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Thread: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

  1. #1
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    Default Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    OK, so a compact isn't going to give the sort of results you get with a DSLR, but what do you experts think - is the difference really all that noticeable these days?

    I've heard good reports about the Sony HX9V. Anyone know it?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I've read some reviews on HX9V, but megazooms aren't realy my thing. Besides, I prefer cameras made by traditional camera manufacturers.

    I'm a happy owner of Nikon P300 - loads of manual controls and 1080p video, 320 Euros in my area. Still experimenting with it

    Cheers,

    Tam

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    Flashaholic* Zeruel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    First of all, please fill up the beginner's FAQ questions. What's your budget, are you using it for camping, what kind of cells are you using.... oops.


    I had the same dilemma last week and ended up getting Canon S95. Sony HX9V is very new and from the specs, it looks to be a powerful compact, but I picked S95 because it gives me more control via Manual, AP, Program etc, the features of a DSLR camera. Put these in a compact body and that decided for me. Its macro isn't as great as the best ones, but it's all about good balance of everything, I guess.
    Last edited by Zeruel; 06-17-2011 at 12:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I like to have a camera with me all the time and gave up my SLR years ago in exchange for wearing a pouch on my belt that assures I can always take a picture. One of the biggest problems with non-protruding lens super compacts like I carry though is the lack of glass, which makes them very weak in area of 'light collection' and none of the super compacts I've tried has been able to work well in the dark.

    Compacts using a lens that telescopes out of the camera body do much better in very low light situations though and going with some of the better compact cameras with more glass, I've seen some excellent results out of manufacturers like Ricoh and the Panasonic Lumix series, which will easily get you into a 10x optical zoom and the ability to shoot virtually in the dark.
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    The most important difference between compacts and dslrs is the sensor size. A big sensor allows you to blur the backround of your photos (bokeh). If you want to use that effect, than you should consider the sensor size in your decision.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh

    You could also consider one of the new "EVIL" cameras, which are a mix betwen DSLR and compact.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirrorl...le-lens_camera

  6. #6

    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Sensor size makes a big difference. On P300, Nikon tried to solve the smaller sensor issue with backlighting, but results are not so spectacular IMO (or perhaps I shouldn't try compare performance of a compact with a DSLR).

    Quote Originally Posted by kaichu dento View Post
    I've seen some excellent results out of manufacturers like Ricoh and the Panasonic Lumix series, which will easily get you into a 10x optical zoom and the ability to shoot virtually in the dark.
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've always thought that amount of light that enters the camera inevitably decreases with increase in focal length of the lens: The best results in poor lighting are supposed to be obtained with wide-angle lens i.e. shorter focal length (and/or bigger sensor). Or not

    Cheers,

    Tam
    Last edited by tam17; 06-17-2011 at 02:24 PM.

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    Flashaholic* EV_007's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I find that I like having the Canon s95 on me since it is very compact and has manual controls and shoots in RAW.

    I'd also consider the Panasonic LX5.

    The micro four thirds are nice too, but approach the price of DSLR cameras.

    As I always say, the best camera is the one you have on you.
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    For a compact camera I would look into the Canon S95 like others have suggested. Not only does it have RAW and manual controls, it also has a slightly larger sensor than the vast majority of compact cameras (1/1.7" vs 1/2.3" on most) and the quality is noticeably better because of this. That is one of the major reasons I chose it. It is nice to have such a small capable camera when I am not wanting to lug the big DSLR around.

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    *Flashaholic* kaichu dento's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by tam17 View Post
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I've always thought that amount of light that enters the camera inevitably decreases with increase in focal length of the lens: The best results in poor lighting are supposed to be obtained with wide-angle lens i.e. shorter focal length (and/or bigger sensor).
    Yes, long focal lengths are not good for low light photography in general, but having low light sensitivity coupled with a decent range of zooming capacity in the same camera widens it's range of usefulness, which was the point I was trying to make.
    Quote Originally Posted by EV_007 View Post
    As I always say, the best camera is the one you have on you.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    The Sony HX9V looks to be a nice camera. Nice lens, great backlit Exmor R back lit sensor with nice image quality. Video functions are impressive, if that interests you. No RAW mode though.

    As mentioned, the Canon S95, Canon G12 or Lumix LX5 are probably the photographers choice in compacts. All have RAW.

    If sensor size (and image quality) are paramount, a Sony NEX 3/5 is a good option. These have APS-C size sensor. Not exactly compact (with a lens on) but smaller than equivalent quality DSLR set up.

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Thanks very much to everyone for all the input.

