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Old Mar 5, 2006, 12:04 AM   #1
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I want a true "pocket" digital camera. I've been looking for months, & thought I had it down to a P200. I have a friend that works at Sony & when I asked him what price he could get the camera for with his employee discount at the Sony Employee store, he advised me that they were out of stock & would be getting no more. It seems Sony is discontinuing the camera. The large discount houses (Butterfly, Abes, etc.) still have the P200 for about $250 with shipping.

So, I starting looking at Sony's more current offerings. The T9 seems to be the best featured camera in my price range, but it is still about $100 more than the P200.

So my question is: which one? I read something about internal dust problems with the P200 - is it true? Is the T9 a better built camera? Is it an overall better camera?

My future also includes a digital SLR; this will be used as a "put it in your pocket & go" camera - so size is important.

Which should I buy - or is there something else I should be looking for?
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Old Mar 5, 2006, 10:49 AM   #2
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Kevinch-

Yes, the Sony P-200 has had dust problems in certain environments, andthe P-200will disappear from the market as supplies run out, as Sony apparently is coming to the end on the P camera series. The T-9 is a good camera and has the big advantage of image stabilization if you are interestedin low light level shooting.

There are other small cameras out there that you may want to look at them: Casio (especially the Z120 and the late production Z750 models), in the Olympus water resistant line, the Stylus 600 is now selling for around $(US) 200, and Kodak has their V-530, V-550, and V-570 models. Read up on the reviewsbefore making a choice.

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Old Mar 5, 2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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mtclimber wrote:
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Kevinch-

There are other small cameras out there that you may want to look at them: Casio (especially the Z120 and the late production Z750 models), in the Olympus water resistant line, the Stylus 600 is now selling for around $(US) 200, and Kodak has their V-530, V-550, and V-570 models. Read up on the reviewsbefore making a choice.

MT
Thanks mtclimber.

I also noticed the Canon SD550. Any thoughts on it?
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Old Mar 5, 2006, 2:42 PM   #4
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Kevinch-

Personally, I don't have any experience with the Casio Z500 or Z600. I have had Casio cameras in the past and have been very satisfied with them. I followed the Z120 for quite a while and finally decided to purchase one.

There is a thread on the board right now comparing the 500 to the 600. You might want to take a look at it. From what I read, I understand that the "...the Z600 is what the Z500 was supposed to be..."

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 10:55 AM   #5
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mtclimber wrote:
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Kevinch-

Personally, I don't have any experience with the Casio Z500 or Z600. I have had Casio cameras in the past and have been very satisfied with them. I followed the Z120 for quite a while and finally decided to purchase one.


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Whoops - I think we might be on 2 different pages here. I was asking about the Canon SD550.....not the Casio.

Sorry for the confusion......
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 11:06 AM   #6
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Kevinch-

No problem at all. The Canon SD 550 and all cameras in the SD series are automatic point and shoot cameras with essentially no real manual controls. The have received excellent reviews and they do takeexcellent photos.

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 11:19 AM   #7
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I would be surprised to find that Sony didn't improve the bushings on the P200 when they discovered some had a dust problem. You might ask about it on the Sony board. One big advantage of the P200 is that doesn't have the red-eye problem of most pocket cameras. The odd shape let them put the flash further from the lens. It has an optical viewfinder, which I find very useful compared to LCD-only cameras. And it has some manual controls if you want to play with them.

The T9 is versatile. With both optical stabilization and much better than average ISO400 performance it would be a better camera in limited light. It has a large internal memory you can store a permanent photo album in and a high quality LCD.

The Panasonic FX9 also has stabilization and a good quality LCD. It isn't too good at higher ISO but stabilization works in most light as long as you aren't trying to capture motion. It is currently reasonably priced as it is about to be replaced by the FX01 with a wide angle lens. Initial prices on the FX01 are pretty high.

The Panasonic FZ3 and FZ5 have a 6X stabilized lens in a relatively small camera. Panasonic has also announced the TZ1, which is a small camera with a stabilized 10X lens.

The SD550 is a very nice camera. It isn't exactly tiny, but it is competent with a good lens. It has no special low light capability as it doesn't have either stabilization or higher ISO capabilities with low noise. The 7Mp Sony 1/1.8 sensor is very good, and combined with the excellent optics gives probably the most resolution in its class with the possible exception of the Fuji F10.

The Fuji F10 has exceptional high ISO with low noise but no stabilization. You would get better photos of static subjects with stabilization, but stabilization doesn't help for subject motion. It is about to be replaced with the F30. The F10 LCD isn't too good in bright sunlight and the menu system is poor. I would wait for the F30 if you want really high ISO.

