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Canon S2 IS versus Panasonic DMC FZ7

 
 
Karen Selwyn
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      02-09-2006, 01:25 PM
I'd love some advice before buying either the Canon S2 IS or the
Panasonic DMC FZ7. (I know that the Panasonic FZ7 won't be available for
a couple of weeks.)

I'm looking at those two cameras for their high zoom and macro
capabilities. I've read reviews that suggest both camera have problems
focusing at high zoom. This matters to me as I am more likely to take a
photo of an architectural detail than a photo of a whole building. Also,
is the zoom feature continuous? I read a site (now I remember neither
the site nor the camera) which praised the continuous transition of the
zoom. (It may have been the Kodak P850 which I rejected on the basis of
lesser picture quality.)

I don't expect to use either the creative settings or the movie mode. I
want the best result in auto mode.

I have tiny hands so, in a perfect world, the best camera will be the
smallest and lightest. Ultimately, the photo quality matters more than
weight. I'm currently using an Olympus Stylus 10X which weighs 10
ounces. The Canon weighs 14 ounces and the Panasonic weighs 11 ounces.

Recommendations please! Thanks!

Karen Selwyn

 
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Daniel Silevitch
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      02-09-2006, 02:11 PM
On Thu, 09 Feb 2006 08:25:19 -0500, Karen Selwyn <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I'd love some advice before buying either the Canon S2 IS or the
> Panasonic DMC FZ7. (I know that the Panasonic FZ7 won't be available for
> a couple of weeks.)
>
> I'm looking at those two cameras for their high zoom and macro
> capabilities. I've read reviews that suggest both camera have problems
> focusing at high zoom. This matters to me as I am more likely to take a
> photo of an architectural detail than a photo of a whole building. Also,
> is the zoom feature continuous? I read a site (now I remember neither
> the site nor the camera) which praised the continuous transition of the
> zoom. (It may have been the Kodak P850 which I rejected on the basis of
> lesser picture quality.)
>
> I don't expect to use either the creative settings or the movie mode. I
> want the best result in auto mode.
>
> I have tiny hands so, in a perfect world, the best camera will be the
> smallest and lightest. Ultimately, the photo quality matters more than
> weight. I'm currently using an Olympus Stylus 10X which weighs 10
> ounces. The Canon weighs 14 ounces and the Panasonic weighs 11 ounces.


I have the FZ5, the camera that the 7 will replace, so I can give you
some feedback.

In anything approximating good light, I've never had a problem focussing
at full zoom. In low light, the autofocus can sometimes hunt somewhat,
but generally gets to the right place eventually.

The zoom is not truly continuous, but there are something like 20 or 30
steps in it, so it feels pretty close to continuous. If you want a real
continous zoom, you'd have to get an FZ30 with its manually-powered
zoom. I've never been limited in framing by the zoom step size; the
steps are small enough that you can jog the zoom slightly without
trouble.

Auto mode works pretty well until the light levels get low; then you
have to switch to one of the manual modes. For some reason, the longest
shutter time in auto is 1/4s. However, I believe that the FZ7 eliminates
that particular bit of silliness.

Some examples of pictures I took using the FZ5, in a range of situations
(zoom, wide angle, low light, etc):
http://ri22.uchicago.edu/~dmsilev/hawaii/

To be fair and complete, I should note that people I've talked to with
the Canon have also generally been happy with their camera. Both models
give good results.

-dms
 
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SleeperMan
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      02-09-2006, 06:23 PM
Karen Selwyn wrote:
> I'd love some advice before buying either the Canon S2 IS or the
> Panasonic DMC FZ7. (I know that the Panasonic FZ7 won't be available
> for a couple of weeks.)
>
> I'm looking at those two cameras for their high zoom and macro
> capabilities. I've read reviews that suggest both camera have problems
> focusing at high zoom. This matters to me as I am more likely to take
> a photo of an architectural detail than a photo of a whole building.
> Also, is the zoom feature continuous? I read a site (now I remember
> neither the site nor the camera) which praised the continuous
> transition of the zoom. (It may have been the Kodak P850 which I
> rejected on the basis of lesser picture quality.)
>
> I don't expect to use either the creative settings or the movie mode.
> I want the best result in auto mode.
>
> I have tiny hands so, in a perfect world, the best camera will be the
> smallest and lightest. Ultimately, the photo quality matters more than
> weight. I'm currently using an Olympus Stylus 10X which weighs 10
> ounces. The Canon weighs 14 ounces and the Panasonic weighs 11 ounces.
>
> Recommendations please! Thanks!
>
> Karen Selwyn


as owner of S2, i never experienced any problems focusing in any position,
and that includes max zoom mode. I even have extra adapter which also works
quite well. Zoom is continous or not, as you set in settings.
I guess you alreasy know that you can't have all...small and light camera
and big zoom at the same time. S2 is bigger and heavier, but it's quite
excellent camera. But, i guess to be sure it's best that you hold them both
in your hands, if you will have option maybe do some test shooting and then
decide. some test shots i have on my web page for viewing:
http://www.protoncek.com

