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Old Mar 8, 2005, 11:15 AM   #1
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I have had two Fuji digicams andam well satisfied with the results they produce (Fuji FinePix 1300 and Fuji A-210). Now I looking for a camera with a high zoom and short movie clip w/sound capabilities.

A word about what I do with the Fuji cameras is warranted here. I do a lot of Macro work and family photos and nature stills.I occasionally print 8x10's and do a lot of cropping. I shoot almost always at the highest resolution of the camera. What I like about the 1300 is that it has a burst mode, which I've found useful. I like the A-210 for it's higher resolution (3.2 mp) and limited telephoto (3X). The A-210 is also capable of movie clips, but without sound and at a lower then VGAresolution. What I don't like about the A-210 is it doesn't have a burst mode. I've also gotten more then my fair share of blurred pictures from moving subjects. I've taken over 2000+ shots with each camera........they are durable. Ive also gotten excellent shots with these cameras.

Now it's time to move on. I've recently started taking care of my daughters twins, and they have become the focus of my photographic work. Her house is not well illuminated. While the kids are less then a year old, they become more animated every day. Hence I'm looking a faster camera with a high zoom for those really candid shots without disturbing the kids in what they are doing.

My criteria for the new camera is first and formost price. I have a finite (low) budget. The camera should be in the three to four mega-pixel range, and faster then what I currently possess.A telephoto lens of at least 8x is a must but 10 to 12x would be better. Video capabilities should be at least 640x480 at 30fps with audio.

I've researched some cameras and have come up with a list of about 5 or 6 that generally meet my criteria.

At the low end is the Pentax Optio MX4. The in between camera seems to be the Fuji S-5000. The rest of the cameras all seem to be grouped at the higher end in both features and price. They are the Canon Powershot S1 IS, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3, and the Minolta DiMage Z3. The latter 3 I chose primarily for the Image stabilization feature they each have.

Having said all this, I'm looking for people with experience with the camera's that I've chosen and also camera's that I may have overlooked as well. Finally how important is image stabilization given the type of photography that I do or intend to do.

Many Thanks,

Chuck


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Old Mar 8, 2005, 11:50 AM   #2
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The best low-budget ultra-zoom if you dont' care about video is the Pansonic FZ3.

If you care about video then the Canon S1 IS or Konica Minolta Z3 (or the newly announced Z5) are probably better... you have to decide if you want to saccrifice a better camera just to get another one with better movie.... I have the Canon S1 IS, which I think offers the best combo of video and still pics but it isn't very good in low light...

You might also want to wait for the newly announced ultra-zooms. In particular, the Sony H1 looks to have good video and good zoom (but we need to wait for reviews). The Sony will likely cost more (it's more of a mid-end ultra-zoom than a low-end one) but it has good specs ([email protected] video, 12x zoom, good lens(maybe?), etc).

Having said all that, the images you have in mind (zoomed pics in low-light indoors with moving kids) will be tough. The Panasonic is perhaps the best of the bunch (since it can keep its aperature at f2.8 throughout zoom) but even that will be tough.

I personally value image stabilization but some don't. If you plan to use a tripod then IS is probably useless... but if you don't then it is helpful for high zoom pics...
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Old Mar 8, 2005, 1:06 PM   #3
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And Why haven't you considered the Fugi S5100?,,, it seems it would suit you just fine. With 4mp it's pics are sharper, with less noise in stills, & video, plus with it's AF assist light it focuses fasater, easier, & better, then any ofit's long zoom competitors, all at a bargain price. Here's some sample pics:

http://photobucket.com/albums/v240/MikDee/
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Old Mar 8, 2005, 1:18 PM   #4
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I didn't include it in the list because, it didn't seem that much different then the S-5000 other then the higher MP rating. But a closer look also shows that the video resolution is higher then that of the S-5000 as well. The illuminator (which both the 5000 and 5100 have) may be a deciding factor as well. Not to mention that I already have a couple of xD cards and a reader as well.

My thanks, Chuck
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Old Mar 9, 2005, 6:08 AM   #5
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Kyocera M410R!!

Ok so they won't make any more after this year, but a cracking camera, and you should be able to pick them fairly cheaply.

Check out the Kyocera/Yashicasub forum lots of chat and pictures.

Ian
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Old Mar 9, 2005, 12:13 PM   #6
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Chuck,

don't worry about getting new memory. Memory is getting cheaper every day, so it shouldn't be a big factor in your decision (unless you're getting Fuji/Olympus (XD) or Sony (MS), for those two memory is still quite expensive).

Having said that, I'll second what Sivaram Velauthapillai said: if high quality video is important, get the S1 IS. Note that you will have to buy relatively more expensive high speed memory to fully use it.

If you decide video is not so important, go for the FZ3 which is superior to the other cameras in this class in all ways except video. With little kids, I think it's especially important to note that the FZ3 is quite responsive, so you'll miss fewer shots with it than with the others. Unfortunately, it also doesn't shoot VGA quality video.

Reviews for the Pentax tend to be less favorable.
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Old Mar 9, 2005, 12:31 PM   #7
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Thanks for your suggestions. I may have the opportunity to buy a Minolta DiMage Z1 for approx $189.00 . It is a display model at a local retailer. I'm giving this serious thought as well.
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