The following question has come in from the question machine:
If you had a choice & budget allowing which of these digital cameras would you choose … Fuji Finepix S1000 FD 10MP 12 x 2.7" LCD @ $368 Sony Cybershot DSCH10 8.1MP 10 3" LCD @ $533 Panasonic TZ15 9.1MP 10 28MM 3" LCD @ $568 Use of camera would be family pics and sporting events eg surf lifesaving carnival. I like the option to zoom right in close my present camera does not offer me this, hence why im upgrading. Would appreciate your opinion on these cameras or recommendation of others you may know of. Thanks for taking the time to read my query look forward to reading your response, cheers. P.s The most I could possibly spend would be tops $600
Firstly, at the risk of immediately diverting your attention for the rest of the day, I must recommend the totally camera-nerdtastic DPReview.com. If you want to lose days of your life, DPReview will bury you in stats and samples until your eyes bleed. It is a wonderously nerdy site, and their camera comparison feature is to die for. They have in-depth reviews for two of your three camera choices, in which the TZ15 beats out the Sony H10.
Serendipitously, I happen to possess a Panasonic TZ5 (identical to the TZ15 in all but moniker) as my personal day-to-day camera. I like it. I do not like the lack of manual controls, but I do like the size, the zoom, the image quality, and the ability to record passable hi-definition video (?here?s one I prepared earlier?, he says, pulling a fresh-baked video from the oven). As with all point-and-shoot digitals, its low-light performance is barely acceptable, but if you don?t mind using a party-vibe killer (haven?t you noticed that flash-photos of parties completely remove any feeling from the night itself?), then you can get away with night shots.
For me it?s all about portability. I stick my TZ5 in my manbag every day, and as a result get some nice shots that I?d never get if I was not carrying around a gigantosaur Canon 5D Mark II (not that I own said camera anyway). From this point of view, I?d immediately discount the Fuji based on size alone.
One thing I did find when moving from a teeny Sony P200 to the TZ5 was that the Panasonic was quite a bit slower to start up. This means you lose one or two spontaneous shots out of every 100 opportunities, but if you have you camera out and at the ready during your sporting events, this won?t be an issue.
I can?t easily think of any other cameras that fit the bill, but you could use DPReview?s feature search page, and set the ?Zoom tele? option to ?200mm+? and you might find something else.
I hope that answers your questions, but please don?t take my cat hostage if you buy the TZ15 and don?t like it.