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Old May 1, 2009, 9:09 AM   #1
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I recently got laid off from my job-they are closing down. Miraculously we got a bonus and I wanted to get myself a gift of a compact camera. We are always going hiking, biking, etc. and it is hard to have to carry my bigger camera and dig into the back pack and bring it out. I would love a smaller camera I can put in a pocket or fanny pack, so it's quickly, easily grabable, but also don't want to sacrifice picture quality if at all possible.

Now, granted, I only have a the Canon Powershot S3 IS (wasn't able to afford the digital SLR's when they came out) but I am nervous to relinquish it's advantages. I just need something smaller when we are on the run.

My important things are very little shutter delay, resolution, image stabilization, and hopefully a decent telephoto. I want to be able to take quick, sharp pictures of my son and our dog... of scenery on our hikes etc.

Any and all ideas welcome. I love Canon's but wouldn't say no to a Nikon ;-)
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Old May 1, 2009, 11:10 AM   #2
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Two reasonably priced cameras that seem to fit your requirements are the Canon SX110 and Panasonic TZ5. You might read through this comparison – this is just the conclusion page: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q408...oup/page13.asp The recommended Panasonic LX3 is a marvelous little camera but not what you are looking for at all.

If you use your cameras for movies at all the TZ5 takes beautiful wide angle HD movies. The SX110 still takes the outdated VGA movies. The TZ5 is more compact and more solidly built of metal. But it has no manual controls. I don't find that to be a big deal in a compact as there are scene modes to say open the lens or maximize the shutter speed. But if you regularly use the manual controls on your S3 you might be happier with the SX110.

If price isn't a big consideration the new Panasonic ZS3 is probably the pick of the litter. With a 12X lens that goes from a super wide 25mm (eq) to 300 mm it is versatile. It is actually a tad thinner than the TZ5, which is considerably smaller than the SX110. Leica did a good job on the lens and reviews say the image quality is quite good for that range in a small camera. Prices will surely come down, but right now you will pay a premium compared to the other two.

None of these cameras have eye-level viewfinders. You have to go down to no more than 6X to get an optical viewfinder and up to the size of the Panasonic FZ28 to get an EVF in a superzoom.

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Old May 1, 2009, 2:30 PM   #3
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Some very good small cameras came out in 2008 and are available now at a discounted price. These include the Canon SD1100is, Canon SD880is, Fuji F60fd, Panasonic FX150 and Sony W300.
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Old May 2, 2009, 4:51 AM   #4
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I have the Sony DSC-W300 and find it agem oflittle cam, 13.6 megapixelis good for cropping to approx 250-300 mm with no loss of detail.

Yes ithas an optical viewfinder.


Steve's review here :

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2008_...sony_w300.html

Camera: Sony DSC-W300

River shot, Townsville, far nth Queensland, Australia





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Old May 2, 2009, 9:38 AM   #5
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If it's in your budget, I would also suggest having a look at Sony's about to be released HX1.
Lots of very nice features for a PS camera.

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Old May 4, 2009, 2:19 PM   #6
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Remembering that the Hx1 has a smaller sensor than the Sony DSC-W300, the IQ from the W300 is very very good, I have an H5 sony and the IQ of the W300 can match it, although the H5 has it when usingbigtelephoto.

Camera: Sony DSC-W300

ISO 800 no noise reduction. Shutter: 1/30 sec, Exp comp-0.3ev, f numberf/2.8, (Hand held)Exif attached.

Night Sreet shot in Cebu City, Philippines.

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Old May 5, 2009, 4:27 AM   #7
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My cheap Kodak superzooms, Z712is and Z1012is, both fit comfortably in a small size of what we over here call a 'bum bag', which may be the same thing as a 'fanny pack'. They're both a bit smaller smaller & lighter than most of their more expensive competitors, and their electronic viewfinders are excellent. My bag cost me1 ukpound (US$1.50).
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