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Old Jul 20, 2005, 2:21 PM   #1
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Hello all,

I'm looking into buying my first digital camera. Have narrowed it down to a Canon G6, Sony DSC-V3 and a Canon SD500. Roughly. The last model being the one without a hotshoe. I was wondering how vital it would be for the casual user to have a camera WITH a hotshoe? I'd like to be able to take good shots in any situation. In a dim bar or a sunny summer day.

I read some reviews on the SD500 and other cameras without hotshoes and it seems all of them have problems in low light situations. That the cameras have troubles focusing.

And I have been told that if the picture lacks light I could use software to fix this. But that wouldn't deal with the lack of detail would it? Heh...

What are your thoughts on this? On the one hand it would be safer to go with a camera with a hotshoe. Just in case. On the other hand I could save some coin going with the SD500. Not to mention it is a lot more companct. And I would be more likely to carry it with me as a result.

Thanks!!
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 2:35 PM   #2
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The ability to throw extra light on your subject is a major advantage with any digital. They are really 'light-hungry'. The built-in flashes on most digitals are pretty weak.

A hotshoe gives you the option of a direct connection between your camera and the flash but you don't necessarily NEED a hotshoe. If your camera has a PC connection to the flash, you can be 'connected' to the camera even without a hotshoe. Sure there is a cable but that is not an insurmountable problem.

You can get a cheap flash bracket that will provide a mount for the flash and will have the added advantage of moving the flash itself out of the direct line of your lens (reducing possible red eye).However, a bracket adds bulk to your setup.

So, if your camera has a PC connector to a TTL flash, you don't need a hotshoe. Some photographers really like using a longer flash cord that allows them to hold the light where ever they want it go.

Some cameras, like the V3, for example, have both a hotshoe AND a cable connection so you can pick your approach. Sony also has a slave flash (on its own bracket) for their smaller pocket cameras...it doesn't have a physical connection to the camera but fires when the built-in flash goes off.
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 3:05 PM   #3
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I haven't done much reading on the Sony cameras with the bracket for their slave flash, but it sounds like that might be the ideal solution for you, DarkDTSHD.
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Old Jul 20, 2005, 10:09 PM   #4
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Meryl Arbing wrote:
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The ability to throw extra light on your subject is a major advantage with any digital. They are really 'light-hungry'. The built-in flashes on most digitals are pretty weak.

A hotshoe gives you the option of a direct connection between your camera and the flash but you don't necessarily NEED a hotshoe. If your camera has a PC connection to the flash, you can be 'connected' to the camera even without a hotshoe. Sure there is a cable but that is not an insurmountable problem.

You can get a cheap flash bracket that will provide a mount for the flash and will have the added advantage of moving the flash itself out of the direct line of your lens (reducing possible red eye).However, a bracket adds bulk to your setup.

So, if your camera has a PC connector to a TTL flash, you don't need a hotshoe. Some photographers really like using a longer flash cord that allows them to hold the light where ever they want it go.

Some cameras, like the V3, for example, have both a hotshoe AND a cable connection so you can pick your approach. Sony also has a slave flash (on its own bracket) for their smaller pocket cameras...it doesn't have a physical connection to the camera but fires when the built-in flash goes off.
When you say "PC connector to a TTL flash" what do you mean exactly? Would the Canon SD500 have one? What is a "PC connector"? Is that just the standard way most cameras (digital or analog) can be connected to a flash without a bracket or hotshoe?

And if you were to recommend a few PnS digitial cameras without hotshoes what 3 would you recommend? And why? Or would you advise me to avoid models without the hotshoes and go straight for either a Canon G6 or Sony DSC-V3?

Thanks again for your input!


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Old Jul 21, 2005, 12:51 PM   #5
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What you will find with most built in flashes is they really have an effective flash range of between 5-12 feet (depending on the zoom used - more zoom = less flash distance). So, in that bar situation if the person is sitting across the table from you you will be fine. If you are standing at the end of a long table of 10 people chances are the flash output won't be enough. So factor that in to your decision. The other thing only you can answer is - even if you have a hot shoe, are you going to carry a flash with you if you might need it? Adding an external flash to carry pretty much tosses out the idea of a pocket camera or just a small belt pouch just large enough for the camera. So, factor that into your decision as well.



Good luck!
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Old Jul 21, 2005, 4:24 PM   #6
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The Canon G6 is fine. Stop killing yourself looking at the many, many, alternatives

(Have you looked at a cheap DSLR, like the Nikon D50/)
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Old Jul 21, 2005, 8:53 PM   #7
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JohnG wrote:
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What you will find with most built in flashes is they really have an effective flash range of between 5-12 feet (depending on the zoom used - more zoom = less flash distance). So, in that bar situation if the person is sitting across the table from you you will be fine. If you are standing at the end of a long table of 10 people chances are the flash output won't be enough. So factor that in to your decision. The other thing only you can answer is - even if you have a hot shoe, are you going to carry a flash with you if you might need it? Adding an external flash to carry pretty much tosses out the idea of a pocket camera or just a small belt pouch just large enough for the camera. So, factor that into your decision as well.



Good luck!
Hello John,

You brought up some very good points or "questions". Seemingly obvious but was overlooked. I would be sitting directly across the table if I were shooting in let's say a bar. Or a dimly lit restaurant. So I guess for me having a hotshoe isn't important at all.
Oh btw...i probably wouldn't be carrying that external flash. Unless I can make my woman carry it (I can feel her eyes burning a holes in my skull already). So that sort of makes the SD500 all the more attractive.

On the other hand the G6 is only $150.00 (Cdn) more than the SD500. And is a better camera. At least according the the reviews on Steve's. Decisions, decisions...But, I am now leaning more towards the SD500.

As for getting a DSLR....perhaps after I've had some time to play around with the PnS I end up with. Most likely my digital camera will sit on my table for the majority of the year any how. But who knows. Might get bit by the digital photography bug and start shooting like a madman. And want to get creative.

Thanks John et al.!
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 3:52 PM   #8
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An external flash on a hotshoe turns this...

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Old Aug 11, 2005, 3:53 PM   #9
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into this....

Yes its not the same picture but you see the difference in lighting when you bounce the light off of the ceiling.
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Old Aug 11, 2005, 4:49 PM   #10
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Small cameras like the SD500 produce a lot of red-eye. If you don't mind taking it out in post processing it isn't a big problem. But if you want to use the pictures directly from the camera it is often a problem.

There is something to be said for having a camera you can always have with you. The great camera sitting at home doesn't do much good when a photo opportunity arises. The SD500 has an above average flash range for a small camera.

The V3 also has a lot of red-eye if you use the built-in flash. But you can get around that with an external flash unit. The G6 isn't so bad for red-eye with the internal flash.

No matter how powerful the flash you have depth limitations. The light is dropping off at the square of the distance, so if you have sufficient power to properly light someone 15 feet away from you a person 4 feet away is going to be nearly burned out with light.

Flash attachments give more range and better pictures. And you don't get red-eye.

The SD500 is the only camera you list that is a pure point and shoot. If that is all you want from a camera the G6 and V3 might be an extravagance just for the hot shoe. And you wouldn't be as likely to carry them everywhere.



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