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Author Topic: Serious photographers buy which point 'n shoot?  (Read 22732 times)
stebbo
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« on: November 30, 2007, 02:15:00 AM »
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They drive me crazy, but they have their place.

So I'm looking for a new one that'll drive me less crazy.

That means great high ISO performance so I can get away without the flash for inside shots.

A good flash when I need to use the flash.

Low shutter delay so I don't have to keep the thing prefocused waiting for the shot.

Buttons and dials as opposed to deep menus.

Small as possible.

Megapixels not important.

Manual control and no stupic gimmicks getting in the way.

Essentially a shrunken down prosumer DSLR.

Does it exist?
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k bennett
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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2007, 07:39:50 AM »
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Essentially a shrunken down prosumer DSLR.

Does it exist?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=157185\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



No.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 09:26:18 AM »
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A P&S is almost by definition a series of compromises over what can be delivered by an DSLR form factor.... but I'm sure you know that.  So in the end it depends on what dimensions of performance you're willing to compromise on.

My personal favourite is the Sony R1 - It's "as small as possible" given the size of sensor it has, but probably (even though your requirement is articlated "small as possible") is too big (and hard to get).

Next on the list is the Canon g9 - has everything you want except DSLR-like noise performance, and it's still menu driven.

What would you be looking for in terms of lens? Zoom? 5 or 10X or is fixed focal ok? The Sigma DP1 is vapour, but apparently not dead yet:
http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english/news/...sage_071130.htm
but is not a zoom.  It might get closer, but I'll bet a beer it will still have menus
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 11:51:32 AM »
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A P&S is almost by definition a series of compromises over what can be delivered by an DSLR form factor.... but I'm sure you know that.  So in the end it depends on what dimensions of performance you're willing to compromise on.

My personal favourite is the Sony R1 - It's "as small as possible" given the size of sensor it has, but probably (even though your requirement is articlated "small as possible") is too big (and hard to get).

Next on the list is the Canon g9 - has everything you want except DSLR-like noise performance, and it's still menu driven.

What would you be looking for in terms of lens? Zoom? 5 or 10X or is fixed focal ok? The Sigma DP1 is vapour, but apparently not dead yet:
http://www.sigma-photo.co.jp/english/news/...sage_071130.htm
but is not a zoom.  It might get closer, but I'll bet a beer it will still have menus
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=157261\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I still think the DP1 could be my ideal second camera - if only they get it right and make it at all!! 35mm equivalent lens please, dials for shutter/aperture...
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Misirlou
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2007, 11:59:29 AM »
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I still think the DP1 could be my ideal second camera - if only they get it right and make it at all!! 35mm equivalent lens please, dials for shutter/aperture...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=157292\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The DP1 has a 28mm equivalent lens. Sigma just announced the reason why it has been delayed for so long. Apparently, they are replacing the entire processing pipeline, and have no guess as to when it will actually go into production. Check out the announcement on DPreview.

Personally, I use an old Canon S50 because it does RAW. The later S70 is better in pretty much every respect, but the S80 has no RAW mode. My S50 shows a number of lens flaws, which are easily corrected in software. It is noisy at high ISO, but Neat Image does a fantastic job of taking care of that. If it ever dies, I'll get an S70 off of eBay. Going rate is under $200.
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jjj
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 12:51:22 PM »
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Personally, I use an old Canon S50 because it does RAW. The later S70 is better in pretty much every respect, but the S80 has no RAW mode. My S50 shows a number of lens flaws, which are easily corrected in software. It is noisy at high ISO, but Neat Image does a fantastic job of taking care of that. If it ever dies, I'll get an S70 off of eBay. Going rate is under $200.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=157298\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I had an S60 which was replaced by an S70 when the S60 finaly fell apart [it had a very hard life!]. But the S70 is a good example of more MP making for a poorer image and not a better one. I bought an s60 in the first place not the s70 for that reason. I'd have bought an s80, but for the lack of RAW. A shame as the s80 is much better in so many respects bar the lack of RAW.
The excellent handling Ricoh GRD looked like a decent P+S but 14secs to write RAW, which meant it was crippled for the sort of people that would use it. However the GRD II has sorted this issue out as you can now even take a pic whilst the previous shot is being written [now 3.5 secs]. May well be getting one, though waiting to try one first. I never believe marketing hype.
But the Sigma with the bigger chip would be my prefered choice esp if it was as nice as the GRD to use.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 12:52:08 PM by jjj » Logged

