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Which should I purchase?
Sony DSC-H9 25%  25%  [ 2 ]
Panasonic FZ50 38%  38%  [ 3 ]
Panasonic FZ18 38%  38%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 8
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:53 am 
Hello everyone, new to the site, just stumbled across the site from the youtube reviews. I am currently in the market for a mega zoom camera and I am having a difficult time selecting the one I want. I was able to narrow the choices down to the Sony DSC-H9, Panasonic FZ50 and Panasonic FZ18. I tried comparing all of the features and looked at tons and tons of reviews and am having trouble deciding...I will need the camera for outdoor and indoor photos, I am upgrading from a Kodak Dx6490, so any will be an upgrade, but I do not want to regret my choice. Any information that you guys can provide from experience or reviews would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance Jeff


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:57 am 
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Hi Jeff, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

I'd go for the FZ18 - it's the best all-round super-zoom right now, unless you NEED a flash hotshoe or a zoom which isn't motorised.

I've compared all those cameras in my FZ18 verdict here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panas ... dict.shtml

Gordon


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:14 am 
How does the Fz18 do in low light conditions? I watched your video and all three looked good...The reason the H9 stood out from the rest was the large LCD screen and the nightshot, since I planned on using it in low light or dark conditions...But a lot of reviews and posts I have read were negative towards the H9, I was happy to find the alternatives from your videos... Another thing, I was looking online at some stores, such as Dell and BestBuy and it does not appear that this camera is available, should it be readily available? Thanks again Jeff


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:36 am 
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Hi Jeff, sadly no superzoom or compact performs particularly well in low light - they all have noise issues at higher sensitivities - see our Results and Gallery pages of each review for examples.

The one advantage the Sony has over the others is an infra red 'torch' which lets you take spooky-looking pictures in complete darkness, but only over a short range.

As for stores, have you tried the ones listed on our verdict page? The Panasonic prices and suppliers are at the bottom of this page.

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Panas ... dict.shtml

Gordon

PS - you could also try somewhere like Amazon or Adorama. See this page for links and ways to also support the site if you like!

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Affil ... ping.shtml


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:47 am 
Thank you, I will check those sites out :)
Have you had any experience with http://www.86photovideo.com/default.asp

I saw this recommended in a forum, but am weary to use it cause the prices are so low :) Thanks again Jeff

EDIT: Just found out some REALLY BAD info about the listed above http://www.resellerratings.com/store/86 ... hoto_Video


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:27 am 
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Yep, always check resellerratings for a place you don't know.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:49 am 
Is there any good mega zoom camera for low light situations? I just read another review of the FZ18 and it appeared to perform bad in the low light conditions. I am fairly new to this and still do not know all the tricks to get the best pictures in low light not sure if filters exist for these types of cameras to help make the low light pictures better. Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:22 am 
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Hi Jeff,

I can only go by this review but you may want to consider the Fujifilm FinePix S9600 if sensor noise is a huge issue for you. It's a "super-zoom" but it has a bigger sensor (= potentially lower noise) than most other cameras outside of DSLRs. It's the successor to the S9500 which Gordon reviewed here. One downside is the lack of mechanical image stabilisation and the DMC-FZ18 seems more "feature complete". Are you sure that the DMC-FZ18 sensor noise is a deal breaker?

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:35 am 
Bob Andersson wrote:
Hi Jeff,

I can only go by this review but you may want to consider the Fujifilm FinePix S9600 if sensor noise is a huge issue for you. It's a "super-zoom" but it has a bigger sensor (= potentially lower noise) than most other cameras outside of DSLRs. It's the successor to the S9500 which Gordon reviewed here. One downside is the lack of mechanical image stabilisation and the DMC-FZ18 seems more "feature complete". Are you sure that the DMC-FZ18 sensor noise is a deal breaker?

Bob.

Not 100% sure :) I have seen a lot of really good pics at even high ISO, I use my camera mainly for outdoors/vacations and an occasional low light circumstance, but usually VERY low light, (one of the reasons the SONY H9 stood out was the Nightshot)...Another question for you would be will I notice the noise if I am not cropping 100% ? I mainly use the pictures in scrap book sizes and to be viewed on my monitor.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:30 am 
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Jeffbhhs wrote:
...Another question for you would be will I notice the noise if I am not cropping 100% ? I mainly use the pictures in scrap book sizes and to be viewed on my monitor.

