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ArchiMark
07-01-2007, 07:58 PM
Budget
* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.


Would like to spend around $300 but could go higher if needed...


Size
* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?


Have ol' Canon S10 now, which is pretty compact (about 4 x 2.75 x 1.25") very nice size for carrying around...but could go a bit larger if helped meet my other key criteria; sharp images and wide angle lens for shooting buildings, travel scenes, landscapes, etc....

Features
How many megapixels will suffice for you?

My ol' Canon S10 is only 2MP, so anything will be an improvement... ;)


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

Standard zoom is probably OK....

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

This is one of my most important criteria....want to be able to take nice sharp photos, my wife says that photos I take with S10 of her garden look 'too soft'....

Do you care for manual controls?

Would be nice to have some manual controls....

General Usage
* What will you generally use the camera for?

Mainly for travel, pictures throughout year of my wife's flower gardens, buildings, and occasional snapshots of family, etc...

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?

Generally not, usually 4x6's, but occasionally larger

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?

Only once in a while...

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?

Very rarely if at all....

Miscellaneous

Are there particular brands you like or hate?

Well, have been happy overall with my lil' Canon, very well made and in my SLR days (going way back now...) I was very happy with my Pentax KX....

Are there particular models you already have in mind?

Thought about Canon SD800 and Panasonic Lumix TZ3 for example, have wide-angle lenses, compact, and overall good photos...although in reviews each have some flaws that concern me regarding images....

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

Yes, wide angle is a must!!!

Other than that, image stabilization and hotshoe would be nice to have, but not deal-breakers.....Hope I've made my goals clear enough.... ;)

John_Reed
07-01-2007, 08:06 PM
It has a VERY sharp lens, and the ability to shoot at 28mm wideangle in any of three different aspect ratios: 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9. Besides having that unique capability, it also has a zoom range from 28 to 280mm, is quite compact, in fact pocketable in my opinion. It does lack a hotshoe and manual controls, but then, it's only a $300 camera, so maybe that's a consequence of that? Anyway, it's been reviewed at this site and others. You can take a look at my TZ3 gallery; (http://john-reed.smugmug.com/gallery/2762845) there are many wideangle shots in there.

Tim018
07-01-2007, 08:13 PM
the panasonic tz3 has a wide angle of 28mm- which is about as good as it gets for point and shoot. it is a fair amount bigger than your s10- but still a farily compact size. you can find it at the link at the bottom for $300. so that is a pretty good deal. it also has image stabilization, large zoom, 3 inch screen, and overall it is a good camera. the only problem that i know of is that the grain is a touch high

anyways- if anybody knows of another camera that works meets his specs- please give ur opinions!

hope that helps

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/483657-REG/Panasonic_DMCTZ3K_Lumix_DMC_TZ3_Digital_Camera.htm l

timmciglobal
07-01-2007, 08:14 PM
The panasonic TZ-3 is 28mm on wide end and 10X zoom, not bad camera as long as you use lowest ISO setting.

Tim

Tim018
07-01-2007, 08:15 PM
oops- sorry for the post saying the same as John_reed's- he must have posted while i was still writing mine- so, i guess thats two votes on the tz3

coldrain
07-02-2007, 01:13 AM
You want sharp images... the noisy and blurry/smudged results from the TZ3 do not really resolve much detail... so even if it has "a sharp lens", it does not do that great.

I'd go for the SD800 IS, it just makes better photos due to its better sensor and better processing.

Riley
07-02-2007, 06:50 AM
if low light (without flash) is your thing you probably should look elsewhere
that said TZ3 is fine where light conditions are good
this is after all one of the biggest selling cameras around, with good reason
and with some quite innovative features

ArchiMark
07-02-2007, 09:43 AM
THANKS to all who have responded so far. Really appreciate all the input!

So, right now, it's 4:1 for Pany over Canon..... that's quite a margin.... ;)

Any other thoughts or suggestions out there or is this it???

