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MrSwaggerDT Jul 31, 2006 2:37 PM

This is my first post on the forums here, so I hope that I am clear in what I need! I have been an avid digital photographer for about six years. My first camera was an Olympus D-460Z, and I have only had a couple of cameras since that time. My second camera was a FujiFilm Finepix S5000 Zoom and third was a Canon SD200. I mainly use my Fuji for special events (weddings, vacations, etc.) and my SD200 for general use. My Canon's LCD decided to white out on me and is not covered under warranty. As an aside, I do not understand how that is the fact considering it was in a leather case and was never dropped or hit. Anyway, this puts me back on to the market for a new general use camera with the ability to replace my S5000 Zoom. I have been reading plenty of reviews, but I thought I would come to the forums and ask for some advice. There are so many good cameras on the market!

I suppose I am looking for a Swiss army knife type of camera, but I am sure I can find an acceptable feature set for my needs. I want to be able to take those quick photos as well as set it up for a nice night shot. A good example is that my current cameras do not have a lot of manual controls to allow for low-light situations. I was on a trip to Seattle and wanted a picture on the skyline overlooking the city. My camera did not expose anything behind me, but my friend's camera, a dSLR with customizable exposure, etc., was able to get a nice picture. I am not sure if that type of customization is available in a small form factor camera or not.

As far as specifics go, I want the following:
-Nice optical zoom
-Manual controls or a way to get nice photographs in most situations
-Optical viewfinder (I am not a fan of the LCD viewfinder, but I can compromise.)
-Preferred SD memory (This can be compromised, too.)
-File transfer without a docking station
-Small form factor

I have considered the Fuji F30, Fuji E900, Casio Exilim Z850, Casio EX-Z1000, and Canon Powershot SD700. Honestly, I could care less about video capability. Resolution is not that big of a deal because I do not print out my photographs. I have printed one photograph in my six years of using a digital camera. I am trying to not spend above $350 or $400 if possible.

Thank you for any insight!



mtclimber Jul 31, 2006 5:15 PM


There are certain contrdictions within your post that have me really unsure about your actual desires. Your general statementis fine:

-Nice optical zoom
-Manual controls or a way to get nice photographs in most situations
-Optical viewfinder (I am not a fan of the LCD viewfinder, but I can compromise.)
-Preferred SD memory (This can be compromised, too.)
-File transfer without a docking station
-Small form factor

However, then I looked at the potential camera list:

I have considered the Fuji F30, Fuji E900, Casio Exilim Z850, Casio EX-Z1000, and Canon Powershot SD700.

Everyone of the cameras on you "potential camera list" have 3 to4X Optical zoom. Does that equate to "nice optical zoom"? The Fuji F-30 and the SD-700 have very few manual controls at all. How does that jive with "manual controls or a way to get nice photographs in most situations." Please be more specific about the "...most situations..." Are you speaking about low light level shooting conditions? With the single exception of the F-30, not one of the other cameras a good low light performers.

You mention that you never print amy of your photos, do you post process your photos? Please help us out with some more information, won't you please. The Fuji F-30 and E-900 use XD chips, is that OK?


MrSwaggerDT Jul 31, 2006 9:30 PM

Hey, Sarah!

By nice optical zoom, I meant nice quality when zoomed in to the maximum without digital zoom. My S5000 has 10X optical, but I do not think I am going to find that in a small form factor camera. I think the most I have seen in my research, albeit limited, was 6X. I do not necessarily need that much, but if there is a camera out there with more than 3 or 4Xand fits my specs, by all means feel free to recommend! :-) I never use digital zoom, so it is not a factor.

I have not done any sort of critical in-depth analysis of the cameras on my list. I have read reviews, but they do not tend to get into depth about the manual controls. By "in most situations," I mean a situation such as my Seattle trip. I want to get a photograph of the skyline at night but most cameras do not exposewell in a night time skyline photograph. Another issue is taking photographs of the moon or other celestial objects. I can never get those to come out at all. I would assume this is because the aperture is not open long enough. I want to be able to set my camera up to take a good picture of those types of objects. Does that make it more clear? If not, I will try to clarify some more. I would not necessarily say low-light all of the time, but I want a good performer in that category.

