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Digital Camera question for Scott7777

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Scott, first just let me say your photos are spectacular. If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you some questions about digital cameras. I'm planning on buying my first one soon, and don't know squat about it.

After asking a lot of people and browsing a lot of sites, I've narrowed it down to the Canon S50, Olympus C5000, and Sony DSC-P10. Do you know much about these cameras? From the reviews on dpreview, they seem pretty much equal; a lot of the details were over my head, but the general feel that I got was that the S50 tends to introduce a lot of noise and "chromatic aberrations." The Sony produces basically the same quality images but has much less manual features (which I probably won't use anyway, I'm pretty much a point and shoot guy). As far as the Olympus, one person I talked to said that they are not a great brand. Overall, everyone I talked to likes Canon the best. Just wanted to get your opinion.

Oh, also, what's the difference between the Canon S series and G series; all I know is that the G series is a bit more expensive.

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 13
You may want to PM him the message, because I'm not sure how often he checks threads here in the Lounge.

I am currently comparing cameras as well, and I think I'm sold on the Canon line. I'm currently looking at the Powershot A80. Right now I don't want to spend too much, since I'll be upgrading to a prosumer camera in the next year or two. And in that time, the prices will really come down with better camera options.

what type of photography will you be doing? Macro, sport, landscape, portrait? I think once you see what the majority of your shots will be, the camera will fall into place since you will be looking at shutter lag and speed over let's say macro feature (as an example).

Also, go to the camera store and actually get a feel for the camera. Many camera's look good on the website, but when you actually hold them and take a couple of shots you realize they aren't so comfortable or may be too heavy.

If you go to the Canon website, you can see the differences between the S, G, and A series here:


post #4 of 13
Heya Glen,

I just noticed the thread - I'm heading out on a work errand, and my girlfriend has scheduled me for dinner in NYC tonight. When I get back I should be able to take a look at the offerings.

I haven't used those cameras myself, but I've had good experience with the Canon line (I've used the G-series and the S230). Phil Askey does excellent reviews over at DPReview, and I usually back that up with user reviews at PhotographyReview.com.


Things to look for in any camera:
High resolution is good.
Quality of the flash (how robust it is, look for comparison images)
Manual overrides for flash/exposure/focus are good.
Quality optics.
Ability to use a mounted flash if you choose.
Ability to use high-capacity cards like Compact Flash II Microdrives and such (though I prefer Lexar CF cards).
Cameras that *don't* suffer from moire or artifacts are also good.

Things like battery life are a concern, but the way I look at it - you can always buy spare batteries.

I also like cameras that allow you to have a threaded lens mount for protective filters or add-ons (if you so choose). The mainstream lines (Canon G-series and Nikon) tend to have that.

Also, the more popular a camera is (i.e., Canon and Nikon) - the more likely you are to find community support and aftermarket products like filters, macro attachments, etc...

I'll take a look more at those specific cameras when I get a chance later tonight or tomorrow.

Regards (and thanks for all the compliments)...

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, RB. I'll mostly be using the camera for macro shots and portraits. Since I'll be printing some out, the 5 megapixels is good for me, especiallly since it's my first digital camera (wouldn't be worth it if I already had a 4 MP camera and wanted to jump to 5 MP). Also, I do know that I'm looking for a point-and-shoot, since I don't fiddle around with the manual controls too much. I went to Best Buy to actually hold the cameras a couple days ago, and they're all very solidly built. The Olympus was the most comfortable. Oh, they're all the exact same price, too.

Scott, thanks for the pointers (you're quickly becoming the resident photo guru!). Looking forward to your reviews. Also, that other user review site is very useful.
post #6 of 13

I have taken a look at these cameras, and here are my general impressions as a non-user.

The strength of the Olympus is the ability to use an external flash. The biggest limitation of most point-and-shoot cameras is the harsh shadows provided by small, on-camera flashes. If you TRULY want the option of taking a picture with this kind of soft lighting:

....you'll need the ability to find a flash with a swivel head that can be bounced off of a ceiling, or angled to provide a diffuse light.

Compare that to the image below. I probably bounced the light a bit on this one, too, but the image has the quality you'd get from a direct flash...what you'd get from most point-and-shoot cameras. You SHOULD be able to tell a difference in the two photos, in the exposure balance, the overall softness of the light, and the harshness of the flash on the fur in the 2nd photo "blowing out" the highlights.

The first image looks like very natural room light - almost studio light -- the 2nd image looks like you popped off a flash too close to the cat. Typical for a camera with a tiny flash pointing directly at the subject. It can't fill the room with light, and therefore, the exposure is focused on the subject, dropping the background into darkness.

So....for that reason, I would dump the Sony. It's the least contender of the three.

The Olympus has the strength of the hot shoe.

Canon is a great brand, they've had great success with their S- and G-series cameras, and there's plenty of community support to be found. Image quality is generally top-notch, but you'd have to do a side-by-side comparison to fairly judge noise and chromatic aberrations.

The S-series cameras like the S50 are the "pocket" version of the G-series of cameras. They don't have some features like the ability to use an external flash.

If it were my money, I'd skip these original three candidates entirely and try for one of the cameras in the Canon G-series lineup. They allow you the option of using an external flash (which unfortunately, will add expense but also quality), they support compact flash cards, have good battery life, good image quality, and they allow you to use aftermarket lens attachments. They're NOT small, so expect to need a small camera bag instead of sticking it in your pocket.

DP review has reviews here:


Here's a capable user who had the original Canon G camera, the G-1:


If you look at the technical specs on his image, you'll see that he shot some of those images with a bounced external flash. Obviously, he made the most of the camera. The drawbacks of an external flash are size (bulk) and cost (anywhere from $200-$300, but you might be able to find a used or cheaper alternative to the standard Canon flash lineup).

