Canon SD300 first impressions... and possible issue?

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Curt Bousquet, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. I'm a Nikon D100 user, but just got a Canon SD300 as a
    'snapshot' camera for those times when the D100 is too bulky
    to cary around.

    First, I've got to say I've had this thing for a day and a
    half and LOVE it so far. I'm still using the miniscule 16MB SD
    card that Canon ships with it, waiting for delivery of my
    Sandisk Extreme 512MB card. Until then, I'll have to settle
    for 6 'superfine large' photos or about 8 seconds of video
    before the card is full

    I recognize that there are a few issues that make it less than
    perfect (some blue fringing around high contrast borders,
    softness at some aperatures, lack of direct shutterspeed or
    aperature control) but for my purposes it is perfect! The
    video mode (640x480 @ 30fps until the memory card is full) is
    amazing.

    All of the controls I use most often are no more than two
    button pushes away. The camera's interface is very intuitive.

    I expected to be underwhelmed by the flash, but I did some
    test shots in full darkness last night and was fairly
    impressed by the results when in 'slow flash sync' mode. These
    pics will never be art shots, but for a snapshot camera they
    are more than adequate. BTW: There is a LOT of grain at ISO
    400, similar to that which I get with the D100 at 1600+. I
    would avoid 400 except as a last resort

    I was surprised to find some very helpful features like AE
    Lock, AF Lock and even an Auto Flash lock (fires a test flash
    at the subject in focus then locks that setting while you
    recompose, so you can meter the flash on an object that is not
    centered in the frame).

    The camera is small enough that when you slip it into a pocket
    you may even forget it is there...

    On thing that bugs me in general about the Canon cameras is
    that the USB interface requires you to install and use their
    software to transfer pics. The Nikon mounts the camera as a
    USB storage device, so you can browse to it as a drive on ANY
    computer, no software install required. With the SD300, I
    counted no less than *9* installed programs in my 'add remove
    programs' listing after doing what I considered a pretty
    minimal install.

    Finally, the one thing I've noticed so far that may be a real
    issue. I regularly filled the 16MB card while doing my test
    pics. Almost every time, if the two last pictures were 'Large,
    Superfine' images the transfer program would die before
    downloading them, giving some kind of 'connection to camera
    lost' error. When I check the camera, it would be powered off!

    I've made sure I had a fresh battery installed and even
    reformatted the card to make sure I didn't have some disk
    corruption, but this error happens again and again. Hopefully,
    it is only an issue whith a completely full SD card, so I
    won't have to deal with it once I have a 512MB card. Even
    better, it is a known issue that will be addressed with a
    firmware or computer software update.

    So my conclusion so far: Don't buy this camera for 'fine art'
    photography, but if you want a really really nice snapshot
    camera rich with features but easy to use, this is the one!
     
    Curt Bousquet, Dec 30, 2004
    #1
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  2. Update: This appears to be a problem with the software on the
    computer side. When I use the transfer button on the camera to
    initiate the transfer, it all works perfectly.
     
    Curt Bousquet, Dec 30, 2004
    #2
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  3. Curt Bousquet

    Mark² Guest

    Same solution for nearly ALL issues regarding file transfer:
    Get a card reader.
    I don't understand why people insist upon connecting the camera directly,
    when cards are made to be removed, replaced, and swapped, etc.
    You'll then have the drag-and-drop, drive-letter browsing you seak of
    wanting, AND tranfer will likely be faster too.

    I have considered the SD300 recently as well.
    With the video mode, can you zoom while shooting? Or must that be set
    before the video begins? 30 frames per second is fnatastic for that
    resolution. Very unusual.

    Thanks.
    -Mark
     
    Mark², Dec 30, 2004
    #3
  4. Yeah, I guess I'm just too lazy to take the card out every
    time I want to transfer. :( I've foud that initializing the
    transfer from the button on the camera works without fail
    every time, so it is certainly a flaw in their windows
    software.
    Zoom is locked while shooting :(. At least it continues to
    meter the light, so adjusts as needed. Another thing I just
    learned to appreciate while out shooting video a few minutes
    ago (my 512MB card just arrived) is how easy you can set a
    custom white balance. It is just a few button pushes into the
    menu and easy enough to use that I'm sure I'll be doing it
    under almost all conditions for the best results.

    The 30fps VGA is nice, but I think I'm going to enjoy the
    60fps @ 320x200 just as much. I shoot a lot of pics (and now
    video) on my Mtn. bike rides and can't wait to take some 60fps
    video of jumps and things, then play it back at 30fps for slow
    motion.

    I wish I could post links to some sample video, but the AVI
    files the camera produces are HUGE (2MB/sec). Once I find some
    software that lets me re-encode it to a better compressed
    format, maybe I'll put some online.
     
    Curt Bousquet, Dec 30, 2004
    #4
  5. Curt Bousquet

    Mark² Guest

    Is there a facility for playing back in slow motion that comes with the
    camera software bundle? That would be a great feature if so. Thanks for
    the info on light metering during video shooting--another question I have
    wondered about.
     
    Mark², Dec 30, 2004
    #5
  6. I haven't bothered much with the software that came with the
    camera. A cursory look left the impression that it was very
    limited and not worth spending much time with. If I do end up
    getting a card reader, I'll probably end up uninstalling all the
    nastyness that Canon loaded onto my system.

