Help on choosing 5MP+ digital camera (Non dSLR) mostly for landscapes.

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Iggy Petulante, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Alright I've been researching this for weeks and I have a headache.

    To sum up my quest:

    (1) I have this old Kodak DC-260 which has some burned out pixels, is 6
    years old, and slow. It was a fine camera for its time, but it needs
    replacing.



    (2) I first thought about saving up some cash for a dSLR. But then the
    more I thought about it, the more I worried about:

    (a) dust. I will be carrying this on long hikes, and right now most of my
    shots are of desert landscapes. dSLRs can be large and bulky. While I'd
    like to have the superior image quality and features, I'm not sure it's
    practical for me, not to mention the price right now.

    (b) size. It seems a bit unwieldy to take a big camera case with me on
    rough hikes and harsh conditions.


    (3) Then, a houseguest has one of these ultracompact Canons. I became a
    bit infatuated with small cameras because I'd love to be able to just
    carry the camera in my pocket. But I've read mixed reviews on picture
    quality, and redeye seems to be a common problem with small cameras.
    While I don't take tons of pictures of people in rooms, this may be
    something I will be doing more of in the future.


    -----

    OK so here are my needs:

    (1) Picture quality. I know a dSLR would be the best bet in this regard,
    but I just think it would be problematic for the places I take pictures,
    nevermind the price. However one thing my present camera has now is a lot
    of noise, and low noise is *key*, and the reason for this is because most
    of my shots incorporate sky and earth, large fields of similar colors
    where noise tends to be apparent. Nevertheless, I would say picture
    quality is most important. Sharp, properly saturated, accurate color
    rendition, low noise. It is almost disturbing to me how picture quality
    seems to be an afterthought in so many reviews, beyond the "convenience"
    or "ease of use" factor. I don't give a crap about ease of use. I can
    read a manual and mess around with something until I figure it out. It
    would be nice to have an easy-to-use, convenient camera that had great
    picture quality but picture quality is the most important thing.

    (2) The second factor would be portability though this is likely to
    conflict with #1s needs, and I recognize that.

    (3) "Would like to have" would include the ability to use AA nimh
    batteries and compact flash cards, since I have a whole slew of them now.
    It'd be annoying to have to buy new memory and batteries but I'd put up
    with that if I found a camera that matched #1 and/or #2 very well.

    I am guessing that 5 megapixels would be adequate for my needs but I'd
    consider something larger. Most of the reviews I've read suggest a
    tradeoff in noise when you go higher than 5 megapixels on non-dSLR cameras.

    Every camera review I read seems to have at least one really annoying
    negative. I've not found anything that seems to meet all of my basic
    needs, but I've also kind of learned that camera reviews are, relative to
    other hardware reviews, incredibly subjective. I've seen forums where
    people complain about noise next to reviews on the same camera that said
    it had none at all. I think there are a lot of people who have bought
    cameras trying to justify their purchase.

    Anyway

    I've looked at some of these:

    Canon A95 - This was one of the first I looked at. Some reviews have
    suggested purple fringing problems, problems with dealing with pictures
    that have a very wide range of contrast. For my purposes this is
    problematic when filming sunsets with a mountainous, black silhouette on
    the ground, and bright sky above. No TIFF or RAW mode. I'd kind of like
    this. Noisy at ISO 200 and 400, unsmooth zoom. Anyway, just some random
    stuff collected from the web.

    Sony DSC-V3 - Artifacts in low ISO, subpar viewfinder, poor raw format
    shot-to-shot time. This is a large camera as well; I couldn't pocket this
    around. It also seemed to have a weird grip to it but I might be able to
    adjust over time (Went down to Circuit City to see it). I am curious
    about the photo quality.

    Canon Powershot G6 - Annoying lens cap that won't stay on, "so-so
    performance," I think C-Net said. However C-Net
    also said it had "impressive image quality." DPreview lists "Shallow
    angle jaggies," low speed with LCD on, but also a low noise level. I went
    down to Circuit City to have a look. The one on display had a dismal
    blurry viewfinder (though it may have been the "store model" that had the
    problem - any comments?) and it was somewhat large; no chance of carrying
    this one around in a pocket.

    Canon Powershot S70 - Poor battery life, noisy lens (I don't really care
    about this frankly), though "above average picture quality." Steve's said
    that the movie mode lags, and he didn't like the proprietary battery (Me
    neither). DPreview says, "slow autofocus", but good for scenery though
    poor auto white balance. Noise "OK", few artifacts.

    Canon sd500 - This is a sexy looking camera but there haven't been a whole
    lot of reviews of it yet. I like the size; that's for sure, but have read
    a few user comments that its pictures are noisy, though the few sample
    photos I saw online didn't seem so. So far there are a lot of positive
    customer reviews, but I'd like to see opinions from people who have owned
    a lot of cameras in this class.

