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jenny_belly
08-14-2006, 01:55 PM
I need help buying a camera! I'm going to Peru in February, and I want to make the most of it, and take tons of photos,

Here’s some details:
Budget

* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible. up to $500
Size

* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?
small enough and light enough to carry easily on long walks (nature hikes), and easy to take out and use quickly. Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you?

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify)

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
I’d like to be able to take macro shots from as far away as possible of wildlife. So, I’d like as high as possible optical zoom, without compromising image quality.on a scale of 1-10, I’d say 7-8 (for image quality). I don’t necessarily care for manual controls as long as the camera can adjust for the large zoom, low light, etc… although manual controls can be useful as long as they are relatively easy to use.
Do you care for manual controls?

General Usage
Taking pictures of wildlife outdoors, at all times of the day/night. not making very large prints, and shooting action photos of birds and other wildlife and nature.



Miscellaneous

Are there particular brands you like or hate? no

Are there particular models you already have in mind? no

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)Weatherproof, and image stabilization would help a lot

Thank you so much for your help!:)

coldrain
08-14-2006, 02:12 PM
You can forget making bird/wildlife pictures at night.
Your budget excludes a DSLR.
Where you say macro, you mean tele.

This all means that you probably are looking at an ultrazoom. These are digital cameras with a big zoom range.

The models you should consider are the all new and not yet tested Fuji S6000fd, the Fuji S9000, the Canon S3 IS and the Sony H2 and H5.

The Fuji's perform best in lower light High ISO, the Canon applies the least noise reduction of the Canon and Sony cameras I mentioned, the H5 applies a lot while still giving good results.

You can find reviews of the S9000, S3 IS and H5 on this site.
If you have any questions regarding my recommendations, don't be afraid to ask.

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 07:30 AM
Thanks so much for the quick reply, I will look into those models right now, yet i still have a few questions:

What does noise reduction mean?
What is the difference between macro and tele (like telescope?)?
What are the advantages of DSLR, and does DSLR come in the small size I require, or is that a compromise?
(I'm new to the digital camera lingo still... sorry...)

ben7337
08-15-2006, 07:36 AM
well when you take a picture with digital pictures you have many little pixels making up the pictures. the sensor in the camera that takes in the image is not perfect and makes some pixels off. as you incres ISO (sensitivity to light) more and more pixels are off color making the picture look bad. if you go look at a review in this website you can see some examples at different ISO's. now that that has been explained noise reduction is obviosly the reduction of this noise in a program like NoiseNinja or noisware.

coldrain
08-15-2006, 07:45 AM
Since noise and noise reduction is already explained, I will just answer the rest.

I missed your 'small enough' part, so I guess you should skip the S9000.

Macro is the ability to get the camera really close, to make photos of tiny details. Tele is the ability to make photos over a big distance.
The lens has to do very different things with the rays of light in either case, so it is something totally different. Almost any camera is capable of making ok macro photos.

The advantages of a DSLR are that you have BIGGER camera that houses a BIGGER sensor, and the bigger sensor has bigger pixels, and the bigger pixels can collect more light, and therefore the sensors are more light sensistive and will not give as much noise as smaller sensors. The disadvantage is that the bigger sensor needs BIGGER lenses, and they are expensive, bulky and heavy.

So, probably you will find a DSLR too much, both in money and in weight/bulk.

My advice is to have a look at the Canon S3 IS, Sony H2 or Sony H5.

ben7337
08-15-2006, 07:57 AM
sorry for answering the noise thing but I never know when someone will come back soI post the answer in case they won't be on in like 12 hrs adn then the person who made the board would be delayed from getting their answer.

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 08:10 AM
OK, that really helps! Is it possible to ever get nice details while taking pictures at larger distances?
Yeah the DSLR is for sure too large for what i need... How big is the S9000?

ben7337
08-15-2006, 08:12 AM
Fuji FinePix S9000 5.0 x 3.7 x 5.1 in. 94.4 cu in. 646 g

sounds big to me. an ultracopact is like 10cu in max I think and you get big after 20 cu in. this camera is 94.4 cubic inches but you could probably have no problem carrying it.

undefined
08-15-2006, 08:22 AM
You mentioned "easy enough to take out and use" - this leads me to believe you want something that will fit in a pocket of some sort? That rules out the Sony Hx series, the Canon Sx series, and the Panasonic FZx series. Take a look at the Panasonic TZ1 (10x zoom, noisy images), the Ricoh R4 (7.1x zoom, ? on noise, some banding possible). If ultrazoom is not necessary, and you would rather capture the landscape and scenery in Peru, consider the Canon SD700 or the Panasonic FX01. All of these cameras will fit into your price range (<$500), and if you go the Panasonic route (TZ1 + FX01) you may be able to fit two cameras into $550, giving you the maximum flexibility.

