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Old Jul 25, 2006, 9:19 PM   #1
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I'm looking at some different cameras:

Canon Powershot S3 IS (6.0 megapixel)
Sony Cybershot DSC-H2 (6.0 megapixel)
Sony Cybershot DSC-H5 (7.2 megapixel)
Panasonic DMC-FZ27 (6.0 megapixel)
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 (8.0 megapixel)
Fuji Finepix S9000 (9.2 megapixel)

Konica DiMAGE Z6 (6.0 megapixel)
Olympus SP-500 UZ (6.0 megapixel)


These appeal to me because of the larger (than average) zoom for a small(ish) digital camera. Should I get hung up on the zoom (and megapixels)?

I am replacing a Sony DSC-P200. I lost it earlier this month. I have been using our old P100 and it's really not a good camera, plus there's a pixel out. We take a lot of pictures indoors (living in Alaska, that can be a necessity.) But we wont always be here (we're probably out of here in 9-10 months.) During the summer, we get outside a lot. I also take a fair amount of nature/landscape pics all year round. So here are my requirements:

Good battery life
Decent indoor shooting ability
Ease of use for quick "snapshots"
Fun and easy to use

I plan on growing into one of these. But is one suited for (nearly) everyday use, both indoor and outdoor? Am I better off just getting a high end (smaller) point and shoot and sacrificing the long range or zoom stuff? FYI, going up to a true SLR is not an option right now. I'm not interested in swapping out lenses and carrying a large camera bag around.
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Old Jul 25, 2006, 10:42 PM   #2
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as an option, in case you go with a pocket sized camera, the Kodak V610 is the smallest 10x zoom on the market. it also can do in-camera stitching of up to three shots to make a panoramic shot--no computer needed. kodak.com has the specs.
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Old Jul 25, 2006, 10:58 PM   #3
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good battery life - the battery indicator says half used on my pentax *ist DL after just over 500 shots

decent indoor shooting - none of those will give you that. I had a panasonic fz30 and sold it for that reason - that, and the pentax ist DL can be had for less that half of those cameras right now - you get much better pictures in every lighting condition, rather than just outdoor, good light shots.

ease of use for quick snapshots - i can switch my dslr on and be taking pictures in auto mode in about a second, with no 'point and shoot' shutter delay - thats the time when you hit the shutter to when the camera actually takes a picture.

fun and easy to use - even dslrs have auto modes - they just take better pictures overall. the best thing is, if you find you want to do more, your camera will not limit your learning experience.

i thought that 12x optical zoom would be fun. and it is, but it is gimmicky to a point - unless you're always shooting wildlife from afar, or brightly lit sporting events from the stands, you'll hardly ever use this. think about it this way, 12x zoom might be 12x1, but when you go from 6x to 12x, you're only moving up 2x - after 6x zoom its not even that noticeable, and at that point you could just take it home and crop the pictures for something more close up.

the things that kept me away from the dslr were cost, zoom (need extra lenses) and no movie mode. well, the pentax ist dl can be had for under and around $400 after rebate currently. the pentax K mount system is compatible with millions of existing lenses dating back to the 1960s - meaning you can get an older, still auto lens with 80-210 (4-9x zoom in 35mm equivalent) range for under $50 (see www.keh.com for a long list of lenses available, or ebay for more examples).if you want to take movies, buy a camcorder!

using a dslr can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it, but regardless it will take better photographs under most conditions, and will at best only be matched by the cameras you mentioned.
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Old Jul 25, 2006, 11:33 PM   #4
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The Pentax ist DL is not 1/2 the cost of any of these camera's! The body alone isselling forover $300 (and that's AFTER the $100 rebate). Many of these camera's can be had for $300. And that's a complete package (for the most part).

You want a macro lens for the ist? Spend more money.
You want a 432mm telescopic lens for the ist? Spend more money.
You want a wideangle lens for the ist? Spend more money.
You want ANY lens for the ist? lol...Spend more money.

I'm not bagging on the ist on purpose. But, it is a dSLR and needs to be noted as such. If the OPwas interested in adSLR, then ya...it *can*provide better images. But, these UZ camera's are great all-in-one packages.

