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Old Jul 31, 2007, 1:00 AM   #1
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I'm having trouble finding acceptable choices with:
  • viewfinder [/*]
  • AA batteries [/*]
  • ultra-compact size[/*]
  • 5.0 MP minimum[/*]
  • Under $300.[/*]
Am I missing something or are their no choices with the features I need?
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Old Jul 31, 2007, 4:17 AM   #2
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beachprices wrote:
Quote:
I'm having trouble finding acceptable choices with:
  • viewfinder [/*]
  • AA batteries [/*]
  • ultra-compact size [/*]
  • 5.0 MP minimum [/*]
  • Under $300.[/*]
From what I can see, you may have trouble meeting the viewfinder requirement in anything that's 'ultra-compact'. My 7Mpix Casio EX-Z750 meets most of your crtieria and goes in my breast pocket, but it's Li-ion (very long life). Perhaps its successor models are worth a look.
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 2:05 AM   #3
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Yeah - AA batteries (why on earth would you want those?) + viewfinder make it bulkier, which conflicts with the ultra-compact requirement.

If you are really not sure which camera to buy then I would highly recommend the Canon IXUS/SD range. The SD850IS (IXUS 950IS) is a real beauty. It has the ultra-compact feature, it looks great (all the girls of my acquaintancehave them - some are very good photographers), the images are sharp and saturated, the video is good, it has image stabilization, it even has a viewfinder.

The battery isn't AA, but it lasts for literally months of light usage before needing a recharge, and with a spare battery you're never going to run out.

Highly recommended.
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 2:36 AM   #4
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I would recommend the SD1000 (Ixus 70) which is the smallest (I think) of the Ixus line, but it doesn't use AA batteries.
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 2:46 AM   #5
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The main criteria the SD850 doesn't fit is price. Dbuys has the SD700 for $265 and free shipping. It is basically the same camera with 6Mp. If you don't need the pixels it might be a little better for noise. Stabilization is a nice feature for general purpose photography and 4X is a little more zoom than most sub-compacts.

If your secret location is outside North America you might look at the Ricoh R6.

I agree on the battery. I've had good luck with $20 aftermarket spares. Lithium batteries don't have the high self-discharge of NiMH, so she can throw one in her bag and use it a couple months later with almost full power. Cameras are bulkier and heavier with AA.


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Old Aug 1, 2007, 4:41 AM   #6
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slipe wrote:
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Lithium batteries don't have the high self-discharge of NiMH, so she can throw one in her bag and use it a couple months later with almost full power. Cameras are bulkier and heavier with AA.
Don't know if you agree, slipe, but the self-discharge in little-used cameras with AA is fixed to a fair degree by storing them with so-called 'hybrid' Ni-MH batteries such as 'Hybrio' and its many competitors.I have these in my own least-used camera and my family's, which are used only on holidays & special occasions. They aren't huge capacity, but then they won't be used for that many shots.

Li-ion self-discharge can sometimes be a problem too. My two little-used Sony camcorder batteries suffer from this (and they're getting old, having started second-hand). This is since digicams got so good that I started taking many more stills. Also Ibecame so slow I couldn't be all three of video cameraman, still photographer and general purpose pack animal, and still keep up with fit youngsters. I'm going to have store my spare & little-used Li-ions in the fridge after careful partial charge, I think, as I used to do with stocks of 35mm film.

The bulk & weight bit is very true:-

a pair of my 2000mAh Ni-MH cells weigh 56g ( approx. 92mWh/g)...

and my little Casio NP-40 Li-ion ('3.7V', 1230mAh),weighs 26g (approx. 165mWh/g).

I'm getting approx. 127mWh/g out of my 'rechargeable CR-V3' Li-ions in my Kodak 712.

These figures assume I'm getting the rated number of mAh at the mean of starting & finishing o/c voltages, which is a huge assumption about the shape of the curve and lifetime to shutdown. The volumetricefficiency (kWh/M^3) difference is similar, as 2xAA fits in the same hole as CR-V3.

A really big advantage of AA Ni-MH technology is the very long lifetime if unused or little used. Li-ion decay gradually & permanently over a few years whether you use them or not. So the lifetime kWh/$ figure of merit is strongly in favour of Ni-MH. The assumption is you'll get a new camera, laptop, or phone before the battery dies. This doesn't necessarily apply to the impecunious or the traditionalist. (My mobile phone is 5 years old, was 'paid up front for life', and has saved me at least 900 ukpounds.)
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 8:06 AM   #7
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If you can stretch your budget just a bit, Amazon.com has the Canon Powershot A710 IS listed for $319. It meets all of your requirements except price. (If you do get a camera that uses AA batteries, use Sanyo Eneloop batteries; they are rechargable, but unlike most rechargable NiMH AA batteries which spontaneously drain over a two to three week interval, they will hold their charge a long, long time.)
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 3:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Li-ion self-discharge can sometimes be a problem too. My two little-used Sony camcorder batteries suffer from this (and they're getting old, having started second-hand). This is since digicams got so good that I started taking many more stills. Also I became so slow I couldn't be all three of video cameraman, still photographer and general purpose pack animal, and still keep up with fit youngsters. I'm going to have store my spare & little-used Li-ions in the fridge after careful partial charge, I think, as I used to do with stocks of 35mm film.
That does point out one disadvantage of lithium batteries. They get old and wear out. If the camera is old and the batteries have been out of production for a while you don't know that a replacement you buy hasn't been sitting around all that time. They go bad just sitting there over the years.

I don't think they ever develop a self-discharge greater than 2%/month though. If I pushed my cellphone batteries too long they kept their charge fine if I turned the phone off. They just died too fast in standby.

Consumer Reports actually put some alkalines in a refrigerator for a couple of years and compared them to control batteries they hadn't refrigerated. There wasn't much difference in remaining capacity. Both groups had lost surprisingly little power with the refrigerated group slightly better. I still put all my batteries in the refrigerator.

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Old Aug 1, 2007, 4:21 PM   #9
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if lithium, or li-on you need to keep the battery on a tricklr for maximum usage?

"AA rechargable are .2 vdc less

"li-on is .1 vdc additional and is equilivant to 3aa'a or is it?

I also like the Optical view finder in real life over electronic view finders, and a AA battery system.

2.4 inch lcds are not the best, and 3.5 will be the next size soon
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Old Aug 1, 2007, 5:02 PM   #10
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slipe wrote:
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I still put all my batteries in the refrigerator.
So I'd better get on with it. Thanks for the info & tips.
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