Choosing UltraCompact/Compact Digicam - too many choices !

Discussion in 'What Camera Should I Buy?' started by Darrick, Jun 11, 2006.

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  1. Darrick

    Darrick New Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm trying to decide what digital camera to buy. I had a Kodak EasyShare DX4530, and it did its job for awhile, but just found it too bulky, and the battery life was absolutely horrible.

    I've been looking around the review forums everywhere trying to find the right ultra compact / compact, but just got more confused. There's too many choices out there !!!. And the sad part? It seems there's no such thing as the perfect ultra/compact digicam (or nothing even close).

    All the reviews I've read have so many cons on various ultra compacts, that I'm beginning to wonder if there's one for me. It seems that for each camera, there's so many cons, it's hardly worth buying it. It's either good image, average/bad battery or good battery, average images, or some sort of balancing out act. Makes me wonder if all the reviewers are all professionals that are so picky, that the only perfect camera would be huge and cost thousands of dollars :)

    Anyway, here's the questionnaire filled in, hope some people can help me out. (I added the battery life question because it's important to me after experiencing that DX4530 ... battery usually went out after only 30 - 40 shots with LCD on... crazy crazy crazy .. maybe I bought the wrong re-chargeables :))

    Thanks for any help given.

    Budget
    About CAD $300 - 350 ($US 275 - 325 I guess), could go higher if there's a perfect cam that fits my criteria

    Size
    Ultracompact/compact, lightweight, easily carried around

    Megapixels
    Minimum 4 MP

    Optical zoom
    Standard, 3x-4x

    Image quality importance
    8+ (very high)

    Battery life importance
    10 (extremely important)

    Do you care for manual controls?
    Not really

    What will you generally use the camera for?
    Family pictures, general shots when travelling around

    Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
    Once in awhile, but not very likely

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
    Yes

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
    Not really

    Are there particular brands you like or hate?
    Nope, but I'm not interested in any brand that uses xd, Memory Stick or any sort of proprietary storage (*cough* Fuji, Sony, Olympus). I want something that uses the standard SD for storage.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?
    I looked at tons of models, these ones being most often:
    Canon SD series (SD300, SD400, SD450, SD500)
    Kodak EasyShare V series (V530, V550, V570, V603, V610)
    Casio Exilim EX series (S500, S600, Z750)
    Pentax Optio series (S5n, S5z, S6)
    Nikon Coolpix S series (S3)

    Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)
    Not really, but IS and Weatherproof would be nice
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  2. Ben Stafford

    Ben Stafford Site Admin

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    I would keep the Canon SD series in mind - they have good image quality and battery life. The latest ones are the SD600, SD630, and SD700 IS. The ones before that were the SD450 and SD550. Just pick one that matches your price range.

    The battery life in the Kodak V530 and V550 was mediocre in my opinion, but ok in the V570 and V603. I haven't been hands on with the V610 yet.

    If you want weatherproof, take a look at the Olympus Stylus line. I reviewed the Olympus 710 and was pretty impressed.

    You will have no problem finding a camera that bests your 40 shots per charge. Most cameras now can easily take over 100 shots per charge, and many a lot more than that.
     
  3. Darrick

    Darrick New Member

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    Thanks Ben, I'll look more into the Canon and Kodak ones.

    The Olympus ones, as I mentioned use XD, and I really don't want to go with them.
     
  4. Ben Stafford

    Ben Stafford Site Admin

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    I agree with you on the xD media. One of my biggest pet peeves with the current crop of digital cameras, at the moment.
     
  5. Darrick

    Darrick New Member

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    Ben.. have you had any experience using the Casio Exilim EX-Z60 or Pentax Opti S6 by any chance? I think I've narrowed it down to those 2, but still can't decide. The EX-Z600 was my first choice, but trying to save some cash decided to go a bit lower with those 2.

    Thanks for any advice you can give.
     
  6. FZ20

    FZ20 Active Member

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    I had trouble when buying a camera as I didnt want xD
    Why do so many brands use xD?
     
  7. Ben Stafford

    Ben Stafford Site Admin

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    Really, only Olympus and Fujifilm use xD.
     
  8. Ben Stafford

    Ben Stafford Site Admin

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    You'll probably be better off with the Z60. So far, I've only "previewed" the Z60 at the PMA show in February, but it's a nice attractive little camera. Typically, Casio has good battery life and image quality on par with Pentax. Also, Casio cameras tend to operate fairly quickly (minimal shutter lag, cycle time, etc.).
     
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