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Old Aug 24, 2005, 8:43 PM   #1
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Hey all,

I am new here but have spent the last few days looking through steves wonderfully descriptive reviews. This is a wonderful site!

So, I am looking to purchase a pocket or purse sized digicam for my girlfriend to take with her on a nine week trip throughout Europe. I came here initially looking at the canon A520 because of the 4x optical lense, but I have since learned of the extreme lag between shots and that the lense isn't as sharp as it's predecessor (A85) 3x optical lense.

So in looking here I have found a couple other models that seem nice;
Canon SD400
Canon A610/620 (Has anyone had a chance to demo these?)
Sony DSC W5
Olympus C5500

Pricewise, I would like to keep it between $300 and $400. I don't want to go below 4 MP and I like the idea of having the manual options, but they are not as necessary if it takes away from the image quality of the camera. What drew me to the canon also was their panoramic/360 deg "Stitch" program, but I'm not sure how well that works on their A series or ELPF cameras.

Ideally this would also become our backpacking camera, so size, weight and battery compatibility could be a plus.

I am VERY open to any suggestions on other cameras with similar criteria.

Thanks in advance,

Michael
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 9:33 PM   #2
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Hi: The C5500 is an excellent camera value for the money. 5MP, 5x zoom, excellent photos, with both full auto and manual settings. A rugged little camera that is compact and easy to carry. And also does movies with sound up to the capacity of the memory card.

I would also expand your list. Look at the new Olympus Stylus 800. A very compact 8MP with a weatherproof body. (a good feature for backpacking in the rain!) Easy to carry in your pants or jacket pocket, with excellent photos. Only 7 oz including the batteries.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_...stylus800.html



Also look at the Fuji F10. Compact size with ISO up to 1600. Easy to use and carry.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_.../fuji_f10.html
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 9:39 PM   #3
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Steve- Do you own both the F10 and C-5500? And if so, how do they compare?
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 11:20 PM   #4
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No, I own several cameras, but mainly use my Olympus C8080. However I had the opportunity to use the C5500, and really liked the way it handled, and the photo results. I liked it's size and the manual options. I am thinking about adding it to my collection. (I currently use 4 digicams, I'm trying to come up with a reason to buy another.)

I have only looked at the F10 in the store, so I have not used it. But it gets excellent reviews for it's low light performance.And it's owners seem to have high regard for it.
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 11:44 PM   #5
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I think I will order the C-5500 in the morning - $209 at 6thave.com , a "trusted" seller of this site (fingers crossed). I did some more researching and was very impressed by its stats - a 1/1.8" Sensor (!) , MACRO of a mere 2 cm (!), and an effective flash range of 16.4 ft (!) and a LOW, LOW PRICE to boot (!!) ... I love Olympus colors so I think I'll be very happy with this camera. Btw, I was soooo tempted last month to buy the Olympus 8080 when it was under $500 - now, that's a nice camera !!! Thanks for your help. If I end up with an Olympus camera, I'm sure I'll be asking you LOTS of questions :-)
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Old Aug 25, 2005, 12:41 AM   #6
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I'm going through a similar selection process as you right now. Upon a closer review, it is eerie how similar the Olympus C55 and New Canon A610 are...they both have the coveted 1/1.8" sensor, 5 MP, and both use 4 "AA" batteries. The Canon has a shutter speed of 1/2500 sec while the Oly C55 has 1/1500 (BTW, WHICH STAT IS BETTER???). The A610 will sport a flip-out LCD and the Oly C55 has 5x Optical Zoom vs 4x. But, at least to me, they appear very similar, and are almost the same size.

As for the other cameras on your list, the SD400 is certainly one of the best "ultracompact" cameras but I personally want more features/Optical Zoom per dollar. First, you have to first decide if you want an "apple" or an "orange" . I have ruled out the Sony W series, again, seeking at least 4x Optical Zoom. I own the Panasonic FZ20 which has 12x optical zoom and they are simply More Fun to shoot pictures with than the standard 3x Zoom Camera...let us know what you decide and I'll do the same. I'm going to literally "sleep on it"....good night!

