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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 19, 2006, 10:23 PM   #1
Member
 
drgrafix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 39
Default

I'm thinking about my options for a new PnS and I'd like some of these features:

1. Ultra-Compact - Size-Wize, I think the Casio card series would be fine, although there are a couple of Nikons, Sony's and maybe something else that is ultra-thin, pocketable, and takes nice pix.

2. Lens Quality - I don't know much about Casio lenses, but of course I'm familiar with the Nikon, Canon, and even Sony has decent lenses. How good are Casio lenses, and also, is there a significant advantage to telescoping lenses vs a fixed internal prism setup?

3. Snap-speed - Just wondering which camera really has the quickest "picture taken" response. I use a Canon now, and I miss so many candids.

4. Megapixels - While 6 is the absolute minimum, I'm open to larger MPs as long as the price isn't more than say.... $400 street.

5. Decent Flash - I'd like to have enough strobe to light a darker room or hall, and I'd hope that it wouldn't be loaded with red-eye issues.

6. Battery Life - For the sake of size, I guess a proprietary battery makes sense, but I want to get a significant amount of shooting before having to re-charge.

7. Zoom - In a sub-compact, I don't think you have much of a choice... its usually 3X optical, but it would be nice to see a camera with 4X or even 5X.

8. Standby - Does anyone currently have a setup that shuts down the LCD but leaves the lens extended and ready?

9. Antishake - Might be a plus if it really works well. MPEG movies that can actually be emailed would be nice, as would be a form-fitting neoprene body glove case.

Cameras that seem close are: Sony DSC-W100, Nikon CoolPix S3, and Casio ZX series. Opinions and advice are appreciated

Doc
drgrafix is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 20, 2006, 11:59 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Justinian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 249
Default

You might consider the Panasonic Lumix FX-01. It has image stabilization, the enormous advantage of a wide angle lens (28mm), 6MP, 2.5 inch LCD with excellent resolution. superbly built and 3.6x. It has excellent battery life too. I bought this camera to replace my Canon SD550 and I love it. The image quality is excellent and the colors are rich and beautifully saturated. JM2C
Justinian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 22, 2006, 11:52 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
Posts: 4,036
Default

1. Ultra-Compact - Size-Wize, I think the Casio card series would be fine, although there are a couple of Nikons, Sony's and maybe something else that is ultra-thin, pocketable, and takes nice pix.

You seem to have a wide range since you listed the Sony W100. If the W100 is OK for size there are dozens of cameras to choose from.

2. Lens Quality - I don't know much about Casio lenses, but of course I'm familiar with the Nikon, Canon, and even Sony has decent lenses. How good are Casio lenses, and also, is there a significant advantage to telescoping lenses vs a fixed internal prism setup?

Take a look at the Casio S600 sample photos in Steve's review. I don't think the Casio made lenses are the best in the business, but most people are happy with the results. Not all cameras of the same brand have the same lens quality. Narrow your choices and look at the sample photos. You can see what ordinary people are doing by looking at photos here: http://www.pbase.com/cameras

3. Snap-speed - Just wondering which camera really has the quickest "picture taken" response. I use a Canon now, and I miss so many candids.

You should take most of your photos by half depressing the shutter. Most cameras anymore are almost instant after you get a focus lock. The Casios are pretty quick for full shutter all at once, as are many other small cameras. Imaging Resource has a timing page (under picky details) for all the cameras they review. Everyone covers speed to some degree but Imaging Resource gives a better picture. Example: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/Z750/Z750DATA.HTM

4. Megapixels - While 6 is the absolute minimum, I'm open to larger MPs as long as the price isn't more than say.... $400 street.

APS cameras with the recommended ASA 400 film were under 2Mp in resolution. P&S 35mm cameras with the recommended ASA 400 film were under 4Mp. A 35mm SLR with good ASA 100 film was equivalent to around 6Mp if you stayed within the chemical process – less if you converted to digital. I like a lot of pixels because I have a wide format printer and like large prints. But most people never go larger than 8.5 X 11 and 6Mp is more than enough. In tiny cameras you start running into density problems with more noise if you want gobs of Mp. I would go by features unless you intend making very large prints.

5. Decent Flash - I'd like to have enough strobe to light a darker room or hall, and I'd hope that it wouldn't be loaded with red-eye issues.

All tiny cameras give red eye if you don't use the multiple flash red-eye reduction, which I don't like to use. Most small cameras aren't great for flash range. You aren't going to light a hall or even large room with the flash on most of them. DCRP have the best red-eye tests.

6. Battery Life - For the sake of size, I guess a proprietary battery makes sense, but I want to get a significant amount of shooting before having to re-charge.

Every review has a battery life report. Narrow down your choices and then check the battery life. DCRP usually has a comparison table for battery life comparing other similar cameras. It is probably the best source for comparing battery life: http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/cameraList.php Battery life has generally improved but there are differences between cameras.

7. Zoom - In a sub-compact, I don't think you have much of a choice... its usually 3X optical, but it would be nice to see a camera with 4X or even 5X.

For credit card sized cameras you are pretty much stuck with 3X. The Panasonic LZ5 is only a little larger than the W100 and is 6X, but neither are really sub-compacts.

