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Old Nov 11, 2003, 11:25 AM   #1
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Default n00b to Digital cameras

After looking around for what I wanted. I have settled on two different cameras. I need some help. Basically they look to be the same camera only one has sd memory and the other is compact flash memory.

The two cameras are the Canon sd100 "sd memory" and the s230 "compact flash". My question is which of the two is better? They look to have the exact same features besides the memory. What are the differences the memory makes?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 1:42 PM   #2
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The SD100 is a newer version of the older S230.

Although not obvious, there are some subtle improvements.

The newer S100 uses a different battery, compared to the older S230. Even though it's rated capacity is less, and it's a smaller battery, it actually lasts longer than the battery in the older S230.

My best guess, is that the Memory Type Canon chose for the newer model, has something to do with this. Secure Digital is becoming a popular memory type among smaller cameras now.

This is because you can get capacities as high as 512mb now, in a "postage stamp" size Secure Digital Card, with transfer speeds as high as 10mb/second (Panasonic or Simpletech Secure Digital Cards in both 256mb and 512mb sizes are rated at 10mb/second).

Unfortunately, the camera still suffers from chromatic aberrations (purple fringing). I've seen this mentioned in multiple reviews of this model. This is probably due to the very small lens (you can't expect to get the same quality from a lens this small). You can find examples of the purple fringing, and lens softness in the review at dcresource.com:


Phil Askey's review of this model at http://www.dpreview.com also mentions this about image quality compared to it's competition:

"I did feel that the SD100's lens was not as sharp as some of the competition, nor as sharp as some of its bigger brothers."


This model also is limited to a 2x Optical Zoom (note: ignore Digital Zoom Capabilities when making comparisons -- you can accomplish the same thing later with software, and Digital Zoom degrades image quality).

Unless you really need a camera this small, you may want to consider a slightly larger camera, with less chromatic abberation problems, greater zoom, etc., in the same price range.

Canon makes high quality cameras, but you cannot expect to get the same quality of photos, as you would from one that is slightly larger in size. You may also find things like Zoom Range, Flash Range, etc., to be very limiting in a camera this small, at family gatherings, parties, etc.

There are always tradeoffs in a cameras design.

I also recently purchased a small camera (not as small or as light as the SD100, but still "pocketable"). I chose the new 5 Megapixel Konica Revio KD-510z. This camera is also being marketed as the Minolta DiMAGE G500. It can be found discounted for a little over $300.00 now from many online vendors, and has far greater flash range, zoom range, image quality, etc., compared to the smaller SD100.

Canon also makes some slightly larger model cameras that are still "pocketable", with better flash range, zoom range, and image quality compared to the SD100.

Of course, quality is subjective. What's fine to some users, is not to others. You'll need to make the final decision, based on your needs, and the shooting conditions you'll be using the camera in.
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 6:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: n00b to Digital cameras

Originally Posted by Muiir
... What are the differences the memory makes?...
The major difference between different kinds of memory is price. Just figure the price of at least 512M of memory into your camera choice.

If think you will ever need that amount of memory, you could ask Bill Gates to repeat his statment that no one would ever need more than 640K of memory in their computer :-). Most folks find that there is never enough memory for photos.
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Old Nov 11, 2003, 6:42 PM   #4
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Bill is correct on the price part.

Secure Digital is more expensive than CompactFlash (cost/MB).

CompactFlash has been around much longer, so there are more camera models "in the field" using CompactFlash. As a result, it's a more "mature" media, with more manufacturers and competition.

As a result, you can find CompactFlash at a lower price.

As far as the amount of memory needed, you will want something larger than ships with most cameras (most cameras come with a small "starter" memory card, that will not hold many photos, before you need to download them to a PC).

So, the amount of memory required, is going to be dependent on the number of photos you will need to take, before you can download them to your PC again. The number of photos you can get in a set amount of memory space will vary, depending on the resolution and quality mode set in the camera. You will find charts in many of the reviews, to give you an idea of the amount of photos you can hold on the card that ships.

Phil Askey's reviews of cameras at dpreview.com include a "timing and file sizes" section, that show the size of typical photos, in different camera modes, so this would be to help judge your requirements, too.

