What would you rather have: A longer zoom or wider aperture?
Honestly, I find myself in more situations where a wide aperture in low light is needed than I do where I need a loooooong zoom.
I was browsing reviews of the Canon Powershot S95, and users seem to gush over how amazing its low light photos are, which I'm pretty sure has a lot to do with the combination of the 1/1.7" sensor and the huge f/2.0 aperture. I haven't heard a peep about the fact that it "only" has a 3.8x optical zoom.
That's when I got to thinking: If Fujifilm released, say, a F400EXR, brought back their 1/1.6" sensor (which was last seen in the F200EXR), ditched the long zoom in favor for a f/2.0 aperture, they may very well end up with a camera that has the cult status that rivals the F30fd.
And for the users that make good use out of the long zooms and don't care about apertures? Maybe Fujifilm can keep innovating the long zoom/compact body technology with a follow-up to the F80EXR for them. :)
Also, I love wide angle photography and sometimes find the confines of a zoom too limiting (I'm rarely taking photos of things I need to zoom in on). This might be because I had a fixed lens on my SLR and DSLRs when I was first shooting on them. If I needed to get closer, I just walked!
Additionally, on my Canon S90, I rarely ever use the zoom feature. And yes, it definitely has a weak zoom compared to other point and shoot cameras. But it works perfectly for me!
I agree completely with everything you guys are saying, and I'm actually pretty surprised at how uncommon apertures at f/2.0 and larger are outside of top of the line point and shoots (most of which come close to the same price as an inexpensive DSLR).
Hmm, while writing that last paragraph, I got distracted and did some clicking around to discover that the SD4000IS has a f/2.0 aperture. Though the sensor is pretty dinky (1/2.3"), it *is* a backlit CMOS... I might have to read up on what people are saying about this one, what with it being only $269 on Amazon...
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