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Old Jan 2, 2007, 5:39 PM   #1
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Hello,

I started out my digital photo career about a year ago when I got a Canon digital rebel XT (350D) for my graduation from high school. And as much as ive enjoyed the rebel, it's rather cumbersome to carry around in a college party type situation for fast shooting, and it defiantly can't be pocketed.

So what I'm looking for now is a point and shoot for under $350 that can take good pictures, and also, most importantly, can take nice video footage with sound. I would like the camera to shoot at least 640x480 resolution movie files at 30fps or better, and would also really like a model that can shoot up to 60FPS or more at a lower resolution, or a higher resolution, although ive never seen that be the case. The type of storage card doesn't matter to me, but I would shy away from any camera that automatically limits the amount of time that I can record in any one movie mode.

It would also be preferred that the camera can take somewhat of a beating, since im going to take it snowboarding. Although I can stick it in a case and plastic bag so it doesn't have to be specifically made shock resistant and waterproof, just something that can take a jostle or two every now and then and not break. The tougher the better essentially.

Please fell free to recommend any cameras you think would fit what im looking for. I have done a little research on my own, but I figure getting the opinions of some knowledgeable community members from various forums would help me become more informed on my choice. Thanks a bunch!

PS. When I say "under $350 please", I mean from ANYWHERE I can buy it. Like if I can get the model you would recommend for under $350 used on ebay, that's fine with me.

Thanks again, Shawn.

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Old Jan 2, 2007, 9:16 PM   #2
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After a bit more research i think in order to get the the movie recording i described, and a small pocket like shape, the more recent Canon powershot models (SD600,SD630,SD700) look the best to me. Anyone see any alternatives?
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Old Jan 3, 2007, 10:10 AM   #3
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Anyone?
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Old Jan 3, 2007, 10:35 AM   #4
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I have taken quite a lot of clips with two cameras: the Casio EX-S500 and a Sony H5. The advantage of the Casio (and some other models such as the Z750 and 850), is that they store much more video on a given size of SD card than cameras from Sony and Canon who do not (to my knowledge) use MPEG4. The video from the Sony H5 is on a par with my Sony camcorder, whilst the Casio video is slightly inferior. From reviews such as Steve's, the Canons seem similar to the Sony in quality.

Picture quality on the EX-S500 is very good for a P&S, and the camera is extremely thin.I chose it over the equivalent Canon SD models and my wife loves it, but my son's partner is also very pleased with her SD400.

There don't seem to be many "duff" cameras now for P&S but you only find out the niggles once you've used them for a while.

Regarding toughness, one thing that put me off the Canon SD400were discussion threads where many people were complaining about broken LCDs - this may have been an isolated production problem. The Casio LCD seemed to be more protected than that of the SD400, so this was a factor at the time.

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Old Jan 4, 2007, 8:50 AM   #5
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If video quality and pocketability are what you are mainly looking for, you may consider the Sanyo Xacti C6 or CA6:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/c6.html

http://www.letsgodigital.org/en/9033/sanyo_xacti_ca6/

I have just posted about this camera here:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=87

The CA6 is identical to the C6, except it has a weatherproof (NOT underwater) shell. The C6 is easily within your $350 budget, and I find new CA6 sold on eBay for < $350 (grey market though).

One model up is the HD1/1a, which makes "high definition" (1280X720) video, but this is out of your price range.
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Old Jan 4, 2007, 12:06 PM   #6
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The biggest problem with snowboarding is probably the exposed LCD. Most non-DSLRs seem to be sealed pretty well. But if you have something else in your pocket or even have the LCD facing outward when you take a tumble you might be dealing with a LCD replacement. Cracked LCDs aren't usually covered under warranty and most are so expensive to replace that it is often more economic to just buy a new model. Small weatherproof cameras still have the exposed LCDs.

Anything with a flip-out LCD that stores face in would be larger than you want. An alternative might be something that has a hard underwater housing available. But that adds to the bulk and cost.

