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Old May 31, 2006, 3:44 PM   #1
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I am trying to figure out which would be the best ultra portable camera to buy? The main thing I am looking for is camera size, image quality, ease of menu, and low light pictures. I have read reviews all over the net and I have come to the conclusion that I should buy either the Canon SD630 or the Sony DSC-T9. What do you guys think?
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 2:51 PM   #2
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If you need low light capability, you're really not going to be happy with an ultra-compact - they are currently mutually exclusive. I'm waiting for the Fuji F30, and giving up on a <20mm thick camera that will produce photos with little or no noise above 100ASA. Sadly, for all the great work Steve does in his reviews, the low light performace, imho, really gets almost zero play. I'm not sure if its because of marketing (many cameras perform poorly in low light), or the several page reviews are long enough as it is. It will be several generations before a 1/2.5 ccd can produce decent response without noise, and the increasing drive for MP just makes the situation worse. (I have to remind myself not to dis Sony over memorystick, since I'm getting an xD camera...heck, I buy new cards with every camera anyway)

I really wanted IS, until I realized that a large portion of the shots are candids of people, and people tend to move - generally just as you are pressing the shutter release. Kids never stop moving. So I really need a faster CCD, not IS. In this size range, nobody makes an f/2 or faster lens, so that's out of the picture, too.

Unfortunately, I can only provide a warning, not a comparison of the cameras you've selected. I've looked at a lot of cameras over the past few weeks trying to find a "take anywhere" camera. Somehting like the Yashica T4super film camera I have in my film bag. Great photos, dead simple, pocketable.

Try and seach out some photoblogs with actual low light images from the T9 and SD630. Download the full size images and look at the Exif data (I'm not sure canon gives iso, though - my G6 doesn't).

Disclaimer: I'm a bit of an available light snob, my favorite combo being a Nikon 85/1.8 on my F4s with 100 film, and I've gotten to where I can handhold it to around 1/45s most of the time. When I have to use flash, I almost always try to get a unit with an external flash that I can bounce.
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 3:18 PM   #3
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I guess the technology hasn't cought up yet to meet my need, a thin camera that takes great pics in any environment, including low-light. Well, I guess I have to sacrifice taking pics in low lights. For those people that have either of these cameras can you please give me your inpressions?
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Old Jun 1, 2006, 4:21 PM   #4
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At least if lower light would include stationary targets image stabilization should be must.
And there ain't such thing as "best" camera, only best compromises for each requirements.


Overzeetop wrote:
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I'm waiting for the Fuji F30, and giving up on a <20mm thick camera that will produce photos with little or no noise above 100ASA.* Sadly, for all the great work Steve does in his reviews, the low light performace, imho, really gets almost zero play.* I'm not sure if its because of marketing (many cameras perform poorly in low light)
I'm not waiting anything else than PR BS frm it.

And how about this reason: not a single of these trendy and media sexy "high ISO" cameras produces images which withstand closer/critical inspection and would realize all those PR BS claims... also hig ISO is often selectable only in some special modes.
Even much touted sensor of Fuji has barely one stop noise advantage, rest comes from very effective&strong noise removing.

Advances in sensor manufacturing have been more than seized by headless megapixel race and noise levels haven't jumped only because of introduction of stronger and stronger NR processing. No amount of PR BS and advertising lies can change laws of physics.
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Old Jun 2, 2006, 8:40 AM   #5
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I've seen your skepticism in other posts - do you have a particular beef with Fuji (xD, perhaps?) or do you just not like them?

I'm not going to defend the questionable claim of quasi- image stabilization - that's definitely marking crud, but the noise on their sensors (in other, older cameras I've owned) seems to be better than some of the other offerings. Also, here's a link to a picture at ISO800 from a reviewer in France:

http://pacher.netliberte.org/pp/imag...atue_small.jpg

It's one of the best images of the lot, but the noise level is almost unbeliveable for a camera of this size. There is an ISO 1600 image there too (the whole page is at http://www.newtale.eu/bis/index.php/...ask/view/id/24 ) that is decent (printable, maybe to 5x7) and a 3200 image that looks like it got caught in a photoshop artistic filter. Having seen what the normal crop of contenders seems to produce at ISO200, I'd say the fuji - processed or not - is performing at 2 stops better than the competition.

I generally don't bother with the marketing fluff, and have taken even the normal review sites with a bit of sodium chloride, instead looking for user pictures to determine whether or not the images created will be acceptable to me. The more difficult the conditions, the more I like the shots people post. Anyone can find a perfectly lit set of boats or flowers and make a digicam look great. I want to see how they perform when the lighting isn't perfect.

Quite honestly, I coudn't care less that this is a "new" sensor, or that you can take a picture at 3200. What I do like is the results I've seen, given similar results from other cameras in this size range.
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