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Digital zoom camera & lots of selection questions



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 9th 04, 03:03 PM
Lou
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Default Digital zoom camera & lots of selection questions

I've been combing the newsgroups and reviews for information on a good zoom
digital camera. The more I look, the more confused I get. I can't afford
to buy two separate cameras to get the features I want, so I have to
trade-off some of my wants.

I have a Canon G1 now and the other day I used a friend's Kodak zoom camera
and I really am hooked on zoom cameras now. But....the Kodak isn't on my
wish list.

I've been disappointed in not having more wide angle and a longer zoom in my
Canon, but it is still a good camera which I will continue to use. I
thought maybe the Canon Pro1, because I am familiar with Canon, but the
reviews and reading the user's forum on Canon sort of convinced me that it
wasn't for me. And there are features on "my" Canon that I really take
issue with. But I love that swivel LCD screen with adjustable brightness
control that I have now. I very seldom use the viewfinder because the LCD
swivels.

Then I started reading about the Panasonic FZ20. I'm really impressed with
the zoom length on it, but it's not wide angle and it seems users are having
issues with using it in low light. I do use my camera quite a bit in low
light. The FZ20 is considerably cheaper which is a plus, but maybe it's
better to pay more now for a camera that will satisfy my needs for a longer
period of time. But the FZ20 might be an acceptable trade-off with that long
zoom. The reviews talk about a small sensor and picture noise because of it
which scares me.

The other two cameras that mainly interest me are the Konica/Minolta A2,
which I really am leaning towards, but the mixed reviews of soft pictures is
a main concern. I'd have to give up the long zoom of the Z20 for the wide
angle on the Minolta. I wish I could have both wide angle to mega telephoto!
And there is the Nikon Coolpix 8800 that sounds interesting. I don't use
the higher ISO speeds on my Canon, but if I had a telephoto lens I think
having the higher ISO option on the Minolta would be really nice. The Nikon
has some nice features and I've always thought Nikons took good pictures.

Things I would like in a digital camera are better color accuracy than my
Canon, to be able to screw a protective filter on the lens without having to
add a bulky adapter to do so, being able to take low light pictures, a
feature to minimize camera shake, spot metering, less purple fringing than
the Canon, vivid photos, etc. I also want there to be less time between the
time I push the shutter and the picture is actually taken. I will be taking
pictures of wild life too, which doesn't wait for the camera to catch up. I
want auto and manual options. I also want to be able to save the pictures
in different formats as I mostly use RAW now versus JPEG. I guess this last
wouldn't be the deciding factor on whether I bought a certain camera or not,
but it would be nice. Rechargeable batteries would be great, but not a
deciding option either.

I know that the other choice is DSLR, but I'd rather be more compact than
that. I don't know if I would be able to use lenses I already have on a
DSLR camera or not. I do have 3 older lenses, flash, teleconverter, etc.
for Pentax 35mm. I suppose the DSLR have to have self focusing lenses which
means I would have to buy everything new anyway. I'm completely dumb about
DSLR, but it seems like it would be out of my price range and I don't want
to have to lug around a large camera bag full of lenses and equipment. So,
back to deciding on which camera I want.

Out of the group of cameras I have selected does anyone have any
negative/positive comments, or do you use any two of these cameras that
would give me a good comparison of your opinion? Reading the reviews is so
confusing. I'm back and forth between cameras and I wonder if all the
cameras would take good enough pictures that it doesn't really matter what I
buy. I take pictures of landscapes, people, wildlife, sunsets, etc., just a
large variety of objects that I need a versatile camera for.

Thanks for any comments on these cameras, or maybe I should of included some
more cameras in this group - but at least 5MP.




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  #2  
Old November 9th 04, 05:03 PM
David J Taylor
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Lou wrote:
[]
Out of the group of cameras I have selected does anyone have any
negative/positive comments, or do you use any two of these cameras
that would give me a good comparison of your opinion?


I have posted here in the past about my experiences upgrading to a Minolta
A2 from a Nikon 5700. The result, I sent the Minolta back. The Panasonic
FZ20 is (IMHO) the best long stabilised zoom camera out there right now,
although some say the Canon S1 IS takes better movies. That doesn't
bother me. Other cameras I can access are the Nikon 8400 (24mm
wide-angle) and the Nikon 990.

My advice is to set aims, set a budget, and go and try the cameras for
yourself. Usablility is very important. For example (1), can you use the
camera when you have gloves on because it's cold; (2) can you operate the
camera in the dark, by feel alone, for those Northern Lights shots?

Cheers,
David


  #3  
Old November 10th 04, 10:13 PM
Lou
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"David J Taylor" wrote in message
...
Lou wrote:
[]
Out of the group of cameras I have selected does anyone have any
negative/positive comments, or do you use any two of these cameras
that would give me a good comparison of your opinion?


I have posted here in the past about my experiences upgrading to a Minolta
A2 from a Nikon 5700. The result, I sent the Minolta back. The Panasonic
FZ20 is (IMHO) the best long stabilised zoom camera out there right now,
although some say the Canon S1 IS takes better movies. That doesn't
bother me. Other cameras I can access are the Nikon 8400 (24mm
wide-angle) and the Nikon 990.

My advice is to set aims, set a budget, and go and try the cameras for
yourself. Usablility is very important. For example (1), can you use the
camera when you have gloves on because it's cold; (2) can you operate the
camera in the dark, by feel alone, for those Northern Lights shots?

