|Forum topic by Underdog||posted 01-19-2013 02:21 PM||950 views||0 times favorited||7 replies|
01-19-2013 02:21 PM
I’m looking for recommendations on a point and shoot camera. I’d like one with good macro focus and light/white balance metering qualities. I primarily use a camera for taking stills of woodturning projects. That’s not to say I wouldn’t like one that would work well for landscape, vacation, and social occasions. And one that took pretty good movies wouldn’t go amiss for youtube videos.
What follows is a fairly lengthy account of my experience with two cameras. If you want, you can skip over that to the last paragraph, and just give your recommendations. Also I’m looking to stay under $200. I paid less than $100 for the A410 and SZ-20 mentioned below. I’m not interested in entry level SLRs because I have neither the means nor the will, to spend $500-$600 on a camera, and then add several thou$and in accessories and lenses, so please don’t waste your time.
I formerly received for my birthday, a Canon A410 3.2 megapixel with the old style CCD sensor. It sounds clunky compared to the features and specifications of today. Actually, it had a great interface, and it was a real joy to use. You hardly had to think about it to get good pictures with the auto settings. It also had a fair range of manual settings when one wanted to dial in white balance, ISO, and exposure settings for stills.
And use it I did – all the time for approximately 5 years. I took it everywhere; to turning club meetings, to my shop, to work, on vacations, on walks and errands. It met it’s demise on my last trip. Either the sensor or a ribbon failed, and any photos were grainy and filled with lines.
Thinking to upgrade this camera, I bought a Olympus SZ-20. It’s a 16 megapixel camera with the new CMOS sensor, and a greater range of ISO, and exposure settings. It has a 35X optical zoom and a 2cm macro. Also it will take better movies. (After all the Canon didn’t have any sound whatsoever, and it’s frame rate was really sketchy. With all those obviously superior features, how could I lose?
Well. The Olympus proved to be a great disappointment. For stills, it’s an abysmal failure. The first thing is that for some odd reason, Olympus decided to reset the timer feature after each shot. It won’t stay set. Then to make it worse one must scroll down a list of settings to get to set the timer settings. To make that even more excruciating, they put on one of those darn fiddly scroll wheels, which, more often than not has you selecting the wrong feature… There’s no HDR feature on this camera (where you combine three shots with three different exposures) so one must use a software HDR. But with the timer the way it is, even with a rock solid tripod, I suspect that fiddly scroll wheel and the stupid timer feature would make even the software HDR useless.
So much for taking 50-100 still shots with ease.
The worst thing is that focusing and metering are unreliable. On any backlit shot, indoors, outdoors, at close range or from 20 feet away, the exposure was nearly always incorrect. I took a trip around UGA campus with the family in late afternoon and the exposures were terrible. I took a trip to Tallulah Gorge and the exposures were terrible. I took closeup shots of flowers in broad daylight and the focusing and the exposures were terrible.
There are also little nit picky things about the camera I didn’t like either, like the overlarge loop on the lanyard. It hardly does any good when the thing slips off your wrist, over your hand, past the camera, and then dangles from the camera like a wily escape artist. I finally knotted the darn thing to keep from dropping the camera.
Another thing that’s fairly annoying is that there’s no hard copy of the manual. Last thing I want to do is scroll through an on board manual, and repeat searches through the manual while eating up the batteries. And it does eat up that proprietary battery with that large LCD screen. The nice thing about the A410 was I could use AA batteries. With 8 rechargeables, I could have 4 in the charger, 2 in the case, and 2 in the camera,
Also there are a bunch of bell and whistle presets on the SZ-20 – which are nice if the thing will take good pictures, but really useless if not.
To top it all off I kept getting “picture errors” message when I went to review shots I’d taken. At first I put it down to the clunky little SD card I had. After getting a much bigger SDHC card, I still got those “picture error” messages, so I figure the camera is just screwed up. It’s got some glitchy thing that if all the settings are a little hinky, makes it error out.
Anyway, I’m looking for something to upgrade my old Canon that will be an equally easy camera to use.
Thanks for your attention and recommendation.
-- "woodworker with an asterisk"