:)

flippedgazelle
07-02-2007, 10:59 AM
You want sharp images... the noisy and blurry/smudged results from the TZ3 do not really resolve much detail... so even if it has "a sharp lens", it does not do that great.

I'd go for the SD800 IS, it just makes better photos due to its better sensor and better processing.

Best to look at the photo samples from each review and decide for yourself...

From Jeff's review of the TZ3:

Overall, I'd rate the DMC-TZ3's photo quality as very good, though are some negatives to bring up. The camera captures plenty of detail, producing sharp photos with very little noise. Purple fringing is well controlled. Exposures were good most of the time, though the camera overexposed several photos. Colors seem pretty dull as well , and if you agree, try using the "vivid" color mode. Lastly, while there's very little noise in the TZ3's photos, you will see the effects of heavy-handed noise reduction (courtesy of the Venus III image processor), especially at higher ISOs. This tends to smudge fine details, as you can see in these examples (one, two). This shouldn't be much of an issue for typical users, but if you're making huge prints or inspecting the photos at 100% on your computer screen, then you may be bothered by this. A good rule to follow is to always use the lowest possible ISO setting that will still result in a sharp photo.

From Jeff's review of the SD800IS:

Though not without its flaws, overall the SD800 took very good quality photos. I found the pictures to be well-exposed, with accurate colors. Sharpness was where I prefer it: not too sharp, not too soft. As I illustrated above, noise levels are quite reasonable through ISO 400.

The main issues here are corner softness (illustrated beautifully here) and above average purple fringing. Neither corner blurriness or purple fringing will be noticeable in small to midsize prints, but if you do large prints or view your photos at 100% on your computer then you'll certainly notice both. I'm guessing that the UA lens technology that lets Canon stuff a 28 - 105 mm lens into the ultra-compact SD800 is probably to blame for both of those. The PowerShot S80 used the same type of lens, and it had the exact same issues.

ArchiMark
07-02-2007, 11:09 AM
Best to look at the photo samples from each review and decide for yourself...

[SNIP...]


Thanks for your reply, flippedgazelle...

However, in my original post I mentioned that the reviews (which I read and looked at photos taken from each before posting here...) for both cameras mentioned issues with image quality....that's one of the reasons for posting here as I have concerns regarding both cameras....

So I needed to know if I should not worry about those issues or thought that someone could point me in another direction that I hadn't thought of yet....

seo
07-02-2007, 11:24 AM
The Fuji S6000fd has 28mm. Plus with Raw, you can adjust the sharpness in PP instead of relying on in camera processing. ~$300 @ B&H

ArchiMark
07-02-2007, 11:27 AM
The Fuji S6000fd has 28mm. Plus with Raw, you can adjust the sharpness in PP instead of relying on in camera processing. ~$300 @ B&H

Thanks for the Fuji tip, seo....wasn't aware of that model....will check it out......

:)

bascom
07-02-2007, 01:08 PM
I often here the Pan's have a noise problem. But looking at the TZ3 and SD800 galleries in the reviews here, the TZ3 photos look just as good. I don't see a noise problem, does anyone else?

SD800
high speed download
viewfinder
smaller and lighter

TZ3
much more zoom

I agree the Fuji S6000 is good, too, but it's a whopper.

coldrain
07-03-2007, 01:59 AM
At ISO 200 the differences are already obvious...

