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Dan in Saint Louis
July 15th, 2006, 06:33 PM
Shopping for an inexpensive point-n-shoot for my smarter half to carry around, and it is time to go digital. Her film cameras never seemed to last very long.

Any thoughts, pros and cons, about the Canon A530? Battery life?

Thanks!

Judy G. Russell
July 16th, 2006, 04:34 PM
Any thoughts, pros and cons, about the Canon A530? Battery life?The big hits on the A5x0 series are the shot-to-shot lag times (two seconds can be a verrrry long time) and the long recycle time on the flash (it can be verrrrry annoying on indoor shots). Were I in your shoes, I'd add another $40-50 and spring for the A620. It's got everything you could possibly want in a digital, including the tilt screen (something I really couldn't live without). The pros from the dpreview.com review:

* Good resolution, very clean results
* Very natural color
* Good edge-to-edge sharpness
* Useful 35-140mm equiv. 4x zoom lens with decent F2.8-4.1 max aperture range
* Reliable - and much faster - focus
* Sophisticated and comprehensive range of features and controls
* Excellent build quality for a budget camera
* Very little purple fringing
* Excellent flash exposures and color
* Bright, clear vari-angle screen
* Excellent battery life from 4x NiMH batteries
* Very smooth ISO 50 & 100 results
* Good balance of noise reduction and detail retention at ISO 400
* Excellent macro mode
* Optional add-on lenses, filters and slave flash
* Excellent value for money

The cons:

* Clipped highlights and occasional exposure problems in bright, contrasty conditions
* Focusing at tele end in low light can hunt
* Zoom is not very smooth - only 7 steps from wide to tele
* No ISO button
* Images slightly soft, but they sharpen up well in post-processing [jgr note: and you can change the defaults in the camera]

Bottom line: "There is very little here to suggest a 'budget' model at all; image quality is excellent, it's very well built, it handles well and it has a real wealth of photographic features that make it suitable for everyone from the absolute beginner to the more experienced photographer wanting lots of control over the picture taking process. And like the A95 it's a great first camera for anyone wanting to learn the craft of photography, being both affordable and well-specified enough to grow with you as your knowledge and experience increases. ... the A620 is one of those rare cameras that takes virtually every shooting situation you throw at it in its stride, with only the highlight clipping issue preventing an almost perfect hit rate."

I don't think you can do better than that.

Dan in Saint Louis
July 16th, 2006, 05:09 PM
Were I in your shoes, I'd add another $40-50 and spring for the A620.
Good thought. The minimal shutter lag alone might be worth that. Thanks!

Also looked at Casio Exilim Z600 and Nikon L2/3/4. I've been a Nikon fan for >30 years, and my D50 is a real treasure!

Judy G. Russell
July 16th, 2006, 06:16 PM
The D50 is a terrific camera. Unfortunately, Nikon's point-and-shoots in the L series are nowhere near as good as Canon offers. Same sort of shot-to-shot lag as the A530 even in the L2 and a thoroughly lousy flash. As between the Nikon and the Canon, I'd still go with the A620. If anything happens to my G6, I may get an A620 myself. (Once I get over my lust for the S3...)

Dan in Saint Louis
July 17th, 2006, 11:28 AM
The D50 is a terrific camera.
I am very pleased with it. No shutter lag, and great performance even with the least expensive "kit" lens. For those with broadband, here (http://landiss.info/albums/DSC_0680.JPG) is an unedited straight-out-of-the-camera image shot at ISO 800.

Original date/time: 2006:05:14 12:46:53
Original date/time subsecs: 20
Exposure time: 1/13
F-stop: 6.3
ISO speed: 800
Focal length: 34.0000
Focal length (35mm): 51
Flash: Not fired
Exposure mode: Auto
White balance: Auto
Orientation: Top-left
Light source: Unknown
Exposure bias: 0.0000
Metering mode: Pattern

sidney
July 17th, 2006, 02:58 PM
The big hits on the A5x0 series are the shot-to-shot lag times

I'm surprised, since the A530 has the same new faster processor that was introduced a year ago in the A610 and A620.

When you suggest the A620, does your recommendation extend to the A610 too, other than the difference in megapixels?

So far, our decision on a replacement for the A60 I dunked in the water has been to wait and make do with the old S200 that was laying around. We have closed on the new property, and besides spending all our money to get it, we are looking at expenses for an ATV and pull mower to keep the trails and meadows usable, equipment and plans that use the 3G cell phone network as the only available "broadband" option, and more, all at New Zealand prices. And I don't care! The land is beautiful!

Judy G. Russell
July 17th, 2006, 03:30 PM
Sigh... it's that kind of utility at high speed that makes me occasionally pine for a DSLR. Then I shake myself and remember why I stopping carrying an SLR (the whole kit is just too #$%@# heavy!). It's certainly true that there are shots I would dearly love to get that a DSLR would be able to capture and a P&S can't, but the fact is, there are many more shots I'd never get because I wouldn't be carrying it everywhere I go the way I do my little P&S jobs.

