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Old Nov 30, 2003, 11:59 AM   #1
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Default Who Says You Can't Have It All...

Hey Everyone,
First off, WOW!!! Really great forums here.. lots of people with tons of knowledge. Although you've made camera buying a much more informed process for me, you've also made it it a lot more complicated...didn't realize there was so much to know! :lol:

Anyways, to get to the meat and potatoes of this post I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions or ideas. My girlfriend and I are Univ. students and are looking for a great digicam. Here is what we're using it for:

1.We're big time outdoor enthusiasts, we do lots of backpacking, climbing, cycling, etc. so priority would be for outdoor pictures. We'd like to get the best picture quality we can for a given size of camera.

2.We'd like something as small and lightweight as possible, (around Canon s400 size ideally) we're also not that concerned about zoom; 3x is fine for us.

3.We'd like at least 4MP. My girlfriend wants to take some nice outdoor shots and frame them in our apt.

4.We'd also like as many manual controls as possible, as my girlfriend wants to have something she can grow into, rather than a simple point and shoot.

Well that's pretty much it. We originally were sold on the olympus stylus 400 but after talking to a couple of salespersons they seemed to think the quality wasn't that great, and instead mentioned the optio s4's and the like. So now we're wondering if it's better to go with a different camera. If anyone can give us some ideas that would be much appreciated!

Take care!
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 8:57 AM   #2
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I would say that the Canon S400 (which you mention already) kind of fits the bill.

The only thing is that it does not have full manual control but it has plenty of settings you can change.

I like the image quality of the S400 better than the Optio-S4 but that can be a personal thing. I believe the S4 has a few more manual controls.

Just in case you have not a lot of experience with small cams, in my opinion a camera can be too small (although I have the S400 myself). Be aware that it can be a problem to hold it still when the cam is very light (something that is usually coupled to its size).

A great cam to grow into is the Canon-S50, which has full manual control but is more expensive and somewhat bigger (but still a very reasonable size, to carry with you in your backpack for instance, as opposed to the pocket sized S400 or Optio-S4)
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 9:25 PM   #3
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hmmm interesting.. I'll look into that model then. I'm beginning to wonder if the convenience that you get from digicams isn't offset by the quality(i.e. noise, low light conditions, poor edges, etc.) maybe i should just suck it up and go for a big ol' old fashioned camera. It's just that the size and convenience are so appealing... :roll:
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 11:42 PM   #4
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Canon Powershot A80.
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 2:44 AM   #5
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Yeah, A80 or G3, well said. I've had a bunch of smaller pocket cams for use mainly out trail-riding & have gradually crept the size up till I've got an A80 for that useage, & it's a great lil device .. . anything smaller (IMHO, & with my fat fingers) is a pita ~ fiddly controls & hard to hold/still etc..

If ya dont have to have 'smallish' then the G3 would be a good result in the next size up, tho I reckon a C-5060 would be even better in that category . . . I have a G2 myself & am very pleased with its performance except that more zoom would be nice, but then ya off down the slippery slope . .. . where to draw the line?

. .. . also, digicams get obsoleted SO fast these days you can get good value out of shopping 2nd hand . .. . if true 'value' (ie restricted budget) is more important to you than the 'latest' bells & whistles then some gear-freak someplace is gonna be selling an 18 month old G2 for peanuts .. . . & once you've lived with that tilt & turn screen for a while ya get to love em, same thing on the A80, G5, C-5060, Finepix 5700 . .. .

HTH
BrooC ;-))
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 9:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeardedMonk
hmmm interesting.. I'll look into that model then. I'm beginning to wonder if the convenience that you get from digicams isn't offset by the quality(i.e. noise, low light conditions, poor edges, etc.) maybe i should just **** it up and go for a big ol' old fashioned camera. It's just that the size and convenience are so appealing... :roll:
It's just that I'm not yet prepared to write off my old SLR yet but I will never go back to analog again. The convenience is just too great and being able to take many more pictures without added costs makes me a better photographer in the (very) long run. Once reasonable DSLR's are going to hit the $600 mark I will definitely get one (maybe $700, o my :roll: there we go (again)).
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Old Dec 2, 2003, 11:12 AM   #7
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Interesting replies so far everyone.. thanks. I looked into the A80, looks like sound, well reviewed camera. I was hoping to find something a little smaller and lighter, but if the A80 will give me some fantastic outdoor shots then it's probably worth it.

I was also looking at a couple of other compromises with size and quality and the Minolta G400 or 500 looked interesting, although it's tough to say yet, not many reviews. Also the Pentax 550 looked great as well. Would either of these be comparable to the A80 do you think or would I be sacrificing quality? One thing I'd really like to avoid is poor low light performance. I was on a peak last summer during a night climb at about 2 in the morning, with a full moon, absolutely breathtaking you could see all the peaks in the beautiful moonlit nigh, I tried to take some pics with by brothers older 2.1MP nikon and they were pitch black. Uggghhh..

Anyways, I'm just trying(like everyone else I suppose) to compromise. I don't need any fancy video options, even a swivel viewfinder is more weight and less function than I'd like for what I'd use. I just want lots of manual control options and good pics in a variety of light conditions. Thanks again for your responses!
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 3:32 PM   #8
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Default Now, that's what I want to know -- S400 vs. Optio 555

Mr. Bearded Monk, I also want to hear some feedback on the Pentax Optio 555 vs. S400. I keep coming back to the S400 other than it's limiting 3x optical. All ears guys... but need to keep it small.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 5:21 PM   #9
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The thing is, Monk m'man, that no matter HOW much effort ya put into sussing them there WILL be something which pisses you BIGtime after you've owned it for a while, & which if you had known it before would prolly have stopped ya from buying it!

Something to do with 'Sods Law' & 20/20 hindsite!

Way back I ran an Ixus as my small/pocket cam, & it did good work~ until finally I got sick of having to hang onto the tiddly little thing & fiddly little controls with my big stumpy fingers, especially when wearing motorcycle gloves!

So I sold it & bought a Pentax 33L, largely coz they have swivel screens such as I really liked on my G2. But fairly soon (like, the first bright day!) I found that without a good viewfinder (it hasnt one at all) the thing was bloody useless outdoors!

So, I sold it & after some 'research' was very pleased to find a new old-stock Pentax 330RS. Not TOO small, metal body, same CF cards as my other cam, yada yada yada, great . . . . till I got pissed with how it doesnt have ANY sound for shutter release, so I would have to 'hold still' waiting for the flashing lights to give me a clue that it had gone into writing-mode!

So, now it's for sale too & I have the A80. So far the 80 has NOT revealed ANY horrible secrets to me . .. & the size is still JUST ok to go in the top pocket of my trail-riding jacket .. . . in fact it will still slip into the accessory bag that I bought to mount on my mountain bike for the 33L . .. . . . & the battery-holder/grip is REALLY handy for hangin onto a small camera with. Plus it runs AA batts & CF cards. Plus it has the fold-out screen.

However, (here it comes) IF I didnt also have or want a bigger camera as well with longer zoom & even better res, then I would almost certainly go for the 555. And then I would STOP reading reviews for about 5 years! Snap!

HTH
BrooC ;-)
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 10:39 PM   #10
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Hahahah well said!!! That was good for a laugh and some useful information.. much appreciated!
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