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Old Aug 13, 2005, 10:58 PM   #1
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I THINK I want a 8 megapixel camera with a 10 or 12 optical zoom. I need the zoom to work in movie mode. Since I am old I need some sort of image stabilizing system.

Most pictures and short movies will be outside in the rocky mountains of a old steam train. The stills will be used for T-shirt transfers and the movies will be put on web sites. Other stills will be of jewelry.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

roger


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Old Aug 13, 2005, 11:39 PM   #2
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My budget with a few extras is around $1,000.00

A lot of places on the net have kits available with most comeras. is this a good way to go????

thanks,

roger
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Old Aug 14, 2005, 2:13 AM   #3
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The only kits I have seen that might be worth the money are for DSLR cameras. Even those, other than a kit lens you probably do better buying separately. To get a DSLR with stabilization and the zoom range and pixels you want aren't going to be within your budget. For prosumer level cameras I haven't seen a kit yet that is worth the price. All of the cameras that take 640 X 480 movies at 30fps and have long stabilized zooms don't have MPEG4, so you will need a fast card. And a very large capacity one unless you just want to take short movies. etter to just buy what you need separately IMO.

The only two 8Mp cameras I know of with close to your requirements are the Nikon 8800 and the new Panasonic FZ30, which isn't available yet. The Nikon is an f-stop slower than the Panasonic at full zoom, which uses up some of the advantage of stabilization. The FZ30 also has a better burst mode and is faster for regular shooting. The FZ30 will probably focus better in limited light. Some reviews should be out soon. The wording isn't very clear, but the FZ30 might be able to use optical zoom with the movies. I wouldn't count on it until I read some reviews. The Nikon doesn't allow zoom during movies. The Nikon probably has the best macro mode for the jewelry though.

If you are willing to consider 5Mp cameras I think the Canon S2 IS is probably the pick of the litter. It has excellent movies with stereo sound and you can use the optical zoom with the movies. It is on everybody's best camera list. The macro is decent for jewelry, but you can't use flash in super macro. That is a problem with any long zoom cameras though.

T-shirt transfers aren't very high resolution usually, so I'm not sure you need 8Mp for that. The other things you want to use it for would be OK with 5Mp.

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Old Aug 14, 2005, 3:20 AM   #4
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Why do DC manufacturers strip away such trivial, natural and normal feature of "optical video zoom" in recent yrs?

Back few yrs ago, every DC implement it as a standard feature.

Don't tell me it is to reduce audio noise. They could either:

1. Make less noisy motors / zoom mechanisms.
OR
2. Provide external mic as an option to stay away from the motor.
OR
3. Don't tackle at all the audio noise, but to provide options to users to "mute" the audio, or to simply ignore the noise by the subjects speaking up. Or the users to simply DON't zoom, if he/she is allergic to noise.

See? Ordinary users like me can still think of so many alternatives. So what about those DC companies having hundreds of PhD re*****hers?

I hate to, but a natural guess is they want to sell such "natural feature" (optical zoom) as option to charge higher prices in higher-end models.
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Old Aug 14, 2005, 11:01 AM   #5
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Thanks

I received a couple of E-mails telling me to check out the Minolta DiMage A200. They said I can get a extra lense to get the zoom up to 10 or 12.

Anybody familar with the A200???

thanks,

roger
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Old Aug 14, 2005, 1:55 PM   #6
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The A200 is a very good camera. When you have the telephoto adapter off you have medium wide angle capability. One of the indications of the quality is that there is a solid manual zoom ring rather than an El-Cheapo electric zoom like many cameras have. That is OK for a pocket camera, but with a large camera with a long zoom electric zooms are just cheap alternatives to doing it right.

With a telephoto adapter on the camera you will likely not be able to use the entire zoom range. You would anticipate you would go from 56 to 400mm eq with a 2X extender, but you will likely vignette at the wider angles. You will also cut the effective f-stop. The stabilization would still work fine, but a lot of its effect would be going to make up for the slower shutter speeds generated by the smaller effective aperture.

If you are sure you need 8Mp it might be worth waiting for the FZ30. Unless you need the wide angle capability I think it would be a better camera for you. Leica is making excellent lenses for the Panasonics, and it will give a longer zoom and probably sharper photos than an A200 with an adapter. If you go the A200 route make sure to ask on the KM board here and at dpreview what adapters people have had success with. Poor quality adapters can be less than useless.

You might want to re-evaluate your need for 8Mp. Download a 5Mp S2 image from Steve's sample pictures and make a T-shirt transfer from it. Then download an 8Mp image of the same scene from the Nikon 8800 sample pictures and also make a T-shirt transfer. My guess is that you won't see the difference. If you can't see the difference the Canon S2 is the perfect camera for your needs.



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