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Old Apr 17, 2005, 12:05 PM   #1
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Hi everyone. Newbie here.

I'd like to get some expert opinion on what camera I should look into. I'm looking to buy a new camera hopefully within the next month or so. The cameras I've narrowed my choices to are the following:

Panasonic FZ20/FZ5

Minolta Z5

Kodak Z740

My camera will mostly be used to take pics of my newborn and all of his firsts. The camera will also be used for family get togethers, holidays, and special occasions. What I'm really looking for in this camera, is a very good zoom and good quality pics. Now I know some of you are probably thinking I should just go with a point and shoot for what I'm looking for, but I searched those cameras and wasn't impressed. I'd rather spend the additional $150+ and buy a good camera now then kick myself later on because I settled for something else.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Rafael








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Old Apr 17, 2005, 12:58 PM   #2
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I understand you want a camera that takes great pics, but I have problems understanding why you want an ultrazoom camera ? Seems sort of overkill for pictures of your newborn... I can see the ultrazoom being used MAYBE for holidays or special occasions, which seems like quite rarely.

I'd say you could go with a camera with less zoom and if you want a top notch camera, perhaps go for a G6, it has a very fast lens at wide angle which may enable u not to use the flash in certain situations. It probably takes better pictures than any of the cameras you mentionned, its equally bulky. The difference is that at telephoto it goes to 140mm. Its not just a point and shoot, it has a ton of manual controls.

If you want to go for a very good camera which costs less, there is the S60 which is of a different shape, takes very good pictures and has lots of manual features too... Then a step down(still very good pictures) is the A95... Here is my A95 picture gallery: http://nicolas7894.fotopic.net/c341553.html

But if you insist on the ultra-zoom, I'd think the Panasonic FZ5 or FZ20 would be a good choice. From what I have read the FZ5 is surprisingly close to the FZ20 in terms of picture quality.
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 1:22 PM   #3
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Nicolas wrote:
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I understand you want a camera that takes great pics, but I have problems understanding why you want an ultrazoom camera ? Seems sort of overkill for pictures of your newborn... I can see the ultrazoom being used MAYBE for holidays or special occasions, which seems like quite rarely.
I plan on having this camera for a very long time. At least 7 years if not more. So I'm not just looking at now but also the future. Now yeah I know that todays cameras will be obsolete in a few months:Gbut I really don't plan on upgrading this camera every 1-2 years. As long as the camera I buy nowis still taking pictures 7+ years from now, I'll be happy.

I did look into the G6 but it's in the same price range as these cameras. So if I'm going to drop at least $400+, it makes more sense to buy the camera with the most features at the same price range... at least IMO.
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 6:13 PM   #4
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Jedi5 wrote:
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Nicolas wrote: I did look into the G6 but it's in the same price range as these cameras. So if I'm going to drop at least $400+, it makes more sense to buy the camera with the most features at the same price range... at least IMO.
Yes, but what you should know is that although the Panasonics are good cameras, they are a tradeoff. People hear about the wonderful zoom and the image stabilization and think that it's the ultimate camera. It's not. It's the ultimate camera for high zoom and capturing very specific types of subjects. Both the FZ20 and FZ5 cram 5 megapixels onto a small sensor, which will result in more noise, and when you look at the sample pix at full size, you can see it. It's not horrible, but if you don't absolutely need ultrazoom, why not go forbetter picture quality?

Ultra zoom cameras also take more time to focus and have higher shutter lag, so you are likely to miss precious shots of your child running around. Digital cameras simply have not progressed to the point that one camera can do it all, except if you want to go SLR. Despite having high zoom and IS, the Panasonics lack other features. And you will not find image stabilization a necessity--inside you'll use the flash, and outside you'll get fast enough shutter speed.

Better to get a top notch, fast, all around camera, that does specifically what you want very well. It's silly to miss pix of your child, because someday you might want high zoom. In the future prices will continue to fall and technological improvements progress at a geometric rate such that in less time than it took to get to this point, the capabilities of newer cameras will be mind-boggling, and believe me, you'll want a new one.