There are many newer memory types now (xD Picturecard and Secure Digital are two of the newer ones).

Secure Digital seems to be growing in popularity. It was a surprise that Canon switched to it in the newer SD100 you're looking at, while continuing to use CompactFlash in it's larger models.

My best guess, is that Canon made a marketing decision that longer battery life was more important, and SD requires less power than CompactFlash... This is speculation on my part, but I don't know of another reason that they would have went this route.

As time goes on, with many new models out now using Secure Digital Media, I do expect prices to continue declining with it though.

Because of it's smaller form factor, and lower power draw, Secure Digital is also gaining in popularity for use in other devices (some new Mobile Phone models, PDA's, etc.).

Again, supply and demand should drive prices down.

Right now, there are 3 major manufacturers of Secure Digital Media: Toshiba, Sandisk, and Panasonic.

Most of the other brands (Lexar, etc.) are simply using products OEM'd for them by the "big 3" Secure Digital manufacturers (even though many of these other brands manufacturer other memory types themselves now).

As more cameras and other devices come out using this new format, more of the manufacturers will most likely "jump on the bandwagon", leading to further price declines (competition always helps prices).

Buying a digital camera, is sort of like buying a car. You'll find many models that meet your requirements, within your price range.

In forums, chances are, each user responding will have his or her favorite models, too. So, take these recommendations with a "grain of salt". They will most likely have some bias associated them (including posts from me -- I have my preferences in models and features, too).

Once you narrow down your choices -- read through reviews of the models you are considering. This will give you a better idea of the features available, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the models you are considering. Try to get more than one reviewers perspective.

Here are some of my favorite sites:

http://www.steves-digicams.com - Steve reviews a lot of cameras. Bear in mind, that he's usually less critical than most reviewers though, so take this into consideration. Steve's reviews are great for new users, because he goes through a cameras menu system in great detail. His conclusion section is very useful in determining a cameras strengths and weaknesses, too. Also, Steve usually includes some of the same subjects in his sample photos section for each camera reviewed. This makes it easy to compare photos from camera models you are considering.

http://www.imaging-resource.com - Dave Etchell's does great reviews. He also offers a feature known as the "comparometer", which lets you compare images from cameras you are considering "side by side" in the same conditions. Dave also has a "picky details" section for each camera he reviews, so you can look at things like Startup times, autofocus lag, shot to shot times, etc. Performance can vary dramatically between camera models.

http://www.dpreview.com - Phil Askey is the most thorough reviewer in the business. Unfortunately, because his reviews are so detailed, he doesn't review as many cameras as some of the other reviewers. Phil also tends to be more critical than other reviewers, so take this into consideration.

http://www.megapixel.net - Denys Bouton offers a unique review style, and I find his information very helpful. He comes out with a new online "issue" monthly (on the 15th of the month).

http://www.dcresource.com - Although his reviews aren't as detailed as those from Phil Askey or Dave Etchells, Jeff Keller (owner/editor of dcresource.com) offers unbiased opinions of the cameras that he reviews. He will tell you what he likes, and doesn't like about the cameras he reviews.

Another good resource is a photo sharing web site like pbase.com

They have a camera database, that let's you look at photo albums from their subscribers, from most cameras on the market. Bear in mind, that the photographers skill, and the lighting conditions have more to do with good photos than anything else. Also, unless photos from the same cameras, are taken of the same subject, in the same conditions, there is no way to say which camera performs better.

However, this does give you a way to see what photos look like, from typical users, and you can browse through the albums to see what photos look like in the conditions that you'll use the cameras in.

Here's the link to the camera database:


Good Luck with your decision!
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Old Nov 12, 2003, 12:05 PM   #5
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Regarding the topic... What does "nOOb" mean? Another term for newbie?
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Old Nov 14, 2003, 11:59 AM   #6
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yes, n00b comes from my many days killing people in online games.

Thanks all for the insightful posts.

I decided on the s400 from Canon. I made that decision based on the fact it was very similar to the sd100 yet used compact flash. Also for the $80 more I paid for it I got better zoom and megapixel count.
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Old Nov 14, 2003, 12:21 PM   #7
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Very good choice. IMO, it's a MUCH better camera than the smaller ones you were considering.

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