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Old Sep 30, 2005, 2:11 AM   #1
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Which of the following 7MP compact cameras would you recommend? Why?
  • Sony DSC-P200 [/*]
  • Casio Exilim EX-Z750 [/*]
  • Canon Powershot SD550 [/*]
  • Or something else entirely? :?
How I plan to use it::|
  • Vacation camera for snap shots, landscapes, shots of architecture, shots of cool things in museums (no flash)and people [/*]
  • Macro mode: shots of historic 16mm miniature games / dioramas (WWII &Sci-Fi) [/*]
  • My wife will take pictures in macro mode of flowers [/*]
  • I want it to survive three years of use with occasional clumsy drops[/*]
I'd also like to play with the video and audio annotation modes, but that will primarily be experimentation as I consider whether to get a video camera some day.

Looking forward to insightful advice!
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Old Oct 3, 2005, 7:40 PM   #2
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I'm no expert, but I had a post on here before asking about comparison b/n the P200 and SD550. One of the replies I had that stands out was a link to a forum that was basically people complaining about problems with dust on the inside of the lens or on the sensor of their P150 and P200 Sonys. It seemed like more than a few people were having this problem and associated headaches dealing with Sony in getting the camera cleaned.

I guess the SD550 is too new for problems like this to really have been flushed out (I know there were reports of the earlier SD500 having issues with LCD cracks).

I know nothing about the EX-Z750
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Old Oct 5, 2005, 4:05 PM   #3
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Im considering buying the Canon SD 550 camera.I have a couple of questions about it:

1) When I connect it to my computer will it appear as a new drive

2) Are the movies in the standard .avi format as I have heard reports that they need converted before they can be used in programmes such as Adobe Premiere.

3) Is the screen cracking a widespread problem?

What would you choose??

In summary seems that Canon SD 550 takes better pictures, hassle with battery, screen sometimes cracks, and problem with format of .avi. The SOny on other hand is slightly bulkier, not as good photos and dust problem, more expensive memory sticks, but acts as a seperate hard drive.
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Old Oct 6, 2005, 7:51 AM   #4
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Of the cameras you list the Z750 has the poorest macro mode. You can get the camera only within 4 inches of the subject in wide angle. That goes to 20 inches at full telephoto. That works fine for me, but I'm not into bugs and miniatures. If 4 inches is close enough you will want to shoot at that range with any of them so the lens doesn't block the flash. But if you want to use external lighting and have a 16mm miniature large in the frame it probably isn't the best choice.

All of them have problems. If you block the lens extension on the Z750 you can develop a lens error. Carrying the camera with the mode dial in audio record completely obviates the problem, but you have to rotate it to the proper setting for photography. The P200 has the dust spot problem. You could just return the camera if it developed within the first month, but after that there would be repair hassles with Sony. The SD series has had problems with cracked LCDs. I don't know whether they fixed it on the SD550. If you carried it in your pocket with the LCD against your leg with nothing else in your pocket I doubt there would be a problem. That is a good precaution with any LCD.

The P200 has a higher pixel viewfinder than either the Z750 or SD550. My near vision isn't great and I prefer the lower resolution but larger display. If your near vision is good you would likely see more on the P200 viewfinder.

The SD550 is the only one of the three that is pure point and shoot. The Sony and Casio have manual exposure modes available. The control setup is excellent on the Z750. The P200 has only pre-set focus points where the Z750 has full manual focus, but in a small digital with large DOF either is sufficient.

The Z750 and SD550 (assuming it has the same lens and noise reduction as the SD500) have about the same excellent resolution. The P200 is a little lower, but it is something you would probably see only on test subjects.

The Z750 has MPEG4 compression in the movies, so you can put a lot more on the card. I tend to take only short movies with a digital camera, but if you want to do a lot of movies that could be a factor. The Z750 has a past movie mode which I really like. You can aim the camera and wait for something to happen – like the fish to jump or the toddler to do something cute. When you start the recording it captures the previous 5 seconds from the buffer and continues recording. It keeps you from grinding away waiting for something to happen. More important to me, you usually don't have as much useless footage to edit out.

Stephen_19 To the best of my knowledge almost all modern cameras show up as a drive in Windows Explorer. Of my three current cameras and two previous ones they all show up as a drive letter. Those include a Minolta, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic and my Z750.

There is freeware to convert any format to any other. People usually don't have problems.

This is a chart with the resolutions. Besides good resolution, the Z750 also has a little less purple fringing and a little better corner sharpness. I don't know who makes the lens but it is pretty good except for the lens errors if you restrict the lens extension. The P200 evidently has more aggressive noise reduction so would probably have a little lower resolution than the P150 listed – the P150 has the same lens.

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Old Oct 6, 2005, 8:11 AM   #5
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I've found that the macro mode on the Z750wasn't as poor as I feared, once I took the ability to crop a 7mp image into account.

This shot is a crop of an farmer ant taking care of his aphids. This is taken with flash, so being back further probably helps.


For when I really want a better macro, I built a homemade adapter for my close-up filters. This is an example. (only slightly cropped for composition)


With a 50mm macro lens reversed, you can get even closer:

And thisthread has an explanationthe adapter setup. (If you are into miniatures, you might be interested.)


The quality of the images from the Z750 is fantastic.

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Old Oct 6, 2005, 9:13 AM   #6
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Also, in reference to the drive showing up, I think the easiest option and one that most people overlook is getting a meadia card reader will all the formats, SD, MMC, CF, etc. they can be had for like 15 bucks. That way you just pop the card in and boom, another drive. And you can have a bunch of cameras and not have to keep all those propriatary USB cable around.

As for the cameras, I love the Canon. But yes, its pretty much a P&S affair.
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Old Oct 8, 2005, 7:39 PM   #7
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stephen_19 wrote:
1) When I connect it to my computer will it appear as a new drive
Seems to on Win XP sp2. However, I need to turn the camera power on.

2) Are the movies in the standard .avi format as I have heard reports that they need converted before they can be used in programmes such as Adobe Premiere.
I had no problem opening the video file in Adobe Premiere Elements 1.0. I didn't need to convert the file.
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