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o-ron
05-18-2007, 11:36 PM
Preface:
I've had my compact Nikon Coolpix 4300 for quite some time now, and it's starting to show its age, and the 4-megapixel resolution is a bit outdated. It's been a great camera, and I love that it has manual controls. I only wish that it allowed more refined selection of aperature (it only lets you choose from 2 different aperatures at any given time). Everyone tells me they think my camera takes great pictures.

So I'd like to find something comparable, but newer / higher resolution. Also, I don't like all the large protrusions on my current camera - makes putting it in a pocket impossible or akward. I really want something sleek and slender so I can walk around city streets without looking like a tourist.

Budget

Under $300 would be my target, but I'd be willing to pay more if it was worth it

Size

The smaller the better. I'm going traveling and want the camera to easily fit in my jean's pockets.

Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you?

8 megapixels should be enough. I'd go less if I got everything else I wanted

* What optical zoom will you need?

3x is enough, 4x+ would be ideal

* How important is “image quality” to you? 8

Do you care for manual controls?

Yes, I'm hoping to find decent manual controls - aperature and shutter (simultaneous). I usually don't use priority modes.

General Usage

Vacation photos, mostly outdoor, landscapes, buildings, etc..

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?

Yes, although probably not huge posters

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?

Museum-level lighting shots are common, and I often like to take night shots (with a tripod or on a steady surface).

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?

Usually no hi-speed or action photos

Miscellaneous

Are there particular brands you like or hate?

I've very much enjoyed my Nikon. I like the styling of the Sony models.

Are there particular models you already have in mind?

I've been looking at the Casio Exilim models, the Sony W models, the Fuji Finepix 30, the Canon S80, and a few others.

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

Image stabilization would be a great bonus. Personally, I've never had good luck with AA-style batteries, and have always preferred Li-Ion rechargable batteries. I also don't like cradle docks very much - the simplest solution i think should just be a cable.

John_Reed
05-19-2007, 02:36 PM
For a manual shooter, the LX2 is a good candidate. It's not in your price window, but if this is a long-term purchase, you might want to consider it anyway. It has a native 16:9 aspect ratio 10MP sensor, image stabilization, a fast 28mm (equiv) lens with a 4X zoom range, manual controls for everything (or you can shoot automatically if you so choose), AND it can shoot in RAW, giving you ultimate control over your images. From what I can see of its size, it looks no larger than my TZ1, which I have carried in my jeans pocket on occasion. I understand also that the black version of this camera (which would be called the DMC-LX2K) is quite a good-looking instrument.

coldrain
05-19-2007, 02:50 PM
For a manual shooter, the LX2 is a good candidate. It's not in your price window, but if this is a long-term purchase, you might want to consider it anyway. It has a native 16:9 aspect ratio 10MP sensor, image stabilization, a fast 28mm (equiv) lens with a 4X zoom range, manual controls for everything (or you can shoot automatically if you so choose), AND it can shoot in RAW, giving you ultimate control over your images. From what I can see of its size, it looks no larger than my TZ1, which I have carried in my jeans pocket on occasion. I understand also that the black version of this camera (which would be called the DMC-LX2K) is quite a good-looking instrument.
Don't forget to mention that its sensor is below par, making the results a bit disappointing, RAW will not help there. Nice features, sensor a let down (like other Panasonic cameras).

o-ron
05-20-2007, 12:09 AM
For a manual shooter, the LX2 is a good candidate....

Yes, I went window shopping today and found this little gem. Looks good, and they even had an open-box special for only $299 (i saw the unit and it looked pristine). I couldn't bring myself to make an impulse buy, though.

I liked everything about it except the protruding lens and annoying (and very thick) lens cap. Just having the cap on adds about 1/4" to the depth of the camera. (and the constantly popping-on/off lens cap of my current Nikon is one of the most frustrating things about it).

I've heard good things about the Lumix cameras, although based on the other post maybe i'll do a little more research on the image quality.

Other than that camera, the one that impressed me the most was the Casio EX-V7. Wow, what a camera in such a tiny package! It must be too good to be true, i'm sure the image quality must be sub-par...

o-ron
05-20-2007, 09:48 PM
So I've narrowed down my choices:

Casio EX-V7
Sony DSC-N1
Casio EX-Z850
Canon S80

I've illiminated the Panasonic due to noise problems. yes, the casio's are not any better, but they are at least a lot smaller and don't have annoying lens caps!

The Canon seems the best and, at least as far as i can tell, exactly what I'm looking for.

But I can't find this in any stores, and am a little reluctant to buy one site-unseen from Ebay / online store.

Thoughts?

coldrain
05-21-2007, 04:23 AM
The Canon S80 have been discontinued for a few months now. Maybe you can find it on some online stores still, it really is a very good camera with a very good lens. I do not know why Canon discontinued it, maybe because it became wedged between the new ultra compact wide angle lensed SD cameras and the bit bigger G7.

The G7 is a bit too big for you I guess, and the SD series do not offer the manual modes you like.

You may find the best options among the Sony W series maybe, if they offer a full manual mode...

See_Jane_Run
05-21-2007, 11:14 AM
But I can't find this in any stores, and am a little reluctant to buy one site-unseen from Ebay / online store.

Thoughts?

i bought a discontinued electronic from Ebay (not photography equip.), the item was perfect for what I was looking for, but the trouble with buying a discontinued item is that accessories & software may pose a problem in the future.

o-ron
05-21-2007, 10:20 PM
I'm attempting to pick up an S80 from Ebay, but in the mean time i'm continuing my research looking for possible alternatives.

I don't believe any of the W-series Sony cameras have manual controls. THe DSC-N1 (or N2) does, and I'm thoroughly considering it. Aperature is only adjustable at 3 settings, and picture quality would not be quite as good as the S80 (although it would be higher resolution). I'm not convinced the touch-screen is the best... it's a bit awkward to be fiddling with the controls by touching the screen.

Is there anything I'm missing??


The Canon S80 have been discontinued for a few months now. Maybe you can find it on some online stores still, it really is a very good camera with a very good lens. I do not know why Canon discontinued it, maybe because it became wedged between the new ultra compact wide angle lensed SD cameras and the bit bigger G7.

The G7 is a bit too big for you I guess, and the SD series do not offer the manual modes you like.

You may find the best options among the Sony W series maybe, if they offer a full manual mode...

o-ron
05-21-2007, 11:19 PM
So the previous poster mentioning the W-series was very astute.

There's a new W-200 model that *just* came out that has "full" manual controls. I dug through the online pdf manual at Sony.com and discovered that its manual controls are essentially the same as the N1 / N2 - limited to 3 aperature choices at any given time - albeit controled via the d-pad (not touchscreen).

I'm a bit concerned, though, with the 12-megapixel CCD. Seems like this would be prone to noise... ?

As anyone reviewed this camera yet?

seo
05-22-2007, 10:43 AM
Some of the Canon A series cameras offer manual mode. The A570 IS does, and it is taller than the S50 I used to have (similar to the S80), but overall it is not bigger.

If you are interested in Raw at all, look for an S40/45/50 or G5/6.

o-ron
05-23-2007, 02:38 PM
I've narrowed down my choices to the following 2 cameras:

Canon Powershot S80 (discontinued)
Pros:
Superb Image Quality
Wide Angle capability
Longer zoom (by .6)
More extensive manual controls

Cons:
Used / discontinued
A little bit bulkier and heavier

Sony DSC-W200 (just released)
Pros:
Super slim & light
Higher resolution (12 vs 8)
Brand new

Cons:
Shorter Zoom
More limited manual controls
Poorer picture quality



A tough decision... :confused: