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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> want to buy a 10x optical zoom cam
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01/18/2005 03:31:52 AM · #1
I got a cash gift this week that i'd like to use on a new camera, to replace my failed Olympus 2100.

10x optical zoom is really important to me. I'm leaning toward olympus products again (765 or 770) but I'm willing to switch to another manufacturer if there is a superior product. I'd like to spend less than $500

Who can recommend a digicam with 10x (or greater) optical zoom?

thanks in advance,

Steve (sjgleah)
01/18/2005 03:55:01 AM · #2
Panasonic DMC-FZ20- 12x optical zoom with image stabilzation, 5 megapixel, burst mode, etc. Should be able to find it just under $500.

Message edited by author 2005-01-18 03:58:13.
01/18/2005 04:05:28 AM · #3
or u could buy yourself a fujifilm finepix s5100. 10x, around 400$.
01/18/2005 10:06:08 AM · #4
personally i'd recommend the fuji. great deal for the price, and the lense on those cameras is pretty good. you can get the s5100 for a good price now.
01/18/2005 10:08:58 AM · #5
Only problem with the Fuji ( as I was discussing with my Fuji rep yesterday) is the lack of Image Stabilization. Look at the Minolta DiMage Z3 as well.

Make sure you read the reviews for these cameras first. All of them have limitations. So long as you know them ahead of time, it's not such a problem.

Clara
01/18/2005 10:10:03 AM · #6
The Fuji is fantastic for the money, I used an earlier generation of that cam, and have steered several people towards it, all are in love with it now they own it.

Robt.
01/18/2005 10:10:59 AM · #7
I've been pretty happy with my minolta and I'm sure that it has to close to that price range by now.
01/18/2005 10:14:17 AM · #8
Kodak DX-6490 or Kodak DX-7590. Excellent cams for the money, 10x zoom, tons and tons of features. I highly recommend those.
01/18/2005 10:19:07 AM · #9
the fuji doesn't have IS, but i really don't think it's an issue on a P&S cam that size. Fuji's Super CCD has a lot of advantages over conventional ccd sensors. that alone, i think, makes the fuji the best buy, especially for the money.
01/18/2005 11:35:42 AM · #10
Originally posted by blemt:

... Look at the Minolta DiMage Z3 as well.
Clara


I'm happy with my Minolta Z2 since buying around Thanksgiving in 2004. Wish I had spent the extra $100 and gone for the Z3 in retrospect for the Image Stabilization. The Z2 and Z3 are supposed to have pretty good optics. I've had Minoltas for years and have always been happy with the quality. We tried Fuji cameras twice (for my wife) and both had problems (replaced one under warranty - replacement went wacko also). This was about 18 months ago and was 35mm film - can't speak for their digital products.
01/18/2005 11:54:14 AM · #11
Another in this class is the Canon S1 IS -- 10x Image-Stablized zoom, 3MP, regular CF cards and AA batteries, flip-out/swivel LCD. Should be well under $400 by now ...

Message edited by author 2005-01-18 11:55:00.
01/18/2005 12:01:10 PM · #12
Couple of drawbacks/limitations I've discovered with the Minolta Z2 is the max aperature setting I can manually set is F8, and the highest ISO is 400. Something to consider in your comparisons...

edit...Forgot to mention, on the positive side - for about $15 you can purchase an adapter (or buy the whole wide-angle lens kit $70 to $100) that accepts a 52mm filter (which allows me to use a Cokin filter holder and filters).

Message edited by author 2005-01-18 12:05:08.
01/18/2005 01:38:54 PM · #13
I love my S1.

Cons:
Electronic viewfinder sucks
I wish it was 4 or 5mp
autofocus is slow at high zoom and seems to struggle in low light

Pros:
Great color in the photos
IS works amazingly well allowing 10X an more at hand held
Adapter ring to allow 52mm filters
1.6x Canon teleconverter available to give your 16x
Small & lightweight
AA batteries
ISO setting of 50 has minimal noise
Lots of buttons so settings can be changed easily without going through menus
Swing out and rotatable view screen
Remote is avaialble
Shutter speed up to 1/2000 and down to 15 seconds
continuous shooting at nearly 2 frames per second
30 frames per second video is camcorder quality

Message edited by author 2005-01-18 13:41:28.
01/18/2005 02:06:04 PM · #14
The Panasonic FZ20 is a fantastic camera. I have it and love it. It has 12x stabilized zoom and every bell and whistle you could want for less than $500. It takes lovely pictures with great color and clarity.
01/18/2005 02:23:38 PM · #15
Originally posted by louddog:

I love my S1.

