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Old Nov 25, 2002, 8:26 PM   #1
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Default Olympus D550 or Canon Powershot S30

I'm a newbie looking at the Canon Powershot S30 and Olympus D550. I'm replacing my 35mm point-and-shoot. I'm a mom who wants to email pictures of my toddler son but want 3mp so I can have excellent quality prints for scrapbooking and framed pictures.

Both of these cameras fit my price range. Which would you recommend and why?
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Old Nov 28, 2002, 10:52 AM   #2
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Hi Whimzie,
I use both Olympus and Canon (pre-digital days). Point n shoot pre-digital, I love Olympus' design of the Epic series. I used the old OM-2N of the old days. In the past several years, I use Canon's big/normal 35mm camera (Elan). That being said, on to digital...

I bought the S30 in October 2002, after much deliberation, research and numerous visits to locals shops to try my hands on them for my intended use (one handed operation on the bicycle & other every day use.) Disclaimer, I am biased toward a few camera manufacturers, so my research was targetted at very few camera candidates. Nearly a thousand images and AVI files later... I still love it! If D550 was smaller and use Compact Flash, I would most likely have bought it. Some thoughts... By the way, my 3 year old daughter use the camera as well.

I like D550 because...
It's Olympus. Good lens. Solid snap-on cover. Rugged and proven design. Red-eye reduction system (flickering flashes -- worked well for me in the past on 35mm Epic, and looked cool!) Very good price! Supposed to have better power management -- don't know if true.

I like S30 because...
It's Canon. Good lens. Beautiful design and color (looks expensive and classy.) Control dial similar to my Elan. Lithium Ion battery. Fits nicely in my hand and cycling jersey pocket. Good images (OK, I know that only after I bought it - I'm certain D550 will be as good.) Did I mentioned it looked beautiful? Gorgeous look.

D550: A bit larger size. AA batteries. Smart Media (no special reason, I prefer Compact Flash).

S30: Expensive!! Non-flickering red eye reduction system. Expensive! Flimsy lens cover design. Expensive. Need better bundled software. Expensive.

I printed 8.5x11 glsossy on my Canon S820 photo printer on Canon photo paper and framed it by the entrance door to my home. I had the same size photo at work. So far no one has been able to tell it's from a 3.2 MP dig cam! Even my father who is a critical photo buff from his youth (his own darkroom, etc.) Further, no one believe I took the picture and from such a small camera! I guess that's testimony to a good camera. I'm sure Olympus produce the same results if I had taken the same photo.

OK, long enough. Good luck! Be sure to get extra batteries and memory card (I'd suggest at least 256, I've 512MB).

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Old Nov 28, 2002, 1:40 PM   #3
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Default Wow, Frank! Thanks!

Frank, thanks a million! What a great post! You've reconfirmed several things for me.

Yeah, my biggest gripe about the Canon vs. the Olympus is the price. And I do like the body style of the Canon better than the Olympus. I was pleased to hear your report of the excellent image quality you get with your Canon.

If you happen to check back could you answer a couple of questions? How good is the image quality of your Canon S30 pics if you don't do a lot of manual control changes and basically point-and-shoot with the default settings (I'm new at this and it might take awhile to learn how to use the manual stuff)? And secondly, what did you dislike about the software that came with the camera; what if anything did you do to remedy that?

I think the bottom line is that I'm not going to go wrong with either camera. I'm going to the mainland tomorrow for the holidays (I live in Hawaii) where things are a little less expensive and I'm going to make my final decision there.

Again, Frank, thanks a million for weighing in on my decision. You've been a great help and I appreciate your comments greatly.
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Old Nov 29, 2002, 12:37 PM   #4
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Most of the pictures I took in either Auto, P or Portrait settings on the dial. Auto worked quite well. However, flash is on and for close up (portrait in Auto), I found the flash rendered the face(s) too bright (over flash). So, usually, I modify the Flash in P or Portrait setting by dropping the EV value to -1 or -1.4 depending on the closeness of the subject. Yes, you can check although I also found the LCD tend to shows brighter than what my computer screen shows.

My current best shot (blown to 8x10, actual 8.5x11 on my Canon printer) was in P mode. People gave me excellent compliments on the photo. In short, I trust the preset modes on the camera. Although you need to make minor adjustments for unusual conditions (backlit, etc.) the same as you would any camera. I take all my shots in the highest JPEG setting (file ~1.6 MB each).

Software wise, I use ACDSee 5.0 for viewing thumbnails (has the file info and fast!) Canon's software doesn't show file info. Since I take multiples shots, I need to know which one to share with people or to print. I print using EasyPrint from Canon's printer software. For minor tweaks, I use Ulead Photo Impact 8.0 (sample version) and I like it. Cost ($70-80). So far, I have not made many tweaks. I came from the old school of frame the shot you wish to keep, instead of tweaking it in the darkroom.

Final note:
D550 does not have sound!
S30 has sound! More fun to use.

I take AVI movies with the movie setting, and my 3 year old daughter loves it. OK, kind of jerky, but when you don't have your camcorder with you, it's still fun to use. We get a blast out of viewing the replays! Note file size is large (~5 MB). This is one reason why I purchased a 512MB Compact Flash. In addition to taking all my shots in the highest JPEG setting the camera offers.

Even with the price, I'd buy Canon again. I'd like to get their Digital SLR one of these days... Now, that's expensive!!!

Good luck!
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