Seeking a digital point and shoot replacement

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by melissa_eiselein, Nov 19, 2007.

  1. I used to own a Canon A95 -- until I lost it at Disneyland. :-(

    What I liked about the A95:
    The swivel viewscreen that was easy to see from any angle; easy to find AA
    batteries; smaller and lighter than my DSLR; Macro setting; adjustable flash,
    ISO and more.

    What I didn't like the A95:
    An AV setting was useless because it focused where it thought it should, not
    where I wanted it to focus; Shutter delay way too long; Video limited to 15 (or
    30?) seconds per clip; Viewfinder was too small for these old eyes; a little
    bulky for a p&s; used four batteries.

    For my new camera:
    I've asked around and I've been told that selective focus points aren't
    something I'll find in a point and shoot. If that's the case, then AV and TV
    settings aren't something I want to pay extra for. Mostly, I want my new camera
    for snapshots...but I want it to shoot clear, crips snapshots. Something that
    focuses well in lower light conditions and gives clear shots at ISO 400 would be
    nice. Using two (not four) AA batteries is a must; Minimal shutter delay would
    be awesome. And I would love for it to have a largish viewscreen. Bonus points
    if it swivels, but the swivel won't be a deal breaker.

    After setting down my last camera and walking away from it, I'm a little
    hesitant to pay a lot of money. I'm looking for something in the $200 range -- a
    tiny bit more if the features are right, something less would be even better.
    Suggestions?
     
  2. $200 range? fuji f40fd, casio z1050, sony w55. i wouldnt expect a swiveling LCD at that price, although for $70 more, you can get a canon s3 pro (which has one)at amazon. the s3 also has nice video capabilities.
     
  3. Canon 570 IS? You can't put a large swiveling screen in a compact camera, it's one or the other.
     
  4. In my area, the Canon A630 can still be had new for around 229 Dollars. It is an 8 meg camera meeting most of your requirements, but it uses 4 "AA" batteries. I don't know why you insist on just two, but the additional two doesn't really increase the weight or size, and they allow for more shooting before they die. The 2.5-inch screen swivels and tilts, as per your desired feature. It shoots much longer video than the A95. Go to Amazon and check out the camera to see that it has a very high user satisfaction rate... based on people that spent their own money for the camera, versus professional reviewers that get their test gear gratis. FWIW… I love mine.
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  5. I've been pretty happy with the Canon Powershot A570 IS (currently about $170), and suspect the similar A720 IS (currently about $220) would be fine too. The 570 at least uses two AA's. With IS, you may not really need ISO 400, but if you do, I've found it okay for prints up to 5x7 or so (never tried an 8x10 from ISO 400, but I don't think one would look too good). It does not have a swiveling screen, although it's relatively rare when I wish it did.

    Some compacts have manual focus, but that can be hard to use. Some of the Canon models have I think have or at least had the "Flexzone" AE/AF, a feature also found on my ten year old Canon camcorder, which lets you move a little rectangle around the viewfinder, and then uses that area primarily for focus and exposure control. However, I cannot tell you which, if any, still cameras have this feature.

    As to the other issues you mention, well, I don't think there's any compact P&S with a decent optical viewfinder. Also, I don't understand what the ability to choose a focus zone has to do with the usefulness of aperture-priority (Av) and shutter-priority (Tv) auto exposure.
     
  6. Good suggestions above by Johannes, Albert, and Dave. Nothing against Eric, but other than the Canon S3 IS he mentioned, which is well worth a look (a bit bigger and uses 4 AA's though), I'm unfamiliar with the other cameras and can't comment on them.

    Just as an fyi -- the "Av" setting is aperture priority, where you set aperture and the camera selects shutter speed to give you an exposure. It's unrelated to the focus issue.

    Lag has improved since the A95. You can also speed things up by presetting a manually focused distance on certain cameras and keeping it set that way, especially at wide angle. The depth of field on these small sensor cameras "covers" you quite well.

    You say 2 AA's is must, and that's up to you of course, but that means considerably fewer shots between battery changes and, if you use flash, appreciably longer refresh between shots.

    Optical viewfinders ? Ah, they have if anything gotten worse, not better. And they're far more scarce now on small cameras than they were 2- 3 years ago. Melissa, "They just don't care about folks like us ... " :)
     
  7. Dave Redmann: "Some compacts have manual focus, but that can be hard to use."

    I wouldn't say so. DoF is so huge that it covers pretty much everything when walking around. It's good for macro too and eliminates af hunt in low light completely. Set f5.6 or so and try it.

