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Old Aug 12, 2005, 8:46 AM   #1
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Iam looking for my first digital camera. Since I don't have experience with them, it is hard to say what I like and don't like, but here is my attempt:

1) Around $500 (or less)
2) Solid construction
3) Above average photo quality in all situations (low light, indoor, outdoor etc.)
4) Since I'm havn't used DC's before, manual control isn't a must, preset scene modes are fine as long as they are effective
5) 5MP+

I'm sure I can't go wrong with any of these, but my short list is:

Nikon Coolpix 5900 or 7900
Canon Powershot SD400
Fuji FinePix F10
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W5

All seem well reviewed and all have their downsides which is inevitible at this price range. I am especially intrugued by the Fuji as the ISO settings seem awesome, however I am worried how well it handles the other types of pictures. Sony is quite cheap right now which is a bonus.

So I'm looking for some practical knowledge fro you guys before I venture off to the stores. So which one do you like? Am I overlooking any?

Thanks and look forward to your feedback
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Old Aug 13, 2005, 2:24 PM   #2
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The only small cameras that are better than the rest of the pack in low light are the Fuji F10 and Panasonic FX7/8/9. They go about low light in different ways. The Panasonics have mechanical stabilization and let you shoot at lower shutter speeds handheld with lower ISO and less noise. But stabilization doesn't help for subject motion, and the higher ISO on the F10 would work better for that. The FX9 has a higher quality LCD which is a little easier to use in bright sunlight. That is important as none of them have an optical viewfinder. I don't think it is available yet.

The new Olympus Stylus 800 has high ISO but you have to reduce resolution to use the high ISO – unlike the F10. It also has a higher quality LCD that is better than average in bright sunlight. It also has no optical viewfinder but is rain resistant.

The only durability issue I have seen regarding any of those you mentioned is that the LCD on the Canon SD series seems to be a little more prone to cracking. It probably wouldn't be a problem if you made sure nothing else was in your pocket and faced the LCD toward your leg. I think you would want to do that with any pocket camera anyway. It is a good all-round camera.

My only complaint with the Nikons is that they are a little slow compared to the competition in full autofocus shutter lag and cycle times.

The W5 is a nice camera but maybe a little thick for jeans pockets if you don't need the manual controls. The Sony P150 and P200 are the only pocket cameras I know of that aren't very prone to red-eye. That might be a consideration if you aren't into post processing.

All of them take very good pictures.

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Old Aug 16, 2005, 8:13 AM   #3
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Thanks slipe, very helpful. The more I read, the more frustrated I get. Information overload. The Casio Z750 is popular in this category as well and it appears to be a nice quick camera which is full of features. I didn't even realize that Casio made cameras, let alone one of the most poular in the class. I guess my question is why would I choose the Z750 over the others I mentioned (and thanks for suggesting the FX7/8/9, it looks like a great camera too). Or alternatively, what kind of photographer would be best suited by the X750?

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