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View Full Version : Down to three, sony DSC W1, Canon S410, or the diamge/mimolta G400...Please help



KOT
08-09-2004, 09:04 PM
I am getting close, approaching camera hunt burn-out. However I am still unable to make a final decision on one of three cameras. The sony DSC W1, Canon S410, or the diamge/mimolta G400...Please help. I am a camera novice but am willing to learn and grow if this will will result in better pictures. Basically I want a compact camera to take family photos indoors and out and during probable low light on occasion. I also travel on vacations to outdoor locations like alaska and montana to camp.. Which of the three cameras above is best? or is there something else that I need to consider??

Thanks,

eastbluffs
08-09-2004, 10:35 PM
I just spent 2 solid days in the same burn-out. It finally came down to Sony W1, Canon S60 (new), and Fuji E550 or Fuji 700. I'm very novice too so keep that in mind when reading. This is a product of about 20 hours of research and a few visits to the local photo shop.

I untimately purchased the Canon S60. I think you should check it out.

The more I read about Fuji's, the easier to remove from the list. However I did like the big separation of flash on the Fuji 700 so no red-eye, it has very low shutter-lag (critical to good family photography in my opinion), and the 700 has an AF Illuminator to help in low-light stuff. However a shoot-out on another sight showed poor performance in shadowed detail and the new Super CCD still had more noise than other cameras in extreme conditions.

Canon gets their CCD's (the light collector) from Sony, so the W1 and S60 must have the same. The digital camera's all have processors to do stuff with the pic after collection, as well as processes to decide on things before the shot, so that's the main difference in photo quality. In general, the Canon,s are softer and the Sony's are sharper. I perfer sharper, but if the camera has a RAW mode, you can just do all that later (if so inclined). I don't know much about RAW, but several pros made this observation.

I finally decided on the Canon S60. Mainly for the 28mm wide angle lense and because being a slightly higher-end camera it has more gismos, options, and tricks - and it has an inherent lense cover which I like. The 28mm lense still 80% of the reason though. In reading why they could do it, it appears possible due to more advanced lense crafting technology. There has to be a reason why they all don't have it, must be difficult to make.

For this, I gave up a slightly faster (shorter) shutter-lag, huge LCD, and AA batteries. It was a very difficult choice.

I went to Butterflyphoto.com. I called them in person and they practically jumped out of their seats to lower their already rock-bottom prices ($389 for a $499 camera and no tax). I got their 5 year extended warranty for $79 (instead of $149), and a 1GB High Speed CF card for $179 (instead of $229). I highly recommend calling in person and sighting some reason they should lower prices.

Hope this helps!
Brad

picfriendly
08-09-2004, 11:31 PM
Hello,

I read what you wrote regarding www.butterflyphoto.com and I am very interested. I have never bought anything online so that was why I was thinking of buying from Best Buy, Good Guys, Frys, etc.

I was always worried that online buying was not really reliable, am I wrong? Were you satisfied w/ what you bought? I really want a long warranty because I am such a clutz, you said you bought one is this just as good as the store ones?

Basically any info or personal experience would be greatly appreciated!!!!
:p

speaklightly
08-10-2004, 08:59 AM
I have had great success in making digital camera purchases on the internet. Use a pricing website like www.shopping.com or www.pricegrabber.com. Those sites will show you who is offering the lowest price and the ratings on the store. I always go with the recommended stores and have had no problems.

As far as extended warranties, most do not cover accidental damage. Their coverage is for digital camera defects. HP offers an extended warranty on their digital cameras that does include accidental coverage.

I hope that helps.

Sarah Joyce

eastbluffs
08-11-2004, 11:51 PM
First, regarding satisfaction with Butterflyfoto:

Got the S60, RepairTech warranty, and a 1GB "High Speed" CF card.

