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Old Nov 25, 2010, 1:05 AM   #1
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Default Hacked my choices down to three... please help me choose

The choices are:
Canon SD4500 IS
Nikon S8100
Canon SX210 IS

I want a pocketable camera, mainly for P&S, spontaneous shooting. I would like to "get into" photography more (i.e. more manual control), so I suppose something with a small palette of manual features would be nice. (BTW, I do know Panasonic has some Lumix models that would fit on my overall wish list too, and in the case of manual controls, is supposedly great. The problem is the camera I'm replacing is a Panasonic TS1, which broke after 13 months of ownership. That being the case, I'd like to "punish" Panasonic at least in the immediate term, by not patronizing them with my next camera purchse. Not happy that my camera broke after just over a year.)

Anyway... so pocketability is important. Zoom is also important. I'm tired of having a useless feature like a zoom on a digital camera. I rarely used my 3x-5x zoom on past P&S. Basically, it was worthless. I feel a big zoom would be great though, to capture candid photos of friends, kids, etc. Also, in video it would be quite useful.

I also want something that does well indoors. I know both the S8100 & the SD4500 have a low-light capability that is related to it's sensor (backlit, CMOS--terms BTW, that I know little about... just parroting what I've read online ), while I've read the SX210 does well in this regard, in it's own right.

For negatives (of each), I know that SD4500 has a narrower lens, which seems important. For the S8100, the thing looks quite big and blocky by comparison. I'm also reading that there is virtually no manual control (again, not that I use it at present; but I hope to get better at it), not to mention a loud zoom during video. And the SX210, I actually don't know as much about... from cursory reads, it looks really good!

It's also interesting to note that in the past month that I've been actively researching these cameras (SD4500, S8100), the price has been dropped over $50! Not sure what that is attributable to...

Bottom line, any feedback would be appreciated folks! Thanks for reading!
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 7:08 AM   #2
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if it were me, i'd go with the sx210 because it has full PASM - manual plus the rest of the semi manual options that are very useful in photographer as well as auto. if you want to learn more about photography, that's the way to go. the other two you list don't have manual and are getting more mixed reviews. btw, none of these cameras are going to do that well in low light - you'd need a bigger sensor or faster lens or both for that. still, if you don't mind using a flash, there ya go.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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What abt the Canon S95? It's prob the best in it's catagery. Canon SX130is is also worth considering.Another option could also b the Samsung TL500. In case U forgive Panasonic, LX5 and TZ10 would b gd options. TZ10 and SX130is have longer zooms 10 and 12x respectively.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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if it were me, i'd go with the sx210 because it has full PASM - manual plus the rest of the semi manual options that are very useful in photographer as well as auto. if you want to learn more about photography, that's the way to go. the other two you list don't have manual and are getting more mixed reviews. btw, none of these cameras are going to do that well in low light - you'd need a bigger sensor or faster lens or both for that. still, if you don't mind using a flash, there ya go.
Hey pcake, thanks for the reply...

Being honest with myself, I think I'm trying to convince myself into the SD4500. As I said earlier too... it's quite peculiar to me why this camera has been on the market for a short amount of time... and in the time I've been researching (<a month), it's gone from $318 to $299 to $249 (on Amazon). I'm not sure if this is not uncommon in this market, but it strikes me that it's either: a) "a deal of a lifetime", or b) that it's flawed at the original price, and Canon is looking to price it to where it's true value is?

Anyway, in the regard that I like the camera and you were talking about the manual features (SD4500--particularly it's looks ), I do believe that it has a small level of manual options (as opposed to SX210, which does have more. And the Nikon S8100, which doesn't seem to have any?)

To your point about low light--I understand that no P&S of this size can perform up to certain standards. But, you would agree(?) that it does appreciably better than other cameras of this class? In the features for both the SD4500 (and I believe the S8100, though I could be wrong), in low light mode: it says that it snaps a group of instantaneous shots, then sorta melds them into one. Now I'm not sure if this is as a revolutionary feature as it sounds, but it sounds so. (The thing with these cameras, for a layman, is that you really don't know what you need to know, or would like to know, because there is so much to know... if you know what I mean .)

