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Old Dec 24, 2004, 12:15 PM   #1
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Dear camera enthusiasts,

I am on the market for a digital camera that will allow me to free myself oftheexhorbitant costs ofcopying documents in archives around the world. Fromthe on-line research I have done so far, it seems that the features I need toprioritizeare the ability to focus very close to the documents (macro focus) and the ability to take clear and sharp pictures without a flash in a potentially dimly lit room (because the archivists would surely not want me to using a flash in the reading room). Since most of the documents Iread are in languages with non-latin scripts, the ability to zoom in and get very sharp images of the text is essential.

Thus far the overall best reviews I'vereadfor cameras that fit this description are for the Panasonic DMC FZ 15 and DMC FZ20.

My questions:

1) Would there be a significantdifference in quality between the 4 and 5 megapixels on the FZ 15 vs. FZ 20 for the kinds of photos I want to take?

2) Are there othercameras I missed? The Nikon CoolPix 4800 canfocus up to 1cm away from the subject, but the overall review dissuaded me from seriously considering it.

Many thanks for your insights,

SR
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Old Dec 24, 2004, 12:40 PM   #2
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I own an FZ10.

As far as low-light, you'll want to look elsewhere. There are MUCH better cameras for low-light. The Panasonics are terrible at low-light.

Someone else should be able to point you to a good low-light macro camera.
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Old Dec 24, 2004, 12:45 PM   #3
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Grab up a Coolpix 5400 before they are all gone and get it now before 12/31 and the $200 rebate is gone. You can get one for $250-299 after the rebate! This is a super deal and won't last long for a high-quality 5MP camera that's loaded with features and image quality.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/holid.../5mp.html#5400

And get yourself a tripod and use the selftimer or do what I do and use the Nikon wired remote shutter release cord, it works through the USB port. This is how we get all of our great product shots for the web site camera reviews.

And it will make a great camera for use outside of the archives too!


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Old Dec 24, 2004, 1:11 PM   #4
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Many thanks for these replies. I just looked up various on-line reviews of the Nikon 5400 and they weren't particularly enthusiastic. If I told you that I have enough money to purchase the Panasonic (and indeed that it's not even my money), would you still recommend the Nikon?

Thanks, SR

PS Forgive the question, but I assume you have no stake in promoting certain cameras over others?






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Old Dec 24, 2004, 5:32 PM   #5
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historian wrote:
Quote:
Many thanks for these replies. I just looked up various on-line reviews of the Nikon 5400 and they weren't particularly enthusiastic. If I told you that I have enough money to purchase the Panasonic (and indeed that it's not even my money), would you still recommend the Nikon?

Thanks, SR

PS Forgive the question, but I assume you have no stake in promoting certain cameras over others?





Ideally, if you have the money, I'd go with a Canon Digital Rebel. It will do very well in low-light, and the lens should be fine for the shots you want to take with it (though you should have someone verify this, do not take my word for it). This camera will do well in low-light and will do well at high ISO speeds without a lot, if any, post-processing.

It's not ideal to start on a DSLR, but it will fit your purpose well.
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Old Dec 24, 2004, 6:18 PM   #6
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Thanks for this reply. Sadly, I don't enoughmoney to buy a digital rebel. I have about $650 to spend. At that level would you still not go for the Panasonic?

SR


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Old Dec 24, 2004, 7:12 PM   #7
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I'm not an expert in cameras but I would NOT consider ultra-zooms (like Panasonic FZ20) for your purposes. These cameras have small sensor, relative to similarly priced low-zoom cameras. And these cameras are really designed for zoom--something you clearly don't need. Overall, the ultra-zooms will likely have more noise than low-zooms at high ISOs (and if you are shooting without light, you likely need high ISOs).

I'm not sure what's best for you (macro, close-up, low-light) but my opinion is that ultra-zoom isn't what you need...
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