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Decent Pocket Camera?


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Initial post: Feb 29, 2012 8:25:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 9:02:06 AM PST
PFPNY says:
*** RESOLVED ***

Hi! I need a digital camera small and flat enough to stick in my pocket under $150 for everyday use snapping random pics. It's not for "photography". It's just something to keep with me at all times since I don't have a camera phone so nothing fancy is necessary. Just something that takes clear photos without a hassle.

Requirements:
1) No proprietary batteries! It needs to be able to take plain old double AAs or just have an ac adapter.

2) No proprietary usb port! PREFERABLY not a micro b port either. I'd like it to have a usb port I can easily find a cable for on the fly like a mini usb.

3) Can use SD cards.

4) Allows me to choose the image size myself. I've seen some pocket cameras where you can't select the image size in the menu.

Any suggestions? Thank you!!!

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 8:52:04 AM PST
k. sandmann says:
I don't have this but it could be close to what your looking for.

Canon Powershot A800 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.3x Optical Zoom (Black)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 9:12:22 AM PST
"""
4) Allows me to choose the image size myself. I've seen some pocket cameras where you can't select the image size in the menu.
"""

Define?

If you mean image resolution -- the only excuse (to me) for not shooting the full resolution is one is too skimpy to buy spare memory cards. (Caveat: my 20D and 50D ARE set for medium resolution JPEGs -- but that's because I shoot in "full resolution RAW/medium JPEG" and only use the JPEGs for direct printing to dedicated 4x6" photo printers. 4x6" prints only need 2MP of image data, so capturing a 4-8MP JPEG is still more data than the printer needs. When printing on the computer, down-sampling to the 300PPI for the printer is the next to last step performed (the last is to do unsharp-masking, which should be done AT the print resolution, otherwise the sharpening is lost by the image being rescaled for the print size).

If you mean aspect ratio (4:3 [NTSC/native mode for most P&S cameras], 3:2 [APS-C, full-frame, 35mm film], 16:9 ["HD" TV aspect]), again... Any format that doesn't use the native full sensor is just having the camera discard image data. One could just as easily use photo editing software to adjust (crop) the image in post processing (and the full image source might support different crops for effects.)

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 9:45:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 29, 2012 9:51:02 AM PST
PFPNY says:
Thanks for the quick replies! @K I'll check out the Canon. @Dennis Sorry, I meant resolution. Like I said, this isn't for photography. I have pro cameras for that. This is just for BSing around with on a daily basis because I don't have a camera phone and I sometimes see random things I want to send to my friends.

I'm not doing post work on these images and I'm not batch running them through any workflow. It's not necessary for the kind of nonsense I want to use the camera for so I don't want to waste time shooting images at a larger resolution than I need them plopped out at.

If I want to pop it on my blog and it's something interesting, I'll shoot full. If it's just random silliness I'm sending to my buddies like, "Hey, here's that cereal I told you I like" (the kind of stuff it'll be used for 99% of the time lol), I have no legitimate need to shoot them any larger than small or medium so I want to be able to choose in-camera.

@K I looked at that Canon, it's one that was suggested to me before in a store and I remember not liking something about it when I tried it (I don't remember what now though). I had a better shot at what I wanted with cameras closer to the range of $125-$150, but all of the cams I was looking at then were discontinued so I don't remember the models or which brands. I think they were mostly Panasonics and Nikons.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 11:18:13 AM PST
k. sandmann says:
Well not really trying to convince you not to get something that takes aa batteries or am I? If you did get a camera with a proprietary battery you likely could pick up several spares on amazon really cheap and just toss them in your car or in 1 in your pocket excetera. I even got a really nice super cheap car charger for my 60 d batteries. With 3 batteries I can just throw 1 in the charger and it's readyfor long before I ever need.
Cameras with rechargeable batteries Seem to be much more common Of course so there's more choices
Then again staying with AA batteries keeps it simple.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 11:19:10 AM PST
aznpoet says:
I would suggest Canon A1200 over A800, both priced under $100 now.
Neither has image stabilization, A1200 has better (wider) zoom, better video (720p HD), just more features in general.
They are all due for refresh, i.e. A1300, A810.

If AA requirement isn't absolute, I think 100HS or 300HS is much better choice with better sensors and more, better features.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 11:45:13 AM PST
PFPNY says:
Thanks all! Rechargeable batteries are fine just not proprietary (even though Canon doesn't bug me). It's more so availability that I'm concerned with. I don't want a camera where I'm locked in to using only parts from the company and the company doesn't always have them or having to order online from some independent manufacturer that does special orders from a country I've never heard of that take three weeks to ship lol

So for me, it's just whatever camera gives me the most convenience in that way where I can likely just go to a store and get what I need and the pics that come out of it don't look like total poop. I'll look into the ones all of you suggested and pick something. Thanks again!!!

