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Old Sep 25, 2009, 1:42 PM   #1
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Default Help Narrowing Camera Choices

After some consideration and paying attention to how and when I use a camera (or want to) I have concluded that my camera usage does or would fall into the following categories: (1) day-to-day -- I have found so many situations where I say "this would be a great shot, I really wish I had my camera."; (2) Travel; (3) Family events, etc.; and (4) Going out somewhere specifically for the purpose of taking pictures (haven't done this yet, but I hope to at some point).

With this in mind, I'm thinking that I may need more than one camera (at a minimum a small pocket camera and something a little bigger?)

I currently have a 5 year old Kodak that takes good pictures and has many manual features (which I am just learning to use), but the camera is a little too big for me to carry everywhere and there are some things I would like that it doesn't have (e.g., bigger LCD, Image Stabilization, wider lens and longer Zoom).

I know this doesn't give you much to go on, but in the first instance I am trying to find a pocket camera to carry with me daily and I'm not certain what to look at. Can I find a very small camera that can be used for all of the above? Should I get something very inexpensive for this purpose and spend my money on a DSLR or advanced point and shoot as a second camera? If I buy an inexpensive pocket camera and something more advanced, will I then want a small point and shoot superzoom for travel. I would like to cover my bases without winding up with 4 different cameras :-) Anyway, let's start with the pocket day-to day camera.

General thoughts are very much appreciated.
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Old Sep 25, 2009, 2:37 PM   #2
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Tough decision. Im inclined to advise against a DSLR - you already have one camera you don't use because it's too big. Investing $$$ in another camera that's too big to carry around isn't going to help you. I have a good friend who bought a DSLR about 2 years ago. When I was at his son's birthday party last month he broke it out to take some photos of the gift opening. Afterwards he put it down and the rest of the party they used his wife's point and shoot. 90% of the photos they take they do so with the point-and-shoot because it's just more convenient. For some of the photos Ive seen the point and shoot does just as good as the DSLR would. In others, I recognize the DSLR with it's external flash could have done better. But they didn't use it because it's too bulky to carry around (especially with the external flash).

Conversely I just took my brick of a camera (Canon 1dmkIII) on vacation with 3 lenses and an external flash. I don't mind the bulk.

It sounds like you'd be like my friend - use the DSLR for very little because it's inconvenient. So I'm not sure it's a good choice for you.
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Old Sep 25, 2009, 3:22 PM   #3
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John,

Thanks very much for your thoughts. I agree with you that I would likely not use a DSLR nearly as much as a point and shoot. If I ultimately purchased a DSLR, I would not intend it for everyday use, but rather for "shooting expeditions" and maybe (although perhaps unlikely) for some vacations ... and perhaps that in itself is enough reason to rule it out as a purchase for now.

That said, I'm not sure I was completely clear in my initial post about the size of the camera. When you refer to a point and shoot are you referring to all non-DSLRs (including, for example a larger superzoom) or just the really small ones? My current camera is small but it's not quite pocketable (unless you've got a pretty good size coat pocket). It's not so small that I want to carry it with me almost all of the time and I would like something like that because of the many photo opportunities that seem to come up when one least expects it. That is what I am looking for in the first instance. However, for travel and other events, something a bit larger (maybe as large as say a Panasonic FX35) would be OK if the trade-off is better pictures and a decent zoom.

If I could find one camera for all occasions, that would be great, but I'm not completely opposed to a little more bulk if necessary for certain situations.

Last edited by Jazzer251; Sep 25, 2009 at 3:25 PM.
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Old Sep 25, 2009, 11:24 PM   #4
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As for budget pocket cameras, here are links to more posts on those -

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...55385-cam.html

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...ra-advice.html

However, not all brands and models are available in all parts of the world. Even more confusing when it comes to leftover models still in the stores. So it might be better for you to take a look around your stores. Then tell us which models appealed to you.

