Help me find a digital camera

After thousands of mostly great pictures, my Fuji 4700 has finally started being more trouble than it’s worth. I’m looking for a camera with these attributes:

-Small (or I won’t lug it around)
-Decent zoom (at least 3x, would prefer more)
-Widescreen aspect
-Decent video capability (640x480 or better)
-Good battery life
-Fast recharge time (time between shots)
-Has to take nice looking pictures (of course)
-GPS stamping would be nice, do any cameras have that?
-Image stabilization a plus

What do you guys think?

Have you taken a look at

Nope, I knew of the Steve Digicams site, but the Buyer’s Guide on DPReview looks good. Thanks.

Or ? Start at these places and narrow things down a bit. There are dozens of models that meet your criteria as stated.

You did not mention how much money you are willing to spend. I don’t think you can go wrong with Canon. They have such a broad line that has all the features that you want. The more expensive cameras are much thinner, and attractive, but they all take great pictures. 640 X 480 movies have become pretty standard, but the one thing Canon does not do yet is use mpeg compression, which is insane. You can see reviews and their selection as well as other cameras here

It’s interesting, I came up with the same camera on DPReview as I did on, the Canon PowerShot SD800 IS 7.1MP . So unless I can find a digital video camera that’s small enough and takes good enough still pictures, that’s probably what I’ll go with.

I’m liking the Sanyo Xacti HD1A too. A small 720p HD camcorder with image stabilization, 10x optical zoom, and takes still 5 megapixel still photos too.

I just bought one of Canon’s digital elphs, my second. Love the camera. Can’t remember if it was the SD800 or SD850. Only things I didn’t like was that it switched memory types from my previous camera, the SD400, from CF to SD, and that the batteries aren’t compatible.

I have this Panasonic camera. I really like it a lot. I bought it to have a “field camera” for work. It takes great pictures, a short time between pictures, and a huge battery life (the battery recharges) and an unbelievable macro setting. With a 2 gig SD card I get something like 650 pictures at the full 6MP setting.

I have the SD800 and I love it for what it is, but it’s most certainly not a replacement for a video camera. You can’t use optical zoom while shooting video, and sound is just OK. My S3 is much better for shooting video (optical zoom, stereo sound) but as mentioned above the file sizes are huge. If you take occasional videos of 1-5 minutes, it’s great, but the ergonomics are a bit tough to take for a long time. The main selling point of this camera is the 28mm wide end of the zoom. If you don’t need the extra wide angle look at the SD850 which a 35-140mm lens which may be more useful to you.

For the most part, ignore the MegaPixels. Unless you are in the habit of making poster sized prints anything over 7 MP is mostly a waste, and in fact will decrease the image quality by adding noise.

The Sanyos have gotten fairly poor reviews for a variety of reasons. I’d stay away from them.

I’m tossing in my camera, the Fujifilm FinePix F31fd. I got this camera because I wanted to use it for “fun” photos, generally at gatherings and parties where the dSLR is overkill. It does well handheld in low light without flash and quite well with flash. The viewfinder screen doesn’t have that “floaty” look either.

I have large hands but have no problems using the controls on this camera. I got rid of a similarly sized Canon because I kept accidentally powering it down when I tried taking pictures. The power button and the shutter release were too close together. Aaargh!

Do tell. I was under the impression that the more megapixels the better, as long as you have a matching lens. A higher pixel count should also reduce moire effects and allow more processing of the image. Further, it also depends on how fine your printer can print. If you’re going to be printing at 600 dpi, you need 4x the pixels as printing at 300 dpi. For a standard 4x6 photo you’d need 2400x3600 or 9 MP (rounding up). My old Officejet G55 can do 2400x1200 dpi in photo mode, so I’d need a camera that did 14400x4800 or 69 MP to max it out.