--
Visit my web page at http://www.protoncek.com


 
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SMS
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      02-09-2006, 06:52 PM
Karen Selwyn wrote:
> I'd love some advice before buying either the Canon S2 IS or the
> Panasonic DMC FZ7. (I know that the Panasonic FZ7 won't be available for
> a couple of weeks.)
>
> I'm looking at those two cameras for their high zoom and macro
> capabilities. I've read reviews that suggest both camera have problems
> focusing at high zoom. This matters to me as I am more likely to take a
> photo of an architectural detail than a photo of a whole building. Also,
> is the zoom feature continuous? I read a site (now I remember neither
> the site nor the camera) which praised the continuous transition of the
> zoom. (It may have been the Kodak P850 which I rejected on the basis of
> lesser picture quality.)
>
> I don't expect to use either the creative settings or the movie mode. I
> want the best result in auto mode.
>
> I have tiny hands so, in a perfect world, the best camera will be the
> smallest and lightest. Ultimately, the photo quality matters more than
> weight. I'm currently using an Olympus Stylus 10X which weighs 10
> ounces. The Canon weighs 14 ounces and the Panasonic weighs 11 ounces.
>
> Recommendations please! Thanks!


I think I'd go with the Panasonic. The FZ7 will probably have the same
noise issues as the FZ5, but the S2 is noisy too.

At least with the FZ7 you get the the Li-Ion battery. For $350 it's a
pretty good deal, the Canon is about $75 more.
 
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SleeperMan
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      02-09-2006, 08:13 PM
SMS wrote:
> Karen Selwyn wrote:
>> I'd love some advice before buying either the Canon S2 IS or the
>> Panasonic DMC FZ7. (I know that the Panasonic FZ7 won't be available
>> for a couple of weeks.)
>>
>> I'm looking at those two cameras for their high zoom and macro
>> capabilities. I've read reviews that suggest both camera have
>> problems focusing at high zoom. This matters to me as I am more
>> likely to take a photo of an architectural detail than a photo of a
>> whole building. Also, is the zoom feature continuous? I read a site
>> (now I remember neither the site nor the camera) which praised the
>> continuous transition of the zoom. (It may have been the Kodak P850
>> which I rejected on the basis of lesser picture quality.)
>>
>> I don't expect to use either the creative settings or the movie
>> mode. I want the best result in auto mode.
>>
>> I have tiny hands so, in a perfect world, the best camera will be the
>> smallest and lightest. Ultimately, the photo quality matters more
>> than weight. I'm currently using an Olympus Stylus 10X which weighs
>> 10 ounces. The Canon weighs 14 ounces and the Panasonic weighs 11
>> ounces. Recommendations please! Thanks!

>
> I think I'd go with the Panasonic. The FZ7 will probably have the same
> noise issues as the FZ5, but the S2 is noisy too.
>
> At least with the FZ7 you get the the Li-Ion battery. For $350 it's a
> pretty good deal, the Canon is about $75 more.


not good idea...to start with battery again...not long ago a biiiig thread
resulted on this topic...meaning which one is better...
like i said...it's best to wait, hold it, take or at least see some shots
and first reviews and decide. It maybe a good deal, it may be a bad either.
It happened before that a good product was corrupted in next model...

--
Visit my web page at http://www.protoncek.com


 
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Karen Selwyn
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      02-09-2006, 11:08 PM
SleeperMan wrote:
>
>>I think I'd go with the Panasonic. The FZ7 will probably have the same
>>noise issues as the FZ5, but the S2 is noisy too.
>>
>>At least with the FZ7 you get the the Li-Ion battery. For $350 it's a
>>pretty good deal, the Canon is about $75 more.

>
>
> not good idea...to start with battery again...not long ago a biiiig thread
> resulted on this topic...meaning which one is better...
> like i said...it's best to wait, hold it, take or at least see some shots
> and first reviews and decide. It maybe a good deal, it may be a bad either.
> It happened before that a good product was corrupted in next model...


I'm a complete novice; this will be my first digital camera. As a
result, I'm confused by your comment and, generally, overwhelmed by the
whole array of choices and issues!

You appear to be saying only one of the models uses batteries. Are you
drawing a distinction between renewable batteries and ordinary
batteries? If so, which camera takes which type? What do you recommend
(or was the thread name obvious so I can go to Google Groups)?

IIRC, the Canon runs on AA batteries so it has the option of operating
on widely-availble, conventional batteries if something goes wrong with
the charger or the re-chargeable batteries. I don't remember what the
Panasonic uses.

Thanks.

Karen Selwyn

 
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ASAAR
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      02-09-2006, 11:49 PM
On Thu, 09 Feb 2006 18:08:46 -0500, Karen Selwyn wrote:

> I'm a complete novice; this will be my first digital camera. As a
> result, I'm confused by your comment and, generally, overwhelmed by the
> whole array of choices and issues!
>
> You appear to be saying only one of the models uses batteries. Are you
> drawing a distinction between renewable batteries and ordinary
> batteries? If so, which camera takes which type? What do you recommend
> (or was the thread name obvious so I can go to Google Groups)?
>
> IIRC, the Canon runs on AA batteries so it has the option of operating
> on widely-availble, conventional batteries if something goes wrong with
> the charger or the re-chargeable batteries. I don't remember what the
> Panasonic uses.


