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Old May 4, 2005, 12:36 AM   #1
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first of all, let me say I have a film slr and a 3200dpi film scanner, which give me decent multimegapixel digital images.

so I decided to buy a digital camera now, for the ocasional get-together where a slr and speedlite are a bit too much. I have an older olympus d-550, but I want something a bit more compact and versatile. so, basically, wider angle lens (I like to shoot architecture), longer exposure (at least 10-15 secs) and possibly video with audio.

I can always do high-quality with my film set, so 4 to 5 megapixel is already great for me.

unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be many cameras like those available. here goes a protest against camera makers for not thinking a bit wider when picking lenses. this narrows down our choice to a couple of models.

the first ones I looked into are the fuji e500 series. 28mm lens, video yeah, but 3 sec exposure tops. then I downloaded a few sample images and I was totally disappointed by edge softness and purple fringing.

then I looked into sony cybershot dsc-s40 - 4mp, 32mm lens, 30 sec exposure, 640x480 video - great. besides, it's as close as I'll ever get to a zeiss lens. so far that's what I'm going for. there's canon s60, which has 28mm lens and 5mp. but it's almost twice the price and so far not worth it.

I'm relying on sony's reliability and high quality hardware. I don't need too much resolution but I don't need soft images either...

anyway, any comments on that would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 4, 2005, 4:44 AM   #2
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I suggest you look at the Nikon 8400 24mm and 8 sec or up to 10 minutes with bulb. Or the Olympus C-5060 with 27mm and 16 secs.
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Old May 4, 2005, 8:52 AM   #3
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You might look at the Nikon 5400. It has a $200 rebate going on, which makes the camera fairly inexpensive. It is 5mp, 4x wide-angle zoom, metal body, hotshoe. It has longer exposure times, including bulb mode.

PhilR.
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Old May 4, 2005, 10:34 AM   #4
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thanks so much, nagasaki and philR

nagasaki, those are a little bit off my league. but I did check the 5400 out, and that's pretty interesting. I'm considering now getting an advanced p&s like that. I know it works with SB-27 speedlite... so prolly with SU-4 too. that would give me use to some of the gear I have... that's really interesting.

I'm not sure yet I wanna go for that, cause my original idea was something I could carry around in the shirt pocket and draw anytime. I could have a big shirt pocket though..

thanks.
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Old May 4, 2005, 8:34 PM   #5
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The only shirt-pocketable digicam w/wide-angle lens that I can immediately think ofis the Ricoh Caplio R1. Take a look at:

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0408/04...icoh_rz1r1.asp

The Fuji E500/510 are fairly compact w/wide-angle and A/S/M modes via mode dial. I'm not sure however if they will fit in a shirt pocket.

PhilR.
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Old May 5, 2005, 11:56 AM   #6
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hey philr.

once again thanks for the reply.

the e500 series would be perfect to what I have in mind. I don't think they're too big. unfortunately, though, they have only 2 sec exposure, and the sample images I downloaded are pretty soft and purple fringed. I didn't like them at all. I'd rather go for a god 4mp than a soft 5mp.

anyway, the ricoh caplio r1 you showed there is pretty amazing. it's exactly what I had in mind. shutter goes up to 8 sec which already pleases me, and judging by the sample images they have up in their site, it's great image quality. but... I can't seem to find it anywhere. not even through bizrate. I'm puzzled.

I'm actually thinking of giving up on one of the features I'm looking for. most likely wide angle. I'm settling for 35mm right now, I think. I haven't found any online store that actually has nikon 5400 in stock, so... I think I'm settling for the best camera I can find with 5+ sec exposure, 4+ mp and video with audio at around 200 bucks.

ah well. looking for a camera is almost as fun as using it.
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Old May 5, 2005, 6:42 PM   #7
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The Ricoh R1 can be found via ebay. It isn't sold in the U.S., so you will have to go through an offshore seller.

Good luck,

Philr.
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Old May 6, 2005, 10:46 AM   #8
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thanks. I found that through eBay.

my mind is back on the dsc-s40 though. I'm not sure the ricoh is worth the hassle and the extra money. I did a little excel plan with all the information I need on each camera, and included there the nikons 5200, 5600, 5900, 4200 and 4600, hp m417, r607, r707 and r717, and the sony s40 and p93. plus some olympus. and as it turns out... the s40 has more of what I want than the rest. 4mp is it's only drawback compared to others, but I think it suits me.

I thought of going for the nikon 5400, but I still haven't found any store with it in stock. so it's hard to take advantage of the us$ 200.00 rebate like that.

thanks for all you help once again. after all this research, I think I might be able to help others around here. :|
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Old May 6, 2005, 11:52 AM   #9
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The rebate works as well buying online as from a store. I got my daughter a Nikon online during their last rebate and got the rebate check. The 5400 has no focus assist light and has problems focusing in low light. They exacerbate that problem by not showing the manual focus distance in the LCD. It has some great features but could be a little frustrating for normal family use.

If your architectural photography involves mostly static photos you can hold the camera vertically and shoot a couple or three panoramas. You end up with a 4:3 ratio photo equivalent to a little better than 28mm from a 38mm lens with two shots. A 3:2 ratio like your SLR probably gives 24mm, but you need three shots.

According to the camera and software it can be pretty quick and easy. My Oly locks the exposure with the first shot, so you can pre-focus on an average area and get good results quickly without having to revert to manual. The Oly software identifies the panos in order and stitching is painless. My Pentax is on the opposite end of the scale in that the panorama mode is about useless. My Panasonic and Minolta require me to use manual mode. If you shoot panoramas without the exposure locked you have to use sophisticated stitching software that requires more overlap and is a LOT slower. The Oly software stitches almost immediately and requires little overlap. I use the Oly in panorama mode to simulate a wide angle often, and it is as fast as the cycle time on the camera allows.

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Old May 6, 2005, 12:05 PM   #10
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slipe,

very good point. I hadn't thought of that yet. the thought of losing a good picture because I wouldn't have wide enough lens was a big drawback. but it's true panorama software nowadays are almost impecable. so I guess I'm already giving up on wide angles as a must, and am focusing on picture quality and a good price to base my decision on. I'm also considering dsc-p93 which is 5mp, but 38-114mm, because of that. it's an extra 40 bucks but it comes with battery charger so the difference is in fact very little.

about the 5400, I've already given up on that, cause it's right between a point and shoot and a slr. my slr suits me fine if I ever wanna do serious stuff. so I'm sticking to p&s...

once again thanks slipe, I hadn't thought of that.
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