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Old Nov 9, 2009, 12:43 AM   #1
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Default Unlucky With Digital Cameras

I haven't had much luck with the last two digital cameras that I have had. Most of the time I end up with pictures that are blurry or dark. Such is the case with my most recent camera. I currently have a Kodak easyshare V550. It wasn't an extremely cheap camera nor was it outlandish. The biggest issue I have with it is trying to get it to take a decent picture. I usually end up taking 10 to 15 shots before I figure out what is the right setting needed for the environment.

I am hoping someone out there can change my luck. I started doing some research about a week ago for a replacement camera and seem to be more indecisive than when I started. I am looking for what I suspect most people are. A camera that can be used at indoor events, concerts and plays, vacations, and outdoor locations. My subjects range from stills to quick motion and from closeup to distant shots.

My price range is $250 to $350ish. I would like, but do not require the following:

-Very good auto settings
-Good in low light
-10x optical zoom or better
-Uses a standard SD card
-AA batteries
-Some color effects. Really like the one where you could change all colors to b&w but one.

I have looked at the following and all seem to be good choices, but I am not sure what is the right one for me. If you have other suggestions I will be glad to hear them.

-Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - The flash thing doesn't bother me, as long as I can close it. Seems to have a lot of good reviews but lacks any manual controls (which may be a good thing for me)
-Canon SX200IS - I hear mixed reviews, but seems to equivalent to the Panny but with Manual controls.
-Sony Cybershot DSC-H20 - Again good reviews. Seems like it might be a little bit bulkier than what I am looking for.
-Samsung HZ15WH - Just recently discovered this one. Is dual image stabilization better than just optical.
-Nikon Coolpix S630 - My wife likes this one. Probably because it comes in purple. Doesn't quite fit in with what I am looking for, but anything that keeps the spouse happy is probably worth mentioning.


I am not looking for professional quality. I would just like something that would be easy enough to allow me to take decent photos, instead of missing most of them. So that I can upload them to friends and family and perhaps put on my desk. I hope someone out there is willing to help me sort this out, and in a hurry, I have a concert on Saturday that I would like to use it at.

Thanks in advanced
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 9:08 AM   #2
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musictech-

Welcome to the Forum. Thanks for dropping by.

Based on your list of "possible" cameras, it would appear that you are not in need of an optical viewfinder, and are used to framing your photos on the rear LCD screen. If you don't need HD video clips you could save some money by making the Panasonic ZS1 replace the ZS3 on your list. You might also look at Panasonics ZR-series as well.

The strongest contenders on your list are the Sony H-20 camera and the Canon SX-200IS. The H-20 is a bit bulkier in its front to rear dimension, do not have a true wide angle position on its 10X optical zoom, but it has the best built-in flash unit in this class of cameras, giving you a flash range easily out to 20 feet when Auto ISO is employed. The Canon SX-200IS is very competent, but the built-in flash popping up every time the camera is powered up bother some folks. However, it is the DSX-200IS that has the color effects that you mentioned in your post.

The Samsung HZ15WH is a so-so camera. It has a nice zoom range from 24 to 240mm, giving you a nice wide angle, but it has a noise reduction circuit that measurably smudges your photos creating a watercolor effect when used at any ISO settings above ISO 400. The Nikon S-630 may be pretty but it really has trouble focusing in anything but very good light. Therefore, IMO, it should be dropped from your list.

You mention a concert on Saturday. Do this mean that you are also looking for a camera capable of taking photos without using the camera's built-in flash unit, but by numerically increasing the camera's ISO setting?

With a bit more information, I think we will have a selection for you. Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 9:36 AM   #3
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Sarah,

Thanks for responding. To answer your question, yes. I will be back far enough that the flash will not be effective. Probably somewhere around 50 or 60 feet.

I had primarily been looking at the Panasonic ZS3 and the Canon SX200IS and couldn't decide between the two. From reading the many posts on the different boards I have looked at, both have mixed reviews. The ZS3 seems to come out on top, except in low light situations. Plus many people will not go with a completely automatic camera. The canon SX200IS seems to be a close competitor with some manual flexibility. Biggest complaint I hear is the flash popping up. My question is, is that simply an annoyance or is it impossible to turn off the flash? Also, after reading many of your posts I also started considering the Sony H-20. It seems to be a good fit too, but I am not sure if I like the bulkyness or the lack of a wide angle lense. Again, I am not picky, I am looking for the best camera fit for me and if I have to sacrifice a bit larger size, a wide angle lense, or spend a little extra money I will.

The flash seems to be a bit of concern for a lot of people, but I am not sure it will play much into my decision. Most of my low light shots are going to be either close range shots (10 feet or less) or they will be shots at an event where I am not sure the flash will matter anyway. I may not be putting enough stock into the importance of a good flash, but I really can't think of a time where the flash played a big part in my picture.

Again, I am not dead set on any of the cameras I mentioned, so if you can think of a better fit I would be happy to hear suggestions.

Thanks
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 10:17 AM   #4
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musictech-

Well, ideally the Canon G-11 would serve you very well indeed with its high ISO capability, but of course it is larger and also more expensive as well.

However, the Fuji F-200EXR and F-70EXR are pleasantly small and are worth taking a look at for their high ISO capabilities. So too, the new Kodak Z-950 is capable of some very nice ISO 1600 photos, so that also might be worth a look.

I have attached two Kodak Z-950 sample taken, of course, without flash at ISO 1600 that are rather impressive.

Sarah Joyce
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