    If the Sony doesn't have a manual setting option, that will rule it out for me. RAW is something I don't really know much about. I've seen RAW vs. JPG comparisons where the JPG version actually looks better.

    I'm going to need to do more research!
    Resistance is futile...

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I'd like to second (or third) th suggestion that you take a look at the Micro 4/3rds cameras. Though I'm not a very "advanced" photographer, I think the larger sensor really does make a difference.

    The new Panasonic Gf3 is really small and if you can get by without a zoom lens it's a pretty small package with the pancake lens. The interchangeable lenses give you a "growth path" if you really get into photography. Looking at it that way, it isn't that much more expensive, especially compared to something like a canon G12.

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    Enlightened Erich1B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    My $.02 - For a pocket camera I would suggest looking into the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 - http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/LX5/LX5A.HTM

    However, I would agree with Tazzdad about considering a 4/3rds format. I just purchased my father a Olympus E-620 with 40-150mm Zuiko lens for Father's Day. While it won't fit in your pocket, you'll get much better photos with a 4/3rds sensor than a point and shoot sized sensor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tazzdad View Post
    I'd like to second (or third) th suggestion that you take a look at the Micro 4/3rds cameras. Though I'm not a very "advanced" photographer, I think the larger sensor really does make a difference.

    The new Panasonic Gf3 is really small and if you can get by without a zoom lens it's a pretty small package with the pancake lens. The interchangeable lenses give you a "growth path" if you really get into photography. Looking at it that way, it isn't that much more expensive, especially compared to something like a canon G12.

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    +1 LX-5 My personal EDC-C

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I have the S95 with the Richard Franic grip from Lensmate. http://www.lensmateonline.com/store/S95S90grip.php For me the $32.95 grip make a huge difference on the S95. And it fits 100% perfectly and is easy to put on and makes it so much easier to grip and manuever. There is none better, you'll be glad you got it. If you can go for a little bigger compact the Canon G series is imo the very best. I have the G10, but the most recent is the G12. Here is a useful link that compares the G11, G12 and S95 on one page. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonG12/ I get great pictures from my G10, some comparable to an SLR imho. My G10 with free Picasa version 3.8 (editing, straightening, enhancing, redeye, and organizing, and super simple to use) and you would be set to go. http://picasa.google.com/#utm_campai...tm_term=picasa Good luck.

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I'm a professional photographer and I would recommend the Canon S95 as well. The Canon G12 and the Nikon P7000 are also good choices. These are the only three compacts that I would consider, and I really love my S95...

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    A few months ago I picked up a Samsung HZ30W superzoom (15X) and I'm very pleased. I think it had just been discontinued, so the $129 price from BJ's was too compelling. The pics are very well exposed on auto as is white balance. There are also full manual settings, including focus. I'd never had a camera with image stabilization before, and this really works well. It's no problem to get good shots handheld at full zoom, and even possible adding the digital (75X). And, unlike an old Sony V-1, the lithium-ion battery really has good life plus a spare was fairly cheap. I don't think it gives up much to the likes of Canon, Nikon, or Sony.

    Geoff

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    Flashaholic blub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Canon S95 here too.

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by Witnessonly View Post
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I do like my little S95 from Canon, neat small and pocketable camera, fine image quality at lower sensitivities.

    The brand new S100 is announced to come soon.

    http://www.dpreview.com/previews/canons100/

    Cheers

    RBR

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    I find compacts are too light for me and hand shake is a major problem. The optical stabilization does not work as well as the marketers want you to believe. Never had a problem with my old hefty 2 pound SLR. When zooming in, a tripod, monopod or solid supporting surface is needed.

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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    good topic.. why start a new one.. so.. im thinking i need a new cheapish compact /mini compact camera..

    -old camera is really cheap digi no-name brand from 2006 or something.. so i think its 2 to 4mpx and 5X optical zoom. (didnt find it now for reference..) so my reference is low. kinda any camera sold today would be lot better than it. if i cant find a camera that really want for the budget i have.. or that they still/yet dont make one that fits the bill.. i can once again look for really tiny camera, that has some of the features i wish to have but not all of them.. but then i will not be willing to pay as much.. cheap will do like so far.

    so i think this is my wish list:

    under 200 (euro) if possible (around 250dollars).

    would like to have more than 5X zoom (10X is enough) optical zoom that is. i dont like the digital version at all. (maybe because in my previous ones the technology was crap and cheap.)

