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Old Dec 12, 2010, 4:08 PM   #1
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Hello, newbie here, I've had a number of older cameras over the years, but its time to come into the digital age for an older guy (wish I could move that well)!

I need some suggestions for a Pocket Type Camera that can double as an camcorder, have decent zoom capabilities, battery life and functionality. Probably too much to ask for in 1 camera, but I'm about to retire and travel and would like to be able to record our trips so we can share them with family. My wife's experiences with cameras is humorous, she's never been able to compose a picture - seems to cut off the heads, so if I let her take pictures, it has to be point/shoot accurate.

I think I could learn to use some of the manual features, but I'm probably not much better. We have very few (other than big box store(s) - none) camera shops in order to compare models, so would love some suggestions. I've looked at a Sony H55, a Lumix ZS5 (no HD out) and a Cannon SX200 IS, but again that was in store with the inability to look at pictures taken (lcd) simultaneously - they have them just far enough apart to prevent direct comparison !

I've tried to read up online, but that's confusing. I really would welcome some suggestions. I'm probably most likely taking travel type pictures, a few family shots, and occasional night/low light vignettes. I did like the Sony Panorama and one of the guys showed me how to turn it sideways (panorama mode), to get a real widescreen picture.

Thanks in advance.

Dave - Archivist
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 5:57 PM   #2
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I've tried to read up online, but that's confusing. I really would welcome some suggestions. I'm probably most likely taking travel type pictures, a few family shots, and occasional night/low light vignettes. I did like the Sony Panorama and one of the guys showed me how to turn it sideways (panorama mode), to get a real widescreen picture.

Thanks in advance.

Dave - Archivist
Sorry Dave... I'm sort of piggybacking off your thread here regarding panoramic shooting in compact cameras (I know I asked it before... I just can't find where). My question has to do with the Sweep Panoramic feature that has popped up in a few cameras that I'm interested in.

And my question is: Is this feature something that is anything of a breakthrough w/regards to this camera feature? Most have a stitching panoramic feature... I just wonder if this sweeping style makes for a better (actual improvement) in panoramic photography, in these compacts. Thanks.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 7:23 PM   #3
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And my question is: Is this feature something that is anything of a breakthrough w/regards to this camera feature? Most have a stitching panoramic feature... I just wonder if this sweeping style makes for a better (actual improvement) in panoramic photography, in these compacts. Thanks.
Yes and no. I think Sony is the only one to offer this feature in a pocket cam and they did a pretty good job with it all things considered. It's very easy to use and for small prints or web shots, it does well 99% of the time - so the ease of use is the big plus. However, the images are low resolution, the exposure sometimes changes mid-panorama (which ruins your shot) and there is very noticeable barrel distortion within the image (obviously less so if you're shooting landscapes instead of buildings with defined lines).

In real life usage, I find that it leads me to shoot panoramas a lot more often but I rarely do anything with them aside from posting them on the web. The auto-stitch feature in Photoshop works very well btw if your camera doesn't offer the sweep panorama, though it's still a lot more work to shoot the panorama.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 7:43 AM   #4
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Sorry Dave... I'm sort of piggybacking off your thread here regarding panoramic shooting in compact cameras (I know I asked it before... I just can't find where). My question has to do with the Sweep Panoramic feature that has popped up in a few cameras that I'm interested in....
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Yes and no. I think Sony is the only one to offer this feature in a pocket cam...

Roaddawg31/FiveO:

No real prob taking over my thread, but I've not gotten any suggestions from anyone re: My Questions - what P & S Camera would you suggest given my needs.

I've read through lots of threads w/suggestions, but most don't quite address my needs (see original post). Its a bit discouraging to "post" have the ? taken over by another & responded to , but leave me out in the cold.

Help please .

Dave
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 9:21 AM   #5
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Dave-

Let's do a bit more exploring of your desires. I hope that you won't mind? In terms of a pocket camera, the size can be as variable as on'e budget. To some folks, the term pocket camera means a camera that will slip into the pocket of your jeans. To others, pocket size can be twice that size. So the first thing that we must do is to define what "pocket size" means to you. Perhaps you could tell us the cameras that you have been looking at recently.

Secondly, what is the budget for your proposed pocket camera? That will make a big difference in the selection of a camera. Thirdly, it was be very helpful to know the kind of photos that you are now taking, or want to take in the future. Those are the pieces of information that allow us to really "tailor" a camera suggestion for you.

Finally, some folks have very strong feelings about liking or disliking certain camera brands. Based on what you have written thus far, it would appear taht you want to spend between $200 and $300. You want a reasonable amount of zoom, but certainly more than 5X optical zoom. It looks like video and still photos have about equal priority.

You shoot almost always in Automatic, but are you doing any low light level shooting? What about flash? Panasonic cameras like the ZS5 have famously weak built-in flash units, which mean that when taking flash photos you can be do further from the subject than 8 feet, but more preferably 6 feet.

A camera like the Canon SX 130 (around $200) would seem to be a good match for you with it mixture of features. It has 12X optical zoom (28mm to 336mm) a well powered built-in flash unit, HD video, but it will not fit in your jeans pocket or a shirt pocket. In contrast, it fits into a jacket pocket, and the flash has to be deployed manually.

