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Old Jan 24, 2010, 9:06 PM   #1
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Default Getting overwhelmed, need help with a P&S

So I have been researching this for so long my head is starting to spin. The long and the short of it is that I need a new point and shoot camera for my wife. We have used an old Canon (a700 I think) that has served us faithfully for a few years now, but it has seen better days. 90% of the time she will use it to take pictures of friends and family nothing overly artistic. My father actually taught photography, and while I was never bitten with the bug myself, I learned enough that I would like a certain degree of manual control over the camera for the few times I will use the camera. Also, my wife would like a larger zoom (not that she'll use it, but she wants it). I don't want to handcuff myself to a price range, but (obviously) I'd like to spend as little as possible.

Initially I looked at the Canons and the SD1200, SD780, and the SD960 all seem appealing for various reasons, though none of them is perfect (mostly because of the small zoom). A little internet research lead me to the Fuji f70exr, which seems to be reviewed pretty well, but reading these forums and some others, it seems that it might not be the best choice for us, as by far this camera will be used in the AUTO mode. Reading some threads here, it seems like the Panasonics are getting a lot of love, but thier model numbers are all so similar that I am having a hard time keeping track of all the positives and negatives.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated. I do have one question, how significany is Digic III vs. Digic 4? It seems that that is the chief difference between the Canon SD line and the A line. Other than the Digic three chip, the A2000 seems like it might fit the bill.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 9:18 PM   #2
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Davein Philly-

Welcome to the Forum. We're glad you dropped by.

You might want to take a good look at the Sony H-20 P+S camera. It has the best auto mode and the best built-in flash unit in its class. It has 10X optical zoom (38mm to 380mm in 35mm terms) it does HD Video and you can zoom while filming. I noticed that it was down to $219 at Amazon today (01/24).

That might work out very well for you pretty well. I own and use the H-20 as well as my DSLR cameras, so I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 9:52 AM   #3
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Sarah,

Thank you for your reply. I had not looked at any Sonys before your suggestion. However, as much as I hate to admit it, as this camera is predominantly for my wife, there is a certain "cuteness factor" that must be met, and I don't think the larger industrial look of the H-20 will win her heart.

The camera doesn't have to come in a rainbow of colors, but I think it needs to look a little more consumeresque. Also, video recording is not really an issue, in fact its not really even a requirement. Nor, is a 10x zoom. She wants a larger then normal zoom, so the 3x cameras are a hard sell (though not out of the question). Our last camera had a 6x zoom and that was more than adequate for her needs. I was thinking that a trade off of a 5x zoom with a smaller body than our last camera would be enough to keep her happy.

Right now, the two at the top of my list are the Canon SD960 and the Fuji f70exr (though I certainly open to even more suggestions). My biggest concern with the SD960 is not the lack of zoom, but the widescreen LCD. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that somewhat counter intuitive as the pictures it takes will have an aspect ratio closer to 4:3 rather than 16:9?
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 1:08 PM   #4
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Dave-

I would rule out the Fuji F-70EXR due to its somewhat extended EXR learning curve. I would also rule out the SD-960 due to the wide screen.

Additional good options then are the Canon A-2000 (6X optical zoom) or the new, soon to be released in February, A-3000 (4X optical zoom) are possibilities. The Digic III versus Digic IV will not matter.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 1:53 PM   #5
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another option may be the Panasonic ZR1. It come in different colors and offers a pretty versatile 8x zoom.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 2:56 PM   #6
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Dustin-

Dave's wife, as I understand it, is a snapshooter. With the below par built-in flash unit on the ZR-1, I avoided a long discussion about Flash Range, and the associated learning curve. This is a present from Dave to his wife.

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Old Jan 25, 2010, 3:16 PM   #7
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Well, you did mention the A2000/3000 which actually offer a similar flash range (3.5m) as the ZR1 (5.1m). And for some snapshooters, this is more than adequate range for their needs.

All of these fall well below the 7.1m range of the Sony H20, or even below the 6.5m flash range of the higher end Canon SD980.
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Old Jan 25, 2010, 8:18 PM   #8
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Dustin/Hards-

Point well taken. I concede.

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Old Jan 25, 2010, 8:32 PM   #9
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Dave,

I was actually surprised they upped the power on the flash for the Canon SD980, thats a pretty respectable working distance. And looking at prices it is not much more (about 25$) money than the SD960, but offers a flash that is quite a bit more powerful 6.4m vs 4m

and it is cute and chic, available in pretty colors, etc. it offers touch screen, that is in my book a drawback, but for others its a positive.

the widescreen on the sd960/980 is for the HD video.

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Old Jan 25, 2010, 8:42 PM   #10
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I actually consider getting the sd980, and it is a very good point and shoot. The touch screen is nice and so is the motion sensor that lets it do things similar to the iphone. Changing pictures without having to touch anything just a quick flick of the wrist. It wins in the cool factor too, and it took some nice photos, perfect for snapshots.
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