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Old Nov 17, 2008, 10:30 PM   #1
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I am looking to pick up a second camera for carrying around when situations prohibit/discourage carrying my Canon SLR + lenses. I love my SLR, and shoot a ton with it, but after cracking the LCD last year while backcountry skiing, I told myself I would get something that could be carried more safely and easily. I accept that a compact will never rival my SLR in image quality- but I want something that won't make me feel queasy by looking back through my photos.

Basically, my hopes are for:
-pocket-able size
-a zoom over 4x, but I can use my feet if I find a camera that is solid otherwise
-great image quality
-movie mode
-metal body
-strong aesthetics. I hate ugly cameras
-price isn't an issue

I've been doing some research, and here are the current leaders:

Panasonic DMC-FX150: HD movie, great looks, lesser zoom, good image quality but it looks like low light suffers, amazing battery life, RAW imaging.

Canon SD range: basically any camera from this range. I've only owned Canons, from film through the digital transition, and I am comfortable with the brand. That said, the current compacts do not excite me much.

Sony T500: HD movie, amazing looks, high zoom, decent image quality. touchscreen is neat, but may be a miss, crappy battery life

Sony W170: great looks, high zoom, better image quality than T500, better battery than T500.


Does anyone have other cameras I should consider, or disagreements with my summaries of the above cameras?


Sorry for the long post, but I hope I can get a few thoughtful replies to my inquiry.


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Old Nov 17, 2008, 10:53 PM   #2
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Since you're the active type, you may want to consider the Olympus Stylus 1030sw or 1050sw. They take decent photos but their main attributes are ruggedness, water resistance and shock resistance.
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Old Nov 17, 2008, 11:00 PM   #3
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I did consider the Stylus SWs briefly, but was disappointed in the image quality from the samples I saw, and I did not like the cameras when I tried them in the store
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Old Nov 17, 2008, 11:36 PM   #4
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Hi Fuzzball, I shoot with a Pentax dSLR and have (well had) a Canon SD500 for the last 5+ years or so - my son now has it for some school projects. Size and weight wise, its perfect (well, could be a tad bit slimmer), but is very pocketable and had gone on a number of vacations before I picked up the SLR. The only real change I would make, is the addition of IS, as I consider it important and it does help in quite a few situations. I have found that zooming beyond the 3x, with out IS it just becomes very jerkey, unless you set it on something and hold it down.

So now I am looking for a replacement ultracompact too - so it will be interesting to see what you select and why.
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Old Nov 18, 2008, 5:13 AM   #5
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My Casio EX-Z750, bought in September 2005, is still in regular use, as it goes easily in a breast pocket, and lives, ready to shoot, in my everyday vehicle. It's quite a solid little machine.

It has quite extensive manual control. I generally use it in a quasi-aperture priority mode. I note that that the mechanical rotary knob selecting modes including manual control has disappeared from all the successor models along with the manual mode.

However, the successor EX-Z** models in their various modes might be worth considering, especially as they offer excellent value for money. Best to get your hands on a few different contenders and try them out in & outside a photgraphic store.
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Old Nov 18, 2008, 2:23 PM   #6
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Since looks count here, also check out the Canon SX110 IS, Nikon S560, and Panasonic TZ4 / TZ5.

Kelly Cook
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Old Nov 19, 2008, 10:50 AM   #7
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I tried a number of cameras at the store again yesterday. I was pretty disappointed with the plastic bodied Canons and the Sony T500 touchscreen was way too laggy.

The leading contender right now is definitely the Panasonic FX150. I tried the other Panasonics at the store, but there wasn't an FX150 available to try. That said, the Lumix line, overall looked the best and felt nice in my hand.
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Old Dec 9, 2008, 3:10 PM   #8
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I ended up choosing the Panasonic FX37 after much reviewing and testing of different cameras. It's combination of compactness with HD movie capture, a 25mm wideangle lens and a 5x zoom made it a top choice. That the camera looks and feels great in hand only improves things. It loses a bit in pure image quality to the Canon P&S cameras, but it wins out in every other category.

I've shot a number of night shots and taken a couple videos with it. Nothing that I want to upload yet, but I am quite impressed so far! If you're looking for a reasonably durable, tiny camera with a great lens and solid features, give this camera a good look!

also- I picked it up for $250 from B&H, which is a great deal IMO.
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