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Purchasing advice to replace much-loved Canon G3
My much-loved Canon G3 has finally turned up it's toes and died after more than five years of intensive use. I see from the purchase invoice that it cost me 495 (almost $1,000US), which shows how much the market and technology have moved since May, 2003. I'm now looking for advice on a replacement and I wonder if you more-experienced market-watchers can point me in the right direction. Image quality and clarity, of course, are paramount..

There are two essentials:.

1. Compact. (I lugged SLRs around for 30 years before I went into digital compact and I'm not going back.).

2. Flip-out and twist LCD. (Incredibly handy for height, ground-level and different-perspective shots without landing myself in hospital.).

The following, in order of priority, are what I would find attractive, but not essential if they are deal-breakers. I'm aware that probably there isn't one camera that has everything..

A. In my video camcorder, I have recently moved from 4:3 video to 16:9 video and the widescreen composition feels so much easier and the results look so much more striking. Is there a P&S with a 16:9 aspect ratio? Does this involve in-camera processing that damages image quality, rather as some early camcorders achieved a pseudo-widescreen by masking and zooming? Or is it a genuinely different ratio?.

B: Image stabilisation. I have never had this, but I have seen it work on friends' cameras and it looks like the way to go for me..

C: HD video sounds nice, but I guess that would be limited to bursts of only a few seconds, given the memory a full-quality recording must occupy..

D. I'm partial to Canon, because that's the brand I have owned my whole photographic life, but I recognise that other manufacturers have caught up and, in some cases, moved ahead, so I'm not shackled to Canon if someone else has something that suits me better..

The following I'm not bothered about one way or the other ... weight, long zoom, stupidly high number of pixels, time-lapse recording, battery type..

I am aware that we're in the middle of the annual round of autumn new-product announcements and that the market and ranges will probably shift between now and October, but I would be interested to hear your views and your advice based on the criteria above..

Many thanks...

Comments (6)

Err, I would think the Canon A650 IS is the obvious choice? It's the only compact (not SLR) that I know of with the twist LCD. BTW, many of the newer LCD designs have a wider viewing angle than you may be used to. That wider angle does close the gap with the twist designs for odd situations..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #1

Thanks, Kelly..

I was tempted by the A650IS but, as far as I am aware, Canon has stopped manufacturing this model and distributors worldwide have only a few runouts left, meaning that Canon has something new in the pipeline. Whatever Canon comes up with in August/September might fit the bill but, meantime, I was wondering if any other manufacturer did anything that met the criteria...

Comment #2

Look at the Canon S5 IS, it's got the twisty LCD, 12X optical zoom and really a well regarded camera......I have used one and liked it.....although rumor has a new replacement is forthcoming....Costco has the S5 on their web-site by the way..I try not to pole vault over ant hills..

Comment #3

If you want to stick with Canon then the Powershot S5 IS is probably your best option. I had an S3 (previous model) which was almost identical (S5 has few more pixels and face detection AF) and it was a pretty good camera. 12x optical zoom (up to 40 something digital but who cares), full manual control (P,S,A,M) twist/flip screen etc. The only thing on your list it doesn't do is HD video..

Also check out the Fuji S100FS. It's also got a huge zoom (14.3x 28-400mm equiv.), twisty screen, manual control and video modes. On top of that it will also shoot in RAW format which is a bonus. On the down side, it's bigger than the S5, more SLR size, but it is a fixed lens camera. Have a look at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilms100fs/ for more info..

Hope this helps.

Chris..

Comment #4

Thanks, Chris and Steve. Most helpful..

Forgive my ignorance, but do you happen to know if widescreen (16:9) format is merely one switchable option within a P&S that otherwise shoots standard frame, or do widescreen-format P&S models shoot widescreen and widescreen only?..

Comment #5

It's always switchable. The interesting thing is how the LCD is handled. Most will have a 4:3 LCD, then crop top and bottom for wide screen format. But I believe there are a few cameras that do their LCD the other way..

Kelly..

Comment #6

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