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Old Sep 5, 2003, 1:52 PM   #1
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Default Please help! ixus 400 or Sony P10

I know absolutely nothing about cameras!

Have been reading around trying to learn! wanted a small camera that can go with me on holiday - after reading the forums thought i would go for either....

Sony DSC P10
Canon IXUS 400

Both of which are available at approx 330 (pricerunner and then jessops price match)

I cant decide which one is better though - I just want to be able to take nice pictures without having to play about with it too much.

Will basically be getting shops to print 7x5 pictures - just want the flexibility of chosing which shots i want and being able to retake immediately.

Please help .... my thoughts have been as follows:

Canon smaller and cheaper memory battery etc
Sony 5Mpix - better pictures????

Please please help me! also let me know if you know anywhere cheaper!
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 4:34 PM   #2
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First of all, do not buy a camera strictly based on resolution, assuming that the higher resolution camera will have better photos.

There are many things that effect the useability and photo quality, including:

Metering Accuracy
Opitical Quality of the Lens
Flash Range
Lens Range (wide angle to maximum zoom range)
White Balance Accuracy
Dynamic Range
Image Processing Algortitms that control Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, and more.
Useability of Menus and Controls
Features Available
Light Gathering Capability of the lens (Apertures Available)
and Much More

The Canon S400 is a very high quality subcompact camera.

Your choices in a 4 to 5 Megapixel subcompact "pocketable" camera model are extremely limited now.

I recently purchased a new camera myself -- because I wanted a "pocketable" camera.

I considered several camera models, including:

Canon Powershot S400
Minolta DiMAGE F300
Sony DSC-P10
Konica KD-500z
Konica KD-510z
Olympus Stylus 400

I ruled out the Minolta F300 because of it's slow startup time (approx. 5 seconds), and slow zoom speed. But, it's image quality is excellent. It's probably the most full featured camera out of the bunch, with the highest quality lens IMO.

I ruled out the Konica KD-500z, because it did not offer much in the way of user control, and it has a fixed ISO speed of 100 - limiting it's useability in lower light conditions.

I ruled out the Olympus Stylus 400, because the image quality was not quite as good (IMO) as the other models.

The Konica KD-510z was not shipping yet in the U.S.

So, after comparing pros and cons for my needs, I decided to purchase the Sony DSC-P10.

But, I was not satisfied with the metering/color accuracy of the Sony, so I returned it for a refund. I then decided to find a Konica KD-510z (even though it is not shipping in the U.S. yet), and purhased a Japanese Model with no warranty in the U.S.

I am very pleased with the Konica.

You can read my user opinion of the camera here:


In a 4 Megapixel Subcompact, I think the Canon S400 is a fine choice, and is capable of making far larger prints than your needs require.

Make sure that it meets your needs (flash strength, features, etc.). If not, consider a larger camera instead. The Canon S45 and S50 models are very good cameras in a slightly larger size, and have a greater flash range than the more pocketable models above.

If even more range and flexibility is needed (ability to take an external flash, add-on lenses, etc.), then consider even larger models.

Also, because the 4 Megapixel CCD in the Canon S400, has a slightly lower pixel density compared to the 5 Megapixel CCD's in the other cameras, it will also have a slightly lower noise level when shooting in low light situations. So, less Megapixels can have it's advantages too.

Also, at normal viewing sizes, you are not going to see any difference between a 4 and 5 Megapixel Image. Even when printing an image, unless you start getting into larger than 8x10" prints, you will probably not notice any difference. Heck, you could probably go to 11x14" and still not notice much difference between 4 and 5 megapixels, unless looking at the prints with great scrutiny, very close up.

My suggestion. Go to http://www.pbase.com/cameras

Then, download some prints from the cameras you are considering (from photos taken in similiar conditions that you will be using the camera in), and try printing them at the print sizes you intend on using, to see if the results are going to be satisfactory to you or not.