Here the Panasonic TZ3. Notice the softness (from noise reduction) in the label on the bottle, and the odd coloured pixels (from chroma noise that have been through some filtering) in the green on the box on the right. blodgy results like this in ISO 200???
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_tz3-review/P1010108-crop.jpg

Here IS) 200 from the SD800 IS, notice how much sharper it is:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd800-review/IMG_0100-crop.jpg

Now lets look at ISO 400.... Panasonic TZ3.
YIKES! What happened to the colour? Where is teh detail? Who soaked the non-water resistant ink in water?? Not a pretty sight...
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_tz3-review/P1010109-crop.jpg

Canon SD800 IS... the difference is HUGE:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd800-review/IMG_0101-crop.jpg

ISO 800... TZ3. This is rubbish, to be frank.
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_tz3-review/P1010110-crop.jpg

SD800 IS. The result is not great... but compared to the TZ3, the result is AMAZING. We still have accurate colour, we still have much more detail.
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd800-review/IMG_0102-crop.jpg

So... the differences are quite clear, bascom. If you can not see the noise/noise reduction smudging of the TZ3, I guess you can count yourself blessed with bad eye sight...

This all was from ISO 200 to 800. What about when it is a clear sunny day?
lets see how they perform at their lowest ISO setting.
TZ3, ISO 100. Hmm, we see noise... colourful noise. Already at ISO 100. And the photo looks quite soft still, where is that "sharpness" Panasonic fans harp on about always?
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_tz3-review/P1010107-crop.jpg

SD800 IS at ISO 80. Uhmm... wow, that is a lot better. Very clean, very good colour, and a LOT sharper and more detailed.
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd800-review/IMG_0098-crop.jpg


If you can not see the images, I linked to the Jeff Keller review pics.
Here is the link of the TZ3 review, so you can find the linked pics yourself:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_tz3-review/

And here is the link to the SD800 IS review:
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd800-review/

Riley
07-03-2007, 02:48 AM
just be aware that sometimes what he doesnt say is also important
despite the ravings, they are both pretty well rubbish above iso200, and thats true to many P&S cameras other than the Fuji's which have other penalties

the images shown by coldrain are crops of the following scene, look at the distortion and soft edges in the canon where Jeff says
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_sd800-review/IMG_0098-tb.jpg


There's moderate barrel distortion at the wide end of the SD800's 3.8X zoom lens. If you want to see what this does in real world shots, look no further than the building on the right in this photo. The distortion shot also shows some corner blurriness, and you'll find this to be a problem in your regular photos as well. It's one of those things that comes with the territory: if you want a compact camera with a lens like this, then you have to accept some tradeoffs.
and for the Panasonic
http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/panasonic/dmc_tz3-review/P1010107-tb.jpg


There is remarkably little barrel distortion at the wide end of the TZ3's lens -- most impressive. While the test chart shows some vignetting (dark corners), I did not find this to be an issue in my real world photos. Blurry corners were not a problem, either.
Jeff goes on to say about the Canon


The main issues here are corner softness (illustrated beautifully here) and above average purple fringing. Neither corner blurriness or purple fringing will be noticeable in small to midsize prints, but if you do large prints or view your photos at 100% on your computer then you'll certainly notice both. I'm guessing that the UA lens technology that lets Canon stuff a 28 - 105 mm lens into the ultra-compact SD800 is probably to blame for both of those. The PowerShot S80 used the same type of lens, and it had the exact same issues.
and about the Panasonic


Overall, I'd rate the DMC-TZ3's photo quality as very good, though are some negatives to bring up. The camera captures plenty of detail, producing sharp photos with very little noise. Purple fringing is well controlled. Exposures were good most of the time, though the camera overexposed several photos. Colors seem pretty dull as well , and if you agree, try using the "vivid" color mode. Lastly, while there's very little noise in the TZ3's photos, you will see the effects of heavy-handed noise reduction (courtesy of the Venus III image processor), especially at higher ISOs. This tends to smudge fine details, as you can see in these examples (one, two). This shouldn't be much of an issue for typical users, but if you're making huge prints or inspecting the photos at 100% on your computer screen, then you may be bothered by this. A good rule to follow is to always use the lowest possible ISO setting that will still result in a sharp photo.

so like i said, if using the camera in good light you would be better off with the Panasonic. For all its faults with noise, it has the versatility of native 16x9 or 4x3 or 3x2, and manages images without soft edges and other lens peculiarities.

by all means read the reviews, thats what they are for, but do it without the hype of WOW! etc, which is really for tossers

tim11
07-03-2007, 03:39 AM
* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?

