Canon SD600?

HienN

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Like all men


Looks like you have done your homework so I don't have a lot to add. I bought my sister a SD600 about six months ago and it works great, and it's nice and slim too, but that was then and this is now. For me, the big pluses for the SD800 are compactness, IS, wide angle, and face detection. Add to that my preference that it has a viewfinder (hard to find these days) and familiarity with Canon menus and software since we have been using their cameras for so long. I didn't find another camera that combined all those things in one package.

Scott, I have gone beyond Auto and in fact rarely use Auto anymore. Not that you can adjust a lot of things here as you can in a SLR. For "easier" shots with lots of light and not a lot of movement, I use one of the "Scene" modes, like Portrait or Foliage. For trickier situations like low light or fluorescent light, I switch to Manual to change the white balance and especially force low ISO.

The SD800 gives you a very nice info and focus check screen after each shot (by default it flashes it very quickly but you can lengthen the time), but it doesn't tell you what ISO it uses when you are in Auto or Scene mode. It tells you only when you are in Manual and set the ISO yourself (which is when I know already and don't need it to tell me). That is one thing that bugs me, and I am always afraid that it will go to a higher iSO than I want and make the picture grainy. I have let the camera control many times for testing and haven't seen anything bad, but it's just my paranoia when I am not controlling it and it doesn't tell me what it does.

In general, mode switching and menu navigation on this camera is great. Most everything takes only one click to reach a selection menu and one click to set, very quick and intuitive.

One more thing Mary, now that it's after Christmas, you'll want to be careful so you don't get a unit that was returned by someone else. That doesn't necessarily mean that there is anything wrong, but you never know who has been through it and how careful they were. The return rate is usally a lot higher right after Christmas than before so it's even more important that you buy from a local store where you can inspect things in advance, or from a reputable online store that doesn't give you the runaround when something goes wrong.
 

Scott Merryfield

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Hien,

If I was using the SD800, I would probably be using either manual or one of the scene modes, too. My wife, though, has no desire to mess with any settings on the camera, so it will probably stay in auto mode all the time. I will be interested to hear how well the other modes work, though, in case I find the need to use the camera myself.

Personally, I never use either the auto or the scene modes on my DSLR. When outdoors, I'm usually in aperature-priority mode to control DoF, occasionally shutter-priority if I need to stop action, and indoor flash photos are almost always in manual mode (or aperature priority for indoor non-flash photos).
 

HienN

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Ahhh, aperture priority and shutter priority. Things I used to do with my old film camera. But you get older and you get lazy, and start preferring the simplicity of a point-and-shoot. There are just a few things I tweak often:

- ISO which I force set to 80, 100 or 200 (just because I hate grainy pictures, although I don't know what the camera would have chosen if I were to let it, and it doesn't tell me before or after the shot)

- Exposure compensation. In my limited experience thus far, I think it tends to overexpose bright scenes, resulting in skies that are washed out instead of blue. In these cases I have to bring it down a bit.

- Flash, which I set to On or Off depending on the shot, instead of letting the camera decide in Auto. I think there is a way but I haven't found yet, to know if the flash will be used or not before the shot if you set it to Auto.

- Color setting. I have been experimenting with this, testing things like Vivid Blue, Green or Red, or what they call "Positive Film." The colors are indeed more vivid and intense and for now, more appealing but I don't know if I will keep them that way.

- As you do, I also have IS on "shoot only" for the same reason as yours. I also change the compression level from Fine (default) to Superfine. The file size is over 50% larger, but bytes are cheap. In addition I changed a lot of the timing values, like how long the info screen will stay on after each shot, etc.

Note that half of the above changes are permanent (they stay that way even after power off until you change them again) but the rest have to be reset each time you power up -- unless you are in Manual mode, then they are "permanent." That's one reason I'm starting to like Manual more, although this is nothing compared to true Manual in a DSLR.

By the way, I wonder where Holadem is. We kinda hijacked his thread, and he hasn't told us to move out yet
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Mary,

From what I'm hearing, I would wait on the Fuji F31fd before deciding if I were you. It does sound like they've addressed those concerns.

OTOH, much (though not quite all) of the concern could be addressed by simply setting the F30's exposure compensation to either -1/3EV or -2/3EV, and then, you'd save yourself as much as ~$100 on the camera. And actually, if your hubby will only be using it as point-and-shoot w/out ever bothering w/ manual settings, then even the cheapy (and somewhat slimmer) F20 will do well w/ that same -1/3EV or -2/3EV setting (in the so called Manual mode). That's what I got for my wife, which I also use on occasion when I don't have my big, hefty DSLR handy. And personally, I think you'll want a -1/3EV setting on most Canon compact digicams too if you want to avoid blown highlights -- eg. I had my old (now sold away) Canon G3 set that way on a nearly permanent basis.