I think all I can do is point you at Gordon's real-life noise results page.

As I am sure you know, the poor sensor noise levels of compact and bridge cameras stems from their use of small sensors. The only way to escape from this is to dip a toe in the DSLR world. Have a look at Gordon's article Should you buy a DSLR or a Compact? for a wider discussion about the pros and cons. The biggest con with most DSLRs is the cost: not only are they a step up in quality but those big, high IQ sensors need bigger lenses and both sensor and lens costs rise rapidly as size increases.

Shoot me down in flames, if you wish, but there might be a way out of this. Have a look at Gordon's review of the Olympus E-410 and check out his gallery shots, particularly the indoor ones. The kit lens received a separate review here as part of Gordon's E-400 review. The E-410 is one of the smaller DSLRs around and you can currently pick it up with the Zuiko Digital ED 14-42 f3.5-5.6 lens in the USA for around $700. If you do this before the end of the year you also get $100 rebate - see here where it states "you can get a cash rebate for your old working digital camera – no matter what brand it is". For $600 that is, in my view brilliant value. The downer, of course, is that you need a telephoto zoom (around $260 if you shop around) to allow you to retire your Dx6490 completely. If the budget is tight would it be an option to forego the rebate and retain the Dx6490 for a while until you can buy a telephoto lens?

If this isn't for you then my last thought is that it might be worth choosing a camera that can save your pictures as RAW files as well as JPEGs. That gives you the option of using software on your PC to reduce sensor noise. There is no guarantee that the results would be better but my gut feeling is that they may be and you would, at the least, gain same creative control over the process.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:10 am 
Hello again and thank you for the reply, what type of software would I need to reduce the sensor noise? As for the DSLR, I am a little afraid to make the step of going to the DSLR, one of the main reasons is the cost of the extra lenses, the other reasons would be possibly allowing dust or any other foreign substance onto the sensor. I try to be very careful with my equipment, but I am not sure if I want to deal with the headache of lens changes and the extra costs. I understand that the quality will be much better. I was very happy with my Kodak and I am assuming that any of the cameras I listed above will take better pictures than that one :) I am not very familiar with the RAW file type, can you elaborate more on that? Thanks again for all the help I like to try and get as much information as possible prior to purchasing anything :)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:27 am 
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Hi Jeff,

I quite understand your decision to avoid DSLRs. Dust can be an extra complication but it's one that many of us accept because of the gains in image quality and flexibility. By the way, when we talk of "dust on the sensor" that is a convenient but misleading phrase as the sensor is protected by a glass filter a few millimetres in front of it. You can see this in the following diagram where it is labelled '8'. The image is clickable if you want to read the underlying article.

Image
    Image
Anyway, back to the subject! There is a very accessible article about the pros and cons of the RAW format here. Because this way of storing images is proprietary you need to check that not only does your future camera support capturing images in this way but that your intended software package is compatible with RAW files from that camera.

Sounds complicated but if a camera supports RAW then the software that came with the camera should support RAW as well and so should offer some basic control over noise reduction. Third party software (check compatibility) which springs to mind is, in no particular order, Adobe Camera RAW, DxO Optics Pro and Noise Ninja but there are lots of other packages out there.

Late breaking news: If you have some time to spare I have just found an article comparing 22 different noise reduction packages here. It was last updated in 2005.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:28 pm 
I have another question about the RAW format, lets say for example I purchase the FZ218 and shoot only in RAW mode, once I have the photos uploaded onto my computer is there any way that the computer can process the file automatically? sorta like the camera would do if it were to just put it in JPEG form from the start? Or will I have to always make changes? thanks again Jeff


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 6:15 pm 
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Hi Jeff,

If I understand your question you are looking for software to automatically process a batch of RAW files that you have transferred to your PC. There are a number of programs which can automate this "workflow".

One example is Bibble and if you check their specs page they support Gordon's FZ18 recommendation. This software includes a version of Noise Ninja. There are other options out there so try this Google search and see what you can find. 8)

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:46 am 
Hello again everyone, I was doing some more reading up on these two cameras and I noticed some things about the speed of the memory cards. What would you guys recommend for the FZ18 and for the H9? I read something about the fz18 requiring high speed SD cards, but not sure what they are exactly. And I was not able to find too much info on the H9.Thanks again Jeff


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