Generally not, usually 4x6's, but occasionally larger


For mostly small prints 4x6" but occasionally larger, coldrain's pointed quality difference becomes irrelevant. I'd surely go for the longer zoom, but that's only me.

bascom
07-03-2007, 06:50 AM
"So... the differences are quite clear, bascom. If you can not see the noise/noise reduction smudging of the TZ3, I guess you can count yourself blessed with bad eye sight..."

Yes I've got bad eyesight but glasses help. I wasn't comparing crops. With your crops I do see differences but the SD800 only looks slightly better than the TZ3 to me. Like Rhys and Tim said I can't see big differences among compacts for 4x6 prints except the Fuji's with the super CCD. But I do prefer the SD800 unless you need a lot of zoom. Thanks for posting the crops to compare.

ArchiMark
07-03-2007, 09:28 AM
Thanks for clearing everything up, guys....really appreciate it.....

:confused:

Feel like I've started some sort of holy war....camera-wise....

;)

Riley
07-03-2007, 09:35 AM
dont ever feel like that man
people are going to be whatever they are going to be
its not within your influence

David Metsky
07-03-2007, 09:56 AM
Feel like I've started some sort of holy war....camera-wise....
Trust me, you didn't start it. You just provided another field of battle. :)

ArchiMark
07-03-2007, 10:48 AM
dont ever feel like that man
people are going to be whatever they are going to be
its not within your influence


Thanks for the encouraging words, Riley....

It's good to know my lack of influence....

:)

ArchiMark
07-03-2007, 10:49 AM
Trust me, you didn't start it. You just provided another field of battle. :)

Glad I could be of service, David....

;)

ZCarroll
07-03-2007, 10:50 AM
FWIW, I had a lot of problems with the pan tz3 myself. Most of the pictures I took were indoors and I had major issues with overexposure, washed out colors, and smudged details and the frustrating part was that I couldn't control the camera at all so there was nothing I could do to make adjustments and get better shots. I was hoping to replace my casio z750 with it, but I just could not get a decent shot at all with the panasonic, I was really surprised. Skin tones were terrible as well.

tim11
07-03-2007, 03:48 PM
Feel like I've started some sort of holy war....camera-wise....
;)
It is a holy war - Coldrain's FATWA against noise. He has blind hatred for noise.
His points are valid as long as very large prints are concerned or when you pixel peeping at photos at 100%.
Advice should be heavily based on buyers' practical usage, budget and requirement.


Trust me, you didn't start it. You just provided another field of battle. :)

This is nothing yet. There has been worse battles. This is purely a skirmish. :D

tim11
07-03-2007, 03:52 PM
FWIW, I had a lot of problems with the pan tz3 myself. Most of the pictures I took were indoors and I had major issues with overexposure, washed out colors, and smudged details and the frustrating part was that I couldn't control the camera at all so there was nothing I could do to make adjustments and get better shots. I was hoping to replace my casio z750 with it, but I just could not get a decent shot at all with the panasonic, I was really surprised. Skin tones were terrible as well.
Overexposed indoors? Was the flash used? I don't have a TZ but that's sounds strange for any camera.

coldrain
07-04-2007, 05:57 AM
Overexposed indoors? Was the flash used? I don't have a TZ but that's sounds strange for any camera.
No, it does not sound strange, washed out colours and detail are a fact of TZ3 life. It is fine that you always flame my posts, but know that dcresource, dpreview and other reviews constantly show that the TZ3 and its siblings have a big problem at higher ISOs, just like the person above has found out (and just like Jeff Keller's sampled show too).

