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Old Jan 20, 2005, 1:02 AM   #1
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I have a Canon S1 IS, but it's a little tedious to carry with me all the time, so I only carry it on special occasions. I'd like a smaller camera that I can carry all the time.
I anticipate mostly using it in indoor lighting, maybe sometimes outdoors in daylight. I will want to be able to get decent shutter speeds indoors without too much noise, as I will be mostly handholding the shots.
I would be fine with a zoom range to about 108mm (even 90mm would probably work ok, 72mm would be a bit short), or even 144mm or so would be nice. I'd even take 180mm or so, but chances are a camera with that much zoom would either be too large, or the aperture would stop down way too much at telephoto.
I don't really care how many megapixels it has, so long as I can get decent 4" (short side) prints. I may be doing occassional cropping (up to 2x or 3x or so, maybe even 4x), but would most likely not be using digital zoom unless it's a smart zoom like what Sony uses or something similar.
I want to be able to manually control the shutter speed and aperture. Most of my shooting on the S1 IS is done in aperture priority, and I expect it'd be the same on this camera. I also want to be able to control the ISO speed.
I would prefer that the lens stop down to no more than about F/3.5 or F/4.0 at telephoto, and open up to at least F/2.8 or wider at wide angle. (I'd be willing to forgive a lens that stops down to like F/4.8 or F/5.2 or something like that at telephoto IF the camera takes exceptionally clean images at ISO 400 and decent images at ISO 800.)
In a typical indoor situation, I'd like to be able to get about 1/40" to 1/60" shutter speed if possible with decent results. (btw my S1 IS at ISO 400 and F/2.8, and 0 exposure compensation, is suggesting 1/20" in a room lit by 2 100-watt incandescent bulbs, which is about the typical lighting I'd be shooting in. (In another room that has 5 60-watt bulbs, with the same settings I get about 1/25 sec.) Most of the rooms will probably be lit with a couple hundred watts or so. I will pretty much NEVER be using the flash.
I will occasionally be using it outdoors in daylight, so I want to be able to have usable results there (i.e. not overexposing too much unless I'm pointing directly at the sun with spot metering). I also may be occasionally doing no-flash shots under moonlight (and I'd be willing to go with slower shutter speeds there).
A flip & twist LCD would be nice but isn't required.
I'd like to have reasonably fast shutter lag (or lack thereof).
I need something that will fit in my front Jeans pocket as I will be carrying it with me pretty much all the time.
Movie mode is not important, but if it's there and somewhat decent I might use it occasionally.
Some cameras I am considering are:
Fuji F700 (I can't find out what it stops down to at telephoto, but it has reasonably decent images at ISO 1600 (I'd be willing to make do with 1.2 megapixels))
Canon S30 (stops down to F/4.9 but is ok (borderline) at ISO 400 and has an 800 option (but that's a bit too noisy) - I wonder if I should take this one off the list?
Nikon 990 (decent at ISO 400, stops down to F/4.0 (acceptable))
Ricoh RDC-7 (decent at ISO 400, also only stops down to 3.4)
Toshiba PDR-M81 (stops down to F/4.8, but has superbly clean images (based on the indoor portrait no flash test at imaging-resource) at ISO 400 - as good as or better than my S1 IS at ISO 50 or ISO 100)
Sony DSC-V1 (borderline at ISO 400, also has ISO 800, stops down to F/4.0 (moderately acceptable), but has nightshot feature which I might often use (even in the daytime probably )
Olympus C-7000 - I really don't NEED 7 megapixels, AND it stops down to F/4.8, but ISO 400 is reasonably clean and I could get away with downsizing to clean it up even more if necessary.

I would prefer to spend no more than about $200 to $300 or so, with less being much better.
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