Personally, I'd throw out the Olympus and Kinoca options. The SP-500 doesn't have IS and having played with one (have one in the office), I don't feel it's worth it. I don't know much about the Kinoca, so as an uneducated opinion, I'm saying throw it out. lol

The S9000 is probably the best bet for low light, whereas the Panasonics are probably the worst. But, the S9000 skips out on IS and the zoom capability of the others.

Personally, I think the 12x zoom (which milrodpxpxseems to discredit) of these camera's is a great asset to have in all conditions. 432mm zoom range is nothing to sneeze at! And I've taken MANY close up photos of people without them realizing just how close up I was!!! :-) And the photos come out amazing!!


Hopefully more input will be forthcoming regarding the camera's you're interested in.
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 8:29 AM   #5
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sony h5, panasonic fz30 and canon s3is are all close to the $500 range.

ist DL is $389 after rebate w/kit lens online (slightly more depending on the retailer you choose).

obviously you didn't check www.keh.com - you can get a tamron or sigma 100-300mm (which is actually 150-450mm 35mm equivalent because of the APS size sensor) - all of which fall under $50, in excellent to like-new condition (and that business rates on the low end - excellent is more like near new for their ratings).

i'm just saying that, the whole 'a dslr will cost too much after lenses' argument is false. yeah, an fz7 can be had for close to $300, and if thats the budget, then go for it. but, he included several cameras which are definitely more expensive than the DL - I sold my fz30 on ebay for $455, paid for the new DL and several lenses, all of which are giving much better results than the fz30, especially INDOORS (useable iso 1600 cannot be found on any of those p+s cameras, not without severe in-camera processing anyways). you didn't have to rip on my, just trying to present another view that maybe wasn't considered.
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 11:50 AM   #6
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Sorry, didn't mean anything by my post. Just that the OP already stated he wasn't interested in a dSLR. But, your'e right...he might not of fully considered the potential...I think a dSLR is a great option, but there are alot of bonuses to having a PnS as well.

While having useable ISO1600 is definitely good, those $50 lenses you are looking at are probably F5.6 at best at the long end of the zoom range...F4 at the short end. That's already losing 1 or 2 stops in comparison the to PnS's listed. So, ISO1600 might be best compared to ISO400 in this case...which isn't so far off all the sudden. Then you have to consider the fact youare buying 2 to 3 lenses to get all the range you can get out of an UZ PnS.

For the OP...None of the PnS's are going to be very good at low light. Especially when using the zoom. When zoomed in, your built in flash becomes near useless and your aperture (on some of these camera's) simply gets worse (as with most camera's/lenses).

I have an S2 and I've had decent success indoors. But, even at ISO400, I had trouble taking pictures of ppl dancing when zoomed in). When zoomed out, the aperture sits at 2.8 and it's much easier...but, still...ISO400 on any of these PnS's (with possible exception to the S9000) is going to produce marginal quality at best.

Not trying to dissuade you from any of these camera's. Most of them are exceptional PnS's and I think you've narrowed your search down to the best of the best (but, you need to narrow it down even more!)
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 12:08 PM   #7
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Other 2 options which are relatively cheap are

panasonic fz5 (5MP which is enough for most folks)

panasonic tz1

Both of these come with IS (like most panasonics) have 12x and 10X zooms and are smaller than other cams.

For indoor shots, any p&s is hard touse (except something like Fuji F30) as there flash is weak and high ISO has more noise.

Even dSLRs need fast primes for indoor shots. For example, using 50mm f1.8 lens on my Canon 30D, even at f2.8, I need to use flash at ISO 400 to get 1/60sec.
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 12:24 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies so far.

Like I said, though, going to a true SLR is just not an option right now. I want the ease of a P&S. We have a two year old so sometimes, we just want to grab the camera and snap away.

I think I've narrowed it down to the following:

DSC-H5 (looks like the best all-around)
FinePix S9000 (no image stabilization)
FZ30 (seems to have low light issues)
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 1:00 PM   #9
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ok, i'll admit that my first overzealous post was made hastily - i didn't notice you'd already said 'an slr isn't an option right now'! the panny fz30 was a good camera, perhaps if you can wait 2 months for the fz50 to come out, prices will drop from where they're at right now
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Old Jul 26, 2006, 1:09 PM   #10
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I wish waiting was an option. But... We have a new kiddo on the way (less than two weeks) and I'd like some time to get familiar a new camera.
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