Shandrew (shandrew) wrote,
Shandrew
shandrew

Cameraquest 2009

Shiny tomatoes

After over two years without a tiny point-and-shoot digital camera, I've finally decided to get one before our vacation this winter. My Canon SD200's screen cracked way back when and it's actually still functional but a bit difficult to use without being able to see anything. The big thing is that there are finally worthy successors to my SD200. The candidates:

Canon SD90 (the photographer's dream)
Pros: Best low light quality of any compact camera to date. ISO800 on it looks as good as or better than ISO1600 on my D40, rather amazing given that the sensor on it is 1/8 the size, plus it can do f/2.0 on the wide end! Interface probably targeted towards advanced photographers.
Cons: Ridiculously slow continuous shooting: 0.9 fps...wtf? My four-year-old SD200 does 2.4 fps, and every other high-end compact does at least 2 fps. Looks a month or two late from the original ship date so who knows what kind of quality issues it ran into. No reviews of it exist (!) except for a couple brief previews and sample photos. I read that Amazon might get shipped some at the end of the month, but it looks like the S90 might be in short supply for some time. Larger than i would like, barely pocketable. Non-wide video quality about as good as my four-year-old SD200.

Panasonic ZR1/ZX1 (the current leader)
Pros: Extra-wide AND long lens. Very thin. Decent 720p video. Good high ISO quality. Inexpensive. 10 fps (!) mode at 3MP.
Cons: Slow lens, small sensor (~60% size of the SD90's). By my count, on the wide end, that's 1.5 stops slower for the lens and 1 stop more noise on the ISO...so the SD90 can handle conditions about 6x less light than the ZR1!

Fuji F70exr (the underdog)
Pros: Extra-long lens. A tiny bit larger than the ZR1. Nifty pixel-binning offers theoretical awesomeness, though i'm not certain how much of it i see in samples. 5 fps mode at 3MP.
Cons: Slow lens, small sensor.

Also considered: Sony WX1 (too gimmicky, low-ISO images aren't great), Casio EX-H10 (mediocre reviews), Canon SD780 (worthy successor to my SD200 except for extremely slow continuous shooting), Canon sd980 (same), Panasonic TZ6/TZ7 (not much better than ZR1 at a much larger size), Panasonic LX3 (expensive, too large, out of stock everywhere), Panasonic GF1/Olympus Pen (too big, first gen)

Alternative strategy: Sack up and lug my SLR around the world. Actually, I'll probably bring both!
Alternative strategy 2: Get in line for the S90, hope i get it, see if i can tolerate the slowness/size, and if not, probably resell it for profit

Your prize for reading this far: Hmm...i offer the gift of knowledge! Bears, when in hibernation, neither pee nor poop.
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