Digital Snapshot Advice - SD550 or S80?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shortsord, May 13, 2006.

  1. Shortsord macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #1
    I'm in the market for a compact digital camera. I've looked around and narrowed it down to the Canon SD550 or S80.

    I haven't seen the S80 in store, so I'm not sure about the size and appearance of it, but as long as it's semi-compact and not entirely repulsive, I'm fine with it.

    Any reviews or opinions on the quality of either of these cameras, or recommendations for similar ones? I need something that's very good quality and could make some fine prints, and features would be nice but not completely necessary. Budget is preferred around 3-4 hundred, but could go higher if necessary.

    Help here would be great, thanks a lot.
     
  2. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #2
    The S80 is a bit thicker than most digi cams of today. About twice as thick IIRC as the SD550. What I have liked about the later S series cameras from Canon is that they have a 28mm FOV (35mm based). Personally I love wider angle lenses.

    You can always looks at DPR and Steve's Digi-Cams for reviews. Both of these cameras are generally in the $460~500 range at more reputable shops.
     
  3. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #3
    I would go with the SD500 and save some money. The LCD is smaller but the 2.5 didn't have enough resolution to really support it (115,000 pix on the 550) the size. The newer Elphs (e.g. SD600) have higher resolution screens at the same size. Same sensor - a few fewer of the scene modes on the 500, but the same sensor, etc.

    Some of my favorite photos are ones that I took with my 4MP S400 (the pre-SD400 Compact Flash Elph that was much chunkier and known for being the wonder compact due to rare red-eye), so I like the Elph line in general very much and plan to get an SD500 myself soon as my pocket companion to my 30D dslr. I've said many times that these are great cameras because 9/10s of a photo is having a camera with you in the first place. The elphs are true front pocket cameras with great quality. I end us shooting more video with my Elph than with my mini-DV camera for the same reason. Also, when I go to edit the clips in iMovie, the shorter clips I'm more likely to take with an Elph actually work better for putting together home movies.

    On the S80 - I liked the concept and owned one for a few weeks, but I didn't like my results. I posted a sample picture on this forum awhile back. I had very pronounced light fall off around the edges of the frame at the wide end. The reviews of the camera were wonderful (across the board from dpreview.com, to dcresource to the consumer electronics sites like CNET), so I am fairly inclined to believe I just received a bad copy of an otherwise well-designed and nice to use camera. Take a card to the camera shop or electronics store where you are going to buy. Take some pictures and see how they turn out at the wide end - if they look great, I think the S80 would be a nice camera to use.

    Good luck.
     
  4. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #4
    Sorry you had problems with the S80. Many customers have not been disappointed. A good reason to support shops that you can touch and feel, and have no penalties for exchanges or returns.

    Good advice. Since most if not all small digi cams use SD cards, if he does not have one - he could buy one. At my shop, we have allowed customers sometimes to take and shoot between two cameras in the store and do some prints on the Kodak print station in order for them to see which one would be best for them.
     
  5. Shortsord thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #5
    That's funny, because I've seen them online for the low 300s, but even that price is within my range. I was gonna top off at 600 anyways.

    Law guy, are you saying the S600 would be better, or just below? It looks better than the 550, but that doesn't matter to much.

    Basically, is there anything to differentiate these two cameras largely? I do like the idea of having a wide angle p&s, but could live without it. Are the sensors on these large enough to not be underwhelmed by light with a high megapixel count?

    Oh, and are there any others worth looking at, or should I just find a shop and check these two out?

    Thanks a lot for all the help.
     
  6. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #6
    As I have mentioned I respect B&H for internet pricing. They are respectable,but may not be able to provide the after sale support that local dealers can.

    What I will say is, when the likes of B&H, perhaps your local dealers, and the big box stores are "close" to each other - the you have to wonder how and why these others "beat" the main stream.

    You might take a look at resellers.com for ratings on many online sellers to get a better idea of whom you are dealing with for these low ball prices.

