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Old Dec 31, 2007, 8:31 AM   #1
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I'm in the market for a prosumer 'compact' and the above are the contenders. The problem is that this site has yet to review the P5100 (and I don't feel I'm comparing like with like if I compare a 10MP unit to a 12).

The main problem is the users of the camera - I'm fairly technically minded, but the other main users will be my sexagenarian parents who, well, aren't (in fact it wouldn't be unfair to call them technophobes). I need something that's idiotproof and doesn't require frequent furtles in the manual (which, if it does require consultation, should be written in plain English - over here in the UK we have the Campaign for Plain English which awards a 'Crystal Mark' to anything written in a manner clear enough for someone who has little, or no, knowledge of the subject matter to understand (sort of a plain speaking BAFTA). They also 'award' their equivalent of the 'DAFTA' - the name of which I forget - to anything written so appallingly badly that it would require a PhD in the topic under discussion to decipher it, or that it'd been written by someone to whom English wasn't even a distant cousin - never mind their mother tongue (remember having a VCR, for example, manual that'd obviously been written by someone from its country of manufacture - usually China or Japan?) the obvious idea being to 'name and shame' the organisation(s) concerned into damned well getting their bums in gear and doing something about it! The Benefits Agency - which handles welfare benefits over here in the UK - was the 'winner' on umpteen occasions and it worked; the last form I had to fill in from them carried the 'Crystal Mark'.)

Sorry, I'm digressing. It needs a clear manual (or an interface so stupidly user-friendly that the manual is merely a box-filler) and it would need to work in low-light and at night (I didn't see whether the G5, or the P5100's predecessor, had a night mode).

Here, on these septic isles, the G9 retails for around £350 and the P5100 for around £250 - I need to know what the G9 has, that the P5100, doesn't to justify the extra £100.

Obviously if there are any other contenders from the other members of the Big Four (i.e. Canon, Nikon, Fuji and Olympus) then I'd be interested in hearing about them.

There is one final point that I nearly forgot - the camera's software would need to play nicely with both Windoze (XP Home SP2) and Mac OS X (both 10.4.x and 10.5.x) and I use the latter more than the former (I'm only forced to use a Windoze box at the moment because my Mac is rather poorly and I'm waiting until I can retrieve my MacBook Pro from a friend's house - I lent it to his wife because her G3 iBook bit the dust and she needed something for work (she's a uni lecturer and does a great deal of PowerPoint and Keynote presentations) - it's since been replaced with a MacBook.)

So, when I get my MBP back, my G5 will go away for repair and I'll be back to using a Macintosh as my primary machine (the Windoze box will be relegated back to what it was bought for - games!)

Any - and all - ideas, suggestions, help and comments appreciated.

Cheers folks!

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Old Dec 31, 2007, 9:56 PM   #2
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Just from a side by side spec comparison, the Canon has it all over the Nikon...if you were looking for justification to spend the extra money...

The G9 has aperture and shutter priority settings, a 6x zoom (vs. 3.5x), RAW capability, higher video resolution, and a larger viewfinder.

One area in which the P5100 excels is flash power. The G9 has a flash guide number of only 4.0M, which is rather weak. If you plan on doing a lot of flash photography, you might want to consider buying a good external flash unit to mount on the G9's hot shoe.

The down side I see for both cameras is very poor high ISO performance. For cameras that cost that much, they should do better. I guess that's what happens when you try to cram 12MP into a small sensor.

You said a lot in your post, Sarah, but you never mentioned the type of photography you're interested in. Are you sure either of these cameras would be right for you?

The Hun

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Old Jan 1, 2008, 9:03 AM   #3
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Cheers, Hun, for your reply. The thing is the kind of photography I'm interested in and the kind my health now allows me to do are two very different kettles o' kippers. Many moons ago, I bought an entry level DSLR (300D - I believe it was known as the 'Digital Rebel' in the States - for reasons known only to Canon, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it is that a camera could be rebelling against) and a very nice tangerine, khaki and lime Crumpler Bunny Man bag to hold all the kit I was going to buy. I was going to go back to college and learn how to use it all (as well as Adobe CS as I think it was at the time) and I had visions of me travelling the length and breadth of the country, photographing breeding puffins on Lundy Island (just off the N. Devon coast) or being lowered on to the Bass Rock (just off the Northumbria coast) to capture the vast hoardes of gannets and then I was going to go to the North of Scotland to snap ospreys, fish eagles and go hunting in the Cairngorms for the UK's only native colony of Snowy Owls, on of my favourite birds. Closer to home, I was going to go hiking in the Chilterns on the look out for Red Kites (recently reintroduced and doing all right, thank you very much) and into the wilds of the Sussex countryside in Autumn to try to capture the magnificent flocks of starlings as they pirouette their way to roost.

As you can see I am, what we call on these shores a 'twitcher' and birds have been my passion for nearly 20 years now. There are many native species which have declined dramatically in those 20 years (the aforementioned starling, for example, was a common sight in my garden not a decade ago; I've not seen one now in at least 5 years - and, indeed, the RSPB which monitors species' populations now has the starling on its 'Red List' as a species which has dramatically declined in the past decade - a 'dramatic decline' means a loss of 25% or more of the population over a predetermined timeframe).

As you can probably tell, that never happened. I'm not making millions selling my snaps to wildlife mags, and the 300D is in a cupboard somewhere gathering dust.

These days, I take mainly flowers (well, they don't have a tendency to fly away) and butterflies (which do) on the behest of my very-nearly centenarian grandfather (though you wouldn't know it to look at him - he's the most active '100 in a couple of years' old I've ever met!

We tried to introduce him to digital a few Xmases ago; but he's of the opinion that it'll never replace film. This year, my aunt's father was given an entry-level CyberShot by his son because he's off on his first 'round-the-world' cruise later this month (his wife, my aunt's mother, died last year) and he's determined to enjoy the batchelor life (he was rather hen-pecked but, to give him his due, he did love her).

I just want something small and compact, but adaptable. I want something that I can lend to my sexagenarian parents without the need to give them the manual; and. of course, it needs to work with my Macs and Windoze boxes).


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Old Jan 4, 2008, 4:19 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forum. Having done this photo thing for over half a century and being a professional digital camera instructor, I am thinking that you are going to need more zoom than the Canon G-9 can give you.

I surely don't know your circumstances, but it would seem that the Canon S-5 would/might be the "better tool" for your birding photos. Another possibility would be the new Fuji S-8000 camera. I will be home only until Monday 01/07, then I must go back to work again. Ilecture on cruise ships,so I am hoping for a rather quick reply. Thanks for your help.

Sarah Joyce
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