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Old Nov 13, 2008, 11:18 AM   #1
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Hi there,
my daughter (11 years) enjoys taking photos and used so far:
- analog/film snapshot camera (fixfocus)
- Olympus C770 UZ
- Pentax DL2 dSLR

She's about to develop a bigger interest in photography with a strong focus on just taking pictures, finding interesting objects, locations, etc.

I had some discussions with her and this is what we came up with:
- a rather small, pocketable digicam (no dSLR or bridge)
- easy and steady to hold (not just with 2 fingers)
- optical viewfinder (no huge screen needed, really, she wants/needs to hold the camera on eye-level)
- easy to operate, i.e. just zoom in/out a bit (she likes to frame while shooting), press shutter, get a pic
- only the most basic "special" features needed (i.e. macro program for flowers)
- camera back NOT cluttered with dozens of controls
- long battery lifetime (I'd prefer AA rechargeables over special solutions like in the Oly C770)
- Image Stabilisation (my idea - she tends to shake the camera while pressing shutter when in a hurry)

A first visit in some stores brought us to the Canon Powershot Models. The IXUS series is too small (Powershot easier to hold due to the battery grip). I am talking about the 570IS, 590IS etc. mainly. Maybe a A1000IS...

With the given parameters, what camera would you recommend? Is there another good choice but the Powershot A-Series (i.e. A590IS). Anything I can do wrong with that choice (i.e. known bugs with the 5xx IS series)?

Some other points:
- we do have a dSLR for available light, so good ISO performance is nice, but if neccesary she'll rely on the onboard flash (I am ok with that). I've seen reviews for the Canon Powershot A-series and I think they are ok up to ISO200.
- it doesn't have to be a Canon, I am open for all kind of suggestions, as long as it is a hassle-free camera that meets the requirements.
- 4mp+ is what I am after, IQ is more important than a mp-monster
- budget/price range is something like 200-300 USD

Thanks in advance,
Th.
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Old Nov 13, 2008, 11:42 AM   #2
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You'd be hard-pressed to find anything better than those A-series Canons you mentioned. Yes, there are lots of controls on them, but if she wants to learn, there's nothing better, and I'm hard-pressed to think of any other series from any other makerthat stilloffers both anoptical finder andAA battery use. Not all, but most popular models today use some sort of $40-50 proprietary battery.

All of these digicams are loaded with features....it's obviously cheap for makers to offer them all, so they do.
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Old Nov 14, 2008, 11:26 AM   #3
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Greg Chappell wrote:
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You'd be hard-pressed to find anything better than those A-series Canons you mentioned. Yes, there are lots of controls on them, but if she wants to learn, there's nothing better, and I'm hard-pressed to think of any other series from any other makerthat stilloffers both anoptical finder andAA battery use. Not all, but most popular models today use some sort of $40-50 proprietary battery.

All of these digicams are loaded with features....it's obviously cheap for makers to offer them all, so they do.
Thanks for your opinion Greg, I just got the feeling that I went the "obvious" way and there is that nagging, that I forgot something on the way, something good perhaps... :roll:

Any other comments on that topic?
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 12:06 AM   #4
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Want AA batteries?

The A Series Canon is the first thing that comes to my mind.

Want a decent hand grip or relatively easy to hold?

The A Series Canon. Above all other models from Canon as welll asevery other brand (including my beloved Panasonic).

Viewfinder?

The A Series Canon.

Good Camera?

The A series Canon.

Oh there are plenty of other good cameras. BUT wanting to be able to hold the camera with more than two fingers eliminates many cameras, wanting Image Stabilization (which is a great feature)eliminatesother cameras. AA batteries (rechargable AA's are a great idea)and anOptical viewfinder eliminates many more.

Throw in the age of your daughter andCanon's reputation for being a bit indestructible combined withthe relatively low cost of the Canon's is important.

Are there downsides to the A Series Canon's? Weight andsize from the AA batteries. I would pick a model that uses just twobatteries, such as the A1000, rather than a model needing 4 batteries.

Oh, and one more thing, size and weight have other benefits in that aslightly heavier camera is less likely to be forgotten in ajacket pocket about to be hurled across the room.Even IF such event did happen, I think Canon A series is about the only inexpensive camera on the market that might survive such event. I know the Canon G10 would take the hit, but that camera is far outside your budget and besides the G10 is just a Canon PowerShot with a better body and some extra features.



