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Old May 1, 2003, 6:51 PM   #1
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Default Have manufacturers lost the plot re. compacts?

Bear with me, this will be a long post. Late last year I bought my first digital, after much research based on my needs I went with the Fuji 3800. She does most everything I need except three BIG faults. Firstly she is too bulky and i miss a lot of photos because i can't take her out at night socially, secondly the EVF is a pain because it is not so clear and can be misleading and lastly, it's nigh impossible to shoot in low light because the EVF does not pick up enough light.

So i now focus my attention on the Pentax 450. It's much smaller and stiill offers that big 190mm zoom! Excellent. Having read the review on DPreview though, it has quite a bit of noise in the pics and worst of all takes a whopping 6 SECONDS to start up!!!!!!!!!! GAHHHHH!! To top it of fthe optical viewfinder is accurate t only a lousy 84%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!

My point?? Well looking at the Oly C-50, Canon S40/50 and the new Pentax 450/550, I feel camera manufacturers are missing the point. Why are so many compact camera coming with such a MASSIVE range of of manual options? Compact cameras are handy becuase they Are easy to cart around and therefore "spotaneous' shots can be taken, if one has the ludicrous amount of time it takes to fiddle with the vast array of features the Pentax 450 has (it has a ton of them) then you are fine to carry the bigger cameras with proper grips and so on and so forth and sit thee for 12 minutes adjusting your camera for thre perfect shot.

IMHO a flexible lens (wide and long) is of most importance becAuse you can only shoot what you can see through the lens!

I guess i am just dissapointed, I am searching for a camera that is easy to use with a good lens range and some decent manual options but I can't find one. THe focus with compacts seems to be on such elaborate manual settings regarding picture quality rather than the "feature set" such as long video and a flexible lens.

Here is my ideal camera:

- lens 30mm to 200mm or thereabouts
- 3 to 4 mp
- unlimited video capability
- lots (say 12) "pre-set" scene modes (eg. fireworks, beach whatever)
- basic manual settings such as on the fuji 3800
- bright and clear/accurate 1.8 inch LCD
- Optical viewfinder to 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- compact but not tiny
- digital filters (especially a polariser)
- fast start up and no picture "lag"
- fast write times
- excellent battery life
- video out
- manual focus for poorly lit subjects

Well that's about it, you'd think one could find such a camera with the pssible exception of the lens which may need to be say 35-180mm instead.

Keep in mind that most of you are semi-serious photographers, if a manufacturer had the sense to just include the basic manual options we really need but loade dthe camera with features .... don't you think it would do well????
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Old May 1, 2003, 7:06 PM   #2
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defending the evf

how else could i view shots in bright sunny conditions without the evf
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Old May 1, 2003, 7:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Why are so many compact camera coming with such a MASSIVE range of of manual options
That's easy, look at the Forums. People are driven spare by features, to the extent that's what they research most and throw their money at.

Start with the basic tried and proven features of a film slr. Digicams are like 'fly by wire'. The technology can't work on its own and perform well over a range of situations, so you have to hang all this other 'stuff' around it. Then the other stuff needs menus, that means application software, user interfaces, more memory, faster processors, auto focus, white balance etc etc. All this 'stuff' makes for great product feature/price differentiation.

Actually think about it? Because the technology isn't mature enough to get the product right first time, features are self generating cures for the problems which haven't yet been solved and we seem to like throwing our money at them!

Throw in a bit of SARs and a ccd shortage and you have excess demand, under supply and increased prices.

Whilst all the time there are masses of good slr cams with fast focus, excellent zooms, split image rangefinders, decent viewfinders, media which doesn't need formatting, bodies and lenses which nobody seems so interested in.

Funny this world of consumer products, innovation and buyer behaviour!

PS Alfisti's 3800 is pretty pressed to do anything low light as it's only 100ASA, so why worry about the low light EVF and auto focus performance. The EVF is only showing you the poor CCD sensitivity.
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Old May 1, 2003, 7:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Quote:
Why are so many compact camera coming with such a MASSIVE range of of manual options
That's easy, look at the Forums. People are driven spare by features, to the extent that's what they research most and throw their money at.
That's what i don't get. i mean seriously, we all need to give the camera some help every now and then but some of these compacts are pushing SLR manual options and just who the heck has the time to sit there and adjust EVERYTHING on a lot of their pics????

You'd think the non picture quality features would be all the rage but it's taking a long time to get off the ground. i am still dumbfounde dby the lack of a wide angle camera (compact).
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Old May 1, 2003, 7:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebaird
defending the evf

how else could i view shots in bright sunny conditions without the evf
Um through the optical viewfinder.
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Old May 1, 2003, 8:12 PM   #6
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It's like I said, if they designed an auto cam point and shoot that just took great pics with the same or more latitude than film, you would just differentiate on lenses etc.

But, batt consumption is too high - you worry about it. You have to give resolution options because, whilst you need the most, memory is too expensive. Auto focus doesn't work well - so you need manual. White balance is the same - so you need this. In built flashes are too small, (or rather the camera needs more sensitivity) so you need external flash. You need higher ASA speed ratings- so the manufacturer throws in noise you don't want, then you need noise cancelling software - and a new pc to run it.

The feature list just gets bigger as cam makers put more in to solve the problems users find when they just want to point a camera at a subject in a wide range of situations and get a decent pic.

