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Digital camera recommendations?

Old 11-26-06, 04:09 PM
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Digital camera recommendations?

Want to get my brother a digicam...something small enough to put in a pocket, ~$200 or less, and I suppose all the optical zoom possible (though I suppose it's not much in that price range).

Just looking for something decent, he's in college so if it could take a little abuse it'd be nice.

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-26-06, 04:39 PM
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Canon Powershots seem to be really good. Circuit City has the Canon Powershot A540 (6 MP, 4x Optical Zoom) on sale this week for $199.99 with a free 1 GB memory card.
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Old 11-26-06, 04:49 PM
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Dell had some great deals on canon elphs last week...i'm sure they will be back. basically SD600 or 630 were around $175 if i remember correctly.
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Old 11-26-06, 05:47 PM
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Maybe slightly bigger than you want, but the Panasonic LZ series ($150-200) have 6x optical zoom, and the TZ1 (costs around $220) has 10x optical zoom.
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Old 11-26-06, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by broadwayblue
Dell had some great deals on canon elphs last week...i'm sure they will be back. basically SD600 or 630 were around $175 if i remember correctly.
Yeah...it seems that I've seen the SD600 advertised for around $200 lately.
Hard to go wrong the the Canon's.
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Old 11-28-06, 11:42 AM
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Trying to decide between the Canon A530/40, Canon SD600, Panasonic LZ5, and Panasonic LZ3.

Sounds like the quality of the Canons might be a bit better, but the higher zoom on the Panasonics is appealing. Costs aren't a lot different.

Any advice one way or another?
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Old 11-28-06, 11:34 PM
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I normally would recommend Canon cameras because I like the way they operate and handle, but given the choices above, I'd probably pick the Panasonic DMC-LZ5. The reason is that the LZ5 (and LZ3) offer image stabilization, and the 3 Canons do not. IS allows you to reduce picture blur, especially (but not only) in low-light situations. It may sound like a gimmick but is actually quite useful, and although it is becoming more common, it is still pretty unusual in the price range you have in mind. To get IS in a Canon, you'd have to move up to the A710 (compact) or SD700 (sub-compact), which are about $100 higher than the LZ5. There is a review of the LZ5 here.

The other thing you want to keep in mind, is which camera size you want. The LZ5 is a compact, not huge but still wider, thicker and heavier than the Canon SD cameras. Not exactly a pocket camera. That may be OK for your use, but for me, I am seriously thinking about getting a Canon subcompact (SD series) although I already have a compact camera (A series). The subcompact is more a take-it-anywhere camera, much more so than the compact. Only you can decide, and you really need to try them out, see how they hold and feel and whether they suit your typical use.

Good luck.

Last edited by Psi; 11-28-06 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 12-02-06, 03:51 PM
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The Canon A530 is currently selling for $127.49 at circuitcity.com. This is a nice price for a nice little camera.
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Old 12-02-06, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kuroiinu
The other thing you want to keep in mind, is which camera size you want. The LZ5 is a compact, not huge but still wider, thicker and heavier than the Canon SD cameras. Not exactly a pocket camera. That may be OK for your use, but for me, I am seriously thinking about getting a Canon subcompact (SD series) although I already have a compact camera (A series). The subcompact is more a take-it-anywhere camera, much more so than the compact. Only you can decide, and you really need to try them out, see how they hold and feel and whether they suit your typical use.

Good luck.
I agree with you there on size. I have the SD900, and it is amazing just how much you would use a camera if you have it with you. My wife can just throw it in her purse even with it's case and not notice it. We have found ourselves taking pictures of sunsets, stopping at cool land marks and snapping a few. We had an old Fuji before this, bigger and bulkier, and we always didn't have it with us when we wanted to. As for the camera itself, the lack of IS is obvious when I get ahold of the camera, but my wife is a pro at it. (read: tripod, schooling, etc...) Other then that, the feature set is easy to learn, and I have taken pictures that look awesome on it. If you would like some pictures I took with it, just let me know.
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Old 12-03-06, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gijon213
I have the SD900...
Gijon,
I saw this article.by David Pogue, Tech Editor of the New York Times:

Canon has a full array of cameras, camcorders and printers on display. But the one that blew me away was a new slim, shirt-pocket model called the SD800 IS. (The IS stands for image-stabilized, meaning fewer blurry shots.)

