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Old Nov 20, 2009, 1:05 AM   #1
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Default HELP! Point and Shoot for indoor use

After progressive upgrades using the Lumix series TZ3, TZ4 i switched to the Sony H20 seeking manual controls and better video.

However with a 1 year old kid i find that I now take most of the photographs are indoors, and the Sony H20 though having good indoor photos with flash is hampered by the shutter lag and slow flash recycle times, and photos without the flash are just too noisy. I also tried out the Panasonic ZS3 and found that without a flash it was useless indoors and a lot worse than the Sony, though with the flash it performed well, aided by the faster faster flash recycle times, thought the autofocus was not quick. However the flash on the ZS3 was weak.

While a DSLR is as sensible options, for me the camera needs to be small so that it can be chucked into a handbag or a pocket if possible.

I have been now looking into the following options, but as it goes there is no perfect pocket friendly camera. However would like your opinions on the following. I am hampered by the fact that we don't have any of these cameras in the local market where i am residing (Sri Lanka), and will be getting the camera through a friend coming from the US, so my purchase heavily depends on your feedback based on usage experience

Sorry for the long post !!!!

1. Canon G11

Why i am considering
  • Large CCD sensor compared to other P&S
  • Manual mode with physical buttons and controls
  • Good auto mode until you learn the manual controls
Reservations
  • Lack of HD videos which is useful when you go on family trips and small parties is sad (forums says its a technical issue that limits HD, but i am sure something higher than VGA could have been given considering the G9 had 1024x768 at 15fps!)
  • Size, definitely not pocket friendly and you need a large coat or a handbag
  • PRICE!
Some questions i have,
  • Is the autofocus fast enough to lock and take pictures of the small chap on the move indoors (not great lighting)?
  • Can i really get 5x7 (or 4x6) print size good indoor photos without the flash with this unit of people indoors (specially my small chap)
  • Does the optical zoom work on video mode
  • Can i use the white balance settings, etc on video mode
  • How good is the automatic mode?
  • Does autofocus work on video mode?
2. Canon S90IS

Why i am considering
  • Large CCD sensor compared to other P&S
  • Manual mode with cool rings for ease of use
  • Good auto mode until you learn the manual controls
  • Pocket friendly size
Reservations
  • Lack of HD video (same as the G11)
  • Forums says its a very slipper camera making it not very useable
  • The camera flash unit seems to have failed with some users, specially since forcing it shut is a complex process
  • Build quality seems shoddy/bad
  • Poor telephoto zoom
Some questions i have,
  • Is the autofocus fast enough to lock and take pictures of the small chap on the move indoors (not great lighting)?
  • Can i really get get 5x7 (or 4x6) print size good indoor photos without the flash with this unit of people indoors (specially my small chap)
  • Does the optical zoom work on video mode
  • Can i use the white balance settings, etc on video mode
  • Does autofocus work on video mode?
3. Fuji F70EXR

Why i am considering
  • Larger CCD sensor compared to other P&S, though smaller than the two canons
  • Manual mode
  • Pocket friendly size
  • 10X zoom
  • Price
Reservations
  • Lack of HD video (same as the G11)
  • Supposed purple fringing and noise
Some questions i have,
  • How good is the auto mode in this camera and the IQ?
  • Is the autofocus fast enough to lock and take pictures of the small chap on the move indoors (not great lighting)?
  • Can i really get get 5x7 (or 4x6) print size good indoor photos without the flash with this unit of people indoors (specially my small chap)
  • Is the sensor and quality of photos more like a G11 or more towards a ZS3 type?
  • The purple fringing issues is highlighted in reviews, is that as bad a problem as reported?
  • The image stabilization though mechnical seems to be not effective, again is it true?
  • Does IS work for videos as well?
  • Does autofocus work on video mode?
I took the Panasonic LX3 out of my list since the zoom is so low that you can't do much with it. Though HD video is nice, it seems it does not auto focus unlike the ZS3/TZ range (which though having their problems does fairly well, and here the Sony H20 definitely rules with superb auto focusing on videos).

Summary

In addition to your experiences and opinions specially on my questions, any samples indoor photos (of people and kids in particular, loads of samples i have seen are of outdoors!) that can be provided for any of these cameras would be most welcome.

