Need help choosing a P&S

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Lauren47, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. Lauren47

    Lauren47 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all - I am new to the forum and am looking for some advice on which P&S camera would be best for my needs. I am an amateur looking to take a step up in terms of quality, but not to DSLR level of complexity!

    Right now I have a Canon A1000is and I hate it. The photos look grainy, dark and flat, no matter how much I experiment with settings.

    I am going to use the camera primarily to photograph people (children) indoors and outdoors. Maybe some travel/scenery photography. The Canon I have seems to perform particularly poorly indoors, so I am looking for a camera that can handle lower light situations. Ideally I would like images that look more "dimensional" like an SLR - I realize you can't get exactly that without an actual SLR!

    I have looked at cameras such as the Canon SX20is, as well as less expensive like the Nikon S6000 and the Fuji F200EXR. Besides superzoom, I don't really understand the difference between a $250 camera and a $400 one. Is the SX20is more than I need?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Don't be afraid of a DSLR, it doesn't have to be complex if you don't want it to be. But it will allow you to grow into your photographic hobby and won't limit you the way a P&S will.
     
  3. mrpink

    mrpink No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Cannon S90.





    p!nK
     
  4. Lauren47

    Lauren47 TPF Noob!

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    Mr. Pink - would you mind giving me a rundown of the difference between the s90 and sx20is? On the surface it seems with the sx20is I get much more zoom for around the same price. I know it can't be that simple, but as an amateur I don't really know what to look for. What's the s90 advantage? Thanks!
     
  5. emh

    emh TPF Noob!

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    Canon G11 or S90.

    Both of those have a slightly larger sensor than most P&S cameras. That will help get better low-light shots. Not as good as an SLR, but better than a typical P&S. They also give you the flexibility of a pretty good degree of manual control.

    I would suggest avoiding super-zoom cameras like the SX20 unless you absolutely need that level of zoom. The only way to get that much zoom into a small camera at a reasonable price is to use a tiny sensor and lower quality glass. Both factors will degrade image quality -- grainy low-light pictures, purple fringing (and other chromatic aberrations), distortion (especially at the wide end) etc.
     
  6. Lauren47

    Lauren47 TPF Noob!

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    How do you determine a camera's sensor size? what is a minimum to look for? sorry if this is really obvious, maybe i am overlooking something.... i see every spec in the world listed but not for the sensor.... not sure what to look for. Thanks again!
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This site lists all the specs, including sensor size....Digital Cameras: Digital Photography Review, News, Reviews, Forums, FAQ
    For example...Canon EOS 550D digital camera specifications: Digital Photography Review

    The important thing to know is that 99.9% of 'non-SLR' (mostly P&S) digital cameras have a rather small sensor (about the size of your pinky nail).
    Most DSLR cameras have a sensor that is significantly bigger. Canon & Nikon for example, have what we call an APS-C sized sensor in most of their DSLR cameras. The top end DSLR cameras have what we call a 'Full Frame' sensor, which is bigger yet...it's the same size as a frame of 35mm film. Full frame cameras are very expensive though.
     

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