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Old Dec 8, 2007, 9:30 AM   #1
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Hi! I'm preparing for a group tour-type trip to Israel, and am looking for a consumer-level point-and-shoot digital for that and beyond. (I was lent a decent 4MP Canon, but it's pretty bulky and has some sensor hot-spots... Here're my criteria:

- The form factor should be fairly slim and portable, and possibly metal for the sake of durability.
- Running off AA could be good, since we'll be traveling around so much (in a country where I could easily buy AA batteries if I needed them, I imagine), but a lithium battery with a good lifespan would also work out fine, I expect.
- It should take SD media, as I already have some microSD cards (with adapters) which I'd like to use.
- Image stabilization and a high-ish ISO would be nice, I guess.
- Movie mode preferred, but not a deal-breaker.
- It should possibly have a wide-angle option, as I notice that I really like to take those sweeping, detailed pictures.
- For the same reason, I'd like a high enough resolution for such detail, though I've read things which make me concerned about too high a CCD resolution on a certain size sensor, or something like that. I'm still sort of new to the camera-specific stuff, but a bit of a techie, so I can learn.

I've done research, but there's just TOO MUCH raw information out there. I come to you folks mainly for the subjective things, like how the various combinations of features contribute to/detract from picture quality. By the way: I'm not planning on printing so much as looking at the pictures on a high-resolution computer monitor, if that affects things. I might print the good ones, though.

Any thoughts on all this would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 10:30 AM   #2
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How about the SD850 IS ? I think it uses propietary batteries, but it meets most of the rest of your criteria. I would have recommended some of the Canon Powershot A series, but I think they are made of plastic and a little too big for you.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 10:47 AM   #3
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Thanks! I've looked at that ELPH line, and am definitely keeping an eye out for deals. (As a college kid who only works part-time, price is an issue; however, I'm not against investing in a good product, and the holidays are coming...)

But don't let that stop you from suggesting more, folks! Especially if you know of a model at some sort of ridiculously low price somewhere. Bundled extra batteries, cases, etc. also nice.
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 10:47 AM   #4
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[double post, for some reason]
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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YiddishSoul wrote:
Quote:
Hi! I'm preparing for a group tour-type trip to Israel, and am looking for a consumer-level point-and-shoot digital for that and beyond. (I was lent a decent 4MP Canon, but it's pretty bulky and has some sensor hot-spots... Here're my criteria:

- The form factor should be fairly slim and portable, and possibly metal for the sake of durability.
- Running off AA could be good, since we'll be traveling around so much (in a country where I could easily buy AA batteries if I needed them, I imagine), but a lithium battery with a good lifespan would also work out fine, I expect.
- It should take SD media, as I already have some microSD cards (with adapters) which I'd like to use.
- Image stabilization and a high-ish ISO would be nice, I guess.
- Movie mode preferred, but not a deal-breaker.
- It should possibly have a wide-angle option, as I notice that I really like to take those sweeping, detailed pictures.
- For the same reason, I'd like a high enough resolution for such detail, though I've read things which make me concerned about too high a CCD resolution on a certain size sensor, or something like that. I'm still sort of new to the camera-specific stuff, but a bit of a techie, so I can learn.

I've done research, but there's just TOO MUCH raw information out there. I come to you folks mainly for the subjective things, like how the various combinations of features contribute to/detract from picture quality. By the way: I'm not planning on printing so much as looking at the pictures on a high-resolution computer monitor, if that affects things. I might print the good ones, though.

Any thoughts on all this would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Couple of thoughts...

AA batteries restrict how small a camera can be made. About the smallest camera you can buy that accepts AA batteries would be a camera like the Canon A570, which uses only two AA's rather than four like many.

My experience with proprietaryLithium batteries is,some don't alwayshave the lifespan per chargequoted in theliterature.

Some cameras that have28mm wide angle lenses are sharper at 28mm than others. The 28mm end of the Panasonic TZ3 is very well corrected and sharp across the field....





The 16:9 format is actually wider than the 4:3 ratio modefor a true 16:9 vs. simply a cropped off frome like so many do. At 28mm, you can capture a pretty wide view..



Here's the complete folder where I've pulled the above images from..

http://gmchappell.smugmug.com/gallery/2900447#P-1-16

You'll see, if you click on the option to view the EXIF data of on any of the images on that page,there are several files taken at the higher ISO's, which are simply never going to be as good as what you'll get using a camera with a bigger sensor. You really need to stay within the ISO 100-200 range to get the best possible images. I actually don't think ISO's 400 and 800 are that bad, and there are certain typesubjects where the high setting, only available in a scene mode, works quite well..