There’s a big difference between 300 dpi and 600 dpi; there’s less of a difference between 600 dpi and 1200 dpi but it’s there, particularly in black and white. I remember testing the original Lexmark Optra, one of the first 1200 dpi b&w laser printers for PCs a decade ago.

Again, unless you are in the habit of viewing full size images at 100% on your screen (which means panning around the image since it won’t fit on a computer screen) or printing poster sized prints, once you get over 8 MP the extra pixels are goint to be thrown away. The lens isn’t that important here, is the CCD sensor. P&S cameras have tiny sensors compared to dSLRs. When you jam that many pixels on such a small sensor the result is noise - grainy images with extraneous bits that make the images less clear. Camera makers keep pushing the numbers because it sells cameras, but the public doesn’t realize that those numbers are useless and actually decrease image quality.

Most printing is done at 300dpi. I don’t think most folks can tell the difference once you get above that, but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. But the point is that with tiny CCDs used in P&S cameras, those additional pixels are of poorer quality then if the camera created images with fewer pixels. Things change once you go to the much larger CCDs used in dSLRs which have the capability to produce clean images at much larger sizes; but this thread is about compact cameras.

More pixels are great, in theory. The problem is that with the current technology, more pixels means worst image quality.

Oh, take the DPI ratings of home printers with a large grain of salt.

Oh, I’m well aware of that: I remember the old trick of using DPI to measure the ability to place pixels. And you need better paper too.

As for image quality, if you’re shooting for screen use only, anything over 100 dpi is wasted. But for printing photos, particularly monochrome ones, it’s a very different story. And let’s not forget photographs of things wih inscriptions or insignia.

But, as you say, she’s going for a compact, not a DSLR. The technology will filter down from the latter to the former in due time.

Here’s a good article on the MegaPixel Myth by Ken Rockwell. I think he loses his way a bit near the end, but the points he makes are good. For most people, for most prints, for most viewings, even if the pixels were perfect no one would notice the difference.

The F31fd is very hard to find now, it’s been replaced by the F50fd. Alas, they also went to 12 MP but they added Image Stabilization which was missing on the F31. It certainly the winner for high ISO non-flash, but I find the Canons and Panasonics have better image quality to my eye in bright light.

I would never buy another Fuji or Olympus digital camera. The use the XD cards, and they are the only ones. Headaches.

A “widescreen mode” just means the camera chops off the top and bottom of the image. I think it’s a useless feature, you’re better off keeping the whole image and cropping it on your PC later. Same with “digital zoom.”

But if you’re interested in “wide” shots, you’d probably want to look for a camera that has a wide angle lens. A lot of cameras only go down to 35mm equivalent, which isn’t very wide at all. Some can go down to 28mm, which is pretty good.

The Canon SD800 is one of those that go to 28mm. It’s a very good camera in all other respects as well, I’m very happy with mine. (I even bought another one to give to my SO.)

There’s another way to get widescreen images, by taking multiple images then stitching them together on the computer. I have a Canon A610 camera that makes it easy, by having a mode in which you can see part of the last image while lining up the next part, so that you have the right amount of overlap, and by maintaining the same aperture and exposure length for all the pictures so that (for instance) the sky does suddenly change in brightness across you panorama.

(And I was very happy with the Canon A610 as a point-and-shoot camera, though I’ve more recently moved on to the Canon Digital Rebel XT SLR).

You are probably right about the chopping off part, but I will look for widescreen aspect in my next camera. That is because both my LCD tv and monitors are widescreen, and that is how I usually like to view photos. Having to crop all photos may produce better results, but it is a pita. Again we are talking about point and shoot here :slight_smile:

I ordered the HD1a, so I’ll see how it works. I like the specs and capabilities of this hybrid video/still camera a lot, but I wish it had an optical viewfinder. 10x zoom in a camera that small might make up for it though. I’m also not blown away by the sample images, they seem oversaturated and sort of muddled, but I’ll take some shots and home and see how it compares to my Fuji 4700.