Canon S3 IS vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MaryJane Puxley, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. I am considering buying either the Canon S3 or the Panasonic Lumix FZ7 but
    their reviews and specs are so similar that I'm stymied. I'd appreciate your
    advice/experience with either camera.

    (beginning to wonder if she'll ever own a camera as good as the Olympus
    C-750 she handed down to her daughter!)
    MaryJane Puxley, Oct 4, 2006
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  2. The cameras are fairly similar, and you would probably be happy with
    either. Comparing previous models in the range, I think that the
    Panasonic has the better lens, and fewer gimmicks than the Canon, but you
    may like the swivel finder on the Canon. The Panasonic is set up by
    default to produce sharper pictures than the Canon, but this does result
    in a little noise being visible. I would recommend using the lower ISOs
    with both cameras where possible.

    Try handling both in the shop and see what you think.

    I went for the Panasonic FZ5 (over the Canon S2 IS) as it had fewer
    gimmicks, the better lens and sharper pictures, and didn't use AA cells
    (which I have found very inconvenient). I have been completely delighted
    with the camera, its weight, and the results.

    For an extreme example of my results:

    David J Taylor, Oct 4, 2006
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  3. as an addition to David, i'd just say a few a test of S3 and
    comparison to fz7 on, there's quite a review. and also some comparison shots
    with S3 and fz7.
    Then, like david said, both are very good, only if you intend to shoot with
    ISO 800 (low light, no flash) it's better to have S3 since fz7 is unable to
    shoot in full resolution at ISO 800 and shot comes out totally useless. see

    how about Sony H5? Did you look at it?
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 4, 2006
  4. As the others have said, the two cameras are pretty similar, so either
    one would work well. Your best bet is to go down to a shop that has them
    both in stock, and handle both models. See which one fits better into
    your hand, which one has a more natural-feeling menu and control system,

    There are a few differences: most notably, the FZ is smaller and
    lighter, and the Canon has a somewhat better movie mode. When I was
    shopping for cameras, the size/weight of the FZ (the FZ5, since this was
    last year) was the deciding factor for picking it over the S2IS.

    Daniel Silevitch, Oct 4, 2006
  5. MaryJane Puxley

    Dave Guest

    After comparing the reviews, sample photos, and going to Circuit City
    to play with the 2 cameras I also went with the FZ7. Another factor
    was the price. I got the FZ7, extra battery and a UV filter for less
    than the S3.

    Dave, Oct 5, 2006
  6. true, but i would still read this link

    and sit down and weep :-(
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 5, 2006
  7. ... but small-sensor cameras all show noise at ISO 800. The technique used
    in the Panasonic may well be better for small prints than that of the
    Canon, but the Canon at least allows you the choice. However, if you are
    serious about needing ISO 800 you wouldn't look at a small-sensor camera
    but a DSLR with a fast lens (which will be rather heavy and expensive if
    it has to cover the same zoom range as the Canon and Panasonic offer).

    David J Taylor, Oct 5, 2006
  8. seeing that photo made with ISO800 and so much powerfull noise reduction
    breaks my heart. That photo is useless, while canon one indeed have plenty
    of noise, but it can be in great deal removed with, say, neat image. NOte
    the absence of ANY detail on panasonic and that on canon one all details are
    still there. On panasonic one there's nothing else to do than hit delete

    I did have S2 and i did shoot in ISO400 quite a lot, and shots came out
    decent after neat image. That's why i finally DID look on SLR and now i have
    The whole point is that shooting in low light with ISO800 comes out noisy
    picture, but sharp, while shooting at lower iso will give you less noise but
    blurry pic. Again there's nothing else to do with blurry pic than hit
    delete, so it's still better to have noise than blur, right?
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 5, 2006
  9. Protoncek (ex.SleeperMan) wrote:
    Well, it's not noise reduction alone, but changing the resolution to suit
    the lighting conditions, hence the sharpness is different. I downloaded
    the full image and displayed it on my monitor - and it was satisfactory
    for that purpose. The Canon may have looked slightly sharper, but the
    greater noise may, or may not, be more pleasing to a particular viewer.

    Yes, from a technical perspective, you may prefer the sharp but noisy
    image, but when viewed on the screen or as a 6 x 4 inch print, other
    people may prefer the smoother image.

    With my Panasonic FZ5, I will shoot normally at ISO 100, reserving ISO 400
    for e.g. night scenes where the noise (grain) will add some character to
    the image (even if that is unfashionable today). Yes, I would welcome a
    more sensitive camera, providing the package size and capability stays the
    same. (I gave up carrying an SLR 24 hours a day as the whole outfit was
    too heavy).

