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Thread: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

  1. #1

    Default Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Am currently using Canon Ixus 400. Ya, damn old camera. Anyway, its nice & compact just that the zoom is only 3x optical. Not sufficient at times. I frequent roadshows pretty often & sometimes you just can't get close enuf to the stage so you HAVE to zoom.

    Don't intend to get those bulky SLR type cameras 'cos they're way too big. I'm not necessary looking for something tiny enuf to fit in my jeans pocket. As long as its reasonably compact & can fit into my sling bag, that'll do.

    Now I've been looking around & I notice that the smallest cam with the most powerful optical zoom is the Coolpix S4. What I like about it is the 10x zoom and the fact that it has a swivel screen. Damn useful when you need to raise your arms & then snap photos 'cos someone in front is blocking. Unfortunately it doesn't have an image stabiliser. Would that be an issue? I don't use tripod, too much of a hassle for a non-pro.

    I mean technically speaking I guess if I zoom out to 10x optical WITHOUT stabiliser, the picture MIGHT be blurry. But the thing is, I have a Canon camcorder which has optical stabiliser. And despite this, even the smallest shakes still appear. Which lead me to wonder if the stabiliser even works at all.

    Now the DMC-LZ1 has an optical stabiliser but the zoom is only 6x optical. So right now I'm in a dilema. The extra zoom provided by the S4 will prob come in handy more often than not. And there's that swivel screen too. But LZ1 has stabiliser.

    ARGH!!! Anyone have any comments/recomendations?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    well if you want both the swivel screen and stabiliser,you can consider canon S2.
    12X optical zoom as well but don't expect its ISO 400 performance to be good since its CCD is not the size of dslr format yet,same case with FZ5.
    heavier stuff like the dslr KM 5D will work well with AS.
    on the other hand lighter cameras like FZ5 must try to perfect holding technique to get the best out of its image stabiliser.
    and there may even be some shots that still need tripod especially when using slow shutter speed.
    so having image stabiliser does not mean that you don't need to use tripod but only reduce the chances of having to use one.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon_84
    well if you want both the swivel screen and stabiliser,you can consider canon S2.
    12X optical zoom as well but don't expect its ISO 400 performance to be good since its CCD is not the size of dslr format yet,same case with FZ5.
    heavier stuff like the dslr KM 5D will work well with AS.
    on the other hand lighter cameras like FZ5 must try to perfect holding technique to get the best out of its image stabiliser.
    and there may even be some shots that still need tripod especially when using slow shutter speed.
    so having image stabiliser does not mean that you don't need to use tripod but only reduce the chances of having to use one.
    Problem is the S2 is rather big & bulky. Although I'm not looking for something super slim like the Sony T9, but then again I'm hoping it can be as compact as possible. When you compare Canon S2 with Coolpix S4, the S2 is quite a bit bigger.

    With my Ixus 400, I notice when I zoom out to 3x optical or to 6x digital, blurring occurs more often. If I snap 20 pics, as many as 10 can be blurry. That's why I'm worried about getting the S4. If 3x already so terok, I think if I hit 10x optical, confirm even more blurry. Some more no stabiliser.

    But Nikon claims that the S4 has a fixed aperture of F3.5 and therefore the brightness from the lens would enable it to have a fast shutter speed thus removing the need for an image stabiliser. Does that make sense? Or is it just an excuse to cover the fact that it has no stabiliser?
    Last edited by wheek; 24th January 2006 at 12:48 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    I'm no expert and do not know all and haven't done any detailed research on the 2 models you mention but here's my view.

    A lot of answers to your questions depends on the light condition.

    If you're talking about indoor kind of events (e.g. singer autographs sessions), then there may be a very high risk that you will get blur at the 10x zoom on the S4 because the shutter speed may get as low as 1/15 or 1/30 at F/3.5 which is 2 or 1 stops below the minimum shutter speed of 1/focal length (1/63mm at 10x zoom). If you don't zoom at all on the S4, then the focal length is only 6.3mm and blur by handshake is more likely only if shutter speed is slower than 1/6.

