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Camera Question for 1st Time Italy...I'm no great photographer

Camera Question for 1st Time Italy...I'm no great photographer

Old Aug 7th, 2009, 11:45 AM
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Camera Question for 1st Time Italy...I'm no great photographer

We are going to Italy for the very first time-yippeee!-in about 5.5 weeks. I want to take a small, easy to use point and shoot camera. My son has a Canon Powershot SD850 that we gave him before he went to Italy last year (yes, he got to go before I did!). It is 8 megapixels with a 4X optical zoom. I was taking some pics with it recently and my aunt had a Sony Cybershot (don't remember the model). Her LCD showed a much clearer picture than the Canon did. This made me start thinking, not that I'm not thinking about the trip a gazillion times a day anyway. I am considering buying a Sony Cybershot W290 that has 12.1 megapixels and a 5X optical zoom (around $200). I need the sage advice of someone who knows much more about these things than I. Should I spend the $ and buy the Sony or am I just fine using the Canon?
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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I love the Canon Powershot line. I'm planning to buy a SD750 (that's what we use at my office).

But for European travel, I have always just used disposable cameras. I prefer their convenience and have some fantastic photos (I take a couple regular, and one panoramic).
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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I say use the Canon. I have the very same model and my pictures turned out great. Your aunt's LCD screen may be clearer, but what you want to see is how the pictures compare. More megapixels won't do you any good, and 4x zoom is certainly adequate for what I think you will want to do with your camera.

Here is a link to my pictures, taken with the same camera as yours, if you want to see whether they would be clear enough for you.
http://aprillilacsphotos.shutterfly.com/

Have a fabulous trip!
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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When I last bought a camera a couple of years ago, my choice came down to a Canon Powershot, a Sony and a Panasonic. I tried taking pictures with all three, and image quality was excellent on all.

I decided on the Canon for a couple of silly reasons - They take SD cards which were more easily available, cheaper, and card readers for them are more easily found on laptops. At the time the Sony used memory sticks - its own format which were less common and more expensive.

Secondly, the Canon took standard AA batteries rather than a chargeable battery pack. Many people prefer the latter, but should it go wrong, or run out of charge, it is far more difficult to replace than normal batteries which are available anywhere.

As stated above, the viewfinder of a camera is only there as a representation of the photo - it has far fewer pixels than the sensor, so the clarity of the image on the viewfinder is a bit of a red herring.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:14 PM
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You need to see the photos on your computer, or even better printed out to compare them. 8MP is plenty, and 4x optical zoom is fine if you don't want to capture lots of fine detail or wildlife. Never use the digital zoom!
Use the Canon and save your money, the difference in zoom is not significant and unless you are planning on printing some of your photos as posters you don't need the MP.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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I say go with one of the Panasonic cameras with a wide-angle lens. You will constantly find yourself in tight spaces and the wide-angle will enable you to get more of what you see in your pictures.

Other than the Panasonic, I would stick with the Canon. Not worth the money for the Sony. For most of the cameras in this range the picture quality is going to be pretty comparable.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:25 PM
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Suze-Thanks for the vote on the Canon, it will give me more to spend in Italy!
Aprillilacs-Wow! Your photos are beautiful. From the close ups to the distance shots they cam out superb.
Willit-Someone else mentioned to me about the special card that Sony takes. Thank you for also talking about the battery situation. I'm taking the Canon.
hetismij-Thanks for seconding the Canon vote. I can buy an extra card or two and save the rest for developing . I would like to blow some shots up a put on the wall when I return but not to poster size. Why shouldn't you ever use the digital zoom?
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Digital zoom is very poor quality - it is not real zoom but a computer version of zoom. It very quickly produces pixellated photos which look just awful. While you can correct a lot of mistakes with good software that is one thing you can't correct.
An 8MP camera will produce good prints up to about 16" x 20" .
Take some extra cards, and when you change them slide the little write protect tab up so that you can't accidentally write over your earlier photos.

Have fun!
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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I love my Canon PowerShot SD450, and it's a bit older--only 5 MP but does a great job. It took all these photos AND the videos:

http://ellenem.shutterfly.com/

Be sure the extra cards you buy are high speed (although probably all the cards now are high speed).

