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Old Feb 24, 2011, 4:14 PM   #1
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Hi all,

My 3 year old son dropped and broke our camera the other day. We're in the market for a new one. After reading through a zillion reviews I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed and hoping you guys can narrow down the list for me.

Here are the criteria which are important to me:
  • Quick auto-focus and low shutter lag - I'm taking a lot of pictures of kids and they move fast. I hate missing shots. A camera that simply takes the picture when I press the shutter, even if it needs the flash, is the most important thing to me
  • Fits in pocket - we're already lugging around enough stuff.

I'm willing to trade some picture quality, large zoom, price, battery life, etc... for all these things. I just want a camera which takes the picture - outside, inside, with/without flash - when I press the shutter button.

There were a bunch of new cameras announced at CES recently which seemed like they had faster auto-focus or lower shutter lag. I'd be willing to wait a month or two if something good is coming out.

Looking forward to reading what you all recommend. Thanks very much in advance,

Russ
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 5:38 PM   #2
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Well I'd like to recommend the Canon S95 but I hesitate to do so. Your comments lead me to believe you plan on permanently keeping the camera in auto mode and the S95 tends to use a slower shutter than necessary for moving subjects in auto mode. In other words, shutter priority works best for moving subjects with this camera. The S95's focusing system isn't great either. It does, however, provide the best low light performance and best IQ of any camera in this size format (LX5, XZ-1, and TL500 are a bit too big for most pockets) and the color output is great imho.

A lot of the CMOS-based cameras have great burst modes for those action shots but they all utilize a smaller sensor than the S95 or similar cameras and thus don't perform nearly as well indoors.

I'm thinking perhaps the new 500 HS. However, Panasonic's focusing system is considerably faster so you might want to consider a Panasonic ZS7 or the new ZS10 as well.
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 1:39 PM   #3
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Thanks FiveO. I've had several Canon point-and-shoots, and while they're generally easy to use and take good pictures, they all seem to get progressively slower as time goes on. The first 3-4 months are great, but after a year they can take upwards of several seconds to focus and take the picture. Really frustrating.

You're right in that we mostly leave the camera on the auto setting. I'll definitely check out the Panasonic ZS7 and ZS10. Thanks for the recommendation. Let me know if you think of anything else.

Russ
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 2:03 PM   #4
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you might want to check out the Nikon s8100 or s9100, very quick camera less than 2 seconds from the push of the on buttonm til it is ready for the first picture and very quick between shots as well. It has a CMOS sensor, great burst mode and is an excellent low light camera. It actually has a few burst modes.

Bob
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 2:54 PM   #5
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I can't speak from personal experience but be aware that the Nikon S8100 has many complaints regarding focusing issues over at DPR. Since focusing speed is a primary concern, it's definitely something to keep in mind. Although it's neither here nor there in terms of this thread, it is also most certainly not excellent in low light.
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 3:27 PM   #6
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I actually bought the Nikon S8100 a couple months ago, hoping it would fit the bill, but it was not any faster at capturing pictures. Like FiveO said, the time-to-focus was poor, and I wasn't able to capture images any faster than my aging Canon. I sent it back right around the time of CES, and decided to wait and see what new point and shoots were coming out.
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 3:41 PM   #7
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Russell,
I am very curious what you find out. I am in the market for the same type of camera in order to take pictures of my 6-month old. Shutter time and auto focus time are our biggest priorities. Also some of the pictures we take are blurry from the motion. What can help eliminate that? (yes, we are point and click camera novists)

After looking at Steve's recommendations I was thinking about the Panasonic Lumix DMC ZR3. Any thoughts? Thanks. Paul
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 3:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pts9889 View Post
Also some of the pictures we take are blurry from the motion. What can help eliminate that? (yes, we are point and click camera novists)
The best way to go is to use shutter priority if you have that option available to you. Some cameras do a better job than others at selecting the proper shutter speed for moving subjects in auto mode. However, the faster the shutter speed, the less light that gets in. This is where having a brighter lens (lower F number, F1.8-2.0 is good for a P&S) and a larger sensor (i.e. S95, LX5, XZ-1, TL500) comes in handy. The camera has to get more light in somehow ... slower shutter, bigger sensor/brighter lens, higher ISO (more noise, less detail, loss of color saturation) ... Of course with a larger sensor, you lose the long zoom so you do have to make a choice.
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