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Misirlou
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 02:35:06 PM »
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I had an S60 which was replaced by an S70 when the S60 finaly fell apart [it had a very hard life!]. But the S70 is a good example of more MP making for a poorer image and not a better one. I bought an s60 in the first place not the s70 for that reason. I'd have bought an s80, but for the lack of RAW. A shame as the s80 is much better in so many respects bar the lack of RAW.
The excellent handling Ricoh GRD looked like a decent P+S but 14secs to write RAW, which meant it was crippled for the sort of people that would use it. However the GRD II has sorted this issue out as you can now even take a pic whilst the previous shot is being written [now 3.5 secs]. May well be getting one, though waiting to try one first. I never believe marketing hype.
But the Sigma with the bigger chip would be my prefered choice esp if it was as nice as the GRD to use.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=157306\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Really? The reviews I read never had much bad to say about IQ in the S70. Is the S70 much noiser than the S60 or something? Specifically, what problems did you have from the higher res sensor?

I'm really interested because my S50 is now so worn that I can't read the icons on the dial. I'd hoped to replace it with an S70 (mostly due to the much better lens). But if an S70 actually produces worse images, I won't.
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stebbo
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 08:04:28 PM »
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A P&S is almost by definition a series of compromises over what can be delivered by an DSLR form factor.... but I'm sure you know that.  So in the end it depends on what dimensions of performance you're willing to compromise on.
...
What would you be looking for in terms of lens? Zoom? 5 or 10X or is fixed focal ok?

I guess low-light performance would be the most important requirement. ISO400 on my current Powershot SD300 is pretty woeful, but I have no choice (its flash is ridiculous) when shooting indoors at night.

Anything I need to photograph seriously I'll pull out the other gear, so I don't need raw, megapixels, fps,...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 08:05:30 PM by stebbo » Logged
stever
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 09:53:59 PM »
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i'm still using the S60 for the RAW format (although the RAW image + JPEG thumbnail with the EXIF is a pain) because there doesn't seem to be anything better.  Large prints are possible with decent light, ant there really isn't any reason for higher resolution with this type of camera.  

Hopefully when Canon gets their CMOS consumer line running there may be some hope, but until then the marketing focus on more pixels with less quality is ultimately a dead-end.  If snapshooters had the choice of really good low light performance there could be a really big winner.
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BruceHouston
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2007, 01:27:56 AM »
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I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 7mp that I use for the purposes that you describe.  It has a sharp Zeiss lens, 10x zoom, and fits in your pocket as the zoom disappears completely into the camera body.   It also shoots great-quality bug pictures with a home-made extension tube and a Raynox 2.5 lens.  Problems: short battery life (I bought and keep charged 4 no-name LiIon batteries to ensure a day's shooting.)  Also: very little manual control.  (It does have auto exposure bracketing, though.)
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BradSmith
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2007, 05:51:41 PM »
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If low noise and small size weigh in heavily, everyone seems to have forgotten the Fuji F10-20-30, etc series with the CCD sensors.  I don't seem to remember anyone equaling them in low noise levels for P&S cameras.
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PSA DC-9-30
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2007, 06:48:58 PM »
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I bought an Oly SP-500 earlier this year. This is now discontinued, but the replacement  (SP-550?) boasts higher resolution, longer zoom, and (I think) optical image stablization.

On the plus side, the SP-500 is small, light, shoots RAW, has decent battery life, has a viewfinder,  offers P,S,A,M, and has a 10X zoom. The full auto mode does a superb job in low light, but for some reason it is not possible to shoot RAW in this mode. On the downside, noise is an issue above ISO 100, the images are a bit soft, and the lens does not focus well at longer focal lengths. Also, it is slow as hell at times. Still, like many p+s cameras, you have to learn where the sweet spot is and exploit it.