Something like this might be good for really adverse conditions, but it wouldn't protect your LCD from cracking: http://goshotcamera.zoovy.com/produc...005WP700_ALL_0

You are probably better off with a folded lens design. Everyone seems to have solved the problems with lens systems getting errors when they try to extend in a restricted space. But if the lens extended in the middle of a tumble you would probably come to grief with the lens. Folded lens designs have all the mechanism internal, so moisture can't enter around the lens and you don't have to be concerned with bumps if the camera gets turned on accidentally.

The Sony T10/T30/T50 are the best of the folding lens cameras IMO. They have true optical stabilization, which is excellent for both movies and stills. They also have decent ISO400 capability. They are the only company I know of putting transflective screens on their cameras, which would be a good thing to have on a sunny ski slope with a LCD-only camera. I can't confirm the T10 has a transflective screen – the T3 had one and the T50 has one. But the larger the LCD the greater the chance of cracking it and the cheaper the camera the less you have to lose. The T10 is an excellent camera.

The best movies you can get in a super slim digital camera are probably with the Casio S770. They are wide screen and MPEG4. Casio has a nifty feature in their MPEG4 cameras called "past movie mode". You aim the camera and wait for something worth filming to happen. When the fish jumps or your friend takes a spectacular tumble you start filming. The movie includes the previous five seconds from the buffer. It saves a lot of cranking away waiting for something to happen and saves editing. The digital stabilization seems to work fine for movies but isn't too good for stills. And it isn't as good as the Sonys at higher ISO.

The hybrids are probably better for movies but aren't as good for stills. One big advantage of the Sanyo Xacti C6 that blindsight mentioned is that the LCD stores face in. That would be a big advantage on the ski slope IMO.

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Old Jan 5, 2007, 8:28 AM   #7
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I have never looked into a digital camera for video mode. I used to think it was as ludicrous as looking into a cell phone based on the camera.

Having said that, keep in mind there are a couple of things you can consider:
1. Some cameras are capable of zoom during video, some aren't.
2. Some cameras now do 60fps @vga.

And I'm sure you know some cameras are 'unlimited' length video capable. 8)

Hope this helps.

Good luck.
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 1:58 PM   #8
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What compact camera can take 60FPS in VGA?
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 5:15 PM   #9
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After going through the specs, I'm technically mistaken. I was referring to VGA as 640x480. I haven't found any of these @60 fps this time around.

The 60fps I saw, however, was 320x240, which isn't too shabby either. This seems to be supported by the Canon SD40 and Canon SD800is. "320 x 240 (1 min. at 60 fps)" And the output is AVI via Motion JPEG. I'm not sure whether this camera supports zoom during video recording.

The specs on another review site say the A640 and A630 do 60fps, as well. This would be perfect with the flip out LCD. However, on Steves and on the Canon site, it doesn't.
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 7:32 PM   #10
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Shawn,


I was looking for a digital camera with good video mode for the same reason as you -- to take it with me to the slopes.
Here are some things I was looking for when picking a digital camera for video.
1. 640x480 @ 30 fps
2. MPEG-4 encoding (MJPEG gives you better quality but it only allows up to like 10mins of video on a 1gb card. Besides it's a pain to deal with in video editing software.)
3. 3x+ zoom lens
4. 3.1+ megapixel stills
5. zoom while recording video

I did extensive research and ended up getting Sanyo C40 for $200 at RadioShack. It has all of the above characteristics. Plus it's small enough and fits nicely into a chest pocket in my ski jacket. Also, since it has a flipout screen it's easy to avoid direct sunlight by tilting it. Besides the zoom lens is silent and internal. Some other cameras I considered:
1. Kodak C875 (5x zoom in video!)
2. Casio Exilim EX-P505 (The only Exilim model to my knowledge that allows zoom during video. Decided against it because of the pocket-unfreindly shape.)
3. Samsung NV3
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