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Help me choose a quality compact digital camera
I have a Powershot G6. I will be looking to get a higher resolution camera before the year's end, though. And while, I like some of my Powershot's features (like the variable angle LCD and the overall image quality), I've found that I don't really require all the manual control, but the Powershot really frustrates me with it's slow autofocusing (I wish sometimes I could just focus it manually and be doen with it instead!) and it's inability to take fairly continuous photos, in spite of buying one of the fastest memory cards on the market in the hopes of alleviating the issue..

Another issue is that I always have to think about whether to take my camera somewhere or not. Considering that the advanced manual controls and such are of no great concern to me (though they are always a welcome feature, of course), I'd like something I can simply fit in my jean pockets this time. Other newer features I'd like are face detection and a 16:9 aspect ratio, as I rarely print my photos and mostly keep them digital for my friends and family to see..

And so, with that bit of background, I'll ask, what recommendations can you guys give me based on my priorities? I've looked at newer Canon, Sony, Olympus, Nikon, and even Leica, but have come to no conclusions thus far. I'll look into any recommendations given; I'm not married to one brand or another. I'm looking for something relatively rounded and with a good quality lens and CCD..

To be clear, here's a list of some of my priorities, more or less in order from most wanted to less pressing:.

- Fast autofocusing (or a manual option, though I know this is rare).

- Fast Shooting for a continuous photo shooting (or maybe a decent burst mode?).

- Image Stabilizer.

- 16:9 Image Ratio.

- Decent movie recording mode with sound.

- Face detection.

- Fits in my jean pockets.

- Interchangeable lens and add-on flash capabilities a plus, but not expected..

- RAW format a plus, but not a requirement.

- Flip out, variable LCD a triple plus, but not expected or required..

- Good optical zoom always appreciated, but still has to fit in my jean pocket!.

- I prefer rechargeable batteries..

Is there something ideal out there for me?..

Comments (7)

My first advice would be : Don't necessarly look for a higher resolution, especially if it is mostly to look on a tv. Remember that a HDTV has barely a 2 MP resolution..

The fujifilm F50fd could be a good choice. (I know, it is 12 mp, but you could always choose a lower resolution)..

It can do 5 images/second at a resolution of 3 mp. It has an image stabilizer, decent high iso photo and face detection..

It doesn't have a 16:9 mode, but it does have a 3:2 mode, wich is pretty close..

You also have a "quick autofocus" mode that makes it possible to focus more quickly, but eats up more battery..

Certainly worth taking a look at, in my opinion..

Have a good day!..

Comment #1

Thank you for your advice, ccarrier. However, I am looking towards the future, as far as my photos are concerned. Sure, HD is not much these days, but who's to say what resolution will be common on displays 10, 20 or more years from now? So, while I wouldn't choose megapixels over optical quality, I prefer it when I have a good combination of both, as megapixels do count (just not at the cost of optical quality)..

I will look into the camera you suggested. Thanks...

Comment #2

The size of a pack of 100s is too big but these:http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08012916panasoniclz8lz10.asp.

Soon to be released Panasonics have semi-Wide angle lenses with some zoom that's optically stabilized & they're the first smaller sized Panys to sport 'A' 'S' & 'M' modes, with the possible exception of the Lx1 & 2 which are only slightly larger & even more completely featured....

Pany's are usually pretty good at & reasonably fast to focus, although there may not be manual focus in the LZs & they have a static LCD.. The LZs will probably be relatively low priced...

OBTW, if you question Panasonic... There's a good chance the leicas you looked at are rebadged Panys @ two to three times the price... Pretty much all Panys have lieca lenses and pretty much all smaller leicas have Pany guts although there may be slight differences in how they tweek them....

Panys Fx series are real small but totally automatic or even the Tz series which sport a nice 28-280mm lens but maybe also slightly larger than you might want & also pretty much totally auotmatic... New models in the Lz, Tz & Fx lines will be comming out in a few months so the old models may be getting price drops soon... One or two will be sporting 25mm-100 or 125mm leica lenses too...

You may have to look to Canon for the veri-angle LCD on a smaller cam.. I believe they have one or two with it that are pocketable. Ther may be a few more by other brands I'm not aware of... Unfortunately viewfinders are semi rare on little cams & none of the Panys above have one... LCD only is the new wave on many brands....

