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Old Nov 3, 2010, 12:07 PM   #1
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I'm asking for help choosing a camera for my wife. She currently has a Canon A720IS. She likes it well enough except that it is slow to take pictures. She likes the size: small enough to carry but not so small its awkward. She also likes that it has a viewfinder. In her own words, she wants an instant picture and an easy camera.

So, priorities are:

Speed (including non-prefocused, shot-to-shot, flash recovery)
Ease of use (her camera almost always stays on Auto)
Size (she knows bigger might be inevitable for speed)
Viewfinder (she doesn't like using a lcd)
Picture Quality (don't need huge amounts of pixels, we stick to smallish prints)

She mostly shoots pictures of our son, inside and outside. He's 4 and like any kid, moves fast and won't hold still.

As I understand it, a DSLR would probably give the fastest performance. But, she doesn't want to fiddle with the camera or the picture after it's taken (hence, the Auto mode most of the time). I would consider the Pentax K-x, but I think it's probably bigger than she wants to mess with.

I'm also looking at the Olympus E-Pl1. The m4/3 seems like it might be a good compromise. I can add a viewfinder, which is nice.

I haven't thrown out the idea of a point and shoot, since that's the style should would be most comfortable with. But, she really wants a fast picture.

A feature she liked on her last film camera was panoramic shots. She used that feature for wide scenery, etc, and misses it.

As for price, I originally didn't want to spend more than $400. However, I'm obviously willing to go beyond that to make the right purchase.

Thanks!
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 1:51 PM   #2
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It'll be hard to find a point and shoot with a viewfinder these days. That's why I think micro four thirds is probably the way to go for your wife... although the Pentax K-x is perhaps smaller and lighter than you might think.

Still... I've had the E-PL1 and it's a fine camera that will give her excellent results even when using auto mode. The viewfinder, which costs an extra $250, is a must-have in my mind. That's because the E-PL1's rear LCD is all but useless in bright sunlight. Image quality is superb all the way up to ISO 1600 and even 3200 is okay.

Another option would be a leftover Panasonic G1, which can be found on Amazon.com for $499 right now. That's about the same price as the E-PL1 these days. But the viewfinder is built in already, which means there's no extra expense. Image quality is great all the way up to ISO 800 (or maybe even 1200) with 1600 being okay. Autofocus is probably a bit faster on the G1 compared with the E-PL1 but the latest firmware updates may have mitigated most of the difference.

Almost any camera will give you decent results in good light and at low ISOs (80-200). But both the E-PL1 and G1 will outperform any point and shoot. If you can convince yourself to spend more ($599 today on Amazon), Pansonic's G2 is just out... similar to the G1 but with some touch screen controls and maybe slightly better high ISO performance. But the 14-45mm kit lens that comes with the G1 is a bit better than the newer 14-42mm kit lens on the G2.

If you have access to a camera store, take your wife in and have her handle all of these cameras (including the K-x) if possible.

Last edited by Biro; Nov 3, 2010 at 2:01 PM.
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Old Nov 3, 2010, 4:12 PM   #3
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casio fh 100 are the fastest shutter in the travel zooms, Casio is the fastest pns on the market.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 9:46 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I had a few minutes to stop at Best Buy last night and handle the Olympus E-Pl1. They didn't have a single Casio or Pentax in the whole place. It's hard to get a feel for a camera that's attached to a display handle and has no memory card. But, I could at least hold it, press the shutter and watch the focus, work the flash, etc. It's very fast as far as I can tell. Two problems, though: the viewfinder is an additional $250 as mentioned before, and the fact that you can't just press the zoom button and zoom in. Or, at least, I couldn't figure out how. Nobody was around to help me. At one point when I pressed the zoom button it seemed to zoom WAY in on a distant wall. There's definitely a learning curve here.

We don't have any camera shops in town, so I'm stuck with Best Buy, WalMart, Meijer, and a couple other small dept stores. Or, an online store with a good return policy.

Any other ideas?
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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I'm sorry if I didn't read this correctly, but.. what about the Canon G12? Seems like the best option to me.

Oh, and for Panoramas, the only proper way to do it is with a program called 'AutoPano' from Kolor.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 6:29 PM   #6
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Do look up Nikon S8100, it's < $300, it's fast, 5fps, but no viewfinder. Casio too has pretty fast p&s's nt sure abt IQ though. Another xcellent choice would b the Nikon P7000, v much comparable to the G12. Both have viewfinders, around $450.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 8:55 PM   #7
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The epl1 dose not use a electric zoom, you need to do it manual with the zoom ring. The zoom button on the back is just to magnified an area of the frame only.

The epl-1 is an interchangeable lens system with a much larger sensor then any of the point and shoots mention. So you will have dslr image quality as it uses the same size sensor as the olympus dslr's. The epl-1 will out preform all the the point in shoot at 1600iso, point and shoot good at 1600iso just does not compare to the epl-1 at the same iso.

I shoot a canon dslr, and the epl-1 is my travel camera. It gives me excellent images with full control, but can be used as a super high end point and shoot as well.

Online is not bad, amazon has a great return policy.
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Old Nov 15, 2010, 9:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info. I finally had a chance to get her out to handle a couple of cameras. She doesn't want to go with the Epl-1 or Kx, to keep things simple with a fixed lens. She definitely doesn't want a camera without a viewfinder. And, the few point and shoot cameras out there with a viewfinder are too bulky.

That pretty much only leaves the Canon G12 and the Nikon P7000. So far, it looks like they are pretty much equal.

Any thoughts on the G12 vs the P7000, or another comparable camera?

Thanks!
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 3:40 AM   #9
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Both of the above have large 1/1.7" sensors and viewfinder with Nikon having longer Zoom(7x approx). Canons generally have a better reputation as far as P&S cameras go.
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Old Nov 16, 2010, 3:54 AM   #10
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you can get the epl1 with the kit lens, and add the optional VF2. It is the best evf on the market. having the ability to change lenses does not mean you have to. But the ovf of the p7000 and g12 are only about 75% of the actual frame. So it can be misleading when using it.

Between the p7000 and g12, I would go with the G12. Canon does better in the point and shoot realm.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Nov 16, 2010 at 4:39 AM.
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