View Full Version : New compact help

06-15-2007, 09:02 AM

I am currently looking for a replacement for my Fuji Finepix z1.

The contenders are:

Canon SD800IS
Canon SD1000
Fuji F40fd
Sony T100
Panasonic TZ3

My budget is around $400 or less (the Sony obviously being the most expensive of the bunch). I would like a camera I can keep in my pocket comfortably.

As far as use: I want a camera that will take good "group of friends" shots that you get in a bar/club setting. So I guess that would be low light. However, I don't want the flash to totally ghost people or overexpose some people while others are fine. That is my main concern: good pictures with friends in any situation really. Outdoor landscape pictures or whatever are not quite as necessary though occasionally I will take the camera on vacation and want to take a picture of a statue or whatever.

More than likely I will keep the majority of photos on my computer for viewing (the 16:9 mode in the Canons seems wise though it is not a deal breaker if a different camera is the winner). I will probably print out a few of the shots to put in frames or send to friends etc...

I bought the z1 right when it came out because I thought the idea of the "natural light" mode was awesome. It has worked, though not as expected. The pictures are fuzzy and grainy and out of focus. This is my main concern with the Fuji f40fd. The Canons seem good though I've heard bad things about the flash and bad low light pictures. The Panisonic is a new addition to my list of possibles. It's not quite as small as I'd like but if it's the overall pick here then I will seriously consider it. The Sony wins on style but if it can't hack it for my group shots then I don't want it.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

06-15-2007, 10:26 AM

What percentage of your photos will be in a low light environment? From your post, I would guess over 50%. For our discussion, let's just use that 50 to 60% guess.

Considering that low light appears to be the primary environment (and please correct me, least I have guessed incorrectly, won't you) that environment would eliminate the Canon cameras and any Panasonic cameras from our discussion, as they will most probably not be up to the low light level environment challenges.

That leaves the Sony and the Fuji cameras. Our own Jeff Keller just recently has done a professional review on the Sony T-100 right on this website. Have you read that review? Among the Fuji cameras you could save some cash by opting for the F-20 instead of the more expensive F-40. For example www.amazon.com has the F-20 on sale for $(US) 149.00. The F-20 would work well for you, and it has 3X optical zoom, so it is a possibility.

The Sony T-100 has a form factor that you are more familiar with, but the Fuji F-20 is also quite small as well.

Check out the suggestions and tell us a bit more about your photo environment, and I am sure we can help you find a good choice.

Sarah Joyce

06-17-2007, 09:19 AM
Howdy Sarah,

Thanks for the comments and F20 suggestion...I've checked it out online and it looks pretty decent.

I'll try to elaborate some on my photo environment. This weekend my sister had a wedding and it was indoors. While taking pictures with my Fuji z1 I had to constantly switch from Auto to Natural Light modes. On Auto the flash over exposed everyone to where the photo was a white blur. In Natural Light mode the photos had decent lighting but were blurry no matter how steady I held the camera. I also tried various manual controls (limited on my z1) such as decreasing exposure by 2 notches and manually trying various ISOs. I was able to get a few good photos but it was a bit of a hassle. What worked well for one shot wouldn't work for another (even though the lighting and everything stayed the same).

I'm looking for a camera that will help me out in this situation. I'd like it to light the person's face so we can see them, but not disregard the background nor overexpose them. The Fuji "intelligent flash" seems to describe this scenario though I'm not sure. I've also used a friend's camera (a Canon IXUS --same as Powershot right?) and it produced fairly decent indoor, low light, with flash shots). Does face detection help produce good subject vs. background exposure? Also, is optical stabilization worth it? I've read many things that say that sharp photos come from high ISOs (which would again point to the Fuji's).

I would say 70% of my shots will be groups of people, probably in a low light with/without flash setting. Manual controls aren't required but a white balance might be a nice addition.

I did read ya'lls review of the Sony T100, Canon's 800 and 1000, Fuji f40fd and Panny TZ3, and they are very helpful. Unfortunately, almost all the sample images are taken outdoors and thus do not illustrate my desired environment (bar/club/home setting...indoors, regular to low light with or without flash).