Cheers,
David


I can't access old messages to see what you have said in the past about
Minolta A2 cameras. The messages over about 5 days old say that they are no
longer available on the server. But, I've about ruled out the A2 camera
anyway now as I've read too many user comments about soft pictures and the
camera locking up and having to be rebooted. I've had my Canon G1 refuse to
focus a few times, but never has it completely locked up. I bought the G1
when it first came out and have been using it for the last few years. There
are some issues I don't like about it, but it has lots of good points too.
I really would consider the Canon Pro1 if some of those features had been
changed because there wouldn't be such a steep learning curve with a new
camera. Maybe I should wait for Canon to come out with a new camera.

Your comment about using the camera in the dark or with gloves makes me
realize how familiar I am with my Canon. I looked at some cameras today and
they were so foreign looking to me, but none that I would consider buying
anyway as they were low end cameras. I really think I would be happier with
a more feature oriented camera. I started out with 35mm years ago and have
been taking pictures forever. The digital camera has opened up a whole new
world to me and I take it practically everywhere I go. I want
user-friendly, but definitely more than point and shoot. I could care less
about taking movies with it as I have a decent camcorder for that purpose.
I want to take sharp vivid detailed pictures from a distance as well as the
normal distance range. I don't know if 8 megapixels is necessary or not, 5
would probably be plenty and would be a smaller picture file to store. But
a larger megapixel would allow for more cropping, however, maybe a larger
zoom wouldn't require as much cropping.

The Nikon 8800 sounds like a great camera, but no final review that I can
find. What scares me about it is that users are commenting about how long
it takes to write a picture to the card. Do you have any helpful comments
on your Nikon camera use? Do they take really sharp pictures and how is the
zoom? How about purple fringing because my Canon does much more of that than
my friends that have Olympus cameras?

I don't know how I feel about Panasonic for a camera. My first camcorder
was a Panasonic and was quite expensive and it started malfunctioning about
3 months after I got it. The first thing to go was being able to use it
outside, then gradually other things quit. I think it only had a 90 day
warranty. I don't think I ever used over a dozen VCR tapes in it which is
a high cost for a $1100 camera. I keep "Panasonic" in memory when I think
about buying that FZ20. I have a Sony Digital 8 older generation camcorder
now that I just love, but the Sony digital cameras don't seem to get that
good of reviews, so I never considered buying one.

I thought I would choose a camera I wanted now and wait until a new
generation is introduced and buy my choice then when the price has fallen a
little. Even waiting 2 or 3 months makes a difference in price.




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  #4  
Old November 11th 04, 01:31 AM
David J Taylor
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Lou wrote:
[]
The Nikon 8800 sounds like a great camera, but no final review that I
can find. What scares me about it is that users are commenting about
how
long it takes to write a picture to the card. Do you have any helpful
comments on your Nikon camera use? Do they take really sharp pictures
and how
is the zoom? How about purple fringing because my Canon does much more
of
that than my friends that have Olympus cameras?


I don't use RAW so the time to write to the card is not a factor. The
Normal quality JPEG is quite adequate for that I do. The Nikon cameras I
have used give no cause for complaint about image quality, and the
Panasonic with its Leica lens is good as well. Purple fringing can easily
be removed now using Paint Shop Pro version 9 (just out), so it too is no
longer an issue. Probably the best image quality is from the Nikon 8400.
The one feature I would like is a zoom ring rather than push buttons,
though. It's difficult to get the framing just as you want it.

I don't know how I feel about Panasonic for a camera.

[]

The name sounds like TV or Hi-Fi, I agree. At least the lens comes from
Leica! Can tell you more about reliability in a few months, but at least
the user forums aren't littered with people complaining...


[]
I thought I would choose a camera I wanted now and wait until a new
generation is introduced and buy my choice then when the price has
fallen a little. Even waiting 2 or 3 months makes a difference in
price.


Like anything "digital", there will always be a better, newer, cheaper
whatever model out in a few months. Using your logic, you could buy the
previous generation of camera now at a very favourable price - another
alternative!

Enjoy your decision-making!

Cheers,
David


  #5  
Old November 11th 04, 09:55 PM
LARUEPJ
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I realize I'm a little behind times here, but I couldn't imagine life without
my Olympus C-3040Z (3.3MP). It's been my constant companion for the past three
years and I've shot literally tens of thousands of photos with it.

If I had to do it over again tomorrow, I'd still buy it. It goes everywhere
with me and I've shot just about anything and everything that moves or doesn't.


The only things I would change if I could is the optical zoom and the macro
focus. The zoom is 3x and the macro can't handle anything closer than 8
inches.

Good luck and happy hunting!

LaRue
  #6  
Old November 12th 04, 01:43 AM
Lou
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Thanks for your input. I haven't bought a camera yet. I looked at some
more cameras today but they didn't have a couple I wanted to look at.
However, looking at the cameras made me realize that some of them come in
sizes that are just completely unacceptable to me.

I fell in love with an Olympus C7000 and now I'll have to go look up a
review on it. I have a feeling that it is so small that it won't rate very
well. I really wanted more than 5x optical zoom, but we'll see. I still
want to physically see a Canon Pro 1 and Panasonic FZ20. The nice thing
about already having a camera is not having to be in any hurry to buy one.
I have friends that have Olympus cameras that take fantastic pictures.


"LARUEPJ" wrote in message
...
I realize I'm a little behind times here, but I couldn't imagine life
without
my Olympus C-3040Z (3.3MP). It's been my constant companion for the past
three
years and I've shot literally tens of thousands of photos with it.

If I had to do it over again tomorrow, I'd still buy it. It goes
everywhere
with me and I've shot just about anything and everything that moves or
doesn't.


The only things I would change if I could is the optical zoom and the
macro
focus. The zoom is 3x and the macro can't handle anything closer than 8
inches.

Good luck and happy hunting!

LaRue





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