Also, I love the rechargeable NB-4L battery pack. The recharger works in Italy--all you need is a cheap plug adapter.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 12:55 PM
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The other issue with digital zoom is that it is completely unnecessary. You can do the exact same thing that the camera is doing using the software on your computer. You might as well capture the larger image and crop down to what you ultimately want, rather than doing it prior to the shot.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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"Test drive" your memory card(s) before you leave home. My husband has a Canon (a few years old, and I don't know which model) and had some problems. The Kingston 512MB High Speed SD card was not compatible with the camera. (Not a bad card because it worked in my camera.) After purchasing a high capacity card he learned that the camera doesn't support HC cards. So, my newer Panasonic inherited both. Lucky me!
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 02:15 PM
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hetismij-thank you for your advice on the little tab, God forbid I write over my precious pics! I'll probably only go as large as 8 x 10 or so, so I should be OK on how clear they look.
ellenem-I too, have an older Canon. I think it's an A580, but it is a bit larger and heavier so that's why I'm taking the little Elph camera. Your pictures are beautiful! What great colors. I can't wait.
travelgourmet-not having a really good photo software program, I will saty away from trying anything to daring and hopefully they will come out just fine. Maybe this will be my clue to get an updated computer (laptop even) with a good photo program.
jean-sage advice of one who has been there. Yes, I thought about doing some trial run things. I'm looking for sales on the high speed cards each week so I can get a couplew of extras.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 02:23 PM
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galelstorm - You don't need great software. The camera surely doesn't have great software. It is doing a simple zoom function. That is it. You can do the same with the free IrfanView software, for instance.

The optical zoom doesn't increase the data you receive when you take the picture, it simply tosses away some of the information that it could otherwise collect. In other words, suppose you take a picture without digital zoom, you get 100% of the data (or at least 100% of what your camera can handle). If you do a digital zoom, you might get 70% of that data. Zooming in to the same aspect in IrfanView will leave you with the same 70% of the possible data.

Taking the picture without digital zoom at least gives you the extra 30%, in case you might want it. It won't help you for the zoom shot you think you want, but you might like the non-zoomed shot, so you might as well have it.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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I have a Canon Powershot 800 and LOVE it. I've started using an SLR some lately, but for a point-and-shoot, I have zero complaints about the Canon. Mine has traveled to Europe four times and many places in the US and is none the worse for the wear. I think you'll be really happy with it.

I do agree that if you're buying new memory cards for the trip, you should check them before you go. I would also take a spare battery if you plan on using it most of each day (you can order them on Amazon) - mine does not use AA batteries, but has a battery pack. I'm assuming that the 850 is the same way. I always save my images at the highest resolution I can, just to make sure I can print pictures as large as I want to. You should be able to get to that via the Menu button.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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I'm a big fan of Canon cameras in general, but Panasonic makes one that you should at least look at:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...e=UTF8&s=photo

I'm not a big fan of Sony cameras, I find them over-priced, and I hate Memorysticks (Secure Digital or SD memory cards are far more common, less expensive). That Panasonic is nice for several reasons. First, it is fairly easy to use, has a nice LCD and a great lens for this pricepoint. With a 10X zoom, you will get a lot more shots than a wimpy 4X zoom. This camera also has very good optical image stabilization.

Like most cameras in this price range, it will struggle a bit in low light. Also, it uses proprietary batteries (get at least 2!).

For memory cards, they are so cheap these days, I would buy several 2GB or 4GB cards (quality 4GB cards can be found easily online for well under $10).
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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griz_fan: I like that camera too at that price point.

BUT... Let's not confuse the issue. The Panasonic has 10x zoom because it has such a wide initial angle. If you are standing 100m away from something, you aren't likely to get any closer with the Panasonic than with another camera. For European travel, I will gladly take the extra wide initial angle, as it will help me capture more in my interior shots or when hemmed in by a 16th century square.

However, the 10x zoom on the Panasonic should not be construed as a true super-zoom lens, like you might want for Safari.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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galelstorm--My PowerShot that took those photos you liked (thanks for the compliment) is, indeed, an Elph. I love its quality and especially its teeny size. My friends were very surprised by the quality of the little videos as well. I also use it at times to capture sounds with less concern for the image. I have a few videos of lovely marble floors--my way of capturing a church choir's memorable song without disturbing a worship service.
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Old Aug 7th, 2009, 03:25 PM
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travelgourmet - I completely disagree with your assessment of the zoom on the TZ5. That lens is a 28 - 280mm (35mm equiv.), while the Canon Powershot SD850 provides a 35-140mm (equivalent) focal length. You will get a LOT closer with the Panny... I know it isn't a true super-zoom lens, for for this size and price point, and when compared to the other cameras mentioned so far, you will be able to get a LOT closer.
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Old Aug 8th, 2009, 03:30 AM
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We liked our little Canon with a 4X optical zoom. Nice pics, easy to carry, etc. But we missed so many great photos with that wimpy little zoom. Earlier this year we got a Canon SX10IS with 20X--equivalent to 35mm film 28-560mm zoom. Paid $339 for it and it is so worth it for both the quality of the photos and the expanded possibilities that the more powerful zoom opens up. Drawback is that it will not fit in my shirt pocket, but it will fit in my jacket pocket.
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Old Aug 8th, 2009, 04:49 AM
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galelstorm the best zoon on any camera is the one underneath it - your feet! Certainly for somewhere like Italy it pays to walk around and move in on your subject, rather than relying on the zoom. You'll get sharper pictures that way.
Obviously if you were going on safari it would be a different matter
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