A bridge too far: Canon S3? No. Panasonic FZ50? Er, no. Fuji 9600(9100)... er.... um....

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Andrew MacPherson, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. Ok, a couple of months ago I bought 4Gb's worth of SD cards to try and
    force myself to choose between an S3 and an FZ50 (both take SD). Now,
    reluctant to support Panasonic's sensor, and desperate for more EVF
    resolution than Canon are prepared to offer, I find myself aiming
    towards a Fuji 9600 (9100 in the USA). 235k EVF, manual focus, similar
    size to FZ50 sadly (ie DSLR sized), superior ISO performance helping
    compensate for the lack of IS. Oh, and it doesn't use SD cards. That'll
    teach me. :)

    Still, at least I have CF cards already from my Canon S1.

    Anyone have any thoughts? Apart, that is, from "stop dithering and just
    make a choice you idiot! None of them are bad cameras!"

    Andrew McP... off to find a three sided coin to toss.

    PS Of course I could always gamble the money on England winning the
    Ashes instead. I could retire on the odds being offered now. ;-)
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 25, 2006
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  2. Andrew MacPherson

    U-Know-Who Guest

    For me, the lack of IS would make the far end of the zoom useless without a
    tripod. I owned the little cousin of it (S5100) until the electronics
    developed a mind of their own and it was returned to the store. I bought it
    for my girlfriend, and for snapping up close, it was fine. I already had a
    Sony DSC-H1 with IS and 12X zoom. I could not duplicate the clarity of
    pictures with the Fuji that the Sony could produce. And to be honest, the
    Sony rivals the clarity of my 350D with my 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM lens
    attached. Now, to be fair, I do have a slight shake in the hands that I have
    had since I was a kid. Nothing serious or Parkinson-like, but it is there.
    Sure, the high ISO will help some, but it would seem to me that you lose
    some of the P&S capabilities that are available when you have a good IS.

    Oh, and if you find and extra three sided coin, save it for me, as I have a
    lens decision to make in the near future. :)
    U-Know-Who, Nov 25, 2006
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  3. That is, sadly, the one thing making me hold back. My S1 has spoiled me,
    and I'm very used to taking shots in what I used to consider impossible

    On the flip side I get 28mm wide angle (which I've missed greatly from
    my SLR days). It does seem that there's a conspiracy to produce cameras
    which contain nearly every feature I want.... and another feature I
    really *don't* want!

    I promised myself I'd stick with the S1 until someone remedied that. But
    that doesn't stop me hanging around review sites like a drooling dog
    waiting for his dinner. :)

    Andrew McP
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 26, 2006
  4. I have a similar camera, Andrew, the Panasonic FZ5, and I don't want to
    let go of IS either. For wide-angle work, I have the Nikon 8400 with has
    a 24mm (eq) lens and swivel LCD etc. Great.

    For a low-cost DSLR approach to the same tasks, I am considering the new
    Nikon D40 with the 18 - 200mm (24 - 300mm eq) VR (image-stabilised) lens.
    However, this does nothing for me at the wide-angle end, but might provide
    better pictures in low-light conditions.

    David J Taylor, Nov 26, 2006
  5. -this-bit.nor-this-part.uk (David J
    Nice range on that camera. I've realised I miss wide angle flexibility
    far more compared to the rare occasions when I *really* need the 420 end
    of a modern zoom. Besides, more pixels (compared to my S1) will give me
    a free zoom factor anyway.
    That lens sounds expensive. :) But that's a superb range, so dust
    shouldn't be an issue... you'd never need to take it off!

    Andrew McP
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 26, 2006
  6. There is a program out there which will analyse a batch of photos and give
    you a histogram of (amongst other things) the focal length used.


    It was running that which convinced me about the need for wider angles.
    Of course, in some cases you can stitch together to emulate the wide-angle

    Yes, I was thinking one camera and one lens, otherwise I get into carrying
    round an outfit, and if that gets too heavy it gets left at home or in the
    hotel, and no photos is the result..... No dust is another benefit!

    David J Taylor, Nov 26, 2006
  7. Andrew MacPherson

    JerryB Guest

    I too went through the same dilema searching for the right camera for
    me be it prosumer P&S or dslr. In my case, IS was of utmost importance
    followed by IQ and a long zoom for travel photgraphy. Read all the
    reviews and liked the FZ50 with some trepidations of the sensor. This
    ended once I went to Dp reviews Panasonic forum and saw the shots taken
    with this camera. One poster took the same shot with the FZ50 and the
    Canon 30D. After many guesses, it was about even as to which was the

    I suggest you visit DP reviews camera brand specific forums for great
    input from owners.

