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Old Dec 27, 2004, 9:42 PM   #1
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I am looking to buy my first digital camera. I have done a lot of research and am very unsure what to buy. I think I have narrowed my choice to the Kodak DX7440 or the Nikon Coolpix 4800. The Nikon has a 8.3X optical zoom, but many have told me that it would be hard to hold at the tele end without a tripod. I used to shoot a lot of 35mm SLR and tend to demand good image quality. Any advice is welcome.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 10:08 PM   #2
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The general rule of thumb is that you can hand hold at the reciprocal of the lens or faster. In other words, the telephoto end of the Nikon lens is 300mm so you would need a tripod at shutter speeds slower than 1/300th second. As I said, this is a general rule. If you like the feel of a 35mm SLR, you might consider a Panasonic FZ10. At around $400, I believe that is in the price range of the cameras you are considering. It has a 12x optical zoom and image stabilization which gives 2-3 extra stops. I've taken sharp pictures hand held at the 420mm telephoto end of the lens as slow as 1/40th second shutter speed.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 10:11 PM   #3
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Being able to hand-hold an 8x zoom is not only dependant on the magnification level, but also on the amount of availablelight. If there is enough light, the shutter speed will be high enough to hand-hold without problems. Obviously this won't always be the case, but you will never have that opportunity with the Kodak.

Both cameras are capable of excellent images, so I wouldn't worry about that. Personally I would go for the Nikon, as it is nice to have the extra zoom when you need it, and the fact that Nikon is also regarded as having good macro capabilities.

YMMV,

PhilR.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 10:52 PM   #4
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PhilR. wrote:
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Being able to hand-hold an 8x zoom is not only dependant on the magnification level, but also on the amount of available light. If there is enough light, the shutter speed will be high enough to hand-hold without problems.
This is a very good point. I have the Canon S1 IS (10x zoom + image stabilization) and it is next to impossible to shoot at 10x zoom during the night (even with image stabilization!). However, day time (sunny) pics at max zoom usually turn out ok.

I personally value image stabilization and I think if you are going for an ultra-zoom (10x+ zoom) then you should consider one with IS. Unfortunately there are only a few with IS (Panasonic Lumix line (eg. FZ3, FZ20, etc), Canon S1 IS, and Konica Minolta Z2 or Z3)...if you are looking at low-zoom (<10x zoom) I think IS doesn't matter much...
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