Compact cameras: Sony vs. Canon

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by allisonv7, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. allisonv7 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004
    I'm getting a digital camera and have kindof narrowed it down to two, the Sony dsc-w50 and the Canon sd600.

    Is image stabilization that important? From what I can tell the canon has it but the sony does not. Also, do the both work well with macs? The thing that concerns me about the Sony is that it's digi zoom is only 2x, but then they mention that it has "smart zoom"? What's that and is it even useful?

    If anyone has any other recommendations I'd love to hear them. I definitely want something tiny that I can fit in my pocket easily, and am looking to spend about $200-$250. Most of the pics I take will be just me and my friends going out, some concerts, and baseball games. The guy at best buy was really pushing the Olympus FE-230 but I really know nothing about that brand and am kindof hesitant about it.


  2. islandman macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006
    Image Stabilization is not that important, unless you're taking night shots under certain conditions. And the SD600 does not have IS. For IS, you have to get the SD700 or SD800. I haven't tried either of these with macs, but all 5 of my Canons work with my mac perfectly (S400, S80, D300, 20D, 30D). Haven't tried the Sony. Smart Zoom (or any type of digital zoom) is to be avoided! Many cameras come with it, but what I'm saying to you is to use the optical zoom only. With Smart Zoom (or whatever other manufacturers call it), the camera is simply pretending to zoom by magnifying the image in the viewfinder through its internal software. The result is pixellated images most of the time. Don't!

    The SD600, SD630 are very nice for the money. I know a few people at work that I recommended them to and they're very happy. When my S400 is ready to be retired (it's more than 3 years old now), I will probably get one of these to replace it with. Olympus is fine, but I don't like that particular model. For more reading, check out Although that site doesn't have a review for the SD600/SD630, it does have reviews of similar cameras that you can check out. Canon always seems to produce winners.

  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I think you'll be very happy with either camera. :) I doubt you'll see any real difference in quality. The Sony is cheaper, so get that. However, see how much Memory Sticks cost. The Canon takes SD Memory, which is usually cheaper, so maybe the Canon is the better choice.

    Don't worry about the digital zoom. In fact, go into the menu and turn it off. :p
  4. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    You'll be happy with the Sony or the Canon, but I personally prefer using Canon cameras. I think image stabilization is great, but if I were to guess, most of your photos will be in bright daylight or with flash, so you probably wont really use it.
  5. elppa macrumors 68040


    Nov 26, 2003
    I have a Canon Elph (well they get called IXUS V3 in europe) and it produces excellent photos.

    It also has a digital zoom, which I have never ever used.

    The Smart Zoom on the Sony seems a bit silly, a 2MP photo isn't much good for anything but Web use.

    The Olympus made me laugh, what the hell is a cusine mode!? Is that for taking photos of your food. It also has a behind glass mode (but with other cameras setting it to landscape mode usually produced similar results.)

    What is useful is the sports mode, as it will increase the shutter speed (I saw you wanted to take photos of baseball games). It also has 7.1 MP over the 6 from the Canon and Sony, which although useful as it gives you a bit more creativity when cropping. Having said that I'd imagine they'd both produce nice A4 prints.

    My choice would be the Canon.
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    I recently bought the Canon SD630 and couldn't be happier. Small, takes great pics and the LCD is huge and bright.
  7. cutsman macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2006
    I agree with the others, image stabilization is great, but only in very select circumstances (low light, slow shutter speed, stationary subject). It essentially compensates for handshake when you need to reduce shutter speed to get enough light in your photos during low light conditions. It is absolutely no substitute for a great sensor with the capability to shoot at high ISO sensitivities with minimal noise (despite what the marketing guys would like to have you believe). With a good sensor, you in theory, won't need IS since you can shoot in lowlight without having to reduce your shutter speed to the point where handshake would be an issue.