    Also try this web site, it's in French but easy to get around, where
    you can compare cameras against each other taking the same set of


    After several months of research, I went with the FZ50 and have no
    regrets whatsoever. The Leica lens is just supurb unmatched by any
    other non-dslr. In fact better than low end dslr lenses.

    Regarding the Fuji, they are good cameras, however my first prosumer
    was the finepix 6900. Good camera in most respects, took many good
    pictures, but also many bad ones, that plus thelack of IS dropped Fuji
    from my list. High ISO is better than Panny, but still more grain.
    The Panny IS gets you a couple of stops so the image can be taken at
    lower ISO. Actually I have only taken a few shots at 200 or higher ISO
    on this and my old Fuji.

    Good luck in your search and let us know what you decide.

    JerryB in Colorado
    JerryB, Nov 27, 2006
  8. http://www.cpr.demon.nl/prog_plotf.html
    Very useful, thanks for the link. It confirms that 40% of my shots are
    at the 35mm end of the spectrum, with a fairly even spread up the scale
    to a blip at the max zoom.
    You've led me to do some study of 18-200/250/300 lenses. A Pentax K100D
    has been on my fantasy shopping list for a while (as I have PK lenses
    already) but dust is my biggest concern. I spent too long trying to
    remove dust from my slide scanner & scanned photos to want to play that
    game. But an "all-in-one" lens would probably suit my fairly humble needs.

    Of course, then I wouldn't be using the various lenses I already own, so
    don't need to restrict myself to Pentax. So...

    Mmm... you close one door of choice and another one opens! :)

    Andrew McP
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 27, 2006
  9. I did have my eye on a second hand FZ30 at one stage, which seems no
    worse than the 50 overall. But the price was too high (considering the
    lack of warranty).

    It was only considering the FZ range which led me towards the Fuji and
    its superior (for my needs) zoom range, because previously it was the
    size of the camera which put me off. Price is not my biggest concern
    (though I like value for money!) and a DSLR+18-250Tamron wouldn't be
    much more of a handful than the FZ50 now that I can see its advantages
    from a low dust risk point of view.

    I've also now noticed the older Fuji 9500 is available at Canon S3
    prices. That would leave me a significant chunk of money in the bank
    ready for next year's crop of bridge updates which may get closer to
    what I'm after.

    Andrew McP
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 27, 2006
  10. Andrew MacPherson

    David Guest

    Andrew MacPherson wrote:

    You can't retire on nothing !

    David (in Australia) :p
    David, Nov 27, 2006
  11. I'm glad the program helped, Andrew.

    Yes, there's a lot of choice right now, and perhaps more coming. I found
    the Sony DCS-R1 (APS sensor with fixed lens) camera a big disappointment,
    and I see it's now discontinued. With the corrections which can be done
    in software (and perhaps firmware in the future) for barrel an pincushion
    distortion, the idea of an almost "fixed lens" DSLR becomes more viable.
    Just the minimum of changing lenses. The other improvement will be to add
    a swivel LCD finder to those situations where direct view is inconvenient
    or impossible, and that's starting to appear as well.

    David J Taylor, Nov 27, 2006
  12. :) Ok, fair point.

    Andrew McP
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 27, 2006
  13. Andrew MacPherson

    zbosnjak Guest

    David J Taylor je napisao/la:

    Just out of curiosuty - why was R1 such a disappointment? I bought
    recently and found it's incredible camera, unless one need 300mm and

    zbosnjak, Nov 27, 2006
  14. Mostly size and weight. I get a very similar coverage in the Nikon 8400,
    113 x 82 x 75mm weighing just 470g. The Sony is 138 x 168 x 97mm and
    weighs 995g. It's an big, ugly brute. Nice lens, perhaps. No image
    stabilisation (which I have come to value a lot on my Pansonic FZ5, which
    goes up to 432mm eq.). Once you add an extension lens to the Sony to try
    and approach the longer focal length, it just gets even more bulky and
    doesn't even match the 432mm of the Panasonic. Of course, you have to
    give up movies with the Sony, as well.

    My guess is that you could get a DSLR with a similar coverage lens for the
    same weight, more compact, and have the extra versatility of
    interchangeable lenses. You loose the movies, though.

    I was also disappointed that the 4/3 format didn't allow designers to
    shrink the overall size as much as they might have done. Perhaps the lens
    mount doesn't allow that.

