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Old Mar 30, 2006, 10:44 AM   #1
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I have been driving my self crazy doing research on which camera to buy next.:? I have read a million reviews of a million different cameras. While the reviews are very helpful, I just have one simple request....which one is the absolute best???? I have been to the stores in an attempt to give them all a hands on trial and have run into problems doing so. Either they don't have a particular camera or most common, they don't have them hooked up to power (I hate that!) And a few I am considering are brand new on the market so they are harder to find. This will be a general use camera...kids, pets, vacation etc. And with wiggly kids IS is a big plus! Here are the ones that I have been considering, but please feel free to offer any advice/recommendation on any camera.

Sony DSC-N1, Cybershot DSC P200 (I like the under water capability, we live in FL and beach it a lot)

Nikon Cool Pix S5 or S6 ( I am replacing an old Cool Pix that I have loved!)

Canon Elph SD 500, Powershot SD700IS, (I really likethe IS for these and under water feature)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9, FX01P

Casio Elixim EX Z750

All of them have good reviews, with a couple too new to be reviewed yet. Do I get one of the older more reviewed models or take my chances and wait for a newer model? Please help!!

Thanks!!!
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 1:09 PM   #2
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I went thru this quandary, myself, and just bought a Casio EX Z 750 because of all the features: Manual settings including full 60 second exposure. Plus an optical viewfinder - very important for me.

It does have a lens that projects from the camera body when turned on (but not in Review mode), which scares me a lot, we'll see. So far, it seems very nice!

This is a replacement for a damaged Konica-Minolta X50, which did a great job until damaged. No projecting lens, does have optical viewfinder, but no manual settings.

My motto: "The camera you have WITH you, gets the picture!" I carry a camera with you at ALL TIMES. Never know what you will see.

Good luck! -Erik
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 1:16 PM   #3
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I don't know if it would be considered ultra compact, but it is plenty small to me. I have the Fuji F11 and it delivers the best image quality in its class. Also usable images up to ISO1600. It's import only, but you can find it for about $280. Its advantage over the F10 is that it has manual exposure control, which is important to me.
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 3:01 PM   #4
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There isn't really a best compact camera. I sprung for the Z750 and am quite happy with it, but it isn't for everyone. I wanted an optical viewfinder and manual controls. Stabilization or high ISO capability would make it a little more versatile. It has a particularly good sensor and I haven't found myself very limited in that regard, but it would be nicer with stabilization and/or better high ISO capability.

I hadn't used the movie mode on digital cameras until I got the Z750. The past movie mode is great. You just aim the camera and wait for something worth filming to happen. When the girl finally pops out of the cake you start filming and it includes the previous 5 seconds from the buffer. It saves a lot of grinding away, and combined with MPEG4 you get a lot of movies if you want them.

I like that you have 5 settings each for sharpening, contrast and saturation. You can tell the camera which settings to reset to default or leave as they are when you cycle the camera off and back on. So you could leave the zoom where you left it but have the flash go back to auto. You can make custom user modes and have a photo to remind you what a particular user setting is for. Someone has made some good custom "Best Shot" modes you can download and use. You can keep an album of your favorite photos in the permanent memory – much better than a throw-away card that some cameras come with. The control setup is the best I've seen.

The new Z850 has some improvements. The flash is a lot stronger and you can take 3 full frame flash shots in a second. The digital stabilization works better for movies but is useless for stills.

The SD500 had problems with the LCD cracking which they have evidently fixed in the SD550. The new SD700 looks great, but I would want to see some reviews first. They went to a smaller sensor, but that isn't necessarily bad. Canon is claiming better high ISO noise and the stabilization is a great feature. I also like that they kept the optical viewfinder.

I would prefer the Sony T9 to the N1. The LCD on the T9 is 2.5 rather than 2.7 inches but has the same pixel count. I don't know whether the touch screen on the N1 is that big a deal – I'd have to use it for a while. But the T9 has optical stabilization and the N1 doesn't. Combined with better than average ISO400 capability it should be quite versatile.

In a general purpose family camera wide angle is a benefit. I think I would prefer the Panasonic FX01 to the FX9 even though you forfeit a little telephoto.

The S6 has an enormous high resolution LCD for a pocket camera. My preference would be for the stabilization on the Sony T9, but that S6 LCD looks great.

Optical stabilization doesn't help for wiggly kids. It lets you handhold at a slower shutter speed and still get sharp images, but it doesn't help at all for subject movement. You want fast shutter response and cycle times for kids. And high ISO capability lets you increase the shutter speed for when you don't want to use the flash.

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Old Mar 31, 2006, 5:46 AM   #5
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Maybe a better starting point would be to fugure out what is the best style of camera, rather than just looking for the best compact around.

