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Old Aug 25, 2009, 6:23 PM   #1
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Default Camera for painter, fully automatic?

Hi,

My wife and are splitting, camera-speaking. We have shared a Canon A60 since we purchased it in 2003. I have been educating myself about digital photography for several weeks in anticipation of buying a new camera (many thanks for the many wise comments here!), when just last week the sensor in the A60 went bad. I say shared, but in truth she used it a lot and I used it a little -- photographs have never been part of my process. We are each painters. Our needs and use of a camera are so different -- and the times we need one overlap -- that we are looking into each buying a camera of our own.

We will use our cameras to gather source material for paintings. My wife has been doing a long series of paintings of pastoral scenes, farms, and farm animals. Just this weekend we stopped along a rural road, stood on the shoulder, and took pictures of cows in a field. Her primary photography subject is outdoor shots at scales from landscape to individual animals (inc. humans). She needs much more zoom than the 3x of the A60. The form-factor of the camera is not important to her (she will carry it in a case, prefers a slightly larger camera, and has no objection to the compact-superzoom form-factor). What is important, other than IQ, is that it be as easy to operate as possible. She will never use most of the advanced features available. She wants a good-quality, good-zooming P&S -- but it doesn't have to be optimized for family snapshots.

What else? It must have IS, and it _must_ have a viewfinder (this last rules out a lot of good cameras). She is willing to spend up to 300 USD, but feels no need to spend that much.

Other things that would be highly valued: very short lag-time between pressing the shutter button and snapping the photo; 3" LCD; a responsive and easy-to-use burst mode, ability to take OK indoor shots of rooms. I take it as a given that all cameras on the market today take OK snapshots of people.

We use iPhoto on Macs to file (and minimally process) our photographs. Print quality is of almost no concern, but being able to zoom in on details is. Movie mode will never be used.

Here are some cameras we've considered:
Canon A1000 IS - Probably not enough zoom (4x).
Canon A1100 IS - Probably not enough zoom (4x).
Canon SD1200 IS - Auto scene selection good; 3x zoom not good enough.
Canon SD990 IS - Too small and expensive, not enough zoom.
Panasonic ZS1 - Could someone please make this camera w. a viewfinder?
Kodak Z1012 IS - Seems a bit expensive for what you get; does not make the "best of" list here or elsewhere.

Thanks in advance for your help. This is the easy one. I will post what I would like to get from a camera in another thread.
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 7:45 PM   #2
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Default The Painter's Camera

kreikira -

Actually the Kodak Z-1012 is the best camera on your list if your specs are to be observed. In fact, the Z-1012 camera is the only camera on your list that actually does meet your exacting specifications.

The Z-1012 is still available on E-Bay for around $200 and it would be an excellent choice. However, you could also get by with a used Kodak Z-612 (6mp) or Z-712 (7.2mp), also available on E-Bay.

If you can do with using the LCD to frame your photos, like 5 other cameras on your list, you can purchase a brand new Kodak Z-915 for $(US) 185.00 and have a full 1 year guarantee. Or if you really want to go Uber Class, take a look at the nice little Sony H-20 camera ($US) 240.00), it even has HD video and all the bells and the whistles.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 9:10 PM   #3
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Thanks Sarah.

We're hesitant to purchase the Kodak (Steve's review falls squarely in the faintish praise bin, and the camera is not "best-listed"). Do you suggest we trade some of our specs* for a wider range of possible purchases?

*I meant to be as informative as possible. I fear "exacting" indicates I've overdone it.

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 9:15 PM   #4
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Default No H20 review here.

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... if you really want to go Uber Class, take a look at the nice little Sony H-20 camera ($US) 240.00) ...
I've been thinking about it -- mostly because of your comments elsewhere. Is there a reason the H20 has not been reviewed by Steve?
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 9:28 PM   #5
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Steve has not reviewed the Sony H-20 yet, because the focus this year has been pretty much on the 24X optical zoom, super zoom cameras. Yes, allowing a bit more slack in your specs would help.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Aug 25, 2009, 9:40 PM   #6
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OK. What is the easiest-to-use super-zoom camera? Most of the super-zooms, afaik, have viewfinders.

The H20 does have what seems to me to be a fatal flaw -- the 38mm lens minimum would seem to rule out an awful lot of indoor shots, and a few landscape shots as well. Do I mis-understand?

Continued thanks. :-)
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 10:24 PM   #7
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Well, the next camera up the food chain is the ZS1 (about $(US) 230.00)/ZS3 cameras, which, if I understand the drill correctly, gives you a nice wide angle lens position, but you forces you to frame your intended photo, using the LCD screen.

Please keep in mind that fewer and fewer cameras today have optical viewfinders. You realize of course that the Kodak Z-915 and the Sony H-10, the camera that has been replaced by the newer and improved (read: made more user friendly, and added the new HD video clips feature). The Sony H-10 camera anf the Kodak Z-915 are both on Steve's best cameras list.

Another possibility of a camera with a OVF would be the Sony W-290, or the Nikon S-710, only the w-290 has the OVF, both cameras have wide angle, and they are still in this price range.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kriekira View Post
The H20 does have what seems to me to be a fatal flaw -- the 38mm lens minimum would seem to rule out an awful lot of indoor shots, and a few landscape shots as well. Do I mis-understand?

Continued thanks. :-)
This has been my point all along against the H20. I find a 38mm lens way too limiting. Most older camera models (from various brands) use to have a 36mm lens as standard. That was already limiting so imagine a 38mm lens. These days, many models are equipped with a 28mm lens (or even wider). That's a full 10mm wider than the H20, which makes a huge difference.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 2:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Another possibility of a camera with a OVF would be the Sony W-290, or the Nikon S-710, only the w-290 has the OVF, both cameras have wide angle, and they are still in this price range.
My research indicates that neither of these has an OVF, and the Sony is 5x and the Nikon 3x. Is it possible you meant some other cameras?
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 3:07 PM   #10
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I apologize-

I guess I was trying to move along too quickly to get you an answer. The early Sony W-series cameras did have OVF's, but the OVF was dropped in the later models.

The Canon SX-200 has the wide angle and the zoom, but you have to use the LCD to frame your photo and it is above budget.

Sarah Joyce
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