bad is the quality of the pics due to the lack of the AF assist feature?

I also care alot about movie quality, and I do like the S1 because of that.

Can anyone tell me from experience if he is satisfied with his Canon S1?

I do like the FZ3, but it costs 20% more, and has a crappy movie mode (comparing to the S1). However, it has TIFF mode which is closer to RAW than anything I guess.
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Old Nov 26, 2004, 2:53 PM   #7
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michaelsko wrote:
Quote:
I tend to disagree on the "Memory cards format doesn't matter" - I live in Israel, and it matters here. While a 1GB CF card (not low speed) costs around 100$, a 512MB xD card costs twice (and I couldn't even find a 1GB xD card).
Well I was mainly speaking about the popular ones... you are right about xD, which costs a lot more regardless of where one is buying it...

Quote:
Secondly, lets assume that RAW is not that important. How bad is the quality of the pics due to the lack of the AF assist feature?
AF-assist supposedly makes a HUGE difference in low-light. It only has a range of a few meters but anything to help the camera focus is very good. Right now, the Canon S1 IS really really really sucks in low-light when it comes to focusing. Since raw mode isn't a big thing IMO, I would value AF-assit more highly.

Quote:
I also care alot about movie quality, and I do like the S1 because of that.
I would put movie quality above AF-assist (UNLESS you shoot most of your pics indoor or short-range during the night) and raw mode. The weaker movie modes (eg. on the Panasonic FZ line) are not good enough. You need as high res as possible (640x480 is highly desired for viewing on tv), and a high frame rame (24fps+) is almost a must. I really don't think anything less than 24fps is worth it since you'll experience a lot of skipping at low fps.

Quote:
I do like the FZ3, but it costs 20% more, and has a crappy movie mode (comparing to the S1). However, it has TIFF mode which is closer to RAW than anything I guess.
If you were picking FZ3 over S1 IS, you would not do it for the raw mode; instead, you would pick the FZ3 because of its superior picture quality, better focusing in low-light, and other minor features (like 12x zoom vs 10x on Canon).
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Old Nov 26, 2004, 4:48 PM   #8
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Sivaram Velauthapillai wrote:
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michaelsko wrote:
Quote:
I do like the FZ3, but it costs 20% more, and has a crappy movie mode (comparing to the S1). However, it has TIFF mode which is closer to RAW than anything I guess.
If you were picking FZ3 over S1 IS, you would not do it for the raw mode; instead, you would pick the FZ3 because of its superior picture quality, better focusing in low-light, and other minor features (like 12x zoom vs 10x on Canon).
Exactly.
So what should I do?
Go for the FZ3 and get better picture quality and higher zoom, or go for the S1 and get better movie mode but sacrifice picture quality and focusing ability?

Remember, the FZ3 is about 20% more expensive than the S1.

I read a couple of reviews of both of these cameras and now I really prefer the FZ3, because after all this is a camera, not a VIDEO camera, and the picture quality is the most important feature. The only thing that stops me is the high price, given that this is my first REAL digital camera. (I'm an unfortunate owner of an Aiptek DV3100, talk about bad picture quality and the ability to focus )
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Old Nov 26, 2004, 8:20 PM   #9
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Another point to consider.

The bigger the card, the more convenient it is, but...

If the card is lost or damaged, you've just lost a huge bunch of photos.

I won't go for a card of more than 256MBs for now, for a 4-5 MPs camera. I'd rather have a bit of hassle and have 2 or more cards for the peace of mind.

I'd only advise someone to get a big card 512MB - 1GB and above) if they are using a 6Mp and above camera or those who shoots in RAW or TIFF only.


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Old Nov 27, 2004, 1:51 AM   #10
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Thon wrote:
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I'd only advise someone to get a big card 512MB - 1GB and above) if they are using a 6Mp and above camera or those who shoots in RAW or TIFF only.
One more reason...

Thon is spoiled by his Olympus and its MPEG4 video but the rest of us need a high capacity card if we want video. I purchased a 1GB card for my Canon S1 IS for video (it can shoot a max of 9 minutes (only!) with 1 GB :O ).

If you don't shoot video, I agree with everything Thon is saying...
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