What compact for a DSLR user?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by eatmorepies, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. eatmorepies

    eatmorepies Guest


    I am in need of a compact. I have 40D, 50D and a 5d mkII but want something
    to carry every day (in a jacket pocket).

    I've had a look on DP Review and other such sites and think I might be
    better starting with a few recommendations from other DSLR users.

    I want small/pocketable; fast shutter response (start up time is much less
    important); fast auto focus; shutter speed priority setting; negligible
    noise at ISO 200; optical zoom range of more than 3x; image quality that
    will allow 10" x 8" prints that are sharp and a battery that will give me
    150+ shots on a charge.

    It would be nice to have image stabilisation and the ability to shoot in
    RAW. Under £300 is the goal.

    How close to this wish list am I going to get? Any recommendations?


    eatmorepies, Mar 16, 2010
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  2. eatmorepies

    NameHere Guest

    I could offer lots of valid advice, but I'd much rather watch you get tomes
    of misinformation from all the role-playing pretend-photographer
    DSLR-Trolls that infest these newsgroups. It's much more entertaining
    watching them do their 30-Stooges act.
    NameHere, Mar 16, 2010
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  3. eatmorepies

    Bruce Guest

    I have been using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 which matches most of your
    specification, although your requirement for "negligible noise" is a
    little too subjective. The zoom is 2.5X, giving the 35mm film
    equivalent of 24-60mm. It costs upwards of £320 depending on where
    you buy it.

    Rumours suggest that it has been, or is about to be, discontinued.

    There's a review here:

    I replaced my LX3 with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, which has
    interchangeable lenses but cost a lot more.

    I would also suggest looking at the Canon G11 which costs a little
    over £400 but probably best satisfies your needs.

    There's a review here:
    Bruce, Mar 16, 2010
  4. John,

    It may not meet all your requirements, but I've had the Panasonic TZ3 in
    that role for some time and been pleased with it.


    I particularly wanted the image stabilisation and the wide zoom range.
    Later models in the series appear to be just as good.


    and perhaps:

    Compare here:

    No raw, though.

    David J Taylor, Mar 16, 2010
  5. eatmorepies

    SMS Guest

    The Canon G11 is probably your best choice. It's the _only_ currently in
    production compact camera with IS, 5x optical zoom, 28mm at the wide
    end, an optical viewfinder, Li-Ion battery, and RAW mode. Even if you
    remove RAW mode, and the Li-Ion battery from the mix, it's still the
    only model available.

    In the U.S. it's about $450 from Amazon, which is just about at your
    goal. Not sure about the UK with its various extra taxes.

    As to auto-focus/shutter lag and noise, of course it's going to be much
    worse than a D-SLR. If the light is good it'll still take 1/5 second to
    1 second to auto-focus. Noise levels are fine up to ISO 200, so you
    would not want to do 10" x 8" prints of shots with ISO 400 or above
    (which is one of the key disadvantages of a non-SLR). You might do okay
    on a 10" x 8" if you shoot in RAW mode and do post-processing.

    The Canon S90 uses the same 1/1.7" sensor as the G11 and is a little
    cheaper. You give up the optical viewfinder, and I hate the pop-up
    flashes which tend to break and not go down. It's physically smaller
    than the G11, but battery life is not as good. It still has RAW mode.

    Note that on a lot of cheaper Canon P&S cameras without RAW mode you can
    get RAW mode by installing the CHDK firmware. I use it on my Canon A570
    IS and on my Canon SD800 IS and it's useful in some ways, fun in other
    ways (I authored some of the documentation on CHDK so I have a bias in
    favor of it). Even though the G11 already has RAW mode, CHDK will still
    give you some other features. See "http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Downloads".

    It's rather interesting that on the G11, Canon took a break from the
    megapixel wars and went to a lower resolution, lower noise sensor than
    they used on the G10. You don't see that happen very often.
    SMS, Mar 16, 2010
  6. eatmorepies

    Ray Fischer Guest

    And, being an asshole troll, you've certainly had a lot of experience
    with that.
    Ray Fischer, Mar 16, 2010
  7. Or the Powershot S90, which is more pocketable and closer to his budget.

    Robert Spanjaard, Mar 16, 2010
  8. eatmorepies

    SMS Guest

    Robert Spanjaard wrote:

    It's true that the S90 is less expensive than the G11, but it's only a
    $70 difference (in the U.S. it's $450 versus $380). If he doesn't mind
    that the G11 is larger (and it does still fits in a jacket pocket) that
    extra $70 buys a lot of extra functionality. Optical viewfinder, wider
    range zoom lens, hot shoe, swivel LCD, and much longer battery life.
    It's much more suited to someone who has enjoyed the many advantages of
    a D-SLR.

    This past weekend when I was out at Glacier Point in Yosemite, in very
    bright sunlight, the huge advantage of an optical viewfinder was greatly
    appreciated on the two cameras we had with us (A570 IS and SD800 IS).
    For indoor use I guess it's possible to deal with not having an optical
    or electronic viewfinder.
    SMS, Mar 16, 2010
  9. According to the link I posted, the G11 is £435 vs £335 for the S90.
    That's a big diffecence when you're looking for a £300 camera.
    I'll leave that decision to John. He already mentioned dpreview.com, so he
    can compare the two cameras side by side and make his own judgement.
    Considering the maximum brightness of my S80 LCD, I'd say that if the
    light is too bright to use it, it's too bright for a worthwhile image.
    How many keepers did you shoot in such hard light conditions?
    Robert Spanjaard, Mar 16, 2010
  10. eatmorepies

    SMS Guest

    This is true, I didn't realize how much more stuff costs in the U.K..
    Actually Amazon UK has the G11 for £410.10 while the S90 is £315.90, but
    that's still a lot more than than what these cost in the U.S..