I decided to try a couple of sample shots. I aimed at two people across the booth from me–and each person’s face was outlined with a white square. Incredibly, the white squares MOVED on the screen as the people did–this camera was actually tracking their faces! (Canon says that it can track up to nine faces in a single scene.)

The main idea behind this face-recognition software is exposure calculations: If you’re taking photos of people (hey–it could happen), you want the faces to be properly exposed, no matter how light or dark the surroundings.

This feature works particularly well with the flash. I took a flash photo of a guy about three feet away–a setup that, on most cameras, would bleach his face to nuclear white. But on the 800, the flash throttled itself back so much, you could barely tell that it was on. His face was perfectly exposed.

The face-recognition feature is offered by the new Digic 3 chip, which Canon will be rolling out across its camera line. The other advantage of this processor: it’s fast. So fast, in fact, that the 800 offers the least shutter lag of any compact camera I’ve tested. I tried pointing it at something and suddenly mashing the shutter button without prefocusing. Boom–the picture was snapped, sharply in focus (as long as no flash was involved). This is big news.
The Canon SD900 also has the new processor and I assume the same face detection capability. Have you actually used it and found it to be useful? Does it need to be activated or is it always on? Thanks.
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Old 12-08-06, 06:54 AM
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Does anyone know of a digital camera that does a great job of taking videos. I basically want to get a digital camera that takes the videos so I don't have to buy a camcorder. The price range I am looking at is between $200-$350. I had a Casio Exilim that did a great job at videos, but I dropped it and it broke. I am just wondering if there is a camera that is even better than the Casio.
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Old 12-08-06, 08:08 AM
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Just about all Canons take great videos. It does VGA quality (640x480) just like the high end Casios. The Casio Exilims are pretty nice, but I much prefer the Canon Powershots, even for video.
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Old 12-08-06, 08:48 AM
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I just ordered the SD600 for my mom as Christmas present for 213 direct from Amazon. I know she wanted a pocket camera, and even though the A series were really good deals right now I figured better to just get her the smallest size. I know that I have a bigger digital camera, and I never bring it with me, so after the new year I intend on buying myself a newer subcompact camera for the same reasons that gijon mentioned above.

The camera mentioned in the article sounds great, and I might have to pick that one up.
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Old 12-09-06, 11:09 AM
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I have the 630 and couldn't be happier. It takes pretty good video, for a digital camera anyway. It's leaps and bounds better than my brother's Casio, which he paid the same price for. The quality isn't even close.
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Old 12-09-06, 11:15 AM
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I got my wife a Nikon CoolPixS9 for X-mas at Circuit City for $229. Looks pretty sweet at 6MP. Will really know on the 26th.
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Old 12-09-06, 11:42 AM
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A comparison of under-$300 cameras by David Pogue of the New York Times. I like his reviews, practical and to the point.

Too long to cut and paste here, but you really should check it out, especially the picture comparison "Putting the Cameras to the Test" in the left sidebar. For those who think pictures are pictures and all megapixels are created equal, this should be a revelation.

If you want a subcompact camera and can spend a little more, he calls the Canon SD800 the best small camera of 2006.
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Old 12-09-06, 12:01 PM
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In my opinion, the best pocket camera in the world is the Fuji F30, and now the updated F31 with face detection.

Right behind those two I would put the Canon SD800 and then the Canon SD700, both with IS.

As for a camera with a good movie mode, a lot of them have very good movie modes, you will have to check reviews and see what they say. I know the Panasonic TZ1 has a pretty nifty one, with the ability to shoot movies in widescreen.
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Old 12-28-06, 03:03 PM
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I notice that no Sony or Kodak cameras are mentioned here. I was looking at the Canon SD900 (Maybe the 800IS if the IS feature makes that big a difference), the Kodak V610 or V710, or a Sony - not sure which. (My fiance's mom just got a Sony and she wants me to see if I like it)

I'm a Canon guy, but I want my fiance to like the camera as well.
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Old 12-28-06, 08:45 PM
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I would get the SD800 IS over the SD900. It gives you:
1. Image stabilization (not a deal breaker, but more than a gimmick)
2. 28 mm wide angle (go to a store and try it, and I think you'll be surprised how much more picture you get)
3. $100 lower list price (actual difference probably smaller since you can get a better discount on the 900)

