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Old Oct 18, 2010, 11:10 AM   #1
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Default Need advice on new camera - P&S/DSLR hybrid?

Hi,
I am interested in buying a new camera and need some serious advice. I've been perusing the reviews on this site, but it has only left me more confused. Currently, I have a Sony DSC-W1. It is my first and only camera, and I love it to death. After about 6 years of love and a lot of use, the metal casing has come off the battery compartment door and it won't stay closed. After some frustrating dealings with Sony support, I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably have to replace it with another camera. Believe me, if I didn't have to, I wouldn't - I love this little camera and am very nervous about quickly learning the ropes on a new one before I go on vacation next month. (Read: I'm looking for something kind of easy to learn.)

I take a LOT of pictures and enjoy photography and getting the perfect shot. At first I thought I would like a DSLR, but honestly, I don't understand a lot of how they work, or fiddle with settings much. Besides, I really like the ability to put a camera in my pocket and drag it with me everywhere on vacation. I probably want something at the more professional end of the compact scale, unless someone can recommend a good hybrid P&S/DSLR (not sure what these are officially called, hopefully someone understands what I mean here). These are the features I am looking for in a new camera, in order of priority.

1. Long zoom (Travel-zoom category)
2. Good lens (My Sony had a Carl Zeiss lens, even though it was a P&S, and I'm convinced that upped the quality of my photos)
3. Good flash (My Sony took mediocre to poor shots in low light, so I'd like to remedy this with a new camera)
4. Fits in pocket/somewhat light (Current camera weighs 8.9oz, this weight is fine to me/fits in pocket)
5. Large LCD (2.5-3")
6. Long battery life
7. Video capability, HD would be nice but not necessary
Megapixels don't matter to me at all, as I usually shoot on the lowest resolution. But maybe they should? Not sure. Budget doesn't matter much, I want something that's good and will last.

I just bought two new memory stick pros for this camera, so I feel like I won't be getting much use out of them if I don't get another Sony. I have been looking at the latest Sonys, and I've found a lot of negatives (flimsy battery doors, mediocre lenses, bad flash, bad battery life) so I'm not too sure about them. I have heard good things about Canon and Nikon, but I'm not too sure about switching brands and learning a whole new system.

As you can tell, I'm very confused. I totally appreciate any suggestions or help to point me in the right direction here.
Sorry for all the babbling. As you can tell, I'm not the type to buy a new camera every year or so, so when I do buy one, I want to do it right and get something that will last a long time. Thanks so much in advance, guys!
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 12:24 PM   #2
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Ok. You'll need to compromise somewhere.

"Good flash" and "Long battery life" mean a big battery.

A big battery and "Long zoom" mean it won't be small and light.

Priority #1 precludes Priority #4. So, can we forget about Priority #4?
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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Okay, should have figured I'd have to make some compromises. I can live without a good flash if it means larger camera/battery size. I have NiMH batteries now, and I feel like they give me decent battery life. So perhaps I'm looking for a NiMH battery camera.

As for the zoom, I'm less willing to compromise but will try. My current camera has 3x optical/6x digital zoom. I'd like to do better than that, but nothing too crazy, especially if it means a huge camera. Are the travel zooms that big that they won't fit in a pocket/easily be carried around on a wrist strap?
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 1:41 PM   #4
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Default Dsc-hx5v

I think the Sony DSC-HX5V is a decent compact high zoom camera. Nice zoom range from 25 - 250mm. Good low light performance. Real HD video. Great burst mode. Sony dropped the MSRP from $349 to $299 and you can probably get cheaper online.

If you really want your old camera's performance, there are a number of DSC-W1's on Ebay. There is no guarantee they will last forever, but you can read the item description carefully and make a prudent choice.

Good luck!
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 2:30 PM   #5
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Sailaways-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you stopped by.

The Canon SX-130 with 12X optical zoom (28-336mm) and HD video which allows zooming and re-focusing, full auto and manual controls, an full powered built-in flash unit would cost less that the HX5 and pay for those unused memory sticks.

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Old Oct 18, 2010, 11:00 PM   #6
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Yep, I agree with Sarah. That Canon SX-130 would be a good choice, too.
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 11:40 PM   #7
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Thanks, robbo-

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 10:33 AM   #8
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Thanks for the great advice, Robbo and Sarah Joyce. Robbo, I loved your advice about snagging a new DSC W-1 on ebay! I never would have thought of that on my own. I just might do that, just to have a spare. As you can tell, I love that little camera a little too much.

So now I have been devouring all the reviews I can find based on your suggestions. Overall the reviews seem to be better for the Canon SX-130 than the Sony HX5V. I do have some questions on the SX-130 though:
Does it have a wrist strap/space for one to be attached?
Does it actually take memory stick pro duos? I've found conflicting info on this.
How does it do in low light situations/how's the flash?
How's the lens? Do Canons usually take good quality, vivid photos? (This camera will be mainly used for vacation shots, can you tell? )


And, yesterday I went to Best Buy to try out some cameras. Oh wow, it helped out so much! I thought I could handle a bigger camera, but actually picking them up made me realize that's not what I want. I need something that will either fit in my pocket or hang comfortably on a wrist strap, so that narrowed my options considerably.
I got to see the SX-130 and really liked it. I also liked the Nikon Coolpix S8100 and Canon PS S95, which seem to be in a similar family. Any thoughts on those, or the Sony HX5V? I'm especially interested in how the lens is on the HX5V, and how the flash is.

Thanks again for the advice! I so appreciate it. This forum is really helpful.
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 11:24 AM   #9
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Sailaways-

Yes, the SX130 can easily take a wrist strap.
The SX130 uses SD cards.
The SX130 can easily use ISO800 and ISO1000 in a pinch.
The SX130 has a powerful flash.
The SX130 lens is excellent, very sharp, and fast focusing.
The SX130 has excellent Canon color, and Vivid if you want it.

The Nikon S8100 looks good, but there have been no professional reviews yet. The S8100 also, along with the canon S95 costs $50 to $100 more than the SX130. The Sx130 is a very good value.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 3:48 PM   #10
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@Sailaways, even though it's difficult sometimes to get out of our comfort zone, changing your camera once in a while doesn't hurt !

I would strongly recommend the Sony WX5 wich I bought Saturday...I've never seen a P&S camera get so close to dSLR-like photos !
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