The only post processing I apply to my pictures will be minor sizing, cropping, or some digital enhancements. I spend time in Photoshop but nothing major. My photos are used to record my experiences in life rather than for professional means. I do like to take photographs of nature though, so I want to be able to get that awesome photograph!

With all of this said, what do you recommend? As I said, I have only spent a little bit of time researching cameras, so I came here to the forums for wisdom from the experts! Thank you for your response. I appreciate it. :-)



mtclimber Jul 31, 2006 9:48 PM

Good Luck, Dallas

slipe Aug 1, 2006 6:52 PM

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About the only small camera you are going to be able to take hand-held cityscapes with is the Fuji F30. It does have aperture and shutter priority, so it isn't completely point and shoot. Dpreview gave it and the SD700 a "highly recommended". I don't remember any other pocket cameras getting that rating from them. Oddly Steve has never put the F10, F11 or F30 on his best cameras list. Cityscapes are usually bright enough to handhold with the high ISO capability of the F30.

There are two things listed in the disadvantages in the conclusion of the review that really put me off though:
" Screen can be hard to see in very bright light"
"No optical viewfinder"

I shoot a lot outdoors and the sun is almost always shining here in Florida. If they would put an optical viewfinder on it I would probably buy one.
The F30 is a little bulky to be considered a sub-compact, but it is still pocketable

The Z850 has the other half of what you want. It is small with an optical viewfinder and 2.5 inch LCD. It has manual everything if you want to use it and a great control setup. It is also much more configurable than the F30 or SD700. But it doesn't have true optical stabilization or great high ISO capabilities. It has a lot of nifty features like the ability to take 3 full resolution flash shots in a second, a movie light and good burst mode.

The SD700 is a pure point and shoot but it has true optical stabilization and a 4X zoom. It is an excellent little camera. Stabilization will also help in low light situations by letting you shoot at much lower shutter speeds and not get motion blur from camera shake. The SD700 also has an optical viewfinder.

The Z1000 is a pure point and shoot with no optical viewfinder, optical stabilization or high ISO capability. But it is very tiny and takes decent pictures.

If I were going to have only one camera I would have something I could always have with me. The E900 has manual capability but is too large to carry in your pocket, doesn't have the great high ISO capability of the F30 and has no optical stabilization. I think the lack of a focus assist light and poor low light focus would be frustrating.

If you decide on something without stabilization or super ISO you might want to consider a little Ultrapod. It is tiny and weighs only 2 oz. You can always seem to find something to attach it to or set it on, and any camera will take your night shots and even get the moon if it is on a tripod. I've even grabbed a stick or pole and used it as a monopod. It is a handy little accessory for around $10 online. I also have an Ultrapod II for my larger cameras.

I looked out behind my house and saw the fog rolling up the intercoastal and grabbed this with my little Ultrapod and Casio Z750.

mtclimber Aug 1, 2006 7:16 PM

Nice image, Slipe. Thanks for posting it.


MrSwaggerDT Aug 2, 2006 3:22 PM

Awesome, slipe! Thank you so much for all of the information! :-] I believe I am going to look more deeply into the Z850 and SD700. They seem like the two that fit my needs the most. That is a beautiful picture by the way! Thank you, again, for the help!


mtclimber Aug 2, 2006 3:46 PM


As I said previously, I think it is a good photo too. However, you must keep in mind that it was taken using a mini tripod. That is how it would be with the Z850 and SD-700. Whereas, you could take that photo handheld with a Fuji F-30.


slipe Aug 2, 2006 7:11 PM

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I just looked at the EXIF and found it was taken with my Oly – I had thought I had taken it with my Casio. So I'm not totally discredited here I'll post one actually taken with the Casio.

It was really dark and I don't think you could get that shot handheld with the F30 either. A cityscape with bright lights would be no problem though. You can't compensate for a 13 second exposure with ISO.

mtclimber Aug 3, 2006 11:32 AM

Another great photo, Slipe!

Thanks for posting.


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