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Hlep me decide on a good point and shoot
Who knew buying a new camera was going to be so difficult? I'm hoping someone with knowledge will help me pick out a decent camera. I've been reading reviews for hours and I'm so confused. All the names are starting to run together...SD, FX TZ. .

I want a camera that's easy to use that produces a good quality photo. I mostly use a camera to take group pics, pics of my dog, landscape and some scenic shots of the smokey mountains. It doesn't have to be super small but I don't want something huge and bulky either. I'd like to spend around $300 or less..

I always thought that the more MP's and optical zoom the better, but now I'm reading that this may reduce the image quality. Image quality is important to me. Also, my old camera always shot red eye on pics of my dog. I want to avoid this or be able to get rid of it. I don't see much mention about red eye in the reviews so maybe it's not an issue wiith newer cameras..

Thank you for any info or advice you have to offer...

Comments (14)

Ses68 wrote:.

Who knew buying a new camera was going to be so difficult? I'mhoping someone with knowledge will help me pick out a decent camera.I've been reading reviews for hours and I'm so confused. All thenames are starting to run together...SD, FX TZ. .

I want a camera that's easy to use that produces a good qualityphoto. I mostly use a camera to take group pics, pics of my dog,landscape and some scenic shots of the smokey mountains. It doesn'thave to be super small but I don't want something huge and bulkyeither. I'd like to spend around $300 or less..

I always thought that the more MP's and optical zoom the better, butnow I'm reading that this may reduce the image quality. Imagequality is important to me. Also, my old camera always shot red eyeon pics of my dog. I want to avoid this or be able to get rid of it.I don't see much mention about red eye in the reviews so maybe it'snot an issue wiith newer cameras..

Thank you for any info or advice you have to offer..

Here are some cameras I like:.

Canon sd870, a650Panasonic tz3, tZ4 OR 5 (4 and 5 are later models)..

Comment #1

There are a LOT of cameras that would fill your stated needs. Most models from the major manufacturers within a given price range are capable of capturing fine quality pictures. The differences are more physical and mechanical than technical (although all the reviews you read that split technical hairs that don't make any noticable real world difference for the majority of folks will make you wonder)..

You'll drive yourself crazy starting from technical reviews. Go to a camera store or a consumer electronics store, find a few that meet your price and technical needs, handle them, play with their settings and menus. Pick three you like, and then read the technical reviews on those three to help you make a final decision..

Your needs appear to be:.

- Wide angle lens (28mm or less in 35mm equivelent) so you can take group pictures close up..

- Something that can handle an external flash or has a flash as far from the lens as possible on the camera. While almost all flashes on P&S cameras offer red eye reduction, it's less effective on pets so flash position is important..

- Something that has easily accessible scene modes you might often use (like portraits, pets, groups etc)..

- Somthing that has face recognition technology for many faces (getting to be a common feature and great for small groups)..

Your most limiting factor is the 28mm wide angle of the zoom lens (most start at 35mm or more)The Panasonic Lumix series has several excellent cameras with wonderful quality Leica lenses in this range. You will be able to find one or two models with this set of features from just about every manufacturer though. The Fuji's seem to do better in low light (less flash use is possible). Theses are only a couple of brand suggestions and there are lots more that fit your needs..

How the camera feels and how easy you find it to use will make more difference in the quantity and quality of the pictures you capture than technical image quality you read about in a review..

RegardsJim.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimboutilier/..

Comment #2

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it..

I finally went out to a store to take a look at some cameras. I was afraid to buy sight unseen or should I say unfelt? I was a little disappointed because they didn't have the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 or the Canon SD870. I went to Wolf Camera and I figured they would have everything. I was thinking it would be nice to buy from them because they offer classes and support included with your purchase. I could use a little training and I'm finding all this very interesting. I can see how people get hooked on photography.

I think I might prefer something that can take a good auto setting shot without having to worry about it. Then again, I might get sucked into the world of photography and want more control. Especially if I take a couple classes and actually know what the heck I'm doing.   I felt a little rushed because the store was only open for another hour by the time I got there and they were packed with people buying Mothers Day gifts..

I looked at the Canon SD850 IS, a Cannon A series but I don't remember which one. I was trying to take notes but like I said, I felt rushed. I think I'm going to go back next week when things slow down. The sales person recommended a Nikon Coolpix 5600 but I didn't have much time with this one..

