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Old Mar 10, 2005, 5:12 PM   #1
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I take a number of outdoor scenery pictures and would like to start blowing them up to a larger size. I need a camera that has a large zooming capacity and large number of pixels to do the large prints. I will NEVER use the video function. I would like autofocus since I am somewhat of a novice. I want to stay under $500. HELP!!

I was thinking about a Kodak DX 7590, Kodak Z740, Panasonic FZ3, or Cannon S1 is. Any thoughts? Other cameras? Thanks so much for the help.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 9:00 AM   #2
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I think the reason you don't have any response is that your post is confusing. You say you want large blowups and a strong zoom, so everyone is thinking about something in 8Mp like a Nikon 8800. Then you mention two 3Mp cameras.

Maybe you should define "blowing them up to a larger size". I have a wide format photo printer and 5Mp is marginal for a top quality 13 X 19.

Of the cameras you listed the FZ3 and IS1 have stabilization. That is important to me. Even on a bright sunny day if you have something in the shade you want a shot of you aren't going to get a really sharp handheld at 10 or 12X without stabilization. It just lets you shoot handheld in more situations without carrying a tripod. Of the two I prefer the FZ3. Slightly better optics and a little faster lens at full zoom.

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Old Mar 11, 2005, 9:13 AM   #3
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I think the $500 requirement kind of knocks the 8mp cameras off of the list.

Don't overlook the FZ4 or FZ5 (soon to be released), or even the FZ15.. But as Slipe says, it depends on what you define as a large print.

Good luck,
Jeff
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 12:14 PM   #4
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13x 19 is about as large as I would go. I would be willing to spend more $$ if needed so I have better pictures. I take it from the responses that the Kodak cameras do not have image stabilization. I plan on taking most of the pictures without a tripod, so I imagine stabilization is something I should look for.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 2:21 PM   #5
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The largest 13 X 19 crop you can get from a 3Mp image is 106 PPI. I don't think you would be happy with a print at that resolution. Going to 5Mp gives you about 135 PPI. That might not sound like much of an improvement, but the pixel density is the square of the PPI, or 11,236 Pixels/Sq in compared to 18,225. An 8Mp camera gives you about 172 PPI for the best crop of a 13 X 19. That is getting up into the point of diminishing returns for a good inkjet photo printer and gives a very nice print.

You don't want less than 5Mp if you are going to print 13 X 19, and more is better.

Outdoor scenery isn't necessarily improved by a super zoom. You will get nicer scenery with a wide angle rather than a long zoom. Of course if you want to get birds, animals or specific things at a distance the long zoom is nice. It is over your stated price, but the Minolta A200 is 8Mp and has a lot of nice features including wide angle and stabilization. The Nikon 8800 is stabilized with a long zoom and 8Mp, but the lens stops down so much at full zoom that you lose most of the advantage of stabilization compared to a lens that maintains f2.8. It is also pricey.

Stabilization gives you the same advantage at all zoom ranges. As you reduce the zoom you can handhold in lower light.

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Old Mar 11, 2005, 2:33 PM   #6
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I am thinking abut the Panasonic FZ20. Is that a good buy?
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 2:44 PM   #7
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The FZ20 is a very good camera. The one downside is that it is hard to frame the shot in low light because neither the LCD nor EVF brighten enough. It still focuses fine and the flash is excellent, it is just very hard to see what you are shooting. If you want a super-zoom camera you can't do better IMO.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 3:49 PM   #8
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Agree... You CAN brighten the LCD however, it just doesn't do it manually.. It's still not as good as some of the auto-gain-up features I saw on other cameras. 2 months and counting with the FZ20 and I couldn't be happier.

Jeff
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