    My recommendation is to look into the Fuji F30/F20. I'm not sure about pricing in the US but the F30 may be slightly beyond your budget. If that's the case, look into the F20. It is cheaper, has the same great sensor with the same excellent low light shooting ability approaching that of DSLR's. The only problem I foresee for you is that it might be a tiny bit larger than the sony or sd600. This was a big concern for me before i bought my F30, but once i saw it in person, i realized it was still very smally despite it officially being classified as a compact (vs an ultra-compact). If the size is an issue for you, Fuji will be releasing the Z5fd in a couple months which will have the same sensor but in a more compact enclosure, although this will most likely be priced beyond $200-250.

    Still not convinced?
    Read the reviews below and you'll see that the Fuji F30 (and newer and cheaper F20) essentially have the best sensor on the P&S market, capable of shooting at high ISO with much less noise than its competitors. What this means is you won't even encounter many situations where IS would even be beneficial to you and you can shoot indoors and even at concerts WITHOUT flash (this was the biggest selling point for me on the F30).
  8. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
    I have an SD550, and am very happy with it.

    It replaced a Sony DSC-S85(which I still have and let my kids use). Although decent, I find the Canon does a much better job of focusing, and producing consistent exposures.
  9. HckySo macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2006
    turn around
    Sony should stick to making TVs and stereos, you'll be happier with the Canon.
  10. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I am partial to Canon cameras so I would go with the Canon given the two options you are considering.

    Other comments:

    - IS is very useful for zoom shots and low light level shots.

    - Consider the menu system. Some cameras are much easier to select what you want. For example, how easy is it to change shooting modes?

    - Get a camera with an optical view finder -- very handy at times.

    - Camera feel can be important depending on what you are going to do with your camera. For example, how easy is it to hold and use the camera?

    - Consider the lens quality. Canon has decent lenses.

    - Compare optical zoom. Forget about digital zoom -- mostly a gimmick IMHO.

    - Compare memory costs. SD/SDHC is the best and cheapest out there.
  11. drlunanerd macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2004
    Bingo. I'd avoid Sony, Olympus and Fuji, as they all use more expensive and less widely available memory card formats. I unwittingly got caught out with this when I bought a Sony camera on behalf of my sister a few years back. It's limited to only 128MB stupidexpensive Memory Sticks now which is rubbish. The new ones take bigger cards but they're way more expensive than SD.

    In terms of image quality I agree there's not a great deal between any recent P&S model, but I've always been pretty happy with my photos from any of the Canon Ixus models I've owned over the years (and actually I think the older models, with less megapixels, took the best shots, although they were a bit slow to use).

    My g/f recently got a Canon Ixus 850IS, which has image stabilisation and really works well when taking indoor shots without flash. It doesn't help much if you're taking shots of people though as they tend to move which IS/VR cannot compensate for.
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    1) Digital zoom is useless. Worse then useless really

    2) Canon P&S cameras don't do RAW format. If the lighting or color is tricky you want to use RAW format.

    3) Both Canon and Sony work well with the Mac.
  13. drlunanerd macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2004
    Not on a budget of $200-$250 she won't.
  14. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i have the Canon SD600
    great little camera and i totally recommend it. got it at a great price on too. :D
  15. allisonv7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004

    Is the time it takes to "reload" in between shots minimal? My camera that's about 4 years old takes forever it seems. I know theres been some instances where I've wanted to take 4 or 5 shots back to back and never could.

  16. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    very responsive and easy to use controls.
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    ^^So are Sonys. :)

    I'd honestly just get whichever was cheapest, looked the coolest, etc. In terms of image quality, they're going to be in the same ballpark.
  18. allisonv7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004
    I went ahead and got the Canon because they had a deal with a free case and also a 1gb SD card. With tax and everything it ended up being $250 - I couldn't pass that up!

    Thanks for all the help - I haven't had a chance to mess with it much yet, but I'm definitely excited about the purchase! :cool:

  19. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    Sorry Allison I know I'm a bit late....... but

    Leica make small, cool digital cameras although they are more expensive than your budget
    The Leica D-Lux 2 (8.6 Mp) and the new D-LUX 3 (10 Mp) cameras have super optics, allow you to shoot 16:9 format and take RAW as well as JPEG and TIFF. images.

    Enjoy your new Canon. :)

  20. holamiamigos macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    go for the canon. trust me i experienced both

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