If I were going to buy a PS camera now, I'd probably go for the Canon G9.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 06:50:36 PM by PSA DC-9-30 » Logged

John Sheehy
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2007, 07:49:23 PM »
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If low noise and small size weigh in heavily, everyone seems to have forgotten the Fuji F10-20-30, etc series with the CCD sensors.  I don't seem to remember anyone equaling them in low noise levels for P&S cameras.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=157558\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The Fuji cameras really don't have sensors that are less noisy than most other P&S cameras.  It's all software noise reduction.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2007, 11:13:20 PM »
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If you want RAW and SLR-type controls in a compact form, then the choices are not that many: Canon G9, Ricoh GRD/GRDII and GX100, Panasonic/Leica LX2/D-Lux3.

They all suffer from noise at higher ISO values, and they combat it with different strategies. I am currently using a G9, which I have already tried at ISO 800 in street markets and inside a cave, with excellent results (good A4 prints) after a touch of noise reduction. Canon chooses not to smear away noise and detail, which is good.

The little Fujis of a generation ago are good (F/30/31/40) at high ISO, but they either lack aperture/shutter priority, a live histogram, or both. And of course, no RAW.
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Er1kksen
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2007, 12:05:19 AM »
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Olympus XA

Absolute responsiveness, slide the cover open and you can grab the shot in a fraction of a second. Fully manual rangefinder focusing is often faster than contrast-detect AF, with a little practice. Full manual control of aperture, camera sets the shutter speed, which you can compensate with the film speed dial. The flash can be detached when not needed, and when it is needed, it's pretty good and can be used on auto or adjusted manually.

Of course, it lacks most of the bells and whistles of modern digital compacts, which means that there's nothing to get between you and your image and get in your way.

It also runs circles around tiny-sensor digital for image quality, in some ways. The lens is tack sharp, though that's not unique, but the sensor is the really great part. Load it with Velvia 100 and you'll get high-resolution files with juicy colors, load it with good black and white film and you're looking at definition you just can't get on a bayer sensor, it'll beat your 5d. You can push some modern black and white to 800 and get a crisp, clear image far better than you'll get from any digital compact (shooting a compact at higher than 800 is not practical)... or for color, Fuji's got a brand new 1600 color emulsion that has fine grain and great colors, though it's only useful with the XA3 and XA4 due to the ASA dial. I use Kodak UC400 with mine, and the files I get after cheap developing and scanning done are about the same filesize as an 8 MP camera with much better detail-per-pixel, and I suspect the film has even more detail that the cheap scanner isn't able to record. Not to mention that the dynamic range is about the same as full-frame digital, the grain doesn't seem to exist, and the colors are rich.

It'll only set you back about $100 (at the most). I got mine for $2.

I hope I'm not attacked for my recommendation, but the realm of compact cameras is one area where film can still outperform digital in almost every way. You'll never have one of those moments where you think "why won't the camera just do what I want?" as you wait for it to write files or focus in low light. It just gives you what you need to take the picture and gets out of your way.

It fits the criteria you give almost exactly.

Oh, and you can beat on it and change the batteries only once a year.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 12:07:10 AM by Er1kksen » Logged
Gordon Buck
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2007, 10:17:35 AM »
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I voted with my wallet for the Canon G9.
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Diapositivo
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2007, 06:49:27 PM »
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I agree with Er1kksen.
Digital has got advantages and disadvantages in comparison to "chemical" photography.
You know the advantages of digital already. I think people tend to overlook the advantages of film.
One of those is that you can have, with certain "point and shoot", a quality which is certainly superior to that of digital p&s.
I have a Yashica T3, 1989. Fixed 35/2,8 lens, no possibility to exclude motor (no manual film advance, no manual film rewind) and only automatic exposure. The Zeiss Tessar is good but not on par with the lenses I have on my SLR (Minolta MD).

This camera is "weather resistant", has got a tiny vertical viewfinder besides the normal tiny viewfinder, can force fill-in flash with daylight, can disable flash at night (it would flash automatically), has got a tripod screw hole, can lock focus, autofocus is 16-step (not the 5-step or 6-step you find in cheap P&S), reads EV from 3 to 17, shutter times from 1 sec. to 1/630 (central shutter, synchro on all times) and I take pictures with it that are accepted by Alamy (a stock agencies) so not that bad as far as quality is concerned. With DX films ISO setting is automatic (64 - 1600). Minimum focusing distance is 0,5 m. (parallax indication on viewfinder).

