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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:48 am 
Hi guys,

Well, I'm new here so this is not only a question-post but my introduction to this forum too.
I'm from Austria and a lot into travelling and nature photography. This is also the reason why I found this site some months ago when I was looking for a good - my first - DSLR since I decided to find and get the best camera for my adventures. Well, regarding this I decided to go for the K20d, but havn't bought it yet since it'll still take some time until I start my next journey and so I'm hoping for a price drop inbetween.
By the way: thanks to Gordon for the great camera reviews. About 80% of what I know about cameras and their quality characteristics I got from this website and it's excellent content.

Well, now I'd like to ask for your help: I want to buy a new compact travel camera for my sister. From what I read, the Panasonic TZ5 is one of the best around, but it's also quite expensive here and I'm not sure if it'd be the best choice for my sister since she tends to loose thing from time to time...
Now I stumbled over the Samsung S85 and would like to know if anyone here has experience with this camera or maybe someone could give me some advice on what camera good also be of interest for me?

Here're some facts about the S85:

- 8,2 Megapixel-CCD
- max ISO 1600 (wondering if you can still see a picture using this setting...)
- ASR-Anti Shake system
- 35 mm ~ 190 mm equiv. range (=5x optical zoom)

Another point that's quite cool about this camera is that it takes 2x AA Alkali standard batteries, so even if you run out of battery some time you can get new ones nearly everywhere.
The only thing that I don't like is the focal rane of 35 to 190mm equiv... The TZ5 starts at 28mm which would be a lot better for taking family and party photos...

So well, as you can see I am looking for the perfect alround camera with about 8MP, a good zoom (starting with around 30mm), a stable (maybe weatherproof?) housing, good picture quality and a good prize... any suggestions?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 10:20 am 
Hi MattW and welcome to the forums,

I don't believe there are weatherproof cameras of this specification. Olympus has a few but they all have fairly pedestrian 36-108mm lenses. Do you need a large zoom range or a just a wider starting focal length? 35mm is the average but more and more cameras are coming out with focal lengths of 30mm and under. Panasonic has a nice selection of compacts with wide-angle lenses. The LZ10 starts at 30mm and is relatively inexpensive.

Most compacts have a poor high ISO performance and whether ISO1600 is usable or not is very much up to you. If you ask me, it's not pretty.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 11:41 am 
Hi Graham,

wow, thanks for the quick reply, and thanks again for making me look at the LZ10. I havn't seen this camera before altough I did some investigations on the compact market... but it looks very good, 10MP, good focal range and it really fits my budget I will try to find some reviews and example pics...
Well, what I meant with "weatherproof" was that it should be resistant against raindrops, so it does not need to be completely sealed - it just should be able to make photos while it's raining and shouldn't break when the first raindrop hits the housing.
What's more important is that it is built solid, so in case it hits the floor by accident it keeps working. Since Panasonic has quite some experience with building "field-equipment" I have no doubts the LZ10 will fit my needs here.
Regarding the wavelength range the only experiences I have are from my old Olympus C-460 with 35-105mm range. I've never had a problem photographing landscapes with 35mm. usually it was enough and in cases I wanted to make a wider picture I stitched two or more pics together. But I came quite into trouble making family portraits or photos at parties since the 35mm were just not wide enough. That's why the next everyday-camera i buy will need to go beyond 35mm.

Thanks and best regards,
Matt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 11:47 am 
MattW wrote:
Well, what I meant with "weatherproof" was that it should be resistant against raindrops, so it does not need to be completely sealed - it just should be able to make photos while it's raining and shouldn't break when the first raindrop hits the housing.


That's what I meant. There aren't really any full featured compacts that are completely waterproof but Olympus advertises some of theirs to be resistant to splashes and raindrops. However, I'm quite sure most compacts are resistant to drizzle and similar situations.

Glad to help Matt.


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 Post subject: Wide angle pics
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:09 pm 
As an owner and user of several small digicams, I'd say don't be fooled by the wide angle claims. My TZ5 for example is nearly useless at wide angle unless the objects in the photo are very large. Landscape details are just noise, and faces in a large group shot at 28mm have lots of noise, and that's with good lighting and ISO 100.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2008 8:48 pm 
Hi Dalethorn,

thanks for the reply! Do you mean that your TZ5 has different noise at different angles?
I'm a little surprised by that statement, since noise is the problem of the sensor and its sensitivity what again means that the less light comes into the lens, the more sensitivity (or exposure time) is needed. Higher sensitivity means a smaller signal/noise ratio and therefore more visible noise in the result.
If the lens is in wide angle, the most amount of light should enter the camera which again should mean that lowest sensitivity and short exposure times can be used. - or am I seeing anything wrong?

Do you have any explanation?

Best regards,
Matt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:50 pm 
Hi,

well I think this discussion will go far beyond the scope of the Samsung S85 so I decided to start a completely new thread here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5548

Best regards,
Matt


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 Post subject: Noise etc.
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:52 pm 
This is the best explanation I can offer - the TZ5 images look excellent when the objects are large, probably because you don't notice the noise, and sharpening is not required. But when there are many smaller details, such as a lot of faces in a large group, the individual faces look very noisy and distorted, even under ideal lighting at 100 ISO. This isn't just the TZ5 - it's any compact with a 1/2.33 sensor. The Casio EXZ1200 has a 1/1.7 sensor and will take a much better quality image, but the zoom is only 3x. And Casio's outsourced models are inferior quality. Bottom line: The wide angle might be OK with a larger sensor, but the 1/2.33 sensors with wide angle are a bad joke.


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 Post subject: Noise etc.
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:53 pm 
This is the best explanation I can offer - the TZ5 images look excellent when the objects are large, probably because you don't notice the noise, and sharpening is not required. But when there are many smaller details, such as a lot of faces in a large group, the individual faces look very noisy and distorted, even under ideal lighting at 100 ISO. This isn't just the TZ5 - it's any compact with a 1/2.33 sensor. The Casio EXZ1200 has a 1/1.7 sensor and will take a much better quality image, but the zoom is only 3x. And Casio's outsourced models are inferior quality. Bottom line: The wide angle might be OK with a larger sensor, but the 1/2.33 sensors with wide angle are a bad joke.


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