The Canon A95 is a great camera. It has lots of manual features, is relatively compact, uses AA batteries, is remote control capable, has the capability of adding on filters and lenses such as telephoto and wide angle, has a swivel display. On the other hand, like Nicholas said, that if you want even more sophistication and are willing to pay more, there's the G6, or cameras like the Minolta A200 (7x zoom) or the Olympus C5060, 7070, 8080, Nikon 8700 and 8800, that offer much higher picture quality, and much higher operational speed, and much higher range of manual features. Actually the 8800 is an ultrazoom, but you'll pay a lot for it.
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 7:26 PM   #5
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Get the megazoom.

the Hun
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 9:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
I plan on having this camera for a very long time. At least 7 years if not more.
I hate to burst your bubble, but digital cameras are not nearlyas long-lived as their film counterparts. You would be lucky indeed to get 7 trouble-free years out of a digital camera. Realistically, think two to three years, and make sure you get an extended warranty. No, I'm not kidding!
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 12:09 AM   #7
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Really? But why would that be? If you take care of your camera, you're saying that it won't last you a long time? I find that odd.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 4:56 AM   #8
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I have a fuji DS300 1.3mp camera that was my fathers in the late/mid 90s.. I think he bought it in 97.. After he passed away, I took it over.. With the original NiMH battery, it's still going strong, in 2005.

That said, I also own a Panasonic FZ20 and I can tell you it is PLENTY fast for taking photos of quick moving young people. I really have to question people that say this camera has a long shutter lag.. I can zoom (yes you will want it for the kiddies), focus, and shoot up to about 20 photos per minute if need be. No, that is not burst mode. Indoors, WITH a flash. The statement of long shutter lag is just simply bull. It preforms well at all speeds and is quite capable at all ISOs, yes, even 400. IF you decide on the panasonic and are stuck between the FZ5 and FZ20, I would suggest the FZ20.. For the simple reason that you can add an external flash without messing with brackets and worrying about a slave unit. The only place both of these cameras is going to suffer is if you want hi-res video.. It works okay on a computer screen but if you want to view them on your big screen tv, it'll leave a lot to be desired.

I'm not knocking the canons or other cameras that other folks suggest, I've never owned one of them.. I can suggest to you is that if you are willing to pop the cash for some of the 8mp cameras, bite the bullet and go with dSLR.. Not much more and a whole lot more camera. Pentax *ist DS with 2 lenses can be had in the area of $900..

my 3 cents.
Jeff
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
If you take care of your camera, you're saying that it won't last you a long time? I find that odd.
Well, that's been my observation here in Hawaii. Most of the people I know who have a digital camera also have an older model that's broken and not worth fixing, and most of them have sent their current cameras in at least once for warranty repairs. (Once they go out-of-warranty it's often not worth getting them repaired because the newer models that keep coming out are so much cheaper and more capable.)

Overall, I think the best word to describe most digital cameras would be "delicate". These are very complex little beasts, and all of their fancy electronic components are highly susceptible to humidity, corrosion, static charges, etc. Plus, the marketplace is constantly demanding smaller, faster, lighter and more capable digital cameras, and this means that in order to remain competitive, both the mechanical and the electronic components must be designed to operate near the limits of reliability.

Maybe Hawaii is a special case because of our humidity, salt air and year-round active lifestyle. Let's hear from some of our other camera owners. How many of you have sent your digital camera in for repairs at least once under warranty? And how many of you have used (not just owned and kept in a drawer) a digital camera for three or more years without any problems whatsoever? I would love to be proven wrong here.
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Old Apr 21, 2005, 12:44 PM   #10
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Jedi, I own a Canon A80 which is a 3x zoom, and I am constantly wanting a larger zoom for capturing pics my 3 year old. This is why I am also in the market for a new cam. I am looking at a Konica Minolta A200, and the Panasonic FZ20. I also mainly take pictures of my family and special occasions, and when they are indoors, I have often found that I need more power in my flash than what is built into the A80, so I am also looing for a cam with a hotshoe for attaching an external flash. I think you are on target if you look at the FZ20, the A200 the G6 and the Konica Minolta Z5.



My opinion for what it's worth! :G
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