The Amateur Formerly Known as 'UZ'pShoot'ERS' 'Happy Shootin' Comments, Critique, Ridicule, Limericks, Jokes, Hi-jackings, EnthUZIastically, Encouraged... I Insist!.

* /rrawzz *..

Comment #3

Thank you for the info on the Panasonic, Rossuziers. Panasonic prices are much more bearable for me than Leica prices. The size looks about right, and it has a nice combination of features. I've never even thought about Panasonic cameras until now, but it's good to know there are other quality options out there..

I also see a 12MP Panasonic model, but with slightly different compromises. I don't really understand why generally one cannot find the small camera with both good zoom and more megapixels. It always seems to be less megapixels + more zoom or more megapixels + less zoom. I *love* the idea of a 10x zoom, but why should I be limited to 9MP? I'm a computer guy, so a megapixel is a very concrete specification to me, which I can readily see on the screen. However, I also understand that there is more to a camera than megapixels, but it's still hard to weigh these things against each other, especially since I am no camera expert..

A related question: Is there any advantage in the lens resting outside the body on a compact camera, like this Panasonic model?:.

Http://www2.panasonic.com/...Cameras/model.DMC-LX2K_11002_7000000000000005702.

By what I understand, some of these Panasonic cameras give a wider field of view and greater zoom than most other compact cameras, right?.

Thanks for the Panasonic suggestion. The replies I'm getting here are certainly broadening my range of choices, which is excellent..

Edit: How does Panasonic's compact line compare to an upcoming Sony camera like this one:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/news/0802/08022501sonyw300.asp..

Comment #4

MisterPhoton wrote:.

Thank you for the info on the Panasonic, Rossuziers. Panasonic pricesare much more bearable for me than Leica prices. The size looks aboutright, and it has a nice combination of features. I've never eventhought about Panasonic cameras until now, but it's good to knowthere are other quality options out there..

Well, had you not mentioned that you looked @ Leica, I may not have even replied... Both brands have versions of the Pany Fx, Lx & Fz but for the diff in price the Leicas do give you a 3 year warranty as opposed to the Pany 1 year....

I also see a 12MP Panasonic model, but with slightly differentcompromises. I don't really understand why generally one cannot findthe small camera with both good zoom and more megapixels. It alwaysseems to be less megapixels + more zoom or more megapixels + lesszoom. I *love* the idea of a 10x zoom, but why should I be limited to9MP? I'm a computer guy, so a megapixel is a very concretespecification to me, which I can readily see on the screen. However,I also understand that there is more to a camera than megapixels, butit's still hard to weigh these things against each other, especiallysince I am no camera expert..

It's very rare that anything new or an update of a line comes in at less MP... I can't even think of an update that has ever come out with less MP than the cam it's replacing....

I wouldn't worry bout 8 or 9 mp vs 12mp too much.. 3 or 4 is plenty for a good 8x10. It only matters if you need the full size file to print posters & billboards & that would probably be better served with a DSLR... If you read here enough, you'll find out everyone would prefer these little cams with 6mp instead of 9, 10 or 12 mp because so many MP on such tiny sensors purportedly causes too much noise... People around here are downright anal about it in fact... I'm happy with 8-10mp myself..I shoot a 10mp Fz50, almost always in 3mp mode but that's another topic....

The Tz line was the 1st to go 10x stabilized in such a small package... Physics hinders getting longer and smaller, especially if more MP have too be crammed onto a small enough CCD to pull it off & also maintain the MP race... But I won't/can't even try to elaborate, I'm just parroting what has been posted in these forums about the physics involved....

A related question: Is there any advantage in the lens restingoutside the body on a compact camera, like this Panasonic model?:.

Actually, that's one of the bum wraps about that model because it makes it a little more difficult to pocket but I believe if Pany could've recessed it further & still maintained the quality & range of the lens, they would've... The Tz line also has the same issue..

Http://www2.panasonic.com/...Cameras/model.DMC-LX2K_11002_7000000000000005702.

By what I understand, some of these Panasonic cameras give a widerfield of view and greater zoom than most other compact cameras, right?.

Yes the Lx is 28mm in a native 16:9 aspect ratio cam but it loses a few mm on the wide end in the other 2 more conventional aspect ratios it can shoot... The Tz3 uses an over-size CCD to maintain the 28mm WA @ all 3 aspect ratios it's capable of....

