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Old 08-15-2007, 04:30 AM   #1
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Time for a new camera - also SD memory card

I know there's a gazillion threads on this but I have very specific interests and I believe I'm down to 2-3 choices.

I want a pocket-sized point and shoot with decent video. I take pictures at concerts (low light, possibly far away but not if I can help it!), baseball games (action shots, definitely far away) and landscape/building/scenery pictures when traveling. Plus the usual social pictures that any camera will do. So I am looking for a high optical zoom, outstanding image stabilization/ISO compensation for low light, action, and distance. I want the fastest shutter speed I can get. I also really strongly prefer to have a viewfinder as well as the LCD screen.

Unfortunately no camera is perfect though I wish these two would have a baby:

Canon SD850
pros:
viewfinder
probably superior processor
cons:
only 4x zoom
shot to shot 1.7 seconds (3 with flash), lag .5

Panasonic Lumix TZ3
pros:
10x optical zoom and still pretty compact
shot to shot 1.3 seconds, 2.4 with flash, lag .6
cons:
shoots quicktime video, wtf
it is slightly bigger
no god damned viewfinder for the love of god people the 2.5 inch lcd was big enough instead of making it 3 you could have put a little hole through the camera grrrrr!!!

Also considering the Canon SD800, though not sure if Best Buy still stocks it, because it has a 1.3 shot to shot and lag of .4 seconds, though its optical zoom is only 3.8.

Other info: moving away from a Sony CyberShot that I've had 3.5 years, getting the camera for free with my $400 best buy service plan cause the Sony crapped out so limited to BestBuy's stock and prices but who cares - it's free! This means I really have to do this now so my service plan covers it - don't tell me to wait for model xyz that comes out in 4 months!

So the question is, what should I do? I'm pretty evenly balanced on these, though I do want to know more about their battery life and how big/heavy their chargers are (I travel a lot). Anyone have any glowing praise or horror stories or knowledge to impart?

Also want to know which SD memory card people recommend for speed and reliability - Kingston? Sandisc? I've heard 4gbs are still unreliable, should I stick with a 2gb?

Thanks guys!
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Old 08-15-2007, 04:43 AM   #2
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I have a TZ3 and am very satisfied with it. I'm still not very much into photography though (but am doing it more and more because of the camera).

Have you also checked out this site: http://www.dpreview.com
It has very extensive reviews of many cameras and lots of more information in the forums.

As for the battery life, I think it's good on the Panasonic. I believe the official duration is for around 400 pictures or so. Not too shabby. Can't say much about the charger, as I understand there are different models for the US and Europe. My European model is lightweight and small, but it has a detachable power chord (I believe the US model is all in one piece and without the power chord).

As for the memory card, I have a 2 GB SanDisc Ultra II (that can fold out to reveal a USB plug) and I think it's performance is fine. Stores about 550 pictures (full size), don't know how much video (haven't used the movie mode yet).

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Old 08-15-2007, 05:05 AM   #3
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Thanks! Have you run into trouble in bright light or other situations where the LSD isn't very visible? I'm really worried about not having a viewfinder, it's probably the biggest thing keeping me from getting the Panasonic.
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Old 08-15-2007, 05:24 AM   #4
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No, I haven't really run into trouble with that. The LCD on the TZ3 is excellent. It's also bright itself (you can set the level of brightness in the settings menu) and very visible (apart maybe from the brightest of brightest sunny situations like on the middle of the beach).
I do know that some people put an extra filter on the LCD screen for extra protection and extra visibility, so you might try something like that if you feel the screen isn't very visible.

