Point and shoot cameras - which do you like?

Old Oct 15th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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Point and shoot cameras - which do you like?

I feel a little silly asking this with all the DSLR's aficionados and serious photogs on this board, but I would like to give one of my kids a decent p & s camera for Christmas. We are off to Egypt this winter, and Bots next so he will definitely be able to have fun with it. He could actually use it to make a presentation for school on Egypt, which all the kids study at some point.
I am looking for Image stabilization, decent zoom (for Botswana, I think we will be able to get close enough to the pyramids to get good pictures), 3 - 6 mega pixels and above all, decent pictures. Oh, and not too expensive and somewhat sturdy, although he will take care of the camera.
Any suggestions?
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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Take a look at the DMC-FZ18 by panasonic. it has 18x optical zoom and 8.1 megapixels. It is getting very good reviews in the photo mags I have read. official price is $399 but have found it as low as $249 online. Friend just got one and I played with it last week. Will be getting one soon.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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Less expensive, but maybe OK is panny TZ3. TZ stands for Travel Zoom.
Jess
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Canon S3. I just took it (and its predecessor, the S2) to Africa, and they worked great. They have IS, they take AA batteries (which is nice if you don't have a charger - Energizer lithiums last forever), and they have a 12x zoom.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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I would have to second the Canon S3, although I am not a "guru" and have not tried the others mentioned. I have the S3 and a lesser p&s that is Canon. Like them both, a lot.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 10:39 AM
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thanks, all, already! Yes, double A's are important, the other cameras use them and it's handy. As are SD memory cards, no proprietary stuff, so that we can switch around, upgrade and download easily. You can get some enormous storage for not much money these days.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Just got the Canon S-3 as a back up & in practicing in bright sun it was very difficult to see through the view finder (very dark). Any thoughts?
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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I really like my 6 MP Canon Elph SD700IS. I got it over a year ago for around $400-500 (don't remember exactly), but I think the price has come down a lot and there are also newer models. I previously had the SD450 and liked it as well, the hugest improvements for me with the 700IS were the image stabilization, smaller camera size, and larger screen. The zoom is 4x optical and 12x digital, and the camera is small enough to fit in a pocket comfortably.

It uses SD memory cards and I think the picture quality is generally very good - on a trip to Istanbul last fall, many of my pictures were as good as the ones my friend took with her fancy Nikon, even those taken at night or in very low light.

The Elph takes rechargeable lithium ion batteries, but I actually prefer them to AAs - I bought an inexpensive spare on Amazon, and on safari I took several hundred pictures a day and a battery lasted about 2 days before running down. The charger is also quite small.

The only drawbacks I've found are that because of the small size it is easy to inadvertently tilt the camera and get an image that is not straight, but I can easily remedy that in iPhoto. Also, when using the digital zoom, image quality obviously degrades - I probably should have been more judicious with my use of it on my recent safari and that is the one thing that has me thinking about getting a DSLR for my next trip.

If you want to see examples of pics taken with the 700IS, I took all of the linked pictures in the recent trip report I did with it.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 11:20 AM
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QDN, in comparison to a DSLR it is darker, smaller, fuzzier. That is because it is an electronic view finder (EVF) and because the makers of such cameras don't think we care about it. Or that we will use the LCD screen on the back instead. Also, the EVF has a diopter adjustment, tiny knob at side of the EVF, make sure it is set up for your eye.

Other than the EVF, my main gripe about the S3 is that my thumb/fingers accidentally press the ISO and/or Menu buttons on the back of the camera.

The S2/S3 takes good quality photos but I use it for video clips and Nikon DSLR for stills.

regards - tom
ps- you can get the S3 on Amazon for $280, no tax, free shipping. I'd prefer it over the S5, from what I've read.
ps again - our Democratic Congress wants to start taxing interstate commerce like this tax free deal with Amazon.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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To keep with me in my bag, I just picked up an inexpensive Canon Power Shot A560, 7.1 Megapix, 4X Optical Zoom for less than $150. Uses AA batteries (but I use AA rechargeables).

Made certain when buying that it had a viewfinder, as most of the small light pocket-sized cameras don't. This does have a large 3" view window, but when the sun hits it you can't see a thing.

While this Canon doesn't use the same media as my Fuji, the prices are so low (2Gb @ $25) this wasn't even a consideration.

Remember, the more bells/whistles, the higher the price. This one is a perfect p&s and will do justice for pics in Egypt. When we visited, digital was just coming on the market, but I got great pics with my 35mm 150zoom. No problem getting those big Pyramids into focus.

