Superlative 'party camera'

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
I'm looking for a super-high-quality point & shooter.

I got myself a Sony 'prosumer' camera a while back, liked it but found I never used the advanced features. I also bought a Panasonic more recently and found that it was waaaay too big for everyday use.

So now I'm looking for:
- Something small, the smaller the better while doing all of the stuff I've written here
- Takes superb pictures able to be blown up fairly large
- Allows taking of pictures in low light either with or without flash (so either IR framing or auto-gain-up display)
- At least 3x optical zoom
- Is largely idiot / drunk-operator proof
- Anti-shake in both movie and still modes
- Able to shoot movies @ 640 x 480 / 30fps up to memory capacity
- Fast startup time
- Does multiple shot burst mode
- Close macro would be nice like for when I'm taking pics for eBay, etc.
- Prefer to pay for quality than go for just value.

What would you suggest?
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,414
124
Location Location Location
I think you're asking for a lot. If you want an idiot-party proof camera, Olympus makes some waterproof (up to 15-16 feet now)/shockproof cameras. There are also some water-resistent (basically waterproof, but not really) and shockproof cameras for cheaper. Pentax does as well. :)

However, your desire for a camera with IS means these cameras aren't for you, although they're very idiotproof.

Sony, Casio, and even Fuji makes some very thin cameras, and have a nice look. However, they're not as idiot proof as the Olympus and Pentax ones, so if you spill beer on it, they might not make it.

All the point and shoots are going to be worse than the two bigger cameras you have now under low light conditions, although the small ones will still be usable.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
Idiot proof meaning still operable by the sozzled. I don't need waterproofing, shockproofing, etc as long as it's well built and reasonably robust.
 

firestarter

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2002
5,496
108
Green and pleasant land
One of the Fuji F10 / F11 / F30 range.

These are small simple 6mpix point and shoot cameras, with absolutely superb CCD chips that take great pictures in very low light (up to ISO 1600). This chip makes these three cameras better than most of the others on the market.

They don't have anti-shake, but to a great extent you don't need it as the sensitive chip means you can use a highish shutter speed in quite low light.

I have the F10 - it's great.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
The thing I missed most on the Sony was anti-shake. The Pana has it and the difference is major. I guess I'll have to check it out, but I'm not really looking for a new camera which doesn't have it. Or is that misguided?
 

wingsky

macrumors member
Jan 17, 2006
95
0
UK
Anti-shake/Image Stabilization is only good when you're taking photos of still objects, at long zoom. Really for low light shots and moving people (like at a party), IS isn't so good. I very recently got the Fuji F30 because it was recommended for its low light performance. So far I'm impressed!
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,368
119
Los Angeles
My gf has a Canon Digital Elph and I think it's a great "on the go" camera. It takes good pictures for its class, but more importantly it is light and small so it's very easy to slip into a pocket and take w/you.


Lethal
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Would also recommend the Fuji option.

I have the older F10 and its lowlight shots have been pretty good although it's better to shoot manual since it uses its higher ISOs aggressively. The F30 looks to be just as good at the lowlight while allowing better control.
 

dcv

macrumors G3
May 24, 2005
8,021
1
I bought the F30 just yesterday and I consider myself an idiot with cameras :)

This model is 6.3 MegaPixels, 3 x optical zoom and up to ISO 3200. Very easy to use for total n00bs like me, quick startup, fast to save/delete pics etc and takes video too.

I bought mine from this shop on the Tottenham Court Road as a bundle offer with 2 x 256MB xD-Picture Cards and a leather case for £260 (their web price is £279.99). I believe the RRP for the camera alone is around £280. I bought mine in a bit of a hurry so hope that wasn't a bad deal... if I'd had more time I might have found it cheaper elsewhere but I'm not really bothered.

This camera is a tiny bit bigger than some of the other compact cameras out there. I tried some of the Canon Ixus and Sony Cybershot models but found them fiddly and difficult to hold in comparison. This one's really comfortable to use but I guess that's just personal preference. Haven't spent a great deal of time with it yet but am very pleased with the purchase so far!
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
The review I read wasn't quite clear about the F30's display. Does it gain up in low light? The Sony's IR illuminator was a great feature. I could frame in the dark even when clutching a drink.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Sesshi said:
The review I read wasn't quite clear about the F30's display. Does it gain up in low light? The Sony's IR illuminator was a great feature. I could frame in the dark even when clutching a drink.
The F10 does. And you can click the up arrow on the controller at the back (reachable with thumb) to increase it more if you need to.
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
483
2
Sesshi said:
The review I read wasn't quite clear about the F30's display. Does it gain up in low light? The Sony's IR illuminator was a great feature. I could frame in the dark even when clutching a drink.
What do you mean "gain up"?
 

iMacZealot

macrumors 68020
Mar 11, 2005
2,238
3
I'd recommend the Canon SD30 --- although it's a camera only seen in Hollywood party gift bags. If you can find one --- especially in a color -- grab it! It's a great camera!

If you can't find the Hollywood SD30, then get another Canon. I like their quality and pretty easy to operate.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
beavo451 said:
What do you mean "gain up"?
A typical definition of gain is amplification. In terms of it's use here it's the automatic increase in image contrast which allows the photographer to see what s/he's framing in low lighting conditions. Many cameras implement it these days instead of the old Sony way of using an infrared illuminator and an infrared filter to frame shots.
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
483
2
Sesshi said:
A typical definition of gain is amplification. In terms of it's use here it's the automatic increase in image contrast which allows the photographer to see what s/he's framing in low lighting conditions. Many cameras implement it these days instead of the old Sony way of using an infrared illuminator and an infrared filter to frame shots.
I still don't understand what you are trying to say. Most current cameras use an "infrared illuminator" (appeares red or amber) to provide enough contrast in the scene for the autofocus to lock on. This shuts off before the shutter fires. The image on screen is amplified (brightened) so that the user can frame the shot. This amplification introduces noise into the picture and is also defined as ISO in a captured image. The infrared illuminator is not used to frame a photo. Digital cameras have a built in infrared filter over the sensor to block out any IR light that might have an adverse effect on the photo.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Original poster
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
YOU need to be able to see what you're pointing at. Sony's Nightframing is the easiest way to describe it: It uses an infrared illuminator and filter to show you the IR version of the field of view. When you press the shutter, the flash fires and it takes a 'normal' image. So cameras these days gain up the displayed image to allow you to frame an image in low light instead of using IR filters.
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
483
2
Sesshi said:
No, YOU need to be able to see what you're pointing at. Sony's Nightframing is the easiest way to describe it: It uses an infrared illuminator and filter to show you the IR version of the field of view. When you press the shutter, the flash fires and it takes a 'normal' image.
That is a better description of what you want. I don't know of any current camera that does this.
 

freebooter

macrumors 65816
Feb 24, 2005
1,253
0
Daegu, South Korea


The Fuji F30 is the only point and shoot camera that can do an iso 1600 shot like this.
No noise reduction applied.

EXIF
Camera make: FUJIFILM
Camera model: FinePix F30
Date/Time: 2006:01:01 05:20:55
Resolution: 940 x 705
Flash used: No
Focal length: 18.1mm
CCD width: 2.54mm
Exposure time: 0.014 s (1/70)
Aperture: f/4.3
ISO equiv.: 1600
Whitebalance: Auto
Metering Mode: spot
Exposure: program (auto)