Weight is 295 grams with battery (lithium 3V CR2025, you still find it everywhere). Dimensions are really tiny. I had it hidden in my pocket when a guy tried an armed robbery (a small knife) against me on the Boca quartier of Buenos Aires (he did not get anything, by the way, I think I risked something that day...), it is with me when I go hiking, or when I go round with my motorbike. Actually I often have it with me when I walk round Rome just because it is handy to have a camera in your pocket. The tripod screw makes sense if you carry with you one of those very small tripods which can be quite useful. Remember the camera reads down to EV 3 at ISO 100 (1/4 at f/2,8) which is enough for nocturne pictures in town (monuments with lightings).

I have examined various digital alternatives but I never found something that could really add flexibility without detracting from quality, or without adding weight. Especially distortion of zooms at the wide end makes those cameras less desirable. Only image stabilization might probably induce me to switch to digital for this kind of pictures.

The two big disadvantages are: fixed focal lenght (you guessed it, you can't have a P&S, with a zoom, and expect quality. This camera has a decent quality lens, but no zoom) and no manual exposure.
In order to overcome the autoexposure you have only two means, or three:
a) Cover the DX info on roll canister so that you can set ISO speed manually, than you can correct somehow. Dangerous, never done so. Also if you use 100 ISO film you are limited on overexposure correction (minimum ISO is 64).
 The good old trick: when you are in the sun and your subject is in shade, you raise your hand over the camera in order to project a shadow over it, the hand must be outside of field of view and there must be no violent antifascist around  so the camera will expose for shades. This covers almost half of the cases when I would like not to follow the light meter.
c) You can use negatives. I have always used slide film but now I want to experiment with negatives + scans. Negatives obviously can forgive some exposition mistake.

"Minor" disadvantages are a certain amount of vignetting and some chromatic aberration that you can see sometimes at "actual pixel size". Lens distortion is not very well corrected. Flare control is really excellent. Overall optical and digital quality is probably way above any digital point & shoot around.

Oh, I forgot: you can project real slides on a screen in a darkened room. Remember the sensation?

Cheers
Fabrizio
« Last Edit: December 03, 2007, 06:06:25 AM by Diapositivo » Logged
Misirlou
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2007, 11:41:40 PM »
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Ok, I know we're all about to be blasted for going way off topic. The original poster wanted to know about digital. I think he would have mentioned film if it were an option for him.

But as long as we're out there, I'm particularly fond of the Bolsey B2. Rangefinder focus, decent lens, manual exposure control. Very small and extremely ruggedly built. You can also attach a flash. They even made a TLR version which is a little bigger, but allows for discreet snapshooting.

I am nearly certain nobody will go buy one based on this post, and few people will admit to even knowing what a Bolsey B2 is.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 11:42:36 PM by Misirlou » Logged
stebbo
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« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2007, 04:16:56 AM »
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Ok, I know we're all about to be blasted for going way off topic. The original poster wanted to know about digital. I think he would have mentioned film if it were an option for him.

Actually, not at all.    I appreciate the Olympus XA suggestion (thanks Er1kksen) and although I still haven't sold the film scanner, it's just too much effort these days.

I had a look at some of the options many of you have suggested. Thanks.

The G9 looks a beautiful setup, read a few reviews on it but too much to pay without solving the low-noise problem.

The dpreview of the G9 mentioned that nearly all P&S's use the same sensors, so I could be facing an uphill battle. Might have to hold off buying for a while.  Wife just wanted a cheap P&S for xmas so I though I'd give her the (mid-range) SD300 and upgrade myself (is that selfish?).
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2007, 10:30:05 AM »
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Actually, not at all.    I appreciate the Olympus XA suggestion (thanks Er1kksen) and although I still haven't sold the film scanner, it's just too much effort these days.

I had a look at some of the options many of you have suggested. Thanks.

The G9 looks a beautiful setup, read a few reviews on it but too much to pay without solving the low-noise problem.

The dpreview of the G9 mentioned that nearly all P&S's use the same sensors, so I could be facing an uphill battle. Might have to hold off buying for a while.  Wife just wanted a cheap P&S for xmas so I though I'd give her the (mid-range) SD300 and upgrade myself (is that selfish?).
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The G9 "noise problem" can be significantly reduced by shooting RAW and using the ACR settings discussed in this LL [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=20662]thread. [/url].
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