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Old Jul 14, 2010, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default best picture P&S (under $400) in auto mode

I am looking to replace my wife's Fujifilm FinePix F10 6.3MP.
what she loves in the F10:
- battery capacity (500 pictures)
- picture quality

what she hates (and is the reason why I am replacing it)
- if you don't pay attention, the camera will focus the background instead of the subject in the foreground
- in certain conditions, the autofocus (and other auto settings) can take seconds (as in 5-6) and by the time the camera is ready to take the picture, it's too late.

I am looking for the best picture in auto mode (she will never use anything else) including low light and bright outdoors. No interest in using it for video. I prefer crisp pictures with natural colors (not bland or too pronounced).

we quickly looked at canons in best buy and she liked the SD1400 size, from the reviews I see that the SD4000 looks good. I am avoiding sony (but could be compelled to give them another chance if this is this board's recommendation).

So which camera(s) should I consider?

Also as a side question, Will we see a big difference between a SD1400 in SD4000 in picture quality? The SD400 is only 10MP vs 14MP for the SD1400, any issue there?
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:51 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frny View Post
I am looking to replace my wife's Fujifilm FinePix F10 6.3MP.
what she loves in the F10:
- battery capacity (500 pictures)
- picture quality

what she hates (and is the reason why I am replacing it)
- if you don't pay attention, the camera will focus the background instead of the subject in the foreground
- in certain conditions, the autofocus (and other auto settings) can take seconds (as in 5-6) and by the time the camera is ready to take the picture, it's too late.
Hi frny,

You will be hard pressed to find a current "pocketable" P&S camera that can even come close to the indoor picture quality of your wife's F10. The F10 has a 1/1.7 size sensor which is large for a pocketable P&S camera. Combine that with the 6.3 MP sensor density (each pixel is bigger), the famous Fujifilm Super CCD sensor renowned for it's low light ability, and the F10's F2.8 lens at the wide end, the image quality of that combo cannot be touched by current pocketable P&S cameras. I know because I've been trying to find one for my wife and haven't been successful yet.

If your wife is willing to get a larger than pocketable P&S camera then there are some current choices.

Anyhow, until you buy a replacement camera, there may be a way for your wife to insure always focusing on the subject instead of the background. Has your wife tried setting the the F10 to "center point AF"? If she's always using "multi-point AF" then the camera can focus on the wrong thing.

If she hasn't used center point AF, select it and have her put the center point on the subject and half press the shutter to lock the focus. Then re-frame the scene and then slowly press the shutter the rest of the way down to take the picture. The subject should always be in the best focus using this method. --- This may even speed up focusing.

Here's a link to a thread on that technique. See posts #2 and #5.
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pa...-beginner.html

Best regards,
Sky

Last edited by skylark; Jul 15, 2010 at 2:01 AM. Reason: added link
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 9:32 AM   #3
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Sky's post is right on the target-

And I agree 100%. The F-10 is a better camera than anything on the market right now. Th only possible exception is the Canon SD-4000.

I pulled out my Fuji F-10, charged up the battery, and went through the menu carefully. Yes, the F-10 will indeed spot focus. So that should solve your focus problems. Here is a sample photo that I shot of my husband.

There is nothing on today's camera market under $300 than can compete with the F-10. The Canon S-90 comes close, and it, just like the F-10 uses a larger physical size imager.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:36 PM   #4
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There is nothing on today's camera market under $300 than can compete with the F-10. The Canon S-90 comes close, and it, just like the F-10 uses a larger physical size imager.
Sarah,

Since you have personal experience using the Canon S90 and Samsung EX1 (TL500 in the U.S.), how would you rate their auto performance? Same question for the Panasonic LX3 if you have used it.

Frny,

To clarify, when I said "If your wife is willing to get a larger than pocketable P&S camera then there are some current choices." I was thinking of the S90, EX1/TL500 and LX3 cameras. I consider them larger than "pocketable" P&S cameras but they all have reputations as excellent low-light cameras. I don't have any personal experience with any of them but Sarah does.

Sky
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 2:48 PM   #5
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Sky and Frny-

The S-90 does not produce really good images in the Auto Mode. However, it will do quite well when used in "P" or Programed Auto. My experience with the EX-1/TL500 is much shorter. I have used the EX-1 mostly in the "P" Mode. As a test i did a couple of shots in Full Auto, and the look very descent. I have no experience with the LX3. I have an LX2 and it is a very demanding camera that needs exactly the correct WB and a good deal of adjusting.

In contrast, the F-10 does very well in full automatic, and as I mentioned previously, it will spot focus. All you have to do is to set it up in the menu.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 10:47 PM   #6
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wow - I wasn't expecting that the F10 wld be so tough to replace.

@skylark: I showed her how to use the center point method but at this time I'd like a camera that recognize and focus automatically on a person's face.

there must be a ton of posts but what's the high level of the SD90 vs sd4000 as far as picture quality? what about the sx210?

I saw the following about the sd4000 "SD4000 in auto mode will try and select f2.0 - f2.8 every time no matter how bright the light is ' - is this true?

What about replacing it by another Fuji?

thanks for the help - I'm trying not to drown in all the reviews...
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 10:50 PM   #7
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well you can also consider the panasonic LX3 it is a larger sensor also with a f2 lens. but it's replacement is on it's way the lx5. So you may want to wait to check out the lx5. It is a bit larger then the s90 and the sd4000 though. But still can be pocketable.
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 10:51 PM   #8
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just not sure about 500 shots on one charge.
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 11:31 PM   #9
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If you must have a new camera, the Canon SD-4000 is your best bet. The S-90 does poorly in the automatic mode. The LX-3 is a 2008 camera and is tough on batteries. The Samsung EX-1/TL-500 is good but it too is too big in size and is also hard on batteries.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 10:20 PM   #10
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I ordered the sd4000 - we'll see if it stays and replaces the f10 ...

Thanks for the help - I will post an update after we have time to compare the two.
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