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Old May 19, 2004, 7:13 PM   #1
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My goal here is to get a very tiny digicam that I can easily put in my pocket and take to shows and out with friends, so size is a little more important than anything else. I'm sick of missing out on chances to take pics just because I didn't want to haul around my current digi with me becasue it is too big to really fit comfortably into a pocket(sony p72). Money isn't really much of an issue here because I've saved up for this, so I need some help in making the final decision. I thought I had it narrowed down to only the Casio z40 & the Sony T1, but then I made the mistake of looking around just a little bit more and now I can't decide between the following:

-Kyocera sl300r:
Either of these Kyoceras and and the casio are the two that I am leaning towards. This one only has a 1.5" LCD. but it has 118,000 pixels (pretty high high resolution) and should look damned good. I also like the swiveling lens that allows you to take self portraits, or overhead shots easily... It has the most versatile movie mode (640x480, 320x240 @ 30 OR 15 fps) but I don't think I'd be using this feature all that much anyway. The big thing this one has going for it is the swivel design which I think would work well in many situations where I commonly take pics (like at concerts and other shows...) - my only concern about this is that I haven't actually held this one in my hands, and I'm wondering about how easy it is to hold and take pictures with. This one is also the thinnest of the three, although the "footprint" it would leave in my pocket is slightly bigger than the Casio... Iam also a little worried abotu the exposed lens on this one...

-Kyocera sl400r:
This is just the 4Mp version of the sl300r (I don't know how necessary 4MP is beacuse I rarely take shots at that high of a resolution anyway...and hardly ever make prints. But I wonder if the overall image quality here would make it worh the extra cost?) Other than that extra MP, this is identical to the sl300r


-Casio Exilim ex-z40:
This one has nice big 2" LCD on the back (but its only 88,000 pixels, so not all that high res), and has decent image quality. nice compact size though.... can only do movies in 320x240 @ 15fps. Has 21 "Best Shot" modes that are pretty good at picking out the right settings for better image quality... I also like the super long battery life of this one...


-Sony DSC-T1:
This one probably looks the sexiest (HUGE 2.5" LCD - which I'm afraid I would accidentally break)), and has the best image quality out of the 4 I've listed here, but it uses Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo which is quite pricey (about $200 for 512MB vs. $90 for 512MB SD card)... the movie mode is top notch, but I don't know how often I would use it anyway because of the large amounts of memory space it takes up... This one is the 2nd thinnest behind the Kyocera, but again slightly larger than the casio in terms of in-pocket-footprint... Does the screen scratch easily? Does the lens cover slide down accidentally too easily?


thoughts? opinions? advice? anyone who owns any of these 4 cameras, I'm eager for you to share your opinions on them...

any help would be appreciated...

thanks in advance,
tomG
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Old May 19, 2004, 11:59 PM   #2
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What about a Pentax Optio S4?Despite beingtiny (smaller than a credit card and 2/3 of an inch thick) it has a 3 x optical zoom and 4MP. It features a quality metal constuction and Pentax'sfamed "super-multicoated" lens. See the review on this site.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...s/optios4.html.
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Old May 20, 2004, 10:08 AM   #3
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I thouhgt about that one too, but from what I've read the images taken with that camera aren't all that good (not that the other cameras I listed were anything special) but they each had some other distinguishing feature that I liked (i.e. HUGE LCD on Sony, twist action on Kyocera, etc...)

do you have any personal experience with the Pentax?

tomG
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Old May 20, 2004, 8:33 PM   #4
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Yes. I have the Optio S4 and my sister has the earlier Optio S. We are both very happy with the cameras. They are well made, have a look of qualityabout themand my S4 takes pictures that rival my Pentax *istD 6 MP DSLR camera! They are also as small as cameras can practically get. I can't vouch for the new S4i not having tried one and the Optio S40 has some issues with low light focussing and flash recycle time but I highly recommend the Optio S4.
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Old May 22, 2004, 10:28 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info on the Pentax.

As of right now I think I'm leaning more towards the Kyocera sl300r (or maybe stilll the casio). I like the twist feature on the Kyocera and think I would use it alot, plus it is cheaper than the others. My only concern with that one is that it says it needs and SD card with 10 MB/s tramsfer speed, and those cost signifigantly more than regular cards... I know that the San Disk Ultra II cards meet this requirement, but does anybody else know which other cards are that fast?

thanks,
tomG
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Old May 23, 2004, 9:37 PM   #6
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I have an Kyocera SL300R and I can answer a couple of your questions. I don't think you will need the extra megapixel version of this camera. Image quality seems pretty good with the SL300R.

