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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1

    Choosing from the Digital ELPH Series

    Hello forumites!

    I have decided to purchase a Canon Digital ELPH out of previous great experiences with the quality of their ultracompacts. However, research has made me extremely confused over which camera would be the best for my shooting needs. I would sincerely appreciate your help.

    My criteria are as follows:
    (1) Quality, quality, quality of images is absolutely paramount. I do not care what the camera costs as long as I can shoot the best quality photos. While I am by no means a photographer by trade, I do enjoy composing that perfect shot.
    (1a) Crystal clear and colorful macro shots are a must. I do a lot of photographs of plants and insects.
    (1b) My next favorite subject is landscapes. It goes along with the nature theme of (1a). I love everything from mountains to beaches to sunsets over the river and as a person who travels quite frequently, am blessed with the opportunities to visit many such wondrous places.
    (1c) I would love a camera that took great action shots. I practice martial arts and would like to document tournaments and practices. The lack of clear action shots was my greatest criticism of my previous camera, the Canon SD800IS.
    (1d) I like playing around with perspectives. Taking a picture of a building from the viewpoint of an ant, for example, or taking pictures where the foreground is blurred and the background is focused. I am not sure what kind of features will be better for me here, either wide angle or greater optical zoom, for example.
    (1e) I love night shots (without flash) and pictures of fire. It's so difficult to get these photos though, without also having some graininess.

    (2) Optical viewfinder.

    (3) Incredible durability. My camera goes with me everywhere, rain or shine, wet or dry, and is often taking pictures every day which means it will get beat up.

    (4) Excellent movie taking capabilities, including great sound. I sing and go to a lot of concerts where this is essential.

    (5) The higher degree of manual controls available to me, the better. I'd like to experiment with different compositions.

    (6) Fast. Fast start-up. Fast successive picture taking capabilities. Fast recharge of flash.

    (7) (Not that important, but nice to have) Small, slippable into jean's pocket. I found the SD800IS slightly too bulky, but still completely manageable. Something smaller would be nice though, if not absolutely necessary.

    (8) (Again, not that important, but nice to have) Good menu controls.
    (8a) I should be able to just depress the shutter button and automatically switch from playback mode to shooting mode.
    (8b) Easy access to manual controls

    So far I've gone through all the Digital ELPH cameras and eliminated all those without an optical viewfinder and without motion detection technology (though I have little experience with how motion detection actually works, was making this absolutely necessary in my new camera a correct choice?). Yet, this still leaves the SD1200IS, SD770IS, SD950IS, SD890IS, SD780IS, and SD990IS as possibilities. Any help narrowing down these choices given my criteria? I am not technically savvy enough to figure out the nuances of how my qualitative criteria translates to quantitative requirements. Thank you in advance for the help! (=
    Last edited by debryc; 05-04-2009 at 04:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,173
    OK, you're going to have to reset your expectations a bit. No SD-series camera is going to have "quality, quality, quality" shots; the sensor is just too small and the number of pixels too great. These cameras are built for convenience and functionality - the size limitations mean that the sensor and lens are compromises. You can get good results, but you will never get results that compare to a larger high quality P&S or especially a DSLR.

    I have the SD800 and take some excellent sports action shots in good light, but in low light or indoors there's simply no way the SD-series is going to perform to your expectations. The rest of the SD-series isn't really any better than the SD800 for that. For night shots without flash, the SD800 is probably better than any of the other cameras you mentioned because it has fewer pixels.

    You really want a camera with manual controls, and only the SD890 has them in this series and frankly they're not that good. None of the others are smaller than the SD800 and cameras with what you want are bigger. You're going to need to modify your expectations and or requirements.

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