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Any thoughts on digital point&shoot Superzooms?

Toddville, IA(Zone 5a)

I need to upgrade from my Nikon Coolpix 9900. I love digital, of course, but the thing I miss most about my old SLR is the zoom lens -- I take a lot of wildlife pictures that all look like either footstools or pommel horses without that zoom! I thought about a DSLR, but why hassle with carrying that lens around? So I've been look at the Lumix FZ18 and the Canon S5 IS. The Lumix sounds like it has better optics and it supports RAW format. The Canon body has been called "cheap-feeling" a lot in reviews and it doesn't have RAW but it has a hot-shoe for external flash (which I've never used but, hey, I might!) and programmable timed exposures. I think the Canon has non-proprietary rechargeable batteries, while the Lumix is proprietary and expensive. The Canon has lens cap issues and one has to get an adapter to keep a filter on it to keep the lens safe, it sounds like.

Anyway, just wondered whether anyone had experience with these cameras or others to recommend?

Thanks!

Springboro, PA(Zone 5a)

I love my Lumix FZ7. The Leica lens is superb and the 12 power zoom with image stabilization is great for pulling in distant subjects.

early_bloomer

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Toddville, IA(Zone 5a)

Thanks, early_bloomer! That's a great shot. I'm definitely leaning toward the lumix, just hate to give up on some of the other options. Oh, well, this is probably why they say you can't have everything!

Marin, CA(Zone 9b)

I have a Nikon D50, and they are not on the market anymore, but their D70 brothers are.
It is a camera that can go fully manual, but also totally point and shoot.
You can put a macro lens on it for wild life, or a wide angle lens for landscapes.
I use mine as a fancy point and shoot and it delivers stunning pictures.
Mine has 7 MP, but I believe the D70 got more.
There are others in the D series, but they get spendy.
Look on my website for pictures, they are all made with this camera.
( On my Dave's garden homepage it is listed.)
Christie

Toddville, IA(Zone 5a)

LOL! Thanks, Christie. We have a D70 in our department at the community college where I teach and I do really love it. I was just hoping to go with something a little smaller especially when it came to the zoom lens. But I am used to the camera and that is something! Thank you! :-)
--Kristi

Pine City, MN(Zone 4a)

I have a Sony DSC-H5, it has x12 optical zoom, too. Pic quality is terrific. Sony seems to use good glass.
You can check out users of the Canon superzooms (the IS series), Sonys, Panasonic, etc. at dpreview.com, then look for discussion forum for whichever camera brand you are looking at.

Toddville, IA(Zone 5a)

Thanks, Joan. A new Olympus, the SP-570, has just been announced that sounds like it might have both the bells and whistles of the Canon and the RAW format of the Lumix. I'm glad to hear you like the Sony. I'd looked at the H-9 but heard some bad things about shutter lag. We use the reviews at Steve's Digicam a lot and I'll take a look at dpreview.com

Menasha, WI(Zone 5a)

I have been watching this thread because most likely my next camera will be one of those 4(except the Olympus SP-570 UZ for price)
Pretty much all in that range:
http://www.ritzcamera.com/all-digital-cameras.htm?bct=t13079503%3Bcidigital-cameras-and-accessories

Dang - that link didn't bring up the page right, sort by $$$-$, page 5

This message was edited Feb 2, 2008 8:31 AM

Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

My next camera will be another Lumix with that beautiful leica lens. I am currently using a Panasonic DMC-FZ3PP Lumix with IS and 12X optical zoom as well as a lighted eyepiece. Just love it. I bought a Olympus 1.7X tele conversion lens for it and it sure can do anything I am capable of doing with it.

When I buy a new camera it must have that sweet Leica lens on it. It feels good in my hand and balances well on a tripod.

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Barstow, CA(Zone 9a)

I'm way late to this discussion, but zoom has been THE absolute only thing that matters since the day that angry bull at the rodeo came charging at me standing behind the clown's barrel and missed my leg by inches as I ran and clambered up the fencing around the arena. Many of the things that I like to record are skittish around or dangerous to humans. MUST have zoom. Also must be a camera *light* enough to be hand held and maneuverable (not possible with heavy lens structures, especially not with these old long since work injured hands). My first dig it all camera was a 2.1 megapixel Canon then a 5.1 megapixel Kodak P-850 with 12x optical 3.3x digital enhancement (total 39.6x zoom) and most recently a 7.1 megapixel Kodak P-712 with 12x optical 5x digital (total 60x zoom). Focus on the zoom and the zoom will focus for you :).

