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Old Jan 12, 2004, 1:42 AM   #1
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Default Small Compact with manual controls?

After some research and evaluation of how I'm most likely to use my first digital camera, I've come up with these priorities:

1. It must be small--reasonably pocketable.
2. It must offer manual as well as auto focus.
3. It must have at least 3 megapixels (but preferably 4+).
4. It must have a built-in flash.
5. Compatibility with Macs (OS 9 and X) via USB is preferred; failing that, it must use a memory card that will work with a reader attached to a Mac.
6. Must have at least 2x optical zoom; at least 3x is strongly preferred.
7. Would like manual aperture control. (Manual exposure would also be nice, but is less important to me.)
8. Low shutter lag is important.
9. Ability to use non-proprietary rechargeable batteries would be very nice.

With these priorities in mind, I've located a leading candidate in the Olympus Camedia D-40Z (I think it's the C-40Z outside North America). Some other ideas from various buyer's guides include the Minolta Dimage f100, Olympus Camedia C-50Z (sources differ whether it offers manual focus), the Konica KD-300 Zoom, and the Pentax Optio S4. There are probably Canon models that would match some or all of my criteria but I focused on the Elph line initially only to find that the SD400 doesn't have manual focus.

If anyone has any comments to offer, comparative or otherwise, on the models I've mentioned--or suggestions for cameras I've overlooked, I'd be grateful. Aside from the criteria mentioned above, cool features like remote control or weatherproof construction would be of interest--and of course price and image quality. I think my budget tops out at about $400 (street price or via an Internet dealer).

Thanks in advance.
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