And if your hubby want to use the cam for some quick indoor video clips, you definitely cannot beat these Fuji's, which was another reason why I chose one for my wife. And I didn't even like the idea of using a digicam for shooting video in the past.


_Man_
 

Mary M S

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HienN: [Like all men]
You picked up, - on my small joke!


“wide angle, and face detection”
No one engineers appliances/electronics which have all bundled features (I) wish for!

- Some of his shots will be aircraft in flight, daylight, requiring a longer lens than any digicam sports, so that was the initial feature set I looked at, (zooms available in pocket) even glancing at the Kodak EasyShare V610 a dual-lens 10x (38-380.) The quality of some test shots I saw (noise) was an issue with that model.

- Then I realized the shots he often comes home with are very often gloomy lighting situations (inside hangers, night shots after the days over, - the day shots are rarer because they are busy flying and don’t often stop to shoot pics at those times) so up came the Fuji for consideration.

- Additionally I noted many shots he brings home are tight quarters (inside fuselage) where an ultra-wide angle would be the feature handiest!

So! What to do to mate all my requirements!

I know he felt he might find a pocket-unit under the tree, (whoops) and expects it to be Sony branded (ease of sticking Sony’s proprietary card in our own (and other family members) display slot-readers on the fly). But I’d rather branch specs, - and buy a 6in1 reader (but then you add that extra step to computer/back to the Sony stick for the displays!)

“you'll want to be careful so you don't get a unit that was returned by someone else.” Thanks for this reminder, your absolutely correct!

“Color setting. I have been experimenting with this, testing things like Vivid Blue, Green or Red”
Is that labeled Torch mode on the wheel?! (teasing).

“I wonder where Holadem is. We kinda hijacked his thread, and he hasn't told us to move out yet”
Didn’t he mention the vacation word? Maybe he’ll post shots and let us know how he likes his new purchase - when he returns!

“some quick indoor video clips” I had that in the plus category for the Fuji!

- Pressure to purchase now: if scheduling holds, he leaves in a week for a unique locale where I’d prefer he already have his gift, instead of getting copies of others’ shots or packing along a disposable. (We have a large Sony – too bulky for him).
 

HienN

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Sheesh, you are fussy. You want slim, cheap and common


Seriously, if you must get a camera now that meets your low light requirements, I agree that the Fuji 31fd is your best bet. Fuji doesn't come out with models as often as Canon or Nikon for example, so I doubt there will be another model anytime soon that fits better. The only thing that bothers me slightly is that it is a somewhat larger camera, and you and your husband have to decide if that's small enough. It's almost like a Canon A camera minus the grip. Also keep in mind that Fuji uses the xD card. I wouldn't rule out a camera for that reason, but you'll want to carry extra cards because not every store will have xD.

I see that B&H has the camera in stock, $350 - $50 mail-in rebate from Fuji. Cheaper than the Canon SD800. You can upgrade to 2-day shipping and have it in hand in less than a week. Keep in mind that B&H observes the Sabbath and is closed on Fri and Sat. Also, check their return policy -- I think the window is 14 days for cameras, but I'm not certain. Hope it's not 1 week in which case you want to check out the camera right away after receipt.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Yeah, if you want him to have the camera for an upcoming trip, you should get it asap. It'd be good for him to have at least a few days to get used to the new camera so he's ready to get the shots he wants on the trip. Granted, he'll be using it mainly as simple point-and-shoot, but it'd still be good to have a few days beforehand.

One thing about the low light shooting he'll likely be doing. If the shots are primarily of still life, relatively still scenes, etc. instead of people and such, then there's less need for the better high ISO performance of the Fuji's. Good image stabilization might well be good enough and possibly even preferable in some such instances. It really depends. Too bad nobody offers the best of both worlds (yet).

Hope it works out great whatever you choose, Mary.

_Man_
 

Mary M S

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Man & Hien,

Thanks very much! Missed the giving him days to play with it, - will have to make my 2-day ship decision on Tuesday AM or try to pick the Cannon 800 up at a local B&M. Really appreciated the review you found Hien but rather than cementing the deal, I still feel I will almost have to flip a coin to make the choice!

The noise increased over the F30 at 600ISO! (is it always one step forward – one back!!!) in tradeoff for the face recognition? I agree with the reviewer that the Fuji’s shape is a box as compared to the sexier Cannon. The lack of image stabilization on the Fuji? (and on the other hand) they could not get one shot to produce red-eye (too many p&s produce consistent red-eye when flash is activated)

Urrrggg, cannot decide


Sample shots and a broad range for any point & shoot, (I’ll remove these in a day to not eat space). Going back over the previous shots, there are more daylight outdoor and telephoto mixed in (about half & half) with the indoor murky situations than I thought at a first glance.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Something to consider is that people generally avoid using their cameras for bad looking photos in difficult situations (eg. in low light situations) if their cameras simply aren't capable of delivering good quality in those situations (given their skill level, approach to shooting, etc). And even if/when they try, they probably end up deleting most of those shots.