Cons:
Electronic viewfinder sucks
I wish it was 4 or 5mp
autofocus is slow at high zoom and seems to struggle in low light

Pros:
1.6x Canon teleconverter available to give your 16x

Do you have the teleconverter, and how happy are you with it?

I'm thinking of taping a piece of bent wire on top as an "optical viewfinder."
01/18/2005 03:29:57 PM · #16
Yes, I have the teleconverter. It adds 6x of zoom and doesn't seem to degrade quality too much. I've used it hand held mostly with no problems. It's a pain taking on and off because it screws on to the adapter. I'll probably just get another adapter and keep it atached to the teleconverter. Also, when you have it on, you can't pull all the way back other wise you get tunnel vision, so you only want to use it when you need more then 10X of zoom.

01/18/2005 03:42:38 PM · #17
I have the S1 as a second cam and I have to say, it's pretty nice. I also considered the Pan Z3 but was afraid of the noise in the samples I saw.

I never thought I'd think IS was significant for short focal lengths, but now I do. I can shoot indoors at 1/5 of a second. That comes in handy for non-moving subjects.

My only regret with this camera is that it is only 3 mpixels. But what's cool is that it fits in a coat pocket, so you can take it everywhere. I paid about $325 for it.

01/18/2005 03:51:52 PM · #18
Panasonic FZ20 12x Optical @ 432mm with Image stabilizer I & II and full manual mode. Only drawback is the longest SS is 8sec. It does not have a bulb setting. Great Camera I have the FZ1 and FZ20. I am in no means an above average photographer but you can look at my Portfolio and see some of the cameras ability.


01/18/2005 06:59:45 PM · #19
Originally posted by sjgleah:

I got a cash gift this week that i'd like to use on a new camera, to replace my failed Olympus 2100.

10x optical zoom is really important to me. I'm leaning toward olympus products again (765 or 770) but I'm willing to switch to another manufacturer if there is a superior product. I'd like to spend less than $500

Who can recommend a digicam with 10x (or greater) optical zoom?

thanks in advance,

Steve (sjgleah)


Sorry to hear of the demise of your 2100, great camera.
I am also a fan of the long zoom feature in digicams. I have a Canon Pro 90 IS and a Panasonic FZ20. I would push toward the FZ20 but, unlike when the 2100 was new, there are several choices available- Canon S1 IS, K-M DiMage Z3, Panasonic FZ15 & FZ20, Fuji S5100, Oly C-765 and C-770. If you want the very latest in the category (and can stretch your budget) consider the Nikon Coolpix 8800 which is 10x with Nikon's version of stabilizer technology, called VR for Vibration Reduction. You'll find one that fits your needs.
01/18/2005 07:20:49 PM · #20
Originally posted by jxpfeer:

the fuji doesn't have IS, but i really don't think it's an issue on a P&S cam that size.


I can't agree with this comment. As another Olympus 2100 user, with Canon A80 as my 2nd camera, I find the stabilizer to be a very important feature and one I miss on my smaller camera, even with a 3x zoom. I'm also considering upgrading and think the Panasonic FZ20 sounds fantastic. The only thing holding me back is the feeling that I should rather go for 8mp, which would mean the Nikon 8800. I think that's outside your price range though.
01/18/2005 09:08:40 PM · #21
First of all, welcome back to DPC... looks like it's been quite a long time!

Here are a few cameras you might consider. I've filtered based on the following criteria:

All cameras listed here are less than $500. These cameras feature sensors of 4 megapixels or more, a minimum 10x zoom, and allow you to set focus, white-balance, shutter speed and aperture if you like.

Fuji FinePix S5100 Zoom - $324.95 at B&H. The biggest drawback I see on this camera is its longest shutter speed of only 1/4 second. While I'd certainly like to see some more flexibility in these areas, the Fuji does have the advantage of producing clean images I'd put up against any other camera in its price range.