Here are a couple links for additional reading on the G10.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/kidding.shtml

http://kenrockwell.com/canon/g10.htm

Both reviews are from the luny fringe of fussy pro and wanna be pro photographers. When the pros and wanna-be pros are going nutz over a product consistently in the same manner it must be good. Why/how is the G10 relevant to the A Series from Canon? Because inside the case they are the pretty much thesame cameras.






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Old Nov 15, 2008, 4:46 AM   #5
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Thanks Stevie,
I didn't know that. I'll try to get my hands on a A590IS for testing purposes.

Regards,
Th.
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 5:35 AM   #6
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The requirement for an optical viewfinder, with which I wholeheartedly agree,sadly restricts the choice. Out of 12 cameras with the right sort of specification and in the right price range listed, tried, reviewed,and availablethrough my friendly local camera shop, only the Sony W-130 and the Canon A-1000 have optical viewfinders.

This thread has saved me from a potential mistake. I was eying up the Rollei X-8 as a suitable future present for a relative who loves her APS compact 35mm camera (bought against my advice, but serving well so far). Her favoured giant superstore has abandoned film processing. But the Rollei doesn't have a viewfinder.

Don't other folk have trouble as I do with LCD screens in many common ambient lighting conditions? I resort to magnifiers in a cardboard tube, or black-cloth-over-the-head techniques when necessary. I think EVFs, as on my superzoom, are wonderful, and see no reason why cheap pocketable cameras shouldn't be more cylindrical, i.e., longer & thinner, with an EVF on the back. I suppose 'chimping' and passing the camera around afterwards are too ingrained in the marketplace.
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 8:05 AM   #7
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Thanks Alan!

As for the optical viewfinder... I guess she wouldn't mind a EVF instead of an optical one... she just don't want to work with the huge screen on the back only! She needs something to "look through" to say so. So maybe a camera like my Oly C770 would do, too... hm.

Will have to extend my search on these.
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 12:11 PM   #8
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Personally I like lithium batteries over AA rechargeables.

Lithium hold their charge for up to a year. If you haven't used your AA's in a month, your pretty much having to recharge them again.

I think you get more shots out of a lithium battery than a set of AA's, which means generally not having to carry a second battery.

I can get about 300 shots out of my 20D on one lithium battery charge - more than I'm likely to take in one day.

So, your daughter might appreciate a camera with a lithium battery - I'd see it as more preferable than AA's.
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Old Nov 15, 2008, 4:49 PM   #9
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I did the Katrina Tour...... aka 3 + weeks without electricity following landfall of Hurricane Katrina.

I love AA batteries but alas I ran out of them as I needed them for other purposes. Of course the lack of electricity also kept me from charging up any rechargable AA'sor Lithium batteries.

Way after Katrina I went out to shoot pictures. Mid-day my camera died. A visit to the corner store and I was back up and shooting.



That said I am shooting with a dSLR with rechargeable battery as my primary camera. I own a backup that uses AA's.... just because.


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Old Nov 15, 2008, 5:02 PM   #10
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[email protected] wrote:
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I think you get more shots out of a lithium battery than a set of AA's, which means generally not having to carry a second battery.

I can get about 300 shots out of my 20D on one lithium battery charge - more than I'm likely to take in one day.
Hey Terry,
my experience is the reverse one. I need 4-5 Li-Rechargeables for my Oly C770 on ONE day. I can shoot several days in a row with just one set of 4*AA rechargeables when I use my dSLR (Pentax DL2) depending on how much I review and how much I use flash. I am pretty sure I can fill more than one 2GB SD card with JPEG's (1000+ !!) with one set.

Especially with Canon I had bad experiences when I tested the S1IS - I even phoned the support and was told "that's normal". That's why I am a tad defensively-minded here - you can buy AA's almost everywhere, same goes for AA-rechargeables and a recharger, most people I knowown that kind of equipment anyway... it's the "safe choice" for me to say so Also I use AA's on my DL2 and SD-Cards... that's why I am looking for a pocket-digicamthat does the same... just in case.

I've heard good things aboutsome cameras (Fuji and Casio models iirc) with special Li-rechargeables, though. So you've got a point here... if you are talking about such a "outstanding" model, hands down. But these haven't got all the other goodies I am looking for... *sigh* Hard decision...

The only good thing is, that my daughter came with me and visited some local stores and tried different cameras for size, handling and stuff and seem to like the Canon Powershot A-series so far...
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