Based on everything I read from the reviews, I had my heart set on the Canon SD850IS. After seeing it and playing around with it, I'm not sure if this is the camera for me. It felt too small for me. I had to use my fingernail to power it on. I thought that might actually be a good thing considering I read that one of the SD's, is it the SD870 that turns on too easily causing it to go on in your purse or pocket which can result in damaging the lens? I can just see that happening to me. On the other hand, being small has it's benefits.



I wish they had the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5. I'm concerned about the image quality with this camera though. From everything I read it sounds like Canon has the best image quality. What's your opinion on this? Is Canon the best? I also wish I could have taken a look at the Canon SD870 despite the lens issue but that might be too small now considering that's how I felt about the SD850 IS. I also don't know if I would like not having that....what's it called??? The peep hole thing. I know, I'm a dork.



Any other suggestions?.

I appreciate your help. This sight is great..

Thanks!.

Sue..

Comment #3

How do you edit your messages? I don't see anything that says edit. I wanted to fix my spelling errors. .

That's odd. I was able to edit this message but not my last one. Oh well...

Comment #4

Those tiny buttons you found on the Canon SD850 are typical of ultracompacts. To be sure, some are more vexing than others, but they all have this disease. The usual way out is to move up to a larger compact class camera, instead of an ultracompact. One possible exception is the new designs with the touch screen control feature. However, these are rare right now. For a generous sized compact with easy controls try the Sony H3 / H10 models.



For casusal use, the image quality on all cameras is plenty good enough. The differences we fuss over in the reviews is, for the most uses, splitting hairs. When you do end up with a poor shot it will more likely be from operator error or the Auto exposure / white balance not getting the settings right. None of which are a lens problem..

That peep hole is the viewfinder. A very nice feature when you're shooting fast sports action outdoors with a big zoom. Otherwise you will be using the LCD display for framing instead. For use out in daylight an LCD needs to be much brighter than when indoors. They all provide for this brightness adjustment. But some do this better than others.



Paying attention to whether the design of the controls of the camera work well for you is important. You are doing exactly the right thing by going to the store to check this out for yourself. Instead of relying solely on reviews..

Most message boards have a time limit on editing. You will not be able to edit a post after that time has expired..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #5

Ses68 wrote:.

How do you edit your messages? I don't see anything that says edit.I wanted to fix my spelling errors. .

That's odd. I was able to edit this message but not my last one. Ohwell..

You only have 15 minutes to edit...

Comment #6

Ses68 wrote:.

Based on everything I read from the reviews, I had my heart set onthe Canon SD850IS. After seeing it and playing around with it, I'mnot sure if this is the camera for me. It felt too small for me. Ihad to use my fingernail to power it on. I thought that mightactually be a good thing considering I read that one of the SD's, isit the SD870 that turns on too easily causing it to go on in yourpurse or pocket which can result in damaging the lens? I can justsee that happening to me. On the other hand, being small has it'sbenefits.



Always turn your camera off in "play/review" so that if you accidently turn the camera on the lens won't extend, (your previous pictures will appear on the lcd.).

I wish they had the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5. I'm concerned about theimage quality with this camera though. From everything I read itsounds like Canon has the best image quality. What's your opinion onthis?.

I was looking to buy a gift for my sister and I narrowed the choices down to the Canon sd950 (ended up buying this one), sd870, Panasonic TZ5 and Fuji F100fd. I really like the Panasonic, you'd probably like the size much better, wide angle , 10x zoom, hd video. The Fuji looked good but it had a pink band problem which the company has since fixed thru a firmware update. The sd950 has a large sensor and is a slightly larger camera that you might like. I paid $325 from Buydig.com. Bottom line for me just came down to I like the images that I've seen from Canons better..

Is Canon the best? I also wish I could have taken a look atthe Canon SD870 despite the lens issue but that might be too smallnow considering that's how I felt about the SD850 IS. I also don'tknow if I would like not having that....what's it called??? The peephole thing. I know, I'm a dork.   All this stuff is new to meand it's starting to blend together..

Go to another store, it's definitely worth seeing the Panasonic TZ5, Canon sd870 and sd950 if you can find it. The Fuji may be out of your price range..

Any other suggestions?.

I appreciate your help. This sight is great..

Thanks!.

Sue..

Comment #7

Ses68 wrote:.

I wish they had the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5. I'm concerned about theimage quality with this camera though. From everything I read itsounds like Canon has the best image quality. What's your opinion onthis? Is Canon the best? I also wish I could have taken a look atthe Canon SD870 despite the lens issue but that might be too smallnow considering that's how I felt about the SD850 IS. I also don'tknow if I would like not having that....what's it called??? The peephole thing. I know, I'm a dork.