Konika Minolta DiMAGE Z2 - $324.95 at Amazon. I personally had very negative experience with a Minolta camera (issues with heave image noise and with build quality), but there are those here who swear by them, so I list it for your consideration. This camera can handle both hot-shoe and remote slave flashes, and is capable of shutter speeds as long as 15 seconds (30 in bulb mode)

Olympus C-765 UZ - $339.99 at Amazon. You're already familiar with this camera so there's not much I need to say about it. The 16-second longest shutter speed is among the best in this price range and I've always been impressed with the image quality from Olympus cameras.

Pentax Optio MX4 - $273.94 at Amazon. The lack of a proper viewfinder (this camera is LCD-only) and lack of filter capability leave me unimpressed with this camera. It does have an impressive LCD, but if you want to use a viewfinder you're out of luck.

Konika Minolta DiMAGE Z3 - $399.95 at Amazon. Compared to the Z2, you're getting a lot more camera for a little more money here. This camera boasts a 12x optical zoom, image stabilization, a 15-second longest shutter speed (30 in bulb), hot-shoe and remote slave flash support. In macro mode, it can reportedly focus at an incredible 1 cm. From a features standpoint it's a great camera, but some of the user reviews at DPReview echo my concerns about build quality and about excessive noise at ISO settings about 50.

Olympus C-770 UZ - $419.95 at B&H. This camera supports a 16-second shutter speed and a hotshoe flash. The EV adjustment is limited compared to most cameras. This is also the only camera on this list that supports a remote control.

Panasonic DMC-FZ10S - $499.95 at B&H. Coming in at the very top of your price range, this camera offers 12x optical zoom and image stabilization, and a respectable 8 second longest exposure. Noise is a recurring theme in the user reviews though.

Panasonic DMC-FZ15K - $419.99 at Amazon. This camera seems to be a slight upgrade from the 10S, but at a lower price. I'm finding very limited information on this camera, but it appears to be comparable in features to the FZ10S except for 4x digital zoom rather than 3. Like the 10, this camera also has 12x optical zoom and image stabilization, but it also shared its concerns about high noise even at 100 ISO.

Personally, I would recommend going with the Olumpus C-765. I don't really see any compelling features to justify the difference in price between the 765 and the 770, and the image quality from those 2 cameras is probably the best on the list. Since you'll need new memory cards, going with the 765 will allow you to buy them and still remain within your $500 budget.

Best of luck in your search, and I hope this helps.

-Terry

Message edited by author 2005-01-18 21:12:40.
01/18/2005 10:57:47 PM · #22
Originally posted by ClubJuggle:


Fuji FinePix S5100 Zoom - $324.95 at B&H. The biggest drawback I see on this camera is its longest shutter speed of only 1/4 second. While I'd certainly like to see some more flexibility in these areas, the Fuji does have the advantage of producing clean images I'd put up against any other camera in its price range.

-Terry


Just an observation: The S5100 can go up to 15 seconds in manual mode.

Roberto
01/18/2005 11:00:25 PM · #23
Originally posted by rgarciah55:

Originally posted by ClubJuggle:


Fuji FinePix S5100 Zoom - $324.95 at B&H. The biggest drawback I see on this camera is its longest shutter speed of only 1/4 second. While I'd certainly like to see some more flexibility in these areas, the Fuji does have the advantage of producing clean images I'd put up against any other camera in its price range.

-Terry


Just an observation: The S5100 can go up to 15 seconds in manual mode.

Roberto


Too bad it uses XD memory :(
01/19/2005 12:01:28 AM · #24
Originally posted by faidoi:

Too bad it uses XD memory :(


xD Picture Card is smaller, cheaper and, I think, faster in read-write speed than Memory Stick Pro. And it's used by more than one camera manufacturer. What's "too bad" about that? ;)
01/19/2005 12:46:05 AM · #25
Originally posted by coolhar:

Originally posted by faidoi:

Too bad it uses XD memory :(


xD Picture Card is smaller, cheaper and, I think, faster in read-write speed than Memory Stick Pro. And it's used by more than one camera manufacturer. What's "too bad" about that? ;)


I don't use Memory Stick Pro so I don't know. <shrug>
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