The Lx2 is as fully featured as my Fz50, minus a VF, hotshoe & tilt/swivel LCD, which is as close to a DSLR, in handling & control, as you can get in a fixed-lens form factor but it's huge & not what you're lookin' for....

Thanks for the Panasonic suggestion. The replies I'm getting here arecertainly broadening my range of choices, which is excellent..

Stick around, maybe go to specific brand forums for more & better elaboration on any specifics. Just be cognoscente of the brand bias you're sure to encounter, only even worse than my obvious Pany bias... And by all means go to pic hosting sites & pour over the pics from the models you consider.. Even though IQ differences are often minor,especially in the smaller cams, plus you have to realize some are edited & some aren't....

Edit: How does Panasonic's compact line compare to an upcoming Sonycamera like this one:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/news/0802/08022501sonyw300.asp.

I really can't say because I'm really not an avid pocket cam user but Pany has forged new ground into the WA, optically stabilized, as well as long tele optically stabilized small cameras for the past few years & pretty much every other brand has been forced to catch up & they're starting to too... Pany gets bashed for a tendency of being a bit noisier than the rest but in actuality the differences aren't that major... Pany also makes up for some of that diff with less color fringing & chromatic abberation than pretty much all the rest...You'll have to do some homework to decide what works best for you....

You started out with a pretty tall order albeit recognizing you may have to trade off some things to get others & the trade-off aspect of camera purchasing hasn't changed for the past 7 or 8 years I've been into it...Good Luck....

The Amateur Formerly Known as 'UZ'pShoot'ERS' 'Happy Shootin' Comments, Critique, Ridicule, Limericks, Jokes, Hi-jackings, EnthUZIastically, Encouraged... I Insist!.

* /rrawzz *..

Comment #5

"I'm a computer guy, so a megapixel is a very concrete specification to me, which I can readily see on the screen.".

No, no, no, NO! (hey, I'm computer guy too).

You will never see the megapixels on your screen. Seriously. For they never leave the camera. The camera takes the data from the sensor (mit megapixels) and immediately TRANFORMS that data into the image of the size and compression you have set the camera for. That transformation is nowhere near one-to-one..

My "advanced" point-and-shoot has a sensor of "only" 6Mp. But the pixels that I see in the image on my computer screen will be exactly the same as from a 12Mp camera. So long as both cameras were set to the same image size in the first place. As a practical matter, the benefits of more than 6Mp are debatable, so long as the sensors keep the same physical dimensions. But to many consumers, a bigger number must be better, so vee haf this silly Mp race..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #6

Great info! BTW, I plan to shoot only in 16:9, so I'm not very worried about any other resolutions. 16:9 is what my computer display and my TV use, and generally what all displays are heading for these days. I may indeed be willing to trade off a few megapixels for the zoom..

Just the other day, I had a friend of mine take a picture of me from an observation tower while I was walking a nature trail (he got there first), but I came out as a speck, because of the low zoom on his Sony Cybershot..

I think it would be great to be able to take more "natural" photos of people using the zoom. I thank you for pointing me to Panasonic, even if it was simply because I mentioned Leica. I very much like the DMC-TZ5, at least from the specs I see. It has the best zoom I've ever seen on a compact camera and eve does 1280 x 720 - 30fps, 15fps movies, something which even the 13.6 Sony does not (it is limited to 640 x 480 30fps)..

As far as megapixels, KCook, the 9MP Panasonic does 3712 x 2088, while the 13MP Sony does 4224 x 3168, so I would be missing out on 512 x 1080 pixels. Still, the zoom and movie mode may well make up for it..

What I meant by "computer guy" is simply that I am more familiar with computer jargon and functions than I am with camera jargon and functions, though I have been slowly learning more about the latter..

What I wish is that I could try out a camera before buying.And I mean, try it out for at least a month of testing before buying. I once bought an HP camera (a number of years ago) with good specs on paper. But it was horrible. It had lots of noise in the picture and was just to soft. I had to return it, and that's when I bought my first Canon. I'm somewhat afraid that I may have a similar experience jumping to a different brand. But then again, if you guys are recommending Panasonics, they probably can't be anywhere near that bad...

Comment #7

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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