Digicam experts or 'pros', are just people skilled at doing the things the auto settings can't do, when the electronic brain fails to read the scene or understand the photographer's intention correctly and screws up. So the more flaky the technology is to get it right everytime, the more knowledge you need from Forums like this.

My Grannie never posted her experiences of getting pics with her Brownie box. She just went out on sunny days and took great sharp pics with soooo much DOF, a fixed lens and no f stops. Occasionally, she got it wrong and learned about camera shake!
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Old May 1, 2003, 8:15 PM   #7
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Yeah agreed .. though my 3800 prints are as goodif not better than film, especially now that i can adjust the exposure when looking DIRECTLY into the sun. I'm in OZ so th esun can cause reflection issues everywhere here.
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Old May 1, 2003, 9:59 PM   #8
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First of all, you could have posted your message without swearing...you think your message will be taken more seriously because your swore in your message? Edit it and clean it up...this is a family forum.

The digital cameras I've played with that have advanced features also have point and shoot features so any one who knows how to turn the dial to AUTO, turn on the power, and press the shutter button can take a picture. You have to know some things, like if you're shooting in low light you need to use the flash, or if you're using a lot of zoom you need a tripod...but that's it. The extra features are there ONLY if you want to use them (I know in my case I only use the manual features and stay away from most of the automatic stuff on my camera). It's funny because a few weeks ago someone was complaining why manufacturers were concentrating on point&shoot digitals...I guess if you're both unhappy they're making a balance.

The time it takes from turning on the power to ready to shoot (I assume with your camera as I don't own a Fuji) is the time it takes to extend the long zoom lens out...I know with my 10x Oly it takes a long time, and if I'm at an event where taking multiple pictures I'll power on the camera and between pictures let the camera go into *sleep* mode...that way it's a short time to power it back up and I don't have to wait for the lens to extend.

The problem with optical viewfinders is they are offset from the lens that takes the picture, and that creates a parallax error...that's why when I got a camera I got one with an EVF. You'll never get an optical viewfinder that's 100% unless you spend the big bucks on a dSLR, and then you'll have to contend with always using manual controls!

Some filters can't be duplicated in the digital world...a polarizer is two polarized pieces of glass which you rotate one, and you NEED a Through The Lens (TTL) viewfinder to see the effect of it.

Regarding video, for regular (American/Japanese) video you're talking 30 pictures a second every second...that's a LOT of information...many PCs still can't reproduce that (Euro it's 25 frames a second). Suggest you buy a video camera for that.

I have to be honest that I have NEVER used any of those scene settings like action, etc. I get a far better picture when I choose my own settings (although I admit my last camera for the past 20 years was a fully manual (no automation) SLR.

Although there is no camera yet (nor will I think there will be) a camera that will fit all your wishes. The JamCam was totally point&shoot with NO settings, but it did have long shutter lag and poor quality (it was only $50).

Like a car, you do have to spend some time in figuring how a camera works, and like a car's manual doesn't teach you how to drive the camera's manual doesn't teach you how to take pictures...suggest you head over to http://www.photocourse.com for a free online "book" on the basics of digital photography where you can learn how to use things like shutter speed and f-stop to improve your pictures.
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Old May 1, 2003, 11:24 PM   #9
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Thanks for your reply Mike, i'll delete the "swearing" .. i don't think it is swearing but some will so i'll get rid of it.

I think you may have slightly missed the point of my post. I am fully aware of the "AUTO" setting but that is not my point.

What i am saying is that a camera costs "X" amount of dollars based on it's feature set, these "features" right now seem to be way too focused on purely adjusting the picture quality settings. "Compact" (NOT those tiny weeee little ones, just smallish) cameras are great for portability, which means that the average buyer is not a true photographic enthusiest who takes time out to "go photographing". In 60% of occasions I barely have the time to adjust anything becausei need to take the picture NOW.

My point is that surely such advanced "manual picture adjustments" are better suited to the larger camreras that the enthusiest uses. i don't mean DSLR's but even the "prosumer" ones like Minolta Dimage 7 for eg. or the Oly C-4000 etc.

I'd like the manual settings i have on my Fuji 3800 (exposure, sharpness, white balance, aperature) plus an ISO option. That will do a lot of people. Combine that wiyth a flexible lens (width and zoom) and user friendly features like pre-set scene modes, video out, long movies, FAST start up and write times, good low light focussing and most of all nice and compact and you have a camera that would sell by the bucketload.

I'd love to learn about metering and focussing and shutter speeds but i'll be damed if i have the time to stand there adjusting everything all the time. Hence I feel witht he Pentax i am paying for more than i need ... as is the case with a lot of cameras.

Two quick things, with the video i am not expecting miricles, but with memory up to 512MB I hate the limit of 1 minute most cameras have. The Pentax has a 10 minute limit which is great.

Also, re. start up times, the Pentax has no excuse, the fuji's lens is longer but takes less time to start up.

Oh and re. EVF V optical. I like the EVF because i can change settings on it but in low light it's terrible and in bright sunshine (a constant hassle in OZ) it gives the impression of a poor depth and underexposure when it's not the case. I looked through other people's cameras (35mm) on my trip recently and WOW was that a please, a nice clear view!!!!!!!!!!!!
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