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karenj Dec 8, 2009 1:17 PM

Can't decide--HELP!
It seems with each store I go into, the salespeople recommend a different brand of P&S between Canon, Nikon and Sony. HELP! I would like to stay within those brands and am willing to spend up to $300.

The following features are MUSTS:
-little or no first-shot and next-shot delay
-great quality images/prints

The following features are important but I am willing to sacrifice 1 or 2 of them if it means everything else is exceptional:
-larger LCD screen
-HD video
-performs well in low light
-face/smile detection

While a compact camera is ideal, I would be open to a bulkier one if it means getting every other feature I want.

I don't mind a touch-screen, but it certainly does not have to be. Also, I understand Sony is the only brand that uses a memory stick vs a card. Are most computers compatible with that these days? Mine looks like it has a slot for MS, but I wasn't sure if that was rare or not.

Thank you for your help!

mtclimber Dec 8, 2009 2:17 PM

Hi there, Karen-

Welcome to the Forum. We're glad you dropped by.

First of all, real very high ISO capability is one of the key features of DSLRv cameras. Compact and super zoom cameras are usually limited to good image at ISO 800. In contrast, some DSLR cameras can easily take very good image quality at ISO 6400.

A lot of folks, wonder why is there such a huge difference in capability between DSLR and P+S cameras. That high ISO capability is created in the imager that is used. The imager used in high ISO capable DSLR cameras is approximately 15 times larger than the CCD type image used in P+S cameras. In this case size really does make a difference. DSLR cameras are also much quicker and better with their startup and shot to shot times, as well as their image quality. There are a number of DSLR cameras on the market today that also take HD video, and incorporate face and smile detection..

So, as we work toward finding you a camera that meets your personal specifications, you can see that either a DSLR or a P+S camera might meet you needs rather nicely. So our next question should be about your budget for this camera purchase.

What is the budgeted amount you have set aside for this camera purchase? DSLR cameras that incorporate a high ISO capability for take photos in a low light level environment begin at $600 and above. In contrast, P+S cameras with the capabilities that you are seeking start at about $240. Naturally, the DSLR cameras are somewhat larger in size, have a much great high ISO capability, and produce much better image quality, but I wanted to give an idea of the price levels that are spanned by your requirements.

Once we have a budget level, we can, of course, move ahead to specific models. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

FaithfulPastor Dec 8, 2009 3:00 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi Karen,

I'm not one of the great photographers that this forum has to help you. Some days I feel fortunate just to get the camera pointed in the right direction with the lens cap off.

I was a film slr guy then bought into the digital age for point and shoots. I developed a real hatred for point & shoots because of the delay between the time I pushed the shutter release and when the camera finally took the shot.

Then I got my first Digital SLR. And with my DSLR there is no delay. I walked out of the camera store, pulled out the memory card of the p&s and handed it to the first guy I met on the street, and haven't regretted that decision even once. I missed so many great shots, (when my children were very little) because that P&S delay of 2 or 3 seconds.

I took my DSLR to Disney for the first time and came back with this photo of my beautiful daughter. My P&S would have missed this one. My DSLR didn't.

Faithfully Yours.

Hards80 Dec 8, 2009 3:13 PM

it really sounds like you are needing a DSLR, based on what is most important to you.

however, it looks like the OPs budget is around 300$. which is a bit below what you will be looking at a dslr for.

if you could stretch the budget to 400$, i see walmart and others selling Oly 420's for around 400$ and if you can go up to 450$, you could add the Canon XS, Pentax K2000, Nikon D3000 to the list. Others have mentioned the Sony A200/A230's going for sub 400$ but i was unable to find those deals with my quick search.

karenj Dec 8, 2009 3:40 PM

Thank you everyone. Sorry I should have been more clear...While I would love to get a DSLR, right now I do need something a bit more compact (when I said I am open to something bulker, I meant a bulkier, wider P&S vs a sleek, thin one if need be) Right now I have NO camera as my toddler broke it! So, for now I do just need the more compact (vs a DSLR) P&S and then I hope to one day soon also buy a DSLR. When I checked some out at the store I notice that the shutter delay seems to be a lot better than it used to be (my broken camera is 2 years old and the delay drove me crazy) however, I am asking for suggestions of P&S's that may be better in that department than others, in addition to having good quailty images (while I know that a DSLR will have the best images).
Bottom line---I want a good quality digital P&S with little or no shutter delay and great images and up to $300. The other features I mentioned in my first message would be great too, but what I mentioned above is most important to me. Would like to stay within Canon, Nikon or Sony.
Thanks again!

mtclimber Dec 8, 2009 3:41 PM


The OP has requested HD video so that alters the possible selections somewhat.

Sarah Joyce

Hards80 Dec 8, 2009 3:56 PM

Karen, thanks for clarifying, and sorry, I in fact missed the initial desire for HD video, though I am glad that you are staying flexible on a few points.

Well any digicam is going to have a short delay as it powers on, the better digicams can get their first shot off in about 2 seconds, and shot to shot delay depends alot on whether flash is used or not. usually about 1.5-2s without flash, and 2-3s with flash.

The Canon G11 offers quite outstanding image quality, both in good and poor lighting, for a digicam. It offers good shooting performance as well, being quite responsive. The downside is the video is not HD, instead is of VGA quality.

The Panasonic ZS3 also boasts great image quality, and pretty robust shooting performance, its a little slower to the first shot than the Canon (due to its superzoom lens), but its shot to shot performance is a tad better. It cannot match the high ISO performance of the G11, but holds its own against much of the competition. Flash output is a bit low, comparatively as well. It does offer HD video and zoom while recording.

the Sony H20 is another good choice. its a little sluggish compared to the canon and panasonic, but offers a better flash.

karenj Dec 8, 2009 4:02 PM

Thanks very much. HD video is not a MUST, just something that would be nice. I am open to it NOT having HD if its got almost everything else.
Thank you!

karenj Dec 8, 2009 4:04 PM

Anyone have any opinions on the Sony WX1?

mtclimber Dec 8, 2009 8:45 PM


I purchased the Sony WX-1 and returned it due to poor image quality in that critical 6 feet to 30 feet zone. The image at the far end of the 5X optical zoom is sharp, but the majority of your photos will be taken in that rather critical 6 to 30 foot range. Yes, it does have above average high ISO capability, but it did not meet my photo needs.

After a lot of searching, I purchased a Canon SX-120 (now selling at $199) which has 10X optical zoom, can easily operate up to and including ISO 800, while maintaining excellent image quality. it does not have a wide angle, but it has normal, and but not HD video, an excellent built-in flash unit, and a 3.0" LCD screen. I really like the Canon SX-120 a lot. It is small and easy to tuck into your purse. It meets my needs rather nicely as a go everywhere camera. I don't really need a wide angle on the SX-120, as being a Digital Camera Instructor, I have multiple cameras.

I also ordered for my Dad, and then returned the Fuji F-70EXR, because I thought that it was unnecessarily complicated for the average user to make use of all its rather complicated modes.

The Sony H-20 ($240) is a bit bigger than the Canon SX-120, but it does offer HD videono wide angle, a 3.0" LCD screen.

The Canon SD-780 has HD video, but turns out only average still photos, has a 2.5" LCD screen, but does come in colors if you like camera body colors.

Sarah Joyce

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