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Old Mar 6, 2006, 2:29 PM   #1
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I've tentatively decided to get a Powershot s3 because I realized the type of pictures that I most often miss are subjects that are too small or distant, so I want a long zoom. (And antishake, and swivel viewfinder.) But I've been thinking more about the sensitivity issue. I don't really need 5 or 6 MP if I could have, say 3 or 4 with higher sensitivity. And I mean usable ISO with low noise, not just the fact that the camera takes a picture at a certain ISO. People complain about the noise in the Powershot s2, and the s3 is supposedly better, but are there 10x/12x-zoom cameras that have significantly higher usable ISO ratings (even if at the cost of fewer mp's)? This issue gets surprisingly little attention but it could affect the shutter speed by several stops and therefore, for many shots, whether you'd get a good result. (My question should also have the qualifier: I still want antishake. Does the camera I'm describing exist?)
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 2:47 PM   #2
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The camera that comes to mindis one thathas 10X zoom, 5mp, and a max ISO setting of 1600. Itis the Fuji S-5200. The camera has receivedgood reviews and has many happy users, including me, but it does NOT have OIS.

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 9:46 PM   #3
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They all use 1/2.5 sensors. these sensors are very small and none will do well at ISO 200 or higher. The only ultra zoom that doesn't have a 1/2.5 sensor is the Samsung Pro 815, with a 2/3 sensor,one of the largest sensor that ia put in non-DSLR's. It will give you the best noise perfomance in an ultrazoom. It is also has a a 28-430mm lens, instead of the more common 35/38-430mm lens. The dowside is that this camera is much larger than any of the other ultrazoom's, and is also more expensive.

Sidenote - The Samsung Pro 815 has the lagest LCD on any digtal camera (3.5 in.) Not sure how many pixels, though. (hope theres enough to make it useable).
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 10:13 PM   #4
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I agree with mtclimber the Fuji 5200 would be the camera to consider. I have owed a Fuji in the past and it was a great camera. I wish I would have kept it rather than sold it for a cheap price to a friend. C.W.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 11:57 PM   #5
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CW-

Thanks for your post. If you want a high ISO capable ultra zoom, it will have to be the Fuji S-5200 or the S-9000. Of those two, the S-5200 is the better choice.

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Old Mar 7, 2006, 8:47 PM   #6
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Thanks for the interesting replies. I went and read reviews of the cameras you mention. What puzzles me is that consumer reviews of Fuji 5200 complain about its low-light performance, even though it has the biggest CCD array. So I should really rephrase my subject line: what are the best cameras (in various classes) for over-all low-light performance? This would be a combination of lens speed and the noise levels at various ISO ratings. Does anyone systematically compare cameras on that basis? I'd like to know about low-light performance not only for ultrazooms, but also for the smaller compacts, the REALLY small compacts, and DSLRs.
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Old Mar 7, 2006, 9:59 PM   #7
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What you want (and what a lot of us want; it's a very frequently discussed topic here) is at the outer edge of digital camera technology. It can be done, but not cheaply. If you are on a budget, there are no ideal solutions, but you can select from several different compromises.

In purely photographic terms, the best solution is a dSLR with some expensive lenses. Well worth the price if you are a professional or a dedicated amateur who really HAS to get that twilight telephoto shot; not all of us are willing to consider that option.

For the rest of us, we can find consumer digicams that offer different subsets of the following features:

high ISO
low noise
fast lens
image stabilization

But so far, nothing seems to offer all these features in one package, and that's what's needed if you want to take hand-held, extreme telephoto shots in low light.
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Old Mar 7, 2006, 10:43 PM   #8
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They haven't spent development time on lower density sensors or cameras to take them. If you want an older superzoom with a lower pixel density you will have to pick one up on Ebay.

About the only camera I can think of with a 3Mp sensor, 12X, stabilization and an articulated LCD is the Canon S1. Unfortunately it wasn't a very good camera in comparison to the S2. I don't know how the S3 will compare with the S2.


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Old Mar 7, 2006, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quite a bit of misinformation in here--the FZ30 and S9000, both ultrazooms, do have a larger then 1/2.5" sensor, as both have a 1/1.8" sensor. Furthermore, tests at dpreview have shown the Samsung 815 to be one of the noisiest UZ (though largely attributable to the lack of NR).

Homer J. wrote:
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They all use 1/2.5 sensors. these sensors are very small and none will do well at ISO 200 or higher. The only ultra zoom that doesn't have a 1/2.5 sensor is the Samsung Pro 815, with a 2/3 sensor,one of the largest sensor that ia put in non-DSLR's. It will give you the best noise perfomance in an ultrazoom. It is also has a a 28-430mm lens, instead of the more common 35/38-430mm lens. The dowside is that this camera is much larger than any of the other ultrazoom's, and is also more expensive.

Sidenote - The Samsung Pro 815 has the lagest LCD on any digtal camera (3.5 in.) Not sure how many pixels, though. (hope theres enough to make it useable).
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Old Mar 8, 2006, 3:14 AM   #10
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So far I can tell the most compact ultrazoom with higher ISO is Panasonic Lumix TZ1
Only thing is the noise, not so sure yet, wait for the review soon :roll:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/spec...nic_dmctz1.asp
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