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Old Jun 15, 2005, 11:04 AM   #1
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My wife has purchased a Canon 20D, with a couple of lenses, extra battery, filters, etc., etc. and although it takes FABULOUS pictures, it's like carrying a child along with you (big and clunky).

I'm the type of person that will sacrifice a little quality (ok, a lot compared to the 20D) to get a super small, super thin, super compact camera just to take on golf trips with the guys (we just HAVE to have capture those bad swings!)

I have read the reviews on the Sony Cybershot P150, Casio EX-Z750, Canon SD500 and they all sound great. I love the size and HUGE screen of the Casio EX-Z750, but the Sony sounds like it has a bit better quality.

Thoughts? Is there any other camera(s) you suggest I consider as well?


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Old Jun 15, 2005, 12:19 PM   #2
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In the same size range is the Fuji F10, and the sample pics look pretty good.

the Hun

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Old Jun 15, 2005, 1:34 PM   #3
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The Sony P200 is only slightly pricier than the P150 and cheaper than the other two even if you consider that the memory costs a little more. Dave at Imaging Resource liked the in-camera processing on the P150 a little better. Overall I think the P200 the better choice.

The plusses of the P200 or P150 are excellent photos and no red eye. Both of the other cameras will give you a lot of red eye. Someone pointed out that you get more shadows with someone standing near a wall, but I think I would prefer not having the red eye. It has a strong clear plastic over the LCD so you don't have to worry as much about putting it in your pocket. It has some manual exposure capability and several pre-set focus distances.

This feature might be interesting for your golf swings:
"The Sony DSC-P200 also offers a Multi Burst mode, which captures an extremely rapid 16-frame burst of images, at a selectable rate of 7.5, 15, or 30 frames per second. Multi Burst shots are played back as a slow-motion animation on the camera, but appear as a single large file with 16 sub-images in it when viewed on a computer."

The SD500 is the bulkiest and heaviest of the three. It is almost pure point and shoot. An interesting lack is that there is no action or sports mode to maximize you shutter speed and it lacks any manual control to accomplish that. It has by far the strongest flash of the three and takes good pictures.

The Z750 is tiny and light for its level of sophistication. 127 grams compared to 170 for the SD500 and 7.2 cu in compared to 9.7 for the Canon. It still manages to fit both a 2.5 inch LCD and an optical viewfinder. It has the full range of manual plus shutter and aperture priority for exposure and full manual focus. It even lets you calibrate your white balance in difficult lighting with a white sheet of paper.

Movie mode is quite sophisticated. It uses MPEG4 encoding so you get about the same quality with only 1Mb/sec. The SD500 and I think the Sony use twice as much memory per second. It has a 5 second buffer for movies. If you select that mode, when you push record it includes the previous 5 seconds and records until you release the button. So you don't have to grind away until the dolphin jumps again or the toddler does that cute thing – or Bubba finally takes his swing. You can wait until it happens and then push the record button. You can also extract individual frames, so it would seem to be more versatile than the 16 frame burst on the Sony.

I needed to upgrade my small carry camera and was really torn between the P200 and Z750. I spent a lot of time on boards specific to the brands. I was surprised that everyone seemed happy with the small viewfinder on the Z750 except people who needed diopter correction. The only owner complaint about the Z750 is that the LCD whines enough to be picked up by the mic during movie recording. A couple of owners reported that Casio is aware of it and about to release a firmware upgrade to correct the problem. A complaint by reviewers was that its default sharpening and saturation settings are too high, but with the complete controls owners just lower them a notch and like the results.

It was almost a toss-up between the P200 and Z750 for me. The SD500 wasn't a consideration as I prefer to not use pure point-and-shoot cameras and size was a consideration for a carry everywhere camera. I ordered a Z750 but think I would probably have been just as happy with the P200. The buffer in the movie mode might be fun even though I don't use digicams for movies that much, and I like the full range of controls. I will have to be a lot more careful with the LCD and clean up more red eye.

If you don't use the manual modes much on your pocket cameras all three are excellent. I do use manual exposure often on my C50 and often wished it had manual focus as well. So the Z750 was the slightly better choice for me. Jeff at DCRP in comparing the Z750 and SD500 thinks the SD500 might be the slightly better camera for the casual point and shoot user. The more powerful flash on the SD500 is a significant consideration IMO.

I don't honestly think you will see much difference in photo quality. The SD500 has a little purple fringing and drops off in the corners a little more, but overall quality is excellent. The dpreview reviews show comparison shots between comparable cameras. Unfortunately they haven't reviewed the P200 so I haven't seen direct comparisons done at a professional level. My impression from researching them is that the P200 might have slightly better quality across the entire frame but I'm not sure and I don't think the difference is significant in everyday photography.

One thing to note is that the combination of the especially strong battery on the Z750 and its higher quality compression at best quality would indicate a larger SD card. The SD500 seems to average around 2.5Mb for a best quality shot and the P150/200 around 3Mb. The Z750 puts out 4.5Mb best quality JPG files. It will easily fill a 1Gb card, where you could probably do OK with a 512Mb card on the other two. Quite a few Z750 owners have bought 2Gb cards, but I got a 1Gb Ultra II card for mine. Abe's was closed Monday and Tuesday, so my camera isn't in yet. It would take me a while to find out whether a 2Gb is justified as I seldom take more than 220 shots without downloading them.

The Fuji F10 that the Hun mentioned has a lot going as well. After a lot of so-so effort Fuji seems to have finally got the Super CCD right. You can get decent emergency shots at ISO 1600 and the lens is excellent. Resolution is slightly better than the 7Mp cameras mentioned and there is almost no barrel distortion. But it is large, point-and-shoot and has no optical viewfinder. The lack of an optical finder was the ultimate deal breaker for me, but if you usually shoot with the LCD you might want to consider it.

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Old Jun 15, 2005, 9:19 PM   #4
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I am a Big Sony Fan (love my P150) BUT if I was to buy one today, it would be the Casio Z750-it has received rave reviews (from users AND reviewers alike)! I was surpised since in general, Casio cameras have always been sub-par im image quality. The SD500 is nice too but in my opinion, it costs $100 too much. Dpreview just reviewed the Casio and called it "the best 7 MP Compact Out There Today". In a way it makes perfect sense that as the industry (and consumer demand grows), each New-er Camera is Better than the Competition (sort of like DVDs)...
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Old Jun 17, 2005, 8:58 AM   #5
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Dpreview.com or Steves-digicams.com have not reviewed the P200 so we do not know where they stand.
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