Canon - A630, A640, S3 IS and the near future

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. I am kind of torn between what camera to get next. I have an
    Olympus C5050 and it has been a fantastic camera. But 3x optical
    zoom is a bit sparse. At the same time, I'm craving some higher
    megapixel counts for 8x10's and maybe 11x14 or possibly even
    11x17. But 8x10's will be the most common by far.

    The Canon S3 IS sounds almost exactly what I would want in a
    simple, all-in-one camera. But, it is only 6 megapixels.

    I look at the Canon A630 and A640 and they are also close, except
    for the zoom. 4x is better than 3x as far as optical zoom, but
    not the image stabilized 10x or greater zoom I have been wanting.

    But the fact that the A640 is out, and only around $350 online
    and does 10 megapixel, it is pretty tempting. Still uses AA
    batteries, which I dig.

    If I could combine the A640 and the S3 IS into one camera, I'd be
    happy. But as it is, I'm not sure what to do.

    If the S3 IS is going to also get a boost in megapixels, I'd go
    for that first. But if not, the A640 looks good.

    I have been wondering if there is any info out there about an
    update to the S3 IS in the near future that would push it to at
    least 8 megapixels. Does anyone have any info on what may be

    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 4, 2007
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  2. I've made passable 11x14s, and fairly decent 8x10s, from my 5MP FZ5
    (equivalent to a Canon S2IS). They're not going to win any awards, and
    probably wouldn't look good from 5 inches away, but are fine for hanging
    on the wall.

    I'd go with the S3IS or one of it's competitors. If you really crave the
    extra megapixels, Panasonic and Fuji both make 10ish megapixel
    superzooms (the FZ50 and S9500 respectively). They're pricier than the
    S3IS and equivalents, though (and physically larger).

    Daniel Silevitch, Jan 4, 2007
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  3. Paul D. Sullivan

    ray Guest

    You might be surprised. I have had occasion to print 1mp (1152x864) images
    at 8x10 and you can't tell it from a real photograph - IMHO 100dpi really
    is adequate.
    I can appreciate your comments. I spent a couple of years looking for an
    EVF camera. I have looked at the S*IS cameras among others. One finding I
    made that has impacted my choice has been the resolution of the electronic
    view finder. They are NOT all the same. Most EVFs have a resolution of
    about 110k pixels. Trying to work with one would drive me crazy - the view
    is so blocky and pixellated, I can't stand it. Minolta had one model with
    what they billed as a 1mp EVF - I've been given to understand it was
    really counting R G and B pixels, so it was really only around 300k - but
    it certainly was MUCH better. I recently settled on a Kodak P series EVF
    with 237k pixel EVF (the LCD is about 110k). I suggest you at least look
    through one at a local retailer to see the difference.
    ray, Jan 4, 2007
  4. Paul D. Sullivan

    Dave Cohen Guest

    You're getting hung up on mp. I've gotten perfectly good 8x10 from a 2mp
    canon A40. You don't mention the A710s, that looks like a nice camera,
    would like to see the swivel lcd on it but it is 6x zoom.
    The A630/640 have larger sensors. It's tough to make a decision, that's
    what happens when we're offered so many choices. Life under Henry Ford
    was a lot simpler, choose any color for your car as long as it's black.
    I personally prefer an optical viewfinder but wouldn't let that be a
    deciding factor.
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, Jan 4, 2007
  5. Paul D. Sullivan

    Bert Hyman Guest

    (ray) wrote in
    I've pretty much settled on the S3 (or maybe something very much like
    it) due to its eye-level LCD viewfinder. I simply can't use the large
    LCD on the back of cameras to compose pictures (and they're
    unreadable in daylight anyway), and find that the pure optical
    viewfinders don't give an accurate representation of the final image.

    On the other hand, I don't need a new camera 'til May, so I have the
    luxury of waiting a while to see if something better comes along.
    Bert Hyman, Jan 4, 2007
  6. Paul D. Sullivan

    ray Guest

    In the meantime, I'd suggest you look through one and then look through a
    Kodak P series at a local retailer.
    ray, Jan 4, 2007
  7. You're getting hung up on mp. I've gotten perfectly good 8x10
    In this case, I certainly am. I have a very good 5mp camera, but
    get 240 dpi of data or so when I print out 8x10. Works great for
    many photos, but I would prefer to have a camera that gives me at
    least a full 300 dpi of resolveable detail for some key macro
    shots and such.

