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Old Sep 1, 2006, 10:57 AM   #1
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I am going crazy trying to figure out which camera I should get. I had a Sony cybershot dsc-p71 and it died on me a few months ago, since then I have been camera-less :sad:

I don't need anything fancy, I just want a point and shoot (similar to what I had before)The only thing that bothered me about my old camera was the delay between telling it to take the picture and it actually taking the picture.

I have been looking at Sony (specifically DSC-P200, DSC-W70), and Kodak
People have told me to look at Canon, but they seem to be quite advanced even at the point and shoot level.

I tend to take pictures of just about everything, from landscapes, to my dogs, to my 1 year old niece ... so I really need a jack of all trades.

Also, I need to keep the cost down since money is tight.

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Old Sep 1, 2006, 12:34 PM   #2
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Most of the compact digital cameras available will function well in a fully automatic mode as a point and shoot. You have a few decisions to make. One is camera size. The smaller ulta compacts will fit comfortably in a jeans pocket. There isn't really much of a tradeoff in image quality any more there either; there's a bit more of a tradeoff in features and a bit of a premium in price for the convenience.

The different top brands all have their strengths:

Cannon:
A series - If it's less important to have a "ultra" compact, these are some of the best cameras for the price. You get top image quality and a nice feature set.
A530 - great value on a budget.
A540, A620 - good value and features
A710 IS - Image stabilization is highly recommeded oin a point and shoot, and this gives you that with Canon image quality and ease of use.

SD700 IS - This is the best pure point and shoot on the market in my view. IS in a pocket camera with clas leading image quality and great performance. Some of the other SD models I feel may be a bit pricey compared to comparable Sony models, but I think the IS makes this one worth it if it's in the budget.

Sony:
W series - I really like these as a budget ultra compact. On a tight budget, I would lean toward the W50 rather than pay for the extra MP of the W70. Image quality and overall quality is top notch, I think comparable to Canon. These also have the option of some manual controls available, if you choose to use them.

Panasonic:
All pansonic models have optical image stabilization built in. As I've mentioned, this is highly recommended in a point and shoot; it will significanlty improve your percentage of sharp photos. If the canon IS models seem a bit pricey, please check out Panasonic. Their weakness is in image noise at higher ISOs, so you won't get quite as good performace indoors or in low light. But if most of your photos are outdoors, you'll get excellent image quality. And, because of the IS you will often be able to use slower shutter speeds in low light, so it's really not *bad* there either.

FX01 - gives you all that in an ulta compact, plus a nice 28mm wide angle, and available for around $260
LS2 - A bit larger, may be worth comparing to Canon A series, particularly similarly priced A530.

Fuji:
Fuji is beating everyone in higher ISO performance. They don't offer IS, but the high ISO performance is so good it might be a worthwhile tradeoff.
F20 - is currently available for around $230. Pocketable point and shoot with very nice image quality, particularly indoors, with or without a flash.
F30 - similar quality to F20, but you pay a bit more for better battery life and more manual controls. That may not be needed if you just want to point and shoot, but it will work well as a pont and shoot as well.

Kodak:
The easyshare series are very popular with point-and-shooters for ease of use, and relieability. They win awards for customer satisfaction. Also very good red eye reduction in most. Good image quality, though maybe just a bit short of the best here if you are picky. Check out the "V" series models for ultra compacts, or the "C" series models for slightly larger budget compacts to compare to the Canon "A" series.

Casio:
Their ultra slim models are popular for those for whom small size, convenience, and price are important, with some tradeoff in image quality.

Since you seem to be leaning toward a budget ultra compact, I'd suggest comparing the W50/W70, F20, and FX01. But take a look at the SD700IS as well.

Also, note that the Fuji and Sony models use more expensive proprietery memory cards. They're not *that* much more, and the cameras are still bargains after buying a memory card. But if you are a person who would want to buy several memory cards, you might find an SD card based model more economical in the long run, even if a bit pricier up front.


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Old Sep 2, 2006, 9:24 AM   #3
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I have looked at the Canon because everything I have read says that they have some of the best image quality, and I have noticed online that you can get lens attachments which would be cool if I get more into Photography.

The only thing I have noticed when playing with them in the store they don't seem as user friendly as the Sony/Kodak (both of these seem to pop up on the screen and tell you what that setting is used for)

I do like the idea of the A710IS because I seem to have shaky hands ... looking for cameras is driving me crazy :? !!!!
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Old Sep 3, 2006, 8:43 AM   #4
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Ken, that's a heckuva post!

One thing I would add: Canon P&S cameras seem to have a particularly hard time with redeye. That said, I really enjoy my A620, and it's articulating LCD has proven useful on a few occasions.
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Old Sep 3, 2006, 5:32 PM   #5
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I've owned only 3 cameras so far so my experience may not really be of value:

Olympus D-560/ C350 --bought in 2003
My first camera. What I like about Olympus cameras in particular is the 2 in 1 feature wherein you can take 2 photos and they are merged into 1 photo side by side. Makes good Dad/son or mom, son pics. But this feature in Olympus cameras have when using Olympus xD cards. Its a 3 year old camera running on 2 AA batteries so flash recycle was not that fast. And the delay you describe when taking photos was noted on this.


