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Old Aug 27, 2006, 9:45 AM   #1
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I need help. This is driving me crazy! :? I'm in the market for a better camera, and I have narrowed it down to the Fuji S9000 and the Panasonic FZ30 (I'm sure it will be one of these two, so please don't complicate things by recommending another).

The FZ30 seems to be the favorite among the pro reviews, but it almost seems like they are mostly praising the camera functions and not the photos. Both cameras have two features that are a "must have" for me. They are: manual zoom and manual focus both on lens rings, not buttons or levers. In terms of features, they are both VERY similar. The main difference is the Panasonic has a 12X zoom while the Fuji is 10.7X. The Panasonic has true image stabilization while the fuji simply bumps up to a higher iso to compensate. To read that, it almost sounds like the Panasonic has a decided advantage. But the Panasonic uses a propriatary battery pack (hate 'em) and seems to be plauged by high image noice levels even at low iso. The Fuji uses standard AA or rechargable AA batteries, and seems to have lower noise. Both cameras seem so similar, that I pretty-much just want the one that takes the best pics. Someone please help me decide!
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 1:43 PM   #2
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gadget,

It all depends on what type of photography you are most interested in. It doesn't matter what the pros say...it doesn't matter what other people say...what type of pics will you mostly be taking? They are both excellent cameras - both will take excellent pictures - one will be better than the other in certain situations...the Fuji has a wider angle (28mm) - better for landscapes and indoor shots...the Fuji is better in low light situations - better for available light shooting...the Fuji uses AA batteries...the Panasonic has IS - better for hand-held long telephoto work...the Panny has a larger, higher resolution LCD - better for showing off your pics "in-camera"...all depends on your needs.

As far as noise, take a look here:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fuji...000/page10.asp

The Fuji seems to have an edge here.

Decisions, decisions...hurry up and make one so you can start taking pictures!

Good luck with your choice.

the Hun



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Old Aug 27, 2006, 4:46 PM   #3
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Wow...I don't think I could narrow it down to the type of photos I shoot. I have a 13 yr old son who plays football so there will be lots of outdoor action shots with full zoom. I also love to take macro shots of bugs and flowers, and there are always those indoor, Christmas morning type situations. *Sigh....this is not an easy choice.
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 6:07 PM   #4
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Go to this site, and use the comparator to determine which zoom range better suits you...28mm vs. 35mm and 300mm vs. 420mm.

http://www.tamron.de/Focal_Length_Co....html?&L=2

the Hun


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Old Aug 27, 2006, 7:10 PM   #5
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That's a neat site! It only makes my choice harder though. The Fuji will zoom down to 28 mm which is really nice for indoor shots and landscapes, but the Panasonic zooms out to 420 mm which is great for numerous other shots. I'm about ready to flip a coin. Literally.
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 7:17 PM   #6
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You could buy one of each...or you could buy a DSLR with a macro, wide angle and telephoto lens - whoops - sorry...you asked us not to complicate things...

the Hun


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Old Aug 27, 2006, 8:11 PM   #7
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Yeah....I'd love to go DSLR. But by the time I bought the camera and enough lenses to cover 28mm - 420mm I'd have WAY more than the $600 that the Fuji or the Panasonic will cost me.
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 9:08 PM   #8
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gadgetnut wrote:
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Wow...I don't think I could narrow it down to the type of photos I shoot. I have a 13 yr old son who plays football so there will be lots of outdoor action shots with full zoom. I also love to take macro shots of bugs and flowers, and there are always those indoor, Christmas morning type situations. *Sigh....this is not an easy choice.
The wide angle might be more useul in most cases. The FZ30 is a good camera if you really need the zoom but it falls short in low light. I had one and returned it... went with a DSLR instead because I found that ultrazooms had too muchnoise for my taste. They are OK outdoors, and in some indoor settings but the minute the light deminishes, they just can't cut it. If I was going to go Ultrazoom I would go Fuji.It does a decent job as far taking pictures in low light without a lot of noise.


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Old Aug 28, 2006, 7:55 AM   #9
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meanstreak wrote:
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The wide angle might be more useul in most cases. The FZ30 is a good camera if you really need the zoom but it falls short in low light. I had one and returned it... went with a DSLR instead because I found that ultrazooms . They are OK outdoors, and in some indoor settings but the minute the light deminishes, they just can't cut it. If I was going to go Ultrazoom I would go Fuji.It does a decent job as far taking pictures in low light without a lot of noise.
That's certainly something to think about. In looking back over the last two or three years, I honestly do think I get more from the zoom than any other feature (my current camera has a 10X zoom). I love to take shots at sporting events and candid shots of kids. You know how that goes...without a good zoom, it's almost impossible. As soon as a kidsees a camera, they go into instant "pose mode".

So you had a FZ30 for a while? Did you notice any noise on your shots below 200 ISO?
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Old Aug 28, 2006, 8:38 AM   #10
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gadgetnut wrote:
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meanstreak wrote:
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The wide angle might be more useul in most cases. The FZ30 is a good camera if you really need the zoom but it falls short in low light. I had one and returned it... went with a DSLR instead because I found that ultrazooms . They are OK outdoors, and in some indoor settings but the minute the light deminishes, they just can't cut it. If I was going to go Ultrazoom I would go Fuji.It does a decent job as far taking pictures in low light without a lot of noise.
That's certainly something to think about. In looking back over the last two or three years, I honestly do think I get more from the zoom than any other feature (my current camera has a 10X zoom). I love to take shots at sporting events and candid shots of kids. You know how that goes...without a good zoom, it's almost impossible. As soon as a kidsees a camera, they go into instant "pose mode".

So you had a FZ30 for a while? Did you notice any noise on your shots below 200 ISO?
I had for about a month, but I took a lot of photos with it. What I liked about it was the ergonomics and the performance of the lens. I also liked the tilt out LCD though I would have preferred that it was a full articulating LCD and not limited in range of motion.

As far as noise below 200, the camera did a good job. I was even happy at 200 ISO. The problem with limiting yourself to those ISOs is that you will never be able to take indoor shots without a flash if the lighting is less than perfect. So, if you want to take pictures of stage performances where flashes aren't allowed, you will not be able to with most of these cameras. For indoor sports, you will also be hampered because you need to usefaster shutter speeds to freeze action shots and that means once again relying on high ISO to compensate for the loss of light using a faster shutter. For situations like that you need between 800 to 1600 ISO, so that rules out the FZ30 for that situation. Having said that, some of these ultrazooms havehigher settings but that doesn't mean they will work well. One of the few that performs well is the Fuji. While I can't speak first hand for the 9000, I can tell you that the Fuji F30 I have, does a great job in low light.As good as it is though, I prefer using my DSLRsince it does a better job.

If you are not in any hurry, you might want to wait on the release of the S6000, which will give you a 10X zoom. The only drawback is you give Image Stabilization, but that seems to be the dilemma with all of these cameras... something is always missing. BTW don't be fooled by Fuji's marketing gimmick. They claim some of their models have picture stabilization. That is nothing more than a high ISO setting.

Whatever you decide, make sure you try one out in a store so you can get a feel for the camera. Also, I recommend buying from someone with a decent return policy in the event you take it home and are not happy with it.

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