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Old Feb 8, 2006, 1:57 PM   #1
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I have an old Olympus C-3030, which I have loved but it doesn't have the megapixels I need anymore for post-processing and enlargements. I love to play, both on the camera and on the computer, and I often keep several different versions of the same photo so I can crop, add effects, etc. In all honesty, I do a lot more on Photoshop than on the camera, but I'm hoping to expand my inner photographer with my new camera, so that may change.

Soo...I'm utterly confused about what camera to get. I am NOT looking for either an ultra-compact or a dSLR. I want something small enough to be easily portable (i.e. fits in a shoulder bag or smaller), but it still needs to feel like a camera in my hands. I like being able to point-and-shoot when I feel like it, but
I definitely want to keep/add to the manual capabilities I've had thus far so I can use them when I want. I prefer cameras with a "handgrip" on one side rather than the boxy ones...just a personal quirk.

The ones I've mostly narrowed it down to are the Canon A620, the Olympus SP-320, and the Nikon Coolpix 7900. The Canon seems to be the all-around winner, but I really don't like the lack of uncompressed formats. Not that I use my TIFF that much, but it's nice to have when I want it.

The Olympus is a bit of a mystery, since the six people in the world who have the SP-310 seem to like quite well. The upgrade has anti-shake, which I'd like, but it's not out until next month. The big drawback appears to be its slowness, and I agreed with dpreview's assessment that there's more internal processing and sharpening than I'd like, but it wasn't unliveable. I'm going on vacation at the end of March and want to have something before then, so this might not even be an option, depending on when it hits stores (I'd definitely want the upgrade, if I went with the Olympus).

I'm not thrilled with the Coolpix, the image quality I've seen in the reviews isn't as good as the others IMHO, and it's not nearly as sexy. But it's gotten generally good feedback and is pretty solidly comparable to the others, so I'm willing to consider it.

I'd like to stay in the $300-400 range (or less). Any suggestions about these cameras, or others that I've missed, would be VERY welcome! Thanks!
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Old Feb 8, 2006, 4:53 PM   #2
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The 620 is a WONDERFUL camera.. as is the 610.. It feels nice.. though if you want a bigger 'stockier' camera.. You could also consider the S2 IS.. Has incredible zoom, one of the best movie modes.
I've got no experiencewith the others.
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Old Feb 8, 2006, 6:38 PM   #3
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If your into playing on the computer, get a camera that can shoot RAW format.
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Old Feb 9, 2006, 11:12 AM   #4
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I'm pretty sure I do want RAW, or even TIFF, which I've used up 'till now because it's what my current camera has. I really don't think I'm willing to give up uncompressed formats altogether...which makes me very annoyed with Canon for doing something so stupid!

I'm not very interested in movie modes, they have virtually no bearing on my decision. Though admittedly, it's nice to have around. I just don't use it much and can't see that changing anytime soon.

Any other opinions? Please??
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Old Feb 9, 2006, 1:06 PM   #5
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A 7Mp TIFF is about 20Mb and takes forever to cycle. There are advantages to raw, but you won't see much difference between a high quality JPG and a TIFF. JPG quality is pretty high on the A620 with around 4Mb per SuperFine quality shot. Even if the camera would shoot TIFF I doubt many people would use it.

Once you see 640 X 480 movies at 30fps you might change your mind about them. It is nice to be able to grab a decent movie from your camera in a pinch. Movies take a lot of space without MPEG4, but you don't tend to take long movies with a digicam.

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