Kodak C360 --bought in 2005
The main reason for buying this is the ability to capture video at 640x480 mp4 @ 24fps which is fast enough that it is not choppy (anything faster than 23fps will be seen by the human eye as smooth video). I get about 35-37 minutes worth in a 1GB SD card. The manual states that it can handle 2 GB SD cards. Ease of use of Kodak is definitely a big plus. Uses 2 AA batteries, delay in taking photos not noted (might have been due to advances in technology).

Fujifilm F30
Is probably the current standard for indoor handheld no flash photography thanks to it's high ISO capabilities yet with low noise/grainy appearance (comparable to the Nikon D50 DSLR if you look at the ISO 800 comparison done side by side in the F30's review @dpreview. Flashless photography is kind of important since best photos of kids is when they are being themselves. having the flash suppressed (off) will not distract them.

The F30 uses a proprietary battery (supposedly good for 580 shots) and the maximum memory that the F30 can handle is the 2GB xD card.
In my opinion, the absence an optical viewfinder is no issue since the battery holds its own. Whereas those who desire the presence of an optical viewfinder may argue that, "if it is bright and sunny and I can't see the screen." A no brainer reply is that God gave us 2 hands hence the other hand can act as the shade. I guess that common sense approach applies to any digital camera . :G

Another nice feature in recent Fujifilm cameras is the natural light +flash option which literally takes 2 photos: 1 without flash (higher ISO kicks in) and 1 with the flash.

The downsides to the F30 pertains more to the accessories: xD cards cost more than SD cards. And that an extra branded battery and external charger costs a lot (but third party extra batteries/chargers are available online at a fraction of the cost). But with a battery good for 580 shots, I doubt if the need for an extra battery will arise.

I got my F30 for $312 ($280 + money order + shipping). The F20 is out and costs somewhere in the $230s. It may be a good enough P & S should you opt for a less expensive option.
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Old Sep 19, 2006, 8:55 PM   #6
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This is SO very helpful!! Thank you for posting this. I'm going nuts also trying to find a great point and shoot with IS that is small - I will go up in price if the shots are worth it - I need both good inside and outside shots.

I have a T30 from Sony which has been a huge let down. The color of the photographs are just awful.

Thank you again.


kenbalbari wrote:
Quote:
Most of the compact digital cameras available will function well in a fully automatic mode as a point and shoot. You have a few decisions to make. One is camera size. The smaller ulta compacts will fit comfortably in a jeans pocket. There isn't really much of a tradeoff in image quality any more there either; there's a bit more of a tradeoff in features and a bit of a premium in price for the convenience.

The different top brands all have their strengths:

Cannon:
A series - If it's less important to have a "ultra" compact, these are some of the best cameras for the price. You get top image quality and a nice feature set.
A530 - great value on a budget.
A540, A620 - good value and features
A710 IS - Image stabilization is highly recommeded oin a point and shoot, and this gives you that with Canon image quality and ease of use.

SD700 IS - This is the best pure point and shoot on the market in my view. IS in a pocket camera with clas leading image quality and great performance. Some of the other SD models I feel may be a bit pricey compared to comparable Sony models, but I think the IS makes this one worth it if it's in the budget.

Sony:
W series - I really like these as a budget ultra compact. On a tight budget, I would lean toward the W50 rather than pay for the extra MP of the W70. Image quality and overall quality is top notch, I think comparable to Canon. These also have the option of some manual controls available, if you choose to use them.

Panasonic:
All pansonic models have optical image stabilization built in. As I've mentioned, this is highly recommended in a point and shoot; it will significanlty improve your percentage of sharp photos. If the canon IS models seem a bit pricey, please check out Panasonic. Their weakness is in image noise at higher ISOs, so you won't get quite as good performace indoors or in low light. But if most of your photos are outdoors, you'll get excellent image quality. And, because of the IS you will often be able to use slower shutter speeds in low light, so it's really not *bad* there either.

FX01 - gives you all that in an ulta compact, plus a nice 28mm wide angle, and available for around $260
LS2 - A bit larger, may be worth comparing to Canon A series, particularly similarly priced A530.

Fuji:
Fuji is beating everyone in higher ISO performance. They don't offer IS, but the high ISO performance is so good it might be a worthwhile tradeoff.
F20 - is currently available for around $230. Pocketable point and shoot with very nice image quality, particularly indoors, with or without a flash.
F30 - similar quality to F20, but you pay a bit more for better battery life and more manual controls. That may not be needed if you just want to point and shoot, but it will work well as a pont and shoot as well.

Kodak:
The easyshare series are very popular with point-and-shooters for ease of use, and relieability. They win awards for customer satisfaction. Also very good red eye reduction in most. Good image quality, though maybe just a bit short of the best here if you are picky. Check out the "V" series models for ultra compacts, or the "C" series models for slightly larger budget compacts to compare to the Canon "A" series.

Casio:
Their ultra slim models are popular for those for whom small size, convenience, and price are important, with some tradeoff in image quality.

Since you seem to be leaning toward a budget ultra compact, I'd suggest comparing the W50/W70, F20, and FX01. But take a look at the SD700IS as well.

Also, note that the Fuji and Sony models use more expensive proprietery memory cards. They're not *that* much more, and the cameras are still bargains after buying a memory card. But if you are a person who would want to buy several memory cards, you might find an SD card based model more economical in the long run, even if a bit pricier up front.

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