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Old Apr 8, 2012, 10:26 AM   #1
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Default Need a new point and shoot to replace Canon Powershot SD1000


First post so excuse if I ramble a little. I currently own a Canon Powershot SD1000 and it has served me well for the last 5 years. It takes great pictures outside and passable pictures indoors. However I am looking to upgrade. Most of my pictures are taken indoors of my pets. Now, I know this is a contentious issue. I see a lot of posts not only on this forum but others where someone says they need a point and shoot that will take good pictures of pets inside in sub par lighting for <$xxx. But I don't need good pictures, I just want better than what I am taking.

I researched and researched and researched waffling between different high end point and shoots. Eventually I settled on either a S100 or a DMC-LX5. I chose the LX5 due to the slightly larger sensor and the brighter lens. I got it yesterday and... well... Even a hint of movement will blur horribly. I tried putting it on shutter priority but then the iso compensates and makes everything so grainy it looks more like pointalist art than a photograph. Full manual helped slightly and I've spent hours going through the menus, tweaking what I could with the shutter, ISO, noise reduction, RAW, not RAW, full auto, different modes.... anything I could think of. The bottom line that I see is that if there is movement the camera cannot capture an image that is usable in my house (to be fair my lighting sucks).

If I use the flash then things are much better of course and if I hadn't have had my SD1000 I would have figured that I just needed the flash all the time, that my lighting does indeed make flash-free photography impossible. But if I put my new DMC-LX5 side by side with my SD1000 the results are always the same, my SD1000 consistently gives a less blurry image at the same iso and similar shutter speeds. To make things consistent I even put a sneeker on a treadmill and let it move past at 0.5 mph (actually faster than I thought it would be) and although the DMC-LX5 was a blurry mess or too dark to see the SD1000 actually showed a shoe.

Now, in all honestly I could be doing something wrong. The SD1000 is a pretty straightforward point and shoot with minimal customization. I don't have a ton of experience so the menus on the LX5 were intimidating at first but I read the manual, tweaked the settings, taking picture after picture of the same thing adjusting just one variable to see the effect but I can't make it do what the SD1000 does and it just doesn't make sense.

Included are links to two pictures, one with the SD1000 and the other with the LX5, same crappy light, same 800ISO, similar shutters (I have no shutter control over the SD1000). The dog is moving toward me and I have the cameras focused on him and took the pictures at the same time. I did this several times changing hands to make sure my dominant hand wasn't more steady but the results were always the same.

At this point I am ready to return the LX5 but I don't know what I will get to replace it, does the S100 perform better under these conditions? Other options? I really don't want to go DSLR due to size, I take so many more pictures with the SD1000 than I used to take with the larger camera I had before it, but I was willing to take some tradeoff.


http://destructve.com/ebay/ISO%20800%201-13.JPG (DMC-LX5)
http://destructve.com/ebay/ISO%20800%201-15.JPG (SD1000)
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Old Apr 8, 2012, 3:38 PM   #2
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Just a little more information:

Zoom is not that important to me, to some extent I've considered the mirror less cameras with a little pancake lens but that's a whole new area to explore so I've tried to just stick to the usual point and shoots. Suggestions are welcome.

Good color, fast response, and battery life come second to a reasonable quality image. Size of camera is a bit of give and take as I said above, I want to be able to carry around the camera comfortably but if it's on an neck strap that is not too much of a problem, if I had to put a weight on it, it would need to be under 453 grams (1 lb) and would prefer it to be <350g.

I would like to get something <$400 but... if it needs to go higher than it needs to go higher, my ceiling would be $700. If something more high end than a point and shoot is proposed I would prefer for it to have a flash for when I need it. A hot shoe for me is not a direct replacement for a flash because then I still have to buy a flash.

Thanks again!
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Old Apr 8, 2012, 4:29 PM   #3
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I think that the Sony H70 or HX9 are fine cameras. Worth looking at Steve's revues for details on these two. Steve says the H70 shows noise at all ISO's but I do not agree. I have had mine through the paces and really like it.
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Old Apr 8, 2012, 9:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion Streets. Have you put your H70 thought its paces under similar circumstances (low light, slow movement)? I would have thought that I would have had to have gone to an even larger sensor/better lens etc. but that might be what got me into this situation in the first place since on paper the LX5 seemed perfect.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 2:56 AM   #5
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I looked at the pics you posted and it looks to me that the problem is that you have to use a relatively slow shutter speed to be able to take pictures in that kind of light. Your pics were shot using 1/13 and 1/15 shutter speeds, and apparently the image stabilization systems on the cameras were not able to compensate correctly. I agree with you that the Panasonic pic looks blurrier and I have no clue why it could be so. I'd venture that since the Panasonic pic is brighter and less noisy than the Canon's, then the blurring is more apparent, but that's just a guess.
I'm afraid that it'll be hard to take flash-less, blur-less and relatively noise-free pictures in that lighting without a DSLR or at least a micro 4/3s camera.
The only alternative I can think of is the recently released Canon G1 X, which is a fixed-lens camera with a sensor slightly larger than micro 4/3s and slightly smaller than that of a DSLR. But it's expensive, probably hovering around your ceiling of $ 700.
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Old Apr 9, 2012, 5:18 PM   #6
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@City Zen:

I agree that my shutter speed was much too slow, however I was trying to show them for comparison purposes. If I put the LX5 in auto and set an upper limit of ISO 800 it will usually select 1/13 or lower for the shutter speed. If I go to manual and dictate the shutter at say 1/60 with an iso of 800 (any higher and the noise is too much) then everything is just so dark it's hardly usable. In the example above though I just wanted to show that with the two cameras even though the LX5 gave a brighter picture and had less noise, it was blurrier than the SD1000 which is the deal breaker for me (image stabilization is on for the LX5).

Again, I just want to take pictures that are better than my SD1000, they don't have to be perfect. I don't think that it's anything to do with my handling of the camera but I cannot rule that out as there is a lot of manual customization that can be done with the LX5 that I am not entirely familiar with (but I am still trying to learn).

The G1 X looks like a very nice camera but like you said, it's a little pricey. There are just so many cameras out there... Now I'm looking at the NEX-5N... will it never end?
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