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Thread: superzoom advice

  1. #1
    Member kodiakbound's Avatar
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    Nov 2007

    Default superzoom advice

    Hey guys, I'm looking to upgrade my Nikon cool pix with a crappy 5x optical zoom to one of the new superzoom point and shoots. I have researched and found a short list of ones that sound good and read lots of reviews, but the problem is I just don't know enough to make a logical decision. I was hoping someone could give me a little advice. I'm in Kodiak and would mostly just like to have something for when I'm out hiking around with enough zoom to get some decent close ups of wildlife.

    What I've looked at so far:

    Canon powershot SX10
    Fujifilm FinePix s8100FD
    Fujifilm FinePix s2000HD
    Olympus SP570 UZ
    Nikon CoolPix P80
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-fz50
    Panasonic Lumix DMC-fz28
    Sony Cybershot DSC-H50

    Any thoughts, or recomendations would be greatly apreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006


    Lots of good choices out there, and I don't think you can make a really bad one.

    One thing I always insist on in a superzoom is optical image stabilization of some sort. Either with a stabilization system built into the lens, or one that that moves the sensor. I believe they all have one or the other, so I would be happy.

    The second thing I would look for is how wide the lens gets. They all go incredibly long, but some don't do much wide at all. I know the Panasonic FZ28 gets wide (27-28mm equivalent), but the FZ50 does not (35-38mm equivalent). The FZ50 is a better camera for a person wanting good control, but the lens on the FZ28 is more versatile, so of the two, it would get my vote.

    I would also look for manual controls for aperture and shutter speed at least, and preferably manual focus too. But not everyone cares about such things, so that's optional.

    I would also want a flash hotshoe. It doesn't have to be a dedicated fancy thing, just a way to hook up an external flash of some type. Again, not everyone cares about this, so you can drop this from your list if you want.

    I also have preferences about battery type. I prefer rechargable AA batteries, but others want lithium. Lithium has more power for it's size & weight, but are generally proprietary, difficult to fine a couple years later, and grossly expensive. They last a couple years before needing to replacement, but they will need it someday, even if unused. In a pinch you can buy disposable AA batteries for cameras that take them, and on an extended trip that can really help.

    And I prefer SD cards, as they are cheaper, faster and more commonly available than xD or Memory Sticks. But if the camera I really wanted used something else, I wouldn't lett his one stop me, as the prices on all of them have fallen a bunch the past few years.

    I would also look at image quality. Anything over 6 megapixels is mostly a waste on these cameras, so that is the last thing I would look at. But I would look at test reports, and notice what they say about high ISO noise. Ideally 400 ISO should be very usable, but on a lot of these small sensor cameras it isn't. While you are checking out the image quality see what the report says about barrel and pincussion distortion. Some of these long zoom range lenses are horrible in this department.

    Finally, read what the reports say about focus speed, consistency and accuracy. Some of these are far better than others, and you can get real frustrated when the camera won't fire because it can't find its focus.

  3. #3
    Member tjm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007


    I do not know a whole lot about cameras, I have the Cannon SX100 IS

    The zoom is one of the features I like about this PAS camera...
    Picture quality is great
    It takes AA batteries which I see as a plus, the lithium batteries last quite a while and I keep an extra set with the camera
    They are still under $300, a lot less than many of the other PAS's

    Overall great camera for the $$
    pull my finger....

  4. #4
    Member kodiakbound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for the detailed reply Jim, I really apreciate it. Cleared some things up and reafirmed some others. I'm really leaning towards the FZ28. All the reviews I've read have been pretty favorable and it seems to have the fewist reported flaws. Plus it's on sale on Amazon for 275 bucks

    Thanks TJM for your input as well

  5. #5
    Member Stogey's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Thumbs up Canon SxIS

    I have had the Canon S1-IS since 2004.

    It came with a 10x OPTICAL zoom. Not digitally enhanced, but optical. No distortion.
    It came with 3.2 mp resolution.

    Let me just say that my experience with the S1 is:
    - Rugged camera - handles an 'outdoor' lifestyle well.
    - Uses regular batteries (this is huge for longer trips)
    - It's fairly small, not credit card sized - but fits in a day pack without any effort
    - Takes great pix; good quality

    When/if it becomes time to replace my S1, I will probably replace it with the newer version of that same line. I have been pleasantly impressed with the results of a 'point and shoot' camera.

    Oh, and it has doubled as a viewer for looking at pictures from my trail camera. Pop the card in... browse the photos in the field.

    Currently Canon has the S5 IS ... 12x optical zoom and 8 mp resolution.

    Good luck; I don't think you'll be disappointed with any of those choices.


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