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Old Oct 25, 2007, 1:57 AM   #1
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I am looking for a camera that will do everything well (who isn't!). I never use the manual feature, don't want to be bothered, but clarity is very important to me. But I do use the timer/delay for getting myself into the picture. I like my current camera but I really want a larger LCD because my eyes are not what they use to be. My current camera and why I don't like it: Minolta DiMage F100 -- slow to recover before next shot, LCD screen too small (I am over 40).The various conditions under which I want to use my camera:

1) I work in Iraq which has a very flat landscape with the "only" color being yellowish tan. Most of my photos are buildings, helicopters, and people. I use the telephoto a lot for all of these. Clarity in color contrast is obviously an issue. Day time temperatures exceeding 130F may also be an issue, not sure.

2) I want a camera I can take to Costa Rica for pictures of the birds, volcano, people in action, etc. I will be kayaking, surfing, horseback riding, hiking in the rain forest, walking/playing on the beach, etc. Fortunately it will not be the rainy season. Durability and weather is an issue.

3) I also hope to go to Alaska, where again color contrast and telephoto are issues.

4) At home I like to horseback ride so ease of use and motion are important.

5) Power source is the bain of all tech users in this day and age no matter the device. So recharge is great as long as it is 110-240 input for international travel. But where to buy replacement batteries can be an issue for the proprietory batteries. I can always stock up on a couple of extra batteries since I usually stay at lodges orB&B's as opposed to backpacking., but being able to drop in a couple of AA's does come in handy in a pinch.

6) Weight limits are a real issue for me traveling. Batteries, accessories, camera size all matter. My weight limit in Costa Rica for 3 weeks will be 30 pounds!! (My preferred travel case is 10) Traveling here in Iraq on charters limits me to 20kg. I also prefer using a carry-on bag, so size for the camera plus all of the extra "crap" matters.

Thanks for all of your help. I looked at the waterproof cameras but don't think I will be happy in the long run with the picture quality. Price is not the drving force behind my choice, but anything over $500 better cook me breakfast :-) I just think there are so many good cameras out there, that a neophyte like me gets buried in the details. Yet, I want something that will give me decent pictures.

tsurvey
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Old Oct 25, 2007, 8:51 AM   #2
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For those kinds of environments, I think I'd be looking at something like this. :-)

Fujifilm FinePix Big Job HD-3W

AFAIK, it's not available in the U.S. (and I don't know much about it's image quality).

But, I'd probably lean towards a weather sealed camera for the conditions you plan on shooting in.

Both Olympus and Pentax offer some weather sealed models now.

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 9:05 AM   #3
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For example, here's an Olympus model Steve recently reviewed:

Olympus Stylus 790 SW

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 12:30 PM   #4
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I second JimC's recommendation. For a small pocket camera that I can use in the rain, if I protect it well, I use the Olympus Stylus 780 which I purchased from the Olympus Auction Site over on E-bay for $136 delivered.

I get good photos with 5X optical zoom and I don't feel that I am risking the bank account.

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 2:35 PM   #5
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Very similar to the Stylus 780 is the Stylus 820 which also has the 5x lens and Steve has tested. I think weatherproof Stylus series have better image quality than the waterproof Stylus SW series. The regular weatherproof models are also not "drop proof" although reasonably rugged by normal standards. They're very "pocketable" as Sarah points out.

The tradeoffs are waterproof/drop proof for the SW series vs. weatherproof/better IQ/more versatile lens for the regular Stylus series.

My organization has used Stylus 300, 400, 410, 500 and 600s in Iraq. We have not had any issues with them in that hot dusty environment.

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Old Oct 25, 2007, 11:00 PM   #6
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I like the looks of the Fuji but am concerned about the larger size. I did find some detailed reviews of the Stylus 790SW and the general conclusion seems to be that the camera is one of the most durable cameras with one of the worse image qualities on the market. I don't think that sounds like what I am looking for since picture quality if important.

I'll look at the other Olympus weather-resistant cameras mentioned.

Thanks for the input
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