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Canon SD600?


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#1 of 86 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted November 24 2006 - 03:57 AM

Any reason I should not pull the trigger on this thing for $200? (that's it for budget!)

I have a trip coming up, and need a camera pronto. I've used my friends SD110 and love that little thing. I am partial to Canon.

I have been meaning to get into photography for a long time, but now isn't the time for it - just need a reliable device I can carry everywhere. And budget won't allow anything fancy anyway.

Will I get better pictures from the A series (A610/20/30) in the same price range?


EDIT: Grrr neverind, the damn thing is just too small, I want more features grrr...

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#2 of 86 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted November 24 2006 - 05:00 PM

Well it's been a weird day. Went to the store, handled the thing for a couple of minutes and decided it wasn't for me. Some of the A series can still fit comfortably in my pockets -- the A540 was exactly the same size as my wallet witch is always full of junk (never enough $$$ though) -- so I decided to go with one of those. And I decided I might a well get something that will serve as a stepping stone to the good stuff (DSLR), or at the very least allow me to evaluate my level of interest in this -- do I just want the kewl toys, or am I genuinely interested in photography as a hobby?

The A530/40 was the budget recommendation ($125-$150) from a few websites, but I couldn't get past the lag times between shots, especially with flash (6secs?!).

The A610/20/30/40 were fine feature-wise, but just too bulky.

So I ended up settling on a A710 ($300). Right combo of size and features.

But while browsing around, I found out about the new Nikon D40, MSRP for the kit is $599. Imagine the street price in 6 months Posted Image.

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#3 of 86 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 24 2006 - 10:15 PM

Congrats on the new camera. At <=$300, I would've probably gone for a Fuji F30 though, if I were you. Posted Image But the Canon should be a fine choice also although it won't do nearly as well as the F30 in low light (typical indoors) situations.

If you're considering the Nikon D40, you should take note that its autofocus only works w/ AFS type lenses. If you wish to use older style non-AFS lenses, you'll have to focus manually or go w/ a different model like the D50. AFS lenses are the kind that focus nearly instantaneously and silently w/ their own built-in motors. A small number of 3rd party lenses also offer this (eg. Sigma's HSM), but not many so far. And Nikon doesn't have too many fixed focal length AFS prime lenses yet -- and all of them are AFS telephotos that cost >$800 so far.

Happy shooting!

_Man_
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#4 of 86 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted November 25 2006 - 01:48 AM

I checked out the F30, here are the concluding paragraphs of DPreview:

Quote:
So, whilst it would be unfair to label the F30 a 'one trick pony' (no matter how good that trick is), it is fair to say that it really shines in low light, whereas in daylight - especially bright daylight - it is merely competent. If I'm being brutally honest this sensor deserves a better camera - or at least one with some control over things like contrast, sharpness and saturation. The good news is that the recent announcement of the S6500fd certainly suggests that Fuji isn't going to abandon this sensor for a while yet.

To sum up, the F30 is far and away the best low light compact camera on the market today, bar none. It's the perfect 'social' camera for the DSLR owner who doesn't want to lug all his or her gear to parties, and it is - in expert hands - capable of superb results in any light. I would even go as far as to suggest - funds permitting - getting one for low light work even if you already own a camera you use for daylight shooting... So then, Highly Recommended unless you rarely shoot indoors or at night.

Definitely interesting, but I would probably have opted for the Canon anyway, as it just so happens that the vast majority of the shots in this trip will be in (very) bright daylight.

Arrgh, thanks for the info on the D40, silly question - how important is autofocus anyway?

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#5 of 86 OFFLINE   HienN

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Posted November 25 2006 - 02:59 AM

Great choice of a camera, and at $300, great price too. One of the things I like best in this model is image stabilization (hence the "IS" in the model number), which reduces blur, especially but not only in low light situations. Here are a couple of reviews, here and here. I almost always shoot in autofocus mode. AF has come a long way since the days of film cameras, and now it's quick and precise, and you can choose between different AF modes to tweak things to your preference.

I have a 2-year old Canon A series camera, and it works great, but I am thinking about going small and getting a sub-compact model, but with image stabilization, so I've been seriously weighing the SD700 and SD800. Decision decision decision...

#6 of 86 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted November 26 2006 - 01:39 AM

Quote:
I've been seriously weighing the SD700 and SD800. Decision decision decision...
I've been looking at the SD800, too, for my wife and as a complement to my Canon 350D DSLR. I like the wider angle lens on the SD800 over the SD700 -- something pretty rare in a digital point & shoot.

Man-Fai makes some excellent points on the Nikon D40. The features on that new model seem too constrained for a DLSR. If you like the Nikon system, the D50 or D70 would be better choices, IMO. If you are looking for a good price point, the Canon 350D is being marked down, too, now that the 400D has been introduced (if you like the Canon system).

