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smilla May 4, 2006 1:48 AM


I was walking through Costco this evening and happened to see the A700. It appears to be a pocketable camera with more than average zoom.

What I was wondering was, does 6x zoom make a big difference over 3x or even 4x?
What I'm looking for is a pocketable camera I can take with me on hikes, events, group outings. I like taking macro shots, sometimes lower light shots (sometimes at night or in the dark woods on a cloudy day, or indoors), of course sometimes it's sunny out here in Seattle too, and I find the movie clip feature w/sound is fun. The only time I get frustrated is when I see a bird or owl or something that won't show up in a 3x zoom, or sometimes pics of the mountains don't look so wonderful b/c they are so far away. I don't know if this is a telephoto thing or not. However I don't want an SLR, my picture taking abilities make it not so worthwhile :o) .

My two main things are that it's pocketable (like the size of an elph or A700), and that the lag time between shots is quick. The other things I listed are a close second. If the 6x zoom doesn't make a difference I suppose I can look at another pocketable camera...

fishycomics May 4, 2006 3:49 AM

I understand a 4 mega pixal , 5x optical and simplicity iswhat is needed in a digital camera

anyhing else is overkill, you want manual settings , you got to remember all its feature, and functions, if you lose the book you are in trouble.

to just point andshoot that's al is needed

if you use digital zoom its tossed out money its software minipulation, and Optical is the true zoom the more the better, if you gotshaky hands a higher iso called hand shake is perfect today..

My prefrence 6x optical is far better than 3x optical get 3x more closer then youcan imagine

for snapping those close ups a view finder is needed

jnrob May 4, 2006 5:24 AM

Hi smilla,
from what you say you will appreciate having a 6x zoom, it will allow you to get twice the magnification of a 3x zoom, very useful for those bird shots. The A700 is getting excellent reviews and I donĀ“t think you can get a 6x zoom in a smaller package.
Ultrazooms (8x to 10x) are substantially bulkier.

smilla May 6, 2006 12:54 PM

I've noticed that some people mentioned it was slow. I've been frustrated with my current camera due to lag. Though I looked up the reviews - my old camera shot to shot was about a second and a half, where the a700 is 1.7 seconds. For just pressing the button and shooting, my old camera took about 1 sec, and the a700 2/10 of a sec. Why such a long lag shot to shot? Is this common now?

outpost05 May 6, 2006 3:13 PM

Is the Canon A700 the smallest camera with at least a 6X Optical zoom?

I have an SD500 and really like its compact size. I have been considering adding an A700 to have more manual controls to play with and its 6X lens. I realize unless there is some technological breakthrough, I will have to move up in size to get the extra telephoto capability but I don't want to get any bigger than the A700.

jnrob May 6, 2006 3:45 PM

The image has to be processed and saved to the flash memory, which takes time.
Then the buffer can be cleared and used for the next photo.
Higher end cameras have larger buffers and can take a photo while the previous one is processed, which improves shot-to-shot times.

smilla May 7, 2006 2:09 AM

Maybe I don't seem to have a clear understanding of ISO values? I've looked at sample photos on this site of my current camera compared to samples of newer cameras (A700 and LZ5), and mine looks better to me, though it's only at ISO 50. Is it me or do the others look noisy (?). Is this b/c the higher ISO?

smilla May 8, 2006 3:06 AM

What cameras typically have larger buffers? Would any be in the category I'm seaching?

jnrob wrote:

The image has to be processed and saved to the flash memory, which takes time.
Then the buffer can be cleared and used for the next photo.
Higher end cameras have larger buffers and can take a photo while the previous one is processed, which improves shot-to-shot times.

jnrob May 8, 2006 5:36 AM

A DSLR maybe? The Canon XT has a cycle time of 0.4 sec

I think the best compacts have at best 1-1.2 sec cycle time
Actually the Fuji S5200/5600 has a cycle time of 0.7 sec for 3 shots and then slows down to 1.2. Not a compact camera though, but a fairly compact ultrazoom (10x) with decent high ISO performance (iso400) and competitive pricing.

What camera do you have now?

smilla May 8, 2006 10:38 AM

I have the Canon Powershot s300. It's 2MP w/3x zoom (the review says it has a fixed ISO of 100 and goes up to ISO 150 in low light - I had read the review of the 330 accidentally and thought the photos were ISO 50). I guess no matter what camera you have, going over ISO 100 looks pixelated...? It doesn't seem to me that the quality of the photos are very different between the cameras (I don't have the expert 'eye' for these things). How would the ISO and zoom work together, would I have to use a higher ISO setting for a higher zoom (Having shot pos I don't have a clear understanding)? Do the A700 and the Panasonic compacts have the same size buffer as the s300? I guess a bit faster?

One thing I do appreciate about my camera is that I've dropped it twice badly (once on pavement and it dented - it's metal, not plastic), and it still works great. Not to mention it's about 5 years old (so are the batteries, and they drain fast now!). I don't know that the newer cameras are built like this? It seems that they would have to be metal rather than plastic. Though I guess the TZ is metal, though may be too big? I think the LX series is plastic and metal, the A700 is more plastic than metal. I'm not sure what the other compacts w/6x+ zoom are made of... I guess what I really want is my camera with less lag and more zoom.

So I guess this means I'm looking for:
- metal/durable
- movie mode w/sound (the s300 has 640 x 480 - tho it does only for ~4 sec)
- optical viewfinder a plus
- same quality or better photos (from what I can tell...)
- 6x+ optical zoom
- Able to fit in jeans/pants pocket (I could be wrong about the size of the a700 being small enough...).
- low in the lag department

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