Your recommendations are also most welcome

Last edited by rayaz; Nov 20, 2009 at 3:26 AM. Reason: updated some details
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 9:15 AM   #2
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Hello again, Rayaz-

Since I have already covered your many questions concerning the Canon S-90 in another thread and post, now lets handle the Canon G-11 and the Fuji F-70EXR cameras.

yes the auto focus is fairly fast on the G-11 and I do not believe that you would have any problems focusing on a toddler. However, please keep in mind that the G-11's focus speed will slow down as the light level decreases, and the G-11 does not have predictive focus. The G-11 is easily capable of wonderful 8 X 10 prints, so 5 X 7 prints should be a cinch. Optical zoom and WB do work during a video clip. if continuous focus is selected, auto focus will work during a video. The G-11 is an "enthusiast's" camera. Therefore the auto mode operation will be very similar to the auto m,ode you have experienced on your Sony H-20 camera.

The Fuji F-70EXR does not work very well in the automatic mode, due to the complexity of the EXR system and the many manual options that have to me made while shooting with the Fuji F-70EXR. The image quality, if you can stay abreast of all the manual selections required is about the same as your Sony H-20 camera.

The auto focus speed on the F-70EXR was only average in my opinion. It low lighting, of course it slowed down even more. The image quality, is good, providing you made the many manual adjustments required and could easily produce a 5 X 7 print providing cropping was held to a minimum. The sensor or imager and the resulting image quality is equal to, and occasionally, slightly less that that found on the Panasonic ZS3 camera.

Purple fringing does occur on the F-70EXR more than average. I can be taken care of in good photo editing software, such as Adobe's Photo Elements 8.0, bu that is an extra step in the process.I found the Fuji F-70EXR's IS system to be weak, and surely not the quality of Canon's. Camera movement was detectable in photos taken with very slow shutter speeds and during video clips.

All in all, I felt the Fuji F-70EXR was an unecesarily complex camera, due to it EXR system. I found myself having to carry the camera documentation with me constantly for reference, and I do not lack photographic experience. I have been a photographer for 64 years, been a professional photographer, and an instructor. I ended up returning the Fuji F-70EXR, and I would not recommend it to anyone who was in a the least hurry to take their photos, as I often had to pull that book out and do some reading, which does not work well with an active child or a group waiting to be photographed.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 11:25 AM   #3
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Hi sarah,

Thanks for the response, so based on what i hear the Fuji is definitely out, and it kinda of tells why the price of that camera is so low considering it has a better spec in paper than even the ZS3 with regard to its sensor and size.

However with regard to the G11, is it that much faster than the Sony H20 i have since i know now you do possess a Sony H20 I have noticed that the flash recycle time for the G11 is also not very quick, but strangely it does seem to have the support for a flashburst mode unlike the Sony which does not have such an option.

In the video capability for G11 you mentioned that it does have optical zoom, but again i noticed some users saying that the zoom though it works is not like the Sony or the ZS3 in that you cannot zoom while recording (rather you have to zoom and then record). Is that a correct or are these chaps talking without knowledge? The G11 manuals seem very cryptic in this regard!

Since the G11 seems to be best of the options, is the photo quality that much better than the sony indoors. If you had taken any photos from both cameras under similar lighting conditions of moving people indoors i would be most appreciative if you can share them.

Last edited by rayaz; Nov 20, 2009 at 11:31 AM.
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 12:07 PM   #4
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Default In the same boat - help!

Hi Rayaz - we are in the same boat, looking for a point & shoot camera that takes sharp indoor shots. We have an SLR which takes beautiful pics, but it's getting pretty clunky to carry around. Life with a toddler definately demands a lot more indoor shots, so we have been on the hunt for a point & shoot that will take sharp pics indoors. In the past couple of months we have tried out the Lumix ZS3 & the Fuji FX200EXR - very dissapointed in both when used indoors. We decided against the Canon SX200, didn't like the pop-up flash, have heard that it can be problematic (one grain of sand gets in there and you're done for!).

What did you decide to go with in the end, any luck?

Thanks!
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Old Feb 16, 2010, 12:29 PM   #5
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Folks-

The real answer is a DSLR camera. However, a DSLR brings with it the physical form factor puzzle. For me, a DSLR was the answer, and a camera bag became my combined purse and camera bag.

Anything in the P+S range, for me, represented something of an image quality comprise. Indoor photos are not any issue at all. In fact I am enjoy my photography more.

Sarah Joyce
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