So, as you can easily see, Dave, we need a bit of more information.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 12:50 PM   #6
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The Canon SX130 would get a nod from me also if the size is ok. If not, then I would go to the Panasonic ZS6/ZS7 or Samsung HZ35/30.

Sarah Joyce is right about the flash being weak on the ZS series compared to some of the competition but if she is only getting 6-8 feet, something is wrong with her camera. It's rated to 17.4 feet at the wide end and 11.8 ft at the tele end. While those numbers are certainly a bit overly optimistic, I shoot from 10-12 feet on a regular basis with excellent results on my ZS7. I've posted these shots as well and received compliments on how perfectly balanced the flash exposure is.

I am not in opposition to any particular brands but I will admit that I don't like Sony's tendency to smother everything in blankets of noise reduction and thus rarely recommend their cameras. Some people are heavily in favor of the NR though and like the smoothed over look it gives everything. I do like what I have seen of the HX1 but that's an entirely different class of camera than we are discussing here.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 3:13 PM   #7
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Five0-

You are so correct. The Sony HX1 is in an entirely different class of cameras. Unfortunately, we will probably not see a follow-on model to the HX1. It does not use the BSI class of imagers, and was one of Sony's first CMOS based P+S cameras.

The big thing is that the HX1 does not have that "smeary" kind of NR firmware. Here is an example of what the HX1 can do:

http://anchorse.smugmug.com/Other/So...37_pb9aV-L.jpg

And yes, I stand corrected, a Panasonic ZS7 has a great Flash Range if you allow the ISO setting to numerically escalate.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 8:32 PM   #8
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And yes, I stand corrected, a Panasonic ZS7 has a great Flash Range if you allow the ISO setting to numerically escalate.

Sarah Joyce
I agreed that the ZS series have weak flashes compared to the some of the competition but you post about this very minor issue on every single ZS-related post and blow it way out of proportion.

This was shot in a completely dark room at ISO 320, so the ISO certainly wasn't "numerically escalat(ing)". Actually I have my ZS7 limited to ISO 400 so I never shoot above that. There is absolutely no evidence to support your exaggerated claims of a 6-8' limit on the flash range of the ZS cameras - none.


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Old Dec 13, 2010, 10:34 PM   #9
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Thank you Sarah (Mtclimber) & FiveO:

Let me attempt to address your questions somewhat in order:

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Let's do a bit more exploring of your desires... So the first thing that we must do is to define what "pocket size" means to you. Perhaps you could tell us the cameras that you have been looking at recently. Secondly, what is the budget for your proposed pocket camera? That will make a big difference in the selection of a camera. Thirdly, it was be very helpful to know the kind of photos that you are now taking, or want to take in the future...It looks like video and still photos have about equal priority...You shoot almost always in Automatic, but are you doing any low light level shooting? What about flash?
  1. By Pocket, I would like something I could carry in my shirt pocket or at least a light jacket pocket. I've "lugged" a Nikormat around with extra lenses that I really never used and while I could get great shots, found that it became too much trouble to try and set up properly (sorry to the true photags). I've also used a Sony Cyber-shot dating from ~ 2000, the early version of a pocket camera. Its ok but we tend to forget to take it, so its not very handy.
  2. Budgetwise, probably the range you stated $ 200 - 300 +/-. I think we would be willing to go higher if necessary, but probably for our needs, that would be adequate (especially w/Holiday type sales).
  3. As I noted, I will be retiring within the next several years, so we intend to travel a fair amount while we still can. We've thought of China, Australia, New Zealand and also Africa. We've been to Europe several times and would like to return, but its a bit more compact, so other areas are our current priority. My wife likes cruises as they offer a base from which to explore without the hassle of packing/unpacking... Thus travel pictures including landscapes, distances (optical zoom), and some people portraits/groups would be fun.
  4. Video options provide the best of both worlds to me at this point, we have an old Super8 and I don't even think the make film for our camera anymore, let alone a way to view it.
  5. The automatic mode is primarily for my wife, though in reality, I would probably like to have the camera set-up so that I could just pick it up and use it w/o making lots of "tweaks". Yes there would be need for some flash photography (though long distances might not be an issue). Low light or night shots w/o flash might be nice.
I hope that helps in making some reasonable suggestions.

As I stated, we really don't have a dedicated camera shop w/knowledgeable pros to consult in our area. I've been to the "B"ig "B"ox () store and had 3 different sales people come out with multiple opinions (not necessarily bad) but all different, so that is part of my confusion. They also have limited models, so I've really not seen many of the models that you've both listed.

I'm not wedded to any brand at this point. What I've seen have been a Sony H55 and the HX5V (though in box only); a Canon PS SX200 IS; and a Lumix DMC ZS5 (didn't see a 7 - 5 apparently does not have HDMI out ??). They also have some Nikon's and a Samsung or 2 but not sure what/which models.

Thank you for your responses, looking forward to some good tips!

Warmly,

Dave
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:48 AM   #10
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Dave, Imaging-Resource has a cool wizard called the Digital Camera Advisor, where you answer a series of questions and provide a weighting factor to your choices. In response, they provide a good list of cameras that could come close to satisfying those preferences. At the very least, I find it useful to see how these recommendations stack up to what salespeople are telling me.
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