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Old Feb 20, 2004, 3:15 PM   #1
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Default Pentax S-4 / Cannon S400. It all comes down to this.

I have basically narrowed my choice down to the Canon S400, the Pentax S-4 and a distant third is the Sony-DSCP-92 (my friend works at Sony and can get me a good price).

I have read a bunch of reviews of each camera and while all seem highly recommended, the Cannon seems to garner the most praise.

I will be using the camera mainly as a point and shoot and will likely not fiddle much with manual controls. One of my main requirements is size / portability, which is one reason why the sony is 3rd, it seems noticeably "bigger" (although it is all relative) than the other 2.

I also note from the reviews that between the Cannon and the Pentax the consensus seems to be that you trade off some picture quality in the Pentax for its smaller size. I have held both of them in my hands and while the Pentax is quite a bit smaller and thinner, the Cannon is likely small enought that I would not have any problem carrying it around.

O.k., here is the question, as noted, given that most of the reviews do suggest that the picture quality is better in the Cannon, (I have been unable to tell the difference in sample photos on the web) is it THAT MUCH better than the Pentax that it makes up for the (i) higher price of the Cannon over the Pentax and (ii) the larger size?

I will likely be using the camera to print 4x6 and some 5x7 and 8x10, but mainly 4x6.

My conclusion is that if the view is that while the picture quality of the Cannon is marginally better (but likely not noticeably better for family / vacation shots) then I would rather have the smaller size and cheaper price of the Pentax. However, if the general view is that the trade-off is quite big and the pictures from the Cannon are considerably better than from the Pentax, plus the Cannon is just generally a better camera than the Pentax, then I will pay the extra money for the Cannon and suffer with the somewhat larger size.

sorry for the long post but I am trying to get my head around this decision and any input is greatly appreciated.

(I am also going to post this in the Pentax forum to get a "different" view so sorry in advance for the cross-post.)
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Old Feb 23, 2004, 11:10 AM   #2
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Have you looked at the Nikon Coolpix 3700? I was between the s-4 and the s400 myself until I checked out the 3700. The only trade off is that you cannot adjust iso, aperture or shutter speed on the 3700. This can lend to grainier shots when there is low light, but there are 15 scene modes that work very well, and the mini-movie mode is fantastic. Overall, I liked the features of the 3700. (It has voice recorder too.) Size is between the 2. If you want to know more about the 3700, I can point you to some links. Here's one: http://www.nikondigitutor.com/eng/e3700/index.html. Good luck!
PS check out the nikon forum; there is a thread there on the 3700.
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Old Feb 23, 2004, 6:07 PM   #3
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Damn it! Just when I think I have it narrowed down, someone mixes it up with another suggestion!

Just kidding of course. Thanx very much for the suggestion. I had not considered the Nikon but I will start looking around.
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Old Mar 23, 2004, 5:01 PM   #4
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I had this sort of decision to make last week and I went with the S4. Only a minor drop off in picture quality for unsurpassable size/weight package that you can lose in your pocket.

The price was pretty good too - I got mine for $289 at 17th Street Photo in New York City ( www.17photo.com ). You also get a $30 mail in rebate than must be postmarked by March 31. Net price is then $259. For that kind of price, its hard to make any debate.
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Old Mar 24, 2004, 5:26 PM   #5
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I ended up going with the S4. In Canada, the rebate is not offerred, but there was a recent $100 off promotion so that convinced me to take the plunge.
Overall, I have been very happy with my decision. Pictures taken outdoors are fantastic, pictures taken indoors at times can be a little dark, but now that I am aware of it, I am able to compensate for it by ensuring there is sufficient light in the room.
The small size of the camera and the ease with which I can toss it in my pocket more than make up, in my mind, for any slight loss in picture quality, which I might add, is extremely slight indeed.
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