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Old Dec 29, 2003, 3:41 PM   #1
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Default I'm a little disappointed...

I've been researching digital cameras for some time now and I have to say that I'm a little unnerved by what I have uncovered. I am simply looking at a small point and shoot digicam that takes good pictures in any environment, and much to my dismay, such a camera does not seem to exist. I have read thousands of reviews on various cameras and hearing comments such as poor low light performance, weak flash, poor auto focus, etc. on virtually all small P&S cameras have me questioning wether or not I should wait 4 or 5 years before handing over my hard earned cash. I mean, I'm certainly not a digicam expert but I have been doing a lot of reading, and since digicams have been aroung 5-6 years, shouldn't we be expecting better performance out of such expensive equipment. It seems like if you want a small weather proof camera, you can't take low light pictures. If you want a small camera that can take better low light pictures, it won't be weatherproof and won't take high quality pictures in the outdoors. If you want a camera that takes great all around pictures, it will be too big and certainly not weatherproof. Can't someone make an all around small camera that will work well in all conditions? Is that really too much to ask? I was set on buying a sub compact digicam in the very near future, but I am considering scrapping that idea and buying cheap disposable cameras until someone makes a true all around small digicam. Anybody agree with me here?
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 4:09 PM   #2
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Can't someone make an all around small camera that will work well in all conditions?
Not with current technology. The "perfect" camera would be well beyond the price range of the person seeking a simple, all purpose camera. Even high end cameras do not take perfect pictures in every environment/situation. This is what separates the photographer from the average snapshooter.
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 4:29 PM   #3
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It is not likely that there ever will be a camera that fills your requirements since you specified a compact camera. That means the lens will be small (not so good in low light), the flash will be close to the lens (red-eye), and it will use small bateries (low flash power). Though it is possible for each of those to be improved, it is very unlikely that they will ever be as good as a bigger camera.

Picking a camera is choosing from a series of trade-offs. If compact is important, you will have to put up with the comprimises that implies.
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 4:38 PM   #4
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It sounds like you're going through what most of us have gone through.
New to thinking of purchasing a digital camera, followed by excitement, "woohoo, time to go look and make that purchase!"
Only to find, after all the reading and seeing sample shots...choosing isn't easy nor can you find one that would be completely perfect, fitting all your wishes and/or needs.

I went through this. At that point, I had to ask myself some basic questions.

1) Do I really want/need a digital camera? Yes, both.
2) How much can I afford?

Having answered those questions, I proceeded to search for a camera within my budget. After selecting a few, I had to weigh the pros & cons of each.

I then had to ask:

1) Can I live with the cons, did they surpass the positive aspects of the camera? Having decided that yes, I could live with them and the pros outweighed the cons, I made my choice.

If you've asked yourself these questions, then I assume you pretty much know what you will do: either opt for digital or not.
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 7:04 PM   #5
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The thing I've found about the few digicams I've owned from old 1 to newer 4-6Mpix, is the camera doesn't just take perfect pictures every time by automatic control. I could take as good a pic with the 1Mpix cam as with the 4 or 6, because I've learned what works and what doesn't. However, I want more certainty and the higher spec camera can do that, but can also screw up a pic if used incorrectly!

You have to put in a bit of work by understanding the scene you're shooting, limitations of the camera, and the fact it doesn't really have a brain to make decisions. It comes with a toolkit and often it's how you understand the limitations and use the tools that makes for good pictures. Some of the problems complained about are present on disposable and small film cams - it's just that you don't go poking around the pics at 200% in Photoshop and get worked up about the nasties you see!

I'll bet if you looked at the negs from most compact film cams you'd find plenty of under exposed small flash pics which when corrected for small prints looked OK. It's just the same with digital until you need big prints. I don't think the success rate with film would be much better and at least you get to see something of the result before printing. VOX
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 8:29 PM   #6
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If you decide a digital camera is anyhow a better option than a film camera. It is easy to choose camera on high points (extreme zoom, ultra ligth, very responisive) .

I think you already have in mind a list with camera options that are a must have. Have you also considered a camera list of bad features you can live with? Little or no zoom (actually that can be very powerfull)? Optic barrrel distortion? Off colors?

And as said before here, a pocket camera means a small lens, don't expect a glossy photo quality in dark light conditions. Dark light is the most difficult situation for any camera, even with professional equipment there are moments were you just have to give up.

