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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:09 pm 
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Location: Syracuse, NY
I used to love photography, but unfortunately I don't really have time for it anymore. As my lifestyle becomes more and more active, I find myself still longing to take photos, but also limited by the size and hassle of using my DSLR.

This is not a new thought for me, but I need a point and shoot that I can toss in my pocket or bag and have with me when I decide to go for a spur of the moment snowshoeing trip or such.

I'm rather "out of the loop" on the current P&S camera market, so I'm asking for some advice here: What camera should I get as a grab and go for adventures?

Features that would be nice:
Cheap (Not optional, necessary..Think <$200)
Full Manual
Rugged
relatively good zoom
not too big

Thanks everyone! Happy shooting and happy adventures!

Jake!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
I think it's quite hard to find such a compact for <200, thought about used cameras?
If yes, Panasonic's new cameras (TZ-series) have full manual, and dont forget the Canon G-series!
Used they must be around $200.
A superzoom is too big isnt it? If not, the FZ28/FZ38 from Panasonic is very good too with a very long zoomrange.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:41 pm 
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The Canon SX130 IS seems to meet the criteria. You can see Gordon's review here. Whatever camera you decide on, don't forget to purchase through the Camera Labs affiliate links.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:38 am 
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Hey thanks for the input guys!
@Theorigamist: I was really excited when I read the specs, but I wanted to see how large it actually was, so I youtubed a video, and got some bad vibes about battery life. Given the intended use, I'd like to have good battery life.

I went with Ruben's Advice and looked into the Panasonics, I came across the ZR3, which seems to fit most of the bill. I think for the price range I'm going to have to sacrifice the manual, unless I went with a cheap canon and CHDK'd it.

That said I'm currently at a toss up between the zr3 and the Canon A3000IS (which doesn't have CHDK--yet.) I'm going to give it some time and keep looking.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 4:51 am 
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According to Gordon's review, with good rechargeable batteries the SX130 gets about 370 shots per pair of AA batteries. It's pretty cheap (in space and money) to carry a couple spares or even a couple sets of spares. I don't know which video on Youtube you saw. I found this one which complained about the battery life, but in the comments other users pointed out, as Gordon did, that the battery life with the cheap alkalines included with the camera is terrible, but quality batteries have better battery life. For the SX130 IS or any other camera you look at that takes AA batteries, you should consider buying Sanyo Eneloops. These are very good rechargeable AA batteries.

On a separate note, the Panasonic ZR3 only gets 330 shots per charge according to Panasonic's web site and uses a proprietary battery pack rather than AA batteries. At only $10 cheaper than the Canon, I don't think I would sacrifice the manual mode if battery life was your only reason for considering the ZR3 over the SX130 IS.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:00 am 
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Location: St. John's, NL, Canada
Get a waterpoof/shock proof... You might not want "underwater" shots, but being able to have it out in the rain with no care in the world is great :)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:59 pm 
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The Canon SX130 IS is a fine camerea, aside from it's strange design and the somewhat disappointing battery life. As theorigamist mentioned, the Eneloops would be a good choice. I agree; I've been using the Eneloops for quite some time and get some good results. It's better than the terrible copper-top AAs from Duracell, and it's cheaper than the Energizer lithium batteries.

The Powershot has some great features, such as the full manual mode with manual focus, the great zoom, the 720p video mode and it's plethora of little perks such as the colour swap or the digital macro mode. Although remember that the battery life certainly is a letdown!

Whether you go for the Panasonic or the Canon, be sure that you get those Eneloops! You won't regret it!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:39 am 
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EvanK wrote:
Whether you go for the Panasonic or the Canon, be sure that you get those Eneloops! You won't regret it!

As I said in my previous post, the Panasonic appears to use a proprietary battery pack rather than AA batteries. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. But the page I previously linked to suggested this.) If you go with the Panasonic, get an extra battery pack (either Panasonic or third party) rather than the Eneloops.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:00 am 
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I was referring to Panasonics in general, the ones that take AA batteries. Although that's not to say that the DMC-ZR3 is a bad camera. If you do go for the DMC-ZR3, the Eneloops would be useless!

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:45 pm 
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The thing about AA battery power - even though some may not last as long as proprietary battery packs, you can readily find replacement batteries just about anywhere in the world.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:54 pm 
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For about ten dollars I bought my father a new battery with 2 times the capacity of the original one from eBay.

Be warned not all the Panasonic cameras have manual modes!

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Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:59 am
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Location: Pella, IA, USA
Quote:
Get a waterpoof/shock proof... You might not want "underwater" shots, but being able to have it out in the rain with no care in the world is great


Pentax Optio W90. 5XZoom = 28-140mm and it's waterproof, shockproof, coldproof and dustptoof. Sounds like a great camera for hiking and price is under $200.

...I loved my Pentax WR90 and it was built tough.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:12 am 
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Quote:
The thing about AA battery power - even though some may not last as long as proprietary battery packs, you can readily find replacement batteries just about anywhere in the world.


True, they're a universal battery. If you need more, just run into a shop and buy them (Although I'd recommend just taking a bunch with you, some stores can get away with selling things to tourists for outrageous prices!). When I discovered that the Pentax Kx took AA batteries, I was a bit surprised. Although they're available in more places, they can't get you as many shots as a li-ion battery would/charge.

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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 Post subject: Canon SX130is
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:35 am 
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Location: Western Australia
I just purchased a Canon SX130is, as I wanted a travel zoom, rather than a super zoom or DSLR. Despite the minor negatives due to the operation life of standard AA batteries and other little quirks, I went for the Canon over the Panasonics and other travel zooms. With the excellent retail price and the image quality, I considered it a good buy. I wasn't too concerned with the ergonomics as I preferred the 130 over the others, as I have large hands. In case if you were wondering if I have a brand preference...my previous digital camera was a Panasonic super zoom. A great camera, but I needed something smaller, and yet provide a super zoom. The 130 only takes 2 AA batteries, and I vouch for the previous posts to buy rechargable batteries. And if they do unexpectly run down, you can buy standard AAs from a local store.


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