Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 30, 2004, 2:18 PM   #1
Member
 
Stephen Hopkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 76
Default

Last summer I got a Kodak 6490 before a trip to europe. I didn't do alot of research, just stumbled across a great deal on ebay ($330 new in box w/ 3 extra batteries). I like the camera and it does most everything i want to but i've always been bothered by the lack of a fine JPEG and RAW mode and have never been impressed w/ its ability to focus in low-light settings. I love the 10x zoom and don't want to move down at all.

When browsing around Best Buy recently I picked up the Fuji S5100 and fell in love with the form factor (bigger than my 6490 which feels like a point-and-shoot on steroids, but smaller than my girlfriend's mom's cannon DSLR which is way more than i need or could afford). The menus felt logical and indepth and the settings/features seemed much more robust than my 6490 (i've always hated the 6490's menu system, seems like something from a toy digital camera).

I've been reading reviews and have narrowed my possible upgrade options to the Fuji S5100 (main candidate), S5000, and Panasonic FZ3. I've been weighing pros/cons/unknowns and here's what i've come up with.

Kodak 6490:
Pros:
-I already own it
-Acceptable picture quality
-Uses inexpensive SD memory
-Agressive compression fits lots of pics on card
-Big LCD (2.2")

Cons:
-Overcompressed JPEGs
-No Fine JPEG mode
-No RAW mode
-No Manual Focus
-Junky menu system
-Low Res Video
-Would need to buy add-on lens adapter
-Proprietary batteried (but i have extras)

Fuji S5100:
Pros:
-LOVE the form factor
-Standard and Fine JPEG modes
-RAW mode
-Higher Res Video
-Add-on lens adapter in box
-Uses AA batteries

Cons:
-Uses expensive xD memory

Fuji S5000:
Pros:
-LOVE the form factor
-Higher Res Video
-Add-on lens adapter in box
-Uses AA batteries
-Least expensive option

Cons:
-No Fine JPEG or RAW mode
-Expensive xD memory
-Lower resolution

Unknown:
-SuperCCD w/ 6mp interpolation (good/bad/other?)

Panasonic FZ3:
Pros:
-12x Zoom
-RAW TIFF mode
-Fine and Standard JPEG mode
-Leica Stabilized lens
-Inexpensive SD memory
-Included lens adapter and shade

Cons:
-Proprietary battery
-Lower resolution
-Lower res video


I'm leaning towards the S5100 because of the great form factor, features, menus, and price ($285 shipped online new in box) but xD memory is more expensive and i'd want to get atleast a 128mb and probably a 256mb card. I've pretty much ruled out the S5000 unless I found an amazing deal (close to $200, unlikely). I've read alot of good things about the Panasonics, especially the stabilized lens. I like the idea of more zoom and lens shake at full has always bugged me w/ my 6490, but the FZ3 is the most expensive option ($330 shipped) and i haven't held it to see how it feels in my hand. I don't print larger than 4x6 ver often but would like to be able to have good quality 8x10s printed professionaly. How would 8x10 prints from the S5100, S5000 (in either 3mp or 6mp mode), and the FZ3 compare? If the 8x10s from the FZ3 will be of good quality then it will be tough to decide. If the S5100's 8x10s would be noticably superior then that would probably make my decision for me.

I think I can sell my 6490 + dock + 128mb SD card on ebay for around $300 - $350 or just the 6490 + dock for $250 - $300 if I go with the FZ3.

What do you guys think my best move is?

Thanks
Stephen Hopkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 30, 2004, 11:41 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 838
Default

If you do not use a tripod, the best of the bunch is FZ3. If you use a tripod (in which case image stabilization isn't that helpful) then the question is a bit tougher... also don't forget to check out the other competitors in the mid-end ultra-zoom category: Canon S1 IS, Olympus 550(??), and Konica Minolta Z3. The Panasonic FZ3 is better than any of these for picture quality if not using a tripod IMO...

The FZ3 (3 megapixels) can print average 8"x10". Whether this is acceptable to someone depends on the person...anyway...

I don't think you should upgrade to anything right now. The difference between the Kodak and the rest isn't that much. All of these can be considered to be the same generation. Will you see a difference between them? Yes! The image stabilization on the FZ3 will be appreciated. The pic quality will probably improve (although I'm not 100% sure how the Kodak compares to these). And so on. BUT will the difference be something major? Nope--at least I don't think so!

