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Old May 7, 2006, 2:51 AM   #1
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Hey Guys,

I am new to digital cameras and am trying to decide on one before going on a trip in a few weeks. I am looking in particular for a compact point-and-shoot camera that takes crisp, clear pictures when in its "automatic" setting. I would like to budget within around $400US.

Some cameras that I have been looking at so far are

- Canon's SD700 (with Image Stabilization) but it is a little pricey
- Canon SD550 (cheaper, but no Image Stabilization)
- Casio EX-Z850 (cheaper, but rumoured that you have to play with settings to take good pictures)

. I have heard some good things about Panasonic, but I haven't investigated their compact cameras yet.

Ideally, I would like the camera to have the following features:

- Take crisp, clear pictures with a high-quality lens
- 3x optical zoom would be sufficient
- Optical Image Stabilization would be nice
- Video isn't terribly important
- Compact and solidly built
- Larger 2" to 3" LCD screen
- Metal casing preferred
- Rechargeable Li-ion battery preferred over AAs
- I would like it to be reasonably quick inbetween photos

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

Thanks!
Bryan

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Old May 7, 2006, 3:32 AM   #2
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The Panasonix DMC-FX9 seems to receive good reviews, is cheap, and offers image stabilization. Any opinions on this camera?

Thanks,
Bryan
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Old May 7, 2006, 2:02 PM   #3
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The Fujfilm FinePix F10 and F11 are also receiving great reviews on www.dpreview.com. The sample pictures also look pretty great! I think I am leaning more towards this camera now. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Bryan
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Old May 8, 2006, 9:46 PM   #4
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Maybe we should just let you continue your learning curve.

The F10/11 has no optical viewfinder and the LCD is poor in bright sunlight and has low resolution. They have improved the LCD substantially with the new F30, but the prices haven't come down much. They are the best cameras on the market for high ISO capability. If you shoot a lot of action in limited light, high ISO is superior to stabilization.

The SD700 looks to be a great camera but there aren't any good reviews yet. They are claiming better than average noise at higher ISO plus stabilization. Stabilization lets you shoot handheld in low light but it doesn't help for subject motion. The combination should be good. Plus it has a good optical viewfinder, high quality LCD and 4X zoom. The SD550 is a good camera but without the features of the SD700. It has an excellent sensor and optics plus a strong flash. The SD550 should make a good general purpose camera.

I would prefer the FX01 to the FX9 because of the wide angle capability. They are both competent cameras with high quality LCDs but no optical viewfinder.

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Old May 8, 2006, 10:01 PM   #5
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Thank you for your comments.

Yeah, I had read about the poor LCD screens on the F10. The F11 did improve somewhat though, from 115,000 pixels to 153,000 pixels. The F30 is significant step up to 230,000 pixels though.

My problem is that I really like the specs of the F30, but I would have to wait, and by that time it may be too late to purchase for my trip. Also, the price of the F30 will be significantly more and availability on eBay would be scarce. Local stores are taking preorders on the F30 in the $480CAD price range (and then you have to add 15% Canadian taxes). The Canon SD700 is availble on eBay, but even there it sells for considerably more than the F11.

It seems like the F11 is great except for the low-resolution screen. I think I could live with that, so long as it takes great pictures. I can also live without the optical viewfinder, because I find that I never use it on my Mom's camera anyways.

Thanks once again,
Bryan
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