But I haven't missed the viewfinder.
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Old 08-15-2007, 05:29 AM   #5
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Thanks, especially for the prompt response. I really like that the dpreview.com site has sample pictures taken with the camera - I love the pictures with the Panasonic, though sadly there are none from the newer Canon for me to compare. I have edged towards the Panasonic, now I'm gonna sleep on it.
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:51 PM   #6
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noooooooooooooo! don't get one of those. get one of these instead:

http://shop.lomography.com/shop/main...ameras&pro=asf
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Old 08-15-2007, 03:30 PM   #7
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I'm not familiar with Panasonics, I usually stick to Canon or Nikon. For indoor/low-light conditions you would want a Canon over a Nikon b/c in my experience, the Nikons have little to no manual options and limited ISO so indoor pics/no flash pics are always blurry or noisy. My Canon S1 has a small LCD compared to current models and I've never used my viewfinder. With a 10x optical zoom, I'd be inclined to look into Canon "IS" models (image stabilization).
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:52 PM   #8
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Canon's point and shoots max out at 4x zoom which is why I like the Panasonic - which has IS. I am still totally up in the air about which - Canon has better colors, the Panasonic shorter shot-to-shot time, Canon is smaller and has a viewfinder, the Panasonic has 10x zoom... It will be a few weeks before I buy so I have time to think on it.
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:54 PM   #9
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The Canon S3 and S5 are bigger than the cameras you mention, but have 12x zoom and are still considered a point and shoot. They're both bigger than pocket sized, but are smaller than dSLRs. Plus both of them have continuous shooting capabilties. I bought the S3 a few months ago and love it. When I was looking, I considered the Panasonic TZ3, but thought it was too similar to the camera I wanted to replace. The reviews for it did seem really solid though. In the end, I was loyal Canon - they've never treated me wrong.
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Old 08-16-2007, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Varitek
Canon's point and shoots max out at 4x zoom which is why I like the Panasonic - which has IS. I am still totally up in the air about which - Canon has better colors, the Panasonic shorter shot-to-shot time, Canon is smaller and has a viewfinder, the Panasonic has 10x zoom... It will be a few weeks before I buy so I have time to think on it.
Is there a budget limit? I have a Canon point-and-shoot with a 10x optical and it's 3 years old. I think they are up to 12x now... I've also noticed with my Canon that I can pretty much shoot continuously if I don't re-focus (when you press the button to take the pic, only let it back up halfway not all the way and you can just keep shooting continuously).
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:51 AM   #11
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I've seen those Canons and they're too big for me. I'm definitely looking for something that fits in my pocket. My friend just bought the new 12x and loves it - I am hearing that Canon is the stronger brand, more reliable, takes better pictures, etc. but the feature comparison still leaves them tied. I'm really not sure how I'm going to resolve this at this point beyond a coin flip.

Budget is $400-$450 if best buy is replacing my camera for free (which they should be) but if they aren't it's gonna drop to $300 or so.
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Old 08-16-2007, 12:36 PM   #12
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If I was looking for a smaller camera with a bigger zoom, I'd consider this:

http://www.digitalcamera-hq.com/digi...t-details.html

I'm still a Canon/Nikon only girl! In my experience, Nikon's color quality and accurate saturation have Canon beat. I'm always looking for an excuse to switch, but of the Canons and Nikons I've used, I've preferred the range of manual options that come with the canons.
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:42 PM   #13
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Canon SD900, I love mine.
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Old 08-18-2007, 02:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by RedrocksU2
Canon SD900, I love mine.
I'll never ever use 10 megapixels, and I prefer the 4x zoom of the SD850. But I am hearing the Canon supporters and I've also spent some time playing around with my mother's 4x zoom big bulky AA battery () Canon. I may put off the purchase until October or later and see how the prices go and how my indecision goes. I really appreciate the advice.
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:16 PM   #15
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I've owned 4 Canon digital cameras. While I like my Rebel XT (DSLR), the non-DSLRs are (or were) too noisy in low light situations (with no flash). Fujifilm and Panasonic (Lumix) are giving a greater priority to noise reduction in their newer models compared to Canon. I have my eye on the upcoming Lumix DMC-FZ18K (a larger model), which has lower noise images than Canons. Some new models also have Face Detection technology.
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