    Most of my shots are outdoors, though not all. I photograph a lot of
    vistas, scenery, sunsets, sky, city streets here in Tucson, and lots of
    landscapes when I travel. I don't shoot a lot of people, or a lot of
    indoor things but I do from time to time, so I'd want something that isn't
    dismal for indoor shooting though it doesn't have to be top-notch.

    Any comments would be appreciated because I think I've overloaded on
    reviews and information and am now in the mode of "analysis paralysis."

    -IP
     
    Iggy Petulante, Mar 24, 2005
    #1
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  2. Check reviews at www.dpreview.com

    Nikon has some new point-n-click digital models, some of which are
    advertised to take care of red eye and face issues. We have a D100 and agree
    about its bulk -- I have been sorely tempted to buy a $400 5+ MP that I can
    slip in a pocket.
     
    Larry CdeBaca, Mar 25, 2005
    #2
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  3. Iggy Petulante

    paul Guest

    Heh... I didn't read your whole post but how about looking at the lens
    that comes on it. One thing is wide angle for outdoors hiking & another
    is minimum f/stop number for low light & just general optical quality
    which is probably real hard to find out about.
     
    paul, Mar 25, 2005
    #3
  4. Iggy Petulante

    bmoag Guest

    As a user of EVF and dSLR cameras I would say that the most bang for the
    buck is with the EVF cameras.
    I would look into the Canon, Minolta, Olympus and Nikon versions. These are
    high end cameras that are very misunderstood by people who have not used
    them extensively and think only the SLR is a Serious Camera.
    In particular the Minolta or Nikon, with image stabilization, would be
    useful for telephoto work. They are not very heavy, but that is subjective.
    They are larger than P&S cameras, but more capable.
    Do not be taken in by claims of purple fringing or noise at ISOs you will
    rarely use. All digital sensors have some drawbacks. So do all films.
     
    bmoag, Mar 25, 2005
    #4
  5. Iggy Petulante

    measekite Guest

    The Minolta Z's did not get a good review however, the Panasonic FZ20
    with its 2.8 Leica 12X Zoom EVR seemed to get good reviews from
    everywhere. It is lower in noise than most and is 5MP. As for size,
    you have to be the judge.
     
    measekite, Mar 25, 2005
    #5
  6. Iggy Petulante

    Chips Guest

    I use a Nikon 5400. I take it on hikes. It's able to do a wider angel than
    some, which is nice. Don't seem to have much noise problem.

    I got a bag from REI that it fits into, and the bag clips on to my pack
    waistband. It's accessible that way.

    I'm happy with it.

    GC
     
    Chips, Mar 25, 2005
    #6

  7. And until Mar 31, there's a $200 rebate on the camera.
     
    Oliver Costich, Mar 25, 2005
    #7
  8. Iggy Petulante

    FunkyKarma Guest

    FWIW...

    The G5 for example has manual lots o' things - aperature, shutter spd,
    focus, as well as focus and exposure bracketing, hot shoe etc... So except
    for lenses and CCD quality (which are important),

    I just got the Canon 1.75x teleconverter for my G5. Here's one from my
    first set of shots. Taken through a window about 40 feet away. Very
    overcast with slight fog.

    Not the best shooting conditions but just an example (good? or bad? I think
    OK) of what a camera of the sort can do. Minimal editing was done (shot as
    raw, applied 'cloudy day' exposure setting, converted to tif, slight
    sharpening, converted to jpg)

    http://www.mindspring.com/~timlambert/Bird.jpg
     
    FunkyKarma, Mar 25, 2005
    #8
  9. Got a Nikon 5400 as well, fine camera, portable too, and a nice wide angle
    for those landscape shots.... Mine is a tad slow (standard (cheap) CF card
    to blame i reckon) but nothing to grieve about... Picture quality is good
    enuff to use photos of archaeological find with a projector for lecture
    theatre puposes.. (about 10 foot square projected size...)
    Hope this helps
    Take the spam out of the addy to reply
    Hugs
    Eddie
     
    Eddie Daughton, Mar 25, 2005
    #9
  10. Wow. Very sharp picture.

    Want to thank everyone for their responses. I'm going to consider what
    people said and mull about this for awhile. I hate spending money. :(
     
    Iggy Petulante, Mar 28, 2005
    #10
  11. Iggy Petulante

    FunkyKarma Guest

    While I like my G5, I really wish I had a dSLR. The bottom line is simple.
    The crucial elements on a dSLR are superior to those found on non-SLR
    digital cameras; e.g. imaging hardware, lens. The choice of available
    lenses also makes a dSLR much more versatile. So if you can afford a dSLR
    and are debating between dSLR and "prosumer", I would go dSLR.
     
    FunkyKarma, Mar 28, 2005
    #11
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