Point and Shoot Digital Recommendations

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mashinhead, Dec 27, 2007.

  1. mashinhead macrumors 68030

    Oct 7, 2003
    I'm looking for some recommendations on a p&s digital camera. But I'm really looking for something with a very fast shutter and processing speed. I had a panasonic before, but the shutter took so long that the images always came out blurry. THis is really a carry around camera, to take qucik snaps so i would like to keep it relatively cheap. around 300
  2. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    Using a full auto point "n" shoot camera, slow shutter speeds are the result of dim lighting conditions and or low ISO setting.

    If the camera has shutter priority and you are shooting in normal bright light, set a higher shutter speed or if the camera has different modes, use "Sports mode"
  3. ::Lisa:: macrumors 6502a


    Oct 28, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    I agree *nod*

    Or, if you know how and your camera has manual settings you can open the aperture up. It's the F number and the lower the F number (usually f/2.8 on P&S's) the wider the aperture. The wider the shallow the Depth of Field (DoF) which will result in background blur (bokeh).

    If that's not enough, then you can turn up your ISO, but be aware the higher the ISO the more grain you get in your image. Some may like that look though. I would say that don't go below 1/60 on your shutter speed if your handholding. Anything less than you may get blur from camera shake. You might be able to hand hold less if you have steady hands though.

    Good luck.
  4. theenigmat macrumors member

    May 10, 2006
    Unfortunately, the world of P & S will always be plagued by inefficiency in low-light situations. That is inevitable no matter which P & S you get.

    Sure, some claim to be better than others but at the end of the day, the difference is in the algorithms that the camera is using to determine shutter speeds, apertures, whether or not the flash fires, etc.

    Keep in mind that the entire P & S is $300 (that includes the lens, sensor, "body", and such). Contrast that with the cost for a medium range low-light lens, a 50mm f/1.4 which runs at approx. $350 and it becomes clear very quickly that low light shooting isn't meant for P & S.

    All that being said, I would recommend that you grab a Canon Powershot A620. It is about 2 years old but honestly the technology hasn't changed significantly and it was already ahead of its time. The camera has full manual controls with a relatively fast lens for a P & S. A detailed review is at DPReview.com.

    I'm guessing that you could pick one up for around $200 NEW since they have been on the market for so long.

    (Just my two cents)
  5. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    The tyrany of a small sensor, yup.

    If we take a step back into the fundimentals, we should recognize what "blur" is: it is a shutter speed that was slow enough to display the camera's movement on the final image.

    With this in mind, we realize what we can do, some of which are within the "Auto" mode limitations and some that are not:

    Option 1: get rid of the camera shake.

    Does this mean finding a camera with Image Stabilization (IS) electronics? Not necessarily! This is also is as simple as "Silly, don't shake the camera!", which can mean to use a tripod ... or an improvised tripod ... to prevent the camera from moving as much.

    For example, no tripods were used in the following shots with a P&S:

    These photos were taken with my P&S held (pushed) against some common object found along a city street, such as a lamp post, wall, railing, mailbox, etc. Don't even worry if the picture is slightly crooked, because that's a very easy fix in post-processing.

    Option 2: use the camera's built-in flash.

    Obviously, this is more appropriate for close shots, where it will functionally freeze the foreground. But what's less obvious is that for longer distances, the flash is probably only going to mess things up and on "Auto" it will affect what settings that the camera *thinks* it wants, so you'll want to override it to turn it off sometimes too.

    Option 3: muck around with other camera controls.

    3A: f/stop.
    However, most Auto settings will have already done this

    3B: higher ISO setting.
    Trade-off here is higher ISO = more gain = more noise in the image.

    This is getting a bit more advanced, but you do need to plan ahead by choosing a P&S that offers a manual mode so that you have this option.

    FWIW, I find using a P&S's manual mode to be quite useful. What's also nice about this is that it doesn't mess around with the AUTO settings, so I can throw the camera into Auto for a flash snapshot of someone I'm with, then spin the dial to "M" and prop it against a street light for a night landscape shot.

    Option 4: choosing your equipment wisely.

    The general rule of thumb is that a digital camera will have less noise at higher ISO's if its sensor's pixels are larger (which helps you use those higher ISO settings). I've found it to be generally difficult to find out what size CCD a particular camera has, and then even if you do find it, its description will be something like (1/1.8") which is confusingly counterintuitive. However, a decent (but not foolproof) measuring stick is simply the number of advertised megapixels - - in this case, for better low light and night shooting with a P&S, lower is better. For example, the P&S used in the above is an old Canon Powershot A80, which is only 4 megapixels.