    To decide, you have to

    1) understand what kind of light condition you'll mostly be shooting in and then have an idea of what shutter speed is necessary for proper exposure at the aperture size and ISO you will be using (usually the largest (i.e. smallest F/ number) for compact cameras in such situations).

    2) read some detailed reviews of the 2 cameras and check out the focal lengths of the zoom. Be wary of noise levels at high ISO.

    Compare the shutter speed in (1) with the 1/focal lengths in (2) at various zoom levels.

    If shutter speed is more than 1 stops slower than 1/focal length, then there high risk of blur. If just marginally slower, then it depends very much on how steady your hands are. But better if it's at least as fast because you are unlikely to be able to hold your camera steady in those kind of crowded situations and as you hold it above your head. From here you can have a rough idea of to what extent the zoom can be used in the kind of light conditions. For e.g. if 1/30 is the shutter speed for proper exposure, then the S4 zoom may be useful practically up to about 5x only (if handheld).

    Stabiliser compensates about 2 stops only and is not a panacea to all shakes and all light conditions (shutter speed vs 1/focal length rule again). If the camera has stabiliser, then you can afford to have shutter speed as slow as up to 2 stops below 1/focal length. E.g. if focal length is 63mm, then the marginal case would be around 1/15 shutter speed. If it's more than 2, then blur will still occur even if there is stabiliser.

    Basically, do not be too hyped up by the specifications of the cameras because it may appear good on paper (such as 10x zoom or image stabiliser) but is not useful in the kind of light conditions you will be shooting in.

    The above is just my personal view and may not be 100% correct.
    Last edited by Clockunder; 24th January 2006 at 01:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?










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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    espn sure supports Nikon S4.

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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clockunder
    espn sure supports Nikon S4.
    Compact, cheap, extensive zoom (10x), amazing constant max f/3.5 througout, no zoom barrel extending, uses AA batteries, 2.5" LCD screen.

    Why not???

  8. #8

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Thanks for the feedback. Well it'll be mostly used for taking celeb photos lah. As to what kind of event, it depends on what they plan, I wouldn't know.

    Could be autograph session in a shopping centre. Could be roadshow on a shopping centre stage. Could be outdoor roadshow under the open skies. Day event, night event. I really can't say for sure.

    As for focal length, all I see for S4 is f = 6.3-63mm (equivalent to 38-380mm). I'm guessing that's it?
    Last edited by wheek; 24th January 2006 at 02:02 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by wheek
    Thanks for the feedback. Well it'll be mostly used for taking celeb photos lah. As to what kind of event, it depends on what they plan, I wouldn't know.

    Could be autograph session in a shopping centre. Could be roadshow on a shopping centre stage. Could be outdoor roadshow under the open skies. Day event, night event. I really can't say for sure.
    Check your old pictures and then see what kind of shutter speed, aperture size and ISO were used for the various events and thereby find out the kind of exposure needed for each type of events.

    From there, you can do your own calculations to see what kind of shutter speed would result for the 2 cameras in question at the various apertures and ISO. (I'm assuming you know that F/4 at 1/60 is the same exposure as F/5.6 at 1/30).

  10. #10

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clockunder
    Check your old pictures and then see what kind of shutter speed, aperture size and ISO were used for the various events and thereby find out the kind of exposure needed for each type of events.

    From there, you can do your own calculations to see what kind of shutter speed would result for the 2 cameras in question at the various apertures and ISO. (I'm assuming you know that F/4 at 1/60 is the same exposure as F/5.6 at 1/30).
    Okay now I'm confused. I'm a noob photographer & honestly know nuts about F/4, 1/60 & all that.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    How about considering Nikon P1 ?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by wheek
    Okay now I'm confused. I'm a noob photographer & honestly know nuts about F/4, 1/60 & all that.
    I don't shoot those events often.

