Which quality compact camera?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by johncarvill, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Hi Folks
    Looking for some advice on compact digital cameras, for general use but also specifically for a trip to Nw York.
    I have a Nikon D70 which is still going strong, if getting a bit long in the tooth now. I also have a Nikon F3, which I will take to New York with me, to shoot some Velvia slide film. I am wondering whether or not to also take the D70, and/or a new compact which will replace my old, barely functioning Canon IXUS 410.
    I've been considering the Panasonic Lumix LX3, which I like for its rangefinder-ish looks, build quality, wide angle, quality lens, and teh ability to switch between aspect ratios. I'm also looking at the Canon S90, but I worry about image quality (although it's said to have the same sensor as the well-regarded G11). The other candidate is the Sony DSCH 5VB, which has lots of fancy features but again I worry about image quality, and I hear the software and processing is problematic. I would probably just go for the Lumix, it's by far the likeliest candidate, but it does have drawbacks: having to faff with a lens cap, and the limited zoom range (only 2.5x).
    The other factor is price. These cameras are all around £300, which is a chunk. Maybe I would be better paying a bit more and upgrading my D70 for, say, a D300?
    Or, another idea might be to get a real rangefinder. What could I get for around £300? HOw would it compare with my F3? Sharper pictures?
    Well, I'm open to any and all advice. Ideally, I want a compact that fits in my pocket but takes photos which can compete with my D70, is that unrealistic?
  2. John, not all too long ago I went a bit through the same circle, wanting a good compact for the times that a D300 and some lenses just isn't practical.
    My shortlist ended up with the LX-3, and Canon's G11 and S90. I wanted wide-ish angle, and as decent quality as I could get. These 3 will deliver on both.
    So I ended up with..... A fuji F70EXR, which had to battle out with the F200 EXR. Both are very compact (though not S90 compact), and I'm happy with the build quality of mine. It feels solid, fits the hand reasonable. The main attraction for me is the EXR mode, where half the pixels is used to either boost dynamic range or get better high ISO performance.
    I find with EXR for noise, ISO800 pictures are somewhat usable, way way better than an Ixus70 I owned before. for 10x15cm prints, it will do. The Dynamic Range trick is more impressive, it really makes a difference. Zoomrange on the F70 is 27-270 eq., with a slow lens. The F200 has less range, faster lens.
    I paid €200, where the original hotlist was all around €350450. THe F200 is slightly more expensive, but still cheaper than the S90.
    Note that this camera still does not come close to anything DSLR, but as a compromis, I'm very happy with my choice.
  3. Hi John.
    Have you considered a m4/3 camera such as the Panasonic GF1? I feel quite sure that this camera, combined with some
    nice Panny lenses like the 20mm f/1.7, and the 7-14mm, would come much closer to your Nikon DSLR in terms of overall
    image quality, than the Canon G11 (or ANY "compact" camera)! Plus, you would still get some portability advantages,
    without sacrificing image quality or versatility.
    Good luck!
  4. I use the Canon G10. Recently bought the little Canon 270EX flash to use with it. If you want to use flash get the Canon G11 (probably better than my G10), otherwise get the Canon S90. I used my G10 on a trip to NY in August last year because my family was going along and I didn't want to carry a big camera. http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=929018 Street pictures from Manhattan. I took a lot of pictures of the cousins in the Catskills that I didn't put online. Good luck!
  5. John, sorry I didn't really take "price" into account in my previous post, as I was focusing (pardon the pun) on image
    quality. However, if price is a major concern, the other posters' recommendations are quite valid, especially the Canons
    (G11/G10/S90). Also, if you don't enlarge beyond 11x14 or crop excessively, the aforementioned compacts should suffice.
    Being somewhat of a "Quality Nut", I prefer the larger sensor of the m4/3 cameras for travel (and even some studio) work.
    In addition to the excellent resources on this site, read Dpreview reviews, and also use Imaging Resource's Image
    Comparometer to get some idea of image quality. Good luck sir!
  6. I like pocket size if not carrying SLR gear, so I would suggest cameras like the Panasonic ZS3, 7 and Sony HX5s that have stereo sound with the HD video. I realize there are small cameras with higher specs but I'd rather go light or have my SLR gear. There are bargains on ZS3 Panasonic that is being replaced by the ZS7.
    Have fun shopping.
  7. Folks
    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I'm still leaning towards the LUmix LX3.
    :Steve: you're right, the GF1 looks great, but yes, price is an issue. As is my marriage! If I spent £700 on another camera I think my wife your commence divorce proceedings.
    One factor I forgot to mention: I had a quick play with a Canon S90 in a shop at the weekend. Can you *believe* where they put the shutter button? What were they smoking?
  8. John,
    The LX3 is a fine little camera, that will provide good images up to around ISO 400. Noise will always be a problem with small sensor cameras, but I think that the LX3 is a good compromise. The G11 is also a fine camera, a bit more chunky though. Like yourself, I have tried the S90, but the ergonomics are bad for me.
  9. I would look at a used Olympus E-P1. There is no sense messing with a sensor smaller than u4/3 these days.
  10. my .02: LX3 or G11. can't go wrong with either.
  11. I have the S90 and love it...a friend of mine has the LX3 and loves it. Try each one and see how it feels in YOUR hands. The image quality of both is great.
  12. THanks for the replies and advice, folks. Great forum.
    I took the plunge today and ordered a Lumix LX3, having had a play with that and an S90 a couple of times now, the LX3 just 'feels' right. Will report back when I've played with it a bit.
  13. Hi Folks
    A few samples of the LX3's capabilities here:
    So far, I'm very happy with my purchase.
  14. I am into Nikon DSLRs, but for carry anywhere P&S, I like the Canon Powershots.
    I have owned and passed on to relatives the A80, A95, A620 and currently use the A650IS.
    The features they have in common are flexible LCDs, an optical viewfinder, an easily gripable body, and they use 4 AA batteries. Put Lithiums in them and they last for over a year. And I have made very nice 12 by 18 inch prints with all of them, except the A80.
    When my wife and I took an 8 day river cruise on the Danube in 2008, I left my Leica M6 and Nikon D200 at home and took only the A650IS while my wife used the A620. I did not shoot at ISOs over 400, and my only regret was in not having a lens wider than 35mm. An external flash would have been nice.
    The hassle of flying nowadays just prohibits film and heavy SLRs, for ancient me.
    I keep hoping that Canon will finally make a really impressive G series cameras, but it hasn't happened for me. It the G whatever had really outshone the A650, I would have bought one.
    BTW, when you wrote Nw York, I didn't know whether you were referring to the beautiful walled city in the UK, or NW New York State, close to my birthplace of Niagara Falls, NY.
  15. John,
    I am also shopping for a high quality carry around camera and I am presently leaning toward a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 that was announced recently and now the price is out ($599 with a 14-42mm lens). I even found this review with some sample images that look pretty good to me: http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/panasonic_lumix_dmc_g10_review/
    I would be interesting in hearing some more opinions for my research as well.

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