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Old Nov 29, 2004, 12:10 AM   #1
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I'm a total newbie to the digial camera world.
I'm mainly going to use the camera for holiday snaps - outdoors - nature shots etc and indoors in normal lighting.
I'll like to print the photos as one would for the old style 35 mm film cameras - basically the same size prints. 6x5 i think?

My criteria in order of preference:
1. I'd like 10x optical zoom as a minimum with an Image Stabilizer.
2. As i'd be travelling it'd be nice to have AA batteries if possible though i don't mind the proprietary batteries as long as the charge time is short and i dont have to charge them too often.
3. Flipout/fully articulated LCD.

I understand that the Canon S1 and Panasonic FZ3 are on par with one anther. but i've also read some good reviews of the FZ20.

What are people's thoughts on the three cameras and what would make you lean towards one of them? Or are there other models i should be considering?

Should i wait for the next Canon S2 which may have more pixels? or is 3.2 Megs enough for my needs?

Thanks for your valued input.

Trevor
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 1:04 AM   #2
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Well, this ought to be easy....

AFAIK, there is only one camera that meets your specifications - the Canon S1 IS.

3.2mp's should be fine for 4x6 prints.

Phil
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 2:09 PM   #3
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I was in the same quandary. People say that S1IS has horrible indoor performance. I am reluctant to test it as for that i will have to buy the camera. I have finalized FZ10 as FZ20 has noisier pictures.
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 2:22 PM   #4
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Do you really need the tilt and swivel LCD? Or do you just want it coz it's a nice (it is) feature?

I don't know what your budget is, but if you think it worthwhile you might want an additional low-zoom camera with AF assist for the indoor shots.

Anyway, be sure to buy from a shop that gives refunds and/or allows you to change the camera choice, should you experience "buyers blues". If possible, give the camera a trial run, to find out if you like how it handles and if you'll be satisfied with the pictures produced.
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies!!

The swivel lcd is a nice to have.

The other concern i have is that if i get the Canon S1 (which came out around Feb 2004) then Canon will announce the next version of it. given that cameras get updated once a year. the next canon s1 should be due around feb 2005. Has any one heard when it will be released?

My budget is 900 AUD.

How many pictures can be taken with the FZ20 before i need to recharge the batteries? Is there a battery charge indicator on the FZ20?

I've played around with the Canon S1 and it seems quite good. I've no idea what the lack of the AE light means or whether this results in softer images.

I understand that the Canon S1 needs to be patched to the latest firmware which is also abit disconcerting for me.

Trevor
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:58 PM   #6
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I had a S1 IS and returned it due to a defect. I had Sony W1 which was also defective. I then had a Canon A85 which felt like a cheap toy, and had 2 bright spots on the bottom of the LCD (probably a cheap way to light something up), so I used that as an excuse to return that one.

At that point I was ready to give up on digital cameras and just get my money back. I took one last look and they had just gotten the Panisonic FZ3 & FZ20 in. They where not even on display yet. The guy let me use the in store computer to go on the internet and find some reviews.

I could not find any proffessional reviews but the user reviews I found where all great, so I decided to give the FZ20 a try before giving up on digicams.

For me... This is the best big zoom on the market. I have taken thousands of pics. The noise is a little higher, but... If you look at all the 4 & 5 MP big zoom cameras... They all use the same size sensor, and the ones with a little less noise have noticably less detail in the image than the FZ20. I would rather have a crisp image with a little noise (which can be taken out easily) than a not so sharp image with less detail and a little less noise.

I am not telling you to buy the FZ20, but look at this review of the S1 IS...

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons1is/

Then look at this review of the FZ20...

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz20/

Also the FZ3...

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz3/

Look at the samples. Compare the features. None of the FZ's have the swivle LCD, but if you are set on that... Do some more checking on other cameras that have that feature.

Come into the Panasonic forum on this site...

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_forum.php?id=23

We have many samples, and very knowledgable people that can help with any question you may have.

Here is a point and shoot, hand held shot I took yesterday at 12x optical zoom with my FZ20...

bobc




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Old Nov 30, 2004, 7:59 AM   #7
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epatlv wrote:
Quote:
The other concern i have is that if i get the Canon S1 (which came out around Feb 2004) then Canon will announce the next version of it. given that cameras get updated once a year. the next canon s1 should be due around feb 2005. Has any one heard when it will be released?

How many pictures can be taken with the FZ20 before i need to recharge the batteries? Is there a battery charge indicator on the FZ20?

I've played around with the Canon S1 and it seems quite good. I've no idea what the lack of the AE light means or whether this results in softer images.

I understand that the Canon S1 needs to be patched to the latest firmware which is also abit disconcerting for me.
There were 3 years between the Pro90 IS and the S1 IS', so saying that it's every year that a camera gets upgraded is a bit farfetched (I think). Cameras do indeed tend to get updraded (replaced) rather quickly, just some are upgraded faster than others. I wouldnt know when Canon replaces the S1.

Between 200 and 300 pictures can be taken with the FZ20 before changing/recharging the battery (if I'm not mistaken). See the review of the camera on this website.

The AF assist is a lamp which help a camera focus in low light levels.