    I'm sure the Sony is a fine camera providing that what it offers meets
    your requirements. It just didn't suit me (and that's without handling

    David J Taylor, Nov 27, 2006
  15. Andrew MacPherson

    zbosnjak Guest

    David J Taylor je napisao/la:

    Yep, that's true. My biggest concern was the size, but since DSLRs fall
    within same league, and I don't need long focal length, I picked R1.

    But somehow I think they are discontinuing it to make more room for
    Alpha, too bad :(
    zbosnjak, Nov 27, 2006
  16. Andrew MacPherson

    ASAAR Guest

    The reason you give up movies with the Sony is no doubt due to the
    superior sensor, which many Panasonic owners would love to have in
    their larger FZs despite losing video capability. Don't try to
    disagree, as I'll just hear it as more Panasonic "noise". <g>

    But can people really afford to get Sony add-on lenses? I saw a
    couple on display in SonyStyle about a month ago that appeared to be
    for a camera smaller than the R1 (one WA and the other TELE) and
    IIRC, the combined price was somewhere between $600 and $700. I did
    pick up their little tabletop tripod, which someone else in the ng
    recently recommended as being well designed. It is. Or at least
    it's *much* better than an old tabletop tripod I purchased from
    Kodak. I don't know who made it for Kodak, but it's very crude,
    with heavy stamped steel legs, and it couldn't support even a tiny
    camera until I added a metal washer as a shim above its ball joint.
    ASAAR, Nov 28, 2006
  17. ASAAR wrote:
    Putiing it another way - the small-sensor camera already has adeqaute
    sensitivity for video, where the resolution is limited (e.g. to 640 x 480
    or 320 x 240 pixels). The Sony sensor simply hasn't been designed to have
    a fast enough readout rate - that improvement could come with time
    (particularly if the resolution reduction for video were done on-chip).
    By the time you have DSC-R1 + WA + tele lenses, you possibly have a more
    expensive, heavier and less versatile kit than a Nikon D40 with 18 - 200mm
    image stabilised lens. You trade the flip LCD screen and freedom from
    dust for convenience. Your choice.

    David J Taylor, Nov 28, 2006
  18. Andrew MacPherson

    ASAAR Guest

    Spinning it another way, you mean, to avoid acknowledging the
    superior sensor when used for its primary purpose - still
    photography. As I indicated, I'm sure that the majority of FZ30 and
    FZ50 owners would gladly trade up to an FZ70 if it used the R1's
    sensor even if it meant giving up video. They wouldn't say "I'll
    stick with the FZ30 instead of upgrading to an FZ70 because the FZ30
    has adequate sensitivity for video" unless they know as much about
    photography as Bush knows about waging war in Iraq.

    I've tried shooting video a couple of times but it's more a
    novelty than anything else. If I was an owner of the hypothetical
    FZ70 and had a slight need or desire for video and wasn't too put
    off by the limitations of P&S video, I'd either use my S5100, get a
    cheap, small, pocketable dcam, or get Canon's S2 IS or S3 IS, which
    don't have the video constraints of most (or all) other dcams.

    I've never purchased nor used a Sony dcam nor do I see buying one
    as anything other than very unlikely, so it's no more my choice than
    yours, with a higher probability that you'll purchase one first,
    even though it doesn't have a Panasonic logo. :) As much as my
    preference for a DSLR would be towards small and lightweight, the
    D40 doesn't seem particularly appealing with it's relatively low-res
    sensor and limited compatibility with older AF lenses. I'll wait to
    see how it does in reviews before ruling it out, though.
    ASAAR, Nov 28, 2006
  19. With storage so cheap I've got quite attached to being able to take
    movies as well as stills. However I'm increasingly drawn to the two
    camera solution. A tiny, "always in the pocket" camera with decent video
    capability, and a larger bridge or DSLR for pure photography. It's
    something I've resisted before (two batteries, possibly two card
    formats, etc) and I've enjoyed my Canon S1 because it manages to be
    fairly pocketable while covering all the bridge bases.

    But the S3 has failed to deliver features I really want (mainly an
    improved EVF) hence the apparently never ending quest for a replacement.

    Andrew McP
    Andrew MacPherson, Nov 28, 2006
  20. ASAAR wrote:
    No, simply that for video with its lower resolution you don't need the
    bigger sensor. For still photography in lower light conditions the larger
    sensor has a benefit. I am avoiding nothing.

    I own both Nikon and Panasonic cameras right now, and have owned SLRs and
    other brands in the past. I choose the most appropriate tool for the job
    in hand. I don't have a set of particular make lenses limiting my choice.
    By the way, brand independence is one of the attractive features of the
    4/3 system.

    David J Taylor, Nov 28, 2006
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