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=25795723

Here's another couplesets of images shot with a camera MADE for wide angle16:9 shooting, the PanasonicLX2...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aftab/s...7600942379973/

http://www.pbase.com/viztyger/calatrava

You'll see in looking at those, being limited to ISO 100 or 200 doesn't necessarily limit your ability to shoot in low light if you've got good technique.

The cameras I would consider (all take SD cards and have image stabilization)in your shoes are:

Panasonic TZ3- Great zoom range, extremely well corrected lens. Battery life isn't as good as some. I would buy extra third-party batteries for a long trip to get you from one power source to the next for re-charging. They can cost as little as $15 on eBay, so buying several is an option.

Panasonic LX2, especially if you like 16:9 format shooting at 28mm. Offers the ability of all the classic modes, such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority and full manual in addition to RAW. Beyond ISO 200, it gets pretty noisy, but you do have theRAW capture option if you need to do the odd ISO 400 image.

Canon SD870 Digital Elph- Great travel size, best life battery. The 28mm wide angle is not as good as tke TZ3 in terms of sharpness across the field, but probably gives the best out-of-camera-with-no-post-processing image files. I make this statement from my girlfriend's experiences with her Canon SD800, which the SD870 is the newer model. Zoom range is not nearly as wide as the TZ3, but that's a personal preference thing.

High ISO performance is not going to be spectacular with any of these. That is a compromise in using a camera like this. Carry a small, tabletop tripod you could use to stabilize the camera at lower ISO settingsagainst walls, chairs, etc. This guy doesn't even let night-time scenes discourage him...

http://photo.net/photodb/presentatio...tion_id=317651

If you look at the data, I think he used ISO 50 for most of those.


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Old Dec 8, 2007, 12:50 PM   #6
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Greg Chappell wrote:
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You'll see in looking at those, being limited to ISO 100 or 200 doesn't necessarily limit your ability to shoot in low light if you've got good technique.
Which I don't, particularly. I have a decent enough eye, but don't know the tricks of the trade or anything. Maybe it's time to learn...

Thanks! I'm gonna go to a big local photography store, and ask about those and whatever else they may have. (A friend recommended actually holding a model before ordering it, which makes sense to me.)
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Old Dec 8, 2007, 1:20 PM   #7
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ALWAYS try to test a model before you buy it especially if you plan to take a lot of once in a life time pictures.



Also MAKE SURE you carry ENOUGH memory to last you through out your entire trip unless you plan to carry a laptop and card reader (and then make sure the laptop has enough free drive space). from experience take 1.5x as much memory as you think you'd use but more can never hurt. I carry a wolverine flashpack 700 series device when I travel that has a 60Gb hard drive.

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Old Dec 8, 2007, 10:51 PM   #8
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yea,tz3 is the way to go for those needs.
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 1:56 PM   #9
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YiddishSoul wrote:
Quote:
Greg Chappell wrote:
Quote:
You'll see in looking at those, being limited to ISO 100 or 200 doesn't necessarily limit your ability to shoot in low light if you've got good technique.
Which I don't, particularly. I have a decent enough eye, but don't know the tricks of the trade or anything. Maybe it's time to learn...
The main thing to do in low light shooting, is to only meter the part of the scene you are looking to be the main subject.

When you are dealing with a subject that has a lot of darker areas, multi-pattern metering will take those dark areas into consideration and use longer shutter speeds to average the scene, making it harder to hand-hold your camera unless you increase the ISO. By changing your metering to SPOT and being careful to only meter what you want exposed right, you can maximize your shutter speeds in the lower ISO range, like I did in this bust of Andre LeNotre, the gardner who designed the variouslandscapes for French king Louis XIV, among others...



Had I used multi-segment metering, the meter would have read the surrounding background and raised the level of light by slowing the shutter speed. By using spot metering andconcentrating all the metering only on the bust, the shutter speed was an easily hand-held speed of 1/50 sec instead of maybe a trickier 1/15 or even slower.

Same thing here when I was shooting inside the Opera Garnier in Paris where it was dark all over the place. Had I used multi-segment metering, the camera would have picked a shutter speed that would have made it impossible to shoot hand-held. The shutter speeds were low enoughas-is...these are the type subjects where image stabilization makes getting useable images possible..








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Old Dec 9, 2007, 2:43 PM   #10
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Ooh, thanks for that!

So now I have choices to make. These all look great (and I think I'll go ahead and drop the AA criterium).

What about slightly older models? Could help with pricing if I look for those on eBay or wherever...
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