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Old Sep 26, 2009, 9:33 AM   #5
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Thanks. My currrent leaning is toward the Canon SD 940IS which appears to be very small and light (just slightly larger and heavier than the SD 780 but with a slighly larger LCD screen and a wider lens).

Alternatively, I have been giving some thought to the Canon S90 which is coming out. I realize this is a different animal altogether in terms of function and price, and it's also somewhat larger and heavier than the others. I just wonder if in the long run I might be happier with the ability for more control -- (although I have hardly used the manual controls on my current camera, I am trying to learn a little ... only time will tell whether I actually put the effort in).

The only isssue I have with all of these cameras is the lack of a reasonably large zoom. Unfortuantely all of the small superzoom cameras are still larger than I would like for an everyday pocket camera. There are times, however, when a longer zoom would realy come in handy, so I'll need to consider whether it is important enough to warrant purchasing another camera at some point.
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Old Sep 26, 2009, 11:53 AM   #6
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There are a number of slim ultracompacts with 5X optical zoom. By Nikon and Panasonic, in addition to Canon. These do not have real manual controls, but I have not had much of a need for manual control on my ultracompact. I do enjoy manual control on my SLR-like cameras, just don't feel that it is very appropriate or useful for the ultracompact game. Top ultracompact with actual manual control is arguably the Nikon S710.

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Old Sep 26, 2009, 12:34 PM   #7
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From the way you describe your ambitions I don't think you need a fancy camera. I think you need a simple one, not too big, with great quality, something that won't get in the way of your vision.

I would suggest the Panasonic GF1, with both the 20mm f1.7 and the kit zoom lens, possibly with the EVF too.
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Old Sep 27, 2009, 5:03 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for your input. After looking around a bit and thinking about my most immediate concerns, I am focusing my search for now on an ultracompact and worrying less about manual controls and a superzoom. A long zoom would be nice, but even something like a Panasonic ZS1 is bigger than I would like as a take-everywhere camera.

I have been attracted mostly to the Canons so far, specifically the Sd1200, Sd780 and Sd940 (which I haven't actually been able to see yet) in order of price. I like the idea of the larger LCD and wider lens on the SD940, but there is a price premium of $80-$100 over the SD1200 and if I am ultimately going to wind up buying a second camera, I'm not sure if my money is better saved.

Any thoughts about these or other ultracompacts? Are there better options? Just for some added information, HD video is nice to have, but it is not a priority in my purchase decision.
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Old Oct 6, 2009, 8:42 PM   #9
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I was hoping to revisit this topic. As indicated in my previous post, I have now decided that I wish to buy an ultracompact in the first instance to carry with me to work, around town, etc. I also believe that I will ultimately buy another camera that will have a longer zoom and some manual controls (I plan to practice for a while on my current camera which has manual controls). I am not certain yet whether I will want this other camera to be an advanced P&S or a beginner level DSLR.

With this in mind, I think I have narrowed my choices of ultracompacts to either the Canon SD1200 or the Canon SD940.
I am having difficulty deciding whether the larger screen, longer zoom and wider lens will be of enough benefit for "everyday use" to warrant the difference in price (approximately $130).

I know this is ultimately a personal judgment call, but I would like opinions from those who carry cameras around with them whether these differences are a big deal. As I have never carried a camera with me on a daily basis, it is difficult for me to determine how much I would miss the "better" features.

Just as an aside, here are a few pictures that I recently took with my current camera.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/cr...following.html

Last edited by Jazzer251; Oct 6, 2009 at 8:46 PM.
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Old Oct 7, 2009, 5:32 PM   #10
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Nice photos, Jazzer, very well done-

You might also look at the Fuji F-70EXR which would give you some zoom and a great ISO capability. I know you are a Canon fan, but you did use the Kodak DX-7440. Anyway it might be worth a look.

I ordered one and it will be delivered tomorrow (10/08) so I will be posting some sample photos from the Fuji F-70EXR soon as well.

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