Image Quality (my opinion and my wife's opinion)

(pixel peeping 8x10 print from <12" away)
1. Canon SD700
2. Panasonic TZ1
3. Panasonic FX01

We did not have an equivalent sample from the Ricoh to test.

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 08:42 AM
I think that 5x5 inches is too big, it doesn't have to fit in my pocket persay, but not so heavy as the Fuji one you described. I think 4x3.5x2.5 is a good maximum... and as light as possible.

If you get too small, then the optics get small and there is more noise... am I understanding right?

undefined
08-15-2006, 08:46 AM
I think that 5x5 inches is too big, it doesn't have to fit in my pocket persay, but not so heavy as the Fuji one you described. I think 4x3.5x2.5 is a good maximum... and as light as possible.

If you get too small, then the optics get small and there is more noise... am I understanding right?

Noise is a result of the CCD sensor, not the lens. An example of this is the Fuji F30 is much smaller than the Canon S3 yet produces very little noise at the same ISO setting.

The question you need to answer is do you want a camera with tons of manual controls similar to a DSLR (digital single lens reflex, what you see professionals using), or do you want a good point and shoot camera that will capture your trip without a lot of manual intervention.

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 10:03 AM
I am thinking that mostly I'll be taking point and shoot photos, however.. I'll be seeing lots of animals up close and far away so I'd love to be able to fiddle with it manually if I have the time. I guess I want the best of both worlds... but perhaps I'd be happier with a camera that can effortlessly take a good photo without much manual work....

undefined
08-15-2006, 10:12 AM
For up close shots of animals, do you plan adjust shutter speed or aperture, or do you just want to adjust zoom and perhaps white balance?

If you require manual settings and long reach zoom, you really need to look in to the Canon S3 or the Panasonic FZ7. Both have manual controls and 12x zoom. They will require a camera bag, however.

If you want long reach zoom but do not need direct control over shutter or aperture, check out the Panasonic TZ1 or the Ricoh R4. The Panasonic has 10x optical zoom, while the Ricoh has 7.1x. Both of these are small enough to put into a large pocket or jacket. The Ricoh may fit into a smaller pocket, but I wouldn't want to put it's mostly plastic body in the pocket of jeans.

Lastly, if you are not quite as concerned about having a long reach zoom lens, look into some of the compact cameras out there. From Canon you have the SD700, which includes a 4x zoom lens, optical image stabilization (reduces blur due to camera shake), and a very small profile. From Panasonic you have the FX01, which has a 3.6x zoom lens, optical image stabilization, and an even smaller profile. If image stabilization is not a requirement OR you wish to have excellent low light picture quality (such as evening shots in a bar without flash or museum photos) you need to consider the Fuji F30.

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 10:22 AM
I think I'm sticking with the zoomability as priority. I think I like the TZ1 for its size and features, fiddling with aperture and shutter speed might be too much for my purposes... I've been reading some reviews and they are commenting on the noise though... Is there any other cameras with similar features to the TZ1? I really like that it is small and light....

ok wow.. i think the 12x panasonic Fz7 is even better for not that much more(weight size and cost)...

undefined
08-15-2006, 10:41 AM
The only other comparable camera (without MAJOR image quality issues) is the Ricoh R4. It is hard to find in the states, and has some issues of its own. It also only has 7.1x, compared to 10x on the TZ1.

I would strongly recommend that you pick your two favorite models and download 4 - 6 full size (not the thumbnails) images from this site and dpreview. Label each photo (if necessary) using a watermarking program OR submit two seperate orders. Take the full size photos and have them printed by your local printshop or superstore, such as Sams Club (best prices, <$1.50 for 8x10) or Walmart. Spend $10 or so on prints so that you can see for yourself if image quality is an issue. Photos are meant to be printed and enjoyed, so if you like the printed product from a specific camera that is good enough - don't stress over noise or other issues. "The proof is in the pudding"

Edit: The TZ1 will fit in a large pocket. The FZ7 will not. They are not comparable. A more accurate comparison would be the FZ7 vs. the Canon S3.

coldrain
08-15-2006, 11:00 AM
Just take a look at the images from the Sony H5, Canon S3 IS and Panasonic TZ1 side by side, you will see why they are not overly positive about the panasonic.
The FZ7 is not much better either.

Here is a post from another thread:
http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showpost.php?p=146604&postcount=38

undefined
08-15-2006, 11:07 AM
Just take a look at the images from the Sony H5, Canon S3 IS and Panasonic TZ1 side by side, you will see why they are not overly positive about the panasonic.
The FZ7 is not much better either.

Here is a post from another thread:
http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showpost.php?p=146604&postcount=38

Pixel peeping Panasonic produces paltry pleasure.