So, i really wonder why you can not be objective. Did you LOOK AT THE SAMPLES? Or head over to dpreview. Or do s search on google for panasonic 100% crop samples.

tim11
07-04-2007, 06:24 AM
...It is fine that you always flame my posts, ...
No coldrain, I don't always flame your posts. That's not my intension, not in this thread at any rate. In fact, it was just a tongue in cheek comment about the fatwa thingy. While many people see you as a Pana-hater, I see you as noise hater. The noise fatwa was used to catch the drift since 'holy war' was memtioned. I agree with you technically of course when things are viewed at 100%, as I already said.
So........ can we still be friends? :o

Riley
07-04-2007, 07:59 AM
No, it does not sound strange, washed out colours and detail are a fact of TZ3 life. It is fine that you always flame my posts, but know that dcresource, dpreview and other reviews constantly show that the TZ3 and its siblings have a big problem at higher ISOs, just like the person above has found out (and just like Jeff Keller's sampled show too).

So, i really wonder why you can not be objective. Did you LOOK AT THE SAMPLES? Or head over to dpreview. Or do s search on google for panasonic 100% crop samples.

who says its high iso ?
perhaps ZCarroll has it hooked to auto-iso
that would explain it

noise at high iso is likely preferable to soft edges and distortion (nice word distortion, i mean, how ironic) that is a permanent feature (built in bokeh ?), when one does after all have the capability of shooting at 100iso. Moreover, lens quality is important when the OP is looking for sharp pictures.

ArchiMark
08-01-2007, 02:08 PM
Resurrecting this thread after a month's lull.....

One other issue that I'm wrestling with before making a decision....(have had other issues to contend with the past month...)

The issue is whether to go with a cam that has a viewfinder plus the LCD display or just the LCD.....

Maybe I'm just 'old school' given that I'm used to using SLR's since the early '70's, (still have my trusty ol' Pentax KX SLR gathering dust in my storage cabinet...)....

But it seems very odd to think about getting a cam that doesn't have an optical viewfinder along with the LCD display....

What do you guys think about that???

Thanks!

Riley
08-01-2007, 07:54 PM
an optical finder and an LCD is the most desirable
problem is, there are quite useful cameras like fuji's F30 that only have an LCD

if such a camera has a hotshoe, you could get an accessory finder that fits in the shoe, these are not so common now, and are more associated with rangefinder cameras. Maybe not so easy to find, but they do exist

ArchiMark
08-01-2007, 07:58 PM
an optical finder and an LCD is the most desirable
problem is, there are quite useful cameras like fuji's F30 that only have an LCD

if such a camera has a hotshoe, you could get an accessory finder that fits in the shoe, these are not so common now, and are more associated with rangefinder cameras. Maybe not so easy to find, but they do exist

Thanks for the tip, Riley....

Very interesting accessory, never saw one of those before!

Of course, I think most of the compact digicams that don't have the viewfinder also don't have hotshoes either.....

:rolleyes:

tim11
08-01-2007, 09:59 PM
. . . .
But it seems very odd to think about getting a cam that doesn't have an optical viewfinder along with the LCD display....

What do you guys think about that???

...
These days more and more people want larger LCD and camera makers leave out VF altogether.
I am a VF guy. However there is exception to everything. F30 doesn't have VF and it uses xD cards which I hate but there are many advantages in this camera that I decided to modify my 'must have' list.
Maybe only you alone can decide on what you must have?

ArchiMark
08-02-2007, 09:15 AM
These days more and more people want larger LCD and camera makers leave out VF altogether.
I am a VF guy. However there is exception to everything. F30 doesn't have VF and it uses xD cards which I hate but there are many advantages in this camera that I decided to modify my 'must have' list.
Maybe only you alone can decide on what you must have?

You're right that only I can decide in the end what to get, Tim....

But what I wanted to hear from everyone was whether in reality not have a VF really matters that much once you get used to not having one or do you really miss that it's not there???

Hope this makes sense....

Thanks!

