Canon S3 IS vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Lumix' 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.

    Thanks,
    MJ
    (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
    #1
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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:
    http://www.david-taylor.myby.co.uk/imaging/moon.htm

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 4, 2006
    #2
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  3. 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,
    etc.

    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.

    -dms
     
    Daniel Silevitch, Oct 4, 2006
    #3
  4. 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
     
    Dave, Oct 5, 2006
    #4
  5. ... 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
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 5, 2006
    #5
  6. 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
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 5, 2006
    #6
  7. 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
    out.

    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
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 6, 2006
    #7
  8. 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
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 6, 2006
    #8
  9. 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
    #9
  10. Fill in a few blanks for the FZ7:

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

    (from http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfz7/ )

    -dms
     
    Daniel Silevitch, Oct 8, 2006
    #10
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