Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 7, 2010, 8:13 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 5
Default Unsatisfied with Canon purchase...What next?

I recently purchased a Canon Powershot SD960 IS. We brought it on vacation this past weekend to an indoor waterpark and I am extremely disappointed in the quality of the shots. Am I expecting too much too much from a camera like this?

I previously owned a Canon A540 so I thought this would be a seamless transition. The only difference in our lives from our previous Canon purchase is that we have a very active 2 year who doesn't stand still---so we ended up with a lot of blurry shots.

Basically I'm looking for a camera that can take decent pics (high shutter speed, I suppose) I don't need a mega zoom, but it would be nice to have some decent zoom...as well as capacity to take decent indoor shots. We'll be moving to Europe this summer so portability is a must, too. I want to be able to have a great camera to capture all our travels.
SpicyBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Mar 7, 2010, 8:42 AM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,528

Spicy Bee. Taking photos of active children indoors is difficult. Especially when they're moving around. You often can NOT pre-focus so many digicams will have a problem with this. I know digicams have gotten better in the last year, BUT I still don't know how well they'll do for your needs. A dslr with proper lens and flash can certainly do it. But, I'm not familiar enough with current digicams to tell whether they're up to the task. But, here's my honest advice: for people that advise a certain digicam - make sure they show some photos of ACTIVE toddlers indoors. That's a tough task (I have a 3 1/2 year old). It is NOT the same as a kid or person sitting still. It is NOT the same as a stage performance. It's more challenging. So, before you spend your hard earned money on another digicam, make sure the person or people suggesting it show you some actual photos of this challenging subject. They can then testify to how well the camera does on:
1) focusing on active children
2) shutter lag when you can't pre-focus which is the case with active children
3) non flash action photos like at a water park where your subject is often beyond the range of the built-in flashes of cameras and thus the camera itself needs to stop the action.

A DSLR like the Canon T1i, Nikon D5000 or Pentax KX are good choices. But perhaps someone here has relevant experience with a digicam capable of this type of thing and can share their experience and photos.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2010, 9:13 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 358

I can certainly sympathize with having a toddler and trying to snap their picture...seem's much easier when they're babies

I have a Canon G11 (prior to that the SD750 and SD880is - both which were great cameras). The G11 and S90 offer manual control as well as Auto and the G11 offers a hot shoe mount if you wanted an external flash....which I do recommend getting for certain situations. And it does perform well in low light situations. Both are portable but the S90 is slimmer and will fit into your pocket whereas the G11 is more suited to a small bag....but as I have a purse, its not a problem.

Now, I am very new to manual control and such so I'm learning all the functions but I have found that even with the G11 "action" shots of my 3 yr old can be hit and miss. However, that could be more a result of the operator then the camera. The camera does offer a burst mode and can capture movement quite well (I'll post some examples of things good and blurry so you can see). I'm also planning on purchasing an XSI from Canon since the prices have gone down but that's primarly because I'd like to get longer shots for landscapes than what the G11 is capable of.

I've bought the camera in Nov 2009 so I don't have any pictures of my daughter crawling or anything like that.

1 - flash was used
2 - we were in the store and she whipped her head around - her face could be more in focus (may have been my fault)
3 - She was in the middle of colouring - natural light was used from the window
4 - low light shot outside - no flash
5 - low light, no flash - you'll notice her one hand is not quite "captured"

Again, some of the reason is probably my error. I know these aren't quite what you may be looking for, but I think it gives you an idea. A skilled person would probably get sharper shots. The camera is fairly capable and for the most part I've been very happy with the image quality. If I can take some of my toddler jumping on the bed or something I'll post them so you can see more of an action shot.
Attached Images

Last edited by Shutterbug74; Mar 7, 2010 at 10:18 AM.
Shutterbug74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2010, 11:14 AM   #4
Senior Member
mtclimber's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143

That is a very nice group of photos, shutterbug-

Camera selection is fun but also demanding. What you are seeking to do is to match the features of the camera with the problems presented in the typical photo environment, to the skills of the camera user.

Here are the Factors to be seriously considered:

(1) Staying within your budget. Please tell us specifically the amount of your budget in U.S. Dollars.

(2) The experience of the photographer and future photographic desires

(3) Is there a particular camera size desired?

(4) Is video required? Does it need to be HD Video?

(5) What percentage of your photos will be indoor?

(6) Will you use the camera's built-in flash unit to light those indoor photos?

(7) What percentage of your photos might be made without flash in an enclosed setting?

(8) If this the time for your photo skills and desires to move forward with as more advanced camera? Are you willing to consider a digital single lens reflex class of camera?

(9) Consider what you do with your photos. Do you commonly make prints? If so, are you just making 4" X 6" prints? Will any prints be greater in size than 8" X10"?

(10) Will you be using the camera in the Full Automatic Mode?

(11) Do desire both Automatic and Manual Controls?

(12) Do you need an Optical Viewfinder, or are you willing to frame your photos using your camera's LCD screen?

(13) Do you need an underwater camera?

