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  1. #1
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    Suggestions for a Compact Digital Camera

    I have an older dSLR with a cheap lens kit that I use to take pictures. I am not a photographer, nor do I pretend to be. I do like good images though. Im mostly concerned with "capturing the moment/ telling the story" rather than art.

    The thing is, though, I cannot take the DSLR with me (well, I can and many do, but I dont want to fool with carrying it). I am looking for a decent digital camera that will give me what I need.

    What I need: I do like fooling with changes in white balance, exposure time, and aperture. Not all the time though. Sometimes I just like to point and shoot. I need something compact that I can put in a sandwich bag and into my jersey pocket. I would like a battery life of more than 20 photos. And I would like at least 7 megapixels.

    If anyone has wondered into the 29er forum on Fridays and seen mikesee's pictures, I looked on his blog and he has a writeup about compact cameras that he used up until this year to take those photos. I am basing my search off of that.

    I dont need anything fancy, but Im looking for a bit more than the typical point-and-shoot. Anyone have any experiences with that segment of camera?

  2. #2
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    I have the Canon Powershot SX210 IS. It's not as small as many point and shoots, but not big by any means either. You have many of the manual settings of a DSLR, such as manual mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, program mode, and just your auto mode. You have control over all the things like white balance, lighting types, etc. You can also extend the shutter up to 15 seconds. Has a great macro, and a big seller for me was the 14 optical zoom. You can get some great shots. Has 720p video, the camera itself has image stabilization so you get good video and good shots. It has a nice big LCD for seeing your stuff, and has 14.1 megapixels. Unlike many cameras now days with a huge megapixel number and a crappy lens which defeats the purpose, it has a great lens too. I've loved mine.

  3. #3
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
    Reputation: Kona0197's Avatar
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    I have a Sony Cybershot 12.1 MP camera. Point and shoot with loads of features.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
    My Blog: http://http://kona0197.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
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    I was looking for something similar a while back. After reading a few review sites it became obvious that there were a small group of enthusiast compacts with relatively large sensors. At the time the choice was between the the Canon G12, Canon S90 and the Panasonic Lumix LX3. I chose the S90 as it was the smallest and have been delighted with it.
    Since then the S90 has been replaced by the similar S95 and the LX3 by the LX5. Nikon have also joined the party with the P7000. I'd recommend any of these if you don't want the expense, complexity and size of the Micro 4 3rds interchangeable lens style compacts.

  5. #5
    Hmmmmm
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    I bought and love a Samsung SL 605.
    It takes great pics and is quite portable. I've had it for almost a year and it's been perfectly reliable.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

  6. #6
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    I highly recommend going for a rugged/waterproof one.

    Most manufacturers have a shock/waterproof compact out now these days. It really is worth the extra money to not have to worry. I can even just wash it off after getting muddy.

    I have an older Olympus one. not what you are necessarily looking for but there's lots of others out now.

  7. #7
    Team Chilidog!
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    Canon S95. Best point and click for low light with a fast enough lens.

    That is, provided you don't want to carry a DSLR with you.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  8. #8
    saddlemeat
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    This is what I'm getting next...

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...al_Camera.html
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  9. #9
    Hell Track
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    I have a panasonic Lumix got it for around $200. Takes really nice pics and has a pretty powerful lens for a point and shoot. I dig it!

  10. #10
    Tá mé ar meisce.
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    I have a s95 and I love it. I rarely carry my dslr now.
    To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle. -- Confucius
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  11. #11
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    Canon G series

    Quote Originally Posted by Jnthomps08 View Post
    What I need: I do like fooling with changes in white balance, exposure time, and aperture. Not all the time though. Sometimes I just like to point and shoot. I need something compact that I can put in a sandwich bag and into my jersey pocket. I would like a battery life of more than 20 photos. And I would like at least 7 megapixels.
    Canon G series. I think they are up to G12 now. I have a G9. Compact yet full manual controls. In between DSLR and P&S. It will take an external flash too. Very rugged. I've fallen on it many times and it's even fallen out of the case onto rocks several times. I carry it on my Camelbak chest strap in a $5 Walmart case. All my trail photos in the past four years have been taken with it.

  12. #12
    nocturnal oblivion
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    I don't recommend the Olympus drop proof/submergible/crush proof ones, the color is terrible. My friend who's a professional photographer was raving about the Lumix recently. He claimed that for about $200 it was as good as his $$$ DSLR.
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  13. #13
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    I have a Canon Powershot A480 which I got for a very good price. I don't have to worry if I break or lose the camera while out riding. It uses AA batteries and a standard memory SD card.

    I also have a Canon IXUS which I really like. The IXUS 80's can be picked up used cheap on ebay Even the newer models (115, 220 etc) are a good price.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  14. #14
    T.W.O.
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    I used to carry both DSLR and P&S but now I just leave the DSLR at home that only carry P&S. I just bought the Casio FH 100 the slomo is pretty cool, and I won't feel half as bad if I drop it.

