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Old Jul 18, 2004, 3:34 PM   #1
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I'm now about ready to get a new digicam... I started with a Fuji MX-1200, went to a Casio QV2900UX and now I'm ready for something better.

Originally I really liked the Casio for its 8x optical zoom (still do somewhat). Now I'd like something that's at least 3Mp, preferably 4 or higher (I'm big on having lots of detail in my subjects). I know Canon and Nikon are my top 2 brand choices. Fuji and Olympus rank next. I'd prefer to stick to those 4 brands only. Also, any choice absolutely needs support for a 128MB CompactFlash card.

I'm willing to lose some optical zoom to meet other needs (no less than 3x optical this time around). I want something that is good in low light situations with minimal fuss to setup for that (I hear the Nikon 4500 is good there). I will also have occasion to use it in very sunny situations too. I'd like to have a histogram setting on the camera if possible. I'd like to have unlimited video length (up to CF Card's limit) with sound, but this is not top priority.

Below are my top choices in low-to-high price order (i didn't list the prices though). How would you guys rank these cameras overall?

Canon Powershot S80 4.0Mp 3x Opt
Nikon CoolPix 4500 4.0Mp 4x Opt
Fuji FinePix S602 3.3Mp 6x Opt
Canon Powershot S50 5.0Mp 3x Opt
Canon Powershot S1 IS 3.2Mp 10x Opt
Nikon CoolPix 5400 5.1Mp 4x Opt
Fuji FinePix S7000 6.3Mp 6x Opt
Nikon CoolPix 5700 5.24Mp 8x Opt

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 18, 2004, 8:00 PM   #2
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I have a S1 IS. My only grip is the LCD freezes up while tracking a moving object (soccer player) while using burst mode. Most other cameras do this also except the Kyocera or SLR's with optical viewfinders.

It now $438 at onecall.com including shipping. You can get a 5 year warrenty for $70 +/- more. Not a bad deal if you are into extended warrenties.

If you type "onecall coupon codes" in to a search engine (yahoo) you fine some coupon sites claiming onecall price is $377 including 3 day fed ex shipping. I can't seem to get onecall website to verify this, but it might be worth a phone call if you go with the S1 IS.

The 10X zoom is nice. Keep in mind Panasonic has a 12X and 4MP for about the same price.

A 1 gig card will record 9 min of 640 x 480 video at 30 fps. A 4 gig card (microdrive) will record 36 minutes but you have to restart every 9 minutes. A future firmware update would be nice. I think a 4 gig microdrive is like $300.

You can use the zoom with the movie mode but then no audio. If you want audio then the zoom is fixed at what ever zoom you started the movie.

The flip out LCD gives it a "professional" look IMO. IT also nice to turn it around to protect it from scratches.

If you want a 2nd review check out Jeff Kellers site. He doesn't have as many camera reviews as Steve but he does a good job also. He does have a review on the S1 IS.
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Old Jul 18, 2004, 11:46 PM   #3
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The only camera on your list that I've got experience with is the Canon S1 IS. I paid $499 and would make the same choice again after reading TONS about other cameras. I just love it. Some of the things I love:

I wouldn't buy another camera without the flip out display. Keeps it from being scratched (although I'm careful anyhow) and gives you the ability to take great perspective shots without having to dig your head into the ground or stand on a ladder to get a higher view. Read reviews about the small size of the LCD and it hasn't bothered me at all. I can see it just fine. Or use the viewfinder if I'm feeling artsy. Also I can easily take shots of myself. :whack:

Battery life is amazing. I've had it for about 2 months and I understand that the slow charge lengthens battery life, so maybe this will slowly begin to drop, but I'm bewildered at how long it lasts.

Interchangable lenses gives you WORLDS of new territory to explore. Most are $50 to $100 ($150 from Canon) and have been having fun with my Fisheye lens ($45 off eBay).

10x telephoto is (as Steve has described) THE FUN FACTOR. That extra range sure comes in handy.

Image stabilization really works! You have the option to turn it on/off (I've heard it should be OFF when shooting from a tripod or following action).

Pictures are wonderful. I must admit I print about .1% of the pictures I take, and mostly use shots for slideshows (made with Showbiz) or to document fun/everday events. 3.2 pixel has not let me down. Also, the majority of pictures printed are usually 4x6 anyhow. I haven't experiemented much with ISO (I'm sure someone on the board can educate you AND me on this), but ISO 50 seemed pretty generous. Most of the cameras in my research didn't go that low. I think that's good.

Intervelometer ROCKS! Set your camera up and take pictures in a time lapse fashion. Watch the clouds roll by, people file into a baseball stadium or snap shots of yourself painting the wall.

Optional remote is cheap ($20 US) and other things like a waterproof case will keep you safe if you're daring enough to go storm chasing. Haven't bought the case yet. But the remote lets you zoom and work your picture slideshow comfortably from the couch.

The feel is great. I've used my buddy's T1 and have to use 2 hands cause it's so small. I can shoot with ease with a beer in my other hand if needed.

Haven't had the LCD freezing up problem. There's an upgrade to the software avaialble that may address this issue. I performed it anyway just to be 'current'. But it's nice to see Canon's concern for their customers.

I had an other OLD Canon A50 and it took solid pictures, so Canon is indeed a name I trust.

Movie mode is flexible with choices to go 15 or 30 frame as well as quality/size options to save camera space. Got myself a 1gig card and have been toying with the option of a 4gig microdrive, but my frugal side is making me wait. Nice to have the option to use a microdrive if I decide to get one down the road.

It has a histogram, so you're covered there. It flashes on the overexposed areas so you'll know right away and can take another shot. Haven't done too many low light shots, although I got some great pictures of fireworks on the 4th.

I would say my only gripe is that the microphone is in the back of the camera. So when I'm recording movies I have to be careful not to chew my gum too loud or it picks it up. Good that it's sensitive though. I'm conscious of this shooting in movie mode.

Full printed manual. I've read it from cover to cover and keep it around for reference. Once in a while I pick up a new tip that I missed on the first read (like turning the flashing light off when shooting in movie mode. Nice when recording concerts).

Controls and functionality all seem to be centrally located and I've had no difficulty zooming around the menus to find what I need. Plenty of auto settings for all situations (cloudy, flourescent light, sunny, night, portrait, action, slow shutter) in addition to full control over aperature and shutter speed (worked like a charm for fireworks).

I'm sure these other cameras have some excellent features too, so I'm not able to say this is the best out of the lot. But I've never been happier with a buying decision.

Good luck Ferret64!
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Old Jul 19, 2004, 7:33 AM   #4
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Kyocera M410R isnt on your list and it was what i chose
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