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Old Dec 4, 2003, 7:32 AM   #1
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Default Kodak 6490, HP 945 or Olympus C750

My heads a buzzin with all the different reviews, but I can't seem to find any decent review sites that have best buy guides or tables etc. Everyone seems to list pros and cons, but often sit on the fence getting splinters other than that.

Hence I'm confused!! I'm pretty much a point and shoot merchant, but like the idea of having more flexibility and control. Ultimately though I'm after ease of use/picture quality/good zoom(8x or more)

Unless anyone suggests otherwise, I've narrowed it down to the above cameras which all sit roughly in the same price bracket, and was quite keen on some of the nifty bits on the 945, but then others say the 750, and others still say the Kodak.

Would like to take normal family/holiday photos, sometimes things like safari's etc (hence the zoom), but don't want to end up with something that doesn't work properly or focus correctly under key situations etc..

I'd be really grateful if anyone can make a suggestion of which they'd go for, and why, also why not for the others.

HELP? cheers in advance :?
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 10:57 AM   #2
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If I were buying the listed cameras I would choose the Olympus C750. I believe the images that the 750 produce are the best in the class. I would also say that the 6490 is a very good camera that produces great pics. I have shot with the 750 and the 6490 and both are very good cameras. I have not read any reviews on the 945 and could not comment on the camera.

All cameras have their strong points and weak points. The best camera may not always provide the photo you want under all conditions. You need to manipulate the enviroment to work with the camera. If do not have steady hands and want to use the long zoom you need to steady the camera with a tripod or something else. If you do not steady the camera then you will have blurry pictures. The blurry pictures are a result of not manipulating the enviroment.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 1:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Phil. Yep, fully appreciate they're all going to contain compromises somewhere along the line. Out of the two you plumbed for, I would say from the reviews I've read the 750 is less intuitive to use, no AF light and slightly dearer, whereas the 6490 doesn't take off the shelf batteries, and the pictures aren't quite as good as the 750, as quoted by some.

Still curious if anyone has any thoughts on the 945, as it has a slight advantage pixel wise, down in zoom I know, but also has some extra nifty new features like the digital flash etc, having said that I've read some concerns re the night focus and AF when tackling moving objects.

So although I'm sure it's probably splitting hairs, I'm a novice to this and not sure which hair to split, or in reality does it make very little difference as they all likely to do an equally admirable job, just with slightly differing strong points etc.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 3:18 PM   #4
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I believe that all three cameras will provide you with excellent photos. One of my dislikes about the 6490 is the battery. However, I own the 5700 does not use standard AA batteries. I just bought extra batteries. My sis has the 6490 and it takes great pics. Try to go to a local store and handle all three. Touching the cameras will provide you with the feel that will make your decision.
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Old Dec 4, 2003, 3:33 PM   #5
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I agree the sample photos from the 750 look sharper than the 6490 when viewed 100%. You would likely see a slight difference if you printed them at 13 X 19 on a good photo printer or had a large print done in a lab. For 8 X 10 or smaller you likely wouldn't see much difference. I think some of the quality difference is due to the high compression of the best JPGs. You fit more on the card but I would wish for a choice of a better JPG mode. In IE go Tools>Internet options>advanced and under Multimedia uncheck “Enable Automatic Image Resizing”. Then compare Steve’s sample photos of the same subject and you will likely see a difference.

But the superior flash range and excellent low light focus on the Kodak might give better shots according to use. The hot shoe on the Oly would more than make up for the flash if you were willing to schlep an external flash though.

The included proprietary battery on the Kodak gives enough power to fill a 256Mb card with reasonable LCD and flash use. Unless you are planning overnights in the wilderness without electricity I don’t think the proprietary battery is that big a deal. Especially considering that the cradle starts recharging as soon as you put the camera in it to start downloading the pictures. And I hope the larger LCDs are a trend – especially for cameras without a status window.

The SD cards in the Kodak are a better choice than the xD in the Oly, but I wouldn’t base my choice on it unless you already have a decent sized card for another device. I would choose the Oly over the Kodak because I print large format a lot. If you get the Oly get an Oly card as the panorama mode won’t work if you don’t.