    On the couple of occasions I shot, it was indoor and the shutter speed ranges from 1/8-1/30 at around F/3.5 and ISO 400.

    That is why I'm concerned that you will end up with blur images for the S4 at 10x zoom when the required shutter speed must be at leat 1/60 and you can practically use only up to 5x zoom in those indoor situations.

    If it's outdoor, there is not much problem and the image stabiliser is often not needed because the shutter speed is usually fast enough to prevent blur in bright light conditions. So for outdoor, the S4 seems better because image stabiliser is not important unless it's rainny and dark.

    For indoor, the image stabiliser could be crucial and the LZ1 could have the advantage. At full 6x zoom, the focal length is 36.6mm and so shutter speed has to be at least 1/30. However, with image stabiliser, it could be as slow as about 1/8 before handshake blur comes in easily.

    Of course, if light condition is really bad, image stabiliser also can't help. Frankly, Fuji F10 or F11 is still the best compact Point and Shoot in low light conditions. Check out the Fuji sub-forum to see some nice pictures taken at low light conditions and concerts. It could be the one most suitable for your needs. Many people have bought this camera for shooting during the events you mention here. The only down side is that it has only 3x optical zoom and no stabiliser. However, no point having longer zoom if you practically can't use it in many low light conditions or stabiliser if the shutter speed is really very much slower vis-a-vis the focal length used.
    Last edited by Clockunder; 24th January 2006 at 02:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by espn








    Great pics! do you use the 10x zoom often?

    but then thread starter want camera for zoomed in events shooting.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    alwayschampion:
    Nikon P1 only 3x optical leh.

    Clockunder:
    I get wat u mean by no point 10x if you can't use it in low light conditions. If most of my shots are indoors then definetely I would get a cam with stabiliser liao. Problem is that its usually a mix you see.

    And if you ask whether the events are more outdoor or more indoor, I'd say 50 50.

    3x is really too little unfortunately. Was at Junction 8 recently. Was standing in the 2nd row. I think the stage was at most 2m away only. At the very very most 3m lah.

    Ixus 400 on full 3x optical was just nice for full & half body shots. Had I wanted to zoom in really close on a celeb, say shoulder & above type facial shot, confirm can't. Would need to use digital zoom liao which adds to the blurness.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by wheek
    alwayschampion:
    Nikon P1 only 3x optical leh.

    Clockunder:
    I get wat u mean by no point 10x if you can't use it in low light conditions. If most of my shots are indoors then definetely I would get a cam with stabiliser liao. Problem is that its usually a mix you see.

    And if you ask whether the events are more outdoor or more indoor, I'd say 50 50.

    3x is really too little unfortunately. Was at Junction 8 recently. Was standing in the 2nd row. I think the stage was at most 2m away only. At the very very most 3m lah.

    Ixus 400 on full 3x optical was just nice for full & half body shots. Had I wanted to zoom in really close on a celeb, say shoulder & above type facial shot, confirm can't. Would need to use digital zoom liao which adds to the blurness.
    If you need to zoom in close and have pictures like shoulders & above type facial shots, then you would need 6x-12x zoom, depending on how far you're from your subject.

    Whether you'll experience blur due to camera shake will depend on the light condition (which will determine your minimum shutter speed) and focal length used.

    Here are samples of what I shot at 8x zoom (72mm focal length = 280mm equivalent on 35mm format) with my Coolpix 5700 when I was within 1 metre from the stage and within 3 metres from the subject and the indoor light was pretty ok at Raffles City :
    F/4.2, 1/60 shutter speed, ISO 200 (ISO 400 was too noisy).





    If you're further than this kind of distance, then there may not be enough light and the shutter speed may become too slow 1/8-1/30 and you will have problems with blur images at 10x zoom on S4.

    So you really have to know the light condition first.
    Last edited by Clockunder; 25th January 2006 at 01:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by wheek
    Problem is the S2 is rather big & bulky. Although I'm not looking for something super slim like the Sony T9, but then again I'm hoping it can be as compact as possible. When you compare Canon S2 with Coolpix S4, the S2 is quite a bit bigger.

