View Full Version : Instant feedback = better learning

06-10-2007, 12:23 PM
Instant feed back with digital has renewed my interest in photography.
I had the early EOS Rebel film SLR and was starting to learn photography with a friend. The Rebel developed Sticky Shutter and with was retired with 2 lenses. I picked up a cheap FlatFoto for an emergency and started shopping.....I was amazed at what I could do with that inexpensive camera --and started shopping for a "real" digital camera. I could not decide if I wanted a DSLR (more than I really could afford) or something smaller and started looking at larger P&S Ultrazooms. Before making the jump, the Flatfoto died, and I again had to buy a base camera for documentation and picked up a good price deal on a Casio EZSLIM 6MP (3X) -- not much bigger than the "toy" that died. I am glad that I had not yet decided on the "real" camera I wanted as using the Casio has helped me better define my wants....But, I am now frustrated with lack of ZOOM. Want more!


* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.

Ideally, I would like to stay $300 or less, but would consider $400.


* What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?

I have my Casio to throw in my bag, or take where I might not take a more expensive camera -- so size is less important than before. I am thinking larger P&S as not quite ready to go to DSLR....more to learn first.


How many megapixels will suffice for you?

Probably 6 or higher, but was okay with my 3.0 picts from the cheap FlatFoto.

* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify)

Ultrazoom....At least 6, preferably 10 or more.

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
Visual quality --8-10, Technical quality 7-8?

Do you care for manual controls?

Both auto and manual modes. Would like to have some auto for those times when still learning and need rapid ability to shoot, but still want to learn to use the camera to make my pictures as best as they can be....I have received complements on my composition and subject capture, but know that technically, they are lacking.

General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for?
Landscapes -- especially around water, architecture, nature, birds, flowers, family/social activities.

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
Possibly, but not a major consideration -- depending upon my growth as a photographer....

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
Some -- especially sunrises/sunsets, night blooming flowers.

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
Not a lot - not primary use.


Are there particular brands you like or hate?
Not really. Every one here seems to bash Kodak, but brother was thrilled with pics from the UZ Kodak he got his wife (I never see pics from it, only his compact one). Not sure I care about Sonys. Other than that, I have no real brand bias.

Are there particular models you already have in mind?
Canon IS S3 -- also previously was looking at a Panasonic. Friend has an older Fuji that seems quite impressive for an older 3.0MP model.

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

I would like a view finder as the LCD is sometimes hard for me to get used to using.
Previously I was against a rotating LCD, but have learned that it could be very useful.
Hotshoe would be nice
Image Stabilization would be nice
Wide Angle? Maybe
Weatherproof - doubt I could find it with everything else for what I can afford....
A plus is if the P&S takes adapters.
I have been out of the market for about 6 months and am just again ready to renew my search and purchase....before Hurricane Season starts.

06-10-2007, 12:27 PM
I think you'd be happy going with the Canon S3, the Sony H5, or the Fuji 6000. They are all great point-and-shoot cameras with good auto-modes, that let you go fully automatic if you want. They all have at least 10x optical zoom too.

Visual Reality
06-10-2007, 03:35 PM
I'd choose between the Canon S3, Fuji S6000fd, and S9100.

06-10-2007, 04:31 PM
I'd choose between the Canon S3, Fuji S6000fd, and S9100.
I'd been leaning and almost purchased teh Canon S3 --- anything particular better or worse between the Canon and the Fuji's? I seem to have the same problem making a decision on a camera as on a new vehicle ;-)

06-10-2007, 07:52 PM
The Canon S-3IS is probably the easiest of the three suggested cameras to use due to the IS. It also has a great video mode.

Here is an S-2IS sample photo, taken handheld, indoors, no flash, ISO 200, F3.5 at 1/20th.


06-10-2007, 08:10 PM
I just checked out Jeff's reviews of the S3 and the S6000fd. He hasn't reviewed the S9100, so I don't have anything for you there :)

Just based on the reviews, the S6000 is almost twice as large as the S3 (although I don't know if that's important to you.) It has a focal range of 28-300mm equivalent, whereas the S3 is 36-432. So, the S3 can zoom in further, but has less wide-angle range.

