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Old Jul 19, 2005, 9:22 AM   #1
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I am looking to get an ultra-compact or near ultra-compact camera to take travelling with me. I already have an FZ-20 which I love but it's just too bulky to take away with me. I am also thinking that when I return I could just keep whatever camera I get with me all the time so that I never miss a shot, hence size being important.

The problem I am having is in finding something that meets my specifications which are something along the lines of:

* At least 4mp
* At least 3x zoom
* Very fast start-up time
* Very low shutter lag
* Very good battery life
* Shutter priority shooting mode
* Preferably a spot-metering mode as well as multi-point
* Preferably SD memory, although I could foresake this if the right camera came along
* Around £200 (which probably translates to around $200)

I can satisfy all of those requirements in most of Steve's best-buy ultra-compacts, the one that I struggle with is the shutter priority mode which none of them have. As a result I am looking at slightly larger camera (but still as small as possible) that would have these features. I was pretty set on the Canon A520 but the shutter lag and start-up times were slow and the general slowness of the interface would annoy me ultimately.

Could anyone give a few suggestions of cameras that I could take a look at? I keep coming up against a brick wall with my own investigations at the moment.

Many thanks..
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Old Jul 19, 2005, 10:51 AM   #2
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I'm not aware of any ultra-compacts that have manual exposure modes. However, there are quite a few compacts that do - some with modes accessible via mode selection dial, and others which require you to go through a menu to access those modes.

Those with dials tend to be the larger ones in the compact class. The Canon A-series are a good example, but as good overall as they are, they aren't the fastest performers. One camera you might consider is the Sony P-series (93,150 or 200). Although they do not use SD, they are very quick performers that provide very good image quality, and do have manual exposure capability. I do not know what these cost where you are.

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Old Jul 19, 2005, 11:42 AM   #3
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The reason the ultra compacts don't offer aperture priority modes is they usually allow just two aperture settings at any given zoom. This makes priority modes a fairly worthless feature. I suggest getting a camera that offers manual control instead. I have the Sony P200 and it meets most of your criteria except for priority modes, price and memory type. One thing the P200 has that most other cameras do not is manual preset focus. This is useful when you know your distance to the subject will remain consistent. It completely eliminates shutter lag and allows you to capture shots when the moment is fleeting. Plus the wide DOF of the P200 makes this an even more useful feature.

A few other features I like is it has a thick LCD protector, real time display of shutter/aperture/histogram information, long shutter exposure in manual mode to 30 seconds, spot focus/metering, very few red-eye problems and the lens is very well designed and delivers sharp pictures with no CA problems.
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Old Jul 19, 2005, 10:48 PM   #4
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Hi: Instead of the Canon A520, look at the Olympus C5500 sport zoom: about the same price & size with a 38-190mm 5x zoom, 5.0MP, offers both manual controls, or fully automatic with both aperture priority or shutter priority choices. It is a very capable camera with excellent photos; and uses 4 AA batteries.

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