I don't want to hijack my own thread either... but can someone explain how much I should want the wider lens (of the S8100 or the SX210) than the SD4500? Again, I'm a simple P&S'r--but I want to get more into it. I don't necessarily want to become a pro, or a guy who lugs all kinds of equipment around... I just want to shoot better pictures. In terms of the lens, is/should it be a deal-breaker? As a layman, I'm just thinking "Why not just back up a step or two--and problem solved (w/regard to a wider shot)?" But I'm sure that's not right. Any help in this, or my general decision, will be appreciated!

Last edited by roaddawg31; Nov 25, 2010 at 10:56 AM.
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Old Nov 25, 2010, 2:57 PM   #5
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To your point about low light--I understand that no P&S of this size can perform up to certain standards. But, you would agree(?) that it does appreciably better than other cameras of this class? In the features for both the SD4500 (and I believe the S8100, though I could be wrong), in low light mode: it says that it snaps a group of instantaneous shots, then sorta melds them into one. Now I'm not sure if this is as a revolutionary feature as it sounds, but it sounds so. (The thing with these cameras, for a layman, is that you really don't know what you need to know, or would like to know, because there is so much to know... if you know what I mean .)
The SD4000 is "appreciably better" due it's f2.0 lens but not the SD4500/S8100. As for the shot stacking, it's available on a number of other cameras but no one does it as well as Sony. I don't like Sony's current lineup of cams at all but I do have to give credit where credit is due.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 11:42 AM   #6
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The SD4000 is "appreciably better" due it's f2.0 lens but not the SD4500/S8100. As for the shot stacking, it's available on a number of other cameras but no one does it as well as Sony. I don't like Sony's current lineup of cams at all but I do have to give credit where credit is due.
So what you are saying is that the SD4500/S8100 and their "HS System/Low-light mode" is basically much ado about nothing? That's disappointing. (And, sorry to pepper you with questions but: You mention Sony's and their low-light ability: would the HX5V be one of those with that shot stacking ability, and further... how does this camera stack up, given my considerations and what you know about Sony's)?

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Originally Posted by Fayyaz View Post
What abt the Canon S95? It's prob the best in it's catagery. Canon SX130is is also worth considering.Another option could also b the Samsung TL500. In case U forgive Panasonic, LX5 and TZ10 would b gd options. TZ10 and SX130is have longer zooms 10 and 12x respectively.
Thanks Fayyaz,
The SX130is looks too big. Size is a key component for my needs. The SX210is is about as big as I want it, because I do want it to fit in a pants pocket. I suppose the TL500 would also be too big, as would the LX5. The TZ10 is one I was looking at (disregarding my imposed ban on Panasonic of course)... going on a tangent a bit... I also would rather not purchase a camera with a GPS. I am one that really does not like to pay or take on superfluous things. In this case, I see no reason that I need a GPS. Even if I did travel a lot, I really don't see why I would need one on a camera--I can't ever really recall not being able to remember where I was when I took a picture. I do wonder whether your camera, if lost/stolen, could be tracked via the GPS. That would be a consideration. I suppose I should consider it too... I just didn't like the experience that I just had with them and that camera.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 2:20 PM   #7
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So... I just went to BestBuy to try out the three aforementioned cameras... (man what a madhouse...) too bad there is no memory card in there to preview... so my impressions are just as they relate to the hardware/software, and not image/video quality:

-SX210: The hardware was the worst of the three. It was the biggest (by a small margin). When you get a chance to play with the three choices, certain things become apparent/annoying, then if you only played with one (i.e. ignorance is bliss). The Nikon's screen simply blows the other two away... this is clear in the specs too, but when you view the S8100's screen then go to those two Canons--it's not even close. The zoom thing is annoying too--wraparound, or other form, is better than what the SX210 has (this little tiny switch). Plus, this is the ugliest IMO.

-SD4500: By outward looks, this is the best. It is smaller by a noticeable amount, and normally I consider that a positive. Problem is, small makes it harder to handle. (Again, that was apparent as I moved back and forth between models. It's just harder to handle for regular-sized hands.)

