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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Apr 3, 2006, 5:19 AM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 34
Default

I've been searching for the right digital camera a while now and still I found myself puzzled. I need a stylish and high-quality ultracompact to keep inside my inner breast pocket everytime I go to clubs and bars. I'd take pics in kinda low light and of my friends posing (not moving) mostly. One more thing, I wouldn't print the photos. I'd only show them from the cam lcd or from my own computer lcd to my friends, or maybe send these pics to them via MSN Messenger or such.

I started from Olympus Stylys Verve S, moved onto Panasonic FX9, then to Sony T9 (which was my favourite for a long time) then to Sony N1, then back to Panasonic FX9, then to Casio Z850, then to Panasonic FX01, then to Fuji F30. Complicated right? Well these are all cams that I thought were great but as I read forums and reviews I found that these cams have flaws. Right now, my two favourites are Panasonic FX01 and Canon SD700IS.

Well obviously the biggest criteria here is performance in low light. I know I know, I should get Fuji F10/F11/F30. But those cams are kinda bulky and I bet dancing with one of those babies inside my pocket would be kinda ankward. So even if they offer superior low light performance with incredibly low noise they are just a bit too big.

What about my favs, Panasonic FX01 and Canon SD700IS. Well Pana is extra stylish (I especially like the black model), extra small and has that cool 16:9 feature (28mm lens). I mean all of my displays are 16:9 so it'd be cool to take 16:9 pics and movies. Alas, many have issues with Pana's noise levels, namely that Pana is noisy especially in high ISO levels. Well, let's face it: we are talking about ultracompacts and noise is gonna be in the picture nevertheless. But I hear Pana is a real noise-king.

And then there's the Canon. As with Pana, Canon has that OIS-feature which would be handy to me. Canon looks really sturdy and stylish with that jewel-style. Canon has great rep as a cam manufacturer so SD700IS will have quality. Also, Canon should be able to handle higher ISO levels decently as ISO 800 is available. But... Canon is a bit bulky (though not as big as, say, Fuji F30) and it has that optical viewfinder which I don't need and which will annoy me because of this. Also, I got the feeling from early reviews that Canons are no really for low light situations... Finally, I have to wonder why Canon's lcd has only about 170 000 pixels in it when Sony and Pana models have well over 200 000 pixels. On the other hand, Casio cams are though of as great cams and Casios usually have under 100 000 pixels.

So what do you think? As I live in a place where I cannot demo any of these models and have to order the cam via the net, I'd really appreciate your expertise. Should I choose FX01 or SD700IS. Should I perhaps choose Sony T9 which has IS and which is, I hear, not as noisy as FX01 (though not that good in low light situations)? Or would Canon SD630 be an option with bigger 3" lcd (which I like), with smaller size than SD700IS and with no optical viewfinder... and unfortunately without IS.

Tell me your opinion? And again, I beg you to note that small size is a definate criteria. While cams such as Fuji F30 and other a bit bigger cams offer definately more performance, I just couldn't be satisfied with them if everytime I move I feel a bulky object inside my pocket (no, you dirty SOBs, I don't mean THAT)
JungleKing is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Apr 3, 2006, 9:13 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Without a single doubt, and based on my extensive experience with the Fuji F-10/F-11, the best camera for the proposed application is the Fuji F-30 arriving in May.

MT
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 3, 2006, 12:52 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 34
Default

I agree with you complitely. Unfortunately, small size is a criterium and while F30 isn't huge in size, it's definately too big to carried around everywhere in a pocket when dancing and clubbing. How do I know this? 1) Tested SD500 which is smaller (though heavier) than F30 and it felt too big. 2) At least two people I know have sold their F11 solely because it was too big -- they are now getting FX01.

Anyway, I think I have made up my mind and will be getting FX01. It has cool features, it has OIS, it has style and it is small. It may have noise and I may have to forget using ISO 800 or ISO 1600 but I'd rather settle for those than to carry around a bulky cam like F30 everywhere.

mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
Without a single doubt, and based on my extensive experience with the Fuji F-10/F-11, the best camera for the proposed application is the Fuji F-30 arriving in May.

MT
JungleKing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 3, 2006, 1:51 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

I agree with MT that the camera you are likely to be happiest with for your proposed use is the F30.

I've always been able to find a tiny leather belt pouch for my pocket cameras at my local flea market. I'm not talking about a fanny pack. I've occasionally had to modify the belt loops so they fit horizontally rather than vertically. The camera is much more accessible and it doesn't bounce around as much. You don't have to be careful to not drop it in the pocket with your keys and it is generally a lot safer from getting the LCD damaged. A F30 would do fine in a belt pouch.

It is hard to know about how well the SD700 will do at ISO800 without some good reviews. Stabilization and 4X should be nice.

Unless all of your shots are posed stabilization doesn't help at all for subject movement. If most of your club shots are posed you would do well to just get a camera with a good flash. The SD550 is probably as good as it gets for ISO100 flash, but it is almost as large as the F30. The F30 also has good flash range. It has a weak flash but it defaults to ISO400 for decent range and you can get acceptable flash shots at higher ISO.

The Casio Z850 has a good flash and the flash assist should give excellent range. The Z750 has a relatively weak flash and flash assist takes it out to nearly 25 feet. Flash assist does increase the noise, but it is quite acceptable if you don't want very large prints. The Z850 has a unique feature of being able to take 3 full resolution flash shots in a second. You can keep a fairly large album of your favorite shots in the permanent memory. As you point out the LCD is only about 115k though.

Other than low light the FX01 is a great little camera. It doesn't seem to fit your needs though.


slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 3, 2006, 2:40 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

JungleKing-

Unfortunately the Panasonic FX01 does rather poorly in low light level shooting conditions, as was borne out quite clearly the last time you ran this thread. Perhaps, you recall the molted appearance of the images taken at ISO 400.