8. Standby - Does anyone currently have a setup that shuts down the LCD but leaves the lens extended and ready?

Get something with an optical viewfinder and just turn the LCD off. Many cameras anymore have sufficient battery life that it isn't a problem leaving it on for short periods. The Casio Z850 for instance takes 440 shots or will run with the LCD on for 220 minutes. It also has an optical viewfinder so you can leave the LCD off if you disable standby.

9. Antishake - Might be a plus if it really works well. MPEG movies that can actually be emailed would be nice, as would be a form-fitting neoprene body glove case.

There are two kinds of anti-shake: optical and digital. For still photos the difference is about the same as the difference between optical and digital zoom. Digital anti-shake is poor for still photos but has some utility for movies. All cameras I know of with optical stabilization (mechanical) have anti-shake that works well for still shots and better than digital for movies.

You can e-mail any movies. If you send MPEG4 movies to someone with an Apple or Quicktime movies to someone with a PC they might have to download software to watch them. The biggest issue is size. MPEG4 is about a quarter the size of MPEG and Quicktime movies. Some companies have compression that is almost as effective as MPEG4. Even with MPEG4 a one minute best quality VGA movie is going to be in the 25Mb range. You can lower quality and get down to 12Mb, and that isn't too bad for movies without a lot of motion. You can go to 320 X 240 movies at standard quality MPEG4 and probably e-mail a short movie to someone with dial-up, but that size isn't very good and I wouldn't consider e-mailing a movie to anyone who didn't have broadband.

Whatever you buy go to the board for that camera and ask what cases people were happy with. You can usually find what you want. I don't know of a camera that comes from the manufacturer with a decent case, and the bundles are usually rip-offs.

It is hard to know what you might be looking for since you talk about card cameras and say you are considering a W100. There are a lot of cameras to consider but none that fill all the requirements.

Casio S600. A tiny 6Mp camera with MPEG4 movies. Most people on Casio boards seem happy with the results. The flash is limited to about 9 feet in wide but the Casio flash assist works well, and that will take you to about 25 feet in wide. Flash assist is a lot more sophisticated than just cranking up the ISO and works well for normal display and print sizes. You would probably want to apply noise reduction for a large print though. It has digital anti-shake that is evidently OK for movies but it has no optical stabilization or high ISO capability for low light. Casios are a lot more configurable than the competition. It is rated for about 300 shots with the LCD on, but no camera will last long with the auto standby and power off disabled when just left on.

Panasonic FX9 and FX01. The "X" rating starts with the widest angle, so you give up a little telephoto range with the wide angle on the FX01. Even so I think the wide angle is more useful for general photography than the slight extra telephoto. Leica has been making good lenses for Panasonics.

The Sony T9 or T30 I think are better choices than the S3. They have true optical stabilization and better than average ISO 400 noise. They also have a much better f-stop capability at zoom, which is where you need it.

Probably the camera that comes closest is the Casio Z850. It is smaller than the W100 with a large LCD and optical finder, so you can leave the LCD off. At a second and a half from pushing the on button to taking a picture I don't think you will have to carry it around that way. And at 440 shots per charge with the LCD on I don't think you have to turn it off. It has an excellent non-Casio lens and full manual everything if you want to use it. The flash is strong even without flash assist. It has a movie light, MPEG4, will take 3 flash shots in a second and has a good burst mode without flash. People report the movies aren't as good as the Z750 movies, but Steve says movies are OK and seems to like the compression better than the S3. It doesn't have true optical stabilization but the digital stabilization seems to work fine for movies like the S600. It isn't as small as the S600 but it is a better camera IMO. It is lighter than the S3, T9 or T30.

If you can tolerate something bulkier but still pocketable the Fuji F30 has a lot going for it. It has an excellent lens and the noise at higher ISO is better than anything but a DSLR. It is a good camera for limited light and the high ISO gives it good flash range.




slipe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 23, 2006, 9:52 PM   #4
Member
 
drgrafix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 39
Default

I can see why this process is such a dilemma. Since I posted, I went to BB, CC, and Ritz Camera to try a hands-on. I think I've narrowed down my favs to the Sony T30 and the Casio EX-600 based on ergonomics. Both are relatively thin and have a nice list of features. From talking to the people behind the counters, they both also have excellent response time and long-lasting batteries. I've been told that Casio uses lenses manufactured by Pentax FWIW. Maybe that's true, maybe not. At any rate, the reviews for both cameras are pretty good, and picture quality seems to be very favorable too.

The price on the Sony is a bit high, with a few vendors offering it under my "budget" but when you go to their web sites almost all are suggesting "kits" and/or high shipping costs. A few years ago I was buying a digital camcorder and when I told them I wanted just a camera, it was suddenly out of stock. I called back later and got a useless kit but all of a sudden it was in stock. I don't know if we can mention vendor's names here, but I won't.

The feedback to my questions was excellent and very thoughtful. I appreciate the comments and will check out the Casio and Sony boards.
drgrafix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 4, 2006, 12:37 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1
Default

Hi which camera did you end up buying? I'm having the same dilemma.
tjcad 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 6:08 PM.