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Old Dec 9, 2005, 8:07 PM   #1
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I am torn as to which of these to purchase. I've never owned a digital camera before and never really truly wanted to, to be honest. I just did not feel that I would get a picture print as good as film. I currently use a Nikon point and shoot and a very old Canon A1 for better photography. I want a camera to take to Hawaii with me next week. I want to be able to zoom, but do not really know if I need 12X zoom. I mostly take pictures indoors of people and outdoor vacation shots. I take many pictures from the back of a boat of wakeboarders and waterskiiers. I also take pictures of bears when I see them in Canada from a distance, so I will like zoom. But I mostly want crisp clear natural looking prints. I mostly print 4 x 6's but from time to time blow them up to 8 x10 or even 8 x 12 so as to not have the film negative cropped. I wish the video feature had zoom on the Sony and was better, as I think that would be my first choice. But I mostly want great pictures to print. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you very much and have a happy holiday! Lisa
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Old Dec 9, 2005, 11:51 PM   #2
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Few different between Sony H1 and Canon S2 IS:
1. S2 IS max shutter: 1/3200 and H1: 1/1000
2. Sony have Image ratio 3:2, which good if u want to print to 6x4.
3. Sony LCD screen 2.5" while canon only 1.8"

Or between above mention camera, I think you may want to take a lot at Kodak P850. Generally have most of feature with additional:
1. Hot shoe
2. Uncompressed format: RAW & TIFF
3. LCD 2.5" with 237000 pixels, while Sony only have 115000 pixels
4. Also lighter around 450 grams

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/p850.html

But the choices is yours
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Old Dec 10, 2005, 9:56 AM   #3
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Thank you for the post. Here is where I'm torn between the two. I like the zoom feature in the Canon for videoing better than the Sony. I do not like the manual pull up feature of the flash on the Canon, but would get used to it, I'm sure. I like the larger LCD screen on the Sony, however, with my older eyes, that is refusing to where glasses except for reading. I can't see any of the screens very well and until I get used to it, will always use the viewfinder and I'm not thrilled with the electronic viewfinders at all. The fastest images I will be taking is wakeboarders doing tricks behind a ski boat, so I don't know if the 1/1000 speed is fast enough. I keep reading that the Canon focuses better at the zoom range with moving objects. But I mostly want good quality prints, I could care less to view all my pictures on my computer. And I read that the Canon produces softer, not as clear prints, with some yellowing indoor shots. I would not like that. So it's a toss up. I want a camera that combines the best of both features! ha, Don't we all. For some reason, the few people that I've read about that have brought home both cameras, have always kept the Sony. I wish I had email addresses and could ask them why. So any more advice from anyone again, thanks. Lisa
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Old Dec 10, 2005, 11:19 AM   #4
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Not only does the S2 allow you to use the optical zoom with movies, but it also has stereo sound with wind buffered microphones.

I don't use the LCD on either of my cameras with EVFs except to show pictures to people. But I would probably use an articulated LCD like the one on the S2 often to get shots from near the ground and over my head. I was shooting a parade last night and couldn't get the angles I wanted with my non-articulated LCD. You can also get better candid shots by aiming the camera sideways. People tend to be more natural if someone isn't standing behind a camera aiming it at them. The Sony has a better quality LCD but I would prefer the one on the S2.

Both of my EVF cameras have flashes that you manually raise. One has a button on the back to pop it up and the other you just pull up. It is a feature I wish all cameras had. You can leave the flash on in the menu and activate or deactivate it by raising or lowering it. I either want the flash or I don't, and prefer just raising or lowering the flash to scrolling through various flash modes on the EVF or LCD. And I like being able to just look at the camera and know if the flash is active. If you depend on auto-flash it might be a hassle, but the only time any camera of mine has been on auto-flash is by accident or if someone else is using the camera.

The S2 has a burst mode and the H1 doesn't. I use the burst mode often on my FZ10. You would think that with f2.8 at full zoom and stabilization you would always have enough light. That hasn't been my experience, and I find that a burst improves your chances of hitting a moment of null camera movement. It is also handy in dynamic situations. The S2 burst isn't as good as on the Panasonics, but it is fast enough to be very useful. With both of those cameras around a half-stop slower at full zoom I would want the burst mode available.

Both the S2 and H1 are highly recommended at dpreview and on Steve's best camera list. It is very hard to get a highly recommended at dpreview, and Steve's list is more selective than "Daves Picks" at Imaging Resource. You will get good photos from either.

