need a new point-and-shoot; advice please!

Zithras

Standard Member
A little over a year ago, I asked for information on purchasing a point-and-shoot digital camera for my mother in this thread:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/digi...ons-advice-high-end-sub-500-non-dslr-pls.html

After lots of reading and some wonderful advice, I eventually bought a Panasonic Lumix TZ5. This was an amazing camera, and I was very happy with my purchase. When I was taking pictures I switched it over to manual, adjusted a few settings, and took great pictures, and when she was using it she put it onto intelligent auto, autoflash, and clicked away, taking great pictures.

Unfortunately, it was stolen last week, and I need a new camera for her.

The requirements are essentially the same as last time (see above linked thread), with priorities very slightly rearranged in order:

Priority 1: image quality, with no post-processing needed (mom doesn't know how to use Photoshop, and doesn't plan to learn!)
Priority 2: size (must be pocket-sized: DO count the TZ5 and similar cameras as pocket sized, so this really isn't much of a limitation, since I'm not necessarily limiting myself to the ultra-sub-ultra-tiny-microcompacts)
Priority 3: Ease of use - need to be able to pick it up (once configured), turn it on, and take pictures in seconds.
Pritority 4: Zoom - must have a good zoom - mom loved the 10x zoom on the TZ5 and used it all the time
Pritority 5: Features: the more the better, as long as they're layed out well and easy to use - this isn't a huge issue, but over two nearly equivalent cameras, I might as well take the one with more bells and whistles: I might use them some day. (HD video, infinite burst mode, and the like fall here as 'extra features'; I want this primarily as a pick it up and take a few quick pictures camera)

Not as important: I don't really need RAW support, that goes into 'extra' features. I don't really care about a viewfinder (the TZ5 didn't have one, which I thought would be a disaster, but it was fine. It needs to accept at least SDHC cards, but they all do nowadays. I'd brefer a built in flash to a popup flash (most cameras have a built in flash anyway). Much more information on my needs in the linked thread.

Please could you recommend a good camera for me! Budget is not an issue (anything under $500, will spend more on top for accessories).

Looking at some what's currently available, a few cameras stand out (if you have a different preference, please mention it - I've only been looking for a few days, so certianly havent' seen them all yet!):
Canon S90
Canon G11
Fujifilm F80
Lumix DMC-LX3
Canon SX210
Panasonic DMC-7S7K
Panasonic DMC-FH20

Of these, 4 seem to be clearly above the crowd (maybe 5, but the G11 looks very clunky, crowded, and overly complicated for her)
1. Canon S90 - compact, powerful, and an amazing 1/1.7 CCD. Looks amazing. The only problem is the extremely weak 3.8x optical zoom. If I were buying a point-and-shoot camera for me, I'd probably get this. Unfortunately, the zoom isn't nearly the 10x mom was used to, and I think she'll really miss it.
2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 - had to mention it, since it has the biggers CCD of the lot! (1/1.63). Again though, not enough zoom (2.5x optical)
3. Panasonic DMC-ZS7K This seems to be the big brother of the TZ5, and basically what they replaced that camera with. Upgrades in every way (more megapixels, sdxc support, ginormous 12x optical zoom), but what REALLY worries me is they increased the Megapixel count from 9 to 14 (!) without changing the size of the CCD chip (the tiniest of the lot, at 1/2.33, the same as the TZ5). It worked for the TZ5, but I'm worried about this having a major impact on image quality (but who knows, maybe they've increased the chip quality or compression/noise algorithms or something - that's why I'm asking stuff; to learn :) )
4. Fujufilm F80EXR - this seems to come the closest to having everything I want, and being a TZ5 replacement, despite it not being Panasonic. The CCD is a respectable 1/2"; a solid step up from the 1/2.33 of the TZ5, with a few more MP (12), and the same 10x zoom. A few things worry me though. In the past, I've tried to purchase, Canon, Panasonic, and (maybe, though very upset with the last one) Olympus. Even though the numbers are there, Fujifilm just isn't associated in my mind with quality the way Canon is. Perhaps this has changed, but the abnormally low price tag (considering the feature set), and the brand name makes me a bit hesitant - are Fujifilm cameras now solid contenders at the top of the point-and-shoot heap, or am I right to stay away?

Finally, if camera technology has inexlicably not progressed in the last year, and the ZS7K, F80EXR, or anything else would just be a step backwards, there's always the option of buying another used TZ5 on ebay :)

What should I get?

Thank you for your advice, and your patience in reading this long post and the even longer linked post!
Zithras


Edited to get rid of wall of text - forgot to allow yahooapis
 

OrbitalPete

Novice Member
Not surea bout the rest as it's a long time since I looked at the compact market, but to put your mind at rest - Fuji produce some of the best compacts on the market. I was the ecstatic owner of a Finepix F30 (a legendary beast) until it suffered a careless and much regretted accidental death-by-glacier when on fieldwork.

Not sure why you're cautious about Fuji, but there really is no need to be.
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
If you're concerned about the ZS7's pixel count, what about the ZS3 (TZ7)? These are available cheap as they've been replaced now but they still have many of the best features of the ZS7 with the same optical zoom, high resolution screen, HD movie mode and multi-aspect ratio screen (no GPS though).

