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Old May 15, 2008, 1:12 AM   #1
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Hey everyone,

I'm trying to decide upon a point and shoot camera, but am having some difficulty.
I've looked at sample pictures from each, but I'm having trouble comparing.

My needs
Basically a DSLR is out because of it's size. I'm going to be taking it around with me locally and overseas, and a DSLR is simply too awkward to carry and attracts too much attention (when overseas I tend not to limit myself to the safer touristy areas). I want the camera to be relatively compact, as I want to want to take it around with me.

My uses
I'm going to be photographing people a lot (children, adults, groups, individuals), and in a range of settings (outdoors, indoors, in the bright daylight, in the dirty twilight), though I don't expect miracles (I don't expect to see in the photo what I could not with my own eyes), and so will be using flash if photographing people at night.

I won't say that I'm not going to be photographing landmarks or always be close up either, as I'm sure when out and about I'd say "oh cool" and want to take a pic. Also I'm sure I'll play around with my new toy quite a bit with flowers or whatever. But I'm not going to be printing out and framing giant posters. If I do make prints, it will be 6x4 most likely, maybe sometimes A4. I know what DSLR IQ is like, and I'm not expecting to be able to make a lifesize print of myself.

My expectations
I'm expecting a lot, but as I said, I'm not kidding myself. My current camera is an old Sony with an lcd that looks like a postage stamp on an envelope. It has no IS (which I NEED), and makes very blurry shots. I'm not a professional looking for a $300 camera that takes pictures better than my $10,000 kit, though.

My skill
This one will be short. I can take a camera, point it, and frame a picture to look good. I can pick up technology quite quickly, but right now I'm pretty ignorant, and quite a lot of the time I'll need to be able to take quick impromptu auto photos.

My number one priority
Image Quality. I am willing to pay more than entry level for that image quality. Whilst I don't expect to blow up a picture and frame it, then have people confuse it for a window, I don't wish to prioritise some cool gimmick over Image Quality (though remember, no DSLR). Also, I don't lust over Megapixel. If a camera has better IQ at 6mp than one at 12, I'll go with the 6.

A decent movie mode is another plus, but I won't prioritise it over Image Quality. 720p is cool, but 480p is sufficient. As long as videos aren't dull and ugly, with lots of interlace lines, I'll be happy. Oh, and the ability to take clips longer than 30seconds and to actually be able to hear the person is another plus.

Basically it has come down to a few choices, included are the prices I can get them for. Feel free to make new suggestions (price range should reflect the options listed), or tell me why one is crap one and is fantastic.

Canon Powershot A650 IS (~$400AUD)

This one I like because it has the moveable lcd, which would be helpful especially with taking photos of children. I have heard that the image quality is the same as the G9, which is always a good thing. While not so small I can hide it in my jocks, I'm going from a large P&S. That said, smaller is good.

Canon Powershot SD790 (~$400AUD)
This I like simply because of it's small form factor. If it holds it's own well enough in IQ (which from samples I feel it does, but what do I know?) then it might be a winner.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 (~$400AUD)
This I like because of the HD movie mode (although 480p will probably be enough for me, as long as it looks good). Also, I have read on the forum: "The TZ5's image quality is on par with Canon's top A-series and even S-series cameras, such as the A650 IS and S5 IS." Can anyone confirm or deny? Would the difference between this and the A650 be HD movies vs moveable LCD?

Fujifilm Finepix F40fd (~$250AUD, or F50fd ~$300AUD)
I'm attracted to the Fujifilm range, simply because of how people have raved about it's low light, High ISO quality. How do the others listed compare in this regard?

So there's a relatively diverse short list, ranging from compact to ultra compact, normal zoom to high zoom, HD to SD. Image Quality is my main concern here, if you were to say that they all were equal in terms of Image Quality in every situation I would then go with whatever feels best in my hand, but right now I'm looking to get the best I can in my price range. A camera should take photos, and if it doesn't do that as well as another, I'll go with another.

I'd add a poll, but I'd prefer to have some words go with your answer

Thanks a lot for your help, I hope I didn't lose you.
Morien is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old May 15, 2008, 7:56 AM   #2
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For general purpose cameras with good movies modes, I strongly recommend the cameras I own, the Canon A720IS and A570IS. The main differences between the two are that the A720 has 6x zoom and the A570 has 4x. On the other hand, the A570 is smaller. The newer A590IS does not have as good a movie mode as the other two.

I don't understand why you think the twisting LCD of the A650 will help you take pictures of children. Its best use is when you're in a crowd and you want to shoot with the camera over your head. I don't think the picture quality of the A650 is all that different from the other Canons I mentioned.

The Panasonic TZ5 looks very good. The only thing I don't like is that it lacks a manual mode, which can be very helpful in low light shooting situations. The Canons have full manual options.
AndyfromVA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16, 2008, 3:33 AM   #3
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good point about the swiveling LCD... might not make that much of a difference actually...

Anyone know how the IQ stacks up between the other three at different light levels then?
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