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 10:48:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 2:15:04 AM PST
Neo Lee says:
You've just filtered out the majority of lovely subcompact cameras by requiring the AA batteries. Your concern on the availability of proprietary batteries is very valid. As cameras get older their batteries get harder to find. There is a workable solution for me though, because like it or not, we have to live in harmony with proprietary Lithium batteries. I always order one or two extra batteries and a battery charger with the purchase of a camera (and phone, laptop). That way when one runs out, I can instantly put another one in and I won't miss a single shot. If one goes bad, there's always another one as backup.

Lithium batteries have their maximum number of charge cycles, 400 to 1200 recharges (Wikipedia), when the battery gets degraded so much that it won't hold a good charge anymore. A full charge allows you to shoot a couple hundred shots, so unless you're shooting hundreds of images everyday, you're not going to recharge everyday; therefore, the battery cycle durability of 400 charges will last many good years. You're probably not going to need a new battery within the first three years. If you have extra batteries to swap out, it will be long after you get a new camera before the batteries go bad.

Many alternative non-OEM batteries are pretty good for money. You can find two of these non-OEM batteries on Amazon/eBay for your electronic device for under $10 which may even include a battery charger and free shipping. There are of course resellers in the US if you don't feel like placing an order with offshore sellers.

$10 can buy two extra non-OEM batteries and a charger. There is such a package for Canon A3300 IS:
http://bit.ly/Ac9yLa

Let me add a little more. Many cameras today share the same Lithium battery with a couple other camera models, both old and new. Unlike laptops, cameras don't completely change to a different battery every year. Newer models will often use the very same battery from the older generation, so yeah all is not lost. The point is, there will be an extended period of time that you can readily find Lithium batteries for your camera.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 7:55:58 AM PST
I got two batteries for my rebel XT, and used them both with a grip. I upgraded that camera a year ago, but those batteries got a good level of use for 5 years+ and are still fine. Some batteries will fail sooner, of course, but in general, I agree with Neo, batteries are just something you put up with. Drop them on the charger before bedtime, and when you get up to go, make sure you have your batteries and memory cards.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 8:08:08 AM PST
T. Campbell says:
I describe batteries as being a bit like tires for your car. They will last a very long time... but they won't last forever. Once every few years, you should expect to replace them. This is not a defect... just normal maintenance.

There are some things to keep in mind about batteries... they don't to like to be neglected. If you buy spare batteries, don't just leave a primary battery in your camera all the time and a 2nd battery that's always the spare. Rotate them. I number my batteries to make sure they all get relatively even use. For the same reason, I don't believe in owning an excessive number of spare batteries (because you won't be able to use them all enough for good battery health.) I used to do this... but my batteries that pretty much never got used would drain dead just from sitting idle and I'd learn that those batteries really didn't want to take a charge anymore. They went bad FASTER than the batteries that got regular use.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 8:19:29 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 8:44:36 AM PST
PFPNY says:
Okay, everyone. I narrowed it down to two cameras.

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS
Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 4X Optical Zoom (Silver)

Or

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530 14.1 MP Digital Still Camera with Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 4x Wide-Angle Optical Zoom Lens and 2.7-inch LCD (Silver) (OLD MODEL)

Either would be fine as far as features, this isn't a life-altering decision lol But which one would you pick if all you were taking into consideration is image quality?

I found these two links comparing them.

http://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=canon_ixus115hs&products=sony_dscw530

http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon-ELPH-100HS-vs-Sony-W530/score

Any thoughts? Thanks!

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 8:54:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 11:32:23 AM PST
aznpoet says:
I think both are comparable in picture taking capabilities in terms of your specified needs, although I tend to favor Canon P&S over all others (and I'm a Nikon DSLR guy).

The reason I dislike Sony is that lot of their accessory stuff is proprietary, including the cables, batteries and the memory card. Sony Memory Stick / Memory Stick Pro / ProDuo are Sony's PROPRIETARY memory card and are incompatible with ubiquitous SD card system used by all other P&S cameras. Most newer laptops will have a SD card slot but not the memory stick slot unless you buy a Sony Vaio laptop.

Sony model you mention is a discontinued model, replaced by Cyber-shot DSC-W560, which CAN use both memory stick AND SD cards. I think DSC-W530 does too. Sony announced intention to incorporate SD card sytem into their cameras in 2010.

