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Old Jul 25, 2006, 11:05 AM   #1
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I'm looking to purchase my first digital camera and have narrowed my choices down to these two cameras.

I'm looking for a small camera that fits comfortably in my jean pocket. A good zoom function is important as is image quality, although I probably won't be enlarging my photos larger than a 5x7 (8x10 rarely).

I would also like to be able to take some panoramic (stiched) shots. I am a novice user, but wouldn't mind taking a hptography course to better learn how to use the manual features.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Old Jul 25, 2006, 12:00 PM   #2
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If you want manual features get the Z850. It has full manual everything and is amazingly configurable.

The Canon has a panorama mode and the Casio doesn't. I take a lot of panoramas with my Z750 and wouldn't use a panorama mode if it had one. I just checked the specs for the Z850 and you can still set it on the old continuous mode that gives about a shot a second. It also has a faster burst. The shot a second mode is perfect for me shooting panoramas. The advantage of the continuous mode is that it fixes all of the parameters with the first shot including exposure and WB. So the panoramas stitch easily in any software without lines. You can also use full manual mode with a set WB for panoramas, but that is a hassle compared to just putting it in continuous and holding the button. I pre-meter on the part of the scene I think has average lighting. And I usually shoot panoramas with the long side up.

The movies aren't as good on the Z850 as they are on the SD630. You do have the advantage of MPEG4 taking a lot less space on your card and the great Casio past movie mode.

If you want good pictures in automatic right out of the box the Canon will probably give you pictures you like a little better. But you can tune your output with 5 settings each for saturation, contrast and sharpening on the Z850 where the Canon isn't configurable. The camera keeps the settings, so once you fine tune it the camera stays that way. You can also individually select what you want to stay the same and what returns to default when you turn the camera off and back on. I find that very handy.

The Z850 also has some nifty features like 3 flash pictures in a second and a movie light. The flash is quite strong compared to the Z750. I think the Z850 has too many scene modes. It takes forever to scroll through them and many of them are useless. I never use them anyway, but I think there are too many for someone who depends on them.

The optical viewfinder is small on the Z850. And it has no diopter adjustment. It might be limited for someone who wears glasses for distance vision. I find it OK and it is infinitely superior to not having one at all.

If you plan on taking a photography course there isn't anything as small as the Z850 with an optical viewfinder and full manual everything. The Canon is pure point and shoot. The Z850 tends to overexpose, but that is easily corrected. They would have made a near-perfect pocket camera if they had kept the great 7Mp sensor from the Z750 IMO. Movies are better on the Z750 and the Z850 has a tendency to clip highlights. It isn't perfect but most owners really like it.

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