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Old Feb 20, 2005, 12:11 PM   #1
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I am going to Alaska in June and I am ready to buy a digital camera. Ido not want a SLR. What camera would you recommend-a camera with more megapixels and less zoom or more zoom and less megapixels? Any recommendations?

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Old Feb 20, 2005, 12:36 PM   #2
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High zoom is best if you want to take pics of objects far away. Classic examples include sports athletes in a stadium, birds on a tree, wandering wild animals, etc.... But if you are mostly take landscape pics or close-up family pics or whatever, then zoom won't be as benefitial... However, most amateur photographers consider zoom to be fun and furthermore, it may be somewhat helpful for a vacation...

The trade-off in zoom isn't necessarily what you described--although what you are saying is ok and I know what you mean. The way I would look at it is as follow... ultra-zooms generally have smaller sensors than low-zooms. This results in ultra-zooms generally having more noise than low-zooms. If you want good low-light performance I would stay away from the ultra-zooms-it all depends on specifics though.

I am a fan of ultra-zooms so I tend to recommend them to people. Ultra-zooms provide a good mix of all the features. The only thing I would watch is noise, which will be a problem in low-light (eg. indoors, night, etc) or action shots.

New models are being announced so I'm not sure exactly what stands out... the best ultra-zoom if you don't care about video is Panasonic FZ20 (or the cheaper FZ3)... new models like Panasonic FZ4 and FZ5 are worth looking into (although the FZ3 seems better because the new ones don't have fixed aperature of f2.8 throughout zoom).... Sony also announced their first ultra-zoom, the H1, and I think that has great potential to be one of the best ultra-zooms if you care about video.
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Old Feb 20, 2005, 3:34 PM   #3
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I would go with more zoom and less mp's, especially since you can get a mega-zoom camera with enough mp's to satisfy most people.

If you don't plan on making prints larger than 8x10, then consider the Canon S1 IS or my personal favorite, the Panasonic FZ3. Both would make great vacation cams, especially becauseof the flexiblity the big zoom allows whentaking pics of wildlife.

If you need a few more mp's, then consider the larger Panasonic FZ20, which gives you the addition of manual focus and a hotshoe, which may or may not be important to you. I gave up those two items in order to have a smaller and much lighter camera. There is also the Minolta Z3 to consider as well, whose size sorta splits the difference between the two Panny's.

There are also some mega-zooms without image stabilisation to consider as well. Take a look at the reveiws for the Olympus 765 and Fuji 5100. Minolta also has several as well.

Lately there has been numerous press releases about new versions of the above cameras. I doubt however that you will be able to find them very soon, but most likely they will be out by May. If you are the type that has to have the latest thing, then you might want to delay your purchase a few months. Don't wait until the last minute though, as you would want to learn your new camera before you leave.

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Old Feb 22, 2005, 10:44 PM   #4
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I would definitely go with a big zoom lens. We took a cruise back in August, and I was continually wishing I had a bigger zoom. I was using a Canon S50 and it took great pix but I still wished I had a 10x zoom. By the way, you will love AK.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 4:17 AM   #5
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Outhouse wrote:
I would definitely go with a big zoom lens.* We took a cruise back in August, and I was continually wishing I had a bigger zoom.* I was using a Canon S50...
No wonder, its tele is only 105mm equivalent.

I wouldn't recommend ultra-zooms for general photography (everything else than just animals), they lack wide angle pretty completely.
I have Minolta 7i (28-200mm) and often notice how others take lot of backsteps while I could take couple steps closer.

Oh, and if you have certain time limit before you need camera (and need to know how to use it), I don't know about others but at least Minolta provides manuals in web (PDF format)... I had read manual twice before my camera arrived.
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