Several years ago digital cameras used so much power that for many
of them the use of alkaline AA batteries was prohibitively
expensive. Batteries had to be replaced far too often Even if NiMH
AA batteries were used, battery life wasn't very good, sometimes
being as low as a couple of dozen shots per charge. At that point,
cameras that used rechargeable lithium batteries were good choices
because they provided decent (if not great) battery life. They also
have a better "self-discharge" property than NiMH batteries that can
sometimes be an advantage, but not always. If you're not familiar
with that term it just means that even if the batteries are not
installed in a camera, they'll slowly lose their charge, so if NiMH
batteries are needed and it's been a month or two since they were
last charged, they'll have lost a good amount of their full charge.
Lithium batteries can go several months longer before needing to be
recharged. In this respect, alkaline batteries have a *excellent*
self-discharge rate, since they'll retain most of their charge many
years after they were purchased.

Many cameras designed within the last couple of years have solved
the battery problem *completely*, primarily due to being designed to
use much less battery power. As an example, Canon's A610 and A620
can easily take more a couple of thousand shots using AA batteries.
If the flash (which uses a great deal of battery power) is used for
many of the shots, these cameras can still take 1200 shots using
alkalines or 1500 shots per charge using NiMH batteries if the
viewfinder is used instead of the LCD display. These cameras use
4AA cells and I don't know how many the Canon S2 IS uses. If it's
only two, then you could assume it would take slightly less than 1/2
the number of shots per battery set/charge. Even if it's only good
for 300 or 400 shots, that's still not too shabby. It would be
enough for me to go at least several days before the batteries would
need to be replaced or recharged.

Even if you prefer AA batteries (you're right - they're cheap and
easily bought 24 hours/day, almost everywhere), if you really like
the Panasonic cameras (which I assume use rechargeable lithium
batteries) don't let that stand in the way of getting one. They're
good cameras too, but I'd have one qualm. When I saw them in a
display case they looked very boxy and uncomfortable to hold.
Obviously many people think they're just fine, but if I was faced
with the choices you are, I'd want to try one is a camera shop first
to see if the camera "feel" is better than appearances indicate.

 
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Daniel Silevitch
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      02-10-2006, 12:31 AM
On Thu, 09 Feb 2006 18:49:33 -0500, ASAAR <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Even if you prefer AA batteries (you're right - they're cheap and
> easily bought 24 hours/day, almost everywhere), if you really like
> the Panasonic cameras (which I assume use rechargeable lithium
> batteries) don't let that stand in the way of getting one. They're
> good cameras too, but I'd have one qualm. When I saw them in a
> display case they looked very boxy and uncomfortable to hold.
> Obviously many people think they're just fine, but if I was faced
> with the choices you are, I'd want to try one is a camera shop first
> to see if the camera "feel" is better than appearances indicate.


I would say that if your hand is big enough to curl around the grip
without stretching, the camera will be comfortable to hold. That's the
sort of thing, of course, that needs to be experienced first hand. She
said she has small hands, so that's something that needs to be checked.
The FZ5 is somewhat blocky, but it's small (compared to e.g. the S2IS)
which makes it less of an issue. From the previews I've seen, the FZ7 is
considerably less blocky than the 5. It's hard to tell from the preview
pictures, but the grip seems to be about the same size.

And yes, the FZ series uses lithium batteries.

-dms
 
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SMS
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      02-10-2006, 01:01 AM
Karen Selwyn wrote:

> I'm a complete novice; this will be my first digital camera. As a
> result, I'm confused by your comment and, generally, overwhelmed by the


The noise issue is significant with these small sensor, high megapixel,
CCD cameras because the pixel size is so small. You have to accept that
you really can't use anything higher than ISO 200, and often even the
ISO 200 is noisy. Panasonic seems to constantly get panned for noise
issues, but it may be simply because their cameras are so compelling in
other ways and the noise spoils what would otherwise be an outstanding
product line-up.

> IIRC, the Canon runs on AA batteries so it has the option of operating
> on widely-availble, conventional batteries if something goes wrong with
> the charger or the re-chargeable batteries. I don't remember what the
> Panasonic uses.


Yes the advantage of AA batteries is the ability to use conventional
batteries in a pinch. However there are significant advantages to Li-Ion
as well. You can read about the trade-offs between the two types of
batteries at "http://batterydata.com". It's a site I put together to
bring together all the issues in the battery debate in a clear and
unbiased manner.

As someone else pointed out, it may be unwise to rush out and buy a FZ7,
prior to some independent reviews. It is quite possible that the FZ7
will be worse than the FZ5, because the increased resolution will mean
more noise. You might be better off with the FZ5.

If the noise is the same on both, go with the Panasonic for the lower
price and the Li-Ion battery.
 
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ASAAR
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      02-10-2006, 01:32 AM
On 9 Feb 2006 16:27:21 -0800, (E-Mail Removed) wrote:

> ASAAR.... What a nice, straight-forward explanation of battery
> OC's (operating characteristics :-)


Thanks. Or you're welcome. Or something.

 
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