  15. #15
    ride the moment
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    I bought a Panasomic Lumix TS3 in April. It's waterproof to 40 ft, drop proof to 6+ft, cold resistant, etc. I'm very happy with the picture quality. It's not a nice DSLR but it takes good pics for what it is. It fits in my pocket and so far has taken a beating. I've wrecked with it on my shoulder strap and it was fine. You can do manual adjustments on shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, etc. and it has an auto-bracketing feature. 12.1 megapixels and the battery lasts for over 300 shots unless you start doing long exposures. I've stuck it in tide pools to get underwater pics and it came out fine. In addition to the manual mode, it has many auto settings that work well if you pic the right one. What sealed the deal on this camera is that the shutter lag is very very low. The only downside is that the mechanical zoom is internal so it's only 4.5x. On the other hand you can drop it when it's on and it won't break ... unlike my last camera

    Later I'll resize some pics and put them up.
    Just because you read a book it don't make you conscious. - MC Lush

  16. #16
    saddlemeat
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    My wife has a Lumix ZS1 (ZS10 is the latest) that is the Panasonic version of the Leica V-Lux wide zoom series, the V-Lux 30 being the latest. Excellent quality images. I have a friend who is a retired pro street photog, uses a Leica M8 (or M7!) normally, but told me the other day that the images from his V-Lux 10 are good enough that it's all he carries anymore unless it's a shoot. He does a lot of 24" x 30" fine art prints and says the image quality is good enough. He also said that the Leica version is "noticeably" better. He has worn out several of the Panasonic Z series, and more than one V-Lux, so he would know.

    The D-Lux 5 is also tempting to me, as I like low light images and I'm normally zoomed out as wide as posssible anyhow. The V-Lux 30's wide 16x zoom is highly useful, however, when combined with image stabilization.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  17. #17
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    Another vote for the Canon G series. I have the G10 and it has excellent image quality and it is very quick and easy to adjust ISO, shutter speed and Aperture. It is well built, although it is not the smallest and lightest camera.

  18. #18
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    Just remember that Megapixels don't always equal quality, only size.

  19. #19
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    Just remember that Megapixels don't always equal quality, only size.
    Very true.

    DP review is a good site to compare camera performance.

  20. #20
    Sweat is just fat crying.
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    I go thru cameras like Kleenex. I have a "holster" on my Camelbak with easy access to the camera, and it goes wherever I go. The big problem I have is grit getting in the lens covers, and causing them not to open/close fully. I've had Sony, Lumix, Canon, Olympus- you name it. Right now I have a cheap Canon that doesn't take bad shots, but the same thing happened to it- a little moisture (beer?) got on it & the lens stuck open. Took it back to Radio Shack, and since I had the 2 year warrantee ($30), they sent it in and when they couldn't repair it, they sent me a like-new refurbished unit. Oh, and the Sony I bought to use while the Canon was sent off to service? The lens cover is sticking already.

    I use the hell out of my cameras, and they're always getting wet/dirty/bloody. Like you, I'm no expert, but want a camera with me at all times. I won't recommend a specific camera, but get the extended warrantee if they offer it. It'll probably save you lots of $$ in the long run.
    Mountain Biking Is Not A Crime stickers, free! (You pay postage. PM me for details.)

  21. #21
    saddlemeat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte View Post
    I go thru cameras like Kleenex. I have a "holster" on my Camelbak with easy access to the camera, and it goes wherever I go. The big problem I have is grit getting in the lens covers, and causing them not to open/close fully. I've had Sony, Lumix, Canon, Olympus- you name it. Right now I have a cheap Canon that doesn't take bad shots, but the same thing happened to it- a little moisture (beer?) got on it & the lens stuck open. Took it back to Radio Shack, and since I had the 2 year warrantee ($30), they sent it in and when they couldn't repair it, they sent me a like-new refurbished unit. Oh, and the Sony I bought to use while the Canon was sent off to service? The lens cover is sticking already.

    I use the hell out of my cameras, and they're always getting wet/dirty/bloody. Like you, I'm no expert, but want a camera with me at all times. I won't recommend a specific camera, but get the extended warrantee if they offer it. It'll probably save you lots of $$ in the long run.
    You bring up a good point, a camera is a consumable if you carry/use it all the time, even the best ones wear out or break. I still cherish my p&s Nikon S10, most of the finish is worn off but no loose parts and no dust in the lens- it zooms inside the sealed body, lens swivels, manual lens cover, VR vibration reduction produces crisp clear images. I have found the Nikons to be a little more durable than the Canons as far as screws loosening and body parts breaking or falling off.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  22. #22
    RLK
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    Another vote here for the Canon S90. Mine does all of the manual stuff that I could ask for, but still has great speed/low light performance on auto mode. If I had a few more bucks and more space in my jersey pockets, I'd have gone with the Canon G11.

    I added one of these to my S90 for better grip- well worth the price.

  23. #23
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    I had a panasonic lumix P&S that took good pictures, but evidently didn't appreciate being dunked in a creek when I crashed.
    I replaced it with the Olympus Stylus Tough which is water/drop/dust proof. My big complaint with this camera is how long it takes to turn on. I've missed a bunch of action shots waiting for it to start up.
    The upside is it takes decent pics and seems pretty bulletproof

  24. #24
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    Cameras like the Canon G series, the Leica V lux and the Nikon P7000 are in a different league from other point and shoot cameras. They will give you easier access to the manual functions and better performance and image quality but they are bigger, heavier and more expensive. Most of the inexpensive point and shoots are difficult to use the manual controls.

  25. #25
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    Pentax Optio W90 ... I love mine. Skiing, biking etc.

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