Digital cameras forum: What pocket-sized camera should I buy?

by: shiphen3 September 27, 2013 3:59 PM PDT

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What pocket-sized camera should I buy?

by shiphen3 - 9/27/13 3:59 PM

Hi

Please can anyone suggest what camera I should buy.

> Budget
Not sure, say: GBP 200 - 450 (at a pinch)

> Size
Must be EXTREMELY 'pocket-able'. I want it to be in my pocket without noticing. Ideally I am aiming at less that 250g, and less than c35mm thicknesss (depth). As much as humanly possible this means flat sides with nothing sticking out. No big fat lenses that wont retract.

> Usage
Social portraits, insects (e.g. butterflies), landscape/views.

> ZOOM
A fair degree of telephoto is the most important.
I am assuming that this means that really good image stabilisation will be important as a result.
I need a slightly wide angle (say 35mm) to at at least 220mm, maybe much more, so long as it does adversely affect image quality a normal focal lenghts (e.g. 100mm)

> Resolution
Not sure... pixel count is NOT super-important to me.
12PM would probably suffice, (maybe up to 14 or 16MP?)
Much more important is quality of the CCD, i,.e. the colour accuracy and the ability to not lose detail in bright highlights and dark shadows...
I would say RAW was important but not if it means a shot-to-shot lag of more than c.1.5 seconds.

> Image quality
On a scale of 1-10, I'd say 9!

> exposure modes
Not fussed.

> Print size
Large sometimes

> Llow light photos?
Yes, sometimes - although telephoto more important.

> Action photos?
Only occasionally

> Brands
I like Canon. Then Nikon. Maybe Fujifilm. Possibly Lumix, Sony. Dont very much like Richoh, Pentax, Olympus

> Macro
One think I want to emphasize is insect photography (esp butterflies). This requires a good macro lens but with *intermediate* focusing distances possible too - i.e. not just jumping straight to full macro.

> Swivel screen
Nobody seems to mentioned swivel screens (!) This could be v useful for photographing:
a) an insect at arm's length (in some bush etc)
b) photographing people (without everyone getting self-conscious)

> Raw
I cant decide about Raw. One review quoted 2 seconds between shots to save a JPEG but a full 6 seconds (of the camera being useless, btw) whilst storing Raw. To me delays between shots shouldnt be much more than 1 second.

> Lag
None of the reviews I can find seems to be talking about shutter lag. i.e. The time between pressing the shutter and actually taking the photo. This is probably the most irritating feature of modern digital cameras. I don't know what the norms are but surely we shouldnt need to wait for more than a small fraction of a second (0.2secs?) for the photo to be taken, particularly if lens focus has already been done.

> Pocket-able?
From what I can see 233g (e.g. Canon SX280 HS) is starting to get slightly heavy... and the thickness (depth) shouldnt be more than 30mm... although perhaps the most important is to have smooth sides with no lumps and bumps sticking out.
I agree that most of the models I was citing are definitely not pocket-able enough, having thought about it.

> Flash
Yes point taken about panda eyes. A *subtle* flash in bright sunlight can do wonders, it's just that I'm not sure how you make sure that it's only a very subtle effect, particularly when shooting indoors!

> Video
I don't (yet) know much about video, but reasonable video will be important too, as I will need to shoot some videos for a website promotion to go on youtube.
I am thinking full HD (1080p) would be a good place to start. But I am confused about frames per second. 24? 60?

> EVF (electronic view finder)
Very few of the pocket-able cameras have this and I cant decide how important that will be to me. (e.g. Lumix DMC-LF1). I can see this would be useful in bright sunlight, and without ready readers, my old eyes now only just focus at aprox. full arm's length...(!) on the down-side though, using an EVF makes it very obvious that you are talking a photo, and taking insect/butterfly photos you may/may not be able to get your head that close too.
All things considered, I'd much rather have a really good swivelling screen!

> Other review sites
I am getting extremely frustrated by dpreview.com not actually reviews many of the cameras I 'm interested in. Yes, the reviews on this site are amazingly comprehensive, but if the reviews are missing where else does good quality reviews (or are we banned from discussing this subject on this site??)

Cameras
Here are some cameras that I now considering, based on reading reviews:

- Sony HX20V (although a bit fat [34.6mm] and heavy [254g]

- Lumix TZ40 (thin 27.7mm, light 172mm, long telephoto 480mm, good stabilisation, but is the lens quality high enough? also 18MP is stupidly high!)

- Lumix DMC-LF1 (up to 200mm [just ok for me??], EVF, F2 [so good at low light], fast-ish shot-to-shot [0.8secs] but what's the lens quality like? and slightly expensive at c. £329)

- Canon SX280 HS (long telephoto up to 500mm, fast boot time 1.5secs, 'excellent' image stabiliser, 1080p video at upto 60fps... BUT rather short battery life 210shots, slow shot-to-shot time (1.5secs?, suspiciously cheap at c. £210)


Sorry the above has become so long (!!) but...

...any suggestions?

J

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