S8100 is a super star, bests Panasonic ZS3

Started Oct 16, 2010 | Discussions thread
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photo perzon
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S8100 is a super star, bests Panasonic ZS3
Oct 16, 2010

I spent months researching compact superzooms as I was disappointed by the Zs3 at a concert. The Panasonic ZS3 needs a lot of light, and in indoor flash free it either results in very dark pictures or in blown out whites. This has been reported in other sites. The Samsung and Sony were disappointments.

In good light the ZS3 is a performer. Many posts favor the ZS3 against the ZS7, citing ZS7 flat pictures, and a digital look. The ZS3 has the darling position.

When I rushed to Best Buy to get my D7000 I saw the last S8100. I tested it at the store and found it to be fantastic in indoor focus and color. I was very surprised.

At home I tested the S8100 against the ZS3 and found the 8100 to have much better results in low light. Much much better. Great IQ. Great white balance. Great focus.

Outdoors in sunny Miami conditions the S8100 did better than the ZS3 in 3 out of 4 pictures. It did better at 10 and 20 feet with dog pictures, it did better at 100 feet. The S8100 also did better when it was really sunny.

At 1000 feet in good light they did about the same. The ZS3 was a little darker and noisier and the S8100 brighter and has less noise at 125 ISO.

I set the movie mode in the S8100 to AF while taking the movie and it did AF! Should be the default.

Now the S8100 is slimmer than the ZS3. Sleeker. Does not have that huge lens donut. It is also 7 ounces, half an ounce lighter. It feels more plastic than the ZS3. The lens protudes longer when out than the ZS3.

The S8100 makes cute soft grunting funny noises when it focuses and also has a show it does showing the picture changing as it works and thinks...it shows the picture, then shows it dark for 1/3 second, then just right. All that by pressing the shutter.

It does not have manual controls, but it has a lot of powerful Scenes and modes for backlighting, subject tracking, night portrait, panorama.

To me it is a winner. The IQ is better than the s8000, which had noise.

The strenght of the S8100 is the x10 zoom in a small 7 ounce package. It does not have the IQ of a Canon S95 with its short 3.8x. But it has the reach.

But the uncanny thing is that when you point to something, in sunny conditions or dark indoors, it yields a perfect picture of what your eye is looking at. Perfect white balance, focus, colors. Better than the Canon S85, Olympus E-PL1, even better than the D7000. Not in sharpness, but yes in Color, White Balance and focus. It seems to know how the human eye sees and presents a perfectly color balanced picture, both in its LCD and in the computer.

It really does what Nikon said "exceptional low-light performance."

I was very impressed. And I returned the zoom Sony, the Samsung, and now the Panasonic. I am not easy to impress.

 photo perzon's gear list:photo perzon's gear list
Canon PowerShot S120 RX100 III Ricoh GXR A16 24-85mm F3.5-5.5 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1
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