S1 cameras are now available with the firmware upgrade already installed (look for a black mark on the battery cover). Should you get a camera that doesn't have it you can always download it.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 10:31 AM   #8
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epatlv wrote:
Quote:
The other concern i have is that if i get the Canon S1 (which came out around Feb 2004) then Canon will announce the next version of it. given that cameras get updated once a year. the next canon s1 should be due around feb 2005. Has any one heard when it will be released?
This is a big risk... I have a feeling that Canon will release a new version (because it doesn't compete that well against the Panasonic Lumix line)... this was actually a key concern when I bought my S1 IS just a month ago. I still decided to buy the S1--even with the risk of a new version--because of the following:

(i) You don't know: you have no idea if a new version is going to be released at all, and how good it will be. For all I know, the change could be minor...

(ii) I want a camera now: I don't really want to wait an year or more for a camera. I want to see if I'm interested in photography and this is the time. (this reason ties in with reason iii)

(iii) The S1 IS has been discounted a lot by now. Roughly speaking its price has dropped around US$4/week since it came out. I bought my S1 for US$350 from a somewhat reliable online retailer; In June/July, the S1 was around $100 more. If you were to buy the S2 (or whatever) when it comes out, it wil be at least $100 more (more likely $150 more) in Feb/March 2005 than the S1 IS is right now.... so to put it another way, if I were to get the new version at the same price as the S1 (now), I would have to wait until 4th quarter of 2005. Do I want to wait one more year? Not really...

Quote:
How many pictures can be taken with the FZ20 before i need to recharge the batteries? Is there a battery charge indicator on the FZ20?
I'm not sure but I think the FZ20 would have a battery indicator (need to check though)... usually proprietory batteries have good indicators...

Quote:
I've played around with the Canon S1 and it seems quite good. I've no idea what the lack of the AE light means or whether this results in softer images.
AF--not AE... but anyway... what this AF-assist light is a beam of light that the camera shoots in low-light situations (eg. indoors, night, etc) so that the camera can focus. This AF beam helps to focus and has a range of a few meters (usually) so it is only useful for taking somewhat close pics (eg. people in low-light).

The AF-assist light is supposed to help IMMENSELY in low-light. The lack of such a light on the S1 IS makes it very bad for low-light. The camera is still good when you use the flash but it is almost impossible to focus (or take decent pics) without the flash in dark conditions.

Quote:
I understand that the Canon S1 needs to be patched to the latest firmware which is also abit disconcerting for me.
Patching is a minor issue... the new cameras come with the latest firmware (if you buy a new S1 IS now, it will likely have the latest firmware)... don't worry about patching with cameras (it is not as hard as trying to patch your computer BIOS or something )
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:19 AM   #9
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I don't know the aftermarket battery market in your secret location, but I got a battery recommended by several people on the Panasonic board for my FZ10 - $20. Not worth messing with the self-discharge rate of NiMH for that price. Or having the extra weight. The S1 is smaller and lighter empty, but I think if you weigh them loaded and ready to go the S1 is as heavy as the FZ20 because of the much heavier batteries. And for the price of a charger and two sets of high capacity NiMH batteries for the S1 you could buy two aftermarket spares for the FZ20. The problem is in finding decent quality aftermarket lithiums – they aren't all comparable to the originals. Some actually have higher capacity than the original, but you can get only one spare for the price of the charger and batteries for the Canon.

Lithiums are easy to live with. Charge the spare and throw it in your bag. It self discharges only about 2%/month after the first day, so you can just leave it in the bag until you need it. NiMH batteries discharge as much as 5%/day, so you have to cycle your spares and keep everything charged. The spare lithium is also a lot lighter than 4 NiMH batteries.

You will definitely have to buy a charger and batteries for the S1. You might find you don't need a spare at all for a Panasonic. It will fill a 256Mb card and be charged at bedtime.

For traveling the bigger concern than the batteries is memory unless you carry a notebook. The S1 has a slight edge there with CF over SD. But in the US you can get SD for almost the price of CF if you stick with high speed and quality brands. You can recharge your batteries at night unless you camp in the woods, but you can't recycle the memory without someplace to dump the pictures.

The articulating LCD is a mixed bag. It is a handy feature for getting shots near the ground or over your head. Also for getting candid shots without people being aware of the camera. But if a major concern is travel, then the larger LCD on the FZ20 would seem to be better for pruning unwanted shots to keep memory space. I guess it comes down to how good your near-vision is.

I agree that 3Mp is sufficient for your use. And 3Mp lets you take more best quality shots with a given memory size. It also reduces your storage space – you take a lot of shots with digital once you realize they are free. And the smaller sensor makes for a more compact camera for the same capabilities. And usually less noise if the density is lower.

But the flip side is that you will always be limited by the pixels. If you want to crop out a small part of a larger picture you can deal with the noise – there are excellent programs for that. But you can't get around the lack of digital information. You will also get a poor large blowup for your wall of that once in a lifetime shot you got. Or you might get interested in digital photography and find you have no use for a wide format printer or have limited use for a couple years' worth of photos. Those pictures are your lifetime memories, and my personal feeling is that even 5Mp isn't enough for anything you might want to do with them in the future.

There will always be new models and whatever you buy will become obsolete. The FZ20 is a much better camera than my FZ10, but I don't regret buying it. I have pictures I wouldn't have had waiting for the perfect camera.

Most decent cameras have a battery charge indicator – Steve's reviews show it on both the record and playback screens. It is in the normal information view with the Panasonics. I'm not sure how to display it in the S1. Most companies let you download the complete manual. They are in pdf format, which has an excellent search function. I always download the manuals for any camera I am considering to avoid nasty surprises. Both Canon and Panasonic make their manuals available online.



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Old Nov 30, 2004, 11:23 AM   #10
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quick question....I just ordered the Z20 and read that a ultra high speed card is much better than an SD or MMC. Is there really much difference?
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