high-end (ish) compact zoom sought

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by bugbear, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. bugbear

    bugbear Guest

    A friend's compact camera (with which she is more or less
    happy) is getting unreliable.

    She is about to go on an expensive holiday to the USA
    (we're in the UK).

    She would like a camera that is reasonably compact,
    easy to use (point and shoot), and gives good results.

    In short, she's interested in photographs,
    not photography ;-)

    Budget is around 120-180 pounds at GP prices.

    Taking all those requirments with a pinch of experience
    and common sense, I think she would be well served
    by a good quality compact zoom.

    I'm guessing "the answer" is something like an
    Olympus Mjiu zoom, or the equivalent from
    Canon or Pentax, Nikon..., but I would welcome any and all
    advice and input.

    bugbear, Jun 7, 2004
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  2. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    Minolta Freedom Zoom 160
    Minox CD 150 (the one i own)
    Olympus mju 80
    Sabineellen, Jun 7, 2004
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  3. Probably not the answer you're looking for, but a bottom-end SLR will give
    better results than most compacts with zoom lenses. The only compact zooms
    most people here would recommend are about 3x her budget.

    That said, my mother has an old (bought used) 80's Yashica zoom that goes
    from 35-105mm; the results are average (i've never done a resolution test;
    despite what you may hear, I actually have a life) but the maximum aperture
    is quite healthy for a compact (something like f5.6 or 6.3 at the 105mm
    Martin Francis, Jun 7, 2004
  4. bugbear

    bugbear Guest

    Indeed. Won't fit in her handbag though. Quality of results is only
    one factor (albeit an important one;-) in her choice.
    Are the 120-180 GP ones unusuably bad? she wants "good snaps",
    not works of art. Clearly a fixed lens compact (e.g. mjiu II) would
    give better quality, but a fixed lens means missing quite a few shots
    that a zoom would "get" for you. It's all about compromise...

    bugbear, Jun 8, 2004
  5. bugbear

    bugbear Guest

    The focussing excellence claimed for the Minolta sounds
    just the sort of thing for my friend.

    The Minox and Olympus sound like fine cameras,
    but the Minolta sounds like a better "point and shoot".

    Can anyone tell me the differences amongst the Riva Vs Freedom
    models, and 140 vs 160.

    Is the Riva/Freedom just a country thing? Is the only difference
    between the 140 and 160 zoom length?

    BugBear (thinking Minolta-ish thoughts).
    bugbear, Jun 8, 2004
  6. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    The only compact zooms
    Which one would that be?

    To original poster... both are within your budget and highly rated as the best
    compact zooms (in terms of optics, especially)
    http://www.unbeatable.co.uk/CatalogueItem_17698.html (they also have it with
    databack for an extra £20, there's on one ebay right now if you wanna bid on

    Also, for the same budget if you're not in a rush, you can find a leica C3 on
    ebay, which she can buy at ebay prices, use, but that's taking a risk for an
    expensive holiday considering it's ebay... that one has a 28-80 lens rather
    than the 38-150 lens on above.

    Also get her the fuji superia ***XTRA*** 400 or 800 and don't worry much about
    lens aperture with that, make sure to tell her to have it with her and
    hand-inspected rather than through x-ray, or she can buy it from there if she
    doesn't mind the extra cost


    and one of those HAMA mini tripod may be useful, i have one that's as small as
    a pen and easy to carry, been useful a few times
    Sabineellen, Jun 8, 2004
  7. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    Is the Riva/Freedom just a country thing? Is the only difference
    The RIVA/Freedom is indeed a country thing, Freedom in the US, Riva in Europe.
    I don't know the answer for the second question, i never owned the camera.
    Sabineellen, Jun 8, 2004
  8. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    What kind of holiday is it? you may wanna consider whether she needs wide angle
    zoom (starts at 28), whether she needs any over-100 zoom, whether she needs
    weather protection... etc

    Go with the Minolta Riva if these considerations don't matter. Consumer reports
    have rated it best compact zoom for years now.
    Sabineellen, Jun 8, 2004
  9. bugbear

    TP Guest

    What about all the shots you miss with a zoom?

    I mean the shots in less than ideal lighting where the typical f/11 -
    f/16 maximum aperture of the zoom fully extended means that you are
    fully four or five stops better off with a Mju II (Stylus Epic) thanks
    to its f/2.8 lens.