There are some major advantage for digital cameras over film and vice versa.
Digital cameras;
-Easy switch between iso speed (light sensitivity)
-Direct review of result (very handy if you like to mess around with manual settings of shutter speed and so on, but are not fully trusted with these matters.)
- Less expensive in useage (unless you really going to print near every photo you take)
- Non chemical darkroom
- less cary weight on reserve media storage

Film cameras;
- Faster shutter response
- Less noise (unless you compare a digital slr and compare it against a cardbox 35,mm film camera)
- less expensive equipment
- Non computer darkroom
- Less cary weight on reserve batteries

You probably have a list of pro's and cons yourself. I just named it here to show that if you feel digital cameras are obligatoire overhyped gadgets, it is time you follow your choice.
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 9:50 PM   #7
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I think maybe I overreacted a little. It just gets frustrating reading all these forums and gathering opinions that range from completely negative to completely positive. I definitely want a digicam, for some of the same reasons previously stated (especially the part about not carrying film and being able to preview pictures). My problem is that I am at the mercy of what I do for a hobby. I am an avid outdoorsman and want to be able to take pictures that I can preview when I come across something interesting (which happens a lot). This means that the camera must be reasonably sized, not super small but pocketable. If the digicam is too big, I simply will not bring it along. The digicam must also be weatherproof because I see a lot of interesting things when it is raining, snowing, etc. The only cameras that fit the bill presently are the Olympus Stylus digital 300 & 400. I would like to purchase a camera with slightly more features (mostly an AF illuminator) but I know that cameras with these features are not weatherproof. Ultimately, I realize that I will never want to use these digicams in light rain/snow for fear of ruining them. On the other hand, when I want to take pictures at parties in low light conditions, I realize that the Stylus digicams will simply not give the results I want. I wish I could build my own camera with the features I want, sort of like choosing options when buying a new car! Right now, I am strongly considering the Stylus 300 as it is 100$ cheaper than the 400 and 3.2 MP is more than enough for me. I guess I'll have to decide if not being able to take low light pictures is worth being able to take pictures in rough weather. I'm leaning towards purchasing the camera at this point. Thanks for your input people, keep it coming if you have more.
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Old Dec 29, 2003, 11:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigred85
I think maybe I overreacted a little... I definitely want a digicam.
Here's an alternative viewpoint:-

You seem to want a record of what you get up to. I think you need a robust cheap camcorder plus any compact digicam, which you'll probably replace every year or so. With the camcorder you can use your own word power to add live or dubbed commentary & look around, zoom in and out, and record the occasion much more effectively than any single image could. All the images will be there, buried in the video, but they won't do to hang on the wall. Take a few stills as well.

Then, after a few months or years, analyse the camcorder & digicam output, and think about what sort of still digicam you'd have needed, ideally.

I think you'll find you need a collection of still cameras, compact and bigger, digital and film, and the problem will be that you'll never have the one you need when you want it. The camcorder will always give a memorable result, though.
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Old Dec 30, 2003, 8:45 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info Alan T. The problem is that I don't want to carry all that equipment. My brother has a nice portable digital camcorder and I find it much too big to carry around on a regular basis. Even he doesn't carry it around much because it is too cumbersome, although I agree that in most situations it is better than a camera. You have to remember that being an outdoorsman means that I already carry a lot of various equipment with me. I need something small or I won't carry it. A small digicam could easily slip into a pocket and permit me to record interesting events. I just wish sub-compact digicams took better pictures in low light. However it is now clear that they cannot do this because of their small size. I will just have to accept this fact and decide if this drawback is enough to stop me from enjoying the rest of the positive features. I am close to purchasing the Stylus 300 digital.
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Old Dec 31, 2003, 12:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by bigred85
The problem is that I don't want to carry all that equipment. I am close to purchasing the Stylus 300 digital.
I fear digital cameras aren't quite ready for you yet. A 35mm compact zoom film camera (e.g., Olympus mju non-digital)would go in your breast pocket, and offer everything except immediate viewing & editing of the images. I carried my Rollei 35 and then my Olympus XA for many years when mountaineering. If I could put up with the weight and bulk I took the camcorder as well in a holster-style SLR bag slung round my shoulders. I rarely, if ever, took my OM-10 SLR if I'd got to carry it far.

I got into digital by filmscanning my negatives, but moved on to digicams to avoid problems with film costs and dust. These problems are replaced by problems of carrying batteries & memory cards. However, both the digicams I have owned (see sig below) fit into a very small, light shoulder bag, and provide most of the facilities of the OM-10 in a package only about twice as big as a 35mm compact .

You need to choose among recording your trips memorably (camcorder or 35mm film compact), and getting into digital (almost any digicam, with some shots missing). Perhaps you should get a digicam anyway, and try both methods for a while.

Good luck!
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