Compact camera choice - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 12-16-2013   #1
 
cataraftgirl's Avatar
 
Sandy, Utah
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Compact camera choice

Hey Buzzards. Looking for some recommendations on a small-medium compact camera that takes good pictures and video. I've done a search on MB, and the threads I've found are discussing DSLR cameras with interchangeable lens. I'm looking for something simpler. Doesn't have to be water proof. I keep my Pelican case strapped right next to me on my raft frame.

Last year I did a ton of research & reading, and decided on a Panasonic DMC ZS20. It had outstanding reviews. Not too small, felt good in my hand, took good videos. Picture quality was terrible. Very fuzzy. I tried different settings and auto setting. All my pictures were way soft. These were all outdoor, daylight photos. I was super bummed when I got back home from my river trip and saw how bad the pictures were.

For years I've used my trusty Fuji S5000. Not a compact, but fits my hand like a glove and takes awesome pictures. But it's 10 years old, and doesn't take HD video. I also have a Kodak Playsport waterproof video camera that I mount on my raft for "boat cam" video. The Playsport takes good video as long as you don't zoom in too much, and pictures are mediocre at best. Not looking for a helmet cam.

So..... I'm still looking for that one camera that does it all. It doesn't have to be a small pocket cam, or waterproof. I'm ok with a medium sized camera with a decent grip, since that's what I'm used to with my Fuji. All advice much appreciated. Also advice on whether I'm doing something wrong with the Panasonic that can be remedied. I'd love to stay under $300-$350 if possible. I'm not a pro photographer, don't want GPS or lots of manual control features. Just want decent clear pics & video.

Thanks

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Old 12-16-2013   #2
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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I have a Canon G10 that I use mostly for dive photography. It's a great camera- nearly the same results as a DSLR, but in a much more compact size- and with a nice handgrip. Body is magnesium, so it's light and tough. Not waterproof- but I think the G series is a good place for you to start your search. I've had the best luck with Canon and Panasonic compacts- others seem to suffer from slow shutters or processing speeds. I like to have the option to shoot in RAW mode, so my photo edit software has more to work with. The G series offers that. Latest version is the G16 They went away from the flip down screen- which I view as a plus. Less things to break. My G10 has the fixed screen, and I was disappointed that they went away from that for a while... but they probably go sick of fixing broken screens?!

Here's an example from my G10




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Old 12-16-2013   #3
 
Crested Butte, Colorado
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I have Nikon's competitor to the Canon G series called P7700. It's great and pretty compact with a larger sensor than standard point and shoots so better quality.
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Old 12-16-2013   #4
 
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Sandy, Utah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
I have a Canon G10 that I use mostly for dive photography. It's a great camera- nearly the same results as a DSLR, but in a much more compact size- and with a nice handgrip. Body is magnesium, so it's light and tough. Not waterproof- but I think the G series is a good place for you to start your search. I've had the best luck with Canon and Panasonic compacts- others seem to suffer from slow shutters or processing speeds. I like to have the option to shoot in RAW mode, so my photo edit software has more to work with. The G series offers that. Latest version is the G16 They went away from the flip down screen- which I view as a plus. Less things to break. My G10 has the fixed screen, and I was disappointed that they went away from that for a while... but they probably go sick of fixing broken screens?!

Here's an example from my G10




Thanks. I've not tried a Canon before. Looks like the G10 is hard to find or really expensive. The new model G16 is $499 on Amazon. The Canon S120 @$399 might also be a good option? Do you know anything about that camera?
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Old 12-16-2013   #5
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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yeah- the G10 is quite dated at this point.... so for guys like me with a substantial investment in UW gear, replacing it is gonna mean dipping into the used market and getting hosed.

The S series take nearly the same quality images- really outstanding stuff for such a small camera- BUT.... you specifically stated ease of handling. The S series is really compact and without a whole lot of texture. There is (I believe) an aftermarket "bump" for your fingers that you can add on- The one handed security of the G series shape is a big plus for me on a boat. It just "fits" in your hand without having to really hold it. The S series is gonna require more focus to keep it in hand- not a big benefit when you're in an open boat.

