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Old Mar 31, 2005, 10:06 PM   #1
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I have a canon A70 which I am extremely happy with except for one thing, it doesnt have much for zoom, only 3x. I have been considering a number of models with 10x or 12x zoom in the smallest package possible as I love the size of the A70. The camera that I have seriously been considering up to this point is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3

I was at a camera store telling the salesman how much I like the optical view finder on my camera and its size. All high zoom cameras use a mini screen as a view finders and are a bit bigger overall.

The salesman offered up an unsual solution to my dilema. He suggested I get the Canon A95 with 5 mega pixels and crop the picture to get the zoom I want out of the already taken picture. I never print large pictures, max 4x6 prints, and most of my pictures are viewed on the computer or TV. I rarely use the maximum pixel setting on the A70 now so I could see how a 5 meg camera would give me loads of room to extract the area I want to see larger.

I thought this was a novel and attractive idea to get the equivelent of greater zoom in a 3x lens, the optical view finder that I like, and smaller camera.

What do others think about this idea?
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 11:07 PM   #2
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Bad idea. To get even to 6x zoom, you'd lose 3/4 of the resolution, putting you at 1.25 MP, probably still OK for 4x6. However, if you zoom in to 9x zoom, you lose 8/9 of the resolution, putting you at less than 0.6 MP, which isn't enough for even decent 4x6 prints. I won't even tell you what's left after 12x zoom, but it's not much.

An FZ3 gives you 12x zoom (though it's really 11x of the A95's wide angle b/c it starts higher) with the full 3 MP.

In addition, framing and focus will be difficult as the objects are to small in your viewfinder if you don't have optical zoom.

There really is no substitute for optical zoom.

An EVF is a beautiful thing, except for action shots and low-light, as you get near 100% frame coverage.
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 11:26 PM   #3
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Actually, that is the very same thing as using digital zoom. While that isn't a BAD idea, its not really a good one either. What I mean is that using digital zoom can be done, specially in your situation, but you shouldn't buy a camera thinking you will rely on the digital zoom most of the time. Or at least, if you do rely on it, no more than 2x digital zoom, meaning 25% of the effective maximum resolution.

A potentially good solution would be the new Panasonic cameras, the LZ1, LZ2... They have 6x optical zoom, they are relatively small, have Image stabilization... and if you use the LZ2 for example, you can still use some digital zoom, if you use 2x, you end up with a 1.25mp pictures with an effective 12x zoom. For the size, its 0.1 inch wider than your A70, otherwise its the same!
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Old Mar 31, 2005, 11:27 PM   #4
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I believe that teleconverter available for Canon's A-series. It would not be cheap, but it seems to me that this is the best solution for your problem.

I agree with thebac and can add one thing - never listen to salesman - they either totally stupid or very clever by trying to sell you something witch you do not really need (IMHO only :-) )
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Old Apr 1, 2005, 3:18 AM   #5
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What about a small super zoom like the Olympus C-765? It's not much more expensive than the A-95, takes good pictures and has a 10X optical zoom. 4 megapixels. It uses proprietary batteries, but they are not expensive on e-bay.

I just think there are better options than digital zoom or cropping and enlarging (basically the same thing).
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Old Apr 1, 2005, 9:38 AM   #6
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Well, that settles that idea. Thanks all for the feedback, thats exactly what I needed. By the way, the salesman did ramble on and on:?, point well taken.

So back to optical zoom cameras. The Panasonic FZ3 or 5 still appeal to me the most as they have both the image stabilization and the AFF focus assist with the 12x zoom. I can live with the slightly larger size if need be. The Olympus 765 is definitey smaller but I'mconcerned about its lack ofimage stabilization. I'll check out the LZ2. I considered the tele lens attachment but that makes the camera even bigger that the ones Im considering and I dont really want to be taking it on and off. too much fuss.

Its the EVF that I have the hardest time with. Convince me that its OK. I have looked through the EVF on my friends Coolpix 4800 and the Canon S1 at the store, I thought both sucked. When Im composing a shot and deciding if its worthtaking the optical VF really lets me see what I'm looking at. The EVF in my opinion makes it hard to really judge the shot. We just came back from a trip to New Zealand and many times I couldnt see the LCD screen well enough in bright day light to use it, besides I just like using a view finder anyway.

