Monday, July 16, 2007

Point and Shoot Cameras

The Missus and I have been in the market for a good quality point and shoot camera for quite some time. It's a market where there are so many choices it'll make your head spin and making a decision is next to impossible without just closing your eyes and playing pin the tail on the donkey. We finally made a decision and purchased the Canon Elph SD1000. In case anyone else is interested, here is the entire market of cameras narrowed down to the ones that I feel have good value for the money with the emphasis on being a convenient camera for a mom to carry around.

Canon Elph SD1000

At $210 this is an excellent camera, small light weight and fast with emphasis on small and lightweight. The image quality is good too, but like any point and shoot it takes it's best photos in good light. Due to the nature of the small sensor they just can't avoid the laws of physics. I looked at the other Elphs and similar Nikon cameras but none had better image quality. The only other feature I was looking for was image stabilization but that jumps another $100 or more and at that point I'd rather get the Panasonic LX2 I've listed below. Also a lot of people make purchase decisions based on pixel count so this Elph is often overlooked for other models. Remember it is the quality of the pixels that count, not the pixel count.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2

The LX2 is the same camera as the Leica D-LUX 3 but with a price tag of $405 instead of a $600. The extra money gets you slightly different image processing, a nice clean Leica metal body. Basically you pay a lot for the name.

The LX2 has really good image quality in good light conditions. I would probably have taken this camera instead of SLR on hikes because it is so small and light. Once it gets dark or you want to take photos indoors the Elph has a small edge due to the noise in Panasonic sensors. The key features on the LX2 are image stabilisation, 16x9 aspect ratio, Leica lens, RAW and wide angle. All features are very unique making this a very interesting camera.

Canon G7

The G7 appears to have it all, image stabilization, good telephoto, ability to use Canon flashes for good indoor photos and fairly small. We couldn't find any store that carried the G7 just to hold. Fortunately a friend has one and he really likes it, but at $500 and a lot larger than the Elph we decided that it didn't quite fit our needs. I call it the El Camino of cameras; Neither a car nor a truck but has the disadvantages of both. Seriously though, it was just a matter of value and performance and an SLR takes much better photos.

Ricoh Caplio GX100

Ricoh has recently been selling cameras in the US again and the $600 GX100 looks really interesting. I didn't get a chance to hold one in my hands but it looks like what a traditional range finder camera should look like. After all my research the advantages of this camera is better image quality than the Panasonic LX2 or G7, RAW, image stabilization, wide angle, and full manual controls that are nobs. Awesome camera, just has a high price tag for a mom to carry around. If I were looking for a light weight camera then it would be between this and the Panasonic LX2. The decision would be tough because the question is the extra $200 worth the difference.

Canon EOS 400D / Digital Rebel XTi

Then there is the Canon 400D/XTi at $663. The Rebel has a slight edge over the Nikon 40Dx because it has sensor cleaning. The viewfinder in the Nikon is hardly any different between the cameras and nearly every other feature is equivalent. For some people there may be some feature that matters but don't underestimate sensor cleaning. To buy a set of cleaning brushes it costs $100! The other reason for the Canon is I already have a lot of lenses that the Missus could use. If quality is a concern then in the digital market nothing beats any digital SLR. The sensors are much larger which allows them to capture more quality light.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've had a few of the cheap lower end non-slr cameras over the years, and I have never been satisfied with any of them.

I've yearned for features beyond that of a 20$ box camera with 100 iso film - Frankly, 3x digital zoom just doesn't have the marketing draw it used too.

I'm scoping out some SLR cameras with actually, REAL camera features for a future purchase myself. Let's face it, point and click is really more appropriate for mice than cameras anyways.

Dana said...

Canon Elph SD1000 - Did you get the Black one or the Silver one?

Chris B. said...

Dana,

I ordered the silver one because it was less money. I couldn't justify the extra $21 for the black. I ordered it from www.bhphoto.com. They have excellent customer service. In fact after I wrote this post I went to their website again and the camera went down $2, so I sent off an email to customer service and they credited me the difference.

Dana said...

Thanks Chris. I ordered a silver one for my wife.

Chris B. said...

Dana,

She should really like it!

bvanderw said...

We've had our SD1000 for a couple of weeks and have been very pleased with it!

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