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Old Sep 27, 2003, 11:42 AM   #1
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Default First time buyer

I have been looking at the Canon S400, Canon A80 and Olympus Stylus 400, any recommendations would be appreciated. I will be using it for stills and some action pics. Thank you.
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Old Sep 27, 2003, 4:35 PM   #2
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In order to answer your question, more information is requried. Such as, do you plan on using it as point and shoot or would you like to have manual controls and is camera size an issue?
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 5:16 AM   #3
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This will be mainly a point and shoot camera. The camera is for my wife, so a compact size would be preferable but not that important.
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 9:36 AM   #4
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Action shots are hard for those cameras. You can learn to do it, but the shutter delay will make it harder.

Basically, the problem is that the camera takes a while do meter the seen (figure out the light), focus and then take the picture. By the time it has done all that, the action could have moved on.

I would check out the reviews to see what they say about shutter delay. Personally, I wouldn't touch the S400. I helped someone else work through some problems with using it and found that it is very limiting. Even if you'll use it mostly as a point and shoot, you'll still want more controls than this offers.

If this isn't a suprise/gift, I would suggest taking her to the store to look at the cameras. Make sure they fit her hands well, that the button placement works for her. Also that it fits in whatever she plans on carrying it in.

Camers look quite different in person than they do in pictures.

Eric
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Old Sep 28, 2003, 11:24 AM   #5
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The s400 and the a80 are pretty easy to compare. Same sensor size, same megapixels, same digic processor (basically same software/hardware driving the camera). The only thing that might affect image quality that may be diffrent are the lenses. My guess is that they are probably pretty close. What is left is size and features and that is where they directlly contrast. The s400 is in effect, a stripped down a80. The a80 has a lot more features and capabilities and uses cheaper, higher capacity (comparing all four to the s400's battery on the capacity thing) but larger heavier aa batteries. If you have good reason to want or need a smaller camera, the s400 should be considered. If you just find the size of the a80 unacceptable, consider the s400. If the size/weight of the a80 is acceptable to you, it a no brainer, the a80 is the far superior camera. As others said, go to a store and pick them up. Get a feel for the size and controls.
You might say, this is just going to be a point and shoot camera for my wife. She won't need all the features. The s400 goes to f4.8 1/2000. Even at your maximum setting, in very bright sunlight you will have instances where all the shots are overexposed. The smaller apature (f8.0) will make the camera more useable, even for a point and shooter. Even my a70 (f 8.0 1/2000, same as a80) will come out overexposed at max settings with bright enough sunlight. The solution would be a neutral density filter. The a80 is designed to take add on lenses and filters so its a 20$ adapter. The s400 was not designed this way. While there is an aftermarket adapter, it is 50$ and has a plate that attaches to your tripod mount (you are loosing your size advantage with this bigger adapter).
That is just one example of how added capabilities and features can be functionally important to any shooter. Also, shoting with digital is free. If she comes to like it, the a80 will give her more of a camera to grow into. If size/weight is really an issue, go for the s400. It is a good camera. If smaller size would be nice but is not really an issue, and the size and weight of the a80 is acceptable, it would be the beter way to go.
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