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Decent point and shoot cameras for every day use?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by cf525, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. cf525

    cf525 Second Unit

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    For the last two years, I've been using a Canon SD750 (before that, I had other Canon point and shoots and I use a Canon EOS 10D for special occasions). Unfortunately, for about the last 7 months, I occasionally get a weird lens error.

    In any case, I'm starting to doubt my camera's reliability. I started doing some research on CNET reviews and the like for decent point and shoots and have been considering maybe the SD1200. This HTF thread from December 2008 (hhttp://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/photography/280317-best-camera-around-200-a.html) had some good things to say about the SD880IS.

    Clearly...I've been partial to Canons and I'd love to be able to use my same SD card and extra batteries, but I'm open to any recommendations. I'm looking to spend probably less than $300 and ideally closer to $200. It'll be my "throw it in my bag when heading to my sister's volleyball game/brother's BBQ/etc" kind of camera.

    Any thoughts? Thanks so much in advance!
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    P&S all pretty much stink. The Canon g10 stinks less than most.
     
  3. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Screenwriter

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    I just bought my wife a Canon SD780is. So far, the pics seem decent, reasonably quick for a P&S, anyway, and TINY! It also shoots 1280x720 video that looks pretty decent considering the source. It was worth the $250 I spent on it, I think.
     
  4. KapilNarain

    KapilNarain Extra

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    I just bought my wife a Canon SD780is. So far, the
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    If you don't mind spending close to $900 instead of $200, in a couple weeks the Olympus E-P1 comes out, which is a compact camera with the large sensor of a DSLR camera inside it. It's a new format called the "micro four-thirds", and it will be a revolution.

    All the little compact cameras currently have a sensor smaller than you pinky-nail, which means they can never have the kind of detail or low-light performance that a DSLR (with a postage-stamp sized sensor) has.

    But the micro four-thirds takes that larger sensor, and puts it inside a compact camera. Several different companies are on board with this new standard.

    Now is the eagerly awaited time when the first of these cameras start to appear. By Christmas there should be three or four.

    That said, the E-P1's flash is attached to the top, it isn't built-in, which I think was a mistake. They were trying to be retro. But it's a problem.
     
  6. Scott Merryfield

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    A dSLR isn't for everyone. Some people have no interest in doing anything more than taking snapshots, and really do not care to learn how to use a dSLR. For those people, there is nothing wrong with a P&S camera. Most are quite satisfied with the results they get from these cameras set on automatic.

    I bought my wife a Canon SD700IS over a year ago, and it's all she wants or needs. Personally, I much prefer my Canon 40D dSLR, but I have an interest in photography, while she just wants to take snapshots of family and friends and have something small to tuck into her purse.
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yes there is, it's called shutter lag. Until that is fixed you won't find people truly pleased with P&S. As I said it's getting better and the Canons are better at it than anyone else, but it's still a crapshoot using the damn things.
     
  8. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Well exactly! That's why having the sensor of a DSLR, but in the body of a compact, is such a nice idea. As much as I love the way DSLRs deliver detail, I'd NEVER want to lug around a camera that bulky and heavy! On the other hand, I tried several compacts before I realized they're all the same crappy, tiny sensor. I stayed with the compacts because they're compact, even though they are only satisfactory.

    It reminds me of the days when there was 110 film and 126 film and 35mm film. 110 was very compact but incredibly tiny and therefore grainy even at 3x5. 126 was pretty good -- almost as large as 35mm, and satisfactory for 3x5 pics. 126s were very common.

    But 35mm was the best, and once the camera companies started making compact cameras that fit 35mm film, that became *THE* standard and 110 film and 126 film was gone.

    The same thing is about to happen with digital -- the micro four-thirds will slowly come down in price, and become the standard. The compacts that are around now will be like the 126 film cameras. But the transition will be a LOT slower because the micro four-thirds that are starting to be introduced are WAY too expensive.
     
  9. mikeyd2007

    mikeyd2007 Auditioning

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    the samsungs are best bang for your buck
     
  10. cf525

    cf525 Second Unit

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    Thanks for the advice! I really do love photography and wish I had a bit more free time to spend on it (my grandfather gave me a bunch of dark room equipment which is currently being used in a photo lab at Stanford until I have a place I can use it myself). Point and shoots are certainly not stellar in the grand scheme of cameras. But for "record shots" of daily life, I don't mind them too much.

    I actually think I might hold off for a little while on getting a new camera for myself.

    But my 14 year old half-sister is graduating from 8th grade this week and pretty desperately needs a new camera. Now those are REALLY just record shots...think sleep overs and running around at camp. She's been putting up with my hand-me-downs for a while but the last camera I gave her is on its last legs. Given that my sister's pretty young and not really looking to get into serious photography at the moment, she doesn't need a dSLR or anything.

    I told her the other day I was thinking of getting her a new camera for graduation. I asked if there was anything in particular she wanted...and she said waterproof. A friend of mine has the Olympus Stylus Tough and he seems to like it. The Olympus website says it's waterproof for up to 10 feet deep. Any thoughts on that one?
     
  11. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Canon has a new waterproof camera in their lineup but I havent seen any reviews of it... Not familiar with the Olys sorry.
     