    Option 5: Stabilized postures & marksmanship techniques.

    Shooting a photo is a lot like shooting a gun in that your "aim" is steadier if you know what you're doing. You can choose to use a more supported position to reduce shake. For example, holding the camera close to you with two hands, instead of on one hand far away. Similarly, using the optical viewfinder (forehead becomes a third support point), and increasing your body's stability by lean yourself up against a wall. Similarly, learn the relaxation and breathing techniques used in marksmanship training to reduce your heatbeat and lung heaving...and then slowly squuuueeeezzze instead of jabbing at the shutter.

    Option 6: Try, Delete, Try.

    Since its digital, if the picture doesn't immediately look decent, delete, change a setting and try again. If you get a blurry shot, try taking a few more to see if you get a good one. Its not cheating :D

  6. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    Recommended P&S

    I would recommend the Canon ELPH line for really portable point and shoot. Great pics in bright light, and very fast picture processing (faster than Sony, Pana, HP, Kodak in my tests)

    All the other replies about low light in point in shoot are spot on, and the Canon is particularly grainy in high ISO. I force a lower ISO, and do post-processing to brighten them. It works for family and casual, though it would not be acceptable for pro or even hobbyist work. Some Canon models have manual or long shutter mode, if you can steady the camera, you can push to low ISO, and keep the shutter open.

    Canon pros: easy menus, great shots in full light (though some lens vignetting, which is in most P&S cams), very quick to turn on and quick to first (and subsequent) shot.

    Cons: grainy and noisy in high ISOs, some vignetting in the corners.

    I also use the ELPHs because I like their movie modes, but I'll leave that off this thread
  7. mgguy macrumors 6502


    Dec 26, 2006
    I choose the Canon A570 IS. I got it for $160 at Amazon with free 1G card. It is an outstanding p&s, with image stabilization, view finder, manual controls option allowing setting of ISO and other functions, and it very compact but also ergonomically balanced. It has fast pic to pic shooting and records great video. I am extremely pleased with this camera. A very detailed review with picture samples is available at digitalcamerreview.com.
  8. Macrovertigo macrumors member


    Jan 25, 2008
    A570 IS fresh out of the box here ...

    Hi, have any of you with "Canon Powershot A570 IS" experience any advice in getting my G4 to recognize it? I have OS X version 10.4.11, 733 MHz PPC G4 with 1.5 GB SDRAM.
    My Image Capture app doesn't recognize the camera either. thanks!
  9. telf22 macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2007
    the canon sd870 is extremely nice. 8 megapixels, very wide angle lens, 3 inch screen, titanium, etc. $300. it has IS and is very fast, i live in nyc so i want to take lots of quick shots when im walking, i rarely get a blurry pic even when im walking quite fast :) i have one and it takes fantastic photos, well up there with advanced compacts such as g9.
  10. JDR macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    When I first read your post, I was going to recommend the camera I have now, the Canon Powershot G9 (mentioned in the post above mine) until I read that you want to keep in under $300 (USD I assume). The G9 is $500, and I'm absolutely in love with it. Among other things, it has image stabilization and shutter speeds as quick as 1/2500.

    I'm personally a Canon guy, so I'm going to recommend the
    PowerShot A650 IS. It's a bit above the $300 mark (approx. $350 last time I checked), but it has many the same specs as my G9.

    Some of the A650 IS's specs are:

    12.1 Megapixels
    6x optical zoom/ 4x digital
    Image Stabilization
    DIGIC III processor (it's fast)
    2.5'' rotating screen (I had one on my old Canon (A620) and it's very useful)
    Shutter speed up to 1/2000
    ISO up to 1600

    Hope this helped, and do tell us what you get and how you like it!

  11. Morod macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2008
    On The Nickel, over there....
    Thanks for the review! I haven't made it to the local camera shop yet, but this is (now) the camera I am looking at closely. Glad to hear you like it. I'm just an amateur photogragrapher who up till now has always used a film camera, and always a point & shoot. Vacation shots, family reunions, that sort of thing. This camera looks like it'll do the job, and then some.
  12. marclapierre13 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2005
    SD870IS or SD800IS if you want one for a bit cheaper.
    awesome &S cams
  13. John T macrumors 68020

    John T

    Mar 18, 2006
    Until recently, I have been hankering for a simple P&S to pop into my pocket whilst out and about, thus avoiding having to lug my Canon 30D. I didn't want manual controls - just literally point and shoot - with resulting pictures which, subject to obvious limitations, would stand up to those taken with the DSLR.