-S8100: After handling them all, I liked this one the best. The LCD is great; I liked the zoom rocker thing... Again, it's a bit biased because I'm not able to judge any of the other important features. But outwardly, this one is clearly best IMO.
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Old Nov 26, 2010, 3:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaddawg31 View Post
So what you are saying is that the SD4500/S8100 and their "HS System/Low-light mode" is basically much ado about nothing? That's disappointing. (And, sorry to pepper you with questions but: You mention Sony's and their low-light ability: would the HX5V be one of those with that shot stacking ability, and further... how does this camera stack up, given my considerations and what you know about Sony's)?
Yep, that's what I'm saying about those and any cameras alleged "low light mode." Stacking is good for still life but it can't cope with moving objects well at all. Sony is however the best at coping with movement w/ minimal ghosting - though even Sony's system can't cope with anything more than a head turn or similar. The HX5V does have the shot stacking ability; Sony calls it "handheld twilight" and it stacks 6 shots. Some companies just stack 3 shots. If you truly want pocketable (normal pocket, not big LX5 sized pocket) low light capabilities, then the S95 is the best choice with perhaps the SD4000 as the 2nd best choice. TZ10/ZS7 is a great cam but definitely not a low light performer. The S95 is smaller than the TZ10/ZS7 by a good margin btw.

I know you're looking for more zoom but I was just mentioning these things. You can't have the bigger sensor needed for low light and the 10x zoom lens in a pocket cam unfortunately. It simply won't fit.
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 11:56 AM   #9
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Yep, that's what I'm saying about those and any cameras alleged "low light mode." Stacking is good for still life but it can't cope with moving objects well at all. Sony is however the best at coping with movement w/ minimal ghosting - though even Sony's system can't cope with anything more than a head turn or similar. The HX5V does have the shot stacking ability; Sony calls it "handheld twilight" and it stacks 6 shots. Some companies just stack 3 shots. If you truly want pocketable (normal pocket, not big LX5 sized pocket) low light capabilities, then the S95 is the best choice with perhaps the SD4000 as the 2nd best choice. TZ10/ZS7 is a great cam but definitely not a low light performer. The S95 is smaller than the TZ10/ZS7 by a good margin btw.

I know you're looking for more zoom but I was just mentioning these things. You can't have the bigger sensor needed for low light and the 10x zoom lens in a pocket cam unfortunately. It simply won't fit.
Thanks for the info... I think I'm "getting it" (as it relates to low-light and the sensor/lens). The S95 seems to be the consensus in terms of low-light pocketable... the problem is that I would like a zoom of much greater length than 3-4x (I want to be able to shoot candid/unsuspecting shots of friends/family. In my experience, that length is essentially useless).

I'm wasting too much time on this camera decision... keep going back and forth... anyway, here is my list (today):

-Lumix ZS5: this was my original next choice, until my other Lumix broke. I understand that it has a ton of manual controls. The problem with this are that: everything I read is that (this line of cameras) really struggles in low light (i.e. indoor) imaging. And on a lesser scale, it's a bit big, there is no dedicated movie button (that I'm used to), and the whole temporary Panasonic boycott that I'm trying to impose on myself. But the wide lens is tempting! (as is the price)

-SD4500: Can someone who has this camera tell me, does this camera have appeal to advanced photographers (i.e. some manual controls). Again, I'm not that at all... but I hope to be, and I want my new camera to afford me the opportunity (to experiment with some manual control... "shutter", "aperture"). The other issue would be the smaller than normal lens, as well as the sad notion that the "HS System" is total BS. But the fun features are enticing.

-S8100: This one seems to meld the SD4500 and the ZS5 in a lot of ways... and I actually liked it the best when handling at BestBuy. The problem is that it offers no manual controls, which would be fine since in the past, I've never used the manual controls... BUT I want to learn. (Am I putting too much stock into this manual control stuff? Or is it legitimate to rely on the auto mode and still learn how to take better pictures?) I want to try to get better at photography, and this one just seems like the classic P&S. The LCD is leagues better than any of them BTW!
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Old Nov 27, 2010, 4:17 PM   #10
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Well in terms of low light amongst these cameras, it's best to think of 'bad' and 'worse.' I have the Sony HX5V for example and it's bad in low light - but I also have the Panasonic ZS7 and it's worse in low light. The image quality in good lighting however is quite a bit better on the ZS7 vs the HX5V. Now that said, I think all 3 of your choices are fairly good ones for what they are.

The S8100 does look like a good choice and the only thing that would stop em from personally getting one is Nikon's poor rep in the P&S market for the last several years. I wish there were more reviews of it.

I'm not sure about manual controls on the SD4500. I don't think full manual is terribly useful on a P&S camera. However, I do think aperture/shutter priority and program auto are important. I shoot in program auto 95% of the time and aperture/shutter priority 5% of the time. I've only used iAuto a handful of times since the 2nd week I owned the ZS7 (had it since April) and I've never used it on my Canon S95.
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