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Old Jun 13, 2004, 5:53 AM   #1
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Last summer, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted in a digital camera: something reasonably compact, manual controls a must, used CF or SD and non-proprietary battery.

I had found it all in the Canon A70. But I never got around to buying it.

This summer, I'm back on the digicam hunt. I actually purchased a Casio QV-R51. It was pocketable, had a nice big LCD screen, took good pictures, used SD and AA batteries, had some manual controls, everything I thought I wanted, but alas, my heart simply was not content (not enough manual, no AV out, no movie w/sound, highest photo quality still used too much compression - in conjunction with noise, I could see problems on any pictures over 1600x1200).

So, this is what I think I want:
  • Must be under $400 by mid-August (I'm a poor college student )

    Image quality is the MOST important thing (TIFF not necessary but the JPEG compression better not noticeable)

    At least 3x optical zoom; digital zoom will never be used

    I've decided that being very compact is not so important. I'm going to need both hands to hold the camera still during a shot, so I don't want to feel like I'm working with a tiny surgical instrument, and how often am I going to stash my camera in my pocket anyway?

    Manual everything is a MUST (by that I mean the usual, i.e. focus, white balance, exposure, shutter, aperture)

    CF or SD only (I object to MS on principle otherwise and xD is not being widely adopted)
    -----edit-----
    I have decided that since I don't currently own any other consumer electronics that use memory cards, it wouldn't be so terrible to buy MS or xD, although when I want to get another digicam I'll be more swayed to get something that can reuse them
    -----end edit-----

    AA batteries only...maybe (if EVERYTHING about a camera is right and it uses proprietary, I might still consider it)

    Anything over 3.2MP will do (I won't be printing pictures much. Rather, the pics will mostly be viewed on my computer...which incidentally has a very nice 22" monitor.)

    The zoom control should be on top. That way, my right thumb can help stabilize the camera.
    -----edit-----
    This was only a concern with the point and shoot cameras. I think that with something bigger, since I'll always be holding it with two hands, I should be able to maintain a steady enough shot without my right thumb, heh
    -----end edit-----

    Data transfer should be with a cable. I don't want to lug around a huge dock.

    VGA movie recording w/audio
    -----edit-----
    I've also decided this isn't a must. It would be nice, but if losing it means better still image quality or a lower price, I would seriously consider the sacrifice
    -----end edit-----
That said, I'm seriously considering the A75 since it is even better than the A70 I was dead set on getting last summer.

There are only 4 main problems I have with this camera:
  • 4 batteries makes it needlessly big and heavy. Why couldn't they let it use 2xAA?

    3.2MP is a little low these days. If they made a 4MP/5MP version of this camera, I would be all over it (A80 is not an option b/c of too much purple fringing and lack of VGA movie mode).

    More zoom would be nice, 4x or 5x maybe? I realize 6x will be too big and too expensive.

    Despite the movie recording, I don't think it can be used as a webcam. Also, movie mode is 15fps rather than 30fps.
Part of the reason I'm being so anal-retentive is that I've spent WAY too much time looking for a cellphone. The one that best fit my needs was still a compromise; I don't want to compromise again.

So, if these requirements don't exclude all the cameras in existence and you have a recommendation in mind, by all means voice it

Sill, maybe I just want something nice, simple and cheap like the Nikon 3100. Then again maybe not.

-----edit-----
I'm now seriously considering some of the higher zoom cameras. Everyone is ranting and raving about the S1, but it appears to have some IQ drawbacks. The Fuji 4900 and S602 look fairly nice, especially with the manual focusing rings. Something like the S3000 or S5000 would work as well.
-----end edit-----
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Old Jun 13, 2004, 8:06 AM   #2
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I had found it all in the Canon A70. But I never got around to buying it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi qlat,

Maybe you should check out the

Canon PowerShot A80

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/ca...ew/index.shtml


it might be the kinda digital camera you are looking for within your budget?
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Old Jun 13, 2004, 11:44 AM   #3
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oops nevermind my post I noticed you said the A80 is not an option :-)
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Old Jun 13, 2004, 12:13 PM   #4
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You might want to look at the Canon S1. Shopping.com is down right now and they do a better job of sorting by total price, but Nextag has decent ratings for a couple of sites that will deliver the S1 for less than $400. I would crosscheck the seller ratings.
http://www.nextag.com/serv/main/buye...&sort=null

The stabilization makes the 10X zoom useable in more situations and the movie mode is excellent: 640 X 480 at 30fps. It uses NiMH AAs and CF. Full manual controls. Only 3Mp though. If you do a lot of telephoto work the stabilized long lens more than makes up for the Mp compared to a camera you have to crop or use digital zoom.
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Old Jun 13, 2004, 1:59 PM   #5
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slipe wrote:
Quote:

You might want to look at the Canon S1. Shopping.com is down right now and they do a better job of sorting by total price, but Nextag has decent ratings for a couple of sites that will deliver the S1 for less than $400. I would crosscheck the seller ratings.
http://www.nextag.com/serv/main/buye...&sort=null

The stabilization makes the 10X zoom useable in more situations and the movie mode is excellent: 640 X 480 at 30fps. It uses NiMH AAs and CF. Full manual controls. Only 3Mp though. If you do a lot of telephoto work the stabilized long lens more than makes up for the Mp compared to a camera you have to crop or use digital zoom.
The S1 isa pretty serious camera...but I suppose I'll have to start at some point. Also, it looks like it might be able to save me the cost of a camcorder (since VGA w/audio + zoom is sufficient; it's not like I'll be making films with a video camera anyway)
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Old Jun 13, 2004, 9:23 PM   #6
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I've made 3 edits to my list of requirements in addition to a comment at the end. The change regarding memory format should especially bring in a number of other competitors. Hopefully I'll have a choice besides the 1S, not that it's not a good choice (although IQ seems to be lacking on it). The Fuji 4900 and S602 look pretty good as well.
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