Right, more advice needed...I am just too indecisive!
I am after a compact camera that is easily stashed in a pocket, but produces some quality images. I go to France beginning of March and I go to Las Vegas in August, so needs to be fairly "future proof"
I have a dSLR, but really don't want to carry it around whilst walking around...as it is a fairly hefty item (obviously).
There are a couple I have looked at (Casio Exilim Z1200 and Panasonic TZ3) but can't make my mind up, but I am also open to suggestions. DON't want to spend more than around £200, so anything under that is welcomed :)
I gave my kids Casio Exilim cameras (can't remember the model) for Christmas - about £80 each and they're great. I've been very impressed with them.
I have the TZ3 and it's fantastic!! I haven't found a fault with it yet (although i've only had it since christmas). It is quite a bit bigger than other compacts, but the lens is amazing and worth the extra size.
It's also very good in conditions with low light, I work with sound and light at a few clubs and I've taken some fairly decent pictures in those conditions with and without a tripod.
Also, with the amount of settings on the camera you shouldn't feel like you're missing something from the dSLR
I love my Canon Powershot G9, not exactly small or light compared to other compacts but is compared to a dSLR. Offers almost as much control as a dSLR with manual control down to the focusing which is really hard to find on compacts.
Having said all that I just read sub£200 so ignore me!
We have 3x Canon IXUS 70s in the house. They are small, light & easily fit into a shirt pocket. Good quality images & reasonable feature set and a snip at <£120. The IXUS 70 has an optical viewfinder which means you can save battery power by switching the LCD screen off.
I'm going to stay tuned to this thread, because I have a dSLR too and am after a compact camera to take on holiday end of this year.
I know the ones we have at work (Samsung) say they have image stabilisers but they make things worse, a lot of pictures come out blurred regardless of what you're doing.
Optical image stabilisation used in SLR (digital and film) works well but carries a price premium, I suspect at the lower end of the compact market where it is done electronically it's more of a feature to sell cameras.......
You mean like the bragging of immense amounts of pixels on censors that are inadequate resulting in excesive noise?
After 6mp in a compact the lens is more important than the pixels.
thats precisely what I mean. There are a few 12mp cameras about which, in my mind, are better, but obviously, I know this isn't the case, hence the thread. In my mind, I can't see how a 7mp camera can produce as quality an image as a 12mp (for example).
Originally Posted by mrforgetful
Everyone seems to recommend the Exilim Series and the TZ3. People have also recommended a Sony Cybershot DSC-H3, so it is difficult!
I'd say read as many reviews as you can on the one's you've narrowed down to.
You may even find some use the same electronics anyway.
Or maybe one has a feature you like that the others don't?
Maybe one starts up faster (mine takes less than a second from pressing the button to being ready to shoot - my old one took about 10).
Try get to Jessops and have a play with them, maybe one feels better in your hand? Maybe one has a menu system that works best for you?
It could even come down to which you prefer the look of, or which brand you prefer (I never buy Sony).
Decide how you want to view your images; a top quality 12mp camera with top quality optics will be wasted if all you want to do is print 6"x4" snaps or view on a screen at VGA resolution.
If you want to print large images, or significantly enlarge the detail then pixels count ONLY as long as the optics are up to it.
I used to use 35mm colour slide film, now I mostly use digital. I tend to view my pictures on a 42" Plasma TV using a PS3 as the 'projector'. Using this setup you cannot see any difference between the DSLR and a Canon IXUS 70 or Pentax Optio S4 unless the images have been enlarged quite a bit.
My Nikon Coolpix L4 hasn't let me down in a year or so of being lugged about in by briefcase day in - day out. Cost me about 15000 Nectar points (1/2 retail price ish).
In that price range your spoilt for choice -
Fuji have some great budget options (sub £100) that take a decent picture but feel a bit cheap. Sony are good for image quality but from experience have battery life problems even more so on the ultra slim cameras. Casio (great colour reproduction) also hold their own in that price bracket along with the cheaper Samsungs (big screens on rear). I would go down to your local Jessops/Currys/etc and just try a few out and see what inspires you.
As a DSLR user you will know its all about a good lense anyway, and sub £200 your looking at decent point and shoot only. Perhaps factor in a decent ISO range and one that uses the same memory as your SLR and your set.
I'm very happy with my new Canon IXUS 950IS. I paid around £165, but you'll obviously need an SDCard and probably a case on top of that. I think the image stabilisation is optical in that model, but electronic in most of the ones lower down the range or produced earlier.
The screen is quite big considering the teeny size of the camera. Fits in tight pockets (even with your wads of Vegas winnings in there). The supplied lithium battery seems to last ages. Video and sound quality are both surprisingly good.
As people have said, don't just go on the pixel count. A good example; my mate bought camera from Tesco which has 10mp, and my camera has 7.2 and there is absolutely no way his camera can produce the same results as my TZ3. Obviously, his was a lot cheaper and is one of those brands with a funny name, but it proves the point that pixels aren't what you want to go on.
I got my TZ3 mainly because of it's image stabilisation features. It actually moves the sensor to combat shake rather than change shutter speed (which is what a lot of cameras do in this price range). I take a lot of pictures in the dark because I work as a light and sound technician and I like to take pictures of the work I do :P
p.s. a good little site for reviews on cameras: http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/digitalcameras/