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Old Dec 8, 2004, 10:29 PM   #1
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I've been sent to hunt down a camera for my sister-in-law. Problem is: she wants the best of both worlds - lots of MP plus a LONG zoom (with I.S. of course). I tried to convince her that she doesn't need all of those MP... but she insists that her husband would want that since he's a graphic artist. I think she figures lower MP would limit his creativity in post processing (I beg to differ but that's a whole other battle... I really don't think they'll be enlarging past an 8x10 if at all). They DO need zoom though since her kids are in sports.

So when I started thinking about high MP plus good zoom, the only cameras that came to mind was the FZ20 and, of course there's the Kodak 7590 with 5 MP, 10x zoom but with no I.S. The Nikon Coolpix 4800 has 4 MP and 8x zoom (don't think it's got I.S.)

Any other models out there with this criteria? Seems like they'd have to go the DSRL route for what they're wanting... and I KNOW they won't spend that much for a new camera.

Thanks for any advice,



maryanne <----------- happy with her *3 MP* FZ3
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Old Dec 8, 2004, 11:40 PM   #2
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Take a look at the Nikon 8800. 10X, 8Mp and stabilization. The downside is that it goes to f5.2 at full zoom, which is almost 2 f-stops slower than the FZ20. Minolta and Nikon are claiming 3 f-stops for their stabilization, but I think that is a little generous. In any case the decrease in speed with zoom uses up a lot of the advantage of stabilization.

The 8800 has a bit more trouble with low light focus at zoom ranges and it takes a while for the buffer to clear after a burst at high quality. The FZ20 is ready for another burst almost immediately.

The Nikon has raw, which I think is an excellent mode. But the buffer won't handle raw shots like the A2. It is 9 seconds between shots using raw. That is the same time as my 2 year old D7i, and I found that long wait inhibits my using raw in anything but completely static situations. Once the Nikon fills the buffer it is 23 seconds between shots, but the buffer is of decent size. The Nikon will fire a burst in raw but it takes 90 seconds to clear the buffer after you do it.

The 8800 also has an articulating LCD and a higher quality EVF.

I somewhat agree with you about Mp, but not completely. 8Mp gives a very good 13 X 19 print – about 172 PPI if you don't have to crop. 8 X 10s get lost on the wall compared to a nice big print. A graphic artist seems likely to want large prints on the wall. If he absolutely isn't going over 8 X 10 the FZ20 is a better choice IMO for long zoom stabilized shots.


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Old Dec 9, 2004, 9:40 AM   #3
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High megapixels CAN help graphic artists since it will let them crop better. For example, when you took a picture you may not have concentrated on it but the artist may want to concentrate on a small lamp in the middle of the room. HIgh megapixels can certainly help...

Anyway, other than DSLR, there are the high-end prosumer cameras. These generally cost the same as DSLR with basic lens (although DSLR with equivalent lenses/features will be way more expensive than these prosumers) so I don't know if the cost is acceptable. These generally have around 7 to 8 megapixels and 6x or 7x zoom. I consider these to be a cross between high-end general cameras and high-end ultra-zooms. For example, in some sense the Canon Powershot Pro1 is a cross between Canon G6 (high-end low-zoom) and Canon Powershot S1 IS (mid-end ultra-zoom). Of course, I'm speaking in a very rough sense and am NOT talking about the technology or the details behind these cameras (I'm pretty sure the design team for the G6 and the Pro1 are different, with a few overlapping engineers).

Examples of high-end prosumers include:

Canon Powershot Pro1
Nikon Coolpix 8700
Olympus C-8080 WZ
Konica Minolta DiMage A2
Sony DSC-F828

Here is a quick comparison of these:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonpro1/page17.asp

(note: there may be newer versions of some of these so check.. Nikon clearly seems to have an 8800 as the poster above mentions... also, it looks like none of these have image stabilization, except the KM A2)

These are as expensive as you can get with the consumer/prosumer cameras... If nothing above satisfies you, time for a DSLR...

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Old Dec 9, 2004, 10:43 AM   #4
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Another consideration you might point out is that stabilization doesn't help for subject movement. So for the sports shots the FZ20 would take the shots at almost four times the shutter speed as the 8800 under the same lighting because of the great f2.8 at full zoom.

Quote:
Canon Powershot Pro1
Nikon Coolpix 8700
Olympus C-8080 WZ
Konica Minolta DiMage A2
Sony DSC-F828
maryanne specifically asked for IS and a long zoom. IS stands for "image stabilization". The A2 has IS (they call it anti-shake) but less than half the zoom of the FZ20 and the others aren't stabilized. I very much agree that stabilization is a desirable feature in a long zoom.

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Old Dec 9, 2004, 12:08 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for the advice...

OK so maybe my brother-in-law would benefit from high MP. I just thought in terms of enlargements... but the "cropping" part makes sense. Thanks for setting me straight!

So, for high MP, long zoom (with I.S.)... the winners are: the FZ20, the KM A2 and the Nikon 8800 with the FZ20 being the cheapest of the three...

Ok, I'll let her know... and see if she gets some"sticker shock".

Thanks again!

Maryanne
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Old Dec 9, 2004, 12:50 PM   #6
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Also Panasonic FZ 20 with 12x zoom and image stabilization with 5 mp.
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Old Dec 9, 2004, 1:17 PM   #7
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The ones I listed are high-end... you are basically getting the best digital camera out there (not counting DSLRs)... you can't get MP and zoom without going high-end...
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