  12. cf525

    cf525 Second Unit

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    I wasn't able to find the Canon waterproof one in a store and I was cutting the whole graduation gift pretty close...but I ended up going with the Olympus Stylus Tough 6000. They've got a few other models in their Stylus Tough line but Best Buy had the 6000 in stock. I probably could have shopped around a bit more but I think for a 14 year old, it should probably suffice. Plus it's pretty cool she can take pictures up to 10 feet underwater. It'll be very interesting to see what kind of quality shots those are though. I'm not expecting great shots of colorful reef fish...but hopefully she'll get some fun/silly ones from camp this summer, etc.
     
  13. Jim_C

    Jim_C Screenwriter

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    But most are willing to put up with a slight lag instead of stepping up to a dSLR. Lots of them put a much higher value on the size and convenience of a P&S over lag. There's no way my wife would carry a dSLR to get rid of lag but I certainly would. Besides, the P&S's are getting much better. I bought a Fuji F40fd to use for work and it's fine wrt lag.
     
  14. urbo73

    urbo73 Stunt Coordinator

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    I've shot with DSLRs for money and for fun. Of course DSLRs have their advantages, but lets not dismiss P&S cameras. P&S cameras have their own advantages that can enable you to see and think differently when shooting, especially in manual mode. This allows for a new kind of creativity. The fact that they are small also helps not to draw attention to yourself.

    The Canon G10 is a wonderful camera, with easy to use controls. Very highly recommended. I took these pictures on my recent trip to Italy one month ago with just the G10 in manual mode. JPEG at that as well.

    G10 Pictures of Italy

    An SLR would have been a lot more annoying to carry around - I know from past experience. I would not have gotten many of the shots I did with the G10 with my MKIII DSLR.
     
  15. Scott Merryfield

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    Exactly. My wife was perfectly content with using disposable film cameras before I bought her a Canon Elf P&S that would fit easily in her purse. She doesn't care about shutter lag, manual shooting, or anything else besides pointing the camera and pressing the button. She doesn't understand exposure, and has no desire to learn. She just wants to take snap shots, and a P&S camera suits her fine.

    On the other hand, I quickly became frustrated by shutter lag after switching from a film SLR to a digital camera (Canon Powershot G3) several years ago. We were whale watching in Hawaii, and it was impossible for me to get a photo of a whale surfacing because of the camera's shutter lag. I quickly switched to a dSLR once they hit my price range.
     
  16. urbo73

    urbo73 Stunt Coordinator

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    Just wanted to add about shutter lag. To me it's a non-issue. Sam said, "Until that is fixed you won't find people truly pleased with P&S". This is simply not true. People need to learn HOW to use cameras, rather than worry about shutter lag, noise at 1600 at 200%, lens distortions, and other stuff that's never as important as the image/content itself and how creative one can be with a given tool.

    As I said, P&S cameras (in the right hands) have their own advantages, and the shutter can be one of them in two ways.

    A silent shutter enabled Dave Black to take a cover picture of Tiger Woods on the backswing - something never done before. A silent shutter can be very important if you know how to use it.

    Shutter lag can also be timed and anticipated. Taking pictures is about timing and anticipation just as much as it is about composition. If you find you can't deal with shutter lag, and you aren't shooting sports professionaly, then there is more to learn IMO. Far too many people dismiss P&S cameras instead of finding ways to be creative with them.
     
  17. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I'm with you Bogdan. Surely there is a hell of a lot bigger market for little p&s than there is the monsters I usually carry around, but note that I'll use whatever I have and sometimes that includes the little guys as well. I carried canon a series for a long time and now carry an iPhone 3GS for snaps. But i would never call the P&S a pleasure to use because of the infuriating lag. The 3GS is actually better than my A570 in that regard and my number of casual shots with it continues to skyrocket. I wish there was more manual control on them but the vast majority of the market just doesn't seem to care.

    For those that do, tho, Michael Johnsston describes what he describes as 'the decisive moment digital camera' or DMD:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/DMD.shtml

    I agree with Johnston that something in between the two could be a massive seller, and I hope that efforts like the Olympus Pen and Sigma DP1 continue to expand this market and i hope P&S continue to eradicate lag in that market too.

    Horses for courses and all that.
     
  18. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    Bumping this one a year hence. My wife (well, we) really wants a simple P&S she can carry around and use easily. Our dSLR is a Rebel XT but it's big, of course, and adding yet another bag on family outings means it usually gets left home and I wind up shooting with my iPhone 4. Nice shots/video for a phone, but there's only so much it can do. And I can't seem to hold it still enough to save my life. :)


    Shutter lag is something that's kept me away from even looking much at P&S, but things seem to have gotten much better. I've been looking at the Sony DSC-HX5V for all the cool stuff it can do (good low-light, panorama, 1080i video) and, according to this review, after pre-focusing by half-pressing the shutter button (which my wife is used to doing anyway with the Canon), shutter lag is only 0.010 second.


    Thoughts on that model or any of the current crop?
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    No clue on that model, but I've heard good things about the Canon G11 and also you might wanna consider the EVIL style cams I mentioned, including the Olympus PEN and Sony NEX series which give DSLR style benefits at half the size.
     
  20. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Olympus PEN has a lower cost model now (compared to 2009) called the Olympus EPL-1


    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0035LBRJO/


    Although still above $500, it may be one of the best current choices.


    As much as I'd rather recommend the Sony NEX3 with the zoom lens --


    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003MPOLX2/


    -- I don't think the Sony is ready for prime time yet.


    The Sony you were looking at -- the Sony DSC-HX5V -- is just a normal point and shoot with a tiny sensor. It will be no better, nor any worse than, the hundred other point and shoot cameras that exist. I'd view it as a waste of $300.
     

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