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Yellowstone/Glacier - KM Z2 versus Fuji S5100 versus Oly C770

 
 
northfork500@netscape.net
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      06-02-2005
At some point I am going to have to decide between these cameras before
I lose my mind...

I was planning on grabbing the Canon S2 but the image noise at low
ISO's really threw me off. Im not going to pay 500$ for high noise at
low ISO's. Not my idea of fun. I wasn't impressed with the images I saw
either.

Anyway, the cameras I listed have very clean low ISO's, and still have
long zooms and video modes. However, I simply cannot decide and getting
user feedback would be *huge*.

What I am planning on doing is shooting around 900 photos and 2 hours
of video this July/August in Montana (northern Yellowstone and Glacier
National Park). Most of it will be camping, but a car will be nearby
for a majority of the days, so that will be the source of charging,
etc. I will need something that is reliable and that I can depend on.
All of these look like gems, but they all have weaknesses (The Z2 seems
to have the fewest weaknesses so far). They all have 10x optical

So, requirements:

1. ability to add telephoto lense later on
2. good picture quality
3. decent video capture, zooming during a big plus


The S5100 pros:

1.nice fuji color
2.fairly rugged build
3.14x zoom lense at 2 megapixel option without quality loss
4.crisp, clear video mode with good sound ,640x480 @30fps. Cannot zoom
while recording, but you can adjust the zoom to place it where you want
before recording (some cameras force your zoom to go flat)
5. uses AA batteries
6. AF lamp
7. looks kinda cool
8. RAW mode
9. 3.1 at teleophoto
10 comes with lense adapter, cover
11.low noise at low ISO's
12. bought new for 220$ thx to current rebate
13. fast for a digi cam


s5100 cons:

1. that damn vignetting issue in top left corner
2. no zoom during video recording
3. limited compression options at 4mp
4. video mode only 14 minutes on one gig card


C770 pros:

1. great image quality, well regarded in this area
2. 14x smart zoom option at 2 megapixels
3. plugging in external mic allows full zooming in movie mode
4. 30 minutes of movie recording on 512mb card (mpeg 4 640x480@30fps),
good quality
5. many options for compression
6. huge amount of manual options and customizing
7. rugged metal build
8. small for a superzoom
9. low noise at 64 and 100 ISO
10. remote control

C770 cons:

1. weak proprietary battery, 150 photos per battery. have to buy
several backups for upcoming trip
2. no focus assist
3. focus will hunt in low light
4. slow to start up
5. 285$
6. video quality not as sharp as s5100
7. Olympus seems like an "unfriendly" company, locking you out panorama
mode if you dont buy their specific memory card


Z2 pros:

1. good image quality if a bit soft
2. very fast camera
3. fast focus
4. very good video mode, 800x600 @15fps, 640x480@30 fps with sound and
optical zooming
5. uses AA batteries
6. good manual options
7. 191$ new thx to current rebate
8. uses SD cards
9. lcd works in low light and bright sun
10. low noise at low ISO's


z2 cons:

1. kinda plasticky
2. only 13 minutes of video on 1 gig card





So there you have it. Thx for letting me vent about this whole thing.
If anyone can offer insight or any tips that would be pretty cool.

 
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birdman
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      06-03-2005
These are all P&S digicams. Apples, oranges and grapes: whatever tastes the
best.
I don't know if you have been to these places before or not.
Having been there on several occasions I would strongly recommend, if you
are serious about photography, that you seriously consider upgrading the
type of still camera and lenses you plan to carry.
If this is a once in a lifetime trip you will only regret the images you are
unable to capture.
Glacier National Park, because it is so remote, is not as densely populated
as Yellowstone in tourist season, and offers the opportunity for many more
unspoiled magnificent scenics. If you have a film SLR with halfway decent
lenses think seriously about bringing it along. Although I love digital if I
were going back to these places I would not go without a reliable film
camera system. What if the batteries or your memory card for your digital
P&S gives out?
BTW: Glacier is VERY remote. Make sure you have reservations for a camp
space or whatever. Space is limited and it is a long drive to anywhere else.


 
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Frank ess
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      06-03-2005
birdman wrote:
> These are all P&S digicams. Apples, oranges and grapes: whatever
> tastes the best.
> I don't know if you have been to these places before or not.
> Having been there on several occasions I would strongly recommend,
> if
> you are serious about photography, that you seriously consider
> upgrading the type of still camera and lenses you plan to carry.
> If this is a once in a lifetime trip you will only regret the images
> you are unable to capture.
> Glacier National Park, because it is so remote, is not as densely
> populated as Yellowstone in tourist season, and offers the
> opportunity for many more unspoiled magnificent scenics. If you have
> a film SLR with halfway decent lenses think seriously about bringing
> it along. Although I love digital if I were going back to these
> places I would not go without a reliable film camera system. What if
> the batteries or your memory card for your digital P&S gives out?
> BTW: Glacier is VERY remote. Make sure you have reservations for a
> camp space or whatever. Space is limited and it is a long drive to
> anywhere else.


We stayed in a room at the West Glacier hotel. Reasonable and
convenient. Very quiet there the week after the park closed for the
winter, about 15 1/2 years ago. Really a highlight among all our
travels, and during one of my lapses from "serious" photography, so
there are fewer than a complete roll of 'chrome slides and a number of
'color prints, all exposed in a Canon A1/Tokina 28-85. These have been
digitized:

Looking at the Rockies; a freight train was rolling west along the
bottom of the intervening foothills
http://www.fototime.com/7D8E5AF30B67E8F/orig.jpg
Mrs. stands atop a boulder; a minute later snow flurries chased us
down to West Glacier
http://www.fototime.com/FAB7D0A9C0E1054/orig.jpg
View at a Going-To-The-Sun Highway turnout
http://www.fototime.com/56D2AA974F70099/orig.jpg
Another, this one west-ish toward Lake McDonald, following McDonald
Creek; on the slide, you can make out a couple of vehicles on the
highway
http://www.fototime.com/FB0728CC8014499/orig.jpg

Evaluating it today, I'd say the Waterton-Glacier International Peace
Park experience would have required twice the time and produced half
the immersed enjoyment, if I'd brought the whole kit and applied it
conscientiously. Maybe it'd be different now that I've had a few years
multi-tasking, and developed some of the schizoid skills that might
contribute to a successful dual-purpose trip.

--
Frank ess

 
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northfork500@netscape.net
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      06-04-2005
thx. Birdman. We go every year to Glacier and Yellowstone. We hike
,camp, take photos and fly fish. I am real familiar with the area and I
frequently explore it's wilderness.

For digital cameras I never buy one big card, but instead buy two cards
that equal 1 gig. This is in case one card goes out.
As for the batteries, that's why I would prefer a camera that uses
AA's. Yo ucan find AA's in alot of the campground stores there.

 
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