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Old Dec 27, 2005, 2:59 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

I've been interested in getting a digital camera for a while, and now that prices for 7 megapixel digicams has dropped to reasonable levels, I'm looking for suggestions. I've read several reviews, and the current cameras are under consideration:

1. Canon SD500
2. Casio Exilim EX-Z120 (just bought this today)
3. Nikon Coolpix 7900.

I know a lot of the details have already been covered on this site, but I'd like more of a camera vs. camera comparison. Without having tried anything but the Casio, it's hard for me to interpret some of Steve's descriptions of say, the SD500 or the 7900.

If anyone could possibly directly compare and point out the pros and cons of said camera(s) in layman's terms for a relative digicam beginner, I'd very much appreciate it.

Also, besides those mentioned above, I'm open to suggestions for anything in the subcompact class with 5+ megapixels that would make a suitable pocket camera. A 2.0+ inch LCD screen is strongly preferred, and some advanced features would be a plus. I would also prefer not to use AAs - something that doesn't need to be put in a cradle to recharge would also be preferrable since I travel a lot. Price is not too big of an issue, but something under $400US would be preferred.

I've also considered similar models like the Canon SD550, Casio Z750, and Nikon 7600. However, the larger screen on the SD550 seems unwieldly to me, and because of the sale, the Z750 is about $150 more expensive than the Z120 (although I don't really like the AA batteries used by the Z120). Casio's photo loader software doesn't impress me either, but I'm more interested in camera performance.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Dec 27, 2005, 12:38 PM   #2
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I have read that the lens on the Z120 is the same as the Z750, and it is a very good lens for a small camera. In pure resolution it comes out a tad better than the SD500 and a tad under the SD550, both of which are excellent. The SDs might be ever so slightly better in the corners for CA and sharpness, but it isn't anything you would likely notice. The Nikon 7900 is a step down in resolution and is slower.

A digital camera is a great learning tool because you can get fast feedback and take lots of photos with different settings. And you can read the EXIF to see what settings you used. I like having manual controls, and the Z120 is the only one you mentioned that has them.

Casio has some nice features. The past movie mode is somewhat unique and very useful. You just aim the camera and wait for something worth filming to happen. When you start the recording it includes the previous 5 seconds from the buffer and continues recording until you stop it. So you don't have to grind away waiting for something to happen. That combined with MPEG4 lets you get lots of movies compared to cameras that take 4 times the space.

The internal memory is also useful compared to a throw-away card. You can have a large album of your favorites in permanent memory, with photos large enough to zoom in playback. You can also have custom user modes with photos to remind you of what conditions the mode is for.

I didn't load any of the software that came with my Z750, and didn't even consider it in the purchase. I prefer dedicated lithium batteries, especially in small cameras. But you can get a charger and set of four 2300 mAh NiMH batteries for $20. So you can always have a spare set in the charger and change them out easily.

IMO the Z120 is an exceptional value. I would stick with it for a while. I don't think you are going to get better photos from a small camera and certainly won't have as much versatility. Alkalines aren't a good option, so consider a charger and NiMH batteries. They take a lot more photos per set than alkalines and are economic in the long run. The Z750 is more compact because of the lithium battery, but I don't' see $150 difference.

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Old Dec 27, 2005, 10:45 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. One of the main reasons I'm hesitating is because of Casio's reputation compared to say, Nikon's, since Casio doesn't have a long history as a camera manufacturer. Should I be concerned by the brand of the camera/lens? I know the Nikon Coolpixs use Nikkors...

I have this same hesitation about the Canon cameras.
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Old Dec 27, 2005, 11:11 PM   #4
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Also, I've been looking into the Nikon S4 because of the 10x optical zoom. Has anyone had any experience with this?
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 5:23 PM   #5
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I also chose b/t these or similar models and finally settled on the Canon SD550 rather than the Canon SD500 - mainly because of the larger LCD and the fix in purple fringing that was reported with the SD500. The Nikon 7900 is a good camera but I found it too small in my hand. I looked seriously at the Casio - not the Z120 but the Z750 and after reading all the complaints about the lens error, I would not go near it until Casio acknowledged a problem and announced it has been repaired. So the logical choice was the Canon and I just love it for its excellent image quality, movie mode, ease of use, solid, quality build, and good battery life - better than I expected to be honest. :|
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