I read through the comparison guide section on www.digital-photography-tips.net and found it handy.

Theres a few pages there talking about the good n bad of different styles of cameras. It got me thinking about how I was gonna use my camera and then match the style from there. Somethings I was just never going to need in a camera(like a whole lotta megapixels!)

It's all good stuff, and no-one tying to flogthings to you either!



Hope this helps?



Darrell.
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 12:11 PM   #6
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Good post, Darrell.

I guess you could say I went thru the same selection process - over the course of some 50 years!

'Way back in the film era, I discovered that the smaller the camera, the more often it was available, and "got the picture". Having carried first a Leica, then an SLR, I wanted something that could always be at hand - not a "Saturday Camera": so bulky it was only got out when specific photo opportunities were anticipated.

I experimented with 'sub-miniature' film cameras - 16mm & the like, and got fair results.

Even in 'specific opportunity' situations, such as a tour of Europe, I found that the big SLR remained in the car, hidden, while the little "backup" film camera (an Olympus XA) got the pictures. 'Zoom' was by - walking a few steps!

When I decided to try Digital, I knew I wanted TINY!! Got a Minolta Xi - 3MP, and a "folded" zoom lens which doesn't project from the camera body. Loved the camera, and got a Minolta X-50 when I discovered that it would take infrared! (Most digitals will, but the Xi really didn't). My wife now uses the Xi, and my X50 decided it doesn't want to focus to infinity - something about torrential rains on a sailboat trip.

Decided on the Casio EX Z750, even though the lens does protrude. So far, I like it, but haven't had much chance to put it thru it's paces.

That website is pretty good, but it always bothers me when someone like that goes right to the most expensive solution when it's not necessary: In his "Black & white" section, he's advocating using PhotoShop's Channel Mixer, but it can all be done in PhotoShop Elements: use Enhance>Color>Hue & Saturation. De-saturate 100% in the first adjustment window, then select the individual colors one at a time and play with them while watching what happens to the picture - works great! PhotoShop Eelements 2 can be got VERY cheaply used, on eBay! To get Channel Mixer costs hundereds.

I have made several good scans of 35mm film, and printed at 12x18 inches - even 3MP digital pictures are just as good, and in many respects, better. Not 'scientific', just prints on the wall!

-Erik
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 1:47 PM   #7
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Well looks like there are quite a few votes for the Z750, I will look at that one closer. Does anyone have any opinions on the Olympus Stylus cameras? I have played with them a few times atthe stores and like them, but the thing that is most appealing to me is the all weather capability. They got good reviews here, anyone with personal experience? Thanks again for all your input!
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 2:46 PM   #8
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I suppose you mean the Stylus DIGITALS?

Just in case you mean film:

The 35mm Stylus Epic (film, non-zoom) got a lot of enthusiasm from the photo magazines in it's heyday, but I had several which just "up & quit", so I wouldn't rely on them for a trip.

My Olympus XA never failed & took a real beating! I called it "My photographic hockey-puck."!

So far digitals have been pretty sturdy - my Minolta X 50 despite losing the ability to focus on really distant objects (rain, I think caused it) is still going strong closer up.

My sister's Minolta Xi lost all but one of the little screws which hold it together & started to open up like a clam. We got some duct tape from the cruise ship maintenance folks & it's still going strong a year later!

I wouldn't drop one if I could help it, though!

-Erik


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Old Apr 23, 2006, 8:06 PM   #9
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I would stay far, far away from Casio Elixim EX Z750. I've owned and retured it.

After one month I was constantly getting LENS ERROR message and the lens would go just half way. I've charged the battery and again same error.:sad:
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Old Apr 23, 2006, 9:40 PM   #10
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zemunac wrote:
Quote:
I would stay far, far away from Casio Elixim EX Z750. I've owned and retured it.

After one month I was constantly getting LENS ERROR message and the lens would go just half way. I've charged the battery and again same error.:sad:
I was originaly in the market for the EX Z750 and based on past research that is a common issue with that camera and happens mostly if the zoom is inadvertently operated while there is something obstructing the lens. Later production runs were supposed to address that but I'm not sure how to identify a later run. In the EX Z850 the issue was supposedly addressed. I was all set to buy the Z850, but after addtional research on this site, I decided to go to an ultra zoom.

I will be looking at the compacts once again so that my wife can have something to shoot with and for those times where lugging around the ultra zoom is not practical. I'm currently looking at the Panasonic TZ1 but not sold on it yet. I like the FujiF11 but might go for the new F30. Just wish the Fuji had a little more zoom and utilized SD cards.

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