    And what about the zoom shots that are a total disappointment because
    of poor optical performance and camera shake?
    TP, Jun 8, 2004
  10. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    I guess it's a question of composition. But here i'll ask, is it better to use
    the 35mm of the mju-ii and crop afterwards or use a zoom lens (lets say mju-ii
    80 or 110 zoom for sake of comparison) for an uncropped shot?
    Sabineellen, Jun 8, 2004
  11. bugbear

    TP Guest

    No it isn't, it is a question of whether it is possible to get a shot,
    or not. The tiny maximum apertures of fully extended p+s zoom lenses
    mean that you simply cannot get the shots in poor light.
    In the circumstances I have described, there is no comparison, because
    the non-zoom camera will produce a good shot but the zoom camera
    cannot produce anything but a very short range flash shot.
    TP, Jun 8, 2004
  12. bugbear

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Huh? This is a really weird list. The FZE/Riva 160 has
    far too slow a lens at the long end to get good results.
    Same for the Minix, if it goes to 150mm. The Epic/Mju 80
    is a piece of trash, even compared to a standard Stylus.

    The best thing that's been written about compact zooms is
    this webpage by John McCormack:


    I recommend looking at "Wide Zooms" then deciding on features.
    As TP points out, there is little point in buying a P&S zoom
    beyond 90mm, because results are always fuzzy from camera shake,
    except with fast film in very bright conditions.
    Bill Tuthill, Jun 8, 2004
  13. bugbear

    David Chien Guest

    David Chien, Jun 8, 2004
  14. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    Huh? This is a really weird list. The FZE/Riva 160 has
    The Minolta and the Minox are based on consumer reports. I don't own the
    minolta, I own the minox but i have not tried it yet (just got it last week
    like new at a third of new cost, don't have batteries yet).

    There's another camera that i don't think McCormick lists but that intrigues me
    a lot and in fact i may get one to test it. The Fuji zoom date f2.8 (aka Silvi
    F2.8). It has a 24-50 lens that's f2.8 at 24. It won an Eisa award where they
    say it "delivers excellent picture quality". It has twin shutter release like
    the contax T3. Weighs 172g (mju-ii is 180). And what's more, the original
    poster can get it for £77 from unbeatable, which is half his budget.


    This pentax is interesting too
    Sabineellen, Jun 8, 2004
  15. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    OKay... in addition to the Eisa award 2003-04... it also won the 2003 TIPA
    award, if awards matter.

    It may actually be an idea for the original poster to buy 2 considering its
    price is half his budget, one to use and one to keep safe in luggage in the
    hotel room in case the one used is lost or damaged. After all, it's an
    "expensive" holiday. Here's more about it...

    Also for the record... here's another nice page i found (though a little
    outdated - march 2003)
    Sabineellen, Jun 9, 2004
  16. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    It's not the only one, though it may be the only one in the US. See my other
    posts about the fujifilm zoom date f2.8, which reportedly is better than the
    pentax 24ew and is half the price.
    Sabineellen, Jun 9, 2004
  17. bugbear

    parv Guest

    I would have bought it if it were available in USA. I contacted
    Fuji USA about the possibility of it being imported; reply was that
    that they did not have any plans to grace US consumers too.

    Anybody know of B&H/Adorama equivalent Canadian mail order store who
    would ship the camera in question to US?

    - parv
    parv, Jun 9, 2004
  18. bugbear

    Sabineellen Guest

    I'm sure european online retailers would ship to the US.
    Sabineellen, Jun 9, 2004
  19. bugbear

    TP Guest

    May the Good Lord save us from consumer reports,
    otherwise known as "the blind leading the blind".

    TP, Jun 9, 2004
  20. bugbear

    TP Guest

    These European awards are given for marketing excellence, not
    technical excellence. Just like "European Car of the Year" and the
    "Eurovision Song Contest", the only certainly is that the winner is
    likely to be bland and fairly incompetent - but highly marketable.

    Occasionally, EISA and TIPA will give an award to something competent
    just to show that they have some credibility. The unfortunate
    recipient of such an award can look forward to being tarred with the
    same brush of mediocrity as the rest of the award winners.

    You will note that Stigma products regularly achieve EISA and TIPA
    awards, which just about says it all.

    In conclusion, you should think very hard before buying anything with
    an EISA or TIPA award. If it has both, run a mile!

    TP, Jun 9, 2004
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