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$200 vs $500 5-megapixel camera?!?

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Anonymous
August 15, 2005 5:12:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500 five
megapixel point and shoot digitals? I am in the mood to buy one, a slim
one, to carry around with to catch photo opportunities I might not
otherwise get. I own a Canon 10D SLR, but do not carry it around with me
everywhere I go. Hence the need for a skinny small compact model.

I have seen most 5mpixel models going for $400-500, then today at a WalMart
I saw one from I think Vivatar at only $180. So what would I be giving up
except getting one cheaper? Hey at $180 if it last a year I would be happy;
seemed to have all the features of say a Canon ELPH, at least from the
outside. What am I not seeing?
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 11:36:39 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Proteus wrote:
> So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500
> five megapixel point and shoot digitals?

For $500 you can get a 5MP camera with an image stabilised 36 - 432mm
lens - e.g. the Panasonic FZ5. Not in a $200 model, though.

David
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 11:36:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Most importantly:
image quality!

---

eg. recently tested a Fujifilm f450 against a Sony DSC-P150 (set to 5MP
mode even though it's a 7MP camera). The images from the sharper,
better Carl-Zeiss lens on the Sony clearly produced better, sharper
photos with less spherical abberation vs. the F450's poorer lens.
Related resources
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 11:36:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 19:36:39 +0000, David J Taylor wrote:

> Proteus wrote:
>> So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500
>> five megapixel point and shoot digitals?
>
> For $500 you can get a 5MP camera with an image stabilised 36 - 432mm
> lens - e.g. the Panasonic FZ5. Not in a $200 model, though.

The FZ5 wouldn't fit my definition of a "skinny small compact camera" to
carry "around with me everywhere I go" tho.
Anonymous
August 15, 2005 11:36:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

David Chien wrote:

> Most importantly:
> image quality!
>
> ---
>
> eg. recently tested a Fujifilm f450 against a Sony DSC-P150 (set to 5MP
> mode even though it's a 7MP camera). The images from the sharper,
> better Carl-Zeiss lens on the Sony clearly produced better, sharper
> photos with less spherical abberation vs. the F450's poorer lens.


Is there somewhere one can see comparison tests of the $500 or less 5mp
cameras? That would be nice.
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 3:01:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Proteus" <nospam@nowhere.net> wrote in message
news:XW4Me.4570$rc6.2776@fe03.lga...
> So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500 five
> megapixel point and shoot digitals?

$300.

Sorry...couldn't resist.
:) 
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 7:52:28 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 23:01:32 -0700, "Mark²" <mjmorgan(lowest even
number here)@cox..net> wrote:

>> So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500 five
>> megapixel point and shoot digitals?
>
> $300.
>
> Sorry...couldn't resist.
> :) 

Unlike you, I successfully managed to resist that. :)  But
another answer is time. I don't know what Canon's Powershot A85
listed for when it was introduced, but it's now being advertised in
newspaper ads at just under $200. It's probably a better camera
than whatever 5mp camera the OP finds for the same price.
Similarly, the *very* limited PowerShot S10 (no manual modes)
initially sold for far more than $500, but that didn't last long.
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 11:12:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

lacunae wrote:
> On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 19:36:39 +0000, David J Taylor wrote:
>
>> Proteus wrote:
>>> So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500
>>> five megapixel point and shoot digitals?
>>
>> For $500 you can get a 5MP camera with an image stabilised 36 - 432mm
>> lens - e.g. the Panasonic FZ5. Not in a $200 model, though.
>
> The FZ5 wouldn't fit my definition of a "skinny small compact camera"
> to carry "around with me everywhere I go" tho.

"Skinny" meaning fits in your back pocket, no. For it's capability, 432mm
telephoto, I find it very small and compact, and it's easily light enough
to carry around everywhere I go (326g 11.5oz).

David
Anonymous
August 16, 2005 2:47:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>
> Is there somewhere one can see comparison tests of the $500 or less 5mp
> cameras? That would be nice.
>
www.dpreview.com
www.imaging-resource.com
www.steves-digicams.com
www.dcresource.com
www.digitalcamerainfo.com

and other review websites have extensive test target comparisons for the
various digicams made today. You can easily load up the same sample
test target images for different cameras in different browser windows
for direct comparison.

