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Old Apr 17, 2010, 4:36 PM   #1
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Default Please help me select a "compact" camera.

PLEASE CLOSE. I decided not to get a point and shoot camera.

First, please allow me to explain what I'm looking for in a camera.

It should be a compact, although doesn't have to be very small or fit in my pocket. It must NOT have too many "manual" features because I know absolutely nothing about taking good pictures - I am a point and shoot guy. HOWEVER, I don't want a camera for idiots either, as I am willing to take the time to go through the options to select the best ISO, shooting mode, etc for the scene. I also want descent video quality. Off course I realize this is not a video camera, but I know some digicams have better video shooting capabilities than others.

This camera must have good low light performance, as I tend to take most pictures INDOORS, not outside.

My budget is around $250 or less, so this immediately eliminates the Canon S90 which is an exceptional camera according to many reviews if not the best out there in the compact class. I am currently considering between the Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR and one of the offerings from the Panasonic Lumix line... The problem with the Panasonic is that there are just too many models of them, and I don't know which one would be best for me. As for the Fuji, it seems like a very good choice for me, because of superb low light performance but video sucks according to reviews. Is there a golden middle here, or will I have to sacrifice video for good picture shooting performance? Perhaps you'd have me buy something entirely different? Thanks.

Last edited by ibex333; Apr 21, 2010 at 9:10 PM.
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 4:53 PM   #2
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ibex-

Welcome to the Forum. We're delighted that you dropped by.

You mention taking the majority of your photos indoors. Does that mean taking your indoor photos with flash? I hope that it does because there are really no cameras in this price range that can do it by increasing the ISO setting. The Canon S-90 along with the Panasonic LX3 are the only exceptions to the statement due to their substantially larger imagers and their fast, wide aperture lenses.

In your price range, the Sony H-20 has the best in the Automatic Mode, and the best built-in flash unit in the entire compact zoom class of cameras. It has 10X optical zoom (38mm to 380mm) and does HD video and you can zoom while filming. The H-20 is currently selling right around $250.

The Fuji F-200 EXR and the F-70 EXR cameras are essential 5mp cameras due to the EXR system. The other objection that users have is the constant re-setting and tweaking required to get the best image quality from these cameras.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Apr 17, 2010, 6:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

To clarify, yes, off course I intend to use the flash, but during the daytime, a flash is often unnecessary in my experience because it makes the images too bright or reflects against surfaces. Basically the kind of images I most often take are pictures or friends and family, pets, kids, parties and gatherings, pictures of myself for internet profiles, macros for internet auction sales, etc. It just so happens that all of this is taking place indoors. I also tend to take pictures outside during the night... For example, on my trip to Germany I was trying to take a picture of the Reichstag and the Triumphal Ark from the distance during the night with my Canon PowerShot A80. although I still think this is a great camera, the pictures came out lousy, because the camera couldn't focus on the objects, which were actually not too far away, and could not compensate at all for the lack of light. Obviously I am not expecting SLR type performance but I see plenty of pictures taken with compact cameras at night that looked great.

Also, when I was in Canada, I tried taking a picture of the Niagara Falls at night, and the results were horrible. All that was visible on the pictures were the red and blue lights that were used to accentuate the water... The rest was just pitch black darkness...

That Sony camera you recommended looks very good. The only thing is, reviewers complain about the lack of "wide angle lens". I have absolutely no idea what that means, and if it even matters for someone like me.. Can you please explain?

Last edited by ibex333; Apr 17, 2010 at 7:01 PM.
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 8:05 PM   #4
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ibex-

Please let me be clear. A photo of Niagara Falls at night can only be taken with any camera on a tripod. You will not be able to stop the motion of the falls as the shutter speed will not be sufficient enough for that but you will get a sharp photo of the lights. Lighted buildings at night are excellent subjects because they are stationary. As with Niagara Falls, all night photos must be taken using a tripod.

There are times during the day when there is sufficient light coming through the windows of a home where you can take photos, if you use a numerically higher ISO setting.

However, once the light has gone down you must plan to use the camera's built-in flash unit to provide sufficient light for your photos. I often take E-Bay photo next to an indoor window using a numerically increase ISO setting, to get the correct exposure.

Any camera requires a certain amount of light to capture a photo, that is axiomatic. So much higher priced cameras (at $400+) are better than others in capturing photos with less light. But every camera has a low light limit.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 11:03 PM   #5
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What about my question about wide angle lens?
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 11:33 PM   #6
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A wide angle position on any lens just gives you a wider view of the subject. Most people feel the the 35 mm equivalent of 28mm is where wide angle begins.

In a less technical context it means the lens has a wider view. Therefore you do not have to take two steps backward to get everyone into the photo.

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