    Still, the G11 would make a D-SLR user a lot happier than the S90. The
    lack of an optical viewfinder is a major disadvantage of the S90.
    SMS, Mar 16, 2010
  11. eatmorepies

    Tim Conway Guest

    I agree. LCD's may have their place - especially if you like to shoot from
    the hip (like with tilt/swivel). But after using optical viewfinders all my
    life the change to not having one available is very uncomfortable.
    Tim Conway, Mar 16, 2010
  12. eatmorepies

    SMS Guest

    That's why I'm over-protective of my Canon SD800 IS. It was the only
    sub-compact camera Canon made with IS, an optical viewfinder, and 28mm
    at the wide end. It's 7.1 megapixels so they didn't go overboard on the
    pixel density so noise is acceptable. There are no such sub-compacts
    available any more. You can still get an optical viewfinder and IS, but
    not wide angle. You can still get wide-angle and IS, but not an optical
    viewfinder. When the SD800 IS breaks or is lost, or whatever, I'll have
    to give up either wide-angle or the optical viewfinder, and get
    something with a pixel desnity that's too high.
    SMS, Mar 16, 2010
  13. I doubt if the quality of the average P&S optical tunnel viewfinder would
    be much of a comfort. My S80 still has one, but I certainly prefer the
    LCD. Besides the lousy image quality and frame coverage, I also miss the
    info you get from an LCD (or SLR viewfinder) about metering and settings.
    Robert Spanjaard, Mar 16, 2010
  14. eatmorepies

    Charles Guest

    Hey! You missed an opportunity here to enlighten the OP (and maybe others)
    about a good choice for a P&S camera. Life is just passing you by. Bye.
    Charles, Mar 17, 2010
  15. eatmorepies

    SMS Guest

    Charles wrote:

    LOL, you'd think that our favorite troll would view this as a great
    opportunity to share his alleged wisdom about the alleged P&S compact
    cameras that he allegedly owns.
    SMS, Mar 17, 2010
  16. eatmorepies

    LOL! Guest

    Is this just like the time that you helped to install a computer-controlled
    geyser in Yellowstone National Park? You bet it is! LOL!


    Note to anyone reading anything from SMS: His posts and experiences with
    cameras and CHDK are just as delusional today as when he invented that
    outlandish and fictional geyser tale.

    LOL!, Mar 17, 2010
  17. But unlike DSLR phase-focusing systems with all their front and back
    focusing issues at least it'll focus accurately. Instead of having soft
    subjects in all your images taken with a DSLR with focusing problems
    they'll all be tack sharp. Look how fast that DSLR focuses! Too bad the
    images can't be printed any larger than 6"x4" from all the misfocused
    shots. But look how fast that DSLR creates those burry images!

    Pros rarely use auto-focusing anyway. I'll use my P&S camera's auto-focus
    to quickly get it into a ball-park area then focus manually. The 6x-10x EVF
    zoom-assist in manual-focus capability allows me to focus pixel-sharp.

    That's funny, images from the Gx series of cameras even rival those of a
    medium format Hasselblad on prints up to 13"x18".



    Or this one where the images are better than on the new Canon 7D DSLR.

    Do tell, how many of these cameras do you own where this has happened? Show
    some links to pages showing how this is a problem. In fact many of these
    cameras you have to manually lift the flash in order to enable it, so that
    it doesn't accidentally go off when you don't want it to, they don't "pop
    up". But then you'd know this if you had ever owned any of these cameras.

    Let's see even ONE photo from any of your cameras. Not one person, since
    you have been on the internet, has ever seen even one photo posted by you,
    EVER. Prove you even own a camera, any camera. We'd love to see this.
    Which pages did you author for CHDK? The history pages will clearly show
    which edits are yours. Can you point out even one page and one word that
    you edited on them? No, of course you can't. You'll even pretend that you
    didn't even read this. Safe in your envelope of psychotic role-play
    Outing Trolls is FUN!, Mar 17, 2010
  18. eatmorepies

    Dave S Guest

    I agree with the need for optical viewfinder, having started my digital
    photography with a Canon G3, and thinking I could use the tilt/swivel
    all the time, and then discovering that bright cloudy days made the LCD

    I now use a Canon SD700 IS as my 'little' camera.
    On a recent trip, I discovered that there exists at least one small
    camera that has an advantage in low light.
    We were at the Arizona Opry, and enjoying the Sonny & Cher emulators. I
    got a very dark view, but the lady ahead of me with the Sony got a nice
    bright view in her viewfinder. Sorry I don't know the specific model.

    Dave S.
    Dave S, Mar 17, 2010
  19. eatmorepies

    Bruce Guest

    I feel so sad for you. It must have been purgatory.
    Bruce, Mar 17, 2010
  20. eatmorepies

    SMS Guest

    This is true, but I still love that tilt/swivel LCD. So glad they
    brought it back on the G series after decontenting it for while.
    I don't mind the LCD in low light, it's usable at least. It's in really
    bright light that it's indispensable. A bright sunny day on the snow
    trying to take a photo of Half Dome with the sun behind me, and the LCD
    is useless. I suppose it would be possible to carry around one of those
    little pop-up LCD shades for situations like this, but sticking on
    add-on kludge devices to try and fix a problem that shouldn't be a
    problem is not something I favor. Well I suppose loading CHDK into the
    camera is also using an add-on to fix things that shouldn't have been
    left out in the first place, but at least it doesn't require more
    hardware bits.
    SMS, Mar 17, 2010
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