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Old Nov 23, 2006, 11:42 AM   #1
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I'm looking for a camera with manual options so I can be creative, also video. I was looking at the Casio EX-Z's before, but I hear that Canon has better image quality. Is this true? And if so, which would be the best Canon? I prefer rechargeable and ultracompact, as in SD, but if A-series has better options then I'll consider it(plus they're generally cheaper). Also, shutter lag and startup are important- i like to take quick pics. I was considering:


Opinions on these? Or new suggestions? Thanks!
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 4:24 PM   #2
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The biggest difference between the SD630 and SD600 is the SD630 has an optical viewfinder.

All these cameras are a couple generations old. After the A620 is the A700. The latest A-series is the A710 IS, and the latest SD-series is the SD800 IS. Some people prefer the one-generation older SD700 IS as the SD800 shifts the range of the lens towards the wider end (sacrificing a little on the long end).

A popular comparison then is the SD800 IS vs the A710 IS. Both have image stabilization, while the A710 is larger, with about 2x the reach on its lens. Both cost a little under $400. Would you like sleek style, or a more capable body?
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 6:46 PM   #3
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A540 critique from the guy who owns one:

Startup and shutter lag are pretty short - prefocusing helps this and any compact camera. Manual options are complete - true aperture and shutter priority and fully manual settings are all not only possible but easy to actuate. Overall picture quality is very good, and the six megapixels gives you room to crop and/or enlarge after the shot. Video quality not what you'll get with a dedicated video camera, but is really pretty darn good for a P&S camera.

I personally consider the AA batteries to be an advantage, with the usual argument of low cost, availalbility, and the ability to duck in to just about any store with a cash register for a set of alkalines to get you by in a pinch. Another advantage to AAs, that doesn't get mentioned as often,is that you can getchargers to meet just about any need, from very compact travel chargers to sophisticated models with discharge and conditioning algorithmsthat are reputed to significantly enhance battery life. I also have the personal preference for a little bit bigger camera, because it fits the hand better and the buttons are easier for hands my size. Different strokes, right?

Negatives: Flash recharge is kind of long - difficult to quantitate because it depends, of course, on battery charge, but you do wait a few seconds between flash shots. LCD is nice and big, but just a touch grainy. My view is it is not bad enough to be a hindrance in its intended use as a shooting aid - to frame the shot, display pertinent shooting info, and review the shot for quality to see if I need another go at it - but some people gripe about it not being a nice way to display one's pictures.

Image stabilization seems to be the Next Big Thing, and it doesn't have it. I don't miss it because I never had it in over 30 years of shooting with all sorts of different cameras from medium format andpro-level 35mm SLR down to digital P&S models. But people who have it really like it, and I'm getting used to being a walking antique.

If you are looking for a bargain, the A540 is going real cheap now, precisely because it is an older model, and it really isn't a bad snapshot camera. It isn't the latest and greatest, but you are going to pay for the latest and greatest, and then guess what? Yup, there is a new latest and greatest in 3 months. If you are on a budget, I don't think there is anything wrong with picking up a sound older model, and the a540 is a fun little rascal to have in your pocket.

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Old Nov 24, 2006, 12:01 PM   #4
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Actually despite what JWalsh says, the successors to the A620 are the A630 and A640. Both excellent cameras and are far superior to the A540........and indeed the A710 with the great advantage of the swivel LCD.

However any A series is going to be bulky in comparison to the SDs.It really depends on whether you want or need something which is as "pocketable" as the SD or are prepared to tolerate something a bit bigger whichis far more versatile.

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Old Nov 26, 2006, 6:39 PM   #5
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ron519098 wrote:
Actually despite what JWalsh says, the successors to the A620 are the A630 and A640. Both excellent cameras and are far superior to the A540........and indeed the A710 with the great advantage of the swivel LCD.
Unfortunately the A710 has no swivel LCD. I really miss it. On the other hand, the A630 and A640 like their predecessors, the A610 and A620, do have this very useful kind of LCD.
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