The warranty is applicable to any camera, so you could buy one in a store and get the warranty on-line. You just have to get it all done in the same 30 days. Sarah's comment about accidental damage is well taken, however I've now had my last 2 cameras (both Nikon) break with factory defects, the most recent a Nikon E5000 after 2 1/2 years. Wish I had this warranty on it.

The "High Speed" card was a real no-name brand, to the point of having no phone number, no warranty card (or any paper), no web site, in fact no way of collecting on the 5 year warranty (brand DigitalVisions). I had submitted to rather high pressure sales - said yes after the 4th "No". To my surprise, they agreed to give me a full refund based upon my reluctance. Their return policy sited a 10% restock fee (and their small print excluded all Sony digital cameras by the way).

I may be returning the S60 because the lense seems to greatly distort the subject at 28mm. I believe I'll loose $38 (10%) on restocking, but better than being dissatisfied.

They also don't take back the warranty, but since I haven't registered it they did agree to adjust the level if I get a more expensive replacement (ie: if I go for a $900 camera, they'll take back the $500 warranty to sell me the higher one).

I am still less than certian that it'll all go as stated, and with Ritz or Costco I would be absolutely certian of a 100% refund without having to offer a reason for the return. That is worth something.

Second, I want to retract my suggestion to look at the Canon S60:

I guess that being burned out on reading reviews, I didn't do a final thorough search on the one I decided to get. I subsequently found all kinds of complaints against the S60. These included:

- Cheaply constructed doors (lense and battery) with many reports of mal-functioning. Warranty may cover these if broken, maybe not.

- Distortion. The 28mm makes people look fatter. Not a great feature for a family photo point-and-click. This might be inherent to wide angle lenses, but my film SLR has a 28mm - 70mm zoom and I've never noticed this kind of distortion. I took a picture of my office and zoomed into a paper that was about 5' away. The lines on the top were at a noticably different angle from the lines on the bottom, on an 8 x 11 page!!! :(

- Excessive noise and purple fringes. I haven't tested for that yet.

- Long shutter lag in dim light. They advertise .05 seconds, but if you include focus and setup time, it is up to 1 second. Several shots in my test refused to "take".

- Poor skin tone. The photos I saw online looked great, but using a flash, the skin was all off. That coupled with any background lines (like door frames, tables, etc) being all out of kilter, the photos looked rediculous.

Granted, one could "get to know" the camera, find its sweet spots and good settings, but for someone just wanting to flip the on button and take a shot of a great moment before it vanishes, don't get the S60.


Third, in case you find it at all interesting, my final choice:

In further reading, I heard nothing but excellent reports on the Minolta G500. It is now replaced with the G600 (6 Megapixel), but Costco was selling the G500 for $350 (not a great price, but fair). However, their return policy is the best.

One pro made an excellent point, that consumers demand new products so much that hype abounds. In the pro market, when something works, they stick to it. Also, they focus on what really counts and tollerate things that could turn off a novice in exchange for something that gives them dependable and excellent results.

So, I decided to go with the tried-and-true. The Minolta G500 has proven itself so that's good enough for me.

Good luck!
Brad

speaklightly
08-12-2004, 02:53 PM
Brad-

We own the G-500 and I agree it is a good little digital camera. However, it does have a rather convoluted menu structure that drives some folks a bit bonkers.

The size is great, very protective case and excellent digital photos. Just a kooky menu structure.

Sarah Joyce

D70FAN
08-12-2004, 03:30 PM
Brad-

We own the G-500 and I agree it is a good little digital camera. However, it does have a rather convoluted menu structure that drives some folks a bit bonkers.

The size is great, very protective case and excellent digital photos. Just a kooky menu structure.

Sarah Joyce

Sarah, At $499 what makes this a better camera than the Canon A80, or several others in it's class?

I tend to shy away from cameras that omit the AF Illuminator function, especially when recommending them for family point-n-shoots as the camera hunting for focus can be very frustrating and can add substantially to perceived shutter-lag. It was the only (and frequently irritating) drawback to my CP990, so I made sure that my wifes DSC S85 had this function.

