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jfn
08-13-2004, 10:08 PM
Hi all,

I've had a Canon s230 for two years and have been very happy with it. But my mom likes it and offered to take it and pay towards a replacement for me. So I've been looking into replacements that have come up in the past two years. I primarily use this camera at college, taking pictures and videos of friends, as well as on trips for not-too-serious sightseeing/landscape sorts of photos. I have a Canon Elan IIE for serious things. So I'm looking for the following features:
1) Small size - think partying, dancing, etc. with this in your pocket - s230 is good but there is room for improvement
2) Good image quality - I was very happy with the s230, so here I'm looking for same or better image quality, and >=3 megapixels
3) AF illuminator light - lots of pictures in dim lighting and with flash, so I figure this is a necessity
4) Good movie mode - after taking lots of fun movies in the past two years I realize I really care about this - s230 has 30 second movies at 640x480 and I want to be able to record at that resolution (320x240 is a big hit)

So I've been looking at the following cameras, and here are some comments about what I've found:
Canon s410 - no 640x480 movie, could be smaller
Canon sd110 - could be smaller
Canon sd10 - no zoom, no 640x480 movie
Pentax s4i and Casio Exilim z40 - questionable image quality, no AF illuminator, no 640x480 movie

I don't know why high-res movie modes seem harder to find than when I bought my current camera, but I do care about it. So if I comprimise on that, I really would like to have an s4i or a z40, but I've heard mixed reviews on image quality, and I don't think they'd fare well in dim lighting. So I'll probably get an sd110, though it's basically no better than my s230 as far as I see it (same resolution, zoom, barely smaller, same 30sec limit on large movies...).

Basically my ideal camera would be an s4i that has an AF illuminator, better image quality than that lens can provide, and unlimited 640x480 movie mode. I'd shell out for it.

Does anyone have any comments on what I said about these cameras? Or even better, can anyone suggest some other cameras that I haven't mentioned that might fit my needs?

Thanks!
- Jamie

eastbluffs
08-13-2004, 11:53 PM
If you haven't already, check out www.imaging-resource.com. They let you click up to 16 cameras to compare features.

They aren't 100% correct (leave blanks where they don't know) and don't have all the latest cameras (like the Fuji E series), but it'll let you narrow down the features. Then you can do the research on image quality, ergonomics, etc.

They also have a "comparometer" that lets you see side-by-side photos of the same subjects for any 2 cameras.

I'm too novice to suggest a camera for you, but hope that helps!
Brad

jfn
08-14-2004, 01:15 AM
Okay, two cameras I missed:

Sony DSC-T1:
pros: 5 megapixels
3x zoom
as thin as the s4i/exilim
640x480, 30fps movie mode, limited by storage capacity only
af assist lamp
cons: from what i've read so far: some concerns about image quality, but not the kind of distortion i read about with the pentax lens
expensive!
stupid proprietary memory stick

kyocera sl400r:
pros: 4 megapixels
4shots/sec continuous drive
3x zoom
swivel lens design
cons: no af assist lamp
no lens cover
questionable image quality

the dsc-t1 might be my top option at this point (if the image quality and low-light quality is not an issue, i'd be willing to pay for it)... it has almost everything i want

David Metsky
08-16-2004, 07:59 AM
Have you looked at the Nikon 4100, 4200, and 5200? They are roughly the same size as the cameras you mentioned, have good movie modes (especially the 5200) and all have AF lights. My big problem with the 4200 and 5200 is that they use proprietary batteries instead of AA, but that might not be an issue for you.

-dave-

David Metsky
08-17-2004, 02:58 PM
I'm in the hunt for a shirtpocket camera as well. I have an Oly C-720 which I like but it's too bulky to carry easily while skiing or around town.

So, my criteria:

- Rugged to handle abuse (I fall while skiing :o )
- AF lamp for low light indoors shots
- ISO control (no other manual controlls really needed)
- AA batteries (I can compromise on this)
- Small enough to fit in a pocket
- Good movie mode with sound for skiing (toys, but fun toys)
- 3x optical zoom
- 4 MP or so

Everything else is lower down the list. At first I liked the Oly 410, as the weather proof is nice, but it has proprietary batteries and the movie mode is just adequate and no AF-lamp. I also liked the Nikon 4100, but it's a pretty basic P&S without even ISO control. Frankly the Nikon 4200 seems like a much better camera even with the proprietary batteries. The Canon Powershot 410 seems like a really good option, as well as the Sony W1 and T1.

Thoughts?

