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Old Jan 15, 2006, 4:47 PM   #1
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I'm interested in purchasing a superzoom camera- the Canon S2IS in particular, but find it to be a bit bulky. Is there a compromise that may be met between body size and zoom capabilities? I find the typical 3X optical zooms in the compact digitals to be insufficient for my needs. Size is really the main reason holding be back from buying the S2. Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old Jan 15, 2006, 5:00 PM   #2
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The Nikon Coolpix S4 is a compact digicam with 10x optical zoom that will fit in a large pocket. It doesn't have image stabilization or an optical viewfinder so, yes, it is a compromise.
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Old Jan 15, 2006, 7:47 PM   #3
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Lucky is correct. There are very few ultra zooms that are small sized cameras. The Nikon S-4 is one, the Olympus SP-500 is another.

But as Lucky pointed out neither has IS, and neither is ultra small. Some camera size is required to get 10 or 12X optical zoom.

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Old Jan 15, 2006, 11:55 PM   #4
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The Ricoh R3 is a pocket size camera with zoom range 28-200. It even has an image stabiliser. Unfortunately the image stabiliser isn't nearly as good as that of S2. The R3 has also no viewfinder. You can frame a picture only with the LCD. Finally image quality of the R3 is very poor. Although the R3 has probably the same 1/2.5 sensor as the S2 (Canon and Ricoh are both Sony customers), the R3 pics have much more noise than those of the S2. Ricoh is simply unable to come up with an image processor which can achieve noise levels comparable to firms like Canon. That's very sad, because Ricoh has certainly good ideas and if you forget image quality the R3 is certainly a very interesting camera.
The Nikon S4 has certainly better image quality, but without image stabilisation its wide tele zoom range is virtually useless. A somewhat bigger camera without tripod is much easier to handle then a small camera with tripod.
Thus the smallest "real" ultrazoom is the Pano FZ5. As far as image quality is concerned it is even slightly ahead of the S2 and has a better EVF. It is also cheaper. On the other hand, the S2 is more versatile: swivel display, good [email protected] fps movie mode, longer battery life, very cheap NiMH batteries and a lot of other nice goodies. I have the predecessor of the S2, the S1, and I really like it a lot.

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Old Jan 16, 2006, 12:08 AM   #5
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kassandro-

In all honesty the Panasonic FZ-5 isMUCH larger camera THAN the Nikon S-4 or the Olympus SP-500, or even the Kodak V-550. Please let's keep everything within perspectic. OK?

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Old Jan 16, 2006, 1:53 AM   #6
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Chou,

Here are some relevent specs on the cameras mentioned. The Canon S2 IS is 4.4x3.1x3 inches and 505 grams. The Nikon S4 is 4.4x2.7x1.5in and 225g. The Olympus SP-500 is 4.2x3x2.8in and 385g. The Panasonic FZ5 is 4.3x2.7x3.3in and 326g. The Ricoh R3 is the baby at 3.7x2.1x1in and 165g. Unfortunately, the user reviews I've read pretty much echo kassandro's comments concerning its poor image quality. If you don't need quite as much zoom as the ultrazooms, there are better choices than the R3. The Panasonic LZ2 is 4x2.5x1.3in, 224g, and 6x optical zoom. The Olympus C-5500 is 4.3x2.6x1.9in, 340g, and 5x optical zoom. The Olympus C-7000 is 4x2.3x1.7in, 280g, and 5x optical zoom. The LZ2 has image stabilization but no viewfinder. At $200, it is a great bargain. The two Olympus's have optical viewfinders but do not have image stabilization. The C-5500 costs around $200, also. I'm thinking about picking up the LZ2 just as a "go anywhere" camera. While it doubles the zoom capabilities of most ultra-compacts, it's still small enough to fit in a shirt pocket. Actually, I'm waiting for PMA next month before making any purchase decision. The LZ2 was introduced just prior to the 2005 PMA convention so there may well be an update soon.
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Old Jan 16, 2006, 5:30 AM   #7
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Have you looked at the new Ricoh Caplio R3? 7x Optical zoom in an ultracompact body.

The compromise is image quality :lol:
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Old Jan 16, 2006, 8:56 AM   #8
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http://www.dpreview.com/news/0601/06...clz5.asp#specs

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/pa...z3-lz5_pr.html

They look tasty, gonna wait till I see some reviews tho. Im in the market for a nice pocketable zoom camera I can take to concerts/gigs etc.
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Old Jan 16, 2006, 9:45 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info, audioedge. I thought I kept updated on CES 2006 but somehow missed that.
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Old Jan 16, 2006, 9:47 AM   #10
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You may also take a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ2. At 6x opt. Zoom + IS it's still compact.

Otherwise, if 12x opt. zoom is king, I'd go for the FZ5.

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