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Old Mar 29, 2006, 1:01 PM   #1
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Hi everybody,
I hope you can help my find the best ultracompact right now. I am looking for a 4MP or a 5MP. SIZE IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ME. I really like the Canon SD300 and am amazed with the image quality but am concerned about too many people complaining about the LCD cracking too easily or going out for no reason and Canon not backing it up. If it were not for that, it would have been an easy decision for me.

I also like the Pentax Optio S5i and S4i mainly because of its size and can fit in an Altoids can (that would also mean I would not have to buy a case) but am not impressed with the quality of the images I have seen so far. That is stopping me from buying this one.

I like the image quality what I have seen of the Panasonic Lumix series but the size does not do it for me. I am also looking at the Kodak EasyShare V530 and have read good reviews about it too. I am not too familiar with the Konica/Minolta Dimage or the Casio Exilim Series. I hope someone can help me find a good ultracompact with very good (if not excellent) image quality.
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 5:51 PM   #2
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Among the ultra compact cameras, The Kodak V-550 would be my 1st choice. It is a basic 5mp point and shoot with automatic controls. It is small, it has an optical viewfinder, and it produces very sharp, colorful, images.

My 2nd choice would be the Casio Z-120. It is a basic 7.2mp, point and shoot with both automatic and manual controls. It is not quite as small as the V-550, it does have an optical viewfinder and produces somewhat soft images.

I own both of those cameras. I have attached two sample photos from the Kodak V-550 camera.

MT






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Old Mar 29, 2006, 6:34 PM   #3
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Thanks mtclimber.

I just went to the store and checked on the Kodak Easyshare V530. They did not have the V550 model. What is the difference ? As far as I know, the V530 is a little cheaper. If they are minor differences, I could do without them by paying less. I played around with it for 10 mins and liked it.

I found it to be:

- very responsive
- zoom was very responsive and fast (as far as I have read it is known to be a good quality lens)
- video quality was great from what I was able to capture.
- build quality looks solid
- LCD resolution was better than most of the cameras in its class

I am just worried about the battery life from what I have read in reviews. What is your experience with the battery life on your V550 ?
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 7:04 PM   #4
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 is an excellent ultracompact camera with IS -

I have one, and I am very happy with it.


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Old Mar 29, 2006, 7:23 PM   #5
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kcsurfer-

The Kodak V-530 and V-550 use the same battery. The big difference is that the V-550 has an optical viewfinder which makes shooting outside on a bright sunny day much easier. I own the V-530, V-550, and the V-570 cameras The Panasonics, some of the Casios and, as I mentioned, some of the Kodaks do not have an optical viewfinders.

Perhaps it is just me, but I take around 1,000 photos each month, and in actual day to day practice, I have found it MUCH MORE effective to have an optical viewfinder, rather than to have to just rather blindly point my camera in a general direction when taking a photo because the LCD is effectively unreadable in bright sunshine.

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Old Mar 29, 2006, 7:27 PM   #6
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Thanks mtclimber,

I did read in several reviews that the battery life on the Kodak Easyshare V530/V550s last only about 120 shots? So would u say the battery life was good as per your experience?

OR can anyone share their experience about the battery life for these cameras ?
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 8:11 PM   #7
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kcsurfer-

While I always carry a fully charged spare battery, I have found that I have reached into my bag for the spare only once, while at Disneylad. However I feel secure knowing that it is always there and available, should I need it.

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Old Mar 29, 2006, 8:23 PM   #8
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Thank you for the battery info.
I have done some research and I think the V550 would be worth it although it costs a little more than the V530 because of the viewfinder and a slightly larger LCD. Although I have had trouble looking thru the LCDs in bright sunlight before, I did not realize that until you pointed it out earlier. The viewfinder could come in really handy. So, do you think I should go with the V550 or do you have any other ones in mind in the same size or smaller?
I did not take the Casio Z-120 into consideration mainly due to its size. I am looking for a really small one that I could fit into my jeans pocket.
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 9:13 PM   #9
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kcsurfer-

The only other camera, that was of similiar size, was the Pentax S5z. However, after comparing images and sharpness, I chose the Kodak V-550. You may want to take a look at the S5z.

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Old Mar 29, 2006, 10:06 PM   #10
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It is my understanding that Canon fixed the problem with cracked LCD in the SD400 and SD500 when they released the SD450 and 550. The SD450 is a smaller camera than the V550. With the extra cu/in the V550 has a nicer LCD than the SD450. You might check on the Canon board about the LCD problem being fixed. Whatever you get put the camera in a pocket with nothing else in the pocket and the LCD against your leg. You can damage any LCD and the manufacturers don't usually stand behind physical damage.

The Casio Z750 is lighter and a tad smaller than the V550 and takes 325 shots on a battery rather than the 120 the V550 and 150 on the SD450. It has the same excellent lens and sensor as the Z120 but with MPEG4 movies like the V550. The LCD isn't as high in resolution as the V550 but I think it is an overall better camera. The Z750 is a little quicker than the V550. It also has a small optical viewfinder. The Z850 is out with some nice features, but it is still a little pricey compared to the Z750.

You can extend the battery life some by leaving the LCD off on all of the cameras with optical finders.

I don't think the S5Z has an optical finder. The S5i does if you can still find one, but the LCD is smaller. I think the S6 is the better choice if you want something really tiny with no viewfinder as the LCD is twice the resolution of the S5Z.

Another camera in the super small category is the Casio S600. The LCD is smaller than the S6 and is extremely low resolution. And I'm not a big fan of that particular Casio lens. The Pentax S600 isn't that great either for image quality and it isn't as quick for lag and cycle times as the Casio. They both have MPEG4 movies.

You might also look at the Sony T9. It has true optical stabilization and better than average ISO400 noise. It should be pretty versatile. It takes 240 shots on a charge. It has a high quality LCD but no optical finder.


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