Need advice deciding on a good P&S..

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by cutsman, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. cutsman macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2006
    So I'm in the market for a new P&S camera. I will be using it for outdoor shots for the occasional trip/vacation, but probably mostly for indoor shots and concerts, which means very very poor lighting. I have an old Nikon (forget the model, but its the 3.2MP one with the weird spinning lens) and the one thing that has always bothered me about it was its inability to capture decent photos indoors or in poorly lit environments, resulting in extremely blurry and noisy photos. Size is a concern for me as i need somethign i can toss into my jacket pocket and not have it be uncomfortable or jabbing into my chest. I am looking to spend 350-450CAD (cheaper the better tho). Oh, and I'm also not a huge fan of post processing all my photos.. the occasional photo touch up/resize is fine, but i'm too lazy to do it to all my photos.

    I have been doing a fair bit of internet research and have been considering the following cameras. I could really use some of your advice/personal comparisons between these cameras and which you think will be suit my needs. I've included some of my thoughts about these cameras. Let me know what you guys think. THANKS! :D

    Fuji F30
    I understand the Fuji is the benchmark for photography in dimly lit environments, as far as P&S cameras go. This is a huge selling point for me because, as i mentioned above, i will probably be taking a lot of photos indoors and at concerts. My biggest concern with the F30 is image quality during the day. I've noticed from a lot of sample images that the daylight photos tend to look overexposed, have noticeable purple fringing, and lack the colour saturation of the canons, which look really nice to me. The camera itself also looks a little boring and the size is a tad bigger than the cameras below... altho this isnt nearly as huge a concern for me than image quality.

    Panasonic FX01
    I love the form factor, size, and the IS. My main concern here is the supposed noise problem. I'm also uncertain about this camera's ability to shoot in dark environments even with IS given Panasonics inherent noise problems.

    Canon SD630/SD700is
    I've always heard Canon makes amazing cameras. I like pretty much everything i've seen/read about them other than their night time shooting ability. Daytime pics really really nice and well saturated (some say oversaturated, but i like that). When comparing nighttime shooting with the F30 however, i fear if i went with the canon i might be disappointed with its image quality.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. THANKS all!! ;)
  2. Macanadian macrumors member

    Sep 11, 2006
    I've checked out and compared the three side by side at once.

    The Panasonic has image stabilization the iso/asa rating for this camera goes up to 1600, but 800/1600 has limitations. Dunna what that means.

    The Canon has a closer macro range of 3 cm (just over one inch) vs. the other two of 2 inches.

    One thing that Fuji has over the other two it has aperture and shutter priority.

    I haven't used any of these cameras. But based on the information what I've seen, I would go for the Fuji based on the aperture and shutter priority.
  3. Aperture macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2006
    If I were you, I would stick with Canon. They make amazing cameras. I'm very happy with mine. (not a P&S - a DSLR - I know people with Canon P&S & love them)

  4. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    Indoors the Fuji will work very nicely as you have researched, and the added higher ISO adds another useful feature: faster shutter speeds. That can be used to freeze action better.

    I've had the Panasonic and I love the build of the little guy, it ranks up there with the Canons in build quality and "cute" factor. The image stabilization was great, but when taking picture indoors, the pictures were blurry not because of camera motion, but because of subject motion.

    If you're worried about the daytime pictures of the F30, what most people do to avoid overexposure is to use exposure compensation at -0.3 or -0.7 when shooting outside. As for the saturation of the pictures, many like it less saturated as it's more "real" but if you want to color "pop" of the Canons (I prefer the saturation at times too), then have the in-camera setting at "Chrome" which makes the color pop.

    This webpage is very detailed in the tricks they use with the F30:

    There's a bunch of links in this thread:


    PS If you're looking at the F30, do know that the minor upgrade F31fd is going to start shipping at the end of this month. It's just the F30 with an additional button that "recognizes faces" and automatically sets exposure and focus to that face. Useful feature/gimmick in my opinion.
  5. cutsman thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2006
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    Over Achiever, thanks for the links... I had a quick glance through the posts, and it definitely seems like it would help a great deal if i decide to go with the F30 (which i'm leaning heavily towards).

    Having owned the Panansonic, I'd definitely like to get your opinion on the noise that supposedly plagues it. Is it really that bad? Are the Panasonic's low light photos comparable to the F30's, or is the difference really as great as many internet sources report? Was there a particular reason why you no longer have the Panasonic?

    And I did read about the F31fd, but like you said, the only additional feature is the face detection, which I think is something I can definitely live without.. especially since I'm sure the price of the F31fd will be much higher than the F30. If anything, I've been thinking about the F20. Same great sensor, lower res lcd which i've read is almost negligible (true?), max iso 2000 vs 3200, no aperture and shutter priority....and CHEAPER! :)
    The big thing comes down to the aperture and shutter speed priority...which I, being a relative newbie, have no idea how much of an advantage this can provide over using the camera's auto settings...
  6. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I can't speak from experience about anything other than an older 3.2 mp Olympus (a clamshell style) I borrowed from a friend (acceptable pictures, nothing unique about it,) and a Canon A95 I bought a couple of years ago. The Canon has made some really decent shots, and as you said, it has good color 'pop' and nice sharp images, generally. I liked the user-controlled aperture/shutter speed controls since I mostly shot aperture preferred to get max. shutter speed. I liked the AA batteries, the swing-out lcd screen, the fact that it had a viewfinder and the overall 'feel' in the hand. With a small case and neck/shoulder strap it was very easy to carry, and would fit fairly easily into a coat pocket. I liked the macro capability a lot more than I thought I would, and wound up using it for all kinds of fun macro shots. The Canons are really well-built little cameras, and to me that makes a big difference. I didn't like the limitation on ISO being 400 max - it made indoor available light shooting much more of a deliberate process, but it did work fairly well. But, not at high shutter speeds and required a steady hand and perhaps 2/3 stop underexposed (easily set on the camera.) The metering, and it probably applies to the Canon p/s's in general, tends to want to expose a darker, moodier setting as if it should also be bright, so dialing down the sensitivity would give a better image, and a bit more shutter speed. But, you still have the problem of quite a few 'blurry' ones if there is motion. All in all, I was able to get a lot of use out of it.