The HP 945 has a lot of zoom range for a 5Mp camera. I’m not sure I would like the image enhancement that can’t be turned off but the full time variable noise reduction might work OK. You have to buy batteries and a charger for the HP where the other two come with chargers. Not a big expense though. The digital flash might be handy if you aren’t a Photoshop user. I think I would prefer to use contrast masking to do the same thing since you can vary the effect. Contrast masking looks a little better IMO but it leaves halos around things like flags against the sky where digital flash can be used in more situations. The only problem with digital flash is that you would have to recognize a potential problem in the exposure and turn it on – you wouldn’t want it on all the time. And it has a 2 inch LCD.

I recently ordered a Panasonic FZ10 because I’m willing to pay extra for the stabilization. Long telephotos are limited in all but the best light by camera shake. It is a bulky camera though.
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Old Dec 21, 2003, 6:51 PM   #6
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Just an update. I took Phil's advice and went and tried the above cameras. Obviously couldn't test them anywhere near as well as the reviews you see online, but it did provide some very quick answers for me.

The HP is quite a bit larger than the others, but fits nicely in the hand, and isn't that much heavier. The Olympus was the smallest, but likewise felt nice to hold. Kodak, nice size, and layout, but the grip felt a little squashed to me where your fingers curl round and press against the lens (subjective I know)

The main things I checked in the shop were the auto focus speeds and accuracy, all seemed good. Flash performance, low light performance, again were good across the board. The thing that really set them apart though for me was camera shake when using the zoom. None are stabilised, and I'm sure you can vary things to improve performance, but just using the standard auto settings, bracing myself, holding my breath etc etc, I could only get about 1 in 4 decent shots from the Olympus and Kodak, whereas the HP only returned about 1 duff shot in four, and I was being much tougher on it in the end, such as holding the camera away from me, on full optical zoom plus at points 2 or 3x digi zoom. Nearly always a great result from the HP, the colours and flash were excellent as well, really natural.

So I then focused on the HP, and it is by far the most intuitive to use. The menu system is fantastic. I appreciate that this camera is probably aimed at beginners/mid market (me!), but in reality HP aren't stupid, that's probably where 90% of the business is. I didn't like it so much I bought the company (would be nice, but don't have $150 billion spare at the mo, maybe next month), but I settled on buying the camera. Some of the Olympus' extras like the remote would have been nice, but the main point for me, was having a good quality camera, with a fair degree of control, a great zoom all coupled with ease of use, and the majority of the time point and click usage. The problem I found with the Kodak and the Oly was that I couldn't get the long zoom to work without camera shake, which for most situations is prohibitive, particularly as that's probably one of the main selling points of these cameras.

I've only mucked around with the HP for a couple of days now, but it hasn't disappointed. I've got 30 days to decide if I want to keep it, but can't see me changing my mind. Don't get me wrong, I agree with the reviews, in that it's bigger than the others, on rare occasions the slow disk write speed is noticeable, and I don't think I would recommend it for lots of sports or action shots. But for average Joe Bloggs stuff, long range shots etc, it's fantastic. Great natural colours, you'll know it inside out within 30 mins, and there's lots of extras and controls if you want to use them.

Only limited use so far at night, but I haven't noticed the problems I have read about on one of the review sites i.e. poor focus at night. Even on auto, spot on, and a great photo even when it needs 12 or 16 second exposures.

All in all, I think the HP is great value and a quality camera. As others have said, all three are very good, but in the end it comes down to which one YOU prefer, and you just can't decide that based on reviews alone, but it became very apparent which I preferred once I compared all three first hand. Thanks for everyone's input, much appreciated.

Signing off, still Confused, but nowhere near as much!!
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Old Dec 22, 2003, 10:35 AM   #7
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Keep us posted on the quality of the HP. Post some pictues as you have time.

Phil
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Old Dec 23, 2003, 2:50 AM   #8
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thanks for the update, and info on the HP. i had a good friend who was looking at the same 3 you mention. He was REALLY interested and leaning to the HP, but in the end the price won over and he went with the 750 that he bought online for under $450. Also, he liked that I had a 750 and he could ask me how to do this and that. Also, he liked that the OLY had a 3:2 mode for pic ratio, and seeing as he doesn't have a PC(yeah i know i know, tell it to him ops: ) he thought he'd have a better go at having pics printed at his local Walmart without having them crop to size, but i don't really know much about that yet as I'm still sorta new.

Regardless, i try to keep learning about these great inventions. and by my way of thinking the more quality cameras the better. it will give us consumers more variety and in theory, will lower prices with increased compition.
Good luck with your new camera.
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