Need Digital Camera Advice!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by manic, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. manic macrumors regular

    May 29, 2006
    I like doing extensive research on electronics before I purchase, but Ive been finding that researching for the best digital camera is an overwhelming task!

    I want a compact, 6-7 MP camera that takes crisp pictures as noise-free as possible. I also want, in the future, to buy a 720p camcorder that "records" in h.264 (or is it mpeg4?) thats compact. Ive seen the sanyo SD recording 720p camcorder but reviewers say image quality is not decent. Anyway, I think hd cameras are not ready for prime time yet(in a compact form-factor, anyway).

    so, for the time being, Id like a digital camera that can also shoot videos at acceptable quality (16:9 would be bliss). Does such a camera exist?

    Any advice on us-based great digital camera forums I should look at? thanks!
  2. Topono macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
  3. PaulinMaryland macrumors regular


    May 17, 2006
    Maryland, USA
    Noise-free, wide-format movies

    You're in luck; I'm a dpreview junkie/participant.

    By overwhelming consensus, the most noise-free compacts are made by Fuji. Their latest shirtpocket model, the F30, can shoot essentially noise-free up to ISO 400 and with acceptable nosie up to ISO 1600. For user reviews, check out dpreview's Fuji Talk forum. We own the F30's predecessor, the F10; believe me, the movies look better than those from recent camcorders.

    I wanted to be able to shoot in RAW format, so I recently bought, for my first digicam, a 2004 Fuji compact, the F810.

    The F810 shoots 30-frame-per-second (fps) wide-format movies, but only at 640 x 360. A few Panasonics shoot movies at 848 x 480 @30 fps. My daughter uses a Panasonic TZ-1 this way. The TZ-1 and other Panasonics record movies in QuickTime format (.MOV)--not quite H.264, but certainly convertible, using QuickTime Pro. Expect these recordings to eat about 1.7 megabits per second of SD card space.

    As if 848x480 movies @30fps weren't cool enough, the small TZ-1 can also optically zoom from 35mm (f/2.8) to 350mm (f/4.2) in movie mode!

    Want even higher-res movies? Panasonic's new shirtpocket DMC-LX2 can record movies at 1280 x720 pixels @15fps!

    Panasonic's tiny 1/2.5-inch CCD isn't known for low noise, but for movies, you may not notice.
  4. manic thread starter macrumors regular

    May 29, 2006
    wow, thats some pretty awesome advice. Ill look into those.

    However, it made me think: do you think its worth going after a digital camera that doubles as a camcorder, or im bound to get such a high compromise monstrosity im better off not bothering and just get a decent digicam now and a proper camcorder in the future?

    edit: Geez, the cnet review of the panny is dated to today! thats up to the minute advice! It also seems that panasonic set out to address the noise problem you mentioned that plagued the LX1 with a new image processing engine
  5. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I did a lot of research before getting my dig. I wanted a good compact that had excellent video as well. I only saw one camera that did 16:9. I think it was a panasonic, but the reviews weren't that good as far as stills. I found all my info
    In the end I bought a Sony Cybershot DSC T-30 and absolutely love it. I would recommend this camera to anyone.
  6. stillwater macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2004
    Rowley, MA
    I bought a Panasonic TZ-1 mainly for the big zoom in a small package. I shot some video while out on a nature walk recently and WOW, what a surprise. I was able to do slow pan and zoom shots that came out looking amazing. The optical image stabilization made handheld pans look almost like the camera was on a tripod.

    I feel kinda like I got two cameras for the price of one.

    The only thing missing are manual controls for aperture and shutter speed.

    This is now my favorite digital camera.
  7. PaulinMaryland macrumors regular


    May 17, 2006
    Maryland, USA
    TZ-1 and movies

    I would agree. My TZ-1-owning daughter sees it more as a versatile movie camera that also takes decent stills. We bought it just in time for her older daughter's high school graduation. Using the TZ-1's Auto ISO, optical image stabilization, and 350mm zoom lens, the younger daughter, sitting a third of the way back in a large symphony hall, "filmed" a close-up her sister walking down the aisle. What a priceless memory for future generations.
  8. REDSRT4 macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2006
    I personally thing the SD700 is the best Small 7 megapixel camera on the market right now. It is short of pricy at 499 but it works great!
  9. manic thread starter macrumors regular

    May 29, 2006
    Would you mind posting an exerpt of the movie you shot somewhere on the web for us to take a look at the quality? you got me intrigued
  10. Whyapple macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Great site! Also check out the Casio Z750 Exilim, highly rated for its video capabilities!
    Just ordered one, awaiting delivery.
  11. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2003
    I got the F30 when it first came out. Still learning to use, but it does do quite well in low-light situations when you can't use the flash. Color is a little flat in bright sunshine. There is in-camera processing, so what you see at higher ISO's is not the usual noise, but muddying/watercoloring. Very fast response time (shutter press->take picture) which is critical for, say, baby pictures. It does use the more-expensive xD picture card. I like it alot.

  12. PaulinMaryland macrumors regular


    May 17, 2006
    Maryland, USA
    movie of my daughter graduating

    Well, my daughter would be mortified, but if you email me, I'll send you a copy of the 43-second movie tonight in H.264 format (via QuickTime Pro). I've saved it in several file sizes (differing by image size, not by quality level); let me know the largest file size you can (or care to) accept by email.
  13. pavetheforest macrumors regular


    Apr 2, 2006
    Look into canon. I have a canon powershot SD400 digital elph, great, great camera. If your looking into one doubling as a camcorder, however, look into one of their upper scale products. Overall, canon makes great cameras, check em out.
  14. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I'm another happy Fuji user with the F10 as regards noise levels in low light conditions. So far as colours go, they're not as 'bright' out of the camera as some of the Sonys/Canons but since I often find them a little 'garish', I'm not too worried. Setting the White Balance to 'sunny' can get round this a little if they look particularly flat.

    It's not as good as my camcorder for videos but it's definitely usable.

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