November 12, 2005

What camera?

Here's a question for all you photographer-types. My camera broke earlier in the week (no, not from throwing it across a room), so now I'm looking for a new one. My insurance will hopefully cover me to around £200, and I'm willing to pay a bit more to get something good.

What I'm looking for (and I'm beginning to realise this may not be possible to find) is a digital compact with a decent amount of manual control – focus and shutter speed in particular would be nice – and great image quality. A screen of 2" or more would be a nice plus.

The Pentax Optio SVi seems to have the greatest amount of manual control, and a 5x optical zoom to boot, but I've read not-so-great things about shooting speed and image quality. Many others that I've looked at, such as the Kodak Easyshare V550, Canon IXUS 500, Nikon Coolpix S1 or any of the Exilims other than the EX-Z750 (which seems to have other problems) lack for manual control of one type or another.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Reading so many reviews has started to make my head throb.

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I got a Canon Powershot A95 a year ago and it's superb.

    12 Nov 2005, 13:58

  2. Ah yeh – that's another thing. AA batteries are a no-no. I want something small enough that i'll carry it around all the time, hence buying a compact rather than an SLR. So there's not really much point in chunky compacts :-(

    12 Nov 2005, 14:12

  3. Tiny and manually controllable seem to be mutually exclusive. I've got a little Exilim Z40, which works very nicely, but you have to know what the preset programs do to impose some control over it. Having learned to drive it, spot metering, focus lock, exposure compensation, fill-in flash and the "night mode" program have provided me with 90% of the manual control I'd use on a camera that, as you say, is primarily for carrying around everywhere (= parties etc.) rather than super-high-quality art shots. Remember that depth of field control isn't really an issue with compact digitals – none of them have very much out-of-focus, whatever aperture you select.

    Can't help on specific cameras – I'm a little out of touch with the market – but remember that even by the time you get to 4 MP, a better quality lens is worth more than another million pixels.

    12 Nov 2005, 23:06

  4. Thanks for the advice :-)

    12 Nov 2005, 23:26

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