    David J Taylor, Oct 5, 2006
  10. MaryJane Puxley

    Paul Rubin Guest

    It looks to me like the Panasonic pic is out of focus. Either that,
    or it's applied NR where I don't see how neat image could do much better.
    Paul Rubin, Oct 5, 2006
  11. if i've heard right, fz5 was far better camera than fz7, looking relatively,
    If course, shooting at such extremes is always average at best, and that is
    one of bigger reasons that i started to think about SLR.
    Shooting at ISO800 with 30D is just....totally another thing.

    generally, many times heard conclusion is that while S1 was a bit behind
    competition, S2 was totally competent with fz5 and H1. But S3 is ahead of
    new fz7 and H5. Now, i guess users of those should start to speak out, but
    even that way would be hard to see anything unless those actually shot with
    all three cameras and saw all pluses and minuses of each model

    I'm not canon fan, although it might seem so. I spent 14 days looking for
    right model of SLR and i looked through all nikon, olympus,
    name it. (sure up to a certain price range). I ended up with 30D since my
    opinion is that it's best for me, since low noise and High ISO was among
    first to decide. And, before i thought SLR, i've read many reviews of
    S3/FZ7/H5 combo and if i were to buy that range, i would definitely decide
    for S3. Not because it's Canon, but becasue i think it's best among them.
    Sure, if it would have mpeg movie feature it would be even nicer...but, i
    guess you can't have it all, can you?
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 5, 2006
  12. Protoncek (ex.SleeperMan) wrote:
    I would compare the handling of the cameras before purchase, assuming they
    are close on all other grounds. As far as I can tell from reports I have
    read and pictures I have seen, the Canon S3 costs more, but has more
    unwanted gimmicks and produces poorer images than the Panasonic FZ7. I
    want to be free of the hassle of multiple AA cells, so I would prefer the
    Panasonic over the Canon or Sony. The Sony is a bigger, heavier camera
    and (to my eyes) looks ugly; using proprietary memory would also rule it

    No, you can't have it all - that's one reason why there is a place for
    both the DSLR and the small-sensor cameras.

    David J Taylor, Oct 6, 2006
  13. The Panasonic has deliberately reduced the resolution to provide fewer,
    but cleaner pixels. Try viewing the image at full screen size (not 1:1
    zoom) or as a 6 x 4 inch print and you'll probably find it OK.

    David J Taylor, Oct 6, 2006
  14. well, here you have alrady two reasons to decide. I guess you can't miss
    with any of them, so it's really up to a user. Like me...i just couldn't
    imagine me holding that "small" 350D in my small, to light, to
    plastic. 30D is still way better in this way...
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 6, 2006
  15. it's not out of focus, but (i think) that Panasonic at ISO800 doesn't shoot
    in top resolution at all.

    did you ever worked with Neat Image? It CAN eliminate most of that noise,
    shown at S3.
    here is result of 15 second of work with Neat Image:

    image, downloaded form dpreview and filtered...there's nothing to filter on
    panasonic one, though...
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 6, 2006
  16. MaryJane Puxley

    pbdelete Guest

    I compared the Canon S2IS to Panasonic FZ7. And found these differences:

    S2IS FZ7
    ---- ----
    Shuttertime max 15 30
    Zoom when movie Yes No
    Movie mode 640x480 30fps ?
    Sound rec Stereo ?
    Battery 4xR6 Propietary LiON
    Flashformat SD ?

    Note that S2IS "movie" mode has good quality BUT consumes abnormal amounts
    of space (2MiByte/s?). Compare that to Olympus C-770 Movie with 150 KiByte/s
    while still retaining good quality. Thoe Olympus lacks image stabiliser.
    Canon is also recommended by many for haveing good optics. They are also known
    to make keep their interface specifications from software developers.

    It's not a clearcut choice between these two. It's more what aspects matter
    to you..
    pbdelete, Oct 8, 2006
  17. first, compare S3 and FZ7 or S2 and FZ5...these sets are "born" at the same
    time approximately. There were roomers that say FZ5 is "better" than FZ7,

    Second, movie mode consumes about 1.4 MBytes per second because it's motion
    jpeg format, which is most quality among cameras. I guess it's Canon policy
    to stick to that. That's why it's known that Sx movie is comparable (if not
    better) in quality with many cheap video cameras. It's IS is very good, too.
    It's also very simple to edit, cut etc...without loosing ANY quality at all,
    while this is not the case when having MPEG or similar encoding. 150kb/sec
    can't be that brilliant. Also did you check out how big that picture is?
    Canon shoots at 640x480 at 30, say, 15fps already halfs the needed
    space, but also makes movie to look odd...not playing smooth.
    Cards are cheap today and getting 2G will give you 17 minutes of movie,
    which is more than enough if you bear in mind that this is in fact STILL
    camera and not a motion one. IF you would need more, it's better to buy
    videocam instead.

    As for other stuff---shuttertime...well, i doubt that many people having
    compact really use that slow times,so 15 or 30 plays a rule on few people.
    zoom while filming is very usefull.
    stereo sound ...well, this is more commercial stuff than usefull, since
    microphones are too close together to make any difference.
    Batteries...there have been MANY threads about that, so it's very ...up to
    you, really... in general, 100 people, 100 different ideas of which is the
    best. R6 are cheaper, LiIon are expensive, R6 have memory effect, LiIon are
    smaller, R6 can be gought anywhere, LiIon not....etc.....
    And card type doesn't really matter much, since prices are similar and it's
    not thing you buy very often, so i never did give any matter to a card type,
    since i sold my S2 together with SD card included.
    Protoncek \(ex.SleeperMan\), Oct 8, 2006
  18. Fill in a few blanks for the FZ7:

    Max shutter: 60s
    Movie mode 640x480x30, 848x480x30
    Stereo sound: no
    Flash: SD

    (from )

    Daniel Silevitch, Oct 8, 2006
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