    With my Ixus 400, I notice when I zoom out to 3x optical or to 6x digital, blurring occurs more often. If I snap 20 pics, as many as 10 can be blurry. That's why I'm worried about getting the S4. If 3x already so terok, I think if I hit 10x optical, confirm even more blurry. Some more no stabiliser.

    But Nikon claims that the S4 has a fixed aperture of F3.5 and therefore the brightness from the lens would enable it to have a fast shutter speed thus removing the need for an image stabiliser. Does that make sense? Or is it just an excuse to cover the fact that it has no stabiliser?
    But the Canon S2 can go up to 12x and has Image Stabilisation in its lens. At the wide end the F stop is 2.7 and at the tele end it is 3.5. So it is almost there. as the S4 is a constant F/3.5, meaning that at wide angle, the S2 lets more light get in.

    I do admit that the S2 is bigger than the S4 but look at it this way, there are more controls on the S2 as it is considered a prosumer cam.
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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by felixcat8888
    But the Canon S2 can go up to 12x and has Image Stabilisation in its lens. At the wide end the F stop is 2.7 and at the tele end it is 3.5. So it is almost there. as the S4 is a constant F/3.5, meaning that at wide angle, the S2 lets more light get in.

    I do admit that the S2 is bigger than the S4 but look at it this way, there are more controls on the S2 as it is considered a prosumer cam.
    Well I went to Steve's Digicam website to take a look. Length & width appears about the same as S4 but it sure is a lot thicker. How much does it cost anyway?

    Ol' Steve claims that with 4 2300mAh NiMH batts, one can take 550 shots with the LCD on. Zun boh? That's a helluva lot sia!
    Last edited by wheek; 25th January 2006 at 01:42 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clockunder
    If you need to zoom in close and have pictures like shoulders & above type facial shots, then you would need 6x-12x zoom, depending on how far you're from your subject.

    Whether you'll experience blur due to camera shake will depend on the light condition (which will determine your minimum shutter speed) and focal length used.

    Here are samples of what I shot at 8x zoom (72mm focal length = 280mm equivalent on 35mm format) with my Coolpix 5700 when I was within 1 metre from the stage and within 3 metres from the subject and the indoor light was pretty ok at Raffles City :
    F/4.2, 1/60 shutter speed, ISO 200 (ISO 400 was too noisy).

    If you're further than this kind of distance, then there may not be enough light and the shutter speed may become too slow 1/8-1/30 and you will have problems with blur images at 10x zoom on S4.

    So you really have to know the light condition first.
    If I can get over the size issue, would the Canon S2 be a "better" camera then compared to the Nikon S4? Better as in better able to zoom with little blurness due to hand shakes.

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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by blive
    Great pics! do you use the 10x zoom often?

    but then thread starter want camera for zoomed in events shooting.
    I dunno leh, my sister use the camera, I only in Japan admiring the scenary.

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    Default Re: Nikon Coolpix S4 or Panasonic DMC-LZ1?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clockunder
    If you need to zoom in close and have pictures like shoulders & above type facial shots, then you would need 6x-12x zoom, depending on how far you're from your subject.

    Whether you'll experience blur due to camera shake will depend on the light condition (which will determine your minimum shutter speed) and focal length used.

    Here are samples of what I shot at 8x zoom (72mm focal length = 280mm equivalent on 35mm format) with my Coolpix 5700 when I was within 1 metre from the stage and within 3 metres from the subject and the indoor light was pretty ok at Raffles City :
    F/4.2, 1/60 shutter speed, ISO 200 (ISO 400 was too noisy).





    If you're further than this kind of distance, then there may not be enough light and the shutter speed may become too slow 1/8-1/30 and you will have problems with blur images at 10x zoom on S4.

    So you really have to know the light condition first.
    Oh man... I miss my 5700

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