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Old Nov 12, 2005, 10:22 PM   #1
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I haven't looked at digital cameras in several years - I've been very happy with my Sony F717. However, itis developing problems with the internal card writer. I'm now having a problem trying to figure out what to replace it with.

I definitely do not want an SLR - I used to have a 35mm and while I love the flexibility, I hated carrying all the extra equipment while hiking, and I got tired of always changing lenses.

I would prefer to have a bit more on the telephoto end than the F717, preferably 200mm (35 equivalent) minimum. I also think that the F717 is just slightly soft when focusing at distance (easily corrected with a small adjustment inPhotoshop). I don't care much about wide angle - most cameras would work for what limited wide angle photos I normally take. I take mostly landscape/outdoorsincluding macro shots, with some night/timed photos.

Things I like about the Sony F717 that I would like to keep include the mechanical zoom, the various settings (custom white balance, aperture or shutter priority, various focus/exposure point options), 5 MP minimum. I had thought about getting a F828 even though it is 2 years old, but they seem to be off the market now (not listed on B & H or Sony's web site any more). That leaves the H1 and the new Sony R1 as the main choices if I stick with Sony. The main thing I'd miss with the H1 is the mechanical zoom. According to Sony's web site, the R1 has a min. Macro focus of 13.7" - not much of a macro lens compared to the F717, and a 120mm (35 equivalent) telephoto. I could extend both with accessories, but then I get into extra equipment and might as well get a dSLR.

The R1 doesn't seem to be much of a replacement for the F828 - is Sony going to be coming out in the near future with something using the same sensor but with a bigger zoom?

What other camera is out therethat would give me better photo quality than the F717 (preferably with RAW format, now that I've upgraded to Photoshop CS2), macro capability, a zoom lens (preferably mechanical)that can go to 200mm (equiv.) min., lots of options for making my own settings, and decent low-light capability? Any other non-dSLR options?
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Old Nov 12, 2005, 10:58 PM   #2
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I could be wrong, but the only non-SLR that I'm aware of that hasa mechanical zoom ringis the Samsung PRO815, and it's a huge mother. I had a look at one, andit'sway too big and heavy to carry comfortably, bigger even than some DSLRs.The Fujifilm S9000 lacks the mechanical zoom, but meets all your other criteria, including excellent low-light performance. If you don't mind lower (5.1 mp) resolution, the S5200 is also an excellent choice.
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 4:48 AM   #3
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The Fuji S9000 has a mechanical zoom ring.
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 12:17 PM   #4
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The Panasonic FZ-30 also has a mechanical zoom ring.
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 12:49 PM   #5
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You're both absolutely right - both of these cameras have mechanical zoom rings. Of the two of these, my own choice would be the S9000, based on the excellentexperience I'm having withmy S5200.

PS - Now I can't use my favorite saying anymore - 'I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.'
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Old Nov 13, 2005, 7:23 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies - so it looks like the Fuji S9000 and the Panasonic FZ-30 sound like the best choices at the moment. It looks like I'll visit my local camera shop tomorrow and see what they have. I liked the pictures I saw in a review of the Fuji.

If they happen to have a Sony F828 on sale as a close-out/discontinued item (does that ever happen?), do you think it might be worth it, or should I rule it out completely? It would be nice to be able to use the memory sticks and batteries I already have.
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Old Nov 14, 2005, 12:44 PM   #7
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The F828 is fairly large as well. Check out the Pano FZ30, The Fuji S9000 and teh Konica Minolta A200. All have mechanical zoom rings and go to at least 200mm. I own the A200, but the low light shooting is somewhat of an issue. I would take a long look at the Fuji. Looks like a great camera.
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Old Nov 15, 2005, 9:00 AM   #8
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The camera shop had an open boxF828 for $599, so I got a chance to look at it. I was surprised at how much bigger and heavier it is than my old F717. I told them that I thought $600 was too much for a discontinued, open box camera - am I off-base on that? I figured it was worth no more than $400 to me (the extra weight being a disadvantage).

Unfortunately, they didn't carry the Fuji, so I'll have to find another camera store. I did look at the H1, but I'm afraid I would be unhappy to give up some things.

We also happened by the cameras at Costco - is it true that the Pentax SLR can use old manual focusPentax lenses? While I really don't want to go the SLR route, it might be an option since I still have all my old lenses, and I was surprised at how relatively cheap the budget SLRs have become. It's making me even more confused now! Would the Pentax with some prime lenses (50, 24, 135), along with a Pentax 70-210 zoom really give me a huge gain in photo quality over the Fuji?
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Old Nov 15, 2005, 2:32 PM   #9
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Remember that there is a focal length multiplier with the Pentax. Steve's review says it's 1.5x although he multiplies by 1.6x in the review of the Pentax ist DS. I can't remember offhand which it is. At any rate, your 24mm lens, for instance, would be equivalent to 36mm or 38.4mm on the Pentax.
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Old Nov 17, 2005, 10:18 PM   #10
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I've taken a look at the reviews of the Pentax and the Fuji S9000. It doesn't look like the quality of the photo will be all that much different, so I've pretty much decided on the Fuji.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"My only problem now is that I can't find a local store that carries them, so I still haven't actually held one. I'm tempted to just order one because it does everything I want. Is there anything strange that I should consider before I do this?
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