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High-end compacts - what to get
Hi,.

I'm getting my first digital camera. I've been using my parents' Canon Powershot G1 for many years..

Now I'm looing for a serious all-round camera of my own: A high-end compact. Preferably no larger than the G1..

I don't care much about special features as I won't be using them much anyway. I'm no photo enthusiast; this is mainly for holidays and special occasions. I don't care about RAW capability. Essentially it just needs to be able to deliver great JPG quality for point-and-shoot use on the AUTO setting! Image quality must at the very least match that of the G1..

For added practicalness, would like an "automatic lens cap" system, like the Powershot G9. If this happens to rule out an otherwise great camera, I am willing to scrap this demand..

I appreciate a vari-angle screen, however, I realize that this greatly narrows down my choice, so it's no deciding factor..

I've been looking at cameras such as Canon Powershot SX100 IS, Powershot A720 IS and Powershot G9. All suggestions are welcome..

Thank you.....

Comments (12)

If you want a very good camera then Canon G9 or A650 (and it has also moving LCD)..

But as you stated you want a camera that will be used exclusively on Auto so why you want high end compacts if you don't intend to use more than 1% of their capabilities?With tight budget Canon A720 or Canon SX100 will be OK.If this is not the case Canon A650 or Canon G9.You can get similar results on Auto from a Canon A470 though.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #1

Baloo_buc wrote:.

But as you stated you want a camera that will be used exclusively onAuto so why you want high end compacts if you don't intend to usemore than 1% of their capabilities?.

I may be mixing up the terminology. I meant high-end compact as in NOT an ultra-compact camera like the Canon IXUS series. I've briefly owned an IXUS camera before and wasn't at all impressed. I'm just looking for optics as good as possible for a compact and not fancy features - that's basically what I meant. Thanks for your input so far!..

Comment #2

The optics of A650 an G9 are quite good. To get good results you need to use at least the P mode and control the ISO and the exposure compensation in order to get good results..

Not the lens is the limiting factor in IXUS series but the one who uses them and the lack of controls although I recognize that the best P mode is that of Canon with just a little EC adjustment.VictorBucuresti, Romaniahttp://s106.photobucket.com/albums/m268/victor_petcu/http://picasaweb.google.com/teodor.nitica/..

Comment #3

Panasonic TZ 5 sounds like it wouldfit the bill..

Comment #4

Davoe wrote:.

Panasonic TZ 5 sounds like it wouldfit the bill.

I've ordered the TZ5. A real-life friend of mine happened to recommend this camera as well. In the end, it seemed more appealing than the Canon A650. I hate the fact that the A650 uses AA batteries, also it is slower and more bulky. The TZ5 scores a slightly lower image quality rating (7.5 vs the 8.0 of the A650) but apparently has a great auto function in a compact design, with the 10x optical zoom and HD video as extra bonuses...

Comment #5

Now, though, I'm starting to have second thoughts due to rather significant noise problems with the TZ5 even at ISO 100 which I completely failed to notice due to lack of proper research..

Oh well, at least it can be returned. Still, I like the idea of having 10x zoom though, so maybe I'll have a look at something like the Powershot SX100 instead. Next time I'll have to do my homework more thoroughly and NOT keep researching AFTER pressing the "Place order" button. ..

Comment #6

MrAnderson wrote:.

Now, though, I'm starting to have second thoughts due to rathersignificant noise problems with the TZ5 even at ISO 100 which Icompletely failed to notice due to lack of proper research.Oh well, at least it can be returned. Still, I like the idea ofhaving 10x zoom though, so maybe I'll have a look at something likethe Powershot SX100 instead. Next time I'll have to do my homeworkmore thoroughly and NOT keep researching AFTER pressing the "Placeorder" button. .

Now you're just panicing!.

Have a look at the first sample shot - the pub scene - in DPR's review of the TZ5 here:.

Http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/panasonictz5_samples/.

Try downloading and printing the fullsize version - but only look at it at more or less the size you're likely to use..

Of course at 100% it's pretty mushy, but there again it was taken at 1/15th at f/3.3 at ISO 800, and conditions don't get a lot less favourable than that before you have to stop shooting, do they? I didn't think the print was too bad?.

For a sight of some real noise, check out the penultimate G9 sample here: (1/80th f/3.5 1600ISO) - bottles on a chemist's shelf..

Listerine may keep your teeth naturally white but ....http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/canong9_samples2/.

And, frankly the 800 ISO shot of a docked ship (sample number 26) isn't much to shout about either!!.

Your friend probably wouldn't have recommended the TZ5 if they didn't like the results they were getting!.

Peter.

Peter - on the green island of Ischiahttp://www.pbase.com/isolaverde..

Comment #7

Isola Verde wrote:.

Now you're just panicing!....

You have received some excellent advice from Isola and Baloo earlier. The problem with following reviews too closely is that they provide a moving target. Often this years noise problem is better than last years noise winner. So look at the output of your friends camera and decide if it looks good to you..

For me the bigger issue is how often and how fast does the camera do what I want in low light..

