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Old Jun 6, 2005, 11:45 AM   #1
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I currently have an elph s300 (cf camera, not the sd) and am thinking of upgrading.

I've been leaning towards the canon sd series, but am unsure. My dilemma is that I find at times that I wish I had a stronger zoom. I use this camera often on hiking trips, and there are times when I spot a bird or creature that is far off, and don't have a good means of getting closer. I don't know if I can compensate for this with a larger resolution camera (and enlarging the photo via software).

My second concern is sometimes I need to take shots quickly, and miss them because the camera is slow to start/take shots w/out prefocus (shutter lag?). I often turn the camera off to conserve battery life (though I suppose constant turning it on and off may not help much either...).

The things I do enjoy about my current camera and would like to have in a newer camera:

ruggedness (It goes in my pocket on hikes. Once recently I dropped it on concrete in a parking lot - stupid sunscreen, and it doesn't seem affected that I can tell. Phew!)

low light shots (We're often out at dusk/night. I have discovered that often shots are better when I don't use flash! Actually to my surprise, they often turn out pretty well. A plus b/c I'm always trying to conserve the battery)

Video. (I do enjoy video with sound, wish the quality was a bit better, though.)

Compactness (It seems larger than current compacts, but I love that I can keep it handy in a pocket)

I do enjoy playing with the settings on the camera (when I remember to charge my backup battery). I find that I can get through most of a day when I keep the lcd off and keep flash use to a minimum. I would probably play more with the settings if I weren't so concerned about battery life (but I would be then using the lcd more to check my shots)

I may want to sometimes print and frame shots (of family events or nature/trips), but more often I think I will keep them in digital form (on cd or on the web).

My last concern is that I'm cursed when it comes to choosing electronic products. Somehow I always seem to find the bad of the bunch or ones with class action lawsuits (really!). Fortunately I got my s300 as a gift.

-s



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Old Jun 6, 2005, 6:00 PM   #2
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Just wanted to put up a few comments. You might look into the Ricoh R1, which is a compact with a bit more zoom than most, and from what I've read, is a fast performer.

As far as zoom goes - more zoom means more lens, and more lens means bigger camera. Therefore, you will never have a great amount of zoom in a pocketable camera.

No digital camera is rugged enough to ensure survivability if dropped. It is sheer luck if your camera survives a drop onto a hard surface. On the other hand, you can possibly increase overall reliability by choosing a water-resistant/proof camera, and by choosing a camera with an internal zoom lens. Of course, no high-zoom camera will have an internal zoom lens.

PhilR.
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 10:14 AM   #3
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Objection to the last point made by PhilR. There are two cameras made by Pentax which don't extend the lens when being used (similar to a camcorder). The more recent model, the MX4 is a 4 MP version of the earlier camera. It has 10x optical zoom.

Newer cameras, however, are better. The smallest superzooms available are made by Olympus and also have 10x zoom. Like the Pentax, they lack IS.

A big jacket pocket should be able to hold the Canon S2 IS or the Panasonic FZ5. A camera bag with shoulder strap would be best, though.
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 10:33 AM   #4
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You might want to consider the Sony P200. It has a very well protected LCD display, excellent battery life, 7 megapixel sensor, easily fits in a pocket and is ready to shoot a picture within 1 second of hitting the power-on button. Plus it offers a good bit of manual controls for a camera of its type.

Having the higher resolution is, in a way, like having a stronger zoom as compared to a lesser megapixel camera. It lets you crop an image and keep the sharpness fairly high. There are other models to consider but, IMO, the P200 seems to meet most, if not all of, your needs.
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 12:01 PM   #5
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More pixels don't compensate much for lack of a longer optical zoom. As an example, using 2X digital zoom (or cropping 2X) on an 8Mp camera gives a 2Mp image. Most cameras resample it back up to 8Mp, but you still have only a 2Mp image. It is hard to find a good optical zoom in a tiny camera.

The Panasonic LZ2 is considerably lighter than your S300 and only very slightly bulkier. It has a 6X optical zoom and stabilization. It does have some downsides though. There is a large LCD but no optical finder. It is basically point and shoot. It isn't great for focusing and framing in very low light. The movie mode isn't up to current standards. The stabilization will give you great available light photos and there isn't anything else quite that small with a 6X optical zoom. Beach Camera has it for less than $250 delivered, so it is a bargain. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasoniclz2/page9.asp
Steve liked the LZ1 better if 4Mp is sufficient for you: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...s/lz2_pg5.html

The 7Mp Pentax 750Z is lighter than your S300 but bulkier. It has a 5X optical lens and great manual controls. The flip-out LCD can be reversed so you don't have to worry about damaging the LCD when carrying it. That 7Mp sensor is excellent. It isn't real fast.

The 7Mp Olympus C7000 is about the same size as the Pentax and has a 5X zoom. It is faster than the Pentax. It has full controls and raw, but raw is impractical in dynamic situations because of the cycle times. Otherwise it is a fairly quick camera with a good movie mode. It would be a great camera if they had kept the buffer from the C60.

The 5Mp Pentax Optio SV has a 5X zoom and is very light. It has a manual exposure and aperture priority. Movie mode is outdated and it isn't fast.

The 10X Olympus C765 is about the same weight as your S300 but bulkier. It has full manual controls and a 640 X 480 movie mode, but only at a jerky 15fps. It is only 4Mp, and power on and shutter lag are slow.

The Panasonic FZ5 might be too bulky for you. But stabilization and f3.3 at 12X make it useable in many more lighting situations at full zoom without a tripod. It has an average startup for a long zoom, but shutter lag and cycle times are excellent. Burst mode is great as well. The movie mode is outdated.

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Old Jun 7, 2005, 12:30 PM   #6
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slipe wrote:
Quote:
More pixels don't compensate much for lack of a longer optical zoom. As an example, using 2X digital zoom (or cropping 2X) on an 8Mp camera gives a 2Mp image. Most cameras resample it back up to 8Mp, but you still have only a 2Mp image. It is hard to find a good optical zoom in a tiny camera.
`

When considering print quality and cropping the higher megapixel image will allow a smaller crop area while retaining image resolution when the highest quality settings for each camera are used. To use your comparison of a 2M verses 8M image the latter has twice the resolution, generally speaking, of the former. If each had identical 3X optical zooms the 8M camera can produce a 4"x6" with roughly the same quality of the 2M camera from a crop of 1/4th the area. The 2M camera would need a 6X optical zoom to provide the same quality 4"x6" print of the same area. Also, higher megapixel counts makes the digital zoom feature more usable for printing etc.
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Old Jun 7, 2005, 2:02 PM   #7
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PvB wrote:
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Objection to the last point made by PhilR. There are two cameras made by Pentax which don't extend the lens when being used (similar to a camcorder). The more recent model, the MX4 is a 4 MP version of the earlier camera. It has 10x optical zoom.

The camera you mention might have an internally zooming lens, but it isnot an internal lens. Take a look at the pictures in the review, and you will see the front element exposed for all the world to see, and potentially scratch. It also has a large seam that runs the circumference of the lens. You can bet that seam is not sealed.

The Pentax WR's however have a zoom lens that is wholly enclosed within the body. The front element is behind a clear portion of the body, so no lens cap is needed. There are no seams around the lens that might let fine grit inside. Unless you take the body apart, you cannot get to the lens or any of it's elements. Although this is an unneeded feature for most, it might very well come in handy for someone who uses their camera for outdoor adventures, such as the op does. There might be more cameras with this type of lens setup, but none that I know of will have a big zoom lens.

PhilR.
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