Advantages of the S6000:
manual zoom and focus rings
larger LCD
less redeye
RAW support
less noise (although that's due to in-camera noise reduction that can leave artifacts in your images unless you use RAW.)

Advantages of the S3:
optical image stabilization
rotating LCD
no noise-reduction artifacts
more accessories (such as wide-angle, telephoto, and closeup lenses)

Bottom line? They're both great cameras. My list makes the S6000 look like the better camera, but that isn't necessarily true. Go to the store, play with them both, and see which one feels "right." You'd be happy with either one (and the S9100 too, I'm sure :D)

06-11-2007, 01:25 AM
A few comments about the S9100 - it's very similar to the S9000 / S9500, which I have, the main differences being a larger LCD, improved autofocus, and more aggressive noise reduction. There are reviews on several other sites - check the links from the summary at DCviews (http://www.dcviews.com/_fuji/s9100.htm).

Main advantages of the S9100 over the S6000 (apart from the obvious extra 3 MPixels) include the hinged LCD, flash hotshoe, and a control wheel, which makes it a lot easier and quicker to adjust frequently needed settings such as exposure compensation, and aperture and shutter speed in manual modes.

The main downside, apart from the higher price, is that ISO only goes up to 1600, as opposed to 3200 on the S6000, and there's possibly slightly more smearing of detail at high ISO.

The main difference between the Fujis and the Canon S3, apart from IS, is that the Fuji lens zooms out to 28mm equivalent, compared to 36mm on the Canon, so the Fuji will get a lot more of the landscape in the picture. When I bought my S9500, the salesman pointed out that the Fuji was one of very few cameras available then that would go to 28mm. I wasn't totally convinced, but went for it on the low noise / high ISO feature. After a year of using it (mainly for landscapes), I find I take more shots at 28mm than any other focal length - sometimes I wish it could go wider!:D. There are a few more cameras that go this wide now, but if you want to shoot landscapes, I'd say it's almost essential.

06-11-2007, 01:50 AM
I don't know about the Fuji, but the S3 is the only ultrazoom I've handled that has anywhere near passable build quality. Most of the time manufacturers see the slew of features as an excuse to skimp on the quality of the materials used (and, of course, with consumer cameras, the faster it wears out, the faster you'll be back for a new one).

06-11-2007, 07:10 AM
Well, I have held both the Fuji and the Canon and the Canon felt a lot less sturdy to me than the Fuji does. It's a lighter camera and the build doesn't feel solid in my hands. I really love the Fuji's weight and feel and the manual zoom is a real plus for me.

06-12-2007, 07:00 PM
Thanks guys for the responses. I'll take one of each ;)

You've given me some things to think about. I have played with the Canon in the big box stores, but guess it is now time to put my "intimidation" aside and waltze in to a real camera store with some solid ideas and questions and a chance to check out the Fujis. I am so frustrated with the lack of zoom for so many of the photo ops and am looking forward to finally making the purchase and really learning how to USE the camera to enhance my pictures. The composition seems to come reasonably well to me, but getting the technical aspects to capture what I want will hopefully come easier with the digital camera rather than waiting for film to develop. And, I don't mind spending a bit more for a camera when I can see what I have before getting it developed and printed.

06-12-2007, 07:15 PM
One more question? Well, maybe two ;)

If I were to stumble on the extra cash --- would it be worth waiting for the
5S? And, if not, is there any workaround to the flash issue without hotshoe?

Well -- I guess I should have said several questions --:o
Are my EOS Rebel (original edition) Canon 35-80mm lens and Quantaray 75-300mm worth anything -- usable on a DSLR?
Sorry if that is a dumb question....

06-12-2007, 07:17 PM

On your trip to either the big box stores or your local camera store, be sure to take a good look at the new Fuji S-700. It is 7mp, takes SD Chips, has Intelligent flash, great Macro and Super Macro Modes, 10X optical zoom (38 to 380mm in 35mm terms), has an excellent video mode and is selling for for around $(US) 200.00.

I purchased mine from www.buy.com for $197.00, using a coupon. The Fuji S-700 is a very impressive ultrazoom camera, and it is smaller than the Canon S-3IS.

Here is a 10X optical zoom photo that I took today with the S-700. The women in the photo were about 350 feet from my position. I was delghted with the sharpness and detail.