Since you own several cameras without AF Illuminators (Kodak and Minolta)your insight would be appreciated.

speaklightly
08-12-2004, 05:40 PM
George-

When I purchased my G-500 on the internet last fall it was priced at LESS THAN $US 300. I also own a Canon A-80. It takes great digital photos, but it is nowhere near as small and well protected as the Minolta G-500.

Sarah Joyce

eastbluffs
08-13-2004, 12:35 AM
One other comment on Butterflyfoto and the RepairTech warranty I got from them.

My camera was $389, but retail is $499. They said I couldn't get the warranty for cameras under $400, that it was driven by the retail price. The next higher one they have listed, and the one they display as appropriate for that purchase (and what the salesman said I needed), is for a "$401 - $700 camera" for $149 for the 5 year version. I said another site had an "under $500" one for $79 - they instantly matched it and also now magically stocked an "under $500" version. So they tried to sell me the higher one. Buyer beware. :eek:

Today I called Repairtech and they said the price range is driven by how much you paid, not the retail price. So the initial $49 one for "under $400" would have been enough. They also said they don't do anything to prevent returns prior to activation although Butterflyphoto has a no-return policy that implies otherwise.

They do deliver on what they sell, and their delivery is nearly instant, but their sales tactics are a little less than desirable.

Also note: The no-name brand memory they had was the only brand they stocked and was priced above what Lexar sells for at many other sites.


Sarah,

Thanks for feedback on my new Minolta. The display is tiny, not overly intuitive, and not overly roboust, but I'd trade that for consistantly great photos. Hope the photo quality is all I've heard it is - I'll go for that trade-off.

Went to Disneyland with my little family tonight found it highly portable. Brought the Canon S60 too for comparison. Shutter-lag was slightly longer on the Minolta, and controls also more difficult (on Minolta).

Both were very Icon rich (ie: I'm supposed to know what the different tiny shapes mean) and I couldn't figure out how to review and delete a few shots on the S60 when the memory ran out. It'll take some studying - but then the S60 is probably going back.

One question: Have you looked into the Minolta G600? It looks identical, and the specs are nearly identical in many areas. Since the only reason to buy either one (with poor ergonomics) is for great shooting, I wouldn't want the G600 unless it has the same or better consistant results.

Appreciate all your posts!
Brad

automaton2
10-09-2004, 09:03 AM
hey :D

please let me know :p anyone who has the g600

how do you like it

im googled out reading reviews hunting in forums :eek:


[p.s heres a wild search engine if you like options http://www.yurweb.com ]

so far it looks pretty cool and web photos looked great ;)

John_Reed
10-09-2004, 09:31 AM
I am getting close, approaching camera hunt burn-out. However I am still unable to make a final decision on one of three cameras. The sony DSC W1, Canon S410, or the diamge/mimolta G400...Please help. I am a camera novice but am willing to learn and grow if this will will result in better pictures. Basically I want a compact camera to take family photos indoors and out and during probable low light on occasion. I also travel on vacations to outdoor locations like alaska and montana to camp.. Which of the three cameras above is best? or is there something else that I need to consider??

Thanks,Well, gee, you said you'd reduced your list down to these three, so presumably you've already considered and rejected lots of other cameras, right? But I'd say that you'd have a lot more fun packing around a Panasonic DMC-FZ3 than any of your choices. It's got that stabilized f2.8 Leica lens, faster than any of your choices, and a WAY longer zoom reach, which comes in handy when you spot a Grizzly Bear and don't want to move in for a closeup, know what I mean? As for camping, a guy on the dpreview forum recently took an FZ10 (similar but higher battery power) on a 4-day camping trip, and he took along 4 spare charged batteries. But he didn't come anywhere near running out of charge. For any camera, battery charging can be challenging in the wilderness. Yes, the FZ3 has "only" 3MP, but that's more than enough for great 8X10 prints, so what more do you need?