    After much "web searching", talking to friends and irritating shop assistants (!) I settled on the Panasonic DMC-TZ3. I was (and still am) impressed with the overall quality and in particular, the Leica lens with its nice wide range of 28-260mm. Initially, I was a bit concerned about the lack of a "proper" view finder but soon got used to using the 3in. screen. I realise the OP had experienced slow recycle speeds with Panasonic cameras but I personally have found this particular model to be no slouch!

    So far in the limited time I've had it I'm more than pleased with the results.

    Hope this helps!
  14. telf22 macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2007
    :). also, check this samples out if you want: http://www.dpreview.com/gallery/canonsd870is_samples/
  15. Morod macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2008
    On The Nickel, over there....
    Very nice pictures. I see this camera comes with software for manipulating the pictures once you get them in your computer. Is the included software enough for basic use? I guess you plug the camera into an unused USB port and download the shots, put them i iPhoto, then do whatever with them. I don't know how else to ask this, but does this camera/software "play well" with Leopard/iMacs?
    Thanks for any additional info on the SD870 IS. BTW, any idea what the IS stands for?
  16. JDR macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    It's either Image Stabilizer or Image Stabilization (wording doesn't make a difference).
  17. mantic macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2007
    Most of the canon PS models are nice.. I recently bought a Nikon s51 and it's a great camera to just throw in a bag or purse (I bought it for my fiance). It has and internal zoom. The canon she had kept turning on in her purse and the external lenses kept breaking.
  18. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I am a photographer and a motorcyclist.

    I rely heavily on DSLR's and used to carry one with me on my bike.

    However I had a lens damaged and I suspect from bike vibrations.

    I now carry what I consider to be the ultimate point and shoot from a survivability standpoint.

    This camera is ...


    Olympus 770SW

    Check it out here-> http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1287
  19. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I heard the Olympus referenced in this thread is pretty nice. I've had a Canon SD300 and 800IS. I used the Canon software for PC, and it was pretty nice. It's not needed for a Mac. If you go into preferences in iPhoto, you can choose to have iPhoto lunch when you plug in the camera, or you can have ImageCapture (I think that's the name) which is the Apple built-in camera downloader. The iPhoto launcher is nice, because it lets you drag pictures to the folders you want, right there in iPhoto, but the other is better if you don't always want to use iPhoto.

    I remember trying out the Canon software on my Mac, but I simply decided I didn't need it, and have been using iPhoto ever since.

    A couple other things I liked about the Canon: I found the menus to be very clear and easy to use compared to others (especially Sony!). Also, the movie mode was pretty good (this was about a year ago. I still think it's good, but not cleary superior, as it was in the past). The Canons also are the fastest to turn and and fastest to shoot.

    BUT as some have noted -- the lens have a reputation to be touchy, so treat them nice when extended -- don't bang them or grab them. Retract the lens (by shutting it off) if you are putting the camera away.
  20. telf22 macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2007
    Hello again, I have an imac/leopard and did try out the provided software for a little while. Not because it wasnt good, but i got aperture so i didnt really need it. However, it does have some nice little extras that i do use once in a while. You could use the software as your editor. Simply, I find it to be a little more advanced than iphoto but not as clean/organized. Yes, IS stands for image stabilization. btw, the 3-inch screen is very very nice.
  21. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Although it costs over $300, G9 is probably the best P&S camera out there. Unfortunately, it is priced at the same level as Nikon D40, which is a superior camera in most respect (although with image stabilized lens such as 18-200mm VR, it will definitely cost more).
  22. Morod macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2008
    On The Nickel, over there....
    Yes, that is a big selling point, as is the 28 mm lens. I think this feature would be used a lot more than any increase in the telephoto lens length/size. Another question that I can probably find the answer to someplace else is, does the battery recharge while the camera is hooked up to the computer? Is there a separate dock like the Casio has? I would buy a second battery with the camera just so a fully charged one is always available. Thanks!
  23. JDR macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    Apples and Oranges. G9 is a Point and Shoot, D40 is a dSLR.

    (Don't get me wrong, both are excellent cameras).
  24. telf22 macrumors regular

    Sep 2, 2007
    yeh, the wide lens is really good and i havent experienced any blurriness/noise around the edges. it an recharge in the computer. it comes with a acadaptor charger thing. i bought the accesory kit for mine which has another battery, leather case, and starps. :)
  25. mashinhead thread starter macrumors 68030

    Oct 7, 2003
    Well i haven't bought anything yet. I know my original post was about a compact as a compliment to my slr. But the Casio Exilim EX-F1 caught my eye. What do you guys think about that?

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