For Africa though, while not a DSLR, my Fuji has a 10X Optical zoom, which if the next model up is 12X or 14X, will be buying that - if the price is right.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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What is a good & easy camcord? Want good picture, it also has to be of little weight. Thanks
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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We used a Canon 12X optical zoom. I dont remember the model. It has all kinds of bells and whistles, but we are rank amateurs and only used the zoom. It gave us all we needed. We also took an Olympus 3x optical zomm that fit easily in my pocket and was sufficient for lodge, street, distant shots and spontaneous moments. We switched up and back on safari (plus our binocs). This was more than sufficient.
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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canon powershot s3
just saw the s5 for $329 more features but basically same camera
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Old Oct 15th, 2007, 07:13 PM
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sandi

Did you find that your Fuji X10 zoom was adequate for taking shots of the birds and animals on the trip.?

I do not want to take a SRL camera and a lot of extra lens with me.
I like the simple point and shoot Canon cameras with a good zoom.

Look I am no Bill Hilton !!!!

Hi Bill (from Arizona) I saw and saved your website for your trips to Kenya and Tanzania on January and April of 2006 and January of 2007.
Great picturs all of them... I saw part of your camera gear when that cheetah jumped on the roof of your van( 4x4)!!!

Percy
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Old Oct 16th, 2007, 01:17 AM
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Hmmm... so many infos here. Good and bad. Here's my take (as an amateur photographer with multiple DSLR's, lol):

First of all, here's what you should look for:
- A fast AF (auto focus)
- A small shutter lag
- Low noise (useable ISO200 or even 400)
- A good zoom reach (6x-12x zoom)
- Good optics (test score 8/10 or more on www.dpreview.com)
- A lens that starts wide enough (under 30mm, not above)
- Stabilisation technique on lens or sensor.

If you take all these into account, then it you will soon find out; none has all of these (yet). Some things (like AF speed and shutter lag) got waaay better since the beginning of digicams, but other things are still hard to find.

For instance; a useable high ISO. Producers tend to cram always more pixels in a constant sensor size, which gives lotsa noise at ISO 200 and above. Rather stupid this is, as all those megapixels are worth >>nothing<<. Three to four Mp is more than enough for an A4 size print, plus; the more Mp the higher the price. My 1st advice; do not become a victim of the megapixel race!

Another problem is the mm-race. They make cams now with huge zoom capabilities, but none of these can take a decent picture at the dinner table (I mean; none of their lenses can get wide enough to photograph a complete room in the house). My 2nd advice; do not look for the highest tele-range, look for the lowest wide-range (but still then with adequate zoom capabilities).

I found these models on dpreview that go in the right direction;

Canon
- SX100 IS
- A720 IS
- A650 IS
- Powershot S5 IS
- Powershot G7
- A710 IS
- Powershot S3 IS
- Powershot S2 IS

Konica Minolta
-Dimage Z6
-Dimage Z5
-Dimage A200
-Dimage Z3
-Dimage A2

Nikon
- Coolpix 8800

Olympus
- SP 560-UZ
- SP 550-UZ

Panasonic
- Lumix FZ-18
- Lumix FZ8
- Lumix FZ50
- Lumix FZ7
- Lumix FZ30
- Lumix FZ5
- Lumix FZ20

Sony
- DSC-H3
- DSC-H7
- DSC-H9
- DSC-H5
- DSC-H2

... but most still fail the noise-criteria and the wide-mm-criteria. Some do not even get 8/10 on image quality (THE most important thing IMHO.

So choose wisely.

One last, 3rd, tip from me: do not believe ANYTHING a sales guy says to you. These days they are just shoving boxes, and preferably the box with the highest profit margin. So make up your mind BEFORE you go to the store.

Ciao,

J.
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Old Oct 16th, 2007, 03:12 AM
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Thanks for the info Tom. I can't quite get used to that little EVF so DH can use it for video as you suggested and I'll stick to my N D-50.
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Old Oct 16th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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I'm not a photographer (obviously), but...
I liked my Canon S3 (especially because of the 12x zoom and the Image stabilization).
I got a UV filter which I attached (with adaptor) before I left, and never removed. This makes it a little more bulky, but it protects the lense and also protects the whole zoom mechanism, because the lense and zoom are all inside of the adaptor and UV filter.
If you choose to go in that direction, you need to make sure that your case will fit the camera with the adaptor.
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Old Oct 16th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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PixelPower has lived up to his fodorite signature!

I have the Sony DSC H2 and H9 and like them for their simplicity. I like the H2 for its AA batteries so I can take enough and not worry about recharging if I am not around electricity. I like the results I get.
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Old Oct 16th, 2007, 03:53 PM
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Hi Momliz,

I am looking at upgrading my panny FZ5 to the DMC-FZ18. I am happy with the FZ5 but am upgrading to get better bird pics. Some reviews here - http://tinyurl.com/2qp2zl

Cheers,


Pol
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Old Oct 16th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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what as lot of information - pixelpower, thanks for the tip on wide range - that was not something I was thinking about, but I will be now. And, I am not stressing over megapixels - 3 to 5 is plenty.
Thanks, all!
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