Which Camera is best in this list for my purposes? and a RANT about prices too... [Long!]

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by RsH, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. RsH

    RsH Guest

    I am looking for a camera for use from a cruise ship's balcony to
    [hopefully] catch whales, and to take photos as we come into and go
    out of ports both for a cruise to Mexico's west coast and to Alaska.
    As well I want to use the camera for other things, but a larger
    optical zoom factor is a must. So the following seem to be the cameras
    I am considering...

    Which of the following is the best choice in your subjective views?

    Some use SD cards while others require a unique and expensive memory
    stick. Some use AA batteries, while others use custom and expensive Li
    Ion Batteries. Each has different features. The lens quality is also
    an issue.

    Steve's Digicam has NOT reviewed the newest cameras in the list yet,
    so I cannot tell if I should even consider those cameras, except that
    the 18x Optical Zoom from FujiFilm is definitely a major factor.

    I will likely have the camera shipped to Utah as the first cruise is
    out of L.A. in about 6 weeks and I can then get it from my son, who
    lives in Utah, at the ship, where we will be meeting. I refuse to pay
    a higher price in Canada for a camera when the Canadian dollar is
    actually worth more so the camera should be cheaper in Canada!

    I also, to try to cut off arguements about the relative size of the
    market, will point out that the prices are equally distorted for the
    EU [which has a larger population than the U.S.], and that the retail
    price shown in almost every press release from each of the
    manufacturers reflects the price as set in Japan by corporate head
    office. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is NOT really set by
    the U.S. or Canadian subsidiary. In some cases the corporate set-up
    has the Canadian corporation subsidiary to the U.S. corporation, which
    adds a layer that has to produce a profit for the U.S. subsidiary, and
    that is part of the distortion in price. In other cases both the U.S.
    and Canadian operations are direct subsidiaries of the corporate owner
    in Japan. I know that... Another difference is that SOME of them
    recognise their warranty on both sides of the border, while others
    play the game of saying you have to buy in Canada for service in
    Canada and in the U.S. for service in the U.S. - since the camera
    comes out of the same factory somewhere in asia, that should be horse
    manure, and I've rarely seen it actually enforced.

    I happen to be a U.S. citizen and a Canadian citizen, born in
    Manhattan. So I am not trying to use a Canadian centric view... I find
    this sort of price disparity unfair wherever I see it... and the
    failure to adjust prices to reflect this sort of inequity most
    annoying. You may disagree but there is the old maxim that the
    "Customer is Always Right" and we speak with our money. The traffic
    over the border to upper New York state this weekend, by shoppers out
    of Toronto, has the crossing into the U.S. taking over an hour once
    someone gets in line at the border bridges. That is talking with one's
    money... and these manufacturers need to get their Canadian prices in
    line with their U.S. prices quickly or their Canadian retailers will
    be in deep trouble.

    [Rumour has it that the prices will be dropping in Canada after a show
    that takes place in Toronto next week. All of the major Camera
    manufacturers will be at the show, so I plan to ask them directly
    about the prices listed below. I have the time to wait a week or two
    before ordering, and will definitely take this opportunity.]

    For information on the show itself, and a list of 'vendors' go to

    So folks, which camera should I buy, and WHY should I choose that
    particular model, or not choose a different model, from the following
    list. [and Yes, I repeat that I recognise that this will all be

    1. FujiFilm FinePix S8000fd 18x Optical Zoom 8.0 megapixel 4-AA
    batteries, 410 grams

    US$284 from Broadway Photo and C$425 from Infonec.com are the
    lowest prices TODAY when the U.S. and Canadian dollar are basically
    identical in value.

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$350 from Sixth Avenue Photo,
    since Broadway Photo seems to have a poor reputation. The argument
    remains the same.

    2. Canon PowerShot SX100-IS 10x Optical Zoom 8.3 megapixel 2-AA
    batteries, 285 grams

    US$241 from Broadway Photo and C$373 at Mostly Digital in Ontario

    Again the prices are out of line since Canon in Japan has set the
    wholesale price in Canada at a higher amount than the wholesale price
    in the U.S. - This camera is hitting the marketplace NOW in October,
    2007 when the U.S. dollar is worth LESS than the Canadian dollar.

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$300 from every photo site
    I've found, including Enterprise Photo, since Broadway Photo seems to
    have a poor reputation. The argument remains the same.

    3. Canon PowerShot S5-IS 12x Optical Zoom 8.3 megapixel 4-AA
    batteries, 450 grams

    US$299 from Broadway Photo and C$438 from Cendirect.com in Montreal.
    Same basic issue on price.... but this camera has been in the market
    place longer.

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$330 from Enterprise Photo,
    since Broadway Photo seems to have a poor reputation. The argument
    remains the same.

    4. Olympus SP-550UZ 18x Optical Zoom 7.4 megapixel 4-AA batteries, 365

    US$276 from Broadway Photo and C$470 from Vistek in Toronto and

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$318 from Enterprise Photo,
    since Broadway Photo seems to have a poor reputation. The argument
    remains the same.

    5. Sony CyberShot DSC-H9B 15x Optical Zoom 8.1 megapixel, NP-BG1,
    PowerPack, Li-ion battery, 407 grams

    US$334 from Broadway Photo and C$459 from Infonec.com in Markham,
    Ontario, as suburb of Toronto.

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$385 from Enterprise Photo,
    since Broadway Photo seems to have a poor reputation. The argument
    remains the same.