The best forum I know for camera review is DPReview.com They haven't done a full review of the G16 yet.... but they've got a TON of info for you to surf thru


First Impressions Review: Using the Canon PowerShot G16: Digital Photography Review


They have a full review of the G15... and links to some great pricing on that unit right now. I wouldn't shy away from a previous model- the whole series has been outstanding. I'd check with B&H photo in NYC. I do all my photo buying from them-- they've been outstanding to deal with for many many years.
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Old 12-16-2013   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osseous View Post
yeah- the G10 is quite dated at this point.... so for guys like me with a substantial investment in UW gear, replacing it is gonna mean dipping into the used market and getting hosed.

The S series take nearly the same quality images- really outstanding stuff for such a small camera- BUT.... you specifically stated ease of handling. The S series is really compact and without a whole lot of texture. There is (I believe) an aftermarket "bump" for your fingers that you can add on- The one handed security of the G series shape is a big plus for me on a boat. It just "fits" in your hand without having to really hold it. The S series is gonna require more focus to keep it in hand- not a big benefit when you're in an open boat.

The best forum I know for camera review is DPReview.com They haven't done a full review of the G16 yet.... but they've got a TON of info for you to surf thru


First Impressions Review: Using the Canon PowerShot G16: Digital Photography Review


They have a full review of the G15... and links to some great pricing on that unit right now. I wouldn't shy away from a previous model- the whole series has been outstanding. I'd check with B&H photo in NYC. I do all my photo buying from them-- they've been outstanding to deal with for many many years.
Thanks. I'll do some reading. I know what you mean able the "feel" of the camera. In 10 years of grabbing the Fuji out of my Pelican case on the fly, I've never felt like it was "going swimming." Can't really tuck it in a PFD pocket for a hike or to scout a rapid, but I guess that's where the Kodak Playsport comes in handy. I'll look at B&H to compare prices.
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Old 12-16-2013   #7
 
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Charge through USP port?

I just picked up a Fuji XP but haven't really used it enough to have a recommendation.

Supposedly it's water proof, shock proof, and all that but I haven't even had it long enough to drop it on pavement.

One thing that occurred to me is whether there are any cameras that will recharge the battery through the USB connection. Seems like this would be a great feature for a camera made for going places.

f anyone knows of one I'd like to know.

Thanks,

-AH
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Old 12-17-2013   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy H. View Post
I just picked up a Fuji XP but haven't really used it enough to have a recommendation.

Supposedly it's water proof, shock proof, and all that but I haven't even had it long enough to drop it on pavement.

One thing that occurred to me is whether there are any cameras that will recharge the battery through the USB connection. Seems like this would be a great feature for a camera made for going places.

f anyone knows of one I'd like to know.

Thanks,

-AH
Good point Andy. Looks like some of them use the LI batteries that you can't charge through USB. I know my Playsport has a USB port, and I think the Panasonic I bought last year does. Definitely a plus if you can charge that way. Otherwise it looks like you have to buy & carry extra batteries. I carry a New Trent power pack with me for camera & Nook recharges.
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Old 12-17-2013   #9
 
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After thread searching on here and other web research, I got a good deal on a Nikon Coolpix AW110, waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof. Ive been using and testing it out a lot. Its waterproof and freezeproof and takes very good pics and video both underwater and on land. Also a built in GPS, nothing to navigate off of but its cool for tracking where youve been and how far youve traveled between photos.
Heres a couple links that may help waterproof is nice for boating camera.

2013 Waterproof Camera Roundup: Digital Photography Review

Which waterproof camera should I buy? Six waterproof cameras reviewed - Opinion - Trusted Reviews
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Old 12-17-2013   #10
 
Enfield, New Hampshire
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Re camera

I would stick with the Playsport.Its a reliable easy to use, easy to mount anywhere with a foam block type of camera. It just does not have the bells and whistles that you really don't need. I have had mine for 3 yrs and after reading specs and reviews of all the others always go back to it.The only 2 drawbacks I have seen are: its not good in low light, and it does not give depth to rapids and other features.
Recently the one other cam that sort of interested me was the JVC adixxion vid camera. Its quite bit more expensive, depending on where you buy from, and 1 reviewer said that the video button jammed in the on position within a few mths of use.
I would stick with the Playsport till it dies.
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