(14) What is the preferred power source for your new camera?
Whatever batteries come with the camera
AA Batteries
A rechargeable Lithium Ion battery

(15) Are there particular features you really want in you new camera:

Image stabilization

A wide angle lens feature

Built-in flash range greater than 10 feet

A hot shoe attach point for an external flash unit

Fast focusing

The greatest elimination of shutter lag possible

Fast shot to shot times

Being able to zoom, while filming video

How much zoom do you really want
3X optical zoom
4X optical zoom
5X optical zoom
10X optical zoom
12X to 14X optical zoom
18X optical zoom
Greater than 18X optical zoom

By using the above check list, you will be assisted in determining exactly the kind and type of camera you want to purchase. When asking on the Forum about purchasing a new camera, we sincerely ask that you use the check list above. The check list is designed to help you in your selection, and to assist us in answering your camera selection questions. Thanks in advance.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Mar 7, 2010 at 11:24 AM.
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2010, 11:21 AM   #5
Super Moderator
Hards80's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 9,046

It sounds like you are asking too much of a p&s. when you say indoor waterpark, i immediately think of poor light and alot of fast moving action. something that no small digicam can handle.

now as sarah has thoroughly taken care of in the previous post is what exactly are you expecting to be able to do.

are getting action shots indoors a priority, or enough of one to warrant a larger and more expensive purchase.
Hards80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2010, 12:23 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 5

I might add that before making my purchase I was also considering the S90, but was afraid that it might be too much camera for me. My budget is pretty much capped at $400 for this purchase.

I'm definitely more of a point-and-shoot kinda girl. I love the art of photography and would love to learn how to take great shots with a more jazzy camera, but at this point I don't have the time to devote to learning how to use one (particularly the DSLRs and the like) I really just want to take quality photos of my son to share with the grandparents after we move abroad. A camera that will also take quality pics of all of the intended travels around Europe (which may include some indoor shots of Cathedrals and museums and the like) would also be good.

I would like to shoot some video, but HD is certainly not a priority at all.

I've read a lot of great things about the S90 on this forum and others. Would that be more suitable for my needs. Basically, my biggest disappointment in the SD960 is that it doesn't seem any more sophisticated than my 7 year old A560. If anything, I felt I had a bit more control over manual manipulation of shots with my older model.

Thanks everyone for all of your quick advice! I really appreciate it!
SpicyBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2010, 12:50 PM   #7
Senior Member
mtclimber's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143


First off: Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

Yes, the Canon S-90 offers a great deal more exposure flexibility and capability, due to its fast F 2.0 lens and it unique imager that is much more high ISO capable. So within your budget range, it is a very good camera choice.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 7, 2010, 7:09 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 358

I wouldn't let the S90 or G11's manual controls scare you. I was and am like you....a P&S gal. I don't always particularly care if the shot is "terrific" as long as I am mostly happy with it in the "moment". When I start to set up a shot more, then I'll use my DSLR (when I get one). Right now, I enjoy taking pictures of my little girl and if the background is a little cluttered it pales in comparison to her smile so I'm not bothered by it.

Not too focus solely on the s90 or G11 as there are lots of other terrific cameras (these are just what I'm familiar with), they do have full AUTO and SCN Modes coupled with manual options. I find these types of camera's far better to grow with over time and thus worth the extra money. I still primarly use the Auto and SCN Modes as I try to compare what I select on manual vs what the camera does and which I like best and why. In time, if you purchased a camera with manual control as an option, I think you'll find yourself more interested in the mechanics of a shot then just admiring it later as well.

Something to think about....
Shutterbug74 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 14, 2010, 7:06 PM   #9
Senior Member
pagerboy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 483

The P mode(program is almost full auto but you can set the flash to on/off/auto. Photos of moving anything is difficult even with dSLR's.
pagerboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 14, 2010, 9:30 PM   #10
Senior Member
tizeye's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 382

Hopefully, you are in the return period for the SD960IS - or at least a restocking fee.

Sorry I can't help you with fast moving kids as my youngest is in college. A lot of good advice has been given. Nothing says you HAVE to take it out of Auto mode. As you feel more comfortable and learn the camera, you at least have the option to expand. Remember...pixels are cheap, so burn and delete them! The more advanced cameras, such as the S90 and G11 have greater capabilities, particurally with low light, when compared to the SD and A models. Yes, there are other models, with Panasonic consistently competitive to Canon in the P&S world. With active kids be cautious of the marketing gimics of "face recognition" etc. If it has it, make sure can be turned off as it will only slow the camera down as it processes the additional info and slowing the camera down is the last thing you want with active kids. Which ever camera, feel and hold them to see which one just 'fits' you. The S90 and G11 are good starting points, an will have a menu system that you are relatively familiar with.

5 years ago when she let for college I gave my daughter an SD600 which she still uses. She took some lessons and takes some absolutely amazing photos with it. If you have time before going to Europe, see if there is a local course you can take. Best place to look would be a "real" camera store over a big box. If not aware of one, go to Canon's (or others) web site and do a dealer search for your zip.

Good luck with your move yo Europe. I spent 3 great years over there thanks to Uncle Sam. My children were 4 and 6 when we went there and they still talk about their experiences - and I have a bunch of slides I need to digitize. My daughter will be going back over there in 3 weeks, giving a presentation on her research at a university in Switzerland...and hoping to line up a post doctoral fellowship. Looks like we might have the opportunity to go back and visit if everything works out!

Last edited by tizeye; Mar 16, 2010 at 5:49 AM.
tizeye is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:20 PM.