UPDATE: I just ordered the Panasonic FZ5 in Black.... best bang for the buck IMHO. I paid $353 at butterflyphoto.com . It was one of my top choices PLUS I already have a Spare Battery and SD card....it's also $100 cheaper than Canon S2 IS.
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Old Aug 25, 2005, 6:55 PM   #7
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Thank you steven and kimnicho for your fast replies.

Steven, I like both the stylus 800 and the Fuji F10 for their size, weight and quality, but, not to sound stubborn, I don't think I can deal with not having an optical viewer. (Call me old fashioned) But I do agree that I need to broaden my scope, thank you.

Kimnicho, I agree on the similarities between the C5500 and the A610. Here are some of my concerns, I read that the 4x optical zoom on the Canon A510/520 is far less superior than it's predecessor's 3x optical lens. If they carried the same lens over to the 610/620 series, it may not be worth it. And since there aren't any reviews on the A610 (hits the stores in Sept.) I'm not sure if they fixed any of the things that were wrong with the A520. (Lag between shots/noise)

So I'm leaning toward the C5500 But I have another question about it. How good is the quality of the xDmedia cards versus the SD media cards? Why does Olympus only allow you to use their own cards in their cameras if you want to use all of the cameras functions? It just seems to mean that it is more dificult to find a deal on memory. (And they just released their 1GB card where SD already has an 8GB card)

Still looking for suggestions though. Thank you to everyone

Michael
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Old Aug 25, 2005, 7:45 PM   #8
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I'm sure that if Fuji and Olympus could have predicted the future, they wouldn't have gone the "xd" route as it has become a deterrent for many people like me who now have a TON of SD cards...but as for quality, they are excellent, if not the fastest....officemax has rebates this week for the 256 and 512 Olympus xd cards - you can buy it online! After rebate, the 512 xd Olympus card will be ~$55 which is very reasonable...I think as long as you don't mind the size, it's the "best" camera out there under $400....Also 6ave.com has the C-5500 for $209 !
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Old Aug 26, 2005, 6:09 AM   #9
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Michael

If writing speed is important for you, the xDperforms very good. I'm using a Pentax ist DS withSD-card, my son on the other hand uses a Fuji S5500 and the xD-card. Well I'm notshure mine is faster... As forquality excellent !
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 8:43 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for your input. I never really got a straight answer at my local camera store about the difference between the SD and the xD cards but I think I made a personal decision to stay with an SD or Compact Flash compatible camera since they are more widely used and if for some reason I hate my camera, I will have a better chance finding another camera compatible with that media.

So here is my new issue. As I said before, this camera is for my girlfriend for a nine week trip to Europe. She has expressed an interest in our neighbors Pentax Optio S5I. The Quality seems good and she really liked the size. So I come to you with yet another list of cameras to follow my origional question:

Canon SD400
Canon SD500
Casio EX Z750
Kodak V550
Pentax Optio S5I (Though I'm not sure if I can find this one any more)

Here again is my criteria. I would like great quality for both landscape as well as macro settings. If indoor quality is sacrificed because of a weak flash, I will have to deal with that. I would like at least some manual options. Size is now also an issue, as you can see with my new list, and finally it must have an optical viewfinder (call me stubborn ':P but I just don't trust the clarity and quality of current LCD screens)

Ultimately I think I am leaning toward the Canon SD500. Mostly because it is not too much more than the SD400 and it has a larger CCD sensor which I have been told is one of the keys to better quality pictures.

I would love to hear all of your opinions as well as whatever suggestions you might have on other comporable cameras.

I just hope I get the camera before she leaves. I stupidly never thought there would be more research in buying a new digicam than buying a new car! [img]images/emoticons/nuts.gif[/img]

Anyway thanks in advance and I hope to hear from you all,

Michael
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