While I'm a big fan of the LX3, I think it's out straight away along with the S90 as both do have very short zoom ranges which are going to be frustrating if you're used to have a superzoom.

I have the F80's predecessor which is the F70 and from some reviews I've read they reckon the older F70 is generally better but I've been very disappointed with it. Despite some positive reviews the results aren't that good from it, the automatic modes are erratic and it just feels 'cheap' in its build and quality particularly the flimsy mode dial and low quality screen. I used to be a big fan of Fuji but not with this camera which hopefully I'll be able to get sold this week so it's not a total loss.

John
 
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square-eyes-baz

Novice Member
I had the F70 and took it back, agree with all you say.
I found it inferior to my F100 in build quality and picture quality.



If you're concerned about the ZS7's pixel count, what about the ZS3 (TZ7)? These are available cheap as they've been replaced now but they still have many of the best features of the ZS7 with the same optical zoom, high resolution screen, HD movie mode and multi-aspect ratio screen (no GPS though).

While I'm a big fan of the LX3, I think it's out straight away along with the S90 as both do have very short zoom ranges which are going to be frustrating if you're used to have a superzoom.

I have the F80's predecessor which is the F70 and from some reviews I've read they reckon the older F70 is generally better but I've been very disappointed with it. Despite some positive reviews the results aren't that good from it, the automatic modes are erratic and it just feels 'cheap' in its build and quality particularly the flimsy mode dial and low quality screen. I used to be a big fan of Fuji but not with this camera which hopefully I'll be able to get sold this week so it's not a total loss.

John
 

Zithras

Standard Member
As I said earlier (edit: oops maybe I didn't!), if it were for me I'd go with the G11, but the zoom on the Canons just won't cut it (I confirmed with her last night that she wants lots of zoom).

Reading reviews yesterday and this morning, the general consensus is that the F80EXR is mediocre, at best, and suffers in image quality, build quality, and pretty much everything but lowlight shots. Like the TZ7-TZ10, then F70-F80 seems a step in the wrong direction. Overall, Fuji's point and shoots don't seem to be scoring as well in reviews as the Canons and Panasonics, so I feel justified (for this personal purchase, at this time) in being a bit hesitant to buy Fujifilm.

It seems like the best solution here is to get the next step up: DMC-TZ7 (ZS3)

The design is the same as she's used to, and the image quality's great.

I'm still glad I posted questions, or I would have probably bought the ZS7 (luckily other threads/boards/reviews steered me away), which, although this year's model, is inexplicably a step in the wrong direction, with better video/audio (not needed by me anyway as this will primarily be a camera), but hits in battery life (especially with the GPS, which is nice, but unusable with its battery consumption), and (inexcusably) in image quality.

Since the TZ7 has better image quality than the TZ10 (why oh why won't they use bigger CCD sensors if they're cramming on 14 MP?!), it looks like the TZ7 it shall be.

Thanks!
Zithras
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
Since the TZ7 has better image quality than the TZ10 (why oh why won't they use bigger CCD sensors if they're cramming on 14 MP?!), it looks like the TZ7 it shall be.
To pack such massive zooms into tiny bodies you need to make the lens as small as possible which means making the sensor very small, the compacts that use larger sensors in a similar sized package have to use smaller zoom ranges.

After being disappointed with the Fuji, I've picked up a Casio EX-FH100 which has slow motion video and it goes very wide at 24mm. I mainly bought it for the slow motion which I've wanted for a while but Casio haven't offered it in a package I'd use, I've been having a lot of fun with that side of it (first effort is here A collection of clips of Alfie in slow motion on Vimeo) but general reviews aren't great and I haven't used the camera side enough yet. I feel that if the TZ5 worked well, the TZ7 is a logical choice.

John
 

shotokan101

Distinguished Member
As I said earlier (edit: oops maybe I didn't!), if it were for me I'd go with the G11, but the zoom on the Canons just won't cut it (I confirmed with her last night that she wants lots of zoom).

<snip>

Thanks!
Zithras
Tell her "Size doesn't matter - except when it's sensor size" :laugh:

Jim
 

RustySpoons

Well-known Member
Have a look at my thread on the Samsung EX-1 :)
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
While the EX-1 looks interesting, it's limited zoom range clearly doesn't suit the requirements here.

John
 

RustySpoons

Well-known Member
Bit odd that you didn't recommend the F70EXR as you did here :-

http://www.avforums.com/forums/12507263-post6.html

:confused:

JIm
They were talking about camera's such as the G11 which this camera is in the same segment, the f70 had already been dismissed in this thread.

The f70 I have is a cracking little camera, it lives in the glovebox of my car. But it's not in the same league as the EX-1.

Plus in the other thread it was asking about a camera between £100-£200, bit different price requirement in that other thread is it not?.

There is a telephoto add on lens available for the ex-1 if the OP requires a bit more on the tele end.
 
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shotokan101

Distinguished Member
Cheers - didn't realise the F70 had already been ruled our earlier

Jim
 

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