    12 mpix or more (they seem to go up all the time so maybe higher the better now.. i know i will be using it for atleast 3 years or so like i have done with all my previous ones)

    size matters. so small. small enough that i take it with me. (something like 300grams is already in heavy side)

    anti shake system.. to lessen the amount of blurry images im famous of.

    then comes the difficult one.. i would really really like it to run with:

    AA batteries. or the spare li-ion batteries should be easy and cheap to buy so i can get atleast second one. (i just hate the fact im half way thru a car show or some other gathering like weddings and the battery inside the camera dies on me. no way to charge it. so i miss half of the memory snapshots. eneloops i got plenty of so 2AA camera would be cool.)

    -----------

    so if there is no AA powered camera with these or more features.. or a camera which has cheap spare batteries available that i can change when the first set empties.. i can just go look for smallest and cheapest camera that has some basic upgrades over my old one and live with that.. for few years until they CAN make a camera that runs only with 1 AA or AAA (nowdays i think they still need 2AA at minimum)

    as i do not NEED the camera that much or often.. so i dont need a good one nor see need to pay much for one. yearly snapshot amount has been around 500 or so.. about 200 are decent ones and needed and are without hand shaking.

    more i type more i try to convince myself just to buy a new cheap one and go with it. hahah. so let me know if there is a pocket mini compact camera i might like or not..
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  23. #23
    Flashaholic* EV_007's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by NonSenCe View Post
    good topic.. why start a new one.. so.. im thinking i need a new cheapish compact /mini compact camera..

    -old camera is really cheap digi no-name brand from 2006 or something.. so i think its 2 to 4mpx and 5X optical zoom. (didnt find it now for reference..) so my reference is low. kinda any camera sold today would be lot better than it. if i cant find a camera that really want for the budget i have.. or that they still/yet dont make one that fits the bill.. i can once again look for really tiny camera, that has some of the features i wish to have but not all of them.. but then i will not be willing to pay as much.. cheap will do like so far.

    so i think this is my wish list:

    under 200 (euro) if possible (around 250dollars).

    would like to have more than 5X zoom (10X is enough) optical zoom that is. i dont like the digital version at all. (maybe because in my previous ones the technology was crap and cheap.)

    12 mpix or more (they seem to go up all the time so maybe higher the better now.. i know i will be using it for atleast 3 years or so like i have done with all my previous ones)

    size matters. so small. small enough that i take it with me. (something like 300grams is already in heavy side)

    anti shake system.. to lessen the amount of blurry images im famous of.

    then comes the difficult one.. i would really really like it to run with:

    AA batteries. or the spare li-ion batteries should be easy and cheap to buy so i can get atleast second one. (i just hate the fact im half way thru a car show or some other gathering like weddings and the battery inside the camera dies on me. no way to charge it. so i miss half of the memory snapshots. eneloops i got plenty of so 2AA camera would be cool.)

    -----------

    so if there is no AA powered camera with these or more features.. or a camera which has cheap spare batteries available that i can change when the first set empties.. i can just go look for smallest and cheapest camera that has some basic upgrades over my old one and live with that.. for few years until they CAN make a camera that runs only with 1 AA or AAA (nowdays i think they still need 2AA at minimum)

    as i do not NEED the camera that much or often.. so i dont need a good one nor see need to pay much for one. yearly snapshot amount has been around 500 or so.. about 200 are decent ones and needed and are without hand shaking.

    more i type more i try to convince myself just to buy a new cheap one and go with it. hahah. so let me know if there is a pocket mini compact camera i might like or not..
    The AA battery requirement is a tough one since most cameras use rechargeable battery packs.

    That being said. I do like the convenience of using standard AA batteries. Cameras that come to mind would be the Canon PowerShot SX20, SX10, S5 and S3. They have awesome zoom ranges as well. The new ones might exceed your price point, but I'm sure you can find a used one within your target zone.
    TWO is ONE and ONE is NONE, but THREE is more FUN.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Can I add a question on this thread...

    I'm a camera dummy but my wife just ordered a panasonic lumix LX5. I'm just curious does that camera have what it takes to compare beamshots? I've only had camera's that auto do everything and so there's not a huge difference in the pics between an SR90 and 2D mag lite after the camera balences it all out...

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* LEDninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Quote Originally Posted by rickypanecatyl View Post
    Can I add a question on this thread...

    I'm a camera dummy but my wife just ordered a panasonic lumix LX5. I'm just curious does that camera have what it takes to compare beamshots? I've only had camera's that auto do everything and so there's not a huge difference in the pics between an SR90 and 2D mag lite after the camera balences it all out...
    It has Manual exposure & manual focus. You just have to learn to use those features.

    Write down what settings you used so you do beamshots with a new light with the same settings.

