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Old Feb 1, 2005, 4:37 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Alright, I've been looking for a camera since September now and still haven't been able to find what I want. I do most of my photo viewing on the computer so resolution isn't terribly important but overall quality is. I mostly take pictures at car shows and races and noise and color are very important. I also need a camera that is capable of focusing and recording fairly quickly as races are difficult to capture. I know a dSLR is ideal for what I need, but I can't justify spending that much money, I would prefer to spend less than $400 but will spend more if necessary.

Back in December I bought a Sony DSC-P150 on somewhat of a whim because it was a really good price. The next day I took it to the Orlando Auto Show (indoors) and shot nearly 100 pictures, most with the camera in auto mode and the flash turned on. Only about 8 pictures were NOT blurry to the point of being worthless, and a few of these had been when I was messing with settings and had bumped the ISO up and the pictures were quite noisy. I was disappointed to return the camera because it was so incredibly fast, I liked the size, and it took nice movies. It just couldn't take pictures indoors on auto mode...

What are most important to me is the best looking images I can possibly get in my price range. Other features that would be nice but aren't totally neccesary are:
*Fast focus and write time
*Good continous/burst capture
*640x480 movie mode at 30fps
*Nice LCD (2"?)
*More than 3x optical zoom
*AA batteries

Can anyone recommend me a camera that fits as many as my wants as possible? Are there cameras out there that are known for excellent image quality that aren't dSLRs?

Thanks in advance for any input!
FlashX83 is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old Feb 1, 2005, 9:43 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 69

Let me start by saying that the P150 is a great camera, and if I were you, I would strongly consider exchanging it for a new one. One thing that may have gone wrong, did you press the shutter halfway, wait for it to auto-focus, then take your picture? If you didn't, that's probably the problem. The P150 will take a picture if you push the shutter down all the way without waiting to auto-focus. Obviously, the results will be less than great.

I know you don't want to hear this, but for $400, I very much doubt you'll get all the features you're looking for. One thing that would be helpful though, does size matter to you? If it doesn't, I would recommend looking at the Canon S1 IS. It's an ultra-zoom with 3.2 MP, great videos, and image stabilization (helps in low light, such as an indoorcar show). You should also look at the Panasonic FZ line, generally considered the best ultra-zooms if you don't count movies. Maybe one of the older models?

If size does matter to you, I would recommend with sticking with an exchanged P150 or a Sony W1. The W1 meets almost all of your specifications. It only misses on the zoom, as I recall, it's 3x exactly (optical).

I'd say it comes down to the S1 Is and the W1. They're both great cameras, so it's really up to you. Check them both out on this site for more info.

Good luck with your search!~Jack

...I hope this post made some sense, I"m tired as^$^$and not really thinking all that clearly:?.
Jack B. Nimble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 1, 2005, 11:10 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 30

Generally speaking, a prosumer type camera should deliver better quality than a compact-sized camera. Though, the quality and performance gap is getting smaller.

I think Jack offers a good suggestion. If the camera is faulty, then it will give you bad result in all shots.

Another factor may be the subject you are photographing. Speaking from my own limited experience, cars can be difficult to photograph using autofocus. The mirror-like finish of show cars make the autofocus system try to focus on the reflection on the car instead of the car's own details. Manual focus would be necessary in these situations.
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