I'm a big fan of the Panasonic Lumix series. Their bright, crisp Leica lenses really shine at low ISO's and they can capture images with amazing clarity and detail. I think they are at the top of their class for IQ at low ISO's..

Unfortunately panasonic sensors are pretty noisy, and panasonic noise reduction is pretty heavy handed, so as ISO goes up, image quality goes down, and at moderate to high ISO's the Leica lens looses any advantage..

So lately I've been using a Canon G9. Its bigger than even a TZ5 but not a lot. Its controlls are pretty large and easy to use. Its screen is great and it has an optical viewfinder. It does much better at moderate ISO's than my Lumix's. Best of al it has full manual controlls if you want them for difficult lighting or artistic persuits.

It is a great learning camera should you decide to go beyond P&S..

RegardsJim.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimboutilier/..

Comment #8

DPR was arranged as a "my favorite camera" forum (where as an example with motorcycles: Harley Davidson folks talk to each other, Yamaha folks talk to each other, BMW folks do the same - and are naturally expected to recommend their own brand of motorcycle.)Getting away from brands: One key "must have" feature:.

Since most of your shooting will be outdoors, be sure that the cam has an optical viewfinder. LCDs look great indoors, but so far I haven't seen or used one that's acceptable in bright outdoors, even when deliberately shaded from the sun. I've owned two Sonys, two Canons, and even a late model Nokia cam/phone with the brightest, vivid LCD in my experience, but none can deal with bright daylight...

Comment #9

After struggling with the LCD on my Canon S3 IS my thinking was the same as yours RUcrAZ. But now I've got a Fuji F45fd. One tap on the brightness button (12 o'clock position on the main wheel) and the LCD is plenty bright for sunlight. Agree that most LCDs are lame in sunlight, but certainly not all..

KellyPhoenix, AZ..

Comment #10

KCook wrote:.

After struggling with the LCD on my Canon S3 IS my thinking was thesame as yours RUcrAZ. But now I've got a Fuji F45fd. One tap on thebrightness button (12 o'clock position on the main wheel) and the LCDis plenty bright for sunlight. Agree that most LCDs are lame insunlight, but certainly not all..

KellyPhoenix, AZ.

That's good to know! If Fuji makes an articulating LCD (as Canon does) I will certainly check it out (outdoors) when I'm shopping for a new cam...

Comment #11

I have consistently had good luck with several Canons. Based on what you say in your initial post, I'd think the Canon A720 IS would be a good choice. Under 200 bucks. Image stabilization. 8 MP. 6X optical zoom.

Uses AA batteries (rechargeables or throwaway) so you can always get batteries when you're out and about. Fully automatic, or you can do it manually. Very good, sharp images. And, it shoots movies. The only drawback is that it takes a pretty long time for the flash to recharge.

The A series does not look as elegant and is not as smalll as the SD Elph series, but the A720 IS gives you more manual control that the SDs do not. I know this from experience; I have an S500 and an SD900. You can start out in fully automatic mode with the A720 IS and gradually ease into the manual mode when you're ready. You can't do this with the Elphs (unless they've changed dramatically in the past few months)..

I have an older S500 Elph and a fairly new SD900 non-IS Elph. The small size comes in handy sometimes, but if I'm serious about photos (ex: recent vacation shots at night on the Vegas strip) I take the A720 IS..

I just bought a Sony A350 DSLR with a big zoom lens. I will use it for serious shots, but keep the A720 in reserve when I just don't want to fool with a fullsize camera. There are times when a camera you can put in your pocket comes in a LOT handier than one you have to wear, or carry in a bag the size of a lunch box!!TLIII..

Comment #12

RUcrAZ wrote:.

That's good to know! If Fuji makes an articulating LCD (as Canondoes) I will certainly check it out (outdoors) when I'm shopping fora new cam..

I certainly do wish the reviewers would make more of an effort to MEASURE the effectiveness of LCDs in sunlight. Agree completely that this should be a KEY consideration in camera selection. And am left totally baffled that the reviewers do not take it more seriously. Maybe we should stake them out in the sands of the Arizona desert with only a LCD for a while?.

Wude Kelly..

Comment #13

Thank you all for your input. I really appreciate it..

I was looking at the reviews on the A720 IS. It does sound like a decent camera. When I started my search I didn't think I needed manual controls but now I'm changing my mind about that. I've been using a Kodak Easy Share that I got as a gift a few years ago. I always set it on auto to take pictures in the past. Since I've been reading here, I decided to try the manual setting to take a shot of my dog indoors.

I'm really looking forward to learning more so I can improve my photos..

Thank you again. Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers out there!..

Comment #14

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