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Old Oct 20, 2009, 7:02 PM   #1
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Default Dipping an oar in the digiwater again ...

Hi. Thanks to all who've made this forum such a useful resource.

I am still looking to select a camera to buy. I am somewhat the wiser. I do not expect my camera to do everything. I do not expect it do anything well without some knowledgeable input. As my budget is limited (but, like almost everyone, big to me), I have put a good bit of thought into what is most important to me, and the relative importance of camera features.

My camera will be a mobile data collection tool. I will not use it to enhance the data, nor will I use it to show others the data.

Here are my refined parameters. I seek your help.

Very nearly necessary:
•My budget is $400 max (and that includes card, batteries, & case).
-- OK, a little wiggle room, but only for superbities.
•Exceptional color fidelity
-- I am a painter. The only images I've seen which have true color are from the Sigma Foveon cameras (I thought this before I knew what they were). I am almost always disappointed in the color rendition from P & S digicams. I understand that I have some control over this, but -- clearly -- the better the data at the start the more likely to have useful data at the end.
•RAW format.
-- Not absolutely necessary, but seems unwise to leave it out.
•Manual controls
-- Because I want to be able to tweak whatever the camera designers think I want.
•Good with low light
-- I work by natural light. I would like to take photos in natural light.
•Very low noise
-- Noise gives me stomach aches.
•Wide angle (at least 25mm?).
-- I like taking big shots outdoors.

Desired:
•Pocketable
•Viewfinder
•High-dynamic range built in
•Sensible menus and control layout
•A bit of zoom
•SD or compatible card
•Good macro capability
•Time-lapse built in
•Panorama mode
•High one-time FPS for capturing fleeting expressions (e.g.: press shutter, get 10 shots in 1 sec.)
•Hot shoe

Of no use to me:
•Movies
•Sound
•Art modes

I will taking formal and informal portraits of people (some nude), shots of urban and country landscapes, and some study shots of things on tables and of light in general. And of my cat, but that isn't going to influence my decision.

Many thanks for your suggestions. I will research them all.
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 7:48 PM   #2
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kriekira-

I guess for starters here is my question for you: how much do you want to get involved in the photo process?

If you want to get really involved and to have as much control as possible, take a good look at the Fuji F-70EXR camera. Yes, it is complicated, you have to use your grey matter, but you have a huge amount of control. Check it out!

Ok, so you want less to think about. Then you should take a good look at the new Canon S-90.

OK, you might want to be on a far gone and mindless kick:take a look at the Kodak Z-950. Its cool and very, very easy, sort of an auto pilot camera.

Have a cool/great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 8:31 PM   #3
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Default Rowing along

Thanks Sarah.

Quote:
how much do you want to get involved in the photo process?


Hard to answer. I am interested in learning everything about how photographers conceive of and control color. I am willing work to get the results I want. I don't have the rhino to buy a lot of equipment. I'd like to be able to get the results I want without a lot of contortion to make up for products engineered for results I'm not interested in.

I read some very long threads from users of the Fuji F-70EXR. My take-away is that a successful user has to invest too much time to overcome limitations built-in to the design.

The Canon S90 grabbed my interest, but here I come across my bugbear: almost all the images seem overly saturated, with what I think of as a heavy-handed separation of hues. Nature is nothing but degrees of neutrals, and yet the photo industry (customers as well as suppliers) seem focussed on "un-naturalizing" what they see. The exception was the three sample photos on Canon's own site. At least one of them was taken with a custom white-balance, so I wonder how much "process" went into producing the images. I'm looking forward to some extensive professional reviews.

Thanks again for the leads!
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 9:29 PM   #4
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Kreikira-

I agree with you totally about the Fuji F-70EXR. I returned mine today. My conclusion was if I have to hold the manual in my hand as I take every photo, it is just not worth it.

We are almost together on the S-90 as well. You object to the excessively sturated colors, I object to the technical contortions that Canon puts the S-90 through to get those saturated colors. So we are not that far apart.

My next project is to checkout the Sony WX-1 camera. Perhaps it is not so convoluted.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 10:30 PM   #5
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Funny you should mention the Sony WX-1 camera. It's high on my list. Looking forward to reading your impressions.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 11:20 PM   #6
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Thorough review here:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...1/DSCWX1A.HTM#

Relatively small problems w. color accuracy. No manual mode.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 11:30 PM   #7
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You are correct, Kriekira-

That was exactly the professional review that lead me to the Sony WX-1. I have one on order, so I will report my impressions.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 11:46 PM   #8
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It's a general characteristic of point-and-shoot class cameras that the color saturation errors on the strong side. That is what consumers demand. DSLRs don't do this, but of course they are not pocketable. I do like Sara's suggestions here. Just to add, for RAW you could try a Canon G-series. The current G10/11 is over your budget, but maybe an earlier model that is used? The other comment I would make is that generally Panasonic compacts have had quieter color saturation than the other brands. Though they tend to get noisey with much ISO. There are lots and lots of Panasonic models to consider, you could even try a used one on the cheap. Just as an experiment.

Kelly Cook
warning: this post is unfocused and untargeted
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 1:03 PM   #9
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Default I want the kind of color fidelity that creates air.

KCook -- many thanks for the comments . I do not want to spend $400 on a camera which doesn't deliver pleasing (to me) color performance. Either I find a camera which bucks the over-saturated trend, or I find a camera which allows me to buck the trend (in processing), or I will have to adjust my parameters (spend more or spend nothing). Looking at the Canon G10 and G11 (new) moves my budget into the '<$500' range. Am I wrong to think that's a lot to spend on a fixed-lens camera?

What is the least one can spend to get what, as an amateur, I get to think of as "natural, true-to-life" color (the opposite of what I think of as "advertiser's color")? I'm starting to wonder if the only solution is a DSLR.

Re: Panasonic.
•I just tried a DMC-FZ35 ... the colors, while less like having your eyes tattooed than most P&S's, were still aggressive, and I never got the hang of the auto-focus.
•The DMC-ZS3 has been very favorably reviewed almost everywhere. I'd like to find out if it's color handling is different from the FZ35.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 3:37 PM   #10
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The Sony Point & Shoot Folder has WX-1 photo samples.

Sarah Joyce
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