----

Besides absolute resolving capability, also keep in mind the quality of
the sensor at various ISO levels.

eg. see digitalcamerainfo.com for the FujiFilm F10 and Sony W7 reviews.
Notice:
a) The F10 performs nearly as well as the W7 in their resolution tests,
even though the former is a 5MP digicam, the latter a 7MP digicam. The
higher quality FujiFilm sensor allows the camera to pickup more detail;
the Sony 7MP sensor can't pickup as much detail, and performs more like
an excellent 5MP digicam, the F10.
b) Notice that the F10 does keep the ISO noise levels down below 1.0
well past ISO 200. You can take a picture with lower noise levels on
the F10 than with other digicams.

But, also keep in mind that these factors are only a small part of the
overall 'quality' of a photo. The 'cooler' color cast of the Fujifilm
F10 may or may not be preferable in your eyes to another camera - you'll
have to make this very subjective judgement because there is no RIGHT or
WRONG choice here - merely what looks best to your eyes.

Also, notice how 'poorly' the Canon A95 5MP compares in resolution and
ISO noise to either of the two above.

----

That said, you may find that there is a very good 'trick' you can use in
picking up an extremely sharp 5MP digicam - simply buy a camera of a
slightly higher MP, and run it in the 5MP image mode!

For example, between the 'similar' $399 retail F10 and Sony P200 (which
uses the same 7MP sensor as the tested W7 above), both cameras have
their pluses and minuses. But, for the same price, you can buy either.
If all you care about is a camera with great 5MP image output quality,
you can include the P200 because it can be set to 5MP mode, which merely
captures a sharp, downsized 7MP image in 5MP size. You will never lose
quality this way, and you'll still retain the benefits of that
particular model (whatever you find to be of value).

A downsized image will be extremely sharp vs. a camera made for the
'same' MP size, and you'll notice that right away.

What may those values be?
a) F10 has a larger screen vs. the P200.
b) P200 has an optical viewfinder for bright, outdoor use when the LCD
can't be seen clearly.
c) F10 has higher ISO speeds.
d) P200 has warmer image tones.
e) F10 has far longer battery life.
f) P200 fits easier in a shirt pocket.
etc, etc.

Hopefully, some of these will help in your search.
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 2:09:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Proteus" <nospam@nowhere.net> wrote in message
news:XW4Me.4570$rc6.2776@fe03.lga...
> So I am wondering what is the main difference between $200 and $500 five
> megapixel point and shoot digitals?

I've been going through this recently as well. Every camera at $200 will
probably be missing something. Here are some things I've been looking for:

1) overall picture quality - are the pictures sharp? Most photos will only
be developed at 4x6 size, so keep this in mind. To save money, maybe
consider a 4mp camera which can give very good 4x6 results.

2) durability - is it cheaply made? Is there a built-in lens cover so it
doesn't scratch in your pocket?

3) wide angle - mostly I take pictures of my family, and I don't need a 12x
telephoto. I need to fit 8 people into the picture without standing too far
back.

4) lag time - how long does it take to turn on the camera? How long after
you press the shutter does the picture actually get taken? How long do you
have to wait to take the next picture

5) other technical

- Does it focus in the dark? Like when your taking a picture on the patio
at 10 at night?
- When you take a headshot, can you blur the background? (makes for a nice
shot)
- is it easy to set a fill flash?
- Is the software easy for YOU to use?

Since this information can be hard to find, be prepared to buy a number of
cameras to compare and see which one you like best, and return the others.

Steve
Anonymous
August 17, 2005 1:53:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>1) overall picture quality - are the pictures sharp? Most photos will
>only
>be developed at 4x6 size, so keep this in mind. To save money, maybe
>consider a 4mp camera which can give very good 4x6 results.

A sharp 2-3 MP digicam can easily make a sharp 4x6" print today.
There is no reason to worry if that's all you'll be printing with
anything higher in MP.

