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Need recommendation for Xmas: Wife likes Canon S400


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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Marty Christion

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Posted December 20 2004 - 05:25 AM

We are looking to replace an older Fuji camera, and my wife loves a friend's Canon Powershot S400, which I believe is last year's model.

A refurbished one is here:

http://www.refurbdep....rerid=dealtime

She likes the size and image quality of the pictures. Is the Canon S410 the most recent model of this type of camera? Are there any other similar models in different brands that should be considered on a price/performance/reliability basis? She wants good quality print outs that can be blown up. I just want good quality when put on our website, which we're already getting. Good performance in low light, or with motion, would be nice. Our current camera streaks and blurs in less-than-optimal conditions.

Costco has an S500 kit for ~$390, which is also tempting.

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted December 20 2004 - 07:52 AM

In this category, you might also want to take a look at the Panny FX series, maybe the FX2 or FX7, since they offer image stabilization (IS) that none of the others do in this category. IS will help you get steadier shots of non-changing scenes and still subjects in low lighting. However, it won't help you "stop" motion. For that, you'll always need higher shutter speeds, which means needing a combo of larger aperture (smaller f #) and higher ISOs. But you won't get either of those w/ these tiny digicams. Still, I suspect the Canon S series Elphs will yield less noisy images at any given ISO setting due to their larger CCDs, so then, it depends on which compromise you prefer to have, ie. cleaner high ISOs for when you need to push the ISO setting or steadier shots of still images when IS makes the difference. It's a tough call, and I suggest trying them out in person to see for yourself.

Couple other downsides about the Panny FX series: the FX7 seems to be a battery hungry unit w/ its big LCD, and both FX7 and FX2 are missing optical viewfinders. And oh, they require SD memory, instead of CF.

Beyond that, use the built-in flash as best you can in low light situations, use a mini-tripod like the Ultrapod (http://www.pedcopods.com/instru01.htm), stick to wideangle end (as the handshake problem is roughly an inverse of focal length, aka zooming factor), and/or brace the camera against something steady, eg. railing.

Finally, there's no substitute for learning how a camera actually works and understanding the basic principles of photography -- and getting a truly better camera, instead of a toy one. :wink:

_Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (Apostle Paul)


#3 of 5 OFFLINE   ScottHH

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Posted December 20 2004 - 08:32 AM

I believe the Canon S410 replaced the S400. And the retailer you noted http://www.refurbdep...Product_ID=3507 it for $10 less than the S400. It looks like the exact same camera, except that they've shaved 15 grams off the weight. Info from dpreview.com Maybe a silver 1 weighs less than a 0 in the model number?

Read this to see if you think you need the additional megapixels in the S500 (which also appears to be the exact same camera expcept for the sensor).

Man,

Some people want to take snap shots. I know you were kidding, but this camera isn't a toy. I've gotten many a better picture with my old Olympus Stylus Epic because it was WITH me, when my big SLR rig was home because I couldn't take it along. Eventually, my wife stole that little camera. Now that I've gone digital and have a big digital SLR rig, I'm thinking about a digital IXUS/Elph to take the place of the Olympus Stylus.

Now, if you're serious about "Good performance in low light, or with motion, would be nice." I fully agree with Man. You should be looking at a camera that can be operated in manual mode. For example, the Canon G-series and A-series have aperture and shutter priority modes, in addition to the fully automatic mode. However, these cameras are going to be bigger and heavier.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 20 2004 - 09:03 AM

I used to hang out at DPReview a lot. I used to view peoples photos a lot. I saw more good photos taken by S400s than by Digital Rebels, by a LONG shot. The same with A70s. People seem to think they can buy better photos by sinking kilobux into the equipment. It never happens. They just take more expensive photos. If your wife likes the Elph series, get it. ANYONE will use something more if it is what they like than something with an confusing or overwhelming array of controls.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted December 21 2004 - 11:11 AM

Hi, Elinor. I fully agree that a better camera does not necessarily result in better photos. Indeed, that's not really what better cameras are all about, IMHO, regardless of what the marketing of camera makers will have us believe. Cameras are all instances of compromises, and you choose where your compromises are w/ which camera you go w/. What a "better" camera gives you is greater ability to do more different kinds of things for your photomaking, but how you use the extra capabilities is really up to you. And as Scott rightly noted, I was indeed sorta kidding w/ my remark about it being a "toy" although I would not make lite of the differences between a p&s cam like the S400/410 and a DSLR. My point was mainly that people indeed often ask for things w/out understanding what they're really asking for, eg. the "low light" capability, and then also expect an $$$ camera to automagically take great photos for them (just as you seem to point out). My point was that it simply does not work that way, which was why the bulk of that statement (and indeed my entire reply) was mostly about learning/understanding photography and how cameras work, not merely just recommending a better camera. And yes, I also think that a simpler, more portable camera will likely suit Marty's wife better than a big, complicated one as is usually the case. Still, it's good to realize that it doesn't have to be that way though if one is willing to learn and grow and willing to lug around something bigger (and more $$$). Finally, "better photos" is a subjective thing just like "better movies". Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder afterall. Kind regards, _Man_

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (Apostle Paul)





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