There is no practical difference between 7.1 and 10 MP, especially for a compact.
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Old 12-29-06, 12:35 PM
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Now I just wish that I could find one in a retail store. I guess I'll just have to order it.
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Old 12-31-06, 06:46 PM
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I'm considering replacing my Sony Cybershot DSC-W1 5.1 from a couple of years back. My primary photo subject is my 3-year-old daughter. Our main concerns are :

1) red-eye reduction (more of annoyance since I can fix this with software)
2) crisp pictures (since she moves so much, the shot can get out of focus quick)
3) a large display screen
4) very fast snap shots (the smiles go away quickly)

We're considering the Canon SD630, for the 3" screen, and the reviews seem positive for that camera. Will the Image Stabilization on the SD700 and SD800 help correct #2 above? The reviews for these are great as well, I just don't know if I truly need the additional "stuff" for the difference in cost. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-31-06, 09:00 PM
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Having lost my SD400 a couple weeks ago, I've been thinking about the SD600 myself. I'm not sure the extra 150 bucks for the 700 IS is worth it, or the extra 50 for the larger screen on the SD630.
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Old 12-31-06, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenMetalHead
Our main concerns are :

1) red-eye reduction (more of annoyance since I can fix this with software)
2) crisp pictures (since she moves so much, the shot can get out of focus quick)
3) a large display screen
4) very fast snap shots (the smiles go away quickly)

We're considering the Canon SD630, for the 3" screen, and the reviews seem positive for that camera. Will the Image Stabilization on the SD700 and SD800 help correct #2 above?
Image stabilization works when the camera moves (your hands shake), not when the subject moves. Basically there is a motion detector in the camera that senses movement of the camera, and adjusts the image recorded in the image sensor accordingly. It has no way of knowing how your daughter moves, and can't do much to help

But there ia another reason why you might like the SD700. The SD630 lens range is about 35-105 mm, about same as the SD550 and 600. The SD700 is 35-140 mm. In case you don't know, the first number is for wide angle (the lower the number, the wider the angle you can get, meaning you can zoom out more). The 2nd number is for telephoto, and the higher the number, the more you can zoom into the subject. In this case the 140 mm of the SD700 means more zoom-in than the 105 mm of the SD630.

I know with kids playing, parents are constantly chasing them trying to get a good close-up shot. Or they stick the camera right in the faces of their kids, which usually the kids don't like, also making them act less "natural". With a better zoom, you can stay a little further away and still get that picture. The difference is not huge here, but it helps. Of course you can also crop afterwards, but this lets you do without.

One problem you might run into is that I think the 700 is being phased out, and I haven't seen it at a store since Thanksgiving. You miay be able to order online, but be careful where you shop. You can also look at other brands, but I am not familiar with them.
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Old 01-02-07, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kuroiinu
Gijon,
I saw this article.by David Pogue, Tech Editor of the New York Times:



The Canon SD900 also has the new processor and I assume the same face detection capability. Have you actually used it and found it to be useful? Does it need to be activated or is it always on? Thanks.
Sorry kuroiinu, haven't checked here in a while! To answer your question, yes, it does have face detection capability. It was on out of the box, and stayed on, but you can turn it off. Honestly, it has been slightly useful, but the more we use the 900, the more I think we should have gone with the 800 simply because of the IS. My wife went to college for A/V stuff, so she is a natural pro, but I have a problem with blurry pics. I could use all the stabilization I could use I have found the controls very easy to understand, and the display is very nice. The Digital Macro setting for close shots is really nice, and have used this several times with great results. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them, and check back more often! Also, if you want any pics posted let me know.
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Old 01-02-07, 11:12 PM
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Thanks gijon. And don't worry too much about the lack of IS. Photography existed long before there was IS

We got the SD800 for Christmas and so far are very happy with it. I like the fact that face detection can be switched off, although we normally leave it on. It's amazingly good at finding faces except when they are turned sideways, and it even picked up the dog once in a while (although this dog is more than half human). We had so much fun playing hide-and-seek with the camera that we almost forgot we bought it to take pictures
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