Judy G. Russell
July 17th, 2006, 03:32 PM
I'm surprised, since the A530 has the same new faster processor that was introduced a year ago in the A610 and A620.That sort of thing is usually more a matter of firmware than hardware, I'm afraid.

When you suggest the A620, does your recommendation extend to the A610 too, other than the difference in megapixels?Yup. The 610 is a great camera too.

So far, our decision on a replacement for the A60 I dunked in the water has been to wait and make do with the old S200 that was laying around. We have closed on the new property, and besides spending all our money to get it, we are looking at expenses for an ATV and pull mower to keep the trails and meadows usable, equipment and plans that use the 3G cell phone network as the only available "broadband" option, and more, all at New Zealand prices. And I don't care! The land is beautiful!I don't blame you one bit. That place you have is just gorgeous... but just think: with a new camera, you could post more pictures here and have the rest of us even MORE green with envy...

Peter Creasey
July 18th, 2006, 09:48 AM
Shopping for an inexpensive point-n-shoot

Dan, Speaking from experience the Sony CyberShot DSC - S40 is a terrific 4.1 MP camera. It has the Carl Zeiss optics that seem to be very high quality.

I've seen nothing but favorable reviews of the Sony CyberShot series.

Judy G. Russell
July 19th, 2006, 10:26 AM
I would never recommend a Sony, despite its relatively good optics, because of the proprietary memory required. Sony really needs to chuck that whole concept -- I'd bet it costs it far more in lost sales than it earns from selling its own memory.

Peter Creasey
July 19th, 2006, 11:07 AM
I would never recommend a Sony, despite its relatively good optics, because of the proprietary memory required.

Judy, Yes, that was a factor initially.

However, the memory sticks are inexpensive and work well.

Otherwise, the Sony CyberShots are very highly regarded.

Judy G. Russell
July 19th, 2006, 12:47 PM
It's not an "initial" question; it's a business model question. I don't buy things with proprietary memory, and I'm even moving away from things with proprietary batteries. There's no reason why all of these little toys can't work well together with standard memory and batteries.

Peter Creasey
July 19th, 2006, 02:09 PM
I'm even moving away from things with proprietary batteries.

Judy, I agree with you about batteries as they are a perishable.

I also agree with your position, in general, but feel that the memory stick doesn't fall into the category of concern.

There is no vulnerability with a Sony Memory Stick as it is basically permanent (i.e., doesn't need replacing) and has no compatibility problems with memory card readers.

Judy G. Russell
July 19th, 2006, 05:03 PM
The problem with the memory stick is if it breaks, I can't take the card out of some other toy I have and put it in the camera. The camera requires one, and only one, type of memory. Nope. Not for me.

Gary Maltzen
July 19th, 2006, 09:08 PM
I would never recommend a SonyThen you'll be disappointed to hear that I settled on a DSCH1 prior to my April Vietnam trip. Salient factors were 12x zoom, 5Mpixel, vibration reduction, low cost (especially through my works-at-Best-Buy son). I picked up a (Sony, of course) 1G stick. Then again, my laptop is (was) a VAIO.

I had been looking at a Nikon DSLR but ended up at $1500 and two lenses to carry.

One of the reasons my Nikon FE (35mm SLR) languishes is because I have at least four lenses (24, 55, 90-180, 600, ???) to futz with.

Peter Creasey
July 20th, 2006, 10:38 AM
The problem with the memory stick is if it breaks, I can't take the card out of some other toy I have and put it in the camera. The camera requires one, and only one, type of memory. Nope. Not for me.

Judy, I think I know what you mean but just to clarify: (i) the camera has ample internal memory which can be used without a memory stick; (ii) the memory sticks are durable; and (iii) the memory sticks are inexpensive so multiple large memory stickups make sense for backup purposes.

Judy G. Russell
July 21st, 2006, 04:10 PM
(i) the camera has ample internal memory which can be used without a memory stickErrr... not for a serious photographer. I'd be finished with 32Mb internal memory in about 30 seconds. If it took me that long. The smallest memory card I use these days is 256Mb.

Judy G. Russell
July 21st, 2006, 04:12 PM
Then you'll be disappointed to hear that I settled on a DSCH1 prior to my April Vietnam trip.I'm never disappointed when folks get a camera they're comfortable with. I just wouldn't recommend that one.

I had been looking at a Nikon DSLR but ended up at $1500 and two lenses to carry. One of the reasons my Nikon FE (35mm SLR) languishes is because I have at least four lenses (24, 55, 90-180, 600, ???) to futz with.I sure know what you mean here. I just got sooooo tired of lugging around 50lbs of camera equipment everywhere I went!