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Old Apr 2, 2006, 6:03 PM   #1
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I've been searching for the right digital camera a while now and still I found myself puzzled. I need a stylish and high-quality ultracompact to keep inside my inner breast pocket everytime I go to clubs and bars. I'd take pics in kinda low light and of my friends posing (not moving) mostly. One more thing, I wouldn't print the photos. I'd only show them from the cam lcd or from my own computer lcd to my friends, or maybe send these pics to them via MSN Messenger or such.

I started from Olympus Stylys Verve S, moved onto Panasonic FX9, then to Sony T9 (which was my favourite for a long time) then to Sony N1, then back to Panasonic FX9, then to Casio Z850, then to Panasonic FX01, then to Fuji F30. Complicated right? Well these are all cams that I thought were great but as I read forums and reviews I found that these cams have flaws. Right now, my two favourites are Panasonic FX01 and Canon SD700IS.

Well obviously the biggest criteria here is performance in low light. I know I know, I should get Fuji F10/F11/F30. But those cams are kinda bulky and I bet dancing with one of those babies inside my pocket would be kinda ankward. So even if they offer superior low light performance with incredibly low noise they are just a bit too big.

What about my favs, Panasonic FX01 and Canon SD700IS. Well Pana is extra stylish (I especially like the black model), extra small and has that cool 16:9 feature (28mm lens). I mean all of my displays are 16:9 so it'd be cool to take 16:9 pics and movies. Alas, many have issues with Pana's noise levels, namely that Pana is noisy especially in high ISO levels. Well, let's face it: we are talking about ultracompacts and noise is gonna be in the picture nevertheless. But I hear Pana is a real noise-king.

And then there's the Canon. As with Pana, Canon has that OIS-feature which would be handy to me. Canon looks really sturdy and stylish with that jewel-style. Canon has great rep as a cam manufacturer so SD700IS will have quality. Also, Canon should be able to handle higher ISO levels decently as ISO 800 is available. But... Canon is a bit bulky (though not as big as, say, Fuji F30) and it has that optical viewfinder which I don't need and which will annoy me because of this. Also, I got the feeling from early reviews that Canons are no really for low light situations... Finally, I have to wonder why Canon's lcd has only about 170 000 pixels in it when Sony and Pana models have well over 200 000 pixels. On the other hand, Casio cams are though of as great cams and Casios usually have under 100 000 pixels.

So what do you think? As I live in a place where I cannot demo any of these models and have to order the cam via the net, I'd really appreciate your expertise. Should I choose FX01 or SD700IS. Should I perhaps choose Sony T9 which has IS and which is, I hear, not as noisy as FX01 (though not that good in low light situations)? Or would Canon SD630 be an option with bigger 3" lcd (which I like), with smaller size than SD700IS and with no optical viewfinder... and unfortunately without IS.

Tell me your opinion? And again, I beg you to note that small size is a definate criteria. While cams such as Fuji F30 and other a bit bigger cams offer definately more performance, I just couldn't be satisfied with them if everytime I move I feel a bulky object inside my pocket (no, you dirty SOBs, I don't mean THAT)
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Old Apr 2, 2006, 6:27 PM   #2
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Hey, now thats a tough question that you've posed. Personally, if you want the best low light pocket shot cam available then you have to seriously look ate the Fuji10/11/30 range - they may not have IS but they sure can take very clean shots at high ISO and that in a dark clubbign environment is going to be key. The FX01 is a great little cam and Fred aka fmoore will be able to give you more inof on it as he's just purchased one. You may want to look at its big brother the LX1 - the LX1 produces some of the best images from any digicam but only if your willing to work in RAW.



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Old Apr 2, 2006, 11:36 PM   #3
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What about this little guy? I've never used the camera, I just ran across it tonight. http://www.engadget.com/2006/02/14/p...-tz1-digicams/
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Old Apr 3, 2006, 10:32 AM   #4
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The fx01 is somewhat unique given it's ultra compact size, 28mm lens (and 16:9 option), OIS, and high iso capability. The high iso leaves quite alotto be desired vs the fuji f10/11/30, but for viewing on the camera lcd or for web/email shots it really works pretty well. 4x6 prints don't turn out too bad either. The 1/8s shutter speed in the shot below isas slow as you can get inhigh sensitivity mode. The pany tz1 with the VenusIII processor (fx01 has the older Venus Plus) might give you slightly cleaner shots at iso800-1600 but it doesn't go to 28mm wa.

fx01 at 28mm, iso1600, 1/8s

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Old Apr 3, 2006, 5:58 PM   #5
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Measured Size: 3.63" w x 2.36" H x 0.71" D, including protrusions.

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Old Apr 11, 2006, 7:20 PM   #6
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It's decision time. I'm written and read quite a bit about what I'm looking for and right now I feel that there's no point really to wait months and months for newer models. I absolutely need the camera at the end of June so that leaves me two and a half months to look for a camera. Here's what I've decided:

Plan A: I'll wait for the early Sony T30 reviews. If the reviews say that T30 is an improvement on T9, that it's a good camera and that it hasn't got a ton of noise and takes at least tolerable pics without a flash, I'll choose T30. If this is not the case, then...

Plan B: I'll try to find out if F30 is truly too big for me. I will not find it anywhere to test it but I could try other similar-sized cameras. If I feel that F30 is not too big for me, doesn't swing in my pockets violently when I dance and doesn't cause discomfort when I sit or move, I'll choose F30. If this is not the case, then...

Plan C: I'll simply choose Canon SD630 (Ixus 65). As seen in the dpreview of FX01 SD630 is not so noisy and it IS a Canon, so it should be a great basic P&S camera although not great in low light, I bet. Still, it's slim, it's got that big 3" lcs and it doesn't cost as much as T30. So why SD630 and not T30 if both aren't good in low light wihtout a flash. Well, I suspect the Sony has more noise and while the Sony has IS (or SuperSteadyShot) and what not, I'm not sure if I want to pay that much for those features and the style, especially when the Canon might have more quality (although less "quantity").

I think this overall plan is pretty good. This way, I know definately what I need to do and I can finally stop stressing over the matter. So the first thing is to start watching out for the Sony T30 reviews...
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