So I think you should not get another camera. What you should do is wait for at least 1 year (possibly 1.5 years) and then get a camera. In one year, the minimum resolution should be at least 4 megapixels (vs 3 MP now) and the cameras will likely have 1.8" to 2" LCD (vs 1.5" on Canon S1 IS, panasonic FZ3, etc). And so on... The question is, can you wait? Is it worth waiting? ARe you going to miss criticial events by waiting (eg. if you have babies then missing their first year may be undesirable :O )?

Having said all that, if you really want to see some difference, you should upgrade UP to something like the Panasonic FZ20. With that, you may see some difference but the price just went up a lot more...
Sivaram Velauthapillai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2004, 2:31 AM   #3
Member
 
Stephen Hopkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 76
Default

If the S5100 were just SD compatible i'd do it because I could pretty much break even on it. I played with the Panasonic today at Circuit City and liked it but it still didn't feel as good in my hand as the S5100. I also played with the Z3 at Wolf Camera and it too didn't feel as substantial in my hand as the S5100. The Z3 had the best macro focus of all that i've tried. If I wait 3-6 months then I may be able to afford a jump up to the Panasonic FZ15. I notice the FZ15 and FZ20 were a bigger form factor than the FZ3 and would probably give me a bit more of the feel that I really like in the S5100. Do you think the FZ15 would be a big enough jump up to justify it assuming it costs around $100 out of pocket ($400 for the FZ15 minus hopefully $300 for my 6490)? I won't REALLY be needing it until this summer for vacation/hiking trips but i'm kinda in the mood for something new.

Another few other quick questions, does the FZ3 have any kind of digital zoom? When I was playing with it at Circuit City it seemed like it was optical zoom only. Also, on the Minolta Z3 I noticed the optical zoom is disabled in macro mode, are any of the others like this? And the girl at Wolf said the delay between shots on the Panasonics were much longer than the others I was comparing, can anyone verify this?

Thanks
Stephen Hopkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2004, 7:54 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 162
Default

Stephen Hopkins wrote:
Quote:
If the S5100 were just SD compatible i'd do it because I could pretty much break even on it. I played with the Panasonic today at Circuit City and liked it but it still didn't feel as good in my hand as the S5100. I also played with the Z3 at Wolf Camera and it too didn't feel as substantial in my hand as the S5100. The Z3 had the best macro focus of all that i've tried. If I wait 3-6 months then I may be able to afford a jump up to the Panasonic FZ15. I notice the FZ15 and FZ20 were a bigger form factor than the FZ3 and would probably give me a bit more of the feel that I really like in the S5100. Do you think the FZ15 would be a big enough jump up to justify it assuming it costs around $100 out of pocket ($400 for the FZ15 minus hopefully $300 for my 6490)? I won't REALLY be needing it until this summer for vacation/hiking trips but i'm kinda in the mood for something new.

Another few other quick questions, does the FZ3 have any kind of digital zoom? When I was playing with it at Circuit City it seemed like it was optical zoom only. Also, on the Minolta Z3 I noticed the optical zoom is disabled in macro mode, are any of the others like this? And the girl at Wolf said the delay between shots on the Panasonics were much longer than the others I was comparing, can anyone verify this?

Thanks
The FZ3 has digital zoom but most disable it and use post-processing as it gets better image quality that way.
tacticalnuke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 31, 2004, 8:19 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
terry@softreq.com's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,539
Default

For a few more bucks, take a look at the Fuji S7000.

It's an SLR like 6MP camera which can be had in the $400 range street price.

The camera can do most of what the more expensive SLR cameras can do, if you shave just a tiny bit off the image quality, but at a third the price.

I wouldn't worry about the memory cards. I just bought a 256mb SD card on the web for $34 US dollars. SD is a good convention because it's small, light, doesn't take up much room in a camera, and it pops in and out of the camera or reader in a positive way. I'm always feeling like I'm about the break the contact points on my compact flash from plugging it in and unplugging it.

The Fuji's have very nice build quality these days. Both the S5000 and S7000 are great, highly underrated cameras in my mind.


terry@softreq.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 1, 2005, 11:31 AM   #6
Member
 
Stephen Hopkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 76
Default

The S7000 only has a 6x optical zoom and I've decided I don't want to step back to any less than 10x. If I up my budget to the range that the S7000 falls in to i'd probably go with the Panasonic FZ15. Also, the Fuji's are XD, not SD. SD is a great format, common, and inexpensive. XD is not as common and costs about 3x as much.
Stephen Hopkins is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:08 AM.