#7 of 86 OFFLINE   HienN

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Posted November 26 2006 - 02:50 AM

But the SD700 has better telephoto and is about $50 cheaper. If they were priced the same, that would be easy Posted Image

#8 of 86 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted November 26 2006 - 01:11 PM

Personally, I'd rather have the extra width and give up a little on the telephoto end. Most point & shoots only go to about 35mm on the wide side, which is not wide enough for me for some interior shots, where we'd be most likely to use a point & shoot. The SD800 is the equivalent of 28mm on the wide end, which is about the same as the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens I use on my DSLR (27-88mm 35mm equivalent).

#9 of 86 OFFLINE   HienN

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Posted November 27 2006 - 05:19 PM

I agree. For what I do, 28mm gives greater advantages than 135mm. It's just that I don't have a digital SLR, so I have to think hard about giving up too much on the telephoto end. But I guess, since it's digital, I can always crop afterwards Posted Image I have almost made up my mind to get the 800, just waiting to find the best deal.

There is an excellent comparison between the SD700 and SD800 here. Check the link on image stabilization and the focal length comparison.

Back to the original topic, how are you liking your A710, Holadem?

#10 of 86 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 27 2006 - 05:35 PM

Yeah, for a good entry level DSLR, I would suggest going w/ either the Nikon D50 or the Canon 350D/XT or maybe one of the comparably priced Pentax, if you're a little more adventurous (and love their ergonomics, feature set and lineup of fixed focal length primes). There really isn't much reason to go for the D40 -- its street price probably won't even be noticeably lower than the D50 for a while, if you shop online. I suppose the D40 might be a decent way to start out after a steep discount -- and to keep as a vacation cam (due to its small size) if/when you eventually upgrade.

Hien,

If you get the SD800, you probably can still add a teleconverter to get a longer zoom when you need it, no? That might be one way to go. And in terms of lugging (and spending $ on) a lens converter, if there's an option, usually a teleconverter is smaller (and cheaper) than a wide converter in case you're thinking to go the other way w/ the SD700.

_Man_
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#11 of 86 OFFLINE   HienN

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Posted November 27 2006 - 06:05 PM

Thanks, Man, for the suggestion. I'll have to look into that. I didn't know they make teleconverters for a sub-compact point-and-shoot. I didn't see a screw thread so I assumed that there were no lens accessories.

#12 of 86 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted November 28 2006 - 02:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by HienN
Back to the original topic, how are you liking your A710, Holadem?
Just got it a few minutes ago, looks pretty nifty Posted Image.

Um... is the manual supposed to be just a bunch sheets (4x5) held together with two staples? The camera itself looks brand new (complete with the plastic film on the LCD) so maybe I am being paranoid. The outfit is www.thecamerabox.com, they appear to be in NYC (I know I know...), they have excellent ratings on resellerratings.com., the price was right and shipping was fast (I ordered it on Friday, got here on Tuesday). Nothing appears to be missing from the box as far as I can see.

Can't tell you guys much about the camera, sorry, it's my first so I have little to compare it to. I have used my friends SD110 pretty often for 2 years, and another's Casio EXLIM as well, but both are so basic that they don't really count as far as experience goes.

Now my question: Are the 2 weeks left before my trip enough for a crash course in photography, or should I simply trust my camera's auto mode for the 3.5 weeks I will be away? Note that I most likely won't be able to download the pix to a PC and get some feedback out there... and I understand that LCDs no matter how large, aren't a whole lotta help in this matter.

I know the basics of exposure and the relationships between aperture, shutter, ISO, and perhaps DOF. I realize that you wouldn't know how fast I can learn in 2 weeks, but please do take a stab at the question.

Leave the damn thing on auto? Posted Image

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#13 of 86 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted November 28 2006 - 03:23 AM

If you do not feel you have time to learn the intricacies of your camera, you may want to at least try some of the "scene" modes like landscape and portrait along with auto. I used those modes quite a bit on my old Powershot G3.

DOF is much different on a point & shoot than a DSLR due to its smaller sensor. So, trying to blur the background on a portrait shot can be difficult with a p&s, even with the lens wide open -- you'll probably need to be near maximum focal length and wide open to achieve decent blur. However, they can provide great DOF for landscape shots.

#14 of 86 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 28 2006 - 08:32 AM

If you already know the few basics regarding exposure, probably the next thing you will want to learn that's specific to digital is how to make good use of the histogram to either get the best exposure for postprocessing purposes or simply good, well-balanced exposure for the final results, particularly for scenics. Another thing of interest might be learning to use slow sync flash, if you don't know already. If you know the few basics, I would think 2 weeks should be enough time for you to get acquainted w/ the camera so as not to need to rely on the various auto/scene modes.