    Having said all that, the newer Canons are two generations further along (Digic III) and now have ISO settings up to 1600. On the wide side, most have lenses with a f2.8, so you're beginning to get into the area where things are usable, even without IS. You won't get any telephoto speed, but, hey, we're talking P/S here... I'd recommend any newer A series Canon, for their price points, manual capabilities, and the AA batteries (get two sets of rechargables, they're cheap.)

    On a final note: my A95 actually is a better indoor, natural light camera than my Nikon D50 with kit lens (18-55 f/3.5-5.6) because it does a better job of white balance indoors, and has a faster lens on the wide side, believe it or not. Now if it had only had ISO 1600 and digic III....

    cheers, and good luck. -phil
  7. clintob macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York, NY
    Point-and-shoot is, for the most part, a you get what you pay for purchase. With very few exceptions, the higher end cameras cost more because they have more features, sharper optics, or a sleeker case.

    That said, I think the optics are by far the most important feature (since it is, after all, a camera). In my experience, Canon and Sony have the best lens quality of the bunch. Pick one that you like the look of, ideally no less than 5MP or 6MP so you can print up to 8x10 without sacrificing quality.

    Beyond that, if you're not an expert, you wont notice the differences really anyway. The low-light issue is prevalent in all point-and-shoot cameras until you start dropping a lot of money. It's the nature of the beast... the higher quality sensors have less trouble with noise at low light, but they cost more.

    Also, if you leave near a GOOD camera shop (not Best Buy or any of those places... an actual camera shop), stop in and ask them to explain dynamic range and some of the more advanced barometers for image/camera quality. It will give you a better understanding of how each manufacturer differs.
  8. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    The noise is fine in the daytime pictures (altho' you can still see it at times shockingly!) altho' they were removed relatively well with Noise Ninja. Indoors can be a whole another story, but I did have the older FX-9, Panasonic has moved two generations ahead it seems. The thing about noise image reduction is that it generally smears out the details, so the pictures aren't as crisp as they originally was.

    The flowers are ISO 200, the Vietnamese new year picture is ISO 400. I've included the original picture resized 50% (to fit as an attachment) and the second picture is a 100% crop.


    Attached Files:

  9. cutsman thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 1, 2006
    Well thanks for the response guys. I took the plunge last night and got me an F30 with a 1gb card. For a relative newbie like myself, it's a little overwhelming with the manual controls n whatnot... I've got a lot to learn still since my previous cameras had been pure auto point n shoots.

    Anyways, it's definitely a nice little camera... very solid.. sleeker and smaller than I thought after having read a bunch of internet reviews. It's also a tad thicker than i'd personally like, but that's ok if it means being able to get some nice low light shots during concerts or venues that do not allow for flash photography. Overall I'm very happy with the purchase so far...eventho at this point, I dont think i'm even able to take advantage of 10% of this camera's potential.

    Anyone know of any good internet resources that can teach me more about photography.. composition, aperture/shutter settings, iso... etc...?

    Over Achiever, I noticed while doing a search here that you had bought a case for your FX-9 from How was your experience with them and how is the quality of their cases? Do the cases add a lot of bulk? Ive read reviews of Fuji's leather case for the F30 and heard they are thick and add too much bulk... I'm definitely looking for something very slim that i can comfortable stick in my pocket.
  10. YS2003 macrumors 68020


    Dec 24, 2004
    Finally I have arrived.....
    Last month, I was also in search of the good P&S digital camera (I already have SLR camera D30). The purpose of P&S for me was to take this camera with me in my bag at all times so that I can take pictures at the moment's notice. With my SLR, I have to "plan" ahead as it is "gear" with the camera unit and other lens.

    I also looked at Fuji the OP mentioned. But, I ended up going with Canon PowerShot SD 700IS instead. The reasons are:

    1. Canon is well recognized as a good lens maker. Fuji is a film maker (not a lens maker). Sony and Panasonic are the consumer electronic makers. I know this is gross generalization. But, Lens is the hart of the camera.
    2. Canon uses the normal SD card. Fuji uses a different card. I want to keep the storage format to SD or CF card.
    3. Alleged indoor superiority of Fuji was not a strong enough point for me to go with Fuji. After taking some shots with SD 700IS, the pictures are sharp and clear.
    4. Size. I think both Fuji and Canon are small and thin. I want my P&S camera to be very portable. If not, I would take my SLR camera instead.
  11. beavo451 macrumors 6502

    Jun 22, 2006
    You are going to discount Carl Zeiss and Leica lenses used on Sony and Panasonic cameras (respectively)?!?

    The funny thing that I have notced about P&S from the major manufacturers is that they excel in one area, but do poorly in another and usually result in roughly the same image quality.

    Canon S3 IS:
    Better sensor and processor
    Lesser lens
    Panasonic FZ7K:
    Better lens
    Noiser sensor

    Result? Similar overal image quality with one being sharper but noiseir and the other being softer and cleaner.
  12. doctor pangloss macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2004

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