    I understand some people are happy with 8x10's even with cameras
    that are 4 megapixels or less, but I'm simply not one of them, at
    least not in all situations. I'd say my 5mp is good for about
    80% of what I do, but I do want another camera that can give me
    the finer detail I crave. If the S3 IS had 8mp or 10mp, I'd be
    all over it.

    I was not even aware of the A710, and am glad you pointed it out
    to me. Thanks for that - I'll give it a look. It may be only
    7.1mp, but it seems a good bargain for what you get.

    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  8. I've kind of been wanting a Canon for a while, one with full AA
    battery support and the like.

    I will do some more research though. Thanks for the tip on the
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  9. I too prefer having an optical, as well as the LCD. I am not a
    fan of DSLR's and EVF's.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  10. Thanks for the feedback and info. :)
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  11. I'm not a pro - just an enthusiast.

    I think my C5050 is pretty awesome and gives me a LOT of what I
    need. But there are some portrait and nature pics that I would
    simply like to have more detail on, for cropping even, and for
    the nature stuff in particular, a 10x or 12x optical zoom (image
    stabilized) would be fantastic, especially since the local
    japanese gardens does not allow tripods to be used inside the

    On the surface, the S3 IS seems soooooo close - it just needs to
    be 8 or 10 megapixel for me to jump on board, I guess.

    But I'm pondering the A640 as a "convenience" camera that would
    at least allow me to get those portrait shots that can be blown
    up to large prints for family members and such.

    I wonder if an S4 is on the horizon at all?
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  12. I've made passable 11x14s, and fairly decent 8x10s, from my
    Bummer is that the Fuji does not have image stabilization on the
    S9000 model available here in the US. Tiny little LCD (1.8") but
    it does use AA batteries and an ISO 80 capability. It is also
    pretty darn close to what I want, but not quite there.

    I had never considered a Panasonic before. The FZ50 looks
    promising, but has no Optical viewfinder and uses proprietary
    batteries. I'll have to look into it some more.

    Thanks for the suggestions - I really appreciate it.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  13. After giving it plenty of thought I bought a Canon
    Wow. The H5 has some great features, though it lacks an Optical
    Viewfinder. It does have a very high resolution EVF and fairly
    high resolution LCD and the LCD is 3" in size, making it easy to
    frame pics. Bummer that it only takes the Memory Stick type of
    media. I don't have any of those.

    Still, it is very close to what I am looking for. Standard AA
    batteries are a huge plus.

    I'm going to put that into the Serious Consideration bin, right
    next to the S3. Perhaps just ahead of the S3. It would give me
    288 dpi of resolveable detail on the 8" of the 8x10, and that is
    very close to the 300 dpi I have been thinking of. Not much help
    with extra cropping space (which a 10mp would give me) but still,
    looks pretty promising.

    Thanks much.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  14. You might be surprised. I have had occasion to print
    I get 240 dpi on the 8x10 with my 5mp camera, and there are some
    prints, especially macro flower shots, that I want to be higher
    in terms of resolution. I cannot imagine 1mp providing me with
    anything close to enough detail to make an 8x10. Guess I'm a bit
    Good thoughts on the EVF. I still prefer optical for a variety
    of reasons, including battery life I guess, but will certainly
    take the resolution into account should I find a good model that
    has EVF .

    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 5, 2007
  15. Just one note: An optical finder seems like a must-have for you. As far
    as I know, none of the 10-12x superzoom cameras have an optical finder;
    they all use EVFs instead.