I carry this camera in a shirt pocket or a jacket pocket, but I would not carry it in a pants pocket. I'd be worried about strain on the swivel part of the camera if I did that.

The exposed lens is something you have to be aware of. You do have to be careful not to smudge it. I can live with it but it takes some care.

I do like the swivel feature, it's very useful for me day to day.

I do a lot of landscape photography and often I end up lightening up the dark areas of my photos with Photoshop. I think that this camera makes the dark areas a little too dark in a lot of cases. From looking at photos on the web I'd say the Contax SL300RT does not have this problem. They even mention this on the Contax web page.

"The SL300R T* features a Vario Tessar f/2.8-4.7 zoom lens with anti-reflective T* coating that delivers higher contrast, deeper saturation, more shadow detail and cleaner, crisper colors"
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Old May 24, 2004, 12:02 AM   #7
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Thanks for your imput on the Kyocera. I've talked to a few camera shops and one of them kind of scared me away from it - the guy there said they stopped carrying it because it got returned too many times by people complaining about the weak battery life, and problems with the LCD.

Since I plan on having it in my pocket whenever possible, I think I'm leaning back towards the Casio Z40 now... that one doesn't require the high speed memory stick, so I'll be able to save about $50 that way, and if I do that I'll just get a nice thin sleeve to keep it in to help protect the LCD...

if anybody else has other input, I've still got a little time left before I need to place the order (I'm leaving this weekend to go on vacation and need it with me then...), so speak up now, or forever hold your peace!

:-)

tomG
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Old May 24, 2004, 1:08 AM   #8
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Hello!

Maybe the nikon coolpix 3700 which I am planning to get shortly. It takes very good quality video aswell!

Good luck!
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Old Jun 15, 2004, 2:23 PM   #9
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Reconsider the Contax SL300RT. I've had one for a few weeks, and it's terrific. Yes, the battery life could be better. It takes three hours to charge. Just get an extra. And it lacks a lens cap and video out.
But every digital camera has some weird flaw, some more than others.
It really all comes down to quality of picture and ease of use. The Contax has a Zeiss lens that is remarkably crisp, and this is a very easy camera to shoot with. It's not as "serious" as the bigger, more expensive digitals, but I was looking for something with some personality, well-designed, fun to use, that takes a very good picture.
This is it. It was $499 just about everywhere for quite some time. It has come down to around $429. Look online. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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Old Jun 15, 2004, 3:17 PM   #10
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The SL300R is slow enough I think it would become irritating:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...0R/SL3DATA.HTM And the flash range is pretty limited. Not as bad as the T1 which is nearly useless, but still limited. The swivel would be handy in some situations but the lack of a viewfinder is not ideal for me.

It is a liability carrying any of them around in your pants pocket. My S4 is off for repairs after bumping into something and messing up the LCD. Not the camera's fault. The larger the LCD the bigger the liability. I'm not graceful enough to keep a camera in my shirt pocket – it would eventually end up on the concrete. When my S4 comes back it will reside in an Altoids tin if I put it in my pocket. Cameras without an automatic lens cover would be more of a problem in a pocket.

I really prefer the camera in my tiny belt pouch anyway. I had my Palm PDA in the pouch at the time I messed up the LCD. The camera is actually more convenient to get to from the pouch than my pocket and a lot safer.

The S4 is an overall competent camera. Panoramas are a problem as Panasonic doesn't have a clue as to how to make a panorama mode. It doesn't fix the exposure with the first panorama shot like most cameras. Without manual exposure you are stuck with hoping the stitching software will even out the exposures for you. Someone pointed out you can use continuous mode for panoramas since it fixes the exposure with the first shot. Other than that I like the camera. It is 3.5 oz empty compared to 5 Oz for the SL300R or Contax SL300R T (same camera).

If you want "best shot" modes the S4i has them in abundance along with a nice 1.8" LCD. I don't find them to be generally useful but maybe I'm just too lazy to mess with them. I usually just switch to spot metering and meter on different parts of a complex scene. That not only brackets the exposure in ways I control but also varies the white balance according to what I meter on. I usually end up with just the shot I want.

My one caveat with the Pentax S series is to get it someplace with a good return policy. The occasional camera has a soft edge and the only recourse is to exchange it. The Casio uses the same Pentax lens and might be subject to the same quality control issue.
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