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 2:42 PM   #8
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mtclimber wrote:
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No problem at all. The Canon SD 550 and all cameras in the SD series are automatic point and shoot cameras with essentially no real manual controls. The have received excellent reviews and they do takeexcellent photos.
I'd prefer some manual control, but in all honesty would probably use it rarely in this application. (Thanks for the feedback!)

slipe wrote:
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One big advantage of the P200 is that doesn't have the red-eye problem of most pocket cameras. The odd shape let them put the flash further from the lens. It has an optical viewfinder, which I find very useful compared to LCD-only cameras. And it has some manual controls if you want to play with them.
I like the optical viewfinder, and as mentionedfew manual controls. Reduction in redeye is also a plus, howeverI'm willing to go into PS Elements & blacken redeye pixels manually if I gain in other areas.

Quote:
The Panasonic FX9 also has stabilization and a good quality LCD. It isn't too good at higher ISO but stabilization works in most light as long as you aren't trying to capture motion.
Quote:
The Fuji F10 has exceptional high ISO with low noise but no stabilization. You would get better photos of static subjects with stabilization, but stabilization doesn't help for subject motion. It is about to be replaced with the F30. The F10 LCD isn't too good in bright sunlight and the menu system is poor. I would wait for the F30 if you want really high ISO.
I'm probably going to show my ignorance here. I'm definetly an amature photgrapher; one of those that probably knows just enough to be dangerous. I haven't considered a Panasonic because I have this impression that their images are noisy. My impression of the F10 is similar to yours, although I wasn't aware of issues with the LCD in bright light. One of the reasons the SD550 caught my eye was the optical viewfinder, & it is slightly smaller than the F10. The FZ3 & FZ5, if I have my models straight, are bigger cameras - is that correct? Also, while I understood Casio cameras to be servicable, my understanding was they aren't quite up to par with the other large brands. (Again, I'm probably showing ignorance!)

I ride a motorcycle, & this coming May will be riding from my home is SW Pa out to California, then back across the country to D.C., then back home. I've been wanting to upgrade my digital camera (a Kodak DC290 that was a gift) for some time now, wanting both a DSLR & a compact or ultra-compact. This trip is pushing me into a purchase & it will have to be one of the smaller cameras. I have about $400 to spend on the camera, before I buyan extra battery, large card etc. (I'm fine with ordering it off the internet.)I need something that will fit into a pocket - preferably a shirt pocket, butdefinetly ajacket orleather vest pocket - andbe useful in a wide range of different lighting environments as it will be the only camera I have with me. It will serve a future purpose as being the camera I take along when I don't want to carry a DSLR, and be with me for a long time.

To both of you - thanksso much for the advice you've offered- & if you can offer anymore I'm very grateful!



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Old Mar 6, 2006, 6:00 PM   #9
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I have the P200 and think its the best value for the money - by far and away. I also had the T9 - great camera, but...

1) small wide apertaure (f3.5 vs f2.8) makes for less light allowed in and this is defintely a factor in low light pics without flash. Flash tends to ruin pics, in my opinion, and it's best to go without if possible. OK for party pics, but not for "nice" shots.

2) Optical Image Stabilzation really doesn't work that well - at least for me. Others think it useful, but to me it's only in very rare ciscumstances - personally, I could get better stabilzation just by way of being able to use the optical viewfinder on the P200 - and I did extensive testing under normal conditions - inside and out in daylight and night.

3) Can't add-on wider angle or telephoto lenses like the P200. I just bought a .5x lens for the P200 that is supposedly clear all the way and no vignetting for $70. This gives me about 18mm wide angle - fantastic for landscapes. Not an option for T9.

4) No manual controls at all. You may not need it that much, but it's nice sometimes.

5) No optical viewfinder - which really comes in much handier than you might think. Especially in bright outdoor light - the LCD is virtually impossible to see - I've had about 15 different digicams of all makes and models and even the ones that claim to be good at this are not. Some are worse than others, for sure.

6) Slightly less megapixels.

7) A lot more money.

As much as I liked the size and shape and picture quality of the T9, it didn't compare in the long run. Oh... and I've never had the dust problems, so far, on the P200 - but I DID have the problem on every T-series camera I've had - and that's literally all of them. It's not a constant problem; just sometimes, and it is annoying.


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Old Mar 6, 2006, 6:45 PM   #10
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T9 is a good choice, just expensive.

Have you considered the DSC-S600 ?

It is a budget priced camera, but reviews are pretty good.

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