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best point and shoot

Discussion in 'Photography' started by mylan, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. mylan

    mylan Well-Known Member

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    It is, once again time to start shopping for a new digital camera. I now have a Canon A85, 4 MP, 3x zoom, it still works fine but while taking picutures at my neices prom walk out it became glaringly obvious that it suffers from too much lag time. On some shots, by the time it had focused under low light and taken the shot, she had walked out of the frame! We are taking our first cruise in July and I want a small, fit in the pocket, takes great shots without having to do anything, camera. I have looked at the Canon SD 800IS and am impressed, any other ideas?
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

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    I bought my wife a Canon SD800IS for Christmas. While it take decent pictures, there are a couple of things about it that I do not like. First, the red eye reduction setting is effective less than half the time, and sometimes will only eliminate the effect from one eye. So, I still end up cleaning this up in Photoshop (guess I'm spoiled with my dSLR and external flash, which never produces red eye). Second, the markings on the program dial are quite difficult to see, so my wife has a hard time telling if the camera is in playback mode, auto mode, AV mode, etc. Photography is not an interest of hers, and she just wants to flip between auto and playback modes. If she accidently puts the camera in manual or AV mode, the pictures are guaranteed to come out poorly, since she has no idea how to use a camera in such modes.
     
  3. mylan

    mylan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your input, I have large fingers so I was thinking the dial would be difficult to operate and I have read that about red-eye problem as well. I still want something smaller and lighter than my A80. This weekend I may go shopping and see what feels right.
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    Don't use (built-in) flash, if you want to avoid red-eye (among other things). [​IMG]

    If you're still shopping, take a look at the Fuji compacts too. The inexpensive F20 might fit the bill for instance.

    _Man_
     
  5. Phil Kim

    Phil Kim Well-Known Member

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    I have both Canon Digital Rebel XTi and PowerShot SD800 IS (along with UnderWater Housing).

    Nearly all the ultra compacts (although I am sure exceptions exist) are not capable of handling red eyes. So if you have your mind set on ultra compacts, I would not use red eyes as a deciding factor.

    Comparing image quality between these two cameras would be unfair, particularly since my XTi has 2 L-series lenses (EF 17-40mm f/4L USM and EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM) and a fantastic portrait lens (EF 50mm f/1.4 USM). The difference is particularly pronounced at wide angle (27mm via EF 17-40mm vs. SD800's 28mm). SD800 exhibits greater barrel distortion (pin cushioning) and noticeably soft details around the edges. And forget about using ISO beyond 200 on SD800 - ISO 400 and above are unusable.

    That said, I recommend SD800 IS highly if you want wide angle. On prints and 1920x1200 LCD, corner softness is not significant. Virtually none of the ultra compacts have wide angle lens and if you are heavily into shooting landscapes and buildings, it's simply a must. I suppose it's not as long as some of the competing cameras, but it is plenty long for me (I am not heavily into telephoto photography, and when I do, XTI with 70-200mm will do the job). The image stabilizer is also nice to have as it affords between 2 and 3 stops. And face detection works pretty well, further reducing blurry photos.

    Although it is not a thin by today's standard, it is still small and the ergonomics is mostly excellent -- mode selector knob is a bit cumbersome to use (I wish it had a shortcut button for "play"). Overall, the camera feels right and the on-screen menu is pleasure to use. It's very responsive, although I wish the lens was faster at longer focal lengths.

    And the aforementioned underwater housing. It's a a bit pricey but shooting under the ocean while snorkeling can be extremely rewarding. The battery life is also considerably better than rated 270 shots with LCD on.
     
  6. mylan

    mylan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the information. I did go and play with the Canon 800 over the weekend and I liked the ergonomics and "feel" of it. I am mostly wanting a new camera because my old A-85 has a problem with indoors, and mostly at night being too dark or blurry. I do want to stay with Canon if at all possible.
    I also liked the S3 but wished it had more than 6MP and, obviously, is not pocketable but I love the zoom.
    BTW, how much is the under water housing for the 800? We are taking our first cruise in July and snorkling would be cool with that.
     
