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View Poll Results: Best Small Superzoom
Panasonic DMC-FZ5 0 0%
Kodak P850 0 0%
Canon PowerShot S2 IS 1 50.00%
Other 1 50.00%
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Old Nov 24, 2005, 5:59 PM   #1
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Hi,


I am looking to get a superzoom based on the following criteria, in that order:

1. image quality
2. low light (indoors) performance
3. size

I think I narrowed it down to:

Panasonic DMC-FZ5 (624,240)
Kodak P850 (653,184)
Canon PowerShot S2 IS (669,864)

The number in the bracket is cubic mm, representing the size. The Panasonic is smaller and older of the bunch.

According to DPreview and Steve's reviews the Panasonic is slightly better in image quality that the canon. In low light all I know is that the pana's LCD/EVF do not gain, while the Kodak does (not sure for the canon).

I was hoping that you guys can help with the selection.

Thanks
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Old Nov 24, 2005, 10:24 PM   #2
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You mention that your primary selection criteria is low light level performance. Take note of the fact that all three of the cameras that you have selected have a maximum ISO setting of ISO 400, which severly limits their low light level performance and increases their produced noise substantially.

You point to the Panasonic FZ-5 which produces even more visible noise than the other two cameras. I specialize professionally in theater and concert photography and have owned all three of your selected cameras. After many thousands of photos I can to you that all three of your selected digital cameras arePOOR low light level performers.

If your budget holds you below the $(US) 500 mark you would to much better to take a serious look at the Fuji S-5200/S-5600, which would save you money, and which has a maximum ISO capability of ISO 1600 with much less noise that the other three selected cameras.

If you have more money to spend, then take a look at the crop of low cost dSLR cameras, the KM 5D and the Pentax 1st DS/DL both have a maximum ISO capability of 3200 which can make a HUGE difference in you low light level photos. Attached you will find a dSLR sample photo taken with the Pentax1st DS.

MT


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Old Nov 25, 2005, 9:08 AM   #3
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mtclimber wrote:
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You mention that your primary selection criteria is low light level performance.
You point to the Panasonic FZ-5 which produces even more visible noise than the other two cameras.
Thanks for the reply. I know the 3 cameras have consistently appeared in 'best camera in this range' questions, and there is usually a split among the answers.

I mention 'low light' because I have been previously disappointed. I few years back I bough my first and only digital camera, Olympus 750UZ. Not a bad camera BUT in low light, as in a dimly lit typical British lounge I could barely see anything through the OVF/EVF. As I mostly used the camera for family gatherings and indoors shots of the kids it meant it was useless to me. I sold it within 1 month. Since then I have been using an analogue Minolta Riva Zoom. From its OVF you can see the scene a little darker than with naked eye.

Thus although low light is a key that I want to emphasise its not (I think) to the level needed for a theatre or concert (not that I wouldn't want a camera that can take a few good shots inside a dark castle or a concert.).

This is coupled with the small size requirement. I hate carrying bulky things. A dSLR would definitely be on the bulky side. Even the Panasonic FZ30 that many rave about is massive compared to these 3 cameras.

So if I rephrase/clarify the requirements it would be: The smallest 5+MP, 10-12 zoom, optical stabilised, camera that performs well in general and especially under low light conditions.

Now I am willing to accept that this may not exist yet, as it did not in the past few years. I am just hoping that a better that good compromise exists, as I would like to get one in time for my second child's birth this Christmas.




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Old Nov 25, 2005, 5:58 PM   #4
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dokimos-

The FZ-5 is fine if you are not really going to venture into low light shooting conditions. Then not only are you lacking a hot shoe but you have some real noise issuesto deal with in low light.

MT
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