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TheMachine Mar 14, 2007 11:56 AM

I've just ordered an S9600 which will replace my Kodak P880.

I suspect the S9600 will allow me to be a little more creative with my photography, but it's gonna have to perform very well if it's ever going to top my trusted P880.

I'm now looking to kit my new camera out.

Can S9600 owners recommend any good kit to me?

I'm going to need lots of memory. What is the maximum memory the camera can take? Is it 2GB or will it go higher?
And am I better getting XD or CompactFlash? (If CompactFlash what is the difference between "speeds" on the cards?

I'll need an external flash unit but to be honest I don't fancy spending another £70 so soon after buying the camera. Is there a cheap flash unit or any good suppliers you can recommend?

I already have some 2700 MAh batteries and a rapid charge unit but I can take over 1000 images in any given night within my job and so I'm going to need more high capacity batteries.
Which do you recommend?

Finally... Do you have any tips for me, especially regarding low-light photography?

Feedback and suggestions much appreciated ;)

jphess Mar 14, 2007 12:29 PM

It is good to see that you have finally made a decision. Like I have told you in other threads, don't panic when you first start looking at the images because they aren't going to look any better on your monitor them what you have been getting.

The camera will accommodate CF cards and micro-drives as big as 6 GB. It will accommodate any xD card that is available. I think the largest is 2 GB right now. But Fuji is still working on the development of even larger ones. I have both CF and xD cards for my 9000, and I don't see much difference in the performance. It will not benefit you to purchase the high-speed CF cards because this camera doesn't have the technology to take advantage of the higher speed.

Shooting as many images as you do, it will be impractical (I think) for you to expect the use the RAW mode. First of all, you will only be able to capture about 54 images per GB. And secondly, it will take nearly 10 seconds for the camera to save a raw image. And it doesn't have a buffer large enough to take additional RAW images until it has finished saving.

Batteries? You will probably need to have four sets to cover your shooting needs. I use 2500 maH batteries, and typically get 250-300 images from a set. I'm curious to know what kind of job you have where you take that many pictures.

I don't necessarily recommend this brand of flash, but if you have a Ritz Camera store in your area you might consider looking at the Quantaray line of flashes that they offer. They have several that would be within your price range. Also, here is a link to a reputable online dealer:

TheMachine Mar 14, 2007 12:58 PM

I'm a club promoter of sorts. I own club promotion company which stages clubland events thoughout the North-West of England, backed by a community based website with galleries etc.
I visit many bars and clubs each weekend photographing hundreds of clubbers.
This is why I was asking questions about low-light performance on another thread.

I've owned enough cameras to know that I don't need such an expensive camera for this job, and could get the same quality from cheaper compacts, but photography is now one of my passions and I'm planning to develop my skills a little more before investing in a nice SLR later this year.

I think the S9600 will be a good investment.

I have to say that the only real negative press I've seen repeated between reviewing websites has been highlighting the fact that the low-light performance is not as good as some compact models.
Everybody seems to be indicating that for me, an external flash unit will be vital.

Thanks for the link. I did check out the Vivitar 285 and the Sunpak 283 following your reply to a previous thread.

I'm looking at paying around £40 for a unit then.

My Google affiliate account has generated $80 this month and so I think I'll ask Google to buy one for me lol

TheMachine Mar 15, 2007 3:40 PM

Ive spent the evening testing the camera and I'm not greatly impressed with it so far.

I like the look and feel of the camera but the performance and features initially seem poor compared to the Kodak P880 (early days though).

The photo quality is fantastic, and I guess that's the most important thing, but the portait shots really seem to wash people out making them look very pale. The white balance settings are useless and the custom white balance is a joke. There may as well be no white balance settings at all for all the difference they make.

I really don't like the menu, but I knew I wasn't going to like it having seen a menu sample online.

I can't believe it makes you wait whilst it recharges the flash! I haven't had to wait for a flash recharge since my Kodak Advantix days back in the early 90s!

The LCD is very poor, and so is the auto focus assist beam.

I'm going to do more testing tonight fully exploring all the manual controls, but I think this is going to be packed up and returned again tomorrow. This camera is clearly less functional than the P880, and £260 is a lot to spend for something you don't really like isn't it.

First impressions are very poor indeed.

jphess Mar 15, 2007 3:49 PM

Frankly, that doesn't surprise me. When you told me what kind of photography you are involved with I didn't think this would be the camera you would like. I don't know why it is, but this camera seems to be a little more difficult to use, and requires a little more attention from the photographer then you are probably willing or able to give.

TheMachine Mar 15, 2007 3:55 PM

If I were photographing landscapes I suspect this camera would be ideal. As I said the photos are sharp and in every aspect other than colour depth it's superb.
Fuji need to rethink their custom white balance feature because the current one is very poor.

jphess Mar 15, 2007 4:10 PM

I have never played with the white balance on my camera there hasn't been the need for it. But then I take a lot of landscape photography and take a lot of pictures of my family using the flash.

For what you are doing I don't think you want a camera like this one. It is bulky for the type of situations you find yourself in. Personally I think you would be much happier with a pocket size camera. I am not necessarily a fan of Fuji cameras, and will probably not purchase another one. But since I have two Fuji digital cameras I have been following the discussions in a number of forums. I have seen some very impressive "nightclub shots" taken with the F30. I don't necessarily recommend that camera, but it is known for its incredible low light capabilities, it is small, and (I think) much better suited for what you have to do. You might consider that camera or find a similar model from Nikon or Canon.

I think I recall you stating in one of your comments that you wanted to get more serious about your photography. I don't think you have time to do that given the number of pictures you say you have to take in a night. It sounds to me like you are more or less "shooting from the hip" and you need a camera that will allow you to do that. That is not the 9100. The 9100 is an excellent camera for you to use when you want to get serious, but I don't think it is a good camera for nightclub shooting.

I have heard others say they like the results of the white balance adjustments in the 9100. You certainly haven't had the camera long enough to make a complete evaluation. I found it took a lot of experimenting with my 9000 before I became comfortable using it. Good luck on making your decision.

TheMachine Mar 15, 2007 4:21 PM

Well... The bulky camera is a must really. The logic is simple.

Often I travel to big clubs with hundreds of people inside, and many of them have no idea who I am or who I work for.
Back in the days when I was using a nice little Canon compact, I found myself spending most of the night explaining why I wanted to take their photograph. Even though I wear a promotional lanyard and hand them each a calling card, they still ask lots of questions.

You wouldn't believe the difference having a bigger more professional looking camera makes. Instant credibility. They know that you must represent something official and that you're not just some random clubber with a camera trying to snap a cheap shot.

Not quite ready for DSLR just yet, these cameras are the closest I'm going to get, so it's a toss-up between the ease of use and colour depth of the P880, or the sharpness and overall image quality of the S9600.

I'll take the new cam out clubbing tonight and take a few shots, then post comparison images with P880 shots on here tomorrow.

TheMachine Mar 15, 2007 4:27 PM

To add... Having read various articles on the S9600 white balance control.

The Kodak has a nice simple and effective colour selector. If you want to add more pink to your photos, you select the pink from the colour boxes in the white balance controls.

The S9600 system is a point and capture system. It says to hold a sheet of paper under your light source and click to capture. It states that to add colour balance, use a sheet of coloured paper. I've tried this with various colours and always seem to get a very odd shade of blue in the images.

If I could find an effective way to add a slight golden tone to the shots to give people a little more colour in the photos, I suspect a lot of my "issues" with this camera would fade.

Any suggestions regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

jphess Mar 15, 2007 4:33 PM

Have you tried using the "incandescent" setting rather than playing around with the custom white balance?

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