  7. Phil Kim

    Phil Kim Well-Known Member

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    At around $170-200, the underwater housing (Canon WP-DC9) isn't exactly cheap. But for me, it earned every single penny. It's just so much fun and I took many amazing shots. I regret not having one for the honeymoon (took disposal underwater cameras with subpar results).

    Regarding indoor shots, don't expect miracles with SD800's image stabilizers. It's definitely better than nothing, but I am able to take significantly better looking shots indoors with non-image stabilized 17-40mm lens and XTi (set at ISO 400). That said, SD800 has very useful "image check" feature -- click DISP button after shooting to see 100% crop on focus point(s).
     
  8. mylan

    mylan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info, I can agree that a P&S can't take the indoor shots like a DSLR can but at least maybe I can get decent results, with my A-85 there are times I don't even try to take the shot or end up deleting everything i've taken. If I could get at least some better shots without so much lag time i'll be happy.
    Wow, for something I might use twice during the life of the camera, thats a bit steep for the under water housing, I would have to start taking it out back to the pool on a regular basis but still, way cool.
    Lastly, have you noticed red eye with the 800 and what would be the highest effective ISO?
     
  9. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    Again, I would recommend giving one of the Fuji F series compacts a good look before settling on a Canon offering, especially given your criteria. If you've never seen samples from something like a Fuji F20 or F30, you might be very surprised how good their high ISO images look. No, they're not quite as good as DSLRs, but pretty close. Very many DSLR shooters go w/ one of the Fuji compacts specifically for that reason -- and some non-DSLR users also get one to complement whatever good daylight compacts they already own as well.

    _Man_
     
  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    Man-Fai definitely changed the course of my purchase. I'm going for the Fuji F31fd after having my eye on the Canon A710 IS for awhile. The superior image quality at 400 ISO and above compared to the Canon is amazing.
     
  11. mylan

    mylan Well-Known Member

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    Where did you get to see the difference? Did you buy one? I have a hard time decerning the difference from screen shots but dpreview did give it high marks. i might give it a second look but damnit, i've always been a Canon man.
     
  12. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    This page on dpreview in particular is enough for me: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/page6.asp I've been a Canon man myself, but it's hard to argue with those results. Most of my shooting is indoors without flash, so I suppose I've become sensitive to noise at higher ISOs.
     
  13. hgerman

    hgerman Member

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    is there are thread here on video cameras as well?
     
  14. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    I got my Fuji F31fd and thought I'd share a few pics. The first two were shot at ISO 400; the third at ISO 800 and all without flash. Be warned they run around 3 MB each.

    http://cameronyee.com/images/DSCF0030.JPG

    http://cameronyee.com/images/DSCF0037.JPG

    http://cameronyee.com/images/DSCF0073.JPG

    The ISO 800 looks a bit weird to me - some obvious noise reduction going on, but impressive nonetheless. I like the auto max ISO feature quite a bit and plan to keep it at 400 and below for most things.
     
  15. mylan

    mylan Well-Known Member

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    I'm still shopping but I did get to see a Canon 900 yesterday. The guy said he had taken over 500 shots with nary a blur or redeye except for the couple on the outside of the shot that were outside of the face recognition area. I see that Canon has a new model, the SD 850 IS, which has a 4x zoom, as opposed to a 3, and image stabilization. I'm still looking at Fuji also but I have until July to pull the trigger, so we'll see. Good pics, BTW, Cameron. I can see the dust on the handle of the mug in that third shot!
     
  16. Scott Merryfield

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    I think the SD850 is more of an upgrade of the SD700 than the SD800. The SD800 has a wider angle lens (28mm equivalent) than the SD700 or SD850 (35mm equivalent). The wider angle lens of the SD800 is more useful in a point & shoot, IMO, and was the reason I chose it for my wife. A longer telephoto lens is not that interesting to me in a small point & shoot camera. For those types of shots, I would use my dSLR anyway.
     
  17. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    I built that up special to demonstrate the fine detail capabilities of the camera [​IMG]
     

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