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Old Sep 24, 2003, 10:33 PM   #1
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Default Help select a great compact 3 mp or 4mp camera

I am in the market for a 3mp or 4mp digital cam in the US$300 - $400 price range and am asking for any useful feedback. Have already visited the forum and see some great comments there. I Have only been looking for one week, am amazed to see some folks researching for longer periods, it tells me I have some way to go. Obviously wonderful sites like this one and the UK one I've seen help a lot, and I have seen some reviews which help a great deal. Compact cam size is meaningful and I didn't especially like the "handle" on the A70 but I see that others think it's a positive attribute. I do like many of the A70 features. I really like the size and shape of the CoolPix 3100 and the Panasonic LC33. Does anyone have info relating to the color performance of the LC33 as compared with the excellent Canons? Don't know exactly what features will turn out to be the most desirable (before I started looking I had not even considered mini-movies in such a device; now I can see that I might use that feature. Does someone have a suggestion for another camera similar to these which I might have overlooked? I have ruled out the desirable Sony DSCP52 only because the lens protrudes and I really want something which will fit in a small space. Would appreciate any suggestions or preferences. Does anyone have experience with the LC33 or LC43? I did read that the Canon A70 has more manual features and a better movie-maker. 9/25: I am editing this to add that the DSCP72 is also a contender, many positive remarks about this one but most disliked features: the navigation and the Memory Sticks! Owners love the screen on this one, better than the A70 or the Nikon. Also, the Canon A80 looks like a possibility but it is 4Mp and a little more costly. Update- I have become aware of the Casio QVR40, it is 4mp and is priced around $300 US. As with the Nikon 3100, no sound on the video. Thanks
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 1:41 AM   #2
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I see I share someone with the same problem!

I think after a few weeks of research and asking too many people, I ended up choosing the PowerShot A70...

Features that made me choose it:
  • Clocked at a whopping 5 hours of battery life at DPreview.com
    Add-on lenses!
    Manual Controls (I like tinkering with my gadgets, which is why I got a Nokia 3650 as phone also...)
    Canon's reputation as a brand.
    And dozens of reviews recommending it, especially Steve's review.

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Old Sep 25, 2003, 6:56 AM   #3
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Default My Suggestion

I have a number of cameras and have sold off others. I would suggest you look at the Nikon 4500. It is big for a pocket camera and a refurbished one such as I have goes for more (about $450), but this is a full featured camera with a fantastic number of add ons available that can extend its use. For example: the excellent Nikon wide angle lens can easily go in another pocket. Some reasonable low cost 3 and 5 year warranties are also available.
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 9:18 AM   #4
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Don,

All three of those cameras are decent but, what are you going to be using it for mainly.
I bought the A70 over the other two because I like the full manual controls and the autofocus illuminator. After that, it's pretty much a toss up to me. I always liked and used Nikon SLR but their lower end digicams don't impress me.
Don't put much emphasis on the movie modes. While they are nice to have, they're no substitute for a video camera.

Mark
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 11:15 AM   #5
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About the movie mode(s)

When I bought my S400 I thought that would be one feature that I would hardly use (i'm more a photo person than a video person). However the s400 being as small as it is (which is why i picked in the first place) I always have with me and so I find myself actually using it frequently (for instance to capture playing kids and stuf).

movie quality is quite low but will do for simple home video purposes.
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 12:47 PM   #6
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Don:

You may want to check out the specs on the LC33. The flash range is pretty weak.

I think you'll find the A70 to be a better buy.

As far as the suggestion to buy refurbished made by NormC, check out the NikonMall web site. They have some great bargains on reconditioned cameras. Here's the link:

http://www.nikonmall.com/searchresul...&searchcatid=3

The best deal on the site, IMO, is the CP 4500 for $369.99 (this camera lists for $699.99).

Note: I bought a refurbished camera from them myself a couple of years ago. It arrived in perfect, like new condition. I highly recommend their reconditioned products (especially since you're buying directly from the manufacturer).