For instance, if your camera's ISO 400 quality is awful, then you'll rarely want to use it at all in those situations that would need it -- and you might even think 2x before using ISO 200 too. And if/when you try to get by w/ just ISO 100 in those situations, you're likely to end up w/ blurry photos (if the subject moved or you were handholding) or badly underexposed photos (if you kept up the shutter speed for handholding), etc. that you end up deleting. But if you suddenly have a camera w/ decent ISO 800 quality, you won't only start using it at ISO 400 regularly but would even use it at ISO 800 w/out worrying much about quality in those situations where you would've just given up (or deleted a bunch of bad photos) in the past.

Of course, the same can be said about features like image stabilization (for those of us who hate lugging mono/tripods everywhere).


_Man_
 

HienN

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You know the main parameters of the decision - can the camera manage low light (otherwise you lose some photo opportunities), and is it small enough to carry (otherwise you lose some photo opportunities)? On top of that you have concerns like IS, wide angle, noise, color, red-eye, slim/sexy design
, etc.

It's a tough choice since the 2 candidates we are talking about are excellent for most situations, but not perfect for all - but I doubt that any camera is. I think that this is one case where it makes sense to involve the gift recipient in the decision, not because it's the easy way out, but because he probably knows best what's important to him in the trade-off.

The usual B&M stores like Best Buy and Circuit City around here are open today and tomorrow, and online stores like B&H are also open on New year's Day. They may not be able to ship, but if you order early, maybe they can pack it and ensure that it goes out first thing Tues and ensure early arrival.

Good luck with the decision and let us know how it turns out. Happy New Year.
 

Mary M S

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Purchased the Cannon SD800 today, it is a current hot seller! We bought the last unit of a just-arrived shipment at the fifth store we tried, sold out at four other local B&M's.

The very few minutes I had to play with it with in a known difficult indoor lighting situation...I was very underwhelmed! If time allows tomorrow will attempt to learn the menu's well enough for decent trial run.
If I'm going to jump ship to the Fuji, I should overnight or 2-day ship on Tuesday.

Hope both your New Year's evenings were wonderfull (and safe!).
 

HienN

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Mary, I'm sorry that your first run with the SD800 wasn't very positive. I am not sure if you were working mostly in Auto and had the camera choose the ISO. I suspect that in low light, it will push the ISO up too high.

This is one of my pet peeves, that it doesn't tell me what ISO it decided to go with, before or after the shot, nor does it have a "Auto ISO" option like some of the Nikons which lets you allow the camera to select an ISO but only within a certain window. With this camera, I have no concern with 80, 100 or 200 ISO. I get nervous with 400 and try not to go there at all. I will use 800 or higher only if there is no other way to take that picture.

My workaround is to use Manual only and set the ISO myself, 80 or 100 ISO in good lighting conditions, and 200 if marginal. After that I let the camera warn me if that forces the shutter speed to drop too low, and only then do I adjust the ISO to the next higher value. That way I ensure that the ISO stays as low as practical, and I know ahead of time if high ISO is used so I am fully aware of the compromise. It may sound complicated but in reality I've grown used to shooting in Manual only (not a true Manual). The nice thing is that adjusting ISO is a quick 2-click operation.

I suggest for your next test run, to shoot the same low light scene starting at 80, and going up each ISO increment, and see for yourself which ISO value would make the picture unacceptably grainy to you. If you find it too low and restrictive, then I think you should definitely switch to a different camera such as the Fuji. In my case with my ISO definition of (80-200 good), (400 marginal) and (800-1600 poor, grainy), I found that I can live happily with the camera.
 

Mary M S

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Hein, you are correct, my first 15 minute test run was in Auto. Since it has been a couple of years since I played with any pocket sized, I had high expectations of greater advancements for that class than when I last touched base with them.

The issue for my first test was that color was very off, with flash, but after a second quick run through under same lighting conditions yesterday I did discover that adjusting EC in ‘manual’ offered improvements. Since I was a little lost remembering how to quickly hop in and out of menu’s when switching between “auto” and any other choice I am still not sure if this camera will be as handy as I had hoped.
The pic's I posted were copies received from other guys pocket cameras in the same locations, I was hoping to get a better end product than those.

I’m debating mail-ordering the Fuji today to see if getting uniformly acceptable shots in low-level light will come with less steps.

An issue is that I purchased some accessories for the Cannon, which came in impossible to open without destroying hard-plastic hang cases. The original packaging (of two accessories I purchased) are not in good shape for a return.


