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The features I need/want are:
- 5+ megapixels
- Good optical zoom, 8-10x
- Easy to use (point-and-shoot)
- Video with sound, preferably mpeg format
- Very low shutter-to-shot time (short lag between pressing button and when the image is actually captured)
Additionally, I would like the ability to use an external flash, and it would be great if the camera used regular AA or AAA batteries. An added bonus would be the ability to use external lenses, but that's not so important to me.
I've found a lot of cameras that meet these basic criteria, of course, but on reading some of the reviews I'm baffled. They're talking about color accuracy, noise reduction, etc., which I know are important but I don't know how to analyze. So any recommendations on a good camera meeting these basic guidelines would be most appreciated!
My budget is around $200-$400.
Also if you google dpreview you will find a digital camera review site this has some very good indepth reviews on cameras.
I have found that there is no camera that does exactly what you want so you may have to comprimise somewhere.
12x optical zoom
black & white, sepia and other settings.
I'm not sure if the S2 has the option to hook up a flash (the S1 didn't). if you get a slave flash (with one of those sensors on it) it will work as another flash.
I've got the Canon S1 IS (3MP, 10x optical) and love it.
As steve mention above, one of the most important components of any camera (if not the most important) is the lens, so whatever camera you look at, make sure you check what the reviews or opinions say in regards to the quality of it. Although a lot features can be useless, image stabilization is actually pretty cool, so try to get something that has something along those lines.
Besides reading abstract reviews it may be worth visiting a local photo shop to see some cameras and listen to a qualified dealer's recommendation. With your own expertise from the reviews you've read earlier, you may recognize if the dealer is knowledgeable or not.
I did so, and did not mind to pay a slightly higher price in the local shop than to purchase online from the cheapest source I could find somewhere overseas. And these few extra dollars payed well when I noted a few days later that my new camera had a defect. Stopped by on my usual way to the office on the next morning to get a replacement without any trouble.
That said I also have a pocket Sony Cybershot that doesn't do a bad job in the right light.
Olympus mju 400 (1 year+)
Casio Exlim z750 (4 weeks ago)
I would say
AVOID olympus at all cost. I used to have Olympus Film based camera and I like it very much so I thought their digital camera would be good. But I am wrong, here is the *nightmares* of having Olympus digital camera.
1. LAG time, from the time you want to shot to the time you are able to shot, it will be more than 2 seconds. All birds has fly away. And after you click the shuttle button, it still take another 1 second before it really snap. So if you ask someone to take a photo for you, they might thought the picture is already taken after they press the shuttle and may not hold the camera long enough for the snap.
2. Battery power is so weak. Never can you get over 100 snaps with one full charge. I have to buy another battery to standby.
3. Poor Reset/Memory feature. You got to set AUTO RESET OFF, or else the camera will always pick the default resolution after startup instead of the one you have selected. If you turn auto reset off, then everything else will not be reset, for example, Flash Type. You select No Flash and the next day you startup the camera and it is still No Flash.
4. Stupid Replay mode! You got to 'fast double click' on a button. Very inconvenient.
5. The shuttle button is long and if you press in the middle instead of the site (which most people will), it is hard to press on it and thus it shake the camera a bit and you often get blurry picture.
6. Often get blurry picture even on steady hands.
I bought Casio because it solved all my problems above.
I totally recommend them as a camera. I was told by a dealer that some of the cheaper "point and click" cameras now only have a life of about 1 years. He was getting many back dead just after the warrenty had expired.
Depending on your needs and passion for photography, a good point and shoot unit may keep you happy. The Sony has many features to keep you creatively busy. There's many other options/brands to consider.
[edited by: Woz at 1:12 pm (utc) on July 6, 2005]
[edit reason] No URLs please, see Tos#13 [/edit]