Toddville, IA(Zone 5a)

Can't believe you're writing from Barstow with the words I needed to hear ("focus on the zoom and the zoom will focus for you") I agree with what you say for all the reasons you outline! And I lived in Barstow for a few years a Long Time Ago. ;-)

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

What do you think of the Olympus SP 560UZ, that is the one I am looking at or the SP 570UZ?

Central, KY(Zone 6b)

I just ordered the Olympus SP 570UZ, should have it in a few days. Most of my photography is of birds and flowers, I'm sure hoping this camera will do a good job with colors, my Kodak DX7590 turned most all purples to blue. Other than that, it was a good camera but after 3 years, had accumulated a lot of dust behind the lens and I wanted a better zoom...

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Sadie, I just got the SP 560UZ, only difference from the 570 is the 8.1 vs 10 megapixels; 18x vs 20 x zoom and the 570 has an option for external flash.
Here is my first super macro

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Central, KY(Zone 6b)

Congrats on the new camera, I can't wait to start playing with mine! I was mainly after the zoom and IS, my Kodak doesn't have IS and I've got a heavy telephoto lens on it. I always have to prop against something since I don't want to pack around a tri or mono pod, hoping the new camera will make things easier.

Barstow, CA(Zone 9a)

Point of curiosity about the Olympus: my first digital camera was an Olympus years ago. One of its key problems was that the best available batteries were generic NiCads which leaked so much of their juice that, unless I recharged them within a day of trying to record anything, there wasn't any power capacity to record any photos. When I looked at an Olympus in a store quite recently, that same situation appeared to apply: generic NiCads, nothing with electrical holding capacity. Have any of you recent Olympus purchasers looked into that question? If so, what did you find out?

Central, KY(Zone 6b)

I used rechargeable NiHm batteries 2 cameras ago and that's what I can use in this camera. I've never used any of the NiCads but never have had a problem with the the NiHms leaking or holding power with the old camera.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

This one uses 4 AA batteries and I just purchased the lithium for it and will see? I started out using one of those external battery packs that wired into the camera and they worked great as I had a couple extra, then when they finally wore out two years ago I started using just the camera battery which was two CVR3 lithiums and I never had a problem and that camera was the Olympus 10x C0765 which I have used for many years until yesterday.

Barstow, CA(Zone 9a)

Thanks to sadie_mae and haighr for the info re battery viability for the Olympus. I may take a closer look the next time I see one available. The thing that interested me is that the one I saw in the store seemed to have yet more zoom capability than the 12x optical 5x digital enhancement = 60x total zoom that I have with my Kodak P712. So it is a matter of interest if Ni metal hydride or the CVR3 lithiums can solve the power durability problems that I experienced with my many years in use 700Z Ultra Zoom.

Toddville, IA(Zone 5a)

Sadie, I'm so excited to hear what you think. Please post your review when you have a minute!

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Sadie, did you get the camera yet? I have a lot to learn on mine, perhaps we can assist each other.
Candee

Central, KY(Zone 6b)

I've received the camera but haven't had time to play with it much yet.

I did take a few bird pics on max optical zoom with the auto setting and wasn't overly happy with them but the camera controls are set up so differently from my Kodak that I'm sure it's just a matter of familiarizing myself with it. I did take a couple of super macros and that worked very well. Hopefully the weather will clear up soon and I can get out and work with it some more.

Candee - how is yours working out for you?

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Here is a helleborus macro

Thumbnail by haighr
Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

You are gonna love it Sadie, I do have a few questions about mine that I don't quite understand, but will get back to the camera shop when I get a chance.