I googled but could not come up with the right set of terms to get this question answered, do you happen to know what the difference between a card labeled SD and one labeled SD(M) would be? The Fuji web-sellers all seem to add the (M) to the card designation under add-ons.

Is this a different architecture of card for the Fuji, or can I use memory labeled only SD?
 

HienN

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Mary, quick reply since I am at work


There are 4 main types of memory cards for digital cameras:
1. Compact Flash, or CF
2. Secure Digital, or SD. There is a new variant called SDHC (HC for high capacity), usually used for 4 GB or above.
3. Memory Stick, usually used by Sony
4. xD Picture Card, or xD, usually used by Fuji, and I think Olympus. They have several types, like H and M, M being the latest and highest capacity today.

The above 4 types are not compatible with each other. CF and SD are most common and used by the big guys Canon and Nikon, and xD is the least common (not impossible to find, but typically a place like Staples or Office Max may carry only CF and SD, but not xD).

I think you were confusing xD type M with SD. They are altogether different formats, and unfortunately the card you got for the Canon SD800 cannot be used for the Fuji.

PS. I do hate those hard plastic hang cases. They are evil, and the only thing they are good for is to cut you when you try to open them.
 

HienN

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A friend sent me this link to a great site that lets you compare different cameras and pictures taken by them. The site is in French but it's not hard to understand. Here is the link for the Canon SD800 and Fuji F30 (no F31fd yet): http://www.lesnumeriques.com/duels.p...2&p2=1218&ph=7

Use the pull-down menu under "Etape 3" to compare different aspects of the cameras. The 2 items you are probably interested in are "faible eclairage" (low light) and "detail faible eclairage."

I'll let you be the judge
 

Mary M S

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Hien,

Still deciding!

Did you scroll the Barbie shots?
Close up /without flash: the Fuji is at 800ISO as compared to the much noisier 400ISO of the Cannon.
Close up/with flash: again the Fuji beats the Cannon
Upper Body/without flash: the Fuji color is not pleasing
Upper Body/with flash: in the Cannon shot, Barbie is flat-out having a really bad hair day


Maybe it is my imagination? But regarding the table tableau, “faible eclairage” It is possible the light captured by the lens are effecting, yet it appears that the bear has more light somehow (look at the table around it) in the Cannon shot. I studied this, and begin to wonder if the candle and bear are slightly farther apart in the Fuji shot than in the Cannon, (ck the area of the bottom of the album where there is a circle between the bear/vase and candle?) It could be a side step the photographer has taken which changed angle of shot and is affecting my distance perspective.

Any additional light on the bear (even slightly) in that kind of low-light situation would greatly effect “detail faible eclairage!” What do you think?

Finding it strange that only the category of “Barbie extrant, sans flash” lists the cameras ISO and Shutter speed . You can match up several models and generally the ISO’s will always vary.

At first I thought they were attempting to show at which ISO noise becomes an issue, but some of the match ups, - I’m not so sure. Each camera pops up a different ISO and it is not clear to me if the camera is choosing the level, knowing there is a variance and various models can have more than one auto-mode choice, - (high-auto etc) or, has the tester determined ISO? (both of these models you can).

Would be great if they designated a setting, - say, 200 ISO and then continued shooting with each unit at progressively higher numbers till they could post the additional shot for each unit, noting ISO, at which noise has become unacceptable.

Love any site where you have side by side comparison options. Thanks very much for the link!

Right now I'm stuck - do I want to keep eating 15 % restocking at Best Buy, (Never will I do this type of purchase with BB again) while I test out other units, either from BB (possiblity of another! restock) or if I want to try the F31, - stuck with its current avaliability via web-only and shipping. Having to deal with a mail return if I am unhappy with it. (uug)
 

HienN

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Getting ready to go to work so I have to be brief.

From the same site, here are the complete reviews of the SD800 and FD30:
http://www.lesnumeriques.com/article-289-1218-24.html
http://www.lesnumeriques.com/article-289-1419-1.html

Clearly the Canon starts choking at 400 ISO while the Fuji is still OK at 800 ISO, and this is why I use manual control to stay at 200 ISO or below, and go to 400 or above only when I have no choice (let the camera warn me with low shutter speed).

The main thing is that as I tested the camera, I don't see many situations like that for me, and my conclusion is that I can be happy with the 99% of shots that come out excellent and 1% that I know upfront are going to be marginal. I think you have to look at that ratio for you and see if this is a major "blemish" on the SD800, or just an acceptable marginality that you compensate for or just deal with.

By the way if you do a side-by-side comparison of the SD800 against other models, including Canon models like the SD600 and 630, or read their full reviews on this site, you'll find that the SD800 does significantly better in low light than most of the other models, except for the FD30. Not sure if the comparison is exact or fair as you pointed out, but after looking at these pictures, I felt even better about my choice than before.
 

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