    Daniel Silevitch, Jan 5, 2007
  16. Paul D. Sullivan

    ray Guest

    If you're printing from JPEGs are you sure it's a lack of resolution
    rather than JPEG processing artifacts. i.e. if you print from JPEGs have
    you tried a lossless workflow?
    ray, Jan 5, 2007
  17. Paul D. Sullivan

    ray Guest

    You're welcome. I only mention it because I've found their EVFs to be much
    better than others - at least in term of the actual EVF resolution.
    ray, Jan 5, 2007
  18. Paul D. Sullivan

    Dave Cohen Guest

    It seems to me there is a gap in the current line. Canon need an A640
    with a 6x zoom and IS. Who knows, perhaps we'll see something like that.
    I would love to know why they dropped the swivel screen on the G7. More
    expensive but the G series have been fine cameras for those not wanting
    to go all the way to dslr.
    Dave Cohen, Jan 5, 2007
  19. Paul D. Sullivan

    dwight Guest

    Paul, I've been following your thread with some amusement. And I wonder if I
    can talk you into stepping over the line you've drawn for yourself...

    A couple of years ago, I bought the S1 IS as my second digital camera. I was
    drawn to the full range of functionality, the 10X optical zoom, the AA
    batteries, and a host of other features. (At the time, 3 megapixels was a
    pretty good output.) The kicker was the IS, which was an amazement to me.

    After a year of enjoying the hell out of that camera, I knew I was ready for
    a DSLR. I needed the capacity of printing up to 9X12 at 300dpi, which would
    have required close to 10 megapixels, but settled on the Rebel XT, only 8
    megapixels, but which prints well enough at the required size. Now, one year
    later, the successor to that camera is already selling at discount with its
    10 megapixel sensor.

    Point is, there's never a good time to buy a digital camera and no matter
    what you buy now, it'll be almost obsolete in one year's time. But don't
    stand there with your toe in the water, dive in.

    If you can swing it, go DSLR. God knows, I still love the S1 and it's a
    great carry-'round camera, but a DSLR becomes a completely different animal
    depending upon the lens you put on it. Get the Rebel XTi or similar camera,
    and start buying lenses.

    It sounds very much to me that whatever camera you buy today (including the
    S3) will need "upgrading" in a short time, so I'd recommend buying more
    camera than you can use now and growing into it.

    dwight, Jan 6, 2007
  20. Paul, I've been following your thread with some amusement. And
    Thanks for the comments and info.

    I went ahead and ordered the Canon A640 with the 4x optical zoom.
    It was $329.95 from Zip Zoom Fly with free shipping.

    This 10 megapixel unit should help solve my single biggest
    concern, and that is the amount of resolveable detail. I'll be
    able to have 342 dpi available to me for 8x10's, compared to 240
    dpi with my current Olympus C5050, and I will be able to keep
    using an Optical Viewfinder for those outside nature shots and
    such, with enough extra detail that if I frame the picture well,
    I'll still be able to crop the pic a little and stay above 300

    It has been a tough call, but two things prompted me to hold off
    on the super zoom. The first is that as someone kindly pointed
    out, all the super zooms have an EVF, which I am just not able to
    adjust to very well. The second is the resolution. The Canon S3
    is at 6mp and the Sony H5 is at 7.1.are just not a big enough
    step up from my 5mp camera to really show that much of a
    difference to the eye.

    I think the Sony H5 may be the closest to what I want if I HAVE
    to go for an EVF, as it has a much higher resolution EVF than the
    Canon S3, but I'm just not ready to go that route yet.

    The Canon A640 has a lot going for it and should be an excellent
    complement if not quite a full replacement for my Olympus C5050.
    It uses standard SD cards, standard AA batteries (or NiMH
    rechargeables), has a highly adjustable 2.5" LCD and the ability
    to do time-lapse via the computer interface.(Remote Capture),
    which is something my Olympus doesn't do.

    I think the A640 is a good value and hit the market at a good
    place at the right time. I'm feeling that the super zooms have
    one, perhaps two more refresh cycles to go before they are truly
    where I hope them to be, but in the mean time, I'll have an
    excellent mid-level camera that doesn't require me to pop a lens
    cap on and off all the time. :)

    I may post next week after I get the camera and have a chance to
    check it out and test it.

    Sincere thanks much to you and all who have helped with comments.
    They are greatly appreciated.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 6, 2007
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