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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
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    I have a Sony Cybershot 12.1 MP camera. Point and shoot with loads of features.
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  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
    Maaaaan
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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.
    Communist Party Member Since 1917.

  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
    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  
    I ride with the best people.




  8. #8
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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!

  9. #9
    Tá mé ar meisce.
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    I have a s95 and I love it. I rarely carry my dslr now.
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  10. #10
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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.

  11. #11
    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

  12. #12
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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.

  13. #13
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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.

  14. #14
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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.
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  15. #15
    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.
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  16. #16
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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.

  17. #17
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    Just remember that Megapixels don't always equal quality, only size.

  18. #18
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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.

  19. #19
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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.

  20. #20
    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.
    I ride with the best people.




  21. #21
    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.

  22. #22
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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

  23. #23
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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.

  24. #24
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    Pentax Optio W90 ... I love mine. Skiing, biking etc.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tidezealot View Post
    Pentax Optio W90 ... I love mine. Skiing, biking etc.
    +1
    I mainly use mine while fly fishing but it takes great outdoor pictures, has a lot of predefined settings and also allows more many manual setting. The only cons is that it isn't the fastest, but none in the point and shot/rugged class are. Also indoors and low light is where it shines the least. I got this camera because it is waterproof and shock proof. After destroying a few others it was a good investment.

    I'd love to have a SLR like Nikon D90 but it wouldn't be going biking or fishing with me.

  26. #26
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    Ok so first off let me say this is my first "nice" camera. I had another P&S about 5 years ago. It was a Kodak under $150 and I never took it off the auto setting. It lasted less than a year before I dropped it with the lens out. That was the extent of my photography experience when I bought this camera.

    I wanted a camera that could handle the wet Oregon winters, take a reasonable drop, and was small enough to fit in my jeans pocket to go to a party/show/etc. I understood that I wasn't going to get top-notch photo quality with those restrictions, but I still wanted as good as I could get within those parameters. I set out researching the various "rugged" cameras available... and by research I mean reading reviews and forum posts.

    The Canon Powershot D10 was supposed to have the best image quality, but there's a big dome on the front of it to house the lens and it was not a pocket camera IMO. The Olympus got not-so-great reviews in pretty much every category.

    Pentax and Panasonic had pretty good reviews for both the 2010 (w90 & TS2) and 2011 (WG-1 & TS3) models. I ended up going with the Panasonic TS3 because it had a short shutter lag, and up to 60 second shutter speed, compared to only 4 seconds on the Pentax. Also, a friend who works for Adobe and is very into photography told me Panasonic had a good background in making burly electronics for military applications.

    So far I'm really pleased. In the manual shoot mode, adjustments for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are easily accessible from quick menus. The white balance takes a few clicks to get to. There is also an auto-bracketing feature for the aperture setting. There are over 20 "auto" modes which put out some really nice pictures once you get used to picking the right one for the situation. The macro quality is really good as well.

    The main weakness for me is that if you turn the ISO up and the shutter speed down to take action shots, you need really good light or it comes out grainy. A lot of our trails are in the trees so it makes it hard to get a good action shot. I'm also a noob so in the hands of a good photographer it might do better. It performs really well in low light if things aren't moving too fast.

    Here's some pics... so after uploading them they look like crap. They look much better on my computer, even after resizing. The full size pics on my computer look amazing compared to these. Any thoughts on that?

    Edit: I opened this thread and opened the resized pictures in a window beside it. There is a very noticeable loss of quality on the uploaded pics. For example, in the concert pic, that maze pattern in the lights behind the bassist (white shirt on the right) actually has a pattern within the blue lines that is clearly visible on my resized pics. The anemones, moss, clouds, etc. show a similar loss of clarity. Bummer...

    In the woods


    Camera under water + macro


    On the coast


    Yeasayer at the Wonder Ballroom


    15 second exposure in front of the moon
    Last edited by Dogbrain; 07-03-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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  27. #27
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    I'll second the Panisonic Lumix recommendations. Their DMC and TZ series are intended as compact travel cameras. They have good Leica glass, a nice range from wide angle to zoom. The shutter response is decent (not DSLR decent, but better than most of the compacts). I can shoot at least a hundred photos on a charge as long as I dont diddle around leaving it on or review pictures over and over. It has enough manual control and special setting options to have a little fun. The flash reset time is also better than a lot of other compacts I've used. Has some nice burst photo options. Make sure you get a high speed SD card as that really helps with movies and burst shooting.

    I use mine a lot too. I'm an appraiser and its my work camera so I'm shooting at least a 50-100 photos a week with it.

    I'm on my 3rd one. First one the wife dunked in the Med. I bought me a replacement, then her a replacement cause I was desperate for a B-Day gift idea. I also got one for my MIL for a gift. Hers is 3 years old now, lives full time in her purse and is going strong.

    I know a guy that has the GPS model and he loves it because he can track the photo locations that way. I'll probably do that next time.

  28. #28
    Huckin' trails
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    My vote goes to my Nikon Coolpix L18.

    8Mp, 3,6 optical zoom, good flash, super battery life on 2xAA, 3" screen, nice video (no hd), manual, auto and more then 15 scene modes. And it's available in red.

    All for now under $80. (originally $140).

    I have mine since summer 2008 and it's still work like a charm and get perfect beautiful pictures at almost 98% of the time (versus a poor 70% for other camera in this price range). And the camera still like new after hundreds of hours of use in offshore fishing trips, trail riding, events, travels, etc.

    I can get you some pics if you want.

    David


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    topless. that's what all mtb girls do. we go ride, get topless, have pillow fights in the woods, scissor, then ride home!

  29. #29
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    Guess I'm the only guy that has a Sony...
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  30. #30
    saddlemeat
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    Dogbrain - Yeah, that's a bummer about the loss of quality. You can get a little more punch by clipping the blacks and increasing the saturation in photoshop. Make sure the finished web image is saved in sRGB color space if you are importing AdobeRGB or raw files.
    I ride with the best people.




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