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Old May 30, 2008, 10:42 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2008
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I know this discussion is among the most 'tired' on the internet so I'll try to keep it simple!

I am trying to decide between 3 cameras. Budget is around $200. I own a Canon 350D (Rebel XT) but I want something more portable for my many adventures. If I could afford a Sigma DP1 I'd not be asking about this stuff (I love having full control), but I can't. Most often this camera will be used for either: (1) taking pictures of small groups (1-5 people) in afternoon-night time urban settings, (2) taking pictures while hiking and backpacking (wilderness), (3) playing around and 'experimenting' in various settings (least important role). In most other situations I can deal with lugging my 350D, so I will.

The Cameras:
1. Canon PowerShot 850 IS (Image Stabilization)
2. Canon SD1100 IS
3. Nikon Coolpix S550

What I Like:
1. 4x zoom, *optical* IS, plethora of shooting modes, DIGIC III
2. size/shape, *optical* IS, shooting modes, DIGIC III
3. size/shape, vibration reduction (VR), movie mode options, 10MP, 5x zoom

What I Do Not Like:
1. size/shape
2. only 3x zoom
3. VR is electronic (not optical), max 4 sec. shutter

What I'd Like to Know:
Shutter Lag, Time-to-Ready (from power on to camera ready), Recycle Time (down-time between shots)

I've never used a Nikon, but a friend has one and is getting great results for situation #1 (above). I've always used Canons but I'm looking for the best camera for me, I can cross enemy lines if that's what it takes!

I would appreciate input from anyone who has used any combination of the above who can suggest where one camera is better than the other to help me narrow it down.
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