Sound Advice: Old camera needs a replacement, not a lens

  • Article by: DON LINDICH , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 25, 2011 - 2:46 PM

Answers to your multimedia questions.

Q I have a Fuji S5000 camera with a 10x zoom lens. Is a telephoto converter lens available for it?

A The $229 Fuji TL-FX9 1.5x converter lens will fit. It can be found online for $149, but don't buy it.

Your digital camera was introduced in July 2003, which makes your model a dinosaur. It is only 3.2 megapixels, lacks image stabilization and, compared with its contemporaries, is rated in the lower middle of the pack. Get a new camera, and relegate the Fuji to backup duty.

A new super-zoom camera will produce better looking images while adding more range, more megapixels, image stabilization and high-definition video capability.

The Fuji FinePix S1800 sells for $169, just $20 more than the converter lens. The S1800 isn't a class leader, but it will perform much better than your S3000 with an extension lens for about the same price. Going up to $250 gets something far better, such as the Panasonic DMC-FZ35, Pentax X90, Canon SX210IS or the Kodak Z981.

System of the week

This week's system uses gear mostly from British companies. Brits are crazy about hi-fi, and it shows in their great audio equipment, which is set apart from competitors in the same way that an Aston Martin or a Jaguar is different from a BMW or a Cadillac.

The Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 bookshelf speakers form the basis of the system. They combine crisp, warm, luxurious sound with beautiful curved cabinets that look and feel expensive. They list for $350 a pair (www.soundimport.com). Put them on speaker stands from Roseville-based Sanus, about $35 (www.sanus.com).

Powering them is the Cambridge Audio Topaz SR10 stereo receiver, $499 (www.cambridgeaudio.com). It provides a potent 85 watts per channel, a high-quality tuner, a phono input and, of course, great style and workmanship. If you don't need a tuner, get the Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 integrated amplifier for $349.

A British-themed hi-fi system would not be complete without a turntable, the component that the United Kingdom is best known for. Rega is a storied British turntable manufacturer known for value, and its excellent RP1 turntable comes complete for only $445 (www.rega.co.uk).

For playing CDs, go for Japan-based Onkyo's DXC390 six-disc changer, $149 (www.onkyousa.com). British CD players start at $350, and I don't see the value compared with the excellent Onkyo, which provides the usefulness of a changer with fine sound quality at less than half the price.

Put it all on a $95 Sanus AFA audio rack, and you're set.

For more than $1,500, the system isn't cheap, but it represents good value, with great performance, style and panache that more-common offerings simply can't match.

Submit questions and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.

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