You can take any of the photo samples for any digicam made and have
them printed to see for yourself.

>2) durability - is it cheaply made? Is there a built-in lens cover so >it
>doesn't scratch in your pocket?

a) does it matter? at this lower-end price range? Heck, you can even
get a nice 4-5MP FujiFilm for $99 or a nice Kodak 3-4MP for <$80
nowadays, and they'll last a year or two easily. Practically at the
point where you can replace a film camera with a digicam at the same
price range.

b) You may also want to consider the slim Sony T33/T7 models, the
Nikon S1/S2 models, latest Pentax waterproof, and Minolta minis and
others which have a folded optical zoom lens that is internally mounted.
THUS, no zoom lens sticks out or extends at all, and you can stick
that camera into your shirt pocket on or off w/o worry about breaking
off that zoom lens.

>3) wide angle - mostly I take pictures of my family, and I don't need
a >12x
>telephoto. I need to fit 8 people into the picture without standing
>too far
>back.

Rare. You'll have that Kodak 24-whatever new release long-zoom, the
Nikon 8400 24mm to whatever bulky, the Ricoh 28mm-whatever, etc. Not a
lot of choices here. You may also want to consider using a lens adapter
on a regular digicam (eg. many Sony and Nikons have wide angle lenses
for their cameras).

Realistically, 28mm for a dozen+ of people, 24mm once it gets to a
few dozen. You can =easily= fit six to ten people into a 35-38mm group
shot however w/o scooting too far back like I did at a recent party with
my Sony P150.

>4) lag time - how long does it take to turn on the camera? How long
>after
>you press the shutter does the picture actually get taken? How long
do >you
>have to wait to take the next picture

See timings for each camera at www.dpreview.com and
www.imaging-resource.com

In general, pick the Sony digicams such as the P200, W7, T33/T7
series. These will have ~1/3rd or so AF timings, 0.001 sec pre-focused
release timings, and fast fixed focus release timings (in fact, Sony's
are nice because they include fixed focus mode).

I've found that the other brands (Canon, Nikon, Casio, Pentax)
generally AF slower and/or don't have manual focus mode, and their
system tends to operate slower on most models (some exceptions - see
sites above).

> - Does it focus in the dark? Like when your taking a picture on the patio
> at 10 at night?

1. Simply buy any digital camera, such as the Sony's, which have a
fixed focus mode. You simply lock focus at 1m or 3m at night, then all
autofocusing problems in low-light/night situations are eliminated for
group photos. This also eliminates missed shots at night in dance
clubs, bars, etc, where the people will have moved out of the picture by
the time the slower AF locks focus.
This particular feature of the Sony digicams completely eliminated
my worries about missed shots.

> - When you take a headshot, can you blur the background? (makes for a nice
> shot)

2. Nearly impossible automatically with today's mini digicams with
lenses that were designed for maximum depth of field rather than minimum
depth of field. You will see that on most digicams, they default to
multipoint AF, and will automatically try to capture everything in clear
focus. Even when you do switch to manual aperture mode, you will find
that this feature is missing on a lot of the lower-end (cheaper)
digicams, and that the selection of apertures is severely limited.
There are a few that have a wide range of choices, but they tend to
either be bulkier/heavier/more expensive cameras.

Here, any dSLR with a nice f/1.2 50mm lens will do the trick
nicely however.

On most digicams, you'll have to zoom out to the maximum length,
then adjust focus/aperture to get the maximum effect. You may still
find it inadaquate at times vs. a f/1.2 50mm lens on a dSLR (or longer
zoom with slightly higher f/stop).

Keep in mind that you can alter the photo later in a paint program
to simulate the blurred background easily.

>- Is the software easy for YOU to use?

You have the widest selection of choices here - you do not need to
use what comes with the camera, and you can use anything from Windows to
Paint Shop Pro to ACDSee to Infranview to Photoshop to whatever else you
desire.

Most digicams nowadays simply show up as another removable drive
on your PC with full Windows access to these image files when it is
connected to the PC.
!