Ultracompact Camera w/ Best Image Quality?

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000
Original poster
(This is buried in the 100 topics about "Apple Store Down!" and "New iBooks/minis!" -_-)

I know that the small digital cameras have their shortcomings when it comes to picture quality, but I'm looking for a digital camera that I can put in my pocket, and have sharp vivid pictures without too much work in PS. I can fix my pictures in PS if need be.

I'm open to any suggestions ... the largest I will be printing my pictures will be 8x10 ... I want to get some framed pictures hanging around my room.

I've been looking at many cameras ... the Minolta Dimage X1 looks the most promising but it's also the most expensive ($520) and hasn't been released yet (September). I like the Anti-Shake feature, as I think it would be important in a small camera, hence the other camera I was looking at was the Panasonic Lumix FX-7/8/9. The 7 would be cheaper, but it has battery life issues and some image issues I believe, which have been fixed in the 8 and 9.

As for the Canon Powershot Elphs, I've always heard good things about them, so I've been looking at those as well, and I hear that Casio Exilim series have been improving over the years so I've been looking at them as well.

Now, I've been looking at digital cameras for a while, and I know that MP isn't everything, and that 3-4 MP will do just fine for printing 8x10 pictures ... however would the larger 1/1.8" 7 MP CCD have less noise than the 1/2.5" 6 MP CCDs, so essentially giving me a higher dpi print for 8x10 prints?
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
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Citizens Bank Park
This is a great site for camera reviews:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/


About 8 months ago I got the Canon Powershot S500. I love it. Its doesn't have be best zoom (3x), but because it's 5MP, you can do some zooming in Photoshop. It's also very small. I also purchased the Canon Case and it fits perfectly in my pocket. The picture quality is unbelievable. I have friends with Minoltas, Nikons, Canons, Samsungs, Sonys, and Kodak. I feel overall, the Canons are far superior to them all.
 

Chef Medeski

macrumors 6502a
Jun 14, 2005
983
0
New York, NY
I looked around for the same exact thing did as you did. A compact camera that packs a punch. Well, excpet I looked for at least 5 MPs. Let me help you out, the Panasonic Lumix looks like a great camer and has a great lens, however it is pretty much crap besides that. I've also heard of many defects. It looks all too good on paper and lets down on the road, which is why so few are bought. The Minolta is a good choice if you can wait and on top of that bare the agony, when Christmas comes around and its $300. I mean it feels bad to lose $200 in 3 months. Now my suggestion is go with Canon. They have superior quality all around. Have been in the buisness hte longest allowing for better controls than anyone around, except maybe Nikon. On top of that they are known for their compact bodies. This is what I did, I picked up a S70, with 7 MPs for $400. I know it was a steal. The only problem I have with it is that it fill a memory card faster than you can say cheese. Yes, 7 picture on the memory card that ocmes with it. Only about 300 pics on a 1 gig card.

But other than it being just a tinsy bit shy at night due to its small lense, its great. All manual function. Great layout. Beautiful black case that protects the lense. Good enough LCD (can't ocmplain). And the best part is its swift 7 MP CCD. This thing is fast. Its faster than my 5 year old 2 MP camera. By the way, I've never seen a quiter camera. In mute you could be a stalker and go unnoticed. Now I realise you don't necessarily want 7 MPs, so you can go a step down to the S60. Its the same exact camera excpet it only has 5 MPs. And cost about $50 less, from what I saw when I got mine. But, I'm sure theres a bigger gap now. Ohh by the way the wide zoom lens is great to get all the family into the picture when your back is against the wall. And then turn around and take a picture of the lake that your family would have sworn came out of a National Geographic.

Did I mention I keep it in my pocket whever I go with my wallet? ;)


PS:
Steve's digicam reviews is a great website for learning about image quality. Also the S500 is a great camera, I highly recommend, but I would take a look at the higher S series before buying that camera.
 

blueandyellow

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2005
5
0
i almost went with the canon sd500, but i read reviews that the new larger 2" lcd's on the canons break easily. something to be aware of. good luck with your decision.
 

Chef Medeski

macrumors 6502a
Jun 14, 2005
983
0
New York, NY
Over Achiever said:
How would you compare the following 7 MP cameras then ... S70 vs. SD500 (street $435) vs. Casio Exilim EX-750 (street $375)
I'm abit confused what you are saying. Could you restate that differently?
 

grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,943
3
Citizens Bank Park
I don't know much about Casios, so I'll stick to the other two:

The S70 will be a better image. But... (1) at 8x10 your not going to notice too much of a difference unless you blow up the image in photoshop. (2) Printers are usually the week link when printing an image. Your final print will probably be the same quality unless you have a very high-end printer.

Check out that website above. They have a bunch of unedited images in each review. You'll get to see the differences yourself.
 

Chef Medeski

macrumors 6502a
Jun 14, 2005
983
0
New York, NY
The S70 has a much better lens. Thats what really speerates it from the SD500. You can also get it for about the same price too, so not much difference there. I honestly don't think the size is a problem. I find my highly portable. I don't know the size of the SD500, but it can't be much smaller.
 

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000
Original poster
I suppose that was the other thing I was wondering, whether the image quality differences would be noticeable when printing at 8x10 since it's 7 MP.

But the thing the S70 has over the SD500 is manual controls ... I don't think the SD500 would have a lot of manual controls. Which is why I brought up the Casio, it seems to have a lot of manual controls, even manual focus, for the same size.

I think the SD500 is the size of a deck of cards (or smaller) if you're wondering how big it is.
 

iDM

macrumors 6502a
Oh any one more thing. I just don't trust Panasonic, Casio, Sony or any other of those electronic companies when it comes to photos, I've used them all(with the Casio coming out on top). I understand that digital cameras are electronic but i just never would turn my back on a true imaging company like Canon, Nikon and etc.
 

Angelus

macrumors 6502
Apr 19, 2002
371
0
New Zealand
I was looking for a compact digicam myself so last week i bought the Canon Ixus 50 (SD400 i think). I can't recommend it enough. It's really fast to start up and is well made with an all metal construction. It really is tiny, now i just chuck it in my pocket and take it everywhere with me.
I was toying with other cameras such as the Fuji F10 and Nikon S1 but what sold the Ixus to me was its optical viewfinder. This way i don't have to rely solely on an lcd and also use of the optical viewfinder instead of lcd will increase my battery life.
 

tsk

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2004
642
0
Wisconsin
In my research, I found that the Fuji F10 was supposed to have the best image quality. It's also cheaper than the SD500.
 

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Another question ...

How much will hand-shake be an issue with these cameras ... I own a traditional film camera and I find that I tend to blur my pictures when I press the shutter button.

What would I have to do to reduce that blurriness? I find I'm striving for sharp photos with a camera.
 

evolutioneight

macrumors member
Mar 22, 2005
30
0
On the same topic, without starting a new thread, could someone give me an idea on which ultra compact that has the best battery life. This is my #1 concern. Low light performance is #2. Quality and megapixels are not important at all. I used to have a Dimage X series camera that was great, but then the lens cover thingy broke and it became less useful so I sold it. But the battery life was very good for the tiny size of the camera. Does anyone have any experience with something like this?

ps Sorry to thread jack but I figured this info would be relevant and useful to the OP and didn't need its own thread.
 

Over Achiever

macrumors 68000
Original poster
No problem. I've been reading up on the F-10 so far and it seems to have both of what you're looking for ... best nighttime performance without a flash thanks to clean high ISO settings, and it also has one of the best batteries I've seen ... 500 shots per charge.

Only thing is it's not quite an ultracompact ... it's a little bigger, but still smaller than other compacts.