I'm trying not to be too picky because I know that no camera is perfect, but I would like to make the most educated decision.

For the most part (unless you recommend differently), I'm leaning towards the Canons (800 and 1000) and the Fujis (f20 or f40fd--i like the SD card feature). I've not heard mixed comments on the Sony and the Panasonic might just be too big.

Thanks for all your help. Let me know what you think.


06-17-2007, 09:36 AM
This one taken at ISO 500 (as selected automatically by Auto ISO):


I printed an 8X10 of that one, very nice, and no NR or post-processing other than cropping (cropped to 80% of original size before printing)

This one's at ISO 200 with flash, also no pp or anything else:


06-17-2007, 10:07 AM
Hello again Josh-

Thank you for your post. Keep in mind that while the Fuji F-40 does use the SD card, the Fuji F-20 does not. it uses the XD card. OK, with that out of the way, let's get into the perfect flash system.

My Fuji F-40fd will not arrive until 06/18first or 06/19, so I have no sample photos from that camera that I can post today. However, I do own and use the Fuji S-700/S-5700 and the Fuji S-6000fd/S-6500 cameras. Both use the Fuji Intelligent Flash System. As you might have guessed, I thought the Intelligent Flash System was pure marketing hype, but I must retract my words and thoughts! The Fuji Intelligent Flash System really does work well and it is also very effective and useful.

So please take a good look at the attached photos. Photo #1 is a macro photo taken with flash using the S-700. With most cameras, the flash would certainly over expose the photo on most digicams and the resulting photo would be very white-ish in appearance. In this case, with the Fuji Intelligent Flash System, the S-700 "reads" the ambient light and then it added just enough light from the flash to get a perfect exposure.

Another thing that I like about the newer Fuji cameras, and that there is an auto ISO range with a maximum or topping ISO's The camera will not exceed the selected maximum set ISO. The S-700 has two auto ISO ranges that employ a maximum or topping ISO setting. They are: "Auto(400)" and "Auto(800).

So if you were to employ those two auto ISO ranges that I just wrote about with the Fuji Intelligent Flash System, you will no longer be hampered by the issue of effective flash range. The camera will adjust for any distance out to the maximum or topping ISO set. That is pretty slick. I have never owned or used the Fuji Z-1 so I do not positively know if those features are available on the Z-1.

So yes, you could overcome a lot of your problems that you are speaking of in your post with the Fuji Intelligent Flash system. The second photo that I have attached to this post is a simple informal portrait taken using the Fuji Intelligent Flash System. Again the mixture of ambient light and the flash was managed perfectly by the S-700 camera.

Sarah Joyce



06-17-2007, 10:11 AM
Good Morning, John-

Thanks for posting the nice flash photos from the Panasonic TZ-3. The look wonderful. Hopefull I will receive my ordered "tizzy" this week and I will then be able to post some Panasonic TZ-3 sample photos as well.

I am getting very "itchy" for the TZ-3 to arrive.

Have a great weekend!

Sarah Joyce

06-20-2007, 08:14 AM
Thanks John and Sarah for the sample photos. I went to Wolf Camera today to look at some cameras. They have the Fuji f45fd (i think it's basically the f40 just with the "gunmetal" finish) and the Panasonic TZ3. I must say I was impressed with the TZ3's zoom and it's LCD screen is incredible. That being said it still seems a bit too large for a "pocket cam." I'm leaning more towards the f45fd (f40fd) for now. Sarah, did you say you were receiving an F40fd in the mail on Monday? If you have time could you upload some people pics with that cam? If not no worries I'm not in any hurry.

One more question: Do you think the fuji f40fd is better than the Canons (800 and 1000)?

Thanks for everyone's help.


06-20-2007, 08:43 AM

Here are two photo samples from the Fuji F-40. The pool table shot was taken at ISO 1600.

Sarah Joyce