Finally, I have a friend who loves their tz. They were staunch Canon people until the tz..

REd..

Comment #8

Yes, I guess I was panicing. What worried me was when I compared the TZ5's "liqueor shot" with the SX100's:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Vs.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

I don't know much about photography, but I find the noise difference to be rather dramatic, so please explain this difference. I should mention that I don't intend to view my images at pixel level or at poster size. Will I not notice the quality difference then? I have done some more reading on the forums and found that people don't find the noise to be a problem in general, and that nosie can be removed easily with software. If this is really the case, I will probably just hang on to the TZ5 due to it's otherwise appealing features...

Comment #9

Personally, I've always found it difficult to translate test shots like those into the results you get in everyday photography..

DPR have advised not comparing shots from different tests (because the conditions can vary), but it may nevertheless help if you take a look at the samples from a camera with whose output you're already familiar..

You can see that part of the test for the Canon G1 here: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canong1/page15.asp.

The G1's 100 ISO shot isn't exactly stunning - and yet, I gather, you've been reasonably happy with the pictures you've had from it?.

There are loads of complications in then comparing shots from that 'known' camera with ones from the TZ5 (was one used at 28mm and the other at 35mm, so the enlargements need to be different - one's a 3MP camera, and one's 9MP so what size do you view them at? etc etc). Obviously the best method would be to make prints of your favourite size from them both (however, if you'd done that with the ISO800 pub shot, I doubt we'd be having this conversation?!)..

Try making the onscreen image of the Martini bottles in both shots more or less the same size - then tell me which you prefer!.

With that in mind, is it perhaps less likely that the much smaller difference between the TZ5 shot and the other one you posted will have any significant effect?.

Or try this (with apologies to DPR for sections lifted from your sample images - I'll remove the picture again as soon as the OP has seen it!!).

I've sized each of those test shots (without resampling) so that they would each produce a 10" wide print, and then cropped out the pixels that would be in a 2 inch strip of each - and dropped then all into a single JPG and saved it all quality 12. (The G1 has so many fewer pixels that it's strip comes out much smaller!).

The result image is here - click on original underneath to get to the fullsize version: http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/101397404.

Then rightclick on the image to save it to your computer, and view (or better still, print) it at a size whereby either of the first two images is close to 2 inches wide - and see what you think of the differences between the three strips! (And note the green and purple fringes on either side of the bottle neck on the SX100 shot while you're at it!!).

PeterPeter - on the green island of Ischiahttp://www.pbase.com/isolaverde..

Comment #10

I suggest you look at the fuji f100fd..

What the F100fd may lack in zoom compared to the tz it makes up for in quickness and high iso capabilities, esp for auto use. Most digicams are adequate for well lit, slowly evolving scenes at iso 100; the question is which camera will best extend beyond those well-lit, easy to anticipate scenes..

My world of photo opportunities includes many interior and other low light scenes where I prefer natural lighting rather than harsh flash. That's why I use a Super CCD fuji..

This was shot with a hand-held fuji f20 which has low light behavior similar to the f100fd:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

The f100fd's biggest weakness is it's short optical zoom range, however the image quality is so good that photos can be enlarged and cropped with a simple tool like Picasa to compensate..

My direct experience is with the F20; perhaps you might get one (around 100USD) for a test or backup camera?..

Comment #11

Isola Verde wrote:.

The G1's 100 ISO shot isn't exactly stunning - and yet, I gather,you've been reasonably happy with the pictures you've had from it?.

Good point. The G1's test pictures look - by current standards - horrible while I must admit that it's field pictures look pretty good..

(however, if you'd done that with the ISO800 pub shot, I doubt we'd be havingthis conversation?!)..

I'm unable to make the pub test print I'm afrid. I only have a B&W laserjet, so I usually submit color pictures to an online print service. I would rather take your word for it than have to go through that. .

Try making the onscreen image of the Martini bottles in both shotsmore or less the same size - then tell me which you prefer!With that in mind, is it perhaps less likely that the much smallerdifference between the TZ5 shot and the other one you posted willhave any significant effect?.

Yes, that is indeed less likely. LOL..

I think I get the basic idea now: The TZ5's extra noise compared to the SX100 has very little impact on real-world photos viewed at regular screen size (in my case 1080x1024) or on paper. I suppose the TZ5's more compact size and 28mm wide-angle range quality lens make up for it! Perhaps the TZ5 even has a slight sharpness advantage as well? I suppose it should in theory..

As dcresource.com puts it in their review:.

"The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 did a good job with our standard macro test subject. Colors look good nice and vivid and the figurine is sharp. If you look at the full size image, you'll notice some noise/grain. This is quite the opposite of what previous Panasonic cameras did, which is smudge away noise. While this noise is a bit unsightly, it cleans up well with NR software such as NeatImage. Of course, if you're making small prints, you don't even need to worry about this, as the noise will not be visible.".

And at the end of the day, TZ5 got "Highly recommended" whereas SX100 got "Recommended" from this site. lol.

Thanks for your help and imaging work, Peter "Isola Verde", I appreciate it!..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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