If you would like to see more photos, look inh the Fuji Folder. We have started a Fuji S-700 Photo Gallery just like the Fuji S-6000 folks have done.


06-12-2007, 07:29 PM

On your trip to either the big box stores or your local camera store, be sure to take a good look at the new Fuji S-700. It is 7mp, takes SD Chips, has Intelligent flash, great Macro and Super Macro Modes, 10X optical zoom (38 to 380mm in 35mm terms), has an excellent video mode and is selling for for around $(US) 200.00.



Thanks Sarah,
I will check it out -- nice to save a few $$, but the size issue isn't a big deal as I have my Casio that I keep in my bag/pocket. Took the Flatfoto out for fun last night and tried to figure out the hacker's forum on reflashing it's brains from the beep, beep, beep of death -- over my head! I was hoping to get it functional for Mom. I think it is time to go to a real camera shop...and make up my mind...and dig those bills out of my wallet :D

06-13-2007, 02:30 AM
Are my EOS Rebel (original edition) Canon 35-80mm lens and Quantaray 75-300mm worth anything -- usable on a DSLR?
Sorry if that is a dumb question....

They should be usable on any Canon EOS DSLR, although possibly not quite as good as modern designed for DSLR lenses in some aspects. The crop factor will give a narrower field of view on some bodies.

06-13-2007, 04:05 AM
I'd wait for the S5 is if your going to buy S3. Hotshoe value can't be overstated especially when ISO 200+ isn't really usable on point and shoots in general.

S5 IS + 430 EX would make a nice combo plus the 430EX can always be transition to a canon SLR in the future.


06-13-2007, 05:26 PM
Thanks guys. I guess I have to really look over my finances and see if I can swing the 5... I'm on travel next week, so the following week hopefully I will go playwith the Fujis and 3S and then sit an decide if I want to wait on the 5S. I must admit, I've seen some pretty enticing prices on the 3S --and not sure I want to spend the money on the 5. Seems like I was about to bite on the 2 and decided to wait on the 3. At some point I have to just bite the bullet and pull out that plastic :D

06-13-2007, 05:56 PM

If the Fuji S-700 is a perfect "fit" for you, it will save you some real money.


06-13-2007, 06:03 PM

If the Fuji S-700 is a perfect "fit" for you, it will save you some real money.


I'll check it out, but I am not sure it is the right fit.

06-16-2007, 10:26 PM

Looks like the Fuji S-700 just moved up to the top of my list. It does look impressive for the $$ -- I will wander over again to the picture thread and look at the pics a bit more closely. How is the manual? I am one that actually "reads" the manual, and hate the ones on CD -- I like printed manual...so I can take it with me.

Major accident today with the Casio -- still usable, but very handicapped (I assume it will be cheaper to replace than fix -- LCD display damaged). Since I will be wanting to replace it with another "pocket" camera, I will have to really consider the cost of the S700 over the 3S/5S or the other Fujis. Then, I will work towards the DSLR in a year...

Also, how important are things such as:

RAW: My cheapie FlatFoto did RAW -- I am assuming the RAW is more pure "data" that hasn't been processed by the camera. Therefore, I assume it takes good computer software to "finish" the picture. How do "RAW" look prior to additional software processing, and how hard is it to work with RAW images? How much of a learning curve.

IS: How much is IS real and how much is it really just marketing? I notice that my first pics with the Casio at 6 MP were worse than the first pics with my cheapo Flatfoto 3MP. I am assuming this was getting used to using the LCD rather than the view finder (I was very dependent on the view finder of the FF coming from FILM).

Hotshoe: How important is a Hotshoe, and how do you handle shooting with vs using a P&S without?

I currently am using SD...Comments on SD vs XD?

I'm so depressed about the mess up of my "pocket" camera -- but, convinces me of the need to always have a lower end, small camera to take when fear of damage to the more expensive camera exists. A good lesson learned today.


On your trip to either the big box stores or your local camera store, be sure to take a good look at the new Fuji S-700. It is 7mp, takes SD Chips, has Intelligent flash, great Macro and Super Macro Modes, 10X optical zoom (38 to 380mm in 35mm terms), has an excellent video mode and is selling for for around $(US) 200.00.


