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I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

I'm looking at a very similar set of cameras:

Canon Powershot S2 IS

Canon PowerShot A85 (ranked first in at;s category)

or possibly very similar models from Casio and Kodak (I've not researched the last two as carefully).

I've done some research and played with the S2 IS, but would still like advice since this is a big purchase for me and I'm a relative newbie (I don't think my Fuji 1mp point-and-shoot from 4 years ago is really "experience"!). However, I had a pretty great point-and-shoot style film camera a few years ago when I was doing a lot of travel and I loved the fairly generous zoom (porbably a 4x equivalent?)


I can stretch up to $600 or so,
assuming I'll need to spend another $150-$200 for basic accessories like a 512 or 1 gb memory card, case, rechargeable batteries (if applicable), etc. I'd be happier spending $400-$500, obviously.


Would like 5-8 mp, and would like advice on which end to go for.

* I would like a 10-12x optical zoom, flip out LCD, image stabilization, a good macro setting, plus other usual features at this price range. TIFF/RAW file formats and video recording are plusses, but not deal-breakers. All of these "requirements" are what I imagine I'll need in the next 3-5 years, however, not what I currently use.

* Image quality is probably an 8+ on a scale of 1-10 of importance.

I would like manual controls, as I'd like to grow into this camera, a bit. It seems like ring controls would be easier to use and more like a "real" SLR.

General Usage

* This camera will be used for 1) photographing paintings/artwork for my portfolio (images will be printed at 8.5x11-11x14), including detail shots of surface textures, 2) travel photography, especially architectural detail shots, and 3) for general birthday/party/night-out blackmail shot photography and very basic portraiture. I don't often carry a camera, however, so it would be just fine if the camera was larger.

* Big prints of my photos? I think 8.5x11 is big, but maybe not?

Low light photos/indoor photos will be fairly common for me.

I will rarely shoot action/sporting photos.


I have no strong opinions on brands, but I've been swayed away from Nikon, Casio, and Sony products by friends and family.

Are there particular models you already have in mind? Powershot S2 IS, FZ 20 or 30. I almost bought the S2 IS last night! I did wish it had ring controls for the manual settings and wondering if they would come out with a 8mp model soon. The salesman said it wouldn't happen until next spring, and that it would probably be a more expensive model ($700).

Also, the flip LCD was great, but it seemed a bit small in comparison. Happily, the camera itself wasn't huge.

As I am planning to apply to grad school for architecture or interior design, I will need a camera with which I can document my work (architectural models, paintings, rooms and spaces) as well as a general-purpose camrea into which I can gow and learn. I would like manual controls and a ability to add accessory lenses and filters, down the line. I'd like this camera to carry me for the next 5 years or so, if possible.

I tend to use the zoom a LOT and also really compose a shot before shooting, since I'm more familiar with film cameras. I've little experience with photo editing software, so I have a hard time figuring out what flaws (noise, purcple fringing, sharpness problems) are "fixable" and therefore forgiveable.

Also, I am slightly confused about whether to go with a 5MP model or whether it really is necessary for me to get a 6-8MP model. I've heard conflicting advice on the matter.

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In reply to: I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

For the money, Your best bet would be the Panasonic DMC-FZ30. At 8 megapixils it is 12X. At 5 megapixils it is 15.1X. Focus is a ring adjustment and so is zoom. Don't pay any attention to the critics about noise.

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Since one of your criteria is low light, you might want to

In reply to: Megazoom

look into the noise problems that some reviewers have noted with the FZ20 and FZ30.

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Noise Factor

In reply to: Megazoom


What is the noise issue with this Panasonic DMC-FZ30 camera? I hear different things. What if you attempt to do enlargements? What is your personal experience with this camera regarding noise?


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A Thought

In reply to: I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

Since you are interested in big zoom and low light photography, there are two cameras that fit that description.

They do not have image stabilization, if that is a requirement.

The Fujifilm S5200 and S9000

5 megapixel and 9 megapixel

Here are the specifications:

These cameras use the new 5th generation Fujifilm sensor. It has proven to be low noise at high ISO settings. The ISO settings go up to 1600.


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Personal recommendation for you...

In reply to: I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

I recommend the HP R-818 for your desired features. Check it out & see if I'm right! The R-817 is similar, but I think that I will buy the R-818 for my wife (I already have a CoolPix 995 I bought years ago).

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I'm looking for the same type of camera

In reply to: I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

Like blackhawk 26, I'm in the market for a mega zoon camera. Like you, I have been impressed with the reviews. I'm a big fan of dpreview and they would also suggest you look at the Sony DSC-H1 and the Panasonic DMC-FZ5. I have been using the entry level Canon A-70 and A-75 and have been very satisfied with picture quality. But 3 megapixels limits the amount of cropping you can do and still get a big print. Recently, I have noticed the prices on the Sony and the Panasonic going down - Sony $400 and Panasonic - $350-375. Best deal I've seen on the Canon IS-S2 is about $450. I'd be curious to hear what some of the other people in this forum who own one of these cameras have to say. Thanks

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Owner's Opinions

In reply to: I'm looking for the same type of camera

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Great thread

In reply to: Owner's Opinions

Thanks snapshot2 for the great thread. Happy New Year everybody!

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Digital Camera with at least a 8x zoom

In reply to: Great thread

Any recomendations for a megazoom camera with at least 8x zoom with at least 6 megapixel? I would also like one with a raw format option and image stabilization? The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 would fit this but there is a significant noise issue here.


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One for sure and two possible

In reply to: Digital Camera with at least a 8x zoom

Nikon 8800

Konica Minolta A2 and A200 ... 7.1X zoom.


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I think I need.....

In reply to: I THINK I need a Mega Zoom

BlackHawk - I just went through that decision - I was looking for a ''General Purpose'' camera. I shoot with a 20D during my ''Pro'' season. I shoot horse events.

I started 2 threads on another forum that deal with my experience so far.
go to canon cameras (not EOS canon
look for S2 1st impressions and S2 2nd impressions threads.

sample shots at :

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