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Old Jun 28, 2005, 8:59 AM   #1
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First post, so I also tell a bit about me; my name is Andrea, I am 30, from Italy, and a photo enthusiast. I also like to write, as you are about to discover! :-)

I have had a Oly C-50Z for two years and shot a lot (2000+ are just those I kept, full tally is probably 5000+ or so) of pictures, with varied results; I have always been impressed with the pre-programmed modes (sports in particular) but I have noticed focusing problems in gloomy conditions, a problem that has improved since I started shooting with the P mode setting the WB to overcast.

I am currently trying to experiment more with manual modes, but I am still in a transition phase, that is, I am very interested in fiddling with the settings, and I do it as much as I can to see what I can obtain, often with good results, especially when shooting on a tripod with time to spend; but very often I don't have the time (I shoot a lot!) to do this, so I need good AUTO modes as well.

Now, I mostly shoot:
a) human portraits, both indoor and outdoor, most often very close, but also a few group pictures and close-up animal pictures;
b) pictures of sports events, most usually of moving subjects (typically running, but sometimes faster); I am somewhat good at those, by pre-focusing in the area I usually take good pics with my Oly;
c) macro pictures of bugs and flowers.

Point b) is what makes me say that I need a longer zoom than the 3x I have on the Oly, and I really do a lot of pictures of that type.

Considering all of the above, would a Canon Powershot S2 IS be a good choice for me? I am very interested in owning an ultrazoom, but I am wondering how good the cam is when taking pictures at an extreme zoom, especially considerring that I often shoot moving targets in overcast conditions.

Please consider the three scenarios detailed above in your answer; also note that I will NOT be carrying both cams with me; I might choose one based on what I plan to do, but I also might want to sell the Oly sooner or later.

I know that I cannot expect what you get from a dSLR, but those are not for me, at least not currently: they are too large to carry with me everytime, and I want a cam that I can carry in a small bag at my waist (I ski with my cam, for example, and no, never broke one!); is the S2 IS much bulkier than my Oly? I saw it in a shop, but seeing and holding one is not the same as carrying and using one.

I am also somewhat worried about the plastic body, but not too much; I can get a sturdier bag to keep it safe, it's no problem. I own 2500 NiMH rechargeables, so that is not an issue. I plan to get a large memory card for this cam, so the fact that it uses a different type of memory is not an issue as well, especially beacuse lots of cams use SD so they are cheap. I am satisfied with the 5 MPs the S2 has, because I don't really need the noise that many 7.1 compacts have, and am satisfied with the resolution my Oly has (plus, it keeps image size down).

In this period, I have also considered the following cams:

Oly C-70 (7000 in the US): good zoom, might be enough; but I hear it has bad indoor focusing, and bad flash position
Pentax Optio with 5x zoom (don't remember the name): ugly as hell, not for me :-(
Sony something with 12x as well: I won't buy Sony due to issues with other products, plus I don't like Memory Sticks

I know it sounds like I have answered my own question, but I really don't have; hints are very much appreciated. Besides, if you have taken the time to read this far, you might as well answer!

I have also read about these two, and am considering them as replacement (in the future maybe) for my Oly:

Digital Ixus 700 (SD-500): nice small size, but worried about noise.
Fuji F10: worried about missing optical viewfinder (I use it often, I find that the cam is steadier); I guess it would be a good choice as a Point/Shoot for portraits, though, b/c of the good flash and great indoor focusing.

So the current idea is I might get the S2 and carry it with me at sports events or when I start with the idea of taking pics; and carrying the Oly (and maybe in the future the F10) as a always-with-me backup to take portraits and so.

Comments? And oh, yes, I have read many reviews of the S2 IS, I am more interested in an owner's opinion now.
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 6:42 PM   #2
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I fear I posted too long a message... My usual bug :-)
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Old Jun 28, 2005, 9:11 PM   #3
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If you haven't dented your metal camera you won't likely break the plastic. It is pretty sturdy.

I think the Pentax 750Z is the nicest looking camera out there. Age difference of course – it is supposed to be "retro" styling. I like the flip out LCD you can reverse to protect it and 5X in a small camera is appealing. But they are behind the competition in shutter lag, startup and cycle times. It does have continuous focus so you can pre-focus and get fast shutter. If the subject moves while you are pre-focused it will continue to focus.

All of the reviews I've seen think the C7000 will focus fine in low light with the focus assist light. Flash could be stronger. Reviewers often test the testability of a camera. They are testing dozens of cameras and something like a pop-up flash that is where their finger usually rests is an irritant to them. Some are narrow minded enough to think that everyone is a camera tester. After you use it a couple of times you fingers would be in the right place and you wouldn't be aware of its being different.

Sports would be tough with the F10. It is hard to quickly acquire targets without a viewfinder, especially when zoomed out. And bright sunlight would exacerbate that problem. It is also a pure point and shoot with no manual exposure or focus. They are due to release some new cameras in the fall. They might put that great sensor in a more functional camera.

The SD500 doesn't have a sports mode and has no way to maximize the shutter speed. Point and shoot.

I guess you are aware that stabilization does not help for subject movement. It lets you handhold in lower light if your subject isn't very active. Most people turn it off for panning, otherwise you can leave it on for sports – it just won't help freeze the athletes. Ths S2 does have a very good f-stop out at full zoom and that does help with action shots. The only thing I know of that is faster at long zoom is the Panasonic FZ20, and that would be too large for you I think.

The only disadvantage I see to the S2 is that it doesn't have a hot shoe or sync connection for an external flash. Flash shots are really improved with an external unit. Otherwise it seems to fit your needs. Nobody but you can decide whether it is too large for your normal use.

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Old Jun 29, 2005, 3:59 AM   #4
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Thanks slipe!
The F1 I am only considering for portraits and casual travelling shooting, not for sports, I do agree that without a viewfinder taking pictures of moving targets is nearly impossible to do well.
Yes, I am aware that IS doesn't help to freeze the subject, but as you point out, the S2 works well at extreme zoom range, so I suppose that will help.
I also hear that the S2 has great macro modes, but do you know if it also works at intermediate zoom ranges to take portaits well? Reviews seem to indicate that it does, but other comments never hurt.
I know about the missing external flash connection, but hey, that's what my girlfriend's dSLR is for :-)
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