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Old 12-06-2005, 05:23 PM   #1
Jim
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Camera Recommendations?


I'm buying my wife an ultra compact digital camera for Christmas and am hoping for some insights...

The two models that I'm looking at are the Sony DSC-W5 and Canon PowerShot SD400. Does anyone own one of these cameras and have opinions one way or another?

I'm more interested in small size and image quality than I am price. Any recommendations are appreciated.

Jim
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Old 12-06-2005, 05:53 PM   #2
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Haven't played around with the Sony DSC-W5 before, but my brother has the Canon Powershot SD450, which is basically the same camera, but with the larger LCD on the back (SD 450 has a 2.5" LCD, SD 400 has the 2"; otherwise the other specs line up the same).

Takes decent pics and packs a powerful flash in the unit.

As for the Sony DSC-W5, haven't used it yet, but looking at the stats, here are the key differences (comparing 3 cameras below: Sony DSC-W5, Canon SD400 and SD450):

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...dscw5&show=all

1) smaller sensor size (1.8" CCD versus the Canon's 2.5" CCD - larger is better)
2) has manual focus...the Canon's don't (doubt your wife will be shooting with manual focus, but who knows ).
3) 6 cm macro focus range versus Canon's 3 cm
4) slower shutter speed (higher min. shutter and lower max)
5) flash guide (stronger than both Canons)
6) external flash not available (SD400 has none either, but there is one for the SD450)
7) lens thread (allows you to add filters and other lens accessories on; neither Canons have it)
8) uses memory sticks...
9) no super fine mode available
10) 2.5" LCD (bigger than SD400, but same size as SD450)
11) uses rechargeable NiMH AA batteries included (Canons uses Li-Ions)
12) weight and size (38% heavier than the Canons and also about the same % thicker)

Looking at those specs, I'd go with the SD450 myself. The main drawback to the W5 is the fact that it uses a smaller sensor and the fact that it uses memory sticks. The memory is pretty proprietory and is pretty much used exclusively for Sony products. The Canons use SD cards which is more compatible with storage on other medias (prefer CF cards myself, but that's a different story). The other things which also stood out is the fact that the Sony uses rechargeable NiMH AA batteries whereas the Canons uses lithium ions. I prefer the lithium ions over the AA, but it's cheaper to go with AA and you'll probably encounter them more often on your travels versus the Li-Ions, but as long as you don't forget the battery and the charger, I don't see the big deal with this. Lastly, weight and size. Both Canons are smaller and lighter than the Sony.

Hope that the above doesn't confuse you.
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:09 PM   #3
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i'm also in the market for a good digital camera for family photos, tank pics, etc. I'm looking at the Nikon Coolpix 4800 right now. I like the sound of the 8.3x optical zoom, and its 4MP, so not shabby there either. however, the lower price compared to many other nikons makes me a bit nervous about the quality of the photos / optics in comparison to other nikons. I've found it for $298.99 at beachcamera.com with a 1gb sd card, which sounds pretty darn good to me, but I wanted to get some feedback from those with more knowledge in the area of digital cameras before I bought anything.

Thanks,
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:20 PM   #4
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Eric - thanks for all the info. After reading a few more reviews, the Canon is looking pretty good. I like the overall size, SD card format and definitely would prefer the larger sensor.

I know it's impractical, but I really wish these small cameras supported CFII/Microdrive (I work for a hard drive company )

Jim
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:43 PM   #5
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I've used the new canon sd500. Got it from costco. like all canon powershots they work very well in all aspects. I haven't read the manuel yet, but so far I'm pleased with what i can do with basic functions.

Best of luck!

the KIDD
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:49 PM   #6
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Oqsy, have a price range that you're looking at (especially upper range?). Also, I don't see the $298.99 deal with the 1 GB card. The closest one to that is just one of their package deal with the 512 card.