And as Scott says, there's not a whole lot you can do for (shallow) DoF w/ these digicams w/ tiny sensors (and lenses). Generally, if you shoot at f/5 or smaller aperture, the DoF will be quite large even at the tele end unless you're shooting close-ups/macros. I used to make use of the large DoF (and minimal manual focus feature) on my Canon G3 to wait for timed shots of the kids and such since AF was so slow -- and even now, digicam AF still really isn't fast enough. OTOH, w/ the DSLR, I pretty much have to rely on the fast AF since DoF is shallow. Posted Image

_Man_
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#15 of 86 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted November 28 2006 - 09:39 AM

Geez man, thanks for raining on my parade Posted Image

Seriously, it does seem to my novice eyes like shallow DOF is where the fun is. But for the purposes of this trip, I can live without that. espcially since I took a couple of shots on Auto and I am just floored by the quality of this thing, at least compared to the aforementioned compacts! Granted it was in ideal conditions (diffuse office light) but still.

I doubt I will be going fully manual anytime soon, but at least I can play with Program, Tv, Av and simply do some bracketting when in doubt. This is gonna be fun Posted Image.

How does sensor size relate to DoF?

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#16 of 86 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 28 2006 - 09:58 AM

One other thing about choosing a good aperture size to use. Generally, you'll probably want to stay somewhere around f/5 to f/5.6 for best optical performance on these digicams (unless you have one w/ a brighter lens like f/2 wide open). That's usually where the sweet spot is for most of them. Of course, this assumes that you have enough light and want the very large DoF that you'll get too, especially at or near full wideangle where the DoF will likely be near infinity. If you stop down beyond say f/6.4 or so, you might start to hit the diffraction limit and lose some sharpness. That's something to note when considering the idea of stopping down to increase DoF.

Here's a good DoF calculator for you to check out:

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

If you use a Palm device, they also have a version for that. OR you can try one of their customizable quick reference charts. But generally, w/ the large DoF of these digicams, it's pretty easy to guesstimate for most shots once you get a good feel for how the DoF formula works.

_Man_
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"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..." (St. Paul)

#17 of 86 OFFLINE   HienN

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Posted November 28 2006 - 05:08 PM

I am surprised that the manual is a bunch of sheets held together with 2 staples. There should be 2 booklets actually, one basic user guide and one advanced. You can download and see them here.

Although you are short on time, with a new camera, I'd suggest that you take an hour or so to put the camera through its paces. Check out all the functions, especially things that involve mechanical movements like zoom, video and timer, etc. Go through the entire menu if you can.

And don't let the pros like Scott and Man take all the joy out of photography Posted Image It's perfectly OK to leave the thing on Auto (or select from the different auto modes like portrait, landscape, or sports, etc, if you feel adventurous). You can advance to DoF after you come back from vacation.

#18 of 86 OFFLINE   Holadem

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Posted November 29 2006 - 05:55 AM

I've started experimenting quite a bit, I really like it so far, I have already overriden the camera's suggestions on a quite a few occasions with better results.

The biggest problem right now is the LCD, it's large, but some of the blurry mess I made looked just fine there until I saw them on the computer.

But I wish the lens would open wider than f/2.8, to get those portait shots with that nice background blur. But then again, I saw similar shots made with an A610-40 (don't remember which one) on Pbase, tack sharp bird with really good background blur and am still scratching my head as to how they managed that since the lenses are very similar? Aperture listed was f2.8.

What am I missing?

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#19 of 86 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted November 29 2006 - 07:01 AM

Quote:
But I wish the lens would open wider than f/2.8, to get those portait shots with that nice background blur. But then again, I saw similar shots made with an A610-40 (don't remember which one) on Pbase, tack sharp bird with really good background blur and am still scratching my head as to how they managed that since the lenses are very similar? Aperture listed was f2.8.

What am I missing?

Focal length and distance, maybe? Play with the depth of field calculator that Man listed above. Remember DoF decreases as you (1) widen the aperature, (2) decrease the distance to the subject, or (3) increase the focal length of the lens.

It will also decrease as your camera's sensor size increases, but you cannot increase that without changing cameras. Posted Image

#20 of 86 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted November 29 2006 - 07:45 AM

For background blur itself, it'll also depend on how far the background is relative to the focus/subject distance. But if it's a non-SLR digicam shot of a bird w/ good background blur using medium tele range, then I'd wonder how the person even got close enough for a good shot or whether some postprocess editing was done to add the blur. Posted Image

A link to such a photo might help.

BTW, didn't mean to spoil the fun w/ all the technical talk. Posted Image

_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..." (St. Paul)


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