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Old Jan 18, 2005, 8:59 PM   #17
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378

Ravenna wrote:
I think I have pretty much made up my mind but I am still dithering between the Nikon Coolpix 5200 and the Sony Cybershot DSC P93. As far as I understand these things I have the feeling that are both performing fairly well. What surprised me a bit was that you listed the Nikon on the best cameras list but somehow sounded more enthusiastic about the P93.
I'm only a forum moderator, so I have nothing to do with the reviews, and which cameras are selected for the best camera's list.

Sony makes a very similar model to the DSC-P93 already. It's their DSC-P100 (which is on the list under subcompacts). These two cameras are both smaller 5MP models, but the P100 has more scene modes, a slightly larger LCD, slightly smaller dimensions, Sony's Infolithium Battery System, Carl Zeiss designed lens. So, he probably thought it deserved to be on the list more (speculation on my part).

He also has the DSC-P100 replacement in the list (the new DSC-P150). Of course, the DSC-P150 is being replaced by the new DSC-P200. There are always new models coming out. ;-)

I like about the two of them that I could use them underwater with a casing if I want to. About the Sony I like that I could swap lenses if need be but going by photos on a site which you gave as a review link I had the feeling that the photos with the Sony have a "brownish tinge" to them?
Well, you're not really "swapping" lenses. They do make some add on converter lenses (teleconverters, wide angle conversion lens). But, these are designed to be used on top of the built in lens, after you mount a lens adapter.

I'm not sure what site you're referring to. I assume you mean the link to Dave Etchells review at imaging-resource that was the "Second Opinion" link at the end of the review here. I haven't read through Dave's review on this camera (at least not lately). ;-)

I'd have to see the photos you are referring to. Lighting has a big impact on color. A Digital Camera has a function known as White Balance. With most models, you can let the camera figure out the best setting by leaving White Balance in Auto. Or, you can select a preset for Incandescent, Flourescent, Sunny, etc. Each type of light has a different color temperature, and this can impact the color of your photos tremendously. Most models do a pretty good job outdoors. But, most don't do as well in other light types -- even when using presets.

So, better cameras have the ability to set white balance for the lighting conditions you are in via a custom setting -- typically using a white card. The subcompact Sony like you're looking at doesn't have a custom option. The much better DSC-V1 does. Again, that's one of the tradeoffs of the subcompact cameras (they don't offer as much control/customization).

If you're talking about a flash photo, that's something else, too.... Even with custom white balance, it can be difficult to get colors right. That's because the custom white balance is not taking flash into consideration when measuring the light from a white card. So, if you are using a slower shutter speed with flash indoors, you can sometimes get a warm cast from the incadescent light (since it's at a different color temperature compared to the flash).

I also like the option to go straight away for a black and white option which it seems you can't use with the Nikon. But then that is also quite easy to achieve later on.
I would advise always using color, even if a camera has a B&W mode. That way, you can decide which way to use it later, since it's easy to convert from color to B&W.

About the Nikon I like the crisper looking pics (as far as I could tell from the photos I saw) and I had the feeling that the colours are lusher??? And that "white is white on the pics" The LCD seems to be better.
You'll need to decide which one looks better to you. None of the smaller cameras have particularly accurate color. Each manufacturer is going to have a little bit different way of processing the images, to try and make them as pleasing as possible to their buyers.

That usually means some colors are saturated more than others, etc. -- which most users think looks better than the more subdued colors you have in real life. ;-) Some models also sharpen the photosmore in camera. But, most models have some adjustments for the way the images are being processed, so you can fine tune them more to your taste. You can always use an image editor to tweak them later, too.

I must say, being a simple girl I really like the idea of manual controls. From what I gather with the Nikon I can focus myself but not manually set any other settings and with the Sony I can manually set shutter speed and aperture but not the focus, is that right???
Again, the subcompact models really don't give you much control. A model like the Sony DSC-P93 does have a manual mode, but it's severely lacking. There is no aperture or shutter priority, only full manual exposure. Even it's of very limited value, with only 2 real aperture choices (with the values changing depending on focal length). You must select one of the two available apertures, as well as the shutter speed. You'll probably find it more trouble than it's worth in most conditions. As for manual focus, it does have some presets .5m, 1m, etc.

You need to go to the next models up in the Sony line to get more control (DSC-V1, DSC-V3). These have a custom white balance you can use, aperture prority (with finer control of aperture), shutter priority, full manual exposure, hot shoe for external flash, etc.). You're not going to find this level of control in the smaller subcompact models.

You'll need to decide what is best for you.I was steering you towards one of the less expensive models like a 3MP Canon A75 (which would be fine for 8x10" prints, less expensive, and more manual control than you have in the models you're looking at). I guess in Europe, you use the "A" sizes, so I'd probably go with something like this if you're not planning to print at anything larger than A4.

Or, if you want to be able to take existing light photos without a flash, perhaps one of the used models I mentioned earlier to keep costs down.

None of the current models we're discussing would really be good enough for existing light photos without a flash or tripod. So, unless you're planning to print at larger sizes, you may want to save a little money. Chances are, a 3MP model will give you just as good or better prints at sizes most people use, compared to the more expensive 5MP models. ;-)

Each user will have their own likes and dislikes about a given model. I'd try them out in a store, and see which model you're more comfortable with.

As a general rule, the larger cameras give you a bit more features/functionality (manual modes, etc.). If you like taking photos at family gatherings, etc., you may also want to consider a model that can use an external flash (since the range of the built in flash in most models is very limited, and redeye with a built in flash can also be a problem). But, these are generally a little more expensive compared to the smaller cameras, too.

Basically, there is no one perfect camera, and the smaller you go, the more you usually give up. But, the convenienceof a smaller model can be nice, too -- since many users tend to leave larger cameras at home. For example, I have a pocketable camera that I take with me everywhere in a pocket, so I take more photos that way.

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