Duane, The reviews have example images at all ISO settings for you to compare. Generally speaking, the H1 images exhibit less noise than the S2 but also contain slightly less detail as more is lost to the H1's more agressive noise reduction processing. Keep in mind you can always run noise reduction software to reduce image noise after the fact, but you can't recover detail that is lost to in-camera NR processing unless it can be turned off or down, which it can't on the H1 or S2. Other image attributes such as saturation, contrast and sharpness can be adjusted on both cameras. For examples of noise versus detail, here is an S2 IS test shot at ISO 200:.
Here is an H1 equivalent test shot at ISO 200:.
Http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/H1/FULLRES/H1IN200.HTM For sports, you'd want to use the S2's Shutter Priority mode and select a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action. You may also have to increase the ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed depending on the available light. Maxx..
Maxx, Is the 2.5" LCD on the H1 much better for viewing than the 1.8" on the S2? Is there any other 5mp, 12x camera on the market that is better than the H1 or S2 regarding image quality, image stabilization, auto focus,etc....? I want to use the camera to take outdoor and indoor action shots. Which of the H1 or S2 would do better at this as far as the least noise, best image quality, ease of use and overall? Because the H1 has a preset mode for action shots would it be better/more flexible to changing conditions than using the shutter proirity mode on the S2 for action shots? Thanks, Duane..
Maxx, Also - how does the Kodak P850 compare regarding all of my previous issues with the H1 and S2? It has a ISO 800 setting- is this an advantage or would there be too much noise? Duane..
I think Panasonic models can be perfectly compared with this models. Mainly the Lumix FZ20 model, it is a fantastic camera in terms of resolution (about 1500 lines) and details. If you compare the reviews of those cameras, I guess you will agree with me. Best..
Maxx, Please compare the Panasonic FZ20 to the H1 and S2 also regarding the issues I indicated earlier. Thanks, Duane..
Duane, I like the FZ20. It's a bit larger than the H1 and S2 because it has a constant aperture (f/2.8) 12X lens with a manual focus ring (instead of using buttons or dials). The FZ5 isn't bad either, and it's quite a bit smaller (variable aperture like the H1 and S2). It looses a few features compared to it's big brother (like manual focus, a flash hot-shoe, program shift and some image parameter adjustments compared to the FZ20, but it's a lot smaller and less expensive, and has faster AF modes). All the current Pansonic megazooms have lower than average amounts of CA (the colour fringing that's quite evident in some S2 and H1 images in areas of high contrast), because the Panasonic Venus image processor removes much of it. Some people have had trouble with the colours from FZ20 though.
Imaging-resource has reviewed all 4 cameras, so you be the judge on image quality and feature set. The problem I have with the FZ5 and FZ20 is that the EVF/LCD do not gain up in low-light, making them difficult to use indoors and in other low-light conditions. Another drawback is that the movie modes are low resolution (320x240), and they don't have a twist and flip LCD like the S2, which is quite useful for shooting over people's heads, shooting very low to the ground or taking self/couple portraits. Panasonic has addressed all those issues with the new FZ30, however it's even larger and more expensive than the FZ20. It has a larger 8MP sensor (which some say is a bit noisier than the FZ20's), and the EVF/LCD now gain up in low light and are higher resolution.
Movies are now the same resolution as the S2 and H1, and it has a superb 12X F2.8-F3.7 lens with a mechanically linked zoom ring and a MF ring. It also supports RAW mode, which is a first for this class (12X). Imaging-resource hasn't review it yet, but some other sites have. The only real complaint is the additional noise. Many believe (including myself) that Panasonic should have stayed with 5 or 6MP to reduce noise over the smaller 5MP sensor used in the FZ5/FZ20, but I guess the marketing folks said it had to be 8MP.
Startup was very fast (the lens does not extend - it focuses and zooms internally), and it focused faster than a Nikon D70s with a Sigma 28-300mm zoom. The bright electronic viewfinder was a pleasure to use with resolution high enough to discern manual focus accurately (a problem with the lower res EVFs on the FZ20/FZ5/H1/S2). I'm considering purchasing one myself, but am waiting for the imaging-resource review. As for the action scene mode on the Sony H1, I have no experience with it. I hope it's better than the action scene mode on my Sony P150, which ups the ISO before trying to increase the aperture to keep the shutter speed high, resulting in more image noise than necessary in some cases.
Image stabilization does not help with action shots at all, and these small sensors all have much higher noise at ISO 400 than most DSLRs have at ISO 1600. If you're within flash range however, you may be able to get decent indoor action shots with any of these (you may have to prefocus). The Panasonic and Sony on-board flashes sync up to 1/2000s. The S2 syncs up to 1/500s, which isn't bad either. I haven't seen any reviews on the Kodak P850 yet, but keep in mind that at ISO 800 resolution is dropped to 1.2MP, so I don't think that's really an advantage..
Maxx, Does the FZ30 have more noise at 200 and 400 ISO than the S2 and H1? Duane..
Maxx, What is a good, lower priced ie $600 -700 digital SLR with features equal to the S2, H1 and FZ30? What are the advantages and disadvantages vs these 3 cameras?..
Duane wrote: Does the FZ30 have more noise at 200 and 400 ISO than the S2 and H1? I would say it's slightly higher, but since it's also higher resolution it's hard to compare without some software image analysis. That's one reason I'm waiting for the imaging-resource review. Maxx..
Duane wrote: What is a good, lower priced ie $600 -700 digital SLR with features equal to the S2, H1 and FZ30? What are the advantages and disadvantages vs these 3 cameras? Most of the DSLR manufactures have good entry level DSLRs around that price range, but you'll have to spend a whole lot more on lenses to match the range, speed and quality of the FZ30 lens. The new Konica-Minolta 5D sounds like it could be a real winner, since it's the only one to incorporate Anti-Shake technology in the body, so you don't have to buy more expensive, optically stabilized lenses. DSLRs and all-in-ones have different sets of advantages and disadvantages, and no DSLR has all the features of an all-in-one (like movie modes, a flip LCD and live LCD preview & histogram). Imaging-resource has a good article comparing DSLRs and all-in-ones, but it was written before the FZ30. http://www.imaging-resource.com/ACCS/SLRvsDIGICAM/SLRA.HTM Many of the cons for all-in-ones (like slower AF, longer shutter lag, less precise zoom, no raw mode) have been addressed by the FZ30. Maxx..
Maxx, Another question about the Canon S2. How does the slave flash attach - do you have to hold it seperately or is it mounted on the camera? I want to use it for indoor sports shots- will it work good for this - what is a common range for a medium priced ($100) flash? Will it help to keep the ISO level down? Duane..