David Metsky
08-02-2007, 10:18 AM
I'd never buy a camera without an optical viewfinder so I've never had to get used to it. :) In bright light and when trying to save battery power, I find the VF critical, and I just prefer holding the camera to my eye.

ArchiMark
08-02-2007, 01:57 PM
I'd never buy a camera without an optical viewfinder so I've never had to get used to it. :) In bright light and when trying to save battery power, I find the VF critical, and I just prefer holding the camera to my eye.

Thanks for your input, David.....

However, you're in the same boat as I am...that is we've never had a cam without a VF.....

So, to make things simpler to everyone here....

What I'd to hear from are people who:


A) were used to having camera's WITH VF's in the past or many years,

B) but have a camera now WITHOUT a VF

So, would like to get your comments if you fit categories 'A' & 'B' above about whether or not you regret getting one w/o a VF
or did you get used it and find that it's OK without a VF after awhile...

Thanks!

John_Reed
08-02-2007, 03:44 PM
Thanks for your input, David.....

However, you're in the same boat as I am...that is we've never had a cam without a VF.....

So, to make things simpler to everyone here....

What I'd to hear from are people who:


A) were used to having camera's WITH VF's in the past or many years,

B) but have a camera now WITHOUT a VF

So, would like to get your comments if you fit categories 'A' & 'B' above about whether or not you regret getting one w/o a VF
or did you get used it and find that it's OK without a VF after awhile...

Thanks!I started in digital with a Nikon CoolPix 990, used mainly the LCD for framing, there was a lot of parallax with the "viewfinder". I moved up to a CP 4500, and then in 2003, I glommed onto a Panasonic FZ1, which had a long 12X zoom and an electronic viewfinder. With the long zoom, I found I could still take steady shots, and one of the reasons, I reasoned, was that I could partially stabilize the camera by the fact that it was planted against my face for the shot. In that mold, I progressed up the Panasonic line to the FZ30, still swearing by the EVF, couldn't live without it. With the FZ30, using the EVF, I was able to handhold shots as slow as 1 second, like this one:

http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/54230518-L-1.jpg

Let me say something about "optical viewfinders." If they're part of a DSLR, and they draw their image from the same image that will expose the sensor after the mirror flips up to take the shot, then they're going to accurately represent the scene being shot, at whatever focal length, give or take a few % for coverage. The optical viewfinders used for other P&S cameras tend to be inaccurate. Just as an example, I read a post the other day from a Canon SD800 user who complained that the framing was so inaccurate at the wideangle end that he stopped using the optical viewfinder entirely, relied solely on the LCD. Many of the short-zoom P&S cameras have this kind of viewfinder, and I guess if people learn to live with the parallax, they must work OK, Canon still features them in many of their low-end cameras. But when the zoom gets big, the only parallax-free way of portraying the lens view accurately enough to get good framing is either by way of EVF, or LCD display.

So I needed to buy a birthday camera for my daughter over a year ago, and at the time, Panasonic had just introduced the TZ1. Well, I thought, I'll buy one for her, and "warm it up," just to see how I liked to use an EVF-less long zoom camera. Then I'd put it back in the box, and send on the gift. Well, I wound up loving (and keeping) the little camera (sent her another one!), and was surprised at how well I was actually able to do without the EVF! I attribute this a lot to the stabilizer, and I will say that the EVF probably gains me an f-stop (say 1 second vs. 1/2 second slowest shutter speed), but low-end performance is still pretty remarkable. In fact with my (newer) FX50, and its nice 3" LCD screen, I handheld the following shot at 0.4 seconds down in Mexico this year:

http://john-reed.smugmug.com/photos/129820517-L.jpg

Look at the headlight traces in that long exposure to see evidence of stabilization at work.

So all in all, I think one can live pretty well without an "optical viewfinder."

ArchiMark
08-02-2007, 07:59 PM
[Snip....]

So all in all, I think one can live pretty well without an "optical viewfinder."

Thanks for all the info, John...

That's good to know that you can live well without a VF...