If you intend leaving everything on auto the H1 might give you slightly better images and you don't have to raise the flash. But dpreview found the S2 stabilization to be more effective than the H1, and that can make a difference in limited light. Both will make an 11 X 14 print you probably couldn't tell apart with good light. They both hunt on the long end of the focus, with the H1 a little faster for photos and the S2 more reliable with movies. The H1 has a little stronger flash.

None of the reviewers complained about the white balance on the S2 – at least none I read. It has good adjustments if you want to use them, and WB is easy to fix in post processing for that odd indoor non-flash shot that isn't right. I would personally prefer the S2 for features, but they are both excellent cameras.

You have to buy a charger and set of NiMH batteries for the S2, but that is inexpensive. Wal-Mart sold a charger and 4 NiMH 2300 mAh batteries for less than $20 – don't know whether they still do. But you can find them pretty cheap online. The H1 comes with a charger and batteries.

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Old Dec 10, 2005, 11:37 AM   #5
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Slipe, I can't thank you enough for your post. It was like having another person besides myself analyzing the information on both cameras. This is hard for me, because if I get a camera I like, I keep it forever or until it breaks. I have loved all of my film Canons and hate my last Nikon film purchase. I have never really wanted a digital camera but people say that for as many pictures that I take that I'm foolish to not get a digital camera. Other than the SLR's I've never really seen any 4 x 6 prints that seem as crisp and clear as all of my film cameras. Even my Nikon point and shoot that I don't like. And the only reason I don't like it, is not film quality, but it has problems in low light, and is very loud when rewinding and takes forever to focus in between shots. If I spend the money on any digital camera and have the same slow focusing problem I will be disappointed. And I can't find any place in town that let's you buy a camera, try it out for a week or two and return it if you do not like it. They all have a 15% re-stocking fee. I would like to do like a few other persons, buy both and return one, but I do not want to pay a re-stocking feel. I have returned a few cameras before that I did not like, but those fancy camera stores are now out of business. Again, thanks for you in-depth help. Lisa
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Old Dec 10, 2005, 1:18 PM   #6
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Most digital owners learn to half depress the shutter and get a focus lock before taking a picture. Both cameras are almost instant if you do that. There are times you just want to push the shutter and grab a picture though, and the H1 is much quicker at wide angle. The S2 is a tad faster at full zoom. They both have good cycle times except for flash. Both are pretty bad at that with the S2 being slightly faster.

S2: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/S2IS/S2ISDATA.HTM

H1: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/H1/H1DATA.HTM

You mentioned yellowing indoor shots on the S2. Dave at Imaging Resource listed a disadvantage of the H1 as "Auto white balance had a hard time with household incandescent lighting" He had no complaints with the S2.

You will truly hate the EVF at first after having a SLR or even a good optical viewfinder. But there are some advantages. You are not only seeing through the lens, but seeing what the processor is seeing. You get good feedback and lots of information like a live histogram. From dpreview it appears the H1 gives a smaller image through the EVF. It is hard to make good focus decisions even with a focus zoom feature.

You will never have the dynamic range of film with digital, but you can get 4 X 6 prints that look as good for most subjects. It sometimes takes some post-processing. That is a big advantage of digital. I never print anything without running it through Photoshop. There are cheaper editors that will do almost anything you would want. You can find excellent editors like Paint Shop Pro and PhotoImpact on Ebay for peanuts if you are willing to drop back one version from the current. There is even a free version of Paint Shop Pro 7 online somewhere.

Another option for you might be to replace your small Nikon camera you don't like and test the digital waters. You still lose out on dynamic range, but everything else in a small camera is superior with digital. I have a pocket camera that is truly tiny that has great controls and manual everything if you want to use it, plus an optical viewfinder and large LCD. You would be pleasantly surprised at the quality of 640 X 480 movies at 30fps. And many have excellent shutter response and cycle times. Even small point and shoot digitals have things like spot metering, scene modes etc. You can get a lot of camera you can always have in your purse. Mine is only 3X zoom, but the Nikon S4 is small and has 10X. I would wait for a full review to check out the shutter lag etc, but Steve already has it on his "Best Cameras" list and he hasn't even finished the tests. It appears to be point and shoot, but there really is a lot of versatility in most small P&S cameras. I don't use the manual stuff much on mine, preferring EV shift, spot metering etc to get the shot I want – and most P&S digitals have all that. Manual is nice for tripod shots at night and macro, and shutter priority is good for action. But I could live without those if I found other features I really liked. My only downer for the S4 would be the lack of a viewfinder other than the LCD. It would be a bear to find and follow targets in dynamic situations at 10X without an eyelevel finder.

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