Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

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Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:30 pm

Fellow Gerbils! The time has come to upgrade my old point-n-shoot and I am searching for point-and-shoots with a good optical zoom and with a modest budget (say $225). Body should be relatively compact but super-compact is not necessary (for example if it fits in a jacket pocket it is acceptable). I would prefer cameras with AA batteries but upon a survey I found that the number of cameras with AA batteries seems to be sadly reducing. I would however compromise on this point if the camera offers substantially superior performance. As for uses, I am a very casual shooter who mostly just takes photos in auto-mode.

So far I have an eye on the Canon SX130 IS which is a 12MP camera with 12x optical zoom and happily uses AA batteries, standard mini-USB port, SDHC card and seems to be a good shooter. Google turned up the following review: http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/defa ... shot+sx130

Any others that you would recommend in a similar price range and with 10x or more optical zoom? A friend recommended me a Fuji F80EXR which is more compact with similar specs but uses a proprietary battery as well as proprietary cable. Do any of you have any experience with this or other Fuji cameras?

edit: Minor corrections.
Last edited by codedivine on Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
codedivine
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:47 pm

What is your absolute price ceiling if "the really right camera" shows up, and how much do you value portability versus image quality?

There are a number of similar cameras on the market at each price point, but modest variability in things like image quality, physical size, and friendliness of the UI. The main issue with the Canon, as identified in the review, is a relatively slow lens. Some of the higher end P&S cameras will do f/2.8 at their widest setting. This might be an issue if you do much indoor shooting of living subjects in reduced lighting. Otherwise, it's a pretty good choice.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:06 pm

DPR did a group test of travel compacts a few months ago and liked the Casio FH100 and Samsung HZ35W, giving them both gold awards. The S0ny HX5 ranked near the top in IQ parameters, but they complained of a sluggish an unintuitive interface.

They didn't like the bigger brother of your Canon, the SX210 IS, complaining of soft images.

EDIT: WTF TR, your new ad system added hyperlinks to S0ny to my post - that's unacceptable, as it is deceptive and subverts my intentions.

EDIT2: Paying closer scrutiny, I've noticed more fake hyperlinks being put into people's posts with Skimlinks. This is unacceptable, as the links are not disinguishable from user input, unlike, say Adwords. Please rectify this situation.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:30 pm

For image quality, my baseline is my current camera (Sony H2. Review here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyh2/)
Anything equal to or better than my current camera in terms of image quality will do but preferably not as bulky as the H2 while offering at least 10x optical zoom. SX130 referred to above is not a small camera but is definitely a lot smaller than the H2 and can fit at least into a large jacket pocket for example.
Budget is $250 though slightly lower is preferable.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 8:44 pm

I spent over a month researching everything from super compacts, to super zooms to compact DSLRs to entry-level SLRs.

Finally settled on the Sony HX5V and I am really loving it. Shoots great pictures and does pretty good (1080p) video too. It is built to be an "Auto" mode camera. You don't need to set anything manually to take a good shot. It is a very intelligent camera and does all the settings automatically. It even shifts into macro mode automatically. It includes a GPS and Compass too to provide geotagging info.

It does cost $299, so if you are willing to extent your budget a bit more, then this is a very good camera for you. No AA though. But I would still recommend it. The batteries are like $10 on -eBay-.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:02 pm

Thanks! That does look like a great camera. I will see if I can spend the money.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:08 am

codedivine wrote:Budget is $250 though slightly lower is preferable.

In that case, have you taken a look at the Nikon Coolpix S8100? It sells under $300 most places and is typically running around $250 at Walmart and B&H Photo. Custom battery, unfortunately, although the way to deal with that is to pick up a spare or two and make sure all of them are charged before a long hike or special event.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:18 am

sid1089 wrote:Finally settled on the Sony HX5V and I am really loving it. Shoots great pictures and does pretty good (1080p) video too. It is built to be an "Auto" mode camera. You don't need to set anything manually to take a good shot. It is a very intelligent camera and does all the settings automatically. It even shifts into macro mode automatically. It includes a GPS and Compass too to provide geotagging info.
The problem most people seem to have with the HX5V is day light pictures. How are those working for you?

sid1089 wrote:The batteries are like $10 on -eBay-.
Seriously, you want to get those? :o

Sadly, Canon used to be king in the segment that you are looking for with their A series. However, it has fallen to the point that I can no longer recommend them. I have also switched my focus to those compact travel zooms which are very versatile, or the premium compact like the S90 (I own the S90, and I got my mom to get the Panny ZS7).
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:38 am

Flying Fox wrote:
sid1089 wrote:Finally settled on the Sony HX5V and I am really loving it. Shoots great pictures and does pretty good (1080p) video too. It is built to be an "Auto" mode camera. You don't need to set anything manually to take a good shot. It is a very intelligent camera and does all the settings automatically. It even shifts into macro mode automatically. It includes a GPS and Compass too to provide geotagging info.
The problem most people seem to have with the HX5V is day light pictures. How are those working for you?

sid1089 wrote:The batteries are like $10 on -eBay-.
Seriously, you want to get those? :o

Sadly, Canon used to be king in the segment that you are looking for with their A series. However, it has fallen to the point that I can no longer recommend them. I have also switched my focus to those compact travel zooms which are very versatile, or the premium compact like the S90 (I own the S90, and I got my mom to get the Panny ZS7).


Well its been cloudy and rainy all week where I live, so I haven't had a chance to use it in full day light. But even in my cloudy pictures, they seem pretty good. Low-light performance is quite nice, especially with the twilight mode. The twilight mode is more sensitive than my own eyes, and the anti-blur mechanism allows you to take good lowlight pictures without a tripod.


