Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 14, 2006, 12:27 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 19
Default

I bought the Pentax Optio S when it first came out because it was so tiny (people were amazed at it) and thus I could Always have it with me as I travel for a living. I have used it for almost 3 years and have many, excellent photos; many that are excellent in that I was able to take them at all because I had a camera with me.

But of course the 3.2 mp Pentax with 3x optical has many limitations. It will almost not perform in low light, and it has other optical (barrel distortion)errors. I am not complaining, it has been great. Especially in good light.

But now I am looking at the upcoming Casio EX-Z850. Wow, 8.1mp, still 3x, but with stabilization AND the all important Auto Focus Assist Lamp, a must.

Is this the only compact with this combo of features and small size? I would like to be able to comparison shop. I know larger cameras are more capable, but they don't do you any good if the camera is not with you because it is too large to have in your pocket.

What cameras compete with the Casio? How are the Casio lenses?
arrowspace90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Mar 14, 2006, 1:24 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

Casio lenses aren't great. Fortunately the Z850 doesn't use a Casio lens and it is excellent.

There is a big difference between optical and digital stabilization. The Z850 has digital stabilization. It evidently works well for movies but is nearly useless for still images – as are other digitally stabilized cameras.

The Z850 has some nifty features. It has a movie light and will take 3 flash shots in a second. It makes good MPEG4 movies and I like the past movie mode. You just aim the camera and wait for something worth filming to happen. When the girl finally pops out of the cake you start recording and it includes the previous 5 seconds from the buffer. It saves a lot of grinding away waiting for something interesting to happen.

I also like having internal memory rather than a throw-away small card. You can store a good sized permanent photo album and custom user modes with a photo to remind you what the settings are for. And I find an optical viewfinder a necessity in some situations.

If you don't need the manual controls you might look around. I have a Z750 and wouldn't trade it for anything currently available. But I use the manual controls and like the great control setup. The camera doesn't have optical stabilization or high ISO capability with low noise. That hasn't generally been a problem for me, but one or the other of those would be nice.

If you don't think you will use all of the manual controls there are some others to consider. The Sony T9 is tiny with optical stabilization and better than average ISO 400 noise. It should be pretty versatile.

The recently announced Canon SD700 is a little larger than the Z850 but is 4X and has stabilization with advertised better than average higher ISO noise. It uses the same 6Mp sensor as the T9 so it might be true. It has an optical viewfinder.

The new Panasonic FX01 looks good with a wide angle lens and optical stabilization.

They put a better LCD on the soon to be released Fuji F30. Again not as small as the Z850 but with excellent high ISO capability. I personally prefer stabilization to high ISO for limited light, but I don't shoot a lot of limited light action. Stabilization doesn't help for subject movement at all.

All of those I mentioned are 6Mp. The Panasonic, Sonyand Fuji don't have optical viewfinders – just the LCD. All of the LCDs are higher resolution than the Z850. If you really need the extra 2Mp I would wait for a good review of the Z850. The 1/1.8 Sony 7Mp sensor in the Z750 is excellent, but I don't know how the Z850 is going to work out for noise.

Edit - I had a S4 andyou will find the lens on the Z850 far superior. Same with all the othersI mentioned.



slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 14, 2006, 11:09 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 19
Default

excellent, knowlegable comments by someone who knows way more than me about these cameras...worth reading several times....

exactly the kind of input I was hoping to find somewhere...thanks

attached: an example of a pic I wouldn't have taken without having a tiny camera with me at all times.

Attached Images
 
arrowspace90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 2006, 1:17 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 19
Default

Truthfully, I had not noticed that the new Casio would feature "digital" stabilization as opposed to "optical". I was not aware that there were 2 types as I have not owned a camera that featured this before.

So, now I am looking at the Panasonic FX01, as mentioned by the other poster. I hate to give up the additional 2MP, but as he said, the Panasonic does feature the optical stabilization and has a new wide angle lens, which would be a good feature for me as evidenced by my example photo above from my "old" Pentax Optio S.

However, I read that the compression formats on the new Panasonic are limited. Does that mean I cannot store photos in TIFF? Is JPEG a long term threat to the photo? Please forgive ignorance.

Also, a review I read still questioned the Panasonic's performance in low light. If good low light performance is impossible with any compact, I will have to live with it. But I do often find myself in low light situations, both indoors and outdoors where I would like to take photos. Since "manual" controls are so valued by more experienced photographers, when would you need those except for low light situations or when the subject is moving?

Any opinion of which camera, Panasonic or Casio, would be better in low light?
arrowspace90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 2006, 8:51 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

Manual control on small cameras is a red herring when it comes to low light. By the time you get to the point where the light is a problem the camera has the lens wide open and is giving you all of the shutter speed that is available. Most also have sports and portrait modes that open the lens all the way for maximum shutter speed in action or to get maximum blur of the background. About the only thing you can do to get better low light capability is to crank up the ISO with resulting noise. That is independent of manual exposure and focus controls.

For difficult lighting situations either spot metering or EV shift referring to the histogram is usually sufficient. I personally like having manual controls but they aren't necessary.

The Z750 has a better sensor IMO, but I have no good information on the 8Mp sensor in the Z850. The 7Mp Sony 1/1.8 is particularly good for noise. But stabilization on the FX01 more than makes up for any sensor advantage the Casio might have in limited light. I think you would find that the FX01 is the better camera in limited light as long as you aren't dealing with subject motion. The FX01 also has a great burst mode which I find very helpful in limited light. Shots after the first one aren't affected by the shutter press and you seem to have a better chance of hitting a good one. On the negative side, the lack of an optical viewfinder gives you a less solid hold compared to the Casio.