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* precisionworks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    a compact isn't going to give the sort of results you get with a DSLR, but what do you experts think - is the difference really all that noticeable these days?
    For images of objects the size of a flashlight & larger, probably no noticeable diff. The DSLR really comes into its own with a dedicated macro lens & tripod support for shooting tiny subjects.

    Trit vials 1.5x5mm:


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    Both images above are sized "as shot" without any cropping to enlarge a portion of the image. A DSLR isn't the camera for every user but it can produce outstanding results on tiny subjects.
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  27. #27
    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    As other posters have suggested, the big deal with digital camera is indeed the size of the sensor. There are a couple of criteria for determing the maximum performance of the optical system, the Dawes Limit, and the Rayleigh criterion. Both produce essentially the same result. If the pixel size is smaller than the Dawes limit, then you sensor provides more pixels than the optical system can actually resolve. That implies that the actual image resolution is considerably worse than the megapixel count would suggest. This is a common issue in compact digital cameras . My brother( A Ph. D. who makes his living designing and analysing optical systems) has pointed out to me that between the sensor size, and the F/stop required in daylight, compact camera optical systems are at best 8mp (and often considerably worse), regardless of the number of pixels in the sensor. The secondary issue is that the smaller the pixel size in the sensor, the few photons falls on it, and worse the low light and noise performance.

    Consider this for a moment. The sensor on a Nikon Coolpix P500 (2/3, 12.1mp) is about 58mm^2. (8.8 x 6.6mm) and that is actually LARGE for a camera in that class, but it still undersized for the number of pixels. A Nikon D-90(12.3mp) has about the same number of pixels, on a sensor that has roughly 6 times the area! There are some DSLR's out there with even larger image sensors(about 12 times the area of the sensor in the P500, but still only about 12 mp).. The bottom line is that if you really could produce a 12-14mp image with 1/2 sensor (fairly typical for compact cameras), there would be no need to produce sensors that are an order of magnitude larger.

    I'll let you guess which ones really can produce a 12mp image, and the better low light performance.

    It is only when you get into the high end compact cameras, like those with interchangeable lenses, that you start to get image sensors that are commensurate with the number of pixels on them.

    As far as optical quality goes, you are pretty much going to get what you pay for. The rise of cheap, enormously powerful computers in the past 20 years had made it possible for just about anyone to design top knotch optics at reasonable cost. It has been the great equalizer in optics.

    Much of the difference today between various digital cameras isn't in the optics or the sensor, but in the post procesing of the raw image. Some of these do a better job than others, and often it is more a matter of liking or disliking the shaprness, contrast or color saturation of the JPG images that are produced.


    So as others have pointed out, the size of the sensor is more important to the image quality than the number of pixels, next is the post processing of the raw images. Pixel count in this class of camera is often much more than what the optical system can actually provide, so is often not espcieally meaningful.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    How about speed? I know that DSLR's are faster as well - are there any more compact camera's getting closer to their speed.

    A good example, last week I was on an island and just before sunrise there was a plethora of these new to me birds that were ok looking when they sat but really beautiful when they flew and distint if you were seeing them from the bottom or top. (Turned out they were "hornbills".)

    After seeing several fly by I dug out the camera and tried to be in "ready mode". It was pretty rare to ever be able to get 2 shots of the same bird as I think its almost 2 seconds between my shots. (And I think my camera slows down if it knows I'm rushing). I'd see one sitting on a branch and take a shot from a distance but knew I was too far for it to turn out good. I would try to quietly walk forward and get as close as possible before it took off to get a better "sitting" picture, but what I really wanted was a few in flight pictures. When I got too close, (no warning when) it would suddenly take off and I could probably get 1 picture but not a good second.

    What do I need for that kind of scenario?

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    Most compact cameras have a lag between pressing the shutter release and the picture being taken. This lag has shortened over the years, but it is still there. If you want better quality pictures and faster pictures, a DSLR is the way to go. I have one of each, both around 12meg, both less than 2 years old. The DSLR will yield better pictures every time under the same circumstances.

    Having said that, we like to go to the beach, do some snorkeling. The compact camera always comes along, It is waterproof to 10 meters. I can wash it off at the end of the day to remove the sand and salt.

    The DSLR has greater flexibility, availability of different lenses, different flash units. It is also heavier and I won't leave it on the blanket at the beach.

    So - it depends on what you want to photograph, how much money you want to spend.

    Over the years I have purchased new cameras, reconditioned cameras, and used cameras ( ebay ) Best bet with any camera purchase, do some research.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Thinking of getting a new compact camera...

    For those with an unlimited budget....Leica M9! Full frame sensor, mirror-less, Unsurpassed optics.

    ...sure wish I had an unlimited budget :-(

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