With Canon, the Lithium Ion battery NB-4L used in 100 HS, is also used in some other Canon models, both current and previous models. Therefore, if you update with another Canon, you might even be able to use that spare battery.

Posted on Mar 1, 2012 9:00:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 9:01:33 AM PST
PFPNY says:
Thanks! Whoops! Didn't realize that was discontinued ha. I own a lot of Canon cameras and I've never had any complaints and do like the fact that so much of their accessories carry over into their other models. I think I'll go with that one. I'm sure I'll be happy with it for what I need.

Thank you and thanks everyone else too!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 7:55:18 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 1, 2012 8:13:41 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
Actually Sony DSC-W530 got replaced by Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W620 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Black) (New Model) in January 2012, and it's not selling; no reviews nothing. W530 is an older camera that records video in only 480p. Newer cameras can record in 720p or even 1080p.

If you're swayed to the Sony side (well Sony one looks smaller and cute), you will want to check out the Sony DSC-W570 instead. W570 has image stabilization. W570 lens opens up larger at f/2.6 and collects more light when zoom all the way out. More light collection generally means better image quality for low light environments. It's also slightly smaller than the W620. Amazon is selling it new for $150, but TigerDirect is selling a refurbished for $108. TigerDirect's refurbished cameras are hand tested by third-party professionals and carry 90-day warranty. Link to the deal: http://bit.ly/wH44ba

P.S. I actually feel bad when I have to redirect people to shops other than Amazon due to the lower price. After all, this discussion is made possible by Amazon forum. Okay so Amazon has a *factory* refurbished W570 but at $115 + $9 shipping. Factory refurbished cameras are sent back to the manufacturers to inspect and test.

Posted on Mar 5, 2012 9:58:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 5, 2012 10:36:14 PM PST
DrBob says:
I bought my wife a Canon Elph 300HS last year for $230. Last seen in Costco @ $170. Smallest camera at the time with a very good 24mm wideangle t0 120mm (5x) tele zoom. For the vast majority of pictures I have taken, the extra wideangle coverage is more useful than tele, especially indoors. VERY feature-rich with amazing full-HD STEREO video. The newer 310 HS sacrifices 24mm for 28 mm, but gives you lots more tele with 8x zoom. My wife and I are both highly satisfied with the 300 HS.

The Li-ion battery is MUCH smaller than a pair of AA or AAA, and lasts longer. If you buy the newer nonrechargeable lithiums to get adequate life, you are paying up to $5 per load; 8 of these loads could buy you a tiny OEM Canon spare you can drop into a back pocket and carry about. And reuse hundreds of times!

The new 310 HS and 110 HS seem similar, but I think a closeout or used 300 HS will do what you want within your budget. Just remember these tiny cameras need to be treated with care, so get a small case for it.

Good luck!

BTW: What an intelligent group this is! I agree with every post. :-)

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera (Black)

Note: The black model has a textured finish that makes it noticeably more secure to hold than the other finishes.

Posted on Mar 6, 2012 3:03:54 AM PST
Tom Martin says:
PFPNY says: *** RESOLVED ***

What did you end up getting?

Posted on Mar 17, 2012 2:52:13 AM PDT
I just jumped into this thread as I have recently resolved this issue for myself by buying the Canon ELPH 300HS and I love it. Hence, I totally agree with Dr Bob. While the 300HS price started out high, it has come down and is well worth the approximately $170 that is advertised on Amazon. One feature that I particularly like, and convinced me to buy the Canon, is that the camera starts up and is ready to shoot in about 1/2 a second. Yes, just half a second; rather than the 2-5 seconds many cameras require. I also love the 24mm wide angle capability and that is better, imho, than the 28mm offered on the newer 310HS model. The 300HS is so thin and light that it REALLY can fit in your shirt pocket and not weight the shirt down. Really handy and ready to go. So..... What did you finally get?

Posted on Mar 17, 2012 8:23:27 AM PDT
PFPNY says:
Hey Tom! Sorry, I thought I wrote it, I just ended up getting the Canon 100 HS and it's fine for what I needed.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2012 8:48:26 AM PDT
Tom Martin says:
Canon makes great point and shoot cameras.
I still have a working Canon Digital Elph S100 that I purchased almost 12 years ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2012 5:45:27 PM PDT
Neo Lee says:
Mine's still working too. That's one rugged metal camera.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  20
Initial post:  Feb 29, 2012
Latest post:  Mar 17, 2012

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