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Old Aug 3, 2007, 12:58 AM   #1
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I have a Canon S3IS which is great but the widest angle of view is 36mm which isn't very good for shooting buildings. I want a compact camera with at least a 28mm lens. Does anyone know what's out there and which ones are better? I'm not having much luck Googling "wide angle camera". I would prefer a camera that uses AA batteries. Memory card type isn't important.
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Old Aug 3, 2007, 1:39 AM   #2
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None with AA comes to mind. The Canon SD800, Panasonic TZ3 and Panasonic FX series have wide angle lenses. And if your secret location is outside NA there is the Ricoh R6. All of those have proprietary batteries though.
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Old Aug 8, 2007, 12:32 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. The Panasonic has a nice zoom but I like the Canon better, I want a camera with a viewfinder (like in the olden days).
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Old Aug 8, 2007, 2:09 PM   #4
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I agree about an eyelevel viewfinder. So far I have managed to avoid LCD-only for pocket cameras but the trend is going the wrong way. Sony has made a few cameras like the T50 with transflective screens that use bright light to reflect back through the LCD. But it hasn't caught on. I think the regular LCDs look better in the store and marketing departments have eliminated them.

Something you might want to try. Hold your S3 with the long side up (portrait) and take some horizontal panorama shots. With a little practice you can line them up pretty well handheld. You can crop a 4:3 image from your 36mm equivalent lens at around 27-26mm. You get a little wider if you go 3:2. For a tall building you would want to use landscape and shoot up of course.

With a camera like the SD800 you would probably get down to 23-24mm equivalent.

You would probably want to remove the barrel distortion before stitching. There is a little plug-in called PTLens that works in most editors and even some free viewers. Your S3 is probably in the database for the old free version if you could find it, but at $15 for the current version it is still a good deal.

You can also shoot in multiple planes and stitch with a program like Autostitch. I haven't practiced that a lot but find I have problems getting everything perfectly level handheld.

This is an example taken with my little pocket camera with a 38mm lens. The composite seems about 27mm comparing it with a 28mm lens I have for my old SLR. My little Casio has a continuous mode that shoots a picture about every second and a half. That is perfect for grabbing three shots since it fixes all the parameters like exposure and WB with the first shot. I think your S3 has a panorama mode that will do the same thing. You can do it with two shots but the overlap has to be perfect.

38mm shot


Panorama cropped to 4:3


My seawall curves but not that much. It would have benefited from applying PTLens before the stitch and would probably have needed some perspective correction even at that. Tall buildings usually need perspective correction even with a single shot using a wide angle lens. I don't take it all out but some people insist on having the buildings parallel.


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Old Aug 15, 2007, 2:48 PM   #5
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Slipe:
Thanks for the info. I just orderd a Canon SD800 IS, it has the 28mm and an optical viewfinder, I'll let you know what I think of it after I get it. Canon hasn't let me down yet.
You're right about the camera manufacturers going the wrong way making cameras without viewfinders, even Leica doesn't have a small camera with a viewfinder. Personally I'd like a manual exposure, manual focusing (rangefinder focusing would be preferable to computer driven focusing) digital camera (no automatic anything!), but I'm not a "typical" customer for the camera business.
I've done some "stiching" of photos but mainly using Photoshop (for me it's more accurate than Canon's Photostitch.
The PTLens looks interesting, but I've got a Mac. They have "LensFix" for Mac's as a Photoshop plugin. Looks cool!
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