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Old Jul 10, 2010, 9:40 AM   #1
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Default Struggling with Canon Choice

First let me state that I already own a couple of decent digital cameras, so I don't need to purchase one immediately. These include: Sony DSC-W1, Nikon Coolpix S3000 and I have access to my wife's Canon Powershot A630

I have been researching compact digital cameras for some time and have considered three cameras for the excellent low light capabilities. These are the Canon S90, Canon SD4000IS and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V.

I am willing to spend $400 for a digital camera that performs well in low light as my other cameras do not. What is important to me is listed below:
1 Image Quality
2 Good low light capability
3 Good everyday use
4 Fast camera (don't want to wait 7 seconds before firing next shot)
5) HD movie capability is nice but not a deal breaker

After doing research on the internet, I will express my concerns about the 3 cameras listed below. Please bear with me as I have not used any of these cameras; the concerns are from reading reviews.

Canon S90
While this camera appears to be king in image quality, the concerns are loose free wheeling ring on back of camera, poor ergonomics, possible dirt and debris getting inside lens.

Canon SD4000IS
Not quite as good image quality as the S90, but not too far away. The main concerns are too shallow DOF and menus are complicated. It is also too new to obtain accurate reviews.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V
While a fun camera, the images are soft compared to the other two cameras. Again, image quality is important to me.

If anyone owns any of these cameras and can help with my concerns, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by mrstats; Jul 10, 2010 at 2:08 PM.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 10:39 AM   #2
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MrStats-

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

I have owned and shot extensively with all three of the cameras on your list. I do not want to tread on anyone's feelings, but I sincerely believe that the Sony HX5 has to be eliminated at the outset.

As the ISO setting is increased, on the HX5, the WB becomes bothersome and erratic. Likewise NR (noise reduction) has begun to smear fine detail in a very major way. That is something that noise reduction software cannot address.

Perhaps you would consider replacing the Sony HX5 with the new Samsung EX-1 camera on your list? The EX-1 has a 24 to 72mm zoom range with the fastest lens in the group. It ranges from F 1.8 to F 2.4 at 72mm. It is a physically larger camera, more to the size of the Canon G-11, but not as thick from from to back. It is a fine performer and well deserving of being on your list. As you can easily see, the EX-1's lens is a full stop faster than the S-90 or SD-4000's lens.

That leaves, the Canon S-90 and the SD-4000. If you wan to RAW, you can only choose from the EX-1 and the S-90 cameras. The SD-4000 is targeted more toward users who want to due low light photography in a mostly automatic mode.

I believe that the image quality on the S-90 and SD-4000 are quite close indeed. The S-90 only differs with it producing more contrast or "pop" in its images in normal lighting conditions. In terms of image sharpness, the EX-1 comes in first, followed by the S-90 and the SD-4000.

I believe that a good portion of the decision, among these cameras, will revolve around your own shooting style a great deal. Evaluate your need for RAW? How often you shoot in the Manual mode? How often you shoot in Shutter Preference Mode? And how often you shoot in Aperture Preference Mode. If you shoot in any of these three modes the majority of the time, for convenience sake, that will eliminate the SD-4000, as these modes are either missing or hidden from really easy access.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 11:51 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply. I really appreciate it. Most of the time, I shoot in Auto mode, but I can adapt as well.

I am not familar with the Samsung EX-1, but will check it out. Shoud I be concerned about the shallow DOF with the Canon Sd4000IS? One review made it sound like the camera selected 2.0 in all situations (in auto mode). If this is true, it would be a huge negative.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 11:58 AM   #4
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Mr.Stats-

Yes, the SD-4000 does select F 2.0 sometimes, but certainly not the majority of the time at all. Plus that can be easily altered as you are shooting. The Canon S-90 does not perform very well in the Auto Mode.

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Old Jul 10, 2010, 2:04 PM   #5
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Mr.Stats-

Yes, the SD-4000 does select F 2.0 sometimes, but certainly not the majority of the time at all. Plus that can be easily altered as you are shooting. The Canon S-90 does not perform very well in the Auto Mode.

Sarah Joyce
Thank you again Sarah! One of my biggest fears about this camera has been relieved. It makes sense that if F2.0 was always selected in auto mode, other reviewers would have stated it.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 4:49 PM   #6
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MrStats-

Consider the EX-1, but as of now, it appears that the Canon SD-4000 is probably the best fit for your needs.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 13, 2010, 7:15 AM   #7
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I was able to audition a Canon S90 at a local camera shop, but no one in my area has the SD4000.

The S90 I looked at was manufactured in Japan. Is this the normal production location for this camera? I don't know if this makes a quality difference anymore, but I find it unusual.

I am looking forward to auditioning the SD4000.
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Old Jul 13, 2010, 11:45 AM   #8
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mrstats-

You might want to consider ordering from www.amazon.com. They have a no questions asked, no fee, 30day return policy that would cover you in case you did not like the SD-4000. Please keep in mind that both the S-90 and the SD-4000 have a limited zoom range.

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Old Jul 14, 2010, 6:44 PM   #9
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mrstats-

You might want to consider ordering from www.amazon.com. They have a no questions asked, no fee, 30day return policy that would cover you in case you did not like the SD-4000. Please keep in mind that both the S-90 and the SD-4000 have a limited zoom range.

Sarah Joyce
That is a great idea! I wound up ordering the S90 from amazon. If I feel it is too much, I'll return it and order an easier point and shoot (SD4000). I know this will meet my needs, but I kept thinking that I'll kick myself later for not trying the S90 after all the good things I've read about it.
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Old Jul 14, 2010, 7:51 PM   #10
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Congratulations on your decision, Bob-

Give the S-90 a whirl and see what you think.

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