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Old May 21, 2006, 1:36 PM   #1
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I've been doing research to get a new digital camera soon. I've currently got a Fuji Finepix 3800... I love it, but it's time for something new, as this is only 3 megapixels, and a switch inside it's broken, so I can only use half the settings....

Anyway, I've been thinking I want to get a compact camera. I'm in a band that spends a lot of time on the road, and I've borrowed my sister's pocket sized canon, and I really enjoyed having it with me. The main downside to me is the zoom, which is the reason I got the 3800, it was the highest zoom in a point and shoot at the time (6x optical)

So in looking at cameras, I think I really like the Olympus Stylus 720 SW.... The underwater feature is neat even if I won't use it a ton, and I like that it's got 5ft shock resitance. There's 2 things that have prevented me from buying it already.

1 is the lack of a view finder... I'm noticing this trent in a lot of cameras coming out these days... I've read that it's hard too set up your shot in the bright sun... What are some peoples opinions on this? Are there any good compact cameras that do have a viewfinder? The underwater feature isn't a big need for me. I figure if I really do need it, I can get an underwater case.

The other thing I noticed when looking at the sample pictures, is to me they look a little grainy. For example:


If you look closely at that, they seem a bit grainy. I looked at a lot of the most recent reviews of cameras, and they all seem to have it a bit on their pictures. Are there some cameras that don't do this? My 3800 doesn't, and my gf's 3 year old low end kodak does, and i figured it was just the low end kodak lens. Maybe it's just my imagination...

So I'd appreciate any suggestions on a camera to get.

My long term goal is to get a pocket camera, and a suitable replacement/upgradefor the 3800 that I would use for setting up better shots. Maybe I'll even get a digital SLR to replace it. But first I'm going for the pocket cam.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old May 21, 2006, 2:49 PM   #2
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The only camera you mention is a 3X zoom with no special low light enhancements like high ISO with low noise or stabilization. It also has no optical viewfinder which you seem to prefer. Unless you have a special need for a weatherproof or underwater camera I would look elsewhere.

If you are viewing the samples 100% where you have to scroll around to see the entire image, keep in mind that a 7Mp image is effectively blown up over 2X compared to a 3Mp image. You have to compare them at the same size to make evaluations for a particular output. Lower resolution cameras had a lower pixel density and usually lower noise. But some manufacturers have done well with newer high density sensors and better in-camera noise reduction.

It is hard to make even a wild guess what you are looking for other than a compact.

The new Canon SD700 has a good combination of optical stabilization and better than average high ISO noise. It also has a good optical viewfinder and 4X optical zoom. Prices are still high though – you might wait for them to come down if you are interested in one.

The Panasonic TZ1 has a 10X stabilized zoom in an amazingly small camera. I don't think it would be great for concert photos though as you can't crank up the ISO without a lot of noise. It also has no optical viewfinder.

You might read through some of the threads on cameras that are good for concert photos if you are interested in that.

I don't think any camera with a LCD only is great in bright sunlight but some are better than others. The Fuji F10/F11/F30 have excellent high ISO capability that isn't matched by anything I know of short of a DSLR. But they are only 3X and have no optical finder. The F30 does have a better LCD, but I don't know how good it would be in bright sunlight – probably marginal. The F10 and F11 are poor in bright sunlight.

You need to refine your requirements. If the 720 SW works for you probably any compact will.

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