Obviously many digital cameras use EVF. Sooth my nerotic concerns, how doothers feel about this? thebac, you say EVF is a beatiful thing, talk to me.
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Old Apr 1, 2005, 11:46 AM   #7
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the Fuji e550 is the first digital zoom Steve reccommends using with no quality loss.



you have 4x optical, and you can use 1.4x digital zoom for no megapixel loss, so you can have 5.6x zoom at 6 megapixel. You can then choose to go to 8x zoom, and have 3 megapixel. It will do 10x zoom at 2 megapixel. There is also a good 1.9x lense for 50$ made by Olympus that would give you 7.7x optical.
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Old Apr 1, 2005, 12:16 PM   #8
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My first digital camera had an EVF and I thought I had died and gone to Hades after my film SLRs. But they grow on you. You are not only looking through the lens but seeing the image after both focus and exposure are applied. If it looks good in the EVF it is probably a good shot as far as exposure.

You can also display a histogram, which can help in difficult lighting if you always display it and try to relate the histogram to the scene as often as possible. You can make adjustments without having to remove your eye from the viewfinder because the menus can be displayed in the EVF as well. As someone already pointed out, you get a 100% view of your shot. Optical finders are usually in the 78-85% range. So a 5 Mp camera gives you a 4Mp shot after you crop to what you framed.

The FZ20 EVF isn't great. An eye cup helps, but it is still relatively low resolution and can be downright frustrating in dim light because it doesn't gain up properly. The LCD doesn't either, so it is a challenge to frame a shot in low light. That is especially true when using an automatic external flash.

But it is an infinitely better solution than digital zoom or cropping for a telephoto shot. I have some shots from a previous discussion a while back. I took a 3X telephoto shot with my 5Mp Oly C50 at ISO 80 of a boat about 200 yards away and also a 12X digital zoom shot. Then I took the same shot with my 4Mp FZ10 at 12X. I cropped out the same small area from all photos. You can see the difference between optical zoom and either digital zoom or crop.

3X 5Mp crop from Oly:


5Mp 12X digital zoom crop from Oly:


12X 4Mp crop from FZ10:


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Old Apr 1, 2005, 9:22 PM   #9
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Darryl K wrote:
Quote:
Its the EVF that I have the hardest time with. Convince me that its OK. I have looked through the EVF on my friends Coolpix 4800 and the Canon S1 at the store, I thought both sucked. When Im composing a shot and deciding if its worth taking the optical VF really lets me see what I'm looking at. The EVF in my opinion makes it hard to really judge the shot. We just came back from a trip to New Zealand and many times I couldnt see the LCD screen well enough in bright day light to use it, besides I just like using a view finder anyway.

Obviously many digital cameras use EVF. Sooth my nerotic concerns, how do others feel about this? thebac, you say EVF is a beatiful thing, talk to me.
Well, slipe already covered your question. But really, the only downsides are in low-light (if it doesn't gain up, and the graininess), and for action shots (b/c of the slight delay).

Having an EVF means you never have to use the LCD again, thus saving lots of battery power. You have the histogram, near 100% frame coverage, easy access to menus, and the EVF stays very visible in sunlight unlike the LCD screen.

Is it as good as a TTL optical viewfinder like on an SLR? No, not close, especially for manual focus. However, I'd pick a decent EVF over a non-TTL optical viewfinder with 80% frame coverage most of the time--it's nice seeing exactly what the picture will look like without having to use the LCD.
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Old Apr 4, 2005, 1:00 AM   #10
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Darryl K wrote:
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Obviously many digital cameras use EVF. Sooth my nerotic concerns, how doothers feel about this? thebac, you say EVF is a beatiful thing, talk to me.
As everywhere there are proc and conc. EVF almost always has shocking quality versus optical - it is for sure. But it has tremendous advantages either.

1. It has not got parallax - you get what you see regardless of focal distance of your lens

2. Some of them very good at night - when you can see just nothing in optical viewfinder you still can compose picture using EVF one

3. You can see lots of additional data in EVF (as histogram etc) witch is impossible with optical

4. IfLCD screen happened to be destroyed all cameras with optical viewfinder will need be trown away because you can not set it up without menu reference. With EVF you still can use your camera (well, do not know about all of them, but FZ series for sire) via EVF!!!

Best compromise found in DSLR, but my understanding it is out of your question. So you need to ask yourself what is more important to you - to be able see good pix in viewfinder and get crappy one as your output or visa versa. Hope it helps your selfconvincing exercise :lol:
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