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Old Mar 20, 2006, 1:51 AM   #1
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I'm wanting to buy a camera, I've read loads of reviews and I'm getting overwhelmed with the choice. I'm after a small camera (not dSLR) - the smaller the better. I want it for standard use: family photos (which means some low light photography, and also moving subjects), holiday snaps etc. I'll usually not be enlarging photos, so I don't need loads of pixels, and I won't need a big zoom. But there are some features I would like:
* The most important is response time. I would prefer a camera with a small shutter delay, and also one where the time from switching on to ready to shoot is small.
* I would like a camera that is fairly robust. I go mountain biking so I need one that doesn't mind being shaken and preferably one that won't mind the odd drop of rain (but it doesn't need to be waterproof).
* I'd prefer a manual control for key settings such as landscape/portrait etc.
* Finally my budget is $500.

I don't need rotating LCDs, hotshoes, MP3etc. I don't have any preferences for any make.

Any help will be much appreciated.
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:35 AM   #2
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Kevin-

A camera that you may want to take a look at, in view of your water resistant requirements, are generally found in the Pentax and Olympus product lines.

For example, If youwant tolook at one ofyour of the possible cameras, the Olympus Stylus 710. First go to Steve's review on the camera (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_...stylus710.html) then look on the Conclusion Page ofany review, you will find the exactboot-up time and the shutter lagtime. For the Olympus Stylus 710, you will find the boot-up time is 2.1 seconds and the shutter lag time is 1/10th of a second.

Also is you go to the home page of www.stevesdigicams.com and you click in the left hand column on "Our Reviews" you will find a pop-up sub-menu that lists at the top a means to select cameras by megapixels. At the bottom of the same list you will find "Weatherproof/UW." By clicking on the weatherproof/UW tab you can bring up all cameras that fit into this category. Since this is your area of interest start your search by clicking there.

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Old Mar 21, 2006, 12:32 AM   #3
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Maybe look at the Pentax Wi ...?? I was actually considering it for moutain biking. I've heard good things about it so far.. I'll keep an eye on this post to see other opinions. For me.. I want something waterproof without the hassle of housing, and somewhat durable (handle vibration from riding), and of course compact.


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Old Mar 23, 2006, 3:02 PM   #4
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MT

Thanks for the info and links - I'll certainly follow these through.

Thanks again,

KevinR
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Old Mar 23, 2006, 3:04 PM   #5
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vwmom

Thanks for replying - I'll have a look at your recommendation too.

Thanks again,

KevinR
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Old Apr 4, 2006, 1:30 AM   #6
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I visited the local camera shop and had a look at the Pentax WPi and the Olympus 720SW – they'd only had the Olympus 720SW that week. Once you'd taken P&P into account the shop's prices were not much more than online retailers, so I decided whatever I got I'd get from the shop. I spent a week researching feedback on the two then I visited the shop a week later. They were extremely helpful at the shop and allowed me to take both cameras outside to try in the bright sunlight. I had initially preferred the Olympus 720SW, but in reality I found the Pentax Wpi was a much neater unit, it was more compact, felt more comfortable in the hand and pocket, and felt the more robust of the two. Also the buttons and switches on the Pentax WPi were for more sturdy than the Olympus 720SW, and easier to use. The power switch on the Olympus 720SW was tiny and quite awkward to use. The zoom on the Pentax WPi was a rocker and easy to use, whereas on the Olympus 720SW it was two small buttons and very awkward to use. I was told the Pentax WPi had toughened glass over the lens so shouldn't get scratched easily, and as the lens was flush with the body it was easy to wipe clean, whereas the Olympus 720SW was behind a moveable cover which meant it was not so easy to clean and the cover itself could get clogged up.



The Olympus 720SW had the better waterproof rating and it was shock rated. They told me at the shop they had sold a number of the Pentax WPis to the local outward-bound school where the cameras no doubt received rough treatment, but they had not had a single camera returned. So perhaps the Pentax WPi was tough enough, even though it wasn't rated.



There was one area where the Olympus 720SW clearly beat the Pentax WPi – the display. The Olympus 720SW display is not only larger, but it is also much easier to see with bright light either behind or in front of it. The Pentax WPi display is not as clear in bright conditions. But the display was the only area the Olympus 720SW beat the Pentax WPi. So overall I decided the Pentax WPi was better and I went for that. It was cheaper too.



They told me at the shop that I could return the Pentax WPi if I decided it was not what I wanted.


I asked about the Pentax W10. This is not available locally yet. I can see that it will be better than the Wpi, but how much better? Should I have waited for the W10 or not? I'll see how I get on with the WPi.
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Old Apr 4, 2006, 11:53 AM   #7
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Kevin-

Thanks for your report. Please keep us advised and share a few samples from the Pentax WPi. It has received good reviews.

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