BTW, even if a product is temporarily out of stock, you can still order it.. They won't charge your credit card until it ships, and they'll get one out as soon as one becomes available (depending on the number of orders "stacked up" in the system).

Mine only took a few days before shipping when I ordered a camera from them.

BTW, even after a couple of years of heavy use, it's still in perfect condition.
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 2:25 PM   #7
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To Jim C thanks for the Nikon site reference and thanks to everyone so far for some really useful comments maybe this can benefit someone else as well. So far, no one likes to hate the Powershot A70, but I just hate that protruding grip so much. Obviously it is a good camera and a good choice. I am looking for a pocket camera loaded with features that takes great pictures and costs very little. Unreasonable you say? Somewhere someone mentioned the A-80, will have to go and check what that is all about, it probably very similar but maybe more resolution. Thanks again to everyone, and I welcome any new thoughts. Don
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 3:16 PM   #8
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The A70 is a very good camera within it's class.

However, it's not really what I would call a "pocketable" camera.

If you really want pocketability, you may want to look at some of the smaller cameras instead (for example: cameras in the Canon Ixus Series, like the S400 are popular choices).

Also, the A70 (and many other of the newer compact 3 Megapixel models), do use a relatively small sensor (1/2.7" -- or .37"). As a general rule, the smaller and denser (pixels/square inch) the sensor, the higher the noise.

Most users wouldn't notice it at normal print sizes, but some would.

Many of the older 3 Megapixel Models used a larger (less dense) .55" sensor, and had lower noise as a result.

The 1/1.8" (.55") 4 megapixel sensors (as used in the Canon S400, and most other 4 Megapixel Models) is less dense, so you'll have less noise. The newer A80 will also use the larger 1/1.8" sensor.

Also, be aware of tradeoffs in a pocketable camera (or even a compact camera). Flash range is usually one of the bigger ones, since the smaller built in flashes don't have as much range (or the manufacturers are increasing ISO speed to get more range, which can increase noise).

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect camera for all situations. The best you can hope to accomplish, is to find a good balance between things like Physical Size, Focal Range (zoom range), Light Gathering Capability of the Lens (widest aperture at wide angle and zoom), Flash Range, Control Layout, User Adjustments that can impact image quality, noise, battery life, etc.

Try to find a camera that takes good photos in the conditions that you'll be using one.

Buying a camera is sort of like buying a vehicle. None of them are perfect for all conditions.
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 4:19 PM   #9
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very nicely put Jim...everything is a tradeoff.
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Old Sep 25, 2003, 9:38 PM   #10
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For anyone returning to this thread to see what has been discussed, I have this to add: As mentioned in my modified posting, the Sony DSCP72 seems to be a contender. Have not seen a professional review yet but owner surveys at DCReviews seem quite good, in the 4.3 to 4.8 out of 5 possible- range. They love the screen, much better than A70. Not sure about the menu, mixed feedback there. Least liked feature is the Memory Stick.

Also I have looked at the Canon A80 online only, none in our local stores yet. It is larger, hard to say exactly how much larger. Biggest improvement is what previous participant noted, the LCD is much bigger which will mean less noise and a better image. But the A70 gets such good reviews already so I don't know how important that will be. the cam is a little wider, a little heavier and the A70 is already borderline big for a pocket. But I tried one today and conclude that is is ok and at least it will fit in a pouch without any trouble. Still looking for feedback on the LC33 and LC43 (Panasonic).
I have narrowed my preferences to the following:
-- would like it to fit in a pocket even if it is not the smallest cam out there
-- would like it to use conventional AA batts: more economical
-- Good optics, minimal CA effects
-- $250-$350 US price range to leave some bucks (or quid) for extra memory and a reader.
-- Prefer a decent movie mode, one of those things I'm not sure how I'll use as of yet. But I think it sounds neat. There is a lot to see in Southern California, and lots to share.
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