    I took a few snapshots of my friends at a bar last night. I just set focus to 3ft if they were close and 6ft is basically the same as infinity.
     
  8. Mellisa,

    I'm a little confused by some of your statements.

    <<What I didn't like the A95: An AV setting was useless because it focused where it thought it should, not where I wanted it to focus; >>

    As has been mentioned, Av is unrelated to how the camera uses auto focus. Av mode allows you to select the aperture.

    <<Shutter delay way too long; >>

    Older cameras did have longer shutter delays, but some of which you may call shutter delay may be related to auto focus or related to charging the flash (especially when the batteries are low). If it is the latter, then moving to a camera with 2 fewer batteries will only exacerbate the problem.

    <<Video limited to 15 (or 30?) seconds per clip;>>

    Just as information, almost all new point and shoots are now limited only by the size of the memory card.

    <<For my new camera: I've asked around and I've been told that selective focus points aren't something I'll find in a point and shoot. If that's the case, then AV and TV settings aren't something I want to pay extra for>>

    Again, see above. Av and Tv modes have nothing to do with auto focus. I would encourage you to seek a camera that has these options.

    <<Using two (not four) AA batteries is a must;>>

    Were you using rechargeable NiMH batteries with your A95?
     
  9. Given its features and price, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better camera than the Canon A570IS, which has already been suggested. Here in NYC, they can be had for $159 from the reputable dealers.

    I can't imagine what more I'd want in a snapshot camera. There are plenty of times that I don't want to (or can't) carry my DSLR (or even my S3IS) and the A570IS does the job for me.
     
  10. Were it possible to get shallow DOF, there certainly would be a big relationship between aperture and the point of focus, and thereby Av and AF.
     
  11. I like my a570 IS.
    That said, 8x10 from ISO 400 is stretching it, as it is for all compacts other than the mostly discontinued 6 to 7 mp fuji sccd models. It does very nicely at iso 80-100, and ok at 200.
     
  12. I'm glad for all the suggestions here. It looks like Canon is still the overall P&S winner. When I go out to do my Christmas shopping I'll have to spend a little more time looking at the camera models available to me in my area.

    Sorry for the AV / autofocus confusion. My gripe with my former camera was that setting the camera for a shallow depth of field was useless if I couldn't tell the camera where I wanted it to focus. It tended to focus wherever it wanted. So, if I can't pick the focus point, I didn't see any need in paying extra to set the shutter speed or aperture.

    Then again, as I said before, most of my P&S shots are snaps just to capture a moment in time and put in the scrapbook. They aren't meant to be art.

    Rob, mostly I used NiMH rechargables. But if I was out and about and they ran out I'd use alkalines. Saving $ on batteries would be nice, but mostly I was hoping for something a tad lighter and a bit more compact. (Cheap, excellent photos, compact, big LCD ... I don't ask for much, do I? LOL)
     
  13. You might check out dpreview.com. They do pretty extensive reviews on tons of cameras. I learned a lot from reading up on stuff I was interested in there.

    Good luck!
     
  14. I wrote: "Some compacts have manual focus, but that can be hard to use."
    And Kari responded: "I wouldn't say so. DoF is so huge that it covers pretty much everything when walking around. It's good for macro too and eliminates af hunt in low light completely. Set f5.6 or so and try it."
    In general, I agree, compact digitals have such large depth of field that focus usually isn't too critical. However, that isn't universally applicable, and the original post indicated a desire for some degree of focus control.
    Regarding whether focus can be critical with compact digitals, here are two examples (using on the oft-mentioned Canon A570 IS, with its "1/2.5 inch" sensor and its 5.8-23.2mm f/2.6-5.5 lens):
    At the long end of the zoom range (field of view roughly equivalent to a 130mm lens on a 35mm camera), if you want an 8x10-inch print that looks reasonably sharp by common criteria, even at minimum aperture (f/8), at the focus distance of 6 ft (1.8 m), depth of field only extends from about 5.4 ft to 6.7 ft.
    That's not to say that your experience isn't often what most users experience. If you just get 4x6-inch prints and often shoot at the wide end of the zoom range, at f/2.8, if you focus at 6 ft, anywhere from about 2.9 ft to infinity would be in apparent focus, by common criteria. To cover this range on an 8x10 print, you'd need about f/5.
     

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