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Old Oct 22, 2004, 2:39 PM   #1
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Hi there,

I am looking to upgrade from my Canon Powershot A40. I am an avid amateur digital photographer looking for a 'real camera', which I can use for vacation photos (I am going to the Amazon and Europe next year), snapshots, and macro portraits. I am an avid aquarist and take a lot of aquarium fish photos, so I am looking for something with a strong, effective macro function and a very light sensitive lense (flash and lighting an aquarium are not easy).Last Christmas I was looking at the Sony DSC f717 but it was too expensive at the time. I have been watching it all year and it has dropped in price by almost half. USA PhotoNation (any experience buying from them?) has the F828 for only $1 more. What are your opinions on these two cameras? What are some other cameras you think I should look at? I am leaning towards the Sony's but I know people who swear by Nikon, Canon and Olympus.

Give me your ideas!

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Old Oct 22, 2004, 6:50 PM   #2
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I'd not buy from them.


They look to be a fraud.

As to comparable Canon, Nikon and Olympus...

Canon G series (G6)

Olympus C-5060

Coolpix 8700

The sonys long lens size betrays it's 5x function so the other cameras do not have the same length lens but similar weight.

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Old Oct 23, 2004, 5:20 PM   #3
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Hi Owen

I have the Sony F717. I have just purchased a Canon G6 which I received a couple of days ago.

The Sony F717 scores well ahead of the G6 in build quality. The Sony is very solid and heavier, it feels strong enough to stand up to a lot of use. The compact flash card door on the G6 is very flimsy, which is a nightmare as I take the cards in and out a lot to plug them in to the computer, or digital wallet.

The focus assist in dark shooting situations is much more effective on the Sony. The EVF on Sony is invaluable for composing shots in bright light situations, the optical viewfinder on the G6 helps in composing shots butother information only shown onthe LCD is hard to see in bright light. I have read in the Canon forum that someone else has commented on how disappointing the LCD on the G6is in bright light, I have to agree.

The lens on the Sony is fixed in position, where as the Canon opens from within the body and retracts after power off. The lens on the Canon seems very delicate in comparison and would not suit pressing up against aquarium glass, especially as it moves when zooming. A separate tube and filter which fixes to the G6 will help with this problem.

The flash on the G6 does not seem as affective as the Sony.

So why did I buy the G6? Purely for me it was the ability to use the RAW image function. and the overall picture quality of the G6. The pictures I have taken so far, do have more punch than the F717, but it is close. I feel that there is room for improvement with the G6 as I become familiar with the functions.

As for macro performance I find it hard to comment, as it is not something I have done a lot of.. I have had great close upshots from the Sony, but on first impressions the G6 does seem to focus closer. I have taken very good shots through glass with the Sony and some great shots of the fish in my indoor pond.

Bottom line, I bought the G6 to work alongside the F717, as I would never part with my Sony. I am looking forward to pushing the G6 to its limits over the next few months, and hopefully discover another camera I will never part with. But......if I had to choose just one camera, I would have to side with the Sony F717, it feels like a "proper" camera..and does what it says on the tin.

The price of the Sony F717 at the moment is great value for money.

If you want any more info let me know. I hope this helps, good luck with your decision.

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Old Oct 24, 2004, 1:29 AM   #4
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That helps tremendously. Thanks for your reply!

I have been reviewing and comparing prices all day, and I have decided that the Olympus C-5060 isn't the camera for me, and the F828 is too expensive. I had some false hope after seeing it for such a low price on a fraud site. Oh well.

Mainly I am looking at the Canon G6, Nikon 8700 and the DSC F717. I have been pleased with my Canon's reliabilty, and the functions are clearly laid out. I understand it's a beginner camera, but it has performed exceptionally well and continues too. I am just looking for a camera that I don't have to work so much for the best possible picture.Canon and Nikon are names that you hear and go 'oh, that's a reliable, well known, established company', whereas Sony hasn't been in the industry for too long, although I know it's a current leader in the digital realm.

I am travelling to Europe and hopefully the Amazon next year and will be using the camera often. I am weary of the size of the lens on the F717 and a bit hesitant because of that. It isn't exactly a small camera in comparison to the Canon, and I'd be weary of storing it a backpack or suitcase. A friend of mine in Thailand uses his F707 to take pictures of Betta splendens (Siamese fighters) and they are crystal clear using only a desk lamp. That is one point for the Sony side.

I don't know the correct terminology, but I think it is the lower the aperture (?) (f.x) the better the camera does in low light? I was asking around to other fish people and one person who takes incredible macro photos of his aquarium uses the Olympus C-5050, which has f1.6 I think? Can someone enlighten me on that spectrum of things?

The Nikon looks like a solid camera, which will last me a good while. Nikon's seem to be renowned for their macro pictures, and with my aquarium obsession, that is a must. Right now Abes of Maine has a deal on that if you buy the camera you get a free Epson printer. I could use a printer that works.

So.. if you had your choice. Sony DSC F717, Canon G6 or Nikon 8700. Hard choice.

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Old Oct 26, 2004, 2:30 PM   #5
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Ihave had the Sony DSC 717 for overa year now. It is a fine camera but has perhaps two big drawbacks. The first is its odd shape and that long bulky lens which sticks out. Perhaps more important is the second in that it has no optical view finder only an electronic one. Although the electronic finderis very good you do find that you miss having an optical viewfinder. Otherwise there is absolutely nothing else to condemn about it. Very solidy built and extremely simple to operate with well written instruction book.I have had no regrets about buyingthis model.By comparison my Nikon coolpix 4500 has afairly complicated menu and setup but is very versatile. The Sony is far easier to understand and use.Maybe all digital Nikons are like that. Get a demo if you can.
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