-dave-

Rhys
08-17-2004, 03:59 PM
I'm in the hunt for a shirtpocket camera as well. I have an Oly C-720 which I like but it's too bulky to carry easily while skiing or around town.

So, my criteria:

- Rugged to handle abuse (I fall while skiing :o )
- AF lamp for low light indoors shots
- ISO control (no other manual controlls really needed)
- AA batteries (I can compromise on this)
- Small enough to fit in a pocket
- Good movie mode with sound for skiing (toys, but fun toys)
- 3x optical zoom
- 4 MP or so

Everything else is lower down the list. At first I liked the Oly 410, as the weather proof is nice, but it has proprietary batteries and the movie mode is just adequate and no AF-lamp. I also liked the Nikon 4100, but it's a pretty basic P&S without even ISO control. Frankly the Nikon 4200 seems like a much better camera even with the proprietary batteries. The Canon Powershot 410 seems like a really good option, as well as the Sony W1 and T1.

Thoughts?

-dave-

You seem already to use Compact Flash. I'd suggest the Canon A70/A75 are good for you. Hardly pocket size and they're restricted to 3 minutes of 320 x 240 video. Having said that, i use 640 x 480 video on my S1 and am addicted.

If you're sending video by email then 320x240 is the better size to use. for 640 x 480 think 2 megabytes per second. This is a major issue with memory cards. You'll only get 2 minutes onto a 256mb card. As most digital cameras now use Secure Digital, which is more expensive than Compact Flash, this might be a problem.

I don't know of any particularly rugged cameras. The Minolta Xt is small but I don't know how delicate its mirror mechanism is.

jfn
08-18-2004, 01:44 AM
None of the Nikons seem small enough to me... I'm definitely being picky about the size here.

The Sony DSC-P100 got very good reviews on the sites I've seen, though it hasn't been reviewed here or on dpreview. It's quite small (1.0 inches thick), has supposedly very good image quality, AF illuminator, 5 megapixels, and 640x480 movies at 30fps until the card is full. Does anyone have any comments about this camera? Currently that's my favorite on the list, though I still might get the Canon SD110 because it's an inch shorter and slightly thinner, though it doesn't have that super movie mode or a 5 megapixel CCD. The Sony DSC-T1 seems incredibly cool - super-thin, big zoom, 5mp, af assist, that same movie mode... but I've seen reports of not great picture quality and poor low light performance (slow lens, weak flash), so I think that's off (very expensive too).

Any other suggestions? Does anyone have experience with the DSC-P100? By the way, there's a P150 too with 7mp resolution... mmmm.

David Metsky
08-18-2004, 07:39 AM
The Canon A series is too big, the battery bulge makes it just a little to bulky for me.

I've used a friends Sony P-70 (?) and found the camera design a bit awkward, but that may have just been unfamiliarity with the layout. I generally prefer more traditional layouts.

I'm surprised that you find the Nikons too big, they are essentially the same size as the Sonys, just more square vs rectangular.

-dave-

jfn
08-18-2004, 08:47 PM
The Nikon 3700 seems like the only contender, and it's thicker than the S410/S500 which isn't the end of the world, but the dcresource review says it has A/V sync issues and AF motor noise in movie mode, so if I can't use that nice feature I'd just get one of the Canons instead.

I've been reading heated debate on the dpreview forums about the P100... seems like some people have out-of-focus pictures when they shouldn't and some don't, and maybe it comes down to individual cameras being different... I don't know for sure, but maybe I'll buy one and make sure I can return it if it has issues. After the rugged reliability and great quality of my S230, I'm wary to get a camera known to have quality control issues....

tc17
08-20-2004, 08:41 PM
The 3700 mic does pick up the noise of the lens focusing. The only way I know around that is to tell it not to use continous focusing in the video mode.

I only tried it in a silent room, so I'm not sure if you hear it, or how much you would hear it with someone talking or other noises.

jfn
08-23-2004, 10:10 PM
Just thought I'd let everyone know that I ordered the SD110. 2x zoom and 3megapixels were a minus, but it's thinner, cheaper, and has a better movie mode than the s410 and s500. I liked the p100 a lot, but I was concerned about the blurry photos that people report problems with (typically "indoors, auto mode, low light" which is many of the pictures I take - I don't mind using manual controls but often my friends borrow the camera and so what really matters is how well auto mode works). Also, the Canon's movie mode is very solid, even though 640x480 is limited to 15fps and 30sec, while the P100 supposedly refocuses way too often, which makes the whole unlimited 30fps thing not really worth it. I saved a lot of money, and if something as small as the sd110 comes out with a bigger zoom, better movie mode, and higher resolution - and no major drawbacks - I'll jump on it.