However, as you can see - these are pictures you'll have for a lifetime, so for my money, it's worth it in the long run.

Of course, this all depends on your BUDGET limitations and whether you're looking for a pocket camera or a serious advanced-amateur/light pro device.

Personally, I buy from B&H Photo Video in New York. They service the majority of pros and amateurs alike.


No matter where you buy, check feedback on Reseller Ratings:


eBay is a crapshoot - there are a lot of scams.

And lastly, be sure to check user reviews at places like PhotographyReview.com

Ultimately, it's a measure of research, but it will help you determine if the product really suits your needs and budget.
post #7 of 13
Have you considered the Fuji line? I have the S602Z and it is a great camera, point and shoot type but with extras for added creativity.
I work in the digital imaging industry and have to say I've yet to see a digital photo from a non-traditional camera manufacture that I like (Sony, Panasonic) Do You want to buy a camera from someone who makes TV's? I love the canon line too, have used them for years in the SLR's and wish I'd bought a Canon G3, pricey but an awesome camera. They also make lower end, point and shoot type that are fantastic.
Megapixels are important if you want to make prints from them. I wouldn't buy anything less than a 3.1 if you want to print. A 2.0 would be OK if it's strictly for email/web applications. Since the technology changes daily and the cameras get cheaper, you can probably pick up a great 4.0 for a good price that would make great prints up to about 11x14.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks again Scott. I hear what you're saying about the hot shoe and ability to attach different lenses. Even though I'm not looking to buy any extras right now, it would be nice to plan for the future and extend the usefulness of the camera. Right now my budget's kinda tight; I'm thinking of spending roughly $500 on the camera. I'm still checking all the reviews to finalize the selection.

Gus's Mom, I'll look into the Fuji, thanks for the suggestion.
post #9 of 13
Keep in mind, it's all about the light.

I actually found a cool site for a guy that takes pictures with a cell phone (PDA) camera with no flash.

He looks for interesting subjects, nice light, and decent composition. The actual camera is a piece of junk and has no flash, but you can see that he looks for interesting light, interesting color and situations.

post #10 of 13
Scott - I enjoy watching your threads, especially about cameras and getting my Tiki fix (Cute. Damn Cute thread)!!

I recently bought a Canon PowerShot A60 or 70 (can't remember which one at the moment) on ebay. I LOVE this camera. I can't believe what beautiful pictures it takes, especially in natural light. See the first 2 pics at http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...hlight=my+kids

How are the Canon PowerShot cameras different from the S and G series? The one I have can actually do some manual shots, but the only downside to this point-and-shoot camera is the flash (can't swivel).

I would enjoy getting back into photography. It was something I did (for fun) a long time ago. Well, actually not THAT long ago.
I enjoy shooting nature and animals and would be interested in your expertise as to what type of camera (digital) would allow manual control, flash control, and various lenses as well as something that doesn't require me to take out a second mortage.

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

post #11 of 13
Hi Fuzzmom,

Canon's PowerShot A60 (2 megapixel) and A70 (3MP) are great digicams. The A series is targeted as an introductory camera that will allow anyone to take good shots straight out of the box.

The G series is intended to be an enthusiast's camera: hot shoe to allow mounting an external flash unit; larger sensor chip for higher quality images; and the capacity to save images in Canon's RAW file format (CRW). CRW's allow you to fine-tune color balance, exposure compensation, and sharpening to your liking; you can output to regular 24-bit JPEG or 48-bit TIFF, or convert the image directly into Photoshop. This extra power means a longer and steeper learning curve, but you can get better image quality in low-light situations and make better use of fast shutter speeds to capture action shots.

The S series is a compact version of the G series, more pocketable while retaining almost all of the G series' features.

Even without a hotshoe, the A (and S) series cameras can use external flash units that trigger off of photo-eye sensors. (You wouldn't get the auto-exposure control of a hotshoe-connected flash unit though.)

You don't have to spend $8000 on a camera body, $5000 on an exotic lens, and $2000 on a tripod setup in order to get good nature and animal shots. Canon's EOS 300D (the "Digital Rebel") 6MP digital SLR has been selling for around $900 (body only), and Nikon's D70 will be introduced in the same price range next year. The next price range in dSLR bodies is around $1500 for either the Canon EOS 10D or the Nikon D100 (both available now). Or you can look for a used 3MP Canon EOS D30 for $600 (or less - not sure of the current used market).

As for the lenses, you may remember that many options are available, and that super tele's 300mm and above can run into the $1000's. However, many have found the Canon 75-300/4.0-5.6/IS very servicable at $400. One bonus: due to the design of the Canon 300D & 10D and Nikon D70 & D100 sensor chips, lens focal lengths are effectively "multiplied" - 1.6x for the Canons, and 1.5x for the Nikons. So a 300mm lens on a Canon 300D would give the same coverage as a 480mm lens on a 35mm film camera. As a result, you could get a workable nature/animal camera setup for under $1500.

Do you have any lenses, tripods, or flash units from your previous involvement in photography? Tripods are of course compatible with the new dSLR's, and flash units are OK if their trigger voltages are low enough (usually 6V). Canon dSLR's will take all Canon EF autofocus lens (but not the old FD lenses). And Nikon dSLR's will take virtually all of Nikon's autofocus lenses, and many of the older manual focus ones as well.

Good luck,
post #12 of 13
brocken - Wow! Thanks for all the information. From what you wrote, it seems the G series is what I'm looking for. Unfortunately, my flash unit died years ago so I'll be starting from scratch. Thanks again for the detailed information.

Happy Holidays!
post #13 of 13
With the G3 going for around $500 and the G5 around $650, just add Canon's 420EX flash unit ($180), and you'll have a very capable photo kit for well under $1000.

Happy shooting,
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