    6. FujiFilm FinePix S700 10x Optical Zoom 7.1 megapixel 4-AA
    batteries, 306 grams

    US$169 from Broadway Photo and C$229 from Infonec in Toronto.

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$188 from Amazon.com, since
    Broadway Photo seems to have a poor reputation. The argument remains
    the same.

    7. Panasonic DMC-FZ18K 18x Optical 8.1 megapixel Li-ion Battery Pack
    ($80 to replace), 360 grams

    US$278 from Broadway Photo and C$549 from all the Canadian sellers I

    You can replace Broadway's price with US$390 from Vannis, since
    Broadway Photo seems to have a poor reputation. The argument remains
    the same.

    Weights are without the battery or memory installed, in all cases.


    RsH, Oct 7, 2007
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  2. RsH

    Allen Guest

    RsH wrote:
    I'm not about to give you advice about which camera to buy, but I do
    another piece of advice:

    Don't wait until you are ready to sail to get the camera. No matter
    which you select, you need some time to really get acquainted with it,
    and all its menu items. I can guarantee that if you get a brand new
    camera in your hands just before you start taking whale pictures, you
    are going to be disappointed. Even if it costs you more, the experience
    that you can gain in a couple of weeks, including looking at results on
    something bigger than the camera's LCD screen, will be well worth it.
    And--enjoy what sounds like a great experience.
    Allen, Oct 7, 2007
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  3. RsH

    Fotos4web Guest

    You should DEFINITELY use the camera for a couple of weeks before you
    go on a whalewatching cruise. and take along a couple of spare cards
    too - I went whalewatching and almost ran out of cards myself (I took
    5 spares)
    As to which camera - apart from the price (discussed earlier) get the
    one that feels best in your hands - don't just buy on price as ease of
    use is really more imprtant. If you wear spectacles make sure you can
    still see through the viewfinder (sometimes you can't) - if its a
    model where you compose through the viewing screen then take along
    lots of battereies - you'll need them.(Or buy a couple of sets of
    rechargeable batteries and a high speed charger.) If you are going
    somewhere cold to watch whales then remember that batteries HATE cold
    and tend to flumph when you need them most (like when that tail comes
    up out of the water).Keep your camera warmish but check it's not
    fogged up when you are about to start shooting.
    Keith (fotos4web)
    There's more stuff on my website
    Fotos4web, Oct 8, 2007
  4. RsH

    RsH Guest

    All good advice and mostly already known and considered. As for the
    feel of the cameras, I have a basic problem with every one of them,
    since they are virtually identical in design... I happen to be LEFT

    They do NOT seem to make a left handed version of any of these cameras
    and thus are deliberately ignoring our 'disability', which I think is
    in violation of the Americans with Disability Act and the legislation
    in Canada too, but I cannot convince those in Japan that they need to
    produce a left handed version <a bit tongue in cheek>...

    Lighter has advantages, since I am getting arthritic, but even the
    heaviest of these cameras is only about 18-19 U.S. ounces or 510-530
    grams in weight, so I've eliminated that as a consideration.

    Ability to save images in RAW is a consideration, but since I am NOT
    trying to produce art level images, and the superfine JPG mode is
    'almost' as good, for my purposes it matters but little.

    Panorama mode is one I use, but there I can use the M setting for
    those cameras that are lacking a stitch assist or panorama mode, to
    accomplish the same thing, with a tripod, etc. I've done that many
    times with other cameras that lack this mode, including a FujiFilm
    A101 for 12 image panoramas!

    So the real issues become speed of the camera when taking several
    images in a limited amount of time, and the degree of zoom available,
    optical being foremost, and extended optical as long as quality is not
    lost, even if the image is reduced to 4 megabit from 8 megabit, and so

    The real problem is that I cannot find reviews on most of these
    cameras, so which is best for my purposes becomes a bit of a guessing

    RsH, Oct 8, 2007
  5. Me too, and I found that by far the easiest way of coping was just to
    use my right hand as the dominant hand for controlling the camera. After
    using it (a Panasonic FZ5, predecessor of the FZ18 you mentioned) for a
    while, my reflexes and muscles were well-trained enough that using the
    off hand to control the camera wasn't that big a deal.

    As far as the lack of reviews go, you might try looking for reviews for
    the previous generation of cameras. The superzoom model is by this point
    a fairly mature class of camera, with evolutionary changes between
    generations, rather than drastic shifts. So, look for reviews for the
    FZ8, the S3IS, the H7, and the SP-550. It won't be perfect, but it
    should give you a sense for the relative strengths and weaknesses of the
    different models. There's not going to be a huge amount of difference in
    the core functionality/quality between the different brands, but they do
    differ in details like user interface and so forth.

    Daniel Silevitch, Oct 8, 2007
  6. RsH

    Marvin Guest

    I suggest you choose a camera that uses AA NiMH batteries at
    least, and Li batteries are a good alternative. And it
    should take SD cards, not expensive special cards. Most
    point-and-shoot cameras do not have optical viewfinders
    these days, and framing a shot on an LCD screen in bright
    sun can be hard.

    Be careful which camera shop you order from. Search Google
    Groups with a store's name to see what experience people
    report. Sites with user ratings are easily distorted.
    BHphotovideo.com is very reliable, and has good prices.
    Right now, the Canon you are considering is priced there at
    Marvin, Oct 8, 2007
  7. RsH

    John Turco Guest

    <heavily edited, for brevity>

    Hello, Marvin:

    Here's another excellent source of relevant info:

    ResellerRatings.com - Discount shopping, store ratings, and bargains

    John Turco <>
    John Turco, Oct 12, 2007
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