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Old Nov 5, 2004, 1:51 PM   #1
rka
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Over the last three years, I have used the following cameras extensively:
  • Fuji Finepix 1400 Zoom - General Purpose Point and Shoot [/*]
  • Nikon Coolpix 990 - General Purpose, Digiscoping, Macro Photos [/*]
  • Olympus E-100RS - Bird Photography w TCON17 Teleconverter
I generally buy cameras with specific uses in mind and all of the above have been great cameras in their intended areas of use. As a general rule, there must be acceptable image quality (very subjective) and batteries should be AA size.

Recently, I've been more involved in outdoor activities. As a result, the following factors have become increasinglyimportant to me:
[/*]
  • All Weather Device [/*]
  • Portability [/*]
  • Capable Point and Shoot with good low light focusing
When I did the standard research by checking forums andreading reviews in steves-digicams.com, dpreview.com, megapixel.net, imaging-resource.com, pcphotoreview.com, dcresource.com, birdforum.net etc., only fouroptions approximated what I was looking for:
[/*]
  • Pentax Optio 33WR [/*]
  • Pentax Optio 43WR [/*]
  • Olympus Stylus 400 Series [/*]
  • Ricoh Capilio 300G/400G
Detailedinformation on each camera is out there so I won't repeat, but I narrowed it down to the 43WR and the 400G and finally chose the 43WR due to digiscoping and macro potential in addition to meeting the criteria previously stated. The risks in going with the 43WR were:
[/*]
  • Image Quality (Barrel Distortion and Noise) [/*]
  • Unprotected Lens [/*]
  • Practical Case since available case fom Pentax is foolish [/*]
  • Battery Life [/*]
  • Lack of manual options could be very limiting
After using the 43WR for a short while:
[/*]
  • Image Quality - Good with Barrel Distortion at Wide End - Acceptable [/*]
  • Unprotected Lens - Only a problem if you don't have a good case [/*]
  • Case - Lowepro D Res 8M works like a charm but no space for batteries [/*]
  • Battery Life - This concerns me. The battery indicator goes to one bar and subsequently zero bars too quickly with my 2000 NiMh rechargables. However, even a zero bars, I managed to shoot 50 pictures. I'm thinking there is a problem in the camera's ability to determine remaining power. [/*]
  • Lack of Manual Options - So far this has not been a major concern since the camera generally selects appropriate settings for simple pictures. Naturally, the camera would not work when control over aperture or shutter speed to produce a desired effect is required.
[/*]
In addition to the above, the following are dealt with quite admirably:
  • All Weather Device [/*]
  • Portability [/*]
  • Capable Point and Shoot with good low light focusing
Additional very useful bonuses include:
[/*]
  • Very practical implementation of panorama assist mode [/*]
  • Pretty good movie mode [/*]
  • Smartly designed menu system .... vastly superior to the other cameras I have used (very subjective)[/*]
Overall, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this camera to anyone that needs a rugged little camera with good picture quality and a wide variety of uses.

Hope my first impressions are useful. Also, if anyone has actually used the Ricoh, I would be very interested in hearing your view.

Cheers,

rka
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Old Nov 14, 2004, 7:04 PM   #2
rka
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:G

Good digiscoping camera even though no shutter/aperture control.

I have some samples posted on www.birdforum.net.

Attached is an example. I shot the pic through an AT80HD spotting scope.
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Old Nov 14, 2004, 7:07 PM   #3
rka
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:G

Good digiscoping camera even though no shutter/aperture control.

I have some samples posted on www.birdforum.net.

Attached is an example. I shot the pic through an AT80HD spotting scope.
Attached Images
 
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Old Nov 21, 2004, 11:01 AM   #4
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I've found the 43WR to be perfect for my "one-camera-does-it-all" needs. Small enough to carry just about anywhere and rugged enough for white water rafting.

Tomac
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