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Old Mar 20, 2006, 8:52 AM   #1
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Ok, I have done extensive research... I am looking for a good amateur camera that I can learn with but will help me grow to the serious photographer I want to be. I will be taking a series of photography classes soon.

I will primarily take outdoor/nature shots, both close up and far away, and would like to do some funky things with color editing etc.

Here are the 4 that I have found listed as top serious amateur or advanced cameras.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Fujifilm FinePix S5200 Zoom
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7
Olympus SP-500 UZ

Feedback? Any other suggestions? I want something sturdy, fast, and fairly easy to work with.

Mt Climber, I am in Portland. Do you come here? Or can you suggest to me a good class to take here? Thanks

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Old Mar 20, 2006, 9:20 AM   #2
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emstaples-

It is obvious, by your possible camera selections that you want an ultra zoom camera. My next question would be is: do you know what IS (Image Stabilization) is and is it one of your requirements? Because if you do, only the Canon S-2, and the Panasonic FZ-7 have IS. The Fuji S-5200 and the Olympus SP-500 are good cameras, but theydo not have IS.

If IS is a requirement, then between the Canon S-2 and the Panasonic FZ-7, while they are almost the same size, the FZ-7 is the newer of the two cameras and a model that improves upon it predecessor, the FZ-5. If low light level photos are high on your priority list then considerthe FZ-7, If general, all around photos are your requirement, then consider the S-2. You will probably find the S-2 a bit more economical to purchase.

If IS is not a requirement, and low level lighting photos are high on your priority list, the give consideration to the Fuji S-5200 which has high ISO setting available on it, up to 1600 ISO. between these two cameras, the Fuji is the less expensive. However, although being a bit slow, the Olympus SP-500 is a very competent camera and it has 6mp versus 5mp on the Fuji S-5200.

Both Kit's Cameras and Camera World used to offer free photo classes when you purchased a camera from them in Portland. Check and see if that offer is still in effect.

All four cameras are good choices and will give you good service. At this point you want to select the camera that is most closely aligned to the photos that you want to shoot.

MT
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 9:24 PM   #3
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Ok, I have some new information on what I am looking for after spending a day in the stores. I like the heavier, more substantial cameras like the S2 IS, the S5200, the P850, the DSC-H1. I must have image stabilization. I want the battery to last a while. I want to be able to attach lenses, the P850 has a lot of great accessories, but the reviews are not great on that one. I like the SP-500, but no IS. Does IS make a big difference. I think I am down to the S1 IS, but am hesitant because it is an older camera. Ideas on what might make me happy?



Thanks!
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 9:44 PM   #4
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emstaples-

I bought a Kodak P-850 and is is a fair camera, but not up to the Canon S-2 or Sony H-1 standards. So I now have my P-850 up for sale on E-Bay, even though I have had it less than 5 months. The Fuji S-5200 does not have IS.

I looks like your choice after looking at the cameras is between the Canon S-2 and the Sony H-1. Both are excellent cameras and have received great reviews. The Canon S-2 folks point to the great convenience of the fold out LCD and the great video mode. The Sony folks, love the sharpness of the lens and the great photo flexibility of the H-1.

Keep in mind that the Conon uses SD chips while the Sony require somewhat more expensive Sony cards.

MT
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 9:53 PM   #5
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Yes, I can't stand Sony's propietary memory and batteries!



Erin
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:00 PM   #6
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Well, Erin-

Congratulations! It looks like the issue is settled then. The Canon S-2 IS is a great camera and I know that you will enjoy it a lot. Find those free classes and you will really get a jump start with your new camera.

MT
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 11:30 PM   #7
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I'm sorry I am so wishy washy but I am now thinking again about the DMC-FZ7. Anyone have experience with this onecompared withthe Canon S2?
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 12:46 AM   #8
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Go with the Canon Its much better.
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 9:01 AM   #9
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have you used them both? How is it better?
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Old Mar 21, 2006, 9:08 AM   #10
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Erin-

I have owned and extensively usedboth the Panasonic FZ-5 and FZ-10 cameras, as well as Canon S-1 and S-2 cameras. I much prefer the Canon S-2.

Please keep in mind that you will also be paying a near MSRP price for the Panasonic FZ-7 as well because it is so new.

MT
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