TIFF is an impractical mode on a digital camera. I shoot RAW on cameras that have that capability, but TIFF doesn't have enough advantage to compensate for the enormous files and slow cycle times. Most small cameras don't capture in TIFF. My previous pocket camera had TIFF capability and I never used it. It was like watching the grass grow waiting for the image to write. Panasonic is one of the few cameras that could put a TIFF mode on their pocket cameras because of their excellent Venus engine and buffer. Even so, it isn't a great loss.

The FX01 seems to make a 6Mp image in the 2.8Mb range. That isn't excessively bad compression. The Casio Z750 makes 7Mp JPGs at around 4Mp, which is better than most. I am guessing the Z850 files will be even larger. Of course it also means you need a larger memory card.



slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 2006, 11:53 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 19
Default

The suggestions for comparison here are excellent!

I am very impressed with the Panasonic 6MP, but either it or the Casio would likely be so much better than what I am using that I would be in a new world.

But while looking at the new Lumix, I saw the companion camera, the new 5MP, 10X. Is is worth giving up 1MP of resolution to gain 7X of zoom? The big zoom cam is aimed at "travelers" like me. It says it has an "airplane" feature to "correct" for shooting through an aircraft window, something I do a lot. What corrections would it make? And what do the experts think of the unusual optics in that one?

I would miss having a traditional viewfinder, but what I see through the viewfinder on my Pentax is not what I get in the real shot anyway. I take it the new digitals would not display the apparent curvature distortion that is evident in the attached photo I took with the little Pentax, bless it's 3X, 3MP heart.
Attached Images
 
arrowspace90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 17, 2006, 3:42 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

arrowspace-

You have posted some nice photos and I admire them. However, I have also been following the Casio Forum discussions on http://www.dpreview.com regarding the Casio Z-850. It appears to me that the Z-850 might have been rushed to market a bit too quickly becuse there is an ever growing list of what on the Z-850 is just not quite right.

If you recall, the same scenario befell the Casio Z-750 when it was introduced and it had numerous lens error problems. These two scenarios, one on top of the other has me honestly concerned about any of Casios newly introduced cameras. In fact I waited until now to even seriously consider the Z-120.

I would be interested hearing your views on the puzzling situation.

MT
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 18, 2006, 9:44 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

You will get barrel distortion at wide angle with most small cameras. If you get a camera in the PTLens database it will automatically clear that and it is freeware. It is handiest in a program you can bulk run it in like Photoshop, but PTLens even works in Irfanview.

I don't quite understand the part about the viewfinder not correctly duplicating the barrel distortion. If you could have seen the distortion through the viewfinder you could have used the extensive controls and tilting lens on the S to correct it?

You do have to learn to frame tighter or plan on cropping more off the photo, but that isn't a big deal with current Mp levels unless you are planning on making a very large print for the wall.

I've followed the Z850 pretty closely and am not aware of the problems mtclimber is referring to. Other than grainy movies at highest quality it seems to be well accepted so far. Most people who have had both the Z750 and Z850 prefer stills from the Z850. Casio has been very good with firmware updates and might be able to clean up those movies some.

I would probably be waiting for reviews on the Panasonic TZ1 with possible plans to purchase one if they had put an eyelevel viewfinder on it. It will be extremely hard to acquire and follow anything moving in the LCD at 10X. Maybe if I didn't just automatically switch to the optical finder I would learn to use the LCD better in dynamic situations.

slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 18, 2006, 9:52 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

slipe-

I did not point to, norpost aboutany specific problems. I just thought that if arrowspace was considering the Casio Z-850 he/she ought to be aware of the discussions going on over at www.dppreview.com's Casio forun. I applogize if I was not totally clear in my writing.

MT
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 18, 2006, 11:13 AM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 19
Default

Again, I agree about the viewfinder. You don't realize how much you are accustomed to using it until you don't have it. And if I got a big zoom, well, that would be quite an adjustment with no viewfinder. I suppose there is just no room for one?

I didn't mean to say I saw barrel distortion in the view finder, just that it is apparent on my photos, often as a curved horizon, and that I wondered if the newer lenses are better at preventing it. I was trying to say that, on my Pentax Optio S, what you see in the viewfinder is not exactly the field that will be displayed in your photo. The viewfinder field is slightly skewed.

Because of Slipe's posts to me here, I am now strongly looking at the Panasonic soon to be released TZ1 and FX01.

I find the TZ01 very interesting for a traveler like myself who is always in a different place and often photographing landscapes from the air. And, for example, just a little more Zoom would have really enhanced the attached photo of those "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill". Again, that was taken just with the 3X Pentax.

But it is a bit larger and heavier than I would like, though I know it's still amazing they got 10X so small. I will just have to wait until I can actually hold one and see if it is something I can carry around every day, which is what I do now with my outdated, but nevertheless tiny, Pentax. I will still have fun in the meantime carefully looking at all the newest cameras, as I cannot afford to upgrade with every new generation. I sure wish I could. If I could just persuade these camera companies to send me their latest toy, I would be happy to try it out for them from coast to coast and tell them how much I liked it.
Attached Images
 
arrowspace90 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:13 PM.