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Barstow, CA(Zone 9a)

I have a further addition to make re the *necessity* of zoom for some kinds of subjects. This afternoon I had a visitor to my little house in the desert. Unknown to me who he was but I provided a cooling shower (also served the purpose of chasing him out from under my garden hose reel cart where I was concerned he was going to interfere with my intended afternoon task of watering my plants) after running into the house to get my ZOOM camera to record him. After recording him and encouraging him to move out from under my hose reel cart with a spray of water (the shower), I took my photos of him over to a neighbor with much longer experience in the area. My neighbor and a still more expert local contacted by telephone identified him as a Pacific Rattlesnake, rarely
gives warning before striking, few rattles observable on his tail, can be aggressive and chase intended targets, quite lethal venom for anyone bitten, was the identification provided. About four feet long and one inch diameter. I wasn't about to get anywhere near as close as the photograph suggests I was until *after* I knew who he was and couldn't show anybody who might be able to identify him what he looked like without getting photos recorded first. Hence another situation where zoom was imperative not only for purposes of getting the picture but for purposes of personal safety.

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Millersburg, PA(Zone 6b)

Ahhh, Yes, you need a ZOOM shot needed here. LOL

Barstow, CA(Zone 9a)

For the sake of the reputation of the individual snake and those of his specific breed, I do need to make an addition to this thread. My visitor yesterday was "positively identified" by a neighbor who has lived in the area for 19 years to this virtually ignorant newbie myself as being a "Pacific Rattlesnake", very dangerous and potentially requiring airlifting to a distant city for treatment if one was bitten by it. But it bothered me that I didn't see nor hear any rattles, that the individual snake didn't act in a hostile manner but was only fairly big (actual measurement against objects that he passed at nearly full length showing indicate a bit over three feet long), and that one of my clear photos of his tail made absolutely clear that he had *no* rattles (making it odd for him to be called a "rattlesnake").

So what I did was to send three of my photos, including the one that I posted here yesterday, to the one place where I know that they have a herpetologist on staff, The Living Desert in Palm Desert CA. Got back an answer this morning (demonstrating the value of being able to show people what I'm talking about) that my visitor was a Gopher Snake who sometimes *mimics* a rattler by shaking his tail through brush or grasses to make a sound "like" a rattler but that he is a nonvenemous snake. Absence of rattles is by no means a clear indication of "no problems". Anything more than the mere sight of a coral snake (pretty little colorful thing) can kill a person on the spot yet the not all that different (only different in colors involved, not in the way they're arranged) Mexican milk snake is utterly harmless.

Bottom line is that snakes are a lot like people. You practically have to know them individually to discern whether they're positive, friendly, neutral, dangerous, or potentially deadly. Anyway, attached is a cuter photo of my visitor of yesterday coiled up under my hose reel cart where he apparently wanted to socialize with my native 225 foot long pale green "snake" (garden hose).

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Precipice Valley, BC(Zone 2a)

I received an Olympus SP570UZ for my birthday a few weeks ago--I love it! I'd been reluctant to give up my Nikon Coolpix 5400, even though I was no longer getting crisp pictures (in spite of expensive repairs) after a fall it (and I) took. But I was hooked on the wide angle, which most brands don't offer. But my sweetie did days of research and when he learned that the Olympus has a wide angle, a 20x optical zoom (wow!) AND an excellent macro, he got it for me.

The weather has been miserable and I've been swamped with work so haven't done a lot of experimentation yet. But so far I'm impressed with both the zoom and the macro, and also the colour. It fits my hand really well and is a lot larger or heavier (important because I hike a lot) than my Nikon. I like that it takes AA batteries--I was getting fed up with the large flat (expensive) lithium batteries the Nikon used. I also like the larger monitor, but not yet sure about the either/or process for the monitor vs viewfinder. Now that I'm used to the manual zoom, as opposed to the Nikon's button zoom, I much prefer it. It's very quick and easy to use with my left hand while holding the camera and clicking with my right. The manual settings seem good, and I like the pre-programmable option.

Here are a couple of pictures--you might not be able to tell with this low resolution, but I didn't get the depth of field right--my fault, not the camera's. And the eagle pic is notable only because he was so far away. I really needed a tripod but given how much my hand was shaking, I'd say the image stabilizer is a success!

Hmmm, don't know how to attach two pictures so see the amaryllis in the next post.

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Precipice Valley, BC(Zone 2a)

Okay, so here's the amaryllis (Apple Blossom, if anyone's interested! Blooms frequently.)