I'm not a Panasonic fanboy, although I am considering buying one. If anything, I'm a Canon fan, although I was not impressed with the S3. The SD700 looks like a great camera, and the SD630 has a style that I find quite appealing. That being said, the question comes down to features and photos. If you must have 10x zoom on a small frame, you are limited to Panasonic or Kodak (yuk!). If you can live with a larger body size, you now can choose Canon, Panasonic, Kodak, Sony, Olympus, Samsung, etc. If you require IS, your choices are back to Canon, Panasonic, and Sony.

Sony seems to win on image quality. Canon on overall featureset. Panasonic on price and size (smallest of the three).

I have seen nice shots from each of the cameras except the Kodak. The OP needs to pick which one is the compromise he/she is willing to accept. If only Canon or Panasonic would team with Fuji to create a compact ultra zoom camera with SD series styling, Sx series control, and the sensor from the F30 we could all stop shopping and settle down. Then again, it wouldn't have a hotshoe and people would gripe about that :)

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 11:16 AM
any comments regarding Lithium Ion versus NiMH batteries?
Practicality or otherwise?
Tz1: 112 x 58 x 40 mm (4.4 x 2.3 x 1.6 in) 250 g (8.8 oz)

Fz7: 113 x 72 x 79 mm (4.5 x 2.8 x 3.1 in) 340 g (12 oz)

Both of those are in my size range... Fz7 is bigger but still... carriable without a big case... and bothfairly light too. the canon s3 is way too big and heavy though. I think its the batteries that make it heavy!

undefined
08-15-2006, 11:22 AM
any comments regarding Lithium Ion versus NiMH batteries?
Practicality or otherwise?
Tz1: 112 x 58 x 40 mm (4.4 x 2.3 x 1.6 in) 250 g (8.8 oz)

Fz7: 113 x 72 x 79 mm (4.5 x 2.8 x 3.1 in) 340 g (12 oz)

Both of those are in my size range... Fz7 is bigger but still... carriable without a big case... and bothfairly light too. the canon s3 is way too big and heavy though. I think its the batteries that make it heavy!

Lithium ion are lighter weight, but proprietary. NiMH are AA, meaning you can always buy a set of standard AA batteries in a pinch.

Don't forget Lithium AA batteries. They are non-rechargeable, but last twice as long as NiMH per set and weight something like 60% less.

Keep this in mind:

TZ1: 16.12 cu inch volume
FZ7: 39.06 cu inch volume

The FZ7 is twice as big, and much bulkier in comparison to the TZ1. Neither is anywhere near as big as a DSLR. The average ultra compact camera is about 6 - 9 cu inch, so you can see that the TZ1 is approx. twice the total size, with the FZ7 being 4 - 6 times the total size of an ultra compact.

jenny_belly
08-15-2006, 12:35 PM
yeah.. you're right it is a lot bigger...
but there are so many more options....
and I'm nervous about the Lithion Ion batter.. what if it runs out and I don't have a spare... NiMH would be a lot more convienient....

undefined
08-15-2006, 12:39 PM
yeah.. you're right it is a lot bigger...
but there are so many more options....
and I'm nervous about the Lithion Ion batter.. what if it runs out and I don't have a spare... NiMH would be a lot more convienient....

NiMH are very convienient. That being said, spare LiIon batteries run between $10 and $20 on eBay, so buying a spare is not a big deal. If you already own a lot of NiMH, maybe that would make it a better choice, otherwise you'll spend just as much on a good charger and a couple of sets of NiMH. Also, LiIon and Lithum batteries handle cold weather better than NiMH and do not discharge as quickly when not in use. NiMH lose, at a minimum, 1% of their charge per day.

pablo
08-16-2006, 03:15 PM
Please, advise...

* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible. About 1500-1700 with lens. I was thinking about sigma 18-200 DC but I read that picture quality is poor... maybe sth else then?

Size

* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you? Doesn't matter.

Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you? 8-10

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify). 10-12

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)8

Do you care for manual controls? YES

General Usage
Wildlife, landscapes, later macro when save some money for new lens.

Miscellaneous

Are there particular brands you like or hate? I don't like Samsung, Canon seems to be trustworty.

Are there particular models you already have in mind? Canon 20D, Canon 30D, Nikon D80, Sony Alpha 100, maybe the latest Canon? (When it appears).

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle about 18mm, Image Stabilization probably yes because I doubt I would be able to afford lens with IS at the momment but I guess I could live without that or try to save some money in the future for the ones with IS.

Thank you so much for your advice!:)

undefined
08-16-2006, 03:18 PM
Pablo,

You need to post a new thread, it will make it easier to get help as this thread is about a different persons search for a camera.

pablo
08-16-2006, 03:31 PM
Pablo,

You need to post a new thread, it will make it easier to get help as this thread is about a different persons search for a camera.

THX. I will do it.