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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:35 pm 
Hi friends, welcome to the hunt for the best compact!

If you're looking for a new compact too, please join and tell your experiences!

As I already stated here:

I am looking for a new compact. Well originally I didn't thought it'd be that hard to find something that suits my needs. My last compact, the Olympus C-460 Zoom, I just bought from the shelf without really caring of what's inside. I just needed a compact with good picture quality for a good price and the store owner convinced me.
Now, that I know how to use the internet's informational power it became quite difficult for me to find a perfect compact and that's why I'm asking for your help...

So what I am looking for is the following:

General: a pocket-sized travel camera. It may have a grip or something, but shouldn't have a DSLR-size (=> no superzoom).
Lens: some kind of wide angle. Doesn't need to be 28mm but should below 35mm with some zoom, at least 3x, 5x would be great.
Sensor: 7MP or more
Sensitivity: should have low ISO settings (below 100) *
Battery: would prefer standard AA
Housing: should be able to stand some raindrops
Prize: around 200EUR

* hm okay, why do I want low ISO-settings while everyone is crying for higher ISO-values? - That's because of my experiences with my old Olympus. I have taken a lot of shots under non-perfect conditions and always got nearly noise-free results. As I saw quite a lot of noisy and grainy pictures in different reviews I investigated a little and found the following:
It seems that my Olympus works like as if the automatic starts with ISO50 and if a longer exposure than 0.5 sec is needed, sensititvity and exposure are turned up to ISO320 and 2sec of exp or so.
That results in quite good picture quality and 'real' use of the 4MP. Now I saw quite a lot of sample pictures from different camera models in reviews and found that they performed quite bad/noisy already under standard conditions (landscape, good weather) and with ISO100.
I compared the pictures to the ones from my camera (I sometimes photographed the same things as the reviewers from the same positions) and realized that they (8MP and 10MP) were not better in detail than mine (4MP). I partly blame that on the high ISO values generally used. I bet that the photos would be better and free of noise and artefacts if they're taken at lower ISO values and longer exposure times. That's why I want a camera that offers lower ISO settings than 100.

What I'd like to know from you now is what compact cameras you're using beside DSLRs to get good results? Maybe you could advise a model?

Thanks and best regards,

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 3:18 pm 
If you are happy with the Olympus that you have, there is a newer model

The Olympus 1030 (10MP, 3,6x zoom) has ISO 80 and is waterproof (10meters). It also has wide angle lens. No idea if it takes good pics though...

 Post subject: Compact camera
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 8:19 pm 
I've used the Casio EXZ1000 and 1200 (made in Japan version only) and they use larger sensors than most compacts, hence the excellent images. If I were looking for the best image quality, I would limit my investigation to cameras with sensors of 1/1.7 size or larger.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 9:55 pm 
Heya, thanks for the replies,

Well yea, I checked out the Olympus 1030, but got to hear that it has a quite "dull" image quality. That's no surprise for me since for all the stability they needed to use thick materials... Also the price is a little to high for my taste and the image quality it's said to have.

Right Dalethorn, the larger the sensor the more light can be used and the more effective the camera works. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find some kind of list of existing 1/1.7 sensor cameras. Beside the two casios I didn't found any (which means nothing since I wasn't even able to get the sensor sizes from some manufacturer sites). Do you have any ideas / resources where one could find such infos?

Best regards,

 Post subject: Sensor size
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:27 am 
The forum editors here say that they list sensor sizes somewhere.... I usually just go to google and enter something like "TZ5 sensor size". always has sensor sizes in the beginning part of their reviews.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 9:45 am 
Wow, thanks! The resources at dpreview are really worth a look.
Using it's search functions I came up with a really cool camera which seems to be just perfect for my needs: The Canon S80.

It features:
- 1/1.7" sensor with ISO50 - 400; 8MP
- nice metal housing with sliding lens cover (!)
- wide angle lens (28mm with comparable very good quality)
- optical viewfinder (80% coverage)
- quite good interface
and besides that it looks very good and the sample pictures are comparable to DSLR quality when good conditions were present. Only the dynamic range is not so high as on newer models.

Now besides this the S80 has one major downside: It's not available any more...

When the cam came onto the market it's price was about 500$, but I'd expect it to have dropped within the last two years...

Does anybody have a tip where I could still get this camera? Are there any successors that feature a similar sensor?

Best regards,

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 10:11 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9886
Location: UK
I provided an indication of the physical size of "compact" sensors in this post. The numbers are only a guide and shouldn't be taken too literally. I think there's another way to find out the sensor size if the manufacturer lists both the actual focal lengths of the zoom range as well as the full-frame equivalents. That gives you the "crop factor" which can then be divided into the 36 x 24 mm dimensions of a full-frame sensor, assuming that the compact has a 3:2 aspect ratio of course.

Good luck with your search. 8)


Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 11:29 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9978
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
If you go to our latest cameras menu you'll find lists of cameras by manufacturer and those specs include the sensor size. I realise some of the listings are a little out of date, but that's because I've been reviewing the latest cameras for you rather than updating the listings!

If we don't have the camera you want listed, I'd advise going to the manufacturer's website. I know some other sites have deliberately put incorrect information in their specs in the past in an attempt to see which other ones have just copied them.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 1:08 pm 
From Wikipedia:


Click for the huge version.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:33 pm 
hm okay, thanks to all for all your help. After quite a lot of investigations, reading data sheets and manuals, I think it's time to make a decision now.

I will most probably spend nearly twice as more as I intended and go for the Panasonic TZ5, altough it has "only" a 1/2.33" sensor (but it could be worse!).

Any further suggestions / cameras I should have a second look at before I make the final decision?

Best regards,

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:42 pm 
What about the Cannon G9?

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