MT
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 3, 2006, 4:51 PM   #6
me2
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 58
Default

I agree with mtclimber. I am going to recommend the F30 to some family members for the same reasons. I know it is not quite pocket sized. But you can't have it all.
me2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 4, 2006, 3:57 AM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 34
Default

Yes, I remember. But I guess I have just given up fantasizing about shooting without flash in high ISO levels. FX01 may not have a good flash but I bet it is enough for me needs (I usually take pics from just 1 or 2 metres away from the objects).

A belt pouch? Well, you make a good point there but I'm not sure I want a brilliant low-light performer so badly that I'd sacrifice comfort. Sure, with a belt pouch F30 wouldn't feel as big but it would be on my waist and everytime I'd sit somewhere or leaned against the wall, I'd feel it. And if I put it on my side, then it would have a widening effect on my body. And in the front, I'd look like a tourist in a bar. I'm afraid belt pouches are not that trendy or - in my case - not that suitable as clubbing wear. I'd rather just keep an extra-small camera inside my inner breast pocket and be done with it.

Anyway, while I will browse through different belt pouches just to make sure there isn't a pouch that would suit me, FX01 is probably what I'm gonna get. And as I have said, if people with below-300 dollar Canon, Sony and Casio cams have taken decent pics in my kinda situations, I bet FX01 does at least the same if not a bit better. After all, I'm looking for a fun camera and while I do get what you are trying to say about the superior performance of F30 where's the fun in having to carry around really a compact (not ultracompact) cam muchless to carry around it in a belt pouch which isn't that trendy and makes those tight clubbing clothes look weird.

mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
JungleKing-

Unfortunately the Panasonic FX01 does rather poorly in low light level shooting conditions, as was borne out quite clearly the last time you ran this thread. Perhaps, you recall the molted appearance of the images taken at ISO 400.

MT
JungleKing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 4, 2006, 9:24 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 141
Default

JungleKing, I think you should get the camera you want, which appears to be the FX01. It meets your criteria (that's a plural word, by the way; if you're talking about just one of the criteria, that's a criterion) and you seem quite taken with it.

Keep in mind that the environment you're talking about is not ideal for available light photography with any camera. The average light level is probably dim, but there are likely to be hot spots. You may find it difficult to compose a shot that does not include an impossible range of light levels. But with any of the cameras you're considering, you will get some shots that suit you and that you'll be happy to share with your friends.

You would probably get a higher percentage of usable shots with the F10. But you would probably be reluctant to use the F10: it's clunky and not at all stylish. It could be your father's camera (well, it's my camera, and I'm probably your father's age) and you might well be embarrassed to be seen using it. But you will want to show off the FX01, so you'll take more shots with it. Even if the percentage is lower, you will get more good shots if you shoot more.

In the long run, the camera that will serve you best is the one you use and use and use, and take the time to master. Your first attempts probably won't be great, but as you get to know the camera's strengths and its shortcomings your results will improve.

One more thing: I think you said in another thread that the camera you buy needs to last at least three years. In that case, you should consider a good extended warranty. The current generation of digital cameras offer many interesting features, but their durability is questionable.

I trust you've read the review of the FX01 at DPR, and viewed the sample photographs. The two ISO 1600 examples are not impressive, but within the terms of your viewing requirements, they are perfectly usable.

So what are you waiting for? Get your camera, and start shooting!
Robb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 4, 2006, 9:31 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Three cheers for, Robb! Time will tell!

MT
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 5, 2006, 8:42 AM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 34
Default

Cheers Robb. You made some good points although as you bashed the style of F10 you didn't talk about F30 at all which I think is quite stylish (although a bit too big). Moreover, I want to thank you especially for correcting my grammar. I did know that singular for of criteria is criterion (I study English in a university) but I guess I must have written these texts in a hurry since I apparently made some grammatical errors. Oh well...

FX01 is definately my first choice but still I'm determined to at least go and try those belt pouches to see if I could live with those. If so there could still be a chance to choose the F30. I hear dcresource is going to review Fuji V10 really soon so I will be on the look-out.

Robb wrote:
Quote:
JungleKing, I think you should get the camera you want, which appears to be the FX01. It meets your criteria (that's a plural word, by the way; if you're talking about just one of the criteria, that's a criterion) and you seem quite taken with it.

Keep in mind that the environment you're talking about is not ideal for available light photography with any camera. The average light level is probably dim, but there are likely to be hot spots. You may find it difficult to compose a shot that does not include an impossible range of light levels. But with any of the cameras you're considering, you will get some shots that suit you and that you'll be happy to share with your friends.

You would probably get a higher percentage of usable shots with the F10. But you would probably be reluctant to use the F10: it's clunky and not at all stylish. It could be your father's camera (well, it's my camera, and I'm probably your father's age) and you might well be embarrassed to be seen using it. But you will want to show off the FX01, so you'll take more shots with it. Even if the percentage is lower, you will get more good shots if you shoot more.

In the long run, the camera that will serve you best is the one you use and use and use, and take the time to master. Your first attempts probably won't be great, but as you get to know the camera's strengths and its shortcomings your results will improve.

One more thing: I think you said in another thread that the camera you buy needs to last at least three years. In that case, you should consider a good extended warranty. The current generation of digital cameras offer many interesting features, but their durability is questionable.

I trust you've read the review of the FX01 at DPR, and viewed the sample photographs. The two ISO 1600 examples are not impressive, but within the terms of your viewing requirements, they are perfectly usable.

So what are you waiting for? Get your camera, and start shooting!
JungleKing 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 10:34 AM.