Yeah I was considering the Canon SX210IS and the ZS7 too. But the 1080p Youtube videos shot from the HX5V made me go for the Sony.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:17 am

codedivine wrote:A friend recommended me a Fuji F80EXR which is more compact with similar specs but uses a proprietary battery as well as proprietary cable. Do any of you have any experience with this or other Fuji cameras?


I've got the Fuji F200EXR, which is a fantastic little camera, but not perhaps the sort of thing you're looking for (only 5x optical zoom). The best thing about it is the above-average-sized EXR sensor which at the time of introduction was arguably the benchmark for compact camera low-light performance. It may well be that the competition has caught up since then. The only things that I don't really like about it are the lack of an orientation sensor (Irfanview lossless JPEG rotation FTW!), and the just-about-adequate 150-ish shot battery life (picked up a no-name clone battery for about £15 which works fine).
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:27 am

Thanks for the advise everyone!

The friendly photo store nearby (Lozeau in Montreal, quite big and reputed), quoted the following prices:
Fuji JZ310: $199
Canon SX130 IS: $199
Fuji F80EXR: $259
Sony H55: $249
Sony HX5V: $320
Canon SX210 IS: $299
Nikon S8100: $299
Panasonic ZS7 $359

I think Zs7, S8100, HX5v and SX210 are out of range sadly.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:44 am

codedivine wrote:Thanks for the advise everyone!

The friendly photo store nearby (Lozeau in Montreal, quite big and reputed), quoted the following prices:
Fuji JZ310: $199
Canon SX130 IS: $199
Fuji F80EXR: $259
Sony H55: $249
Sony HX5V: $320
Canon SX210 IS: $299
Nikon S8100: $299
Panasonic ZS7 $359

I think Zs7, S8100, HX5v and SX210 are out of range sadly.

Outside of those 4, the best of the rest would be the F80EXR IMO. The 5x zoom should be enough for most situations unless you travel a lot. However, the interface may not be as intuitive as other cameras and its speed (like focusing, switching on, etc.) may not be the fastest. Keep in mind to get the "EXR low noise" mode the picture becomes 6MP, which should still be enough. As with any digital camera, read the reviews (the F200EXR/F70EXR can be of reference if there is not enough of the F80EXR reviews), and try it out at a shop to see for yourself. The HDR, low noise, and "bokeh mode" features are all very useful and you can get quite creative with those. With enough practice you can take very good pictures. Good luck. ;)
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:33 am

FWIW, I love Canon cameras. I have had several of their point-and-shoots, and one of their camcorders. The picture quality is exceptional, the lenses are excellent, and the features are very well implemented in the higher end models.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:00 am

Buub wrote:FWIW, I love Canon cameras. I have had several of their point-and-shoots, and one of their camcorders. The picture quality is exceptional, the lenses are excellent, and the features are very well implemented in the higher end models.


Check out the review I linked. As FF has said (and can be seen in the sample images), Canon has dropped the ball this generation and the SX210 they reviewed was among the bottom of the pile for image quality, producing soft, smeared pictures whenever the lighting was dim. Even in bright light, the picture was not as sharp as on, say, the CasioFH100, and was only considered middling.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:19 am

Voldenuit wrote:DPR did a group test of travel compacts a few months ago and liked the Casio FH100 and Samsung HZ35W, giving them both gold awards. The S0ny HX5 ranked near the top in IQ parameters, but they complained of a sluggish an unintuitive interface.

They didn't like the bigger brother of your Canon, the SX210 IS, complaining of soft images.


Thanks for that link. After reading that article, I have realized that SX130 will likely not be a good choice and will probably not provide much of an upgrade over my current camera. So it looks like I should definitely try to stretch my budget and it will pay off.

As for SX210, I am somewhat confused about their conclusions. While the images are somewhat fuzzier, in the article they comment that this will not be an issue for small sized prints or for web viewing and the camera does do fine in terms of exposure. For example, they praised its indoor shot of the couple and the night shot was certainly better lit than say the H55. Casio, the one they praise the most, seemed to not return good colors in tests like the night shot and yet they gave it top marks in low light?? So their comments on the individual pages do not always seem to match up with their final conclusions.

Overall this is what I got out of it:
1. Avoid the Kodak Z950, Ricoh CX3, Fujifilm JZ500 Olympus 9000.
2. H55 is decidedly inferior to HX5V. HX5 returns great images overall without much effort on the part of the photographer (great!) but can be slow between shots.
3. F80EXR works well only when using the "DR" or "SN" modes using the EXR technology and thus putting it in 6MP mode (but I guess 6MP is good enough).
4. To my untrained eye, SX210 seems to do well in terms of exposure (very few totally dark areas) and colors but images are a little fuzzed out when you attempt to view them at full resolution.
5. I should probably take a closer look at the Coolpix S8000 and its backlit-CMOS toting bigger brother S8100.
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Re: Recommend a point-n-shoot camera?

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:02 am

That's pretty much it.

If anything, the conclusion to draw from the group test is that every point and shoot camera is a series of compromises, and if you intend to get one, the best you can do is to pick one that suits you best (if one exists, that is). They do point out more than once at dpr that per-pixel performance is not a parameter they weigh heavily on compacts, as it will usually be of academic interest to the target market, so that may explain why some cameras that they complain about go on to receive high marks (although frankly, I find their methodology and rating system to be very inconsistent).
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