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-   -   Compact Camera Wanted With Many Manual Modes (

slaman Apr 21, 2006 4:32 PM

Hi all,

This is an interesting dilemma I have because no camera exists with all the features I want in the dimensions I want. I am looking for the following features, in order of most important, to least important:

- Thin Dimensions - although length and height aren't a problem as much, the width should be less than an inch. This is an issue since very few cameras, if any, have the manual features I'm looking for and are still thin.

- PASM priority settings - Program, Aperture, Shutter, and Manual priority control modes... this is the kicker which eliminates the majority of "thin" cameras... The field gets thinner with this criteria.

- Optical Zoom - the higher the better of course, but a minimum of 3X optical zoom... I think all cameras that meet the first two criteria will meet this.

- Long Shutter - for night shots... 15seconds is the minimum long shutter

- Macro-mode - I think most cameras have the ability to shoot at least 10cm... the closer the better - and I think 2cm-5cm would be ideal

- Manual ISO settings - now this is where I need some help understanding the differences between cameras... All have some form of "image-stabilization" technology. Are there significant differences between the brands and their IS technology? FujiFilm claims theirs is superior and post examples... they also give the ability to shoot up to 3200 ISO with noise-reduction!

Now, in the past, I've had issues shooting with low-light situations - when the flash is on, I lose background quality, and when it's off, it's way too blurry...

The only two cameras I've found that have all the above are:

Casio Z850 - the problem is that it only shoots up to 400.... I think up to 1600 is allowed in pre-set modes - is this sufficient? Is the IS technology ok? Also, the macro-mode only shoots up to 10cm.

FujiFilm F30 - the problem is that this camera is too thick... and is the ISO rating all that cranked up to be? The website is really convincing in terms of handling low-light - thoughts?

Most importantly, did I miss ANY cameras? I went through every single one I could.... and I just can't find any that meet my criteria... The Panasonic LX1 and Leica D-LUX2 are good, but again miss the ISO thing that the Fuji has... and have a protruding lens that makes it thicker.

I really appreciate your help - I need to order on Monday because I'm leaving for a trip soon, and don't want to take my four-year old ELPH!

slaman Apr 21, 2006 7:53 PM

I also wanted to mentioned the Ricoh GR Digital... but I can't tell how thick it is from the measurements... the pictures make it look pretty bulky.

And I'm not too sure about its ability in low-light situations despite supporting ISO up to 1600... noisy?

scoundrel1728 Apr 22, 2006 6:13 AM

About the closest I could find to meeting your specifications (image stabilization, thickness 1 inch or less, manual exposure control, exposures at least 15 seconds long, at least 3x optical zoom, and I also included manual focus) were the Panasonic DMC-LX1 and the Leica D-LUX 2.

If I leave off the image stabilization, I get the Casio Exilim EX-Z750 and EX-Z850.

Dropping the manual focus requirement increases the number of choices greatly, but it sounds like you would be shooting in conditions where autofocus would not work reliably. Even without a specific manual focus feature though, you could still get your camera to focus at infinity under low light conditions for outdoor shots.

It also sounds like you are putting needlesssly strict requirements on your camera and are limiting your choices too much. My own camera, a Nikon Coolpix 995, has a timed exposure limit of 8 seconds that I often use for night shots and I seldom run into a problem with this limit. On those very infrequent occasions that I do, I can go up to 60 seconds with a manual bulb exposure (shutter stays open as long as the shutter button is pressed, up to 60 seconds).

Not so incidentally, small cameras with small imagers tend to have poor image quality at high ISO ratings. Those with ISO ratings above 400 usually have some severe resolution restrictions at these higher settings, such as limited image dimensions in pixels, filtering that removes a lot of the fine details along with the noise, or perhaps a horrendous noise level that would require special post-processing to reduce the noise to acceptability but again at reduced sharpness or resolution.

In my own camera, I can get by with ISO 400 without any further noise reduction if I must but I have also turned down the in-camera sharpening and the camera is only 3 megapixels with a 1/1.8" imager. My camera is also considerably bigger than you would want but I manage to carry it around with me anyway in a case with a shoulder strap.

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