06-17-2007, 08:37 AM

At the "around $(US) 200.00 price point, which is where the S-700 finds itself, you don't get IS, a hot shoe, or RAW format.

Does that make it the S-700 a camera that you want to shy away from? Not at all. For over 50 years I shot without IS, because it was simply not available. I still got excellent photos. The key issue is camera handling: the camera you are using has to be rock steady and not move at all during the instant you are actuating the shutter release, particularly at slow shutter speeds. It is a good practice to be rock steady at higher shutter speeds as well, just to always use that practice, but it is less important.

On the S-700, if I need more flash all I do is to pull out a slave flash and I can have light all the way out to 30 feet if desired by just increasing the ISO setting. I can also have a slave flash that can fully tilt and swivel. So yes, a hot shoe is convenient, but it certainly is not necessary.

Keep in mind that the RAW format entails a much more expanded workflow. I use it when need it, but the .jpg format works well and it is much faster and less labor intensive than the RAW format. So I use the .jp format most of the time. If I have a photo that is something special and a real "keeper," I will convert it to a .tif or .png format.

And please read this sentence several times, won't you, as this issue keeps getting continually confused: The S-700/S-5700 camera uses SD cards!

The S-700 comes with a very good 178 page printed manual. All in all the S-700 is a lot of camera for the price. Attaced you will find two photos of the S-700 with two slave flash units. The #1 photo shows the smaller Bower slave flash that is very inexpensive. The #2 photo shows the Vivatar DF-200 which both fully swivels and tilts, therefore it is larger and more expensive.

Sarah Joyce



06-17-2007, 09:59 AM

Thank you again. I am almost sold --- still need to go get my hands on one next week when I return. I really don't think I want to wait for the S5 -- I want to get out and start shooting the shots I feel I am missing with the 3X Casio.

I figured the Hotshoe was nice, but expendable. And, since I never got into working with the RAW files on the first camera -- guess I won't miss what I haven't yet experienced (or, at least so I tell myself).

IS -- is a bit of a concern. But, hopefully less in a camera like the S700 where you have a bit more camera to hold onto to steady it. And, I have lots of tripods if I really need them. I see that IS stabilization is apparently one of those marketing things that you have to be careful to know what sort of "stabilization" they are talking about...and how it will affect the pictures in what circumstances. So much to learn....

Now, since it looks like I will be replacing the Casio as well as adding an UZ -- any suggestions for a pocket sized, reasonably priced camera to replace the Z60? I paid <$150 for it ~ 5 months ago (including extra battery -- battery life is great). I like it's size, and the pics seemed reasonably good for the $. Something similar to the Casio? Do any of them come with a view finder. I find the slims hard to hold steady using the LCD due to their small size....but like having one with me all the time in my bag...when I won't want to carry the S700 due to size -- slip into a pocket.


Note to self: get decent case ;-)


At the "around $(US) 200.00 price point, which is where the S-700 finds itself, you don't get IS, a hot shoe, or RAW format.

Does that make it the S-700 a camera that you want to shy away from? Not at all.

Sarah Joyce

06-17-2007, 10:47 AM

Olympus Cameras auctions off refurbished cameras on E-Bay. Yes there is a lot of junk there, but if you are selective there are also some real bargains there too.

One of my students was searching for the Olympus FE-180 which has been listed as a "Best Beginning Camera" by www.steves-digicams.com. I was able to snag it yesterday (06/16) for her at under $(US) 80.00. The Olymous FE-180 sells on the internet in the $(US) 139.00 to 145.00 range. So that was a real life savings. However, the saving still comes at a cost. You only get a 90 day guarantee, so just put a Mack guarantee on it and you have any potential problem that you might encounter in the future covered. I saw an E-300 body there yesterday at $(US) 398.00, that is a nice camera.

It is just an idea.

Sarah Joyce

06-17-2007, 11:12 AM

Thanks again. I want to start right now -- but I have to get back to work :( big project.....

I need to get a good bonus at work (or a better job) this year to afford all my "wants"...And...of course once I start playing with the photo editing -- I'll have new wants --- better software and better PC. Oh my -- might need a second job --- but then wouldn't have enough time to play with my toys. :eek:

So I will be off line now probably until just before you start your travels.

Thanks again for your input.