Jim, I know what you're talking about. I'm not much for microdrives (too many chance of having it go), but would love to be able to use CF II cards in these tiny little cameras. I don't like the fact that I have to go out and buy SD/memory sticks for these other cameras instead of using my existing ones. BTW, your company doesn't make any CF II cards that are capable of writing/reading at the same speeds as SanDisk Extreme III cards do you (20MB/sec minimum read/write speed claimed by them)?
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:30 PM   #7
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nope, we just do microdrives (I believe the write speeds are 7.5MB/sec). I use them in my Canon 10D and think they are great...love the capacity!
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:36 PM   #8
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well, the deal i was quoting is just the camera plus the 1 GB card at $69.99... two separate items in the cart. sorry for not explaining better... as for price range, we're looking at $400 tops with included memory cards, cables, dock if applicable, etc...

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Old 12-07-2005, 02:45 PM   #9
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I have the SD300 and SD500.

I wanted to buy the sd500 but I could not find a deal on it so I went with the sd300. My friend who did buy the sd500 just upgraded to the sd550 so I bought his old sd500.

I really like my SD300 , its quite a bit smaller than the SD500 and much lighter as well. They are both excellent cameras, if weight / size is an issue the new sd550 with the larger screen is much lighter than the sd500.

I also find that the smaller LCD display is less pixilated in the SD300/500 than the new larger 550.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:27 PM   #10
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do you notice any difference between the image quality of the SD300 and the SD500? I don't typically print larger than 5x7 anyway, so it probably won't be an issue. Just curious. Thanks,

Jim
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Old 12-07-2005, 05:02 PM   #11
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The SD300 is a 4 MP camera, whereas the SD500/550 are both 7 MP cameras. To be really able to tell the difference it would take something that had 4x the resolution in these things. That aside, you will be able to tell the difference on a 5x7.

Also, on the LCD of the SD550, it's more pixelated due to the fact that they basically kept the same amount of pixels as the previous models, but threw that on a 2.5" LCD instead of a 2".
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Old 12-07-2005, 05:56 PM   #12
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why not go for the sd450 i believe it is smaller than the sd550 but is 5mp compared to 7mp, you can find the sd450 for about 300 plus tax. I bought one for myself for about 300, about a month ago.
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Old 12-07-2005, 06:12 PM   #13
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Yep, that's what I'm going to do. The 450 seems to be the best compromise. Thanks again,

Jim
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Old 12-07-2005, 06:53 PM   #14
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Default I vote pentax

I've got a pentax 43 WR that I dearly love. I also have a Sony DS707 (big camera) and I"ve gone through a number of others. But I've stuck on the Pentax. The images it takes are terrific. I have been looking at the new Pentax waterproof camera... it can take photos underwater up to 5 feet. Perfect for macro photography in my fish tank... and can still do duty as a regular digital camera. I haven't used my great big kick butt Sony since I started using the Pentax... so the Sony is going to be a Christmas present to somebody this year.

I originaly bought the Pentax 43WR becuase one of my hobbies is whitewater kayaking. The pentax WR and WP series cameras are very small, fit in a pocket. I"m thrilled with the image quality, and easy to use features. The autoprogram mode P is excellent. But I've also used the macro and time lapse (fireworks) modes too. The panoramic features is easy. The menus are the most intuitive I've ever seen in a digital camera. 90% of the time I use use the P mode... BUT the other stuff is there in case I want to play with it.

Before you buy, please check out the pentax models...

note: the pentax 43WR will also run on regular AA batteries if you run out of juice with the DC3 battery and are traveling and can't find the high capacity batter. So you'll never be with your camera due to battery loss. The WP, I think has to be charged... not sure... but I"m checking it out myself this weekend. (I like the idea of using it underwater, without having to buy a housing and it's soo small).

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Old 12-08-2005, 06:48 PM   #15
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I have the SD300, wonderful camera, small, compact, everything else thats been said. Nice direct to TV feature for showing pictures to family when there is no computer around and the video that it can take is great. If there is one drawback its all the little manual settings that i just cannot take the time to read through the 300page book to figure out and the onscreen menus for such are a bit lacking in description, luckily enough the auto mode is just fine. Best part is its size, compact, lightweight with just enough heft to know its a fine piece of equipment.
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