    The video player software I use (BS Player
    http://www.bsplayer.org/) lets you change playback speeds on the
    fly from 10% up to... I don't kow. I've had it as high as 800%.

    When I find some decent video editting software, I'm sure it
    will allow me to set the playback speed to anything I want so I
    can burn the videos to DVD at 1/2 speed or slower.

    Does anybody know of any freeware or very cheap video editting
    software? I'm not going to be using it enough to justify
    spending a lot of money on it, but I'd like to be able to
    transfer some stuff to DVD and add simple transitions, etc.
     
    Curt Bousquet, Dec 30, 2004
    #6
  7. Curt Bousquet

    John Pane Guest

    I suspect this doesn't help you, but for the Mac users out there,
    iMovie and iDVD are perfect for this. After experimentation with
    iMovie settings I was able to convert a snippet of this video into
    QuickTime MPEG for sharing by email. The resulting file is 5% the size
    of the original AVI file, without appreciable loss of quality other
    than reduction to 320x240.

    John
    --
     
    John Pane, Dec 30, 2004
    #7
  8. You're not so expected, except by a small but insistent group of people.
    I do have a card reader, but often plug my cameras directly into the
    USB port on the keyboard.
     
    John McWilliams, Dec 31, 2004
    #8
  9. Curt Bousquet

    Mark² Guest

    Why?
    For you own convenience.

    Some people choose to live with headachs rather than spend 2 dollars on a
    bottle of asperin.

    As for me, I take asperin when I feel the pain.
    The pain is relieved.
    Similarly, I'll spend 12 dollars on a reader.
    ....But that's just me.
    :)

    Laik bilong yu, after all!
    :)
     
    Mark², Dec 31, 2004
    #9
  10. Curt Bousquet

    Mark² Guest

    Nobody is insisting upon or expecting anything.
    He/she is free to do as he/she chooses.
    But as long as comments are posted here, they will be fair game for the
    voicing of opinions and experience.

    Many have found what they find to be a helpful solution in a card reader,
    and have shared that solution here. Take it...or don't take it. But good
    grief, man, don't take offense.

    This newsgroup serves little purpose if not to give input and suggestions to
    those voicing a problem or question. What you see as a negative insistence
    is really nothing more than the voice of folks persuaded of a merits of a
    solution found to be satisfactory in our experience. If you can find fault
    in that, then you are trying too hard.
     
    Mark², Dec 31, 2004
    #10
  11. Curt Bousquet

    Mark² Guest

    Sure it is!
    -But since we don't have complete control over all aspects of otherwise
    excellent camera's, we find ways of most easily dealing with imperfection.
    Not if you never even bother with the annoying software...
    ....which I don't.
    I don't have a headache.
    I have a card reader.
    Frankly, I wouldn't likely use the camera for upload in nearly ANY
    circumstance, because I use numerous cards. In fact, MOST people use
    NUMEROUS cards.
    This means you're taking cards in and out of SOMETHING, no mater what.
    Which is easier?:
    Taking numerous cards in and out of the camera to load using it's cable and
    battery?
    -Or placing numerous cards into a dedicated reader that requires no battery,
    and frees up your camera?
    I fail to see the advantage of the camera as reader.
    -Especially when you must consume battery power to do so, and incapacitate
    your camera during upload (which, by the way, takes considerable time with
    1GB, 2GB cards...even with USB 2, or firewire).

    Again. If that works for you, GREAT! More power to you.
    In my personal experience, it is a silly exercise.
    In fact, more often than not, I'm allowing an entire 1GB card to copy over
    (takes about 9 minutes)...meanwhile, in the field, I'm already shooting
    images before it's done copying...using another card in the camera. Can you
    do this while using your camera as a card reader?

    :)
    Me too!
    But headaches are a reality in many aspects of photography.
    We deal with each of them as best we can, and in the way which suits us.
    If you find Utopia, please post directions here.
    -Mark
     
    Mark², Dec 31, 2004
    #11
  12. Curt Bousquet

    Mark² Guest

    -Were I to run a marathon, I'd have more than just pain in my head...
    :)
    Count your blessings.
     
    Mark², Dec 31, 2004
    #12
  13. Curt Bousquet

    Don Dunlap Guest

    I like apples and anyone who likes oranges is stupid!

    Don
     
    Don Dunlap, Dec 31, 2004
    #13
  14. Curt Bousquet

    Larry Guest


    There is a simple answer to the question "Do I NEED a card reader":

    If you are anticipating taking LOTS of pictures, in a continuously on-going
    maner, in such a way as to fill more than one card, then YES you should get a
    card reader, and not put the camera through the work of being a disk drive.

    If its going to take you more than a day to fill up a card, and you have
    plenty of time to take the camera away from "taking pictures" then you dont
    NEED a card reader.

    Card readers are so inexpensive, and most work so well, I cant see the reason
    to argue against them, but to each his own.

    Just remember, WHILE OFF LOADING PICTURES, THE CAMERA IS NOT AVAILABLE TO
    TAKE MORE.

    Sorry for shouting, but thats really what matters.
     
    Larry, Dec 31, 2004
    #14
  15. Curt Bousquet

    John Pane Guest

    I transfer the movie clips to my Mac the same way I transfer still
    images, using my card reader. If you do not have a card reader, you
    should be able to transfer them using the usb connector. The movie
    files have names like MVI_0010.AVI.

    I then use drag and drop to import the movies into iMovie.

    John


    --
     
    John Pane, Jan 6, 2005
    #15
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