    For the most part the "main line" dealers have the same cost structure. When looking at B&H, my local shop is equal or close to them. They may be playing the hedge on local verses internet orders. For the shop I work for, there is a value in being able to touch/feel/learn about what you want to buy.
     
  7. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #7
    so try at your local shop then order at bh or adorama. both those large stores have excellent policies if anything goes wrong with the camera and their prices are extremely hard to beat for the quality you get.
     
  8. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    #8
    I don't know if the S600 would be an improvement or not. It could be that Canon improved from the prior 500/550 to the new 600/630/700IS, but it could have gone the other way as well. I haven't seen in-depth reviews for the 600 or 700 yet. (in order of preference on digicams) I'd like to see what www.dpreview.com, www.dcresource.com, or www.stevesdigicams.com would say about the new model before going in for one. Some of those sites may have reviews out on the 600/630/700 by now, I haven't noticed one (and I tend to click on them once a day to see whats new) but I haven't been looking specifically for them. The 2.5" screen on the 600 should be clearer than on the 550, that's why I was leaning towards the 2" on the 500 (which was well reviewed so it's a bit more of a known quantity). The new models do have an ISO 800 speed, but I did see a review of one of the new Canons in the A line and it noted that the 800 speed was noisier than they expected. The 700 IS has image stabilization built in for $499, which will help keep those lower light photos from blurring. I'm keen to see a review.

    Update: A very positive Steve's Digicam review of the SD 600: http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_reviews/sd600.html

    Update: CNET review - a very good 7.8 rating, noting the good image quality (which is what photographs are all about after all): http://reviews.cnet.com/Canon_PowerShot_SD600/4505-6501_7-31740583.html

    From that review:

    "The Canon PowerShot SD600 boasts excellent performance, with fast start-up and responsive shooting. The quick shutter lags no more than 0.7 second, even in dim light. We measured a quick shot-to-shot speed of 1.5 seconds, which bumps up only slightly to 2.1 seconds with the flash enabled. Burst mode proves equally fast, delivering about 2.1fps.

    Of course, the most important aspect of the camera is photo quality, and this compact shooter delivers in almost every respect. Besides exhibiting Canon's signature smooth, noiseless images at ISO 80 and ISO 100, the SD600 manages very well to as high as ISO 800, a sensitivity many compact digitals don't even reach. At that speed, the SD600's pictures are noisy but in an unobtrusive, almost filmlike way; ISO 800 images on the SD600 actually look a bit better than many other cameras' images shot at ISO 400. The SD600's ISO 200 shots are almost indistinguishable from those taken at ISO100, and its ISO 400 images are still very usable, though noise starts to become noticeable at that setting. With less noise than usual, this camera performs better than other cameras in its class, especially in low-light, no-flash conditions such as indoor performances and museums.

    It's hard to find any fault with the SD600's imaging pipeline. Colors are appropriately warm and saturated at all speeds; it produces very sharp and detailed pictures. The camera's automatic white-balance and exposure decisions are consistently accurate and pleasing. Lens distortions such as vignetting or pincushioning are negligible in the SD600, though as with many ultracompacts, lens sharpness falls off dramatically in the upper-left corner of the scene. Fringing is also barely there, even under heavily backlit objects such as branches against a sky. Ugly JPEG processing artifacts such as color banding and halos around high-contrast edges are, likewise, hard to spot."

    So given these, my next pocket companion may be the 600, which is a very reasonable msrp of $350.

    As to your other questions, I found my 4MP elph produced great photographs - wonderful colors, low, low noise, great exposure. The sensor on that Elph was very capable and the reviews seem to indicate the same about the new 600, which I might lean towards given the improved screen, and another generation of improving everything else (which as I noted could go wrong, but the reviews indicate that they were actual improvements, so my fears there were not realized, apparently).

    Further update: SD700 IS CNET review: http://reviews.cnet.com/Canon_PowerShot_SD700_IS/4505-6501_7-31740585.html
     

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