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Great shots - I have the Olympus SP560UZ as well and love that I can get the wide angle shots which I could not with previous Olympus camera. Is the zoom on yours different as you mention zoom with left hand? on the 560 it is a button around the top around the snap photo button?
The only thing I am not crazy is the either/or for the viewfinder. On my previous olympus I could use them both simultaneously, not sure I like just one or other as I can see some shots outside much better in the viewfinder rather than the screen? I have a bit of trouble with the super macro on mine that when I get it focused then the little [ ] jumps down to another spot before I snap the photo? I have gotten a few good ones but most seem blurry? Yours looks fabulous.

Central, KY(Zone 6b)

Great photos Chilko!
I've still got a lot of practicing to do with mine for the zoom shots and need to learn more about the various manual settings. It does take some fantastic macros though! I'm using Sony rechargeable batteries in mine and they seem to be lasting longer than the lithium batteries that my Kodak uses.

Precipice Valley, BC(Zone 2a)

haighr, the 570 has changed from the button zoom to a manual zoom. You'd think that would take more time, but actually it's easier and faster, once you get used to it. And yeah, I'm still not happy with the either/or for the viewfinder. Hadn't realized how much I used both. I think it's a power-saving feature--the monitor takes a lot.

With such a great macro capability, it's really necessary to use a tripod. Even a little bit of movement can wreck your focus. I get sloppy--packing a tripod is a drag--but the results are worth it.

Sadiemae--I need to get some rechargeables too. Is there much difference between the various brands?

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I think I'll try a mono pod then with the macro. Do you understand what I mean about getting it focused and then the [ ] jumps to another spot?
Perhaps I should have waited for the 570 to come out but not sure there is a lot of difference but the manual zoom sounds interesting.

Precipice Valley, BC(Zone 2a)

Yes, my [ ] also jumps--actually, I just noticed that happening a few days ago. I haven't taken the time to read about why; it also happens on zoom. I suppose it's from my movements...am really busy right now so no time to experiment. But since my husband has virtually taken over MY camera (his birthday gift to me!) I'll give him the task of finding out!

(I'm starting to see a pattern here...He once gave me a neat my-size chainsaw for my birthday, but he liked it so much he started using it for getting our wood instead of his big one. I think I used it once.)

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Oh yes chilko, I see a pattern as well. Now if he starts buying you pots and pans likely you can enjoy those all to yourself ^_^

Newburgh, IN(Zone 6a)

You all have some great photos. I am looking to get a new camera as well. How does the 570UZ do inside with low light? I take some photos in museums and concerts where you cannot use a flash. I sure would like to see how this camera does under those conditions? Also how is it on action shots with the zoom fully extended? Thanks

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

I bought the Canon S5 IS a few days ago and love it. My only complaint is that the lens cap does pop off much too easily. Otherwise, I think it's a great camera for an amatuer (which is what I am). I'd love to move up to a dSLR but can't spend the money right now and don't really need it while I'm still getting the basics down. Plus, I like the portability of the S5. I'm also on the go and don't want to be lugging around a big expensive camera.

Santa Fe, NM

I have the same camera. I like that the lens cap comes off easily because sometimes I forget to take it off when I turn on the camera! What I don't like is that the little door on the back where the batteries and memory card are is tricky to close. I can't seem to get used to that. Otherwise, I love this camera! I got the camera in March and am slowly learning to use manual settings. It is my first camera. I'm thinking that I might want to upgrade next year. I was reading that the new Canon Rebel something or other is really nice. I think it would be good to have more than one camera. It would also be nice to have tons of money! Right now I'm taking some classes and trying to get the camera to do what I want it to.

Indianapolis, IN(Zone 5b)

That's cool that we have the same camera. Before this one, I had a Powershot with only a 4x zoom, so it's taking me some time to get used to the lens, even when I'm not using the zoom. It's just different and I'm having trouble getting the right focus. I just need to back up farther than I did with my other camera, I guess.

The Rebels are niiiice. I'm working on our books about them, so I've got a bad case of camera envy, spending days and days reading about all of their features. But, camera snobs aside, these cameras we have are really amazing and we can get a lot out of them. I don't know why people call them point and shoot, but whatever.

Yeah, the battery door is impossible. Every time I try to close it I'm fumbling with it, trying to figure out the best way to do it.

I love your pictures, roybird. And after the photo classes, who knows what amazing things you'll be able to do. Happy photo shooting!

Santa Fe, NM

Thanks, Indy. My teacher at the community college calls our camera an "intermediate hybrid". It can do more than a point and shoot but less than an SLR. Have fun!

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