These are user albums from typical users of the cameras. To download a print, select the "original size" from the sizes listed under each photo (small, medium, large, original). With most browsers, you can then "right click" on the original size photo, and select "save file as" and give it a file name on your local hard disk drive.

If you don't have any software that lets you print, download a free image editing package called irfanview from http://www.irfanview.com

If you don't have a photo quality printer and paper -- consider uploading a few samples to a local printer (walmart, walgreens, etc.) so that you will know what to expect from the cameras you are considering -- before making your purchase decision.

Also, try out the cameras in a store, to see if you are comfortable with the ergnomics, speed of operation, control layout, etc. for each model.

I'd also suggest reading through the reviews of these cameras at this web site, and others. Pay attention to the features available in the camera models, and decide if those features are important to you.

Here are some popular choices:





http://www.steves-digicams.com (this site)

Now, there are always tradeoffs in a cameras design. With a subcompact model (like the ones listed above), the compact lens design typically will not have the light gathering capability of a larger camera. Ditto for the flash strength, and the ability to take add-on lenses and accessories.

A larger camera is better in these areas.

For me, pocketability was a bigger factor, and I am pleased with my decision.

BTW, the camera I purchased is being introduced in the U.S. as the Minolta DiMAGE G500. As of yesterday, Ritz has this camera in stock:

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Old Sep 5, 2003, 7:52 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for that - was very useful.

To be honest - size is very important to me, i want it to defn be "pocketable". When i say i want nice pictures - I am an absolute amatuer - i just want pictures that look "pretty" with clear faces etc.

Given your experience i will probably go with the canon (the model you mentioned is not available in the UK yet - i think!)

Can i ask another question (at the risk of sounding very stupid!)

If i wanted to take black and white or sepier effect shots - do i need the camera to be able to do this or will i do it via software on a pc?

also the canon is a compact flash camera - can i use any make compact flash - or are some better than others? and is it true that some are faster and more reliable?

How much memory would i realistically need? I normally print 7X5 at a shop - how many photos would i get on a 128MB card of good quality?

Thanks again
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 8:15 PM   #4
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Some cameras, including the Canon S400 have the ability to take the photos in different modes, like Black & White or Sepia. My Konica KD-510z, and the Canon S400 have both of these modes.

You can also convert Color photos to Black & White with many Image Editing Packages too.

Some people prefer to shoot in color, then convert their photos with software later. This gives them more flexibility (you can go from color to b&W easily with software, so they keep their options open -- able to use the photos either way).

As far as memory card space, these cameras have the ability to shoot in more than one resolution, and more than one JPEG Compression Quality.

Personally, I usually shoot in the highest resolution a camera allows, using a "Normal" versus "Fine" JPEG Compression Mode. Other users insist on using a camera's Best JPEG Compression Mode (less compression with larger file sizes).

From my perspective, at most print sizes, the quality differences between the two best JPEG modes is not enough to be noticeable.

Phil Askey includes some examples of how JPEG Compression settings impact image quality in his reviews at http://www.dpreview.com

Here's the page on the S400 (note file sizes for different modes). Also, if you click on the watches used in these tests, you'll see that he's just showing the detail from crops of a larger photo. At Normal Print sizes, I don't think you would see the difference between compression modes.


If I had the S400, I'd probably use the highest resolution, with the middle ("Fine") JPEG Quality Mode for most photos. Experiment with it, and you'll find it very hard to see the differences between the modes at most viewing sizes.

So, I'd figure on around a little over 1 MB per photo when purchasing memory cards if you decided that the fine mode was good enough (in my opinion, it is).

As far as memory card speed, yes there can be significant differences.

Phil also ran some speed tests a while back, but the results are dated (lots of new cards have come out since the tests):

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Old Sep 9, 2003, 12:50 PM   #5
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Thanks for all that

I have gone for the ixus 400 in the end - although havent been able to play with it yet - my girlfriend#s got it!

Any particular make memory that you would recommend? I went into a shop and they told me that kingston was the market leader.... but i've never heard of it!
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