Stuff I Say

Point and Shoot: Decisions…

Posted in Gadgetry, photography by 51future on May 1, 2008

I’m in the market for a point a shoot.

Basically, I have an itch and to satisfy it, I’m going to buy a new camera. I know, I know, “But your Flickr photostream hasn’t been updated in ages.” Why? I’m not really sure. I think part of it is due to a bit of dissatisfaction on my part the last time I took pictures, which was back during my school’s graduation. I got some good pictures, I thought, but when I actually had them printed I wasn’t really happy with any of them. There were some white balance issues, highlight banding– basically, all sorts of BS. A lot of it probably my fault (I was demoing Aperture 2 at the time) and the rest, I would like to imagine, was the print shop’s. In any case, every time I take my camera out to shoot now I remember those bad prints and get discouraged.

While I continue to wait for the Canon 5D Mk. II or equivalent to replace my 20D, I find myself more and more interested in getting a compact Point and Shoot that I can carry around with me 100% of the time and really just play with. Kind of like the way people play with lomography and Polaroids. (Off-Hand: I really really love the look of lomographic photos and one day will experiment with my own lomographic device but at the moment, I don’t have one and am not doing any of this.) Basically, I want to have the ability to take a picture anywhere, so that I can stop worrying about carrying my camera and start worrying about taking pictures to get over this photo block or whatever it is.

In any case (and regardless of my intentions), I’ve narrowed down my choices to the following…

Oly 1030 SW

Compact and without a protruding lens. It’s also Olympus and I’ve been interesting in seeing their “colors” in person for a while now. The price is right and the weatherproofing is just what I’m looking for. The main features that I’m interested in are:

…waterproof to a depth of 10m, shockproof against falls to 2m, freezeproof to temperatures as low as -10°C and crushproof to weights of up to 100kg…

Edit: “Digital Image Stabilization…” Wow I totally missed that. Remember kids: “The “Image Stablilzation Mode” is a joke. It just ups the ISO sacrificing the quality of the shot.”

Digital Image Stabilisation reduces blur caused by shakes…

39,085円 @ Amazon.co.jp

Sigma DP1

The next camera I’ve been looking at lately is a Sigma. I was clued into Sigma’s use of a Foveon sensor by a friend of mine (I had read it before, but like everything else I read, I just glazed over it) and was hooked on Sigma’s DP14 for a while before I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t need another D-SLR (or a new lens system). Once I made that decision, I started looking at the DP1. It’s got the same Foveon sensor in it that Sigma’s SD14 flagship D-SLR has in it, in a tiny little compact body with a fixed lens. Dpreview doesn’t have a review up (as usual; they only review the really popular models) but there’s a lot to like about it, I think. The Foveon sensor is neat and the image quality is the same as Sigma’s high-end D-SLR. Am I repeating myself? My primary interest with this camera is image quality. It doesn’t have the build quality that the other two options do, nor does it have any weatherproofing.

Primarily, I like the following:

…featur[es] a 14 megapixel FOVEON X3 direct image sensor (2652 × 1768 × 3 layers) as used in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR. The image sensor uses three silicon embedded layers of photo sensors, stacked to take advantage of silicon’s ability to absorb red, green and blue light at different respective depths…

Sigma’s unique and powerful ‘True’ image processor is incorporated into the DP1, enabling it to handle the large image files produced by the 14 megapixel sensor and reproduce exceptional definition with image quality equal to professional digital SLR cameras and on a par with top quality film…

Furthermore, it has an Aperture Priority mode (this is what I shoot on my 20D usually) and a high shutter speed (1/4000s). The lens and its macro abilities get good reviews, too.

The main reason I haven’t jumped on this camera are basically tied to usability complaints. From some of the user reviews at Dpreview:

“This camera sucks indeed. It produces nice images but is awkward to handle.

AF is just unusable for anything except static objects.”

“The LCD screen is not the best .. noisy and coarse in low-light and difficult to use in bright light.”

“It handles some situations even better than a DSLR. Complex detail and color are its strong point. It is a bit slow and has limited functions but it does what it should, produce an outstanding image. I really like mine.”

It’s not all bad. In fact, it’s mostly good, but I’m worried that its a little too much like my current D-SLR (only a bit smaller). On the other hand, I’m torn. I’d like to find out what this Foveon sensor is all about, but the price of entry is a bit steep: 89,820円 @ Amazon.co.jp

Ricoh G600

Here’s another gem of a camera that appeals to me primarily because it can take a beating without breaking a sweat. Besides the non-protruding lens, there’s a lot to love about it:

A shock resistant structure and stronger camera cone create a robust body able to withstand falls from 1.5 m onto 26 surfaces, in compliance with US Department of Defense “MIL Standard 810F” (previous models withstood 1.0 m). The G600 is able to cope with rough handling outdoors.

The G600 boasts the same impressive water resistance as its predecessor’s, surpassing JIS protection grade 7 performance. Besides taking pictures in the rain, it can even take pictures underwater at depths of up to about 1 m.

Dust resistance satisfies JIS protection grade 6. Pictures can be taken in environments, such as the seashore, where there are high concentrations of sand or dust.

The well thought out design and positioning of the large buttons make operation easy even with gloves on, such as while skiing.

The large-capacity lithium ion battery provided with the camera gives long battery life for approximately 360 shots (CIPA standard). If the battery runs out, readily available AAA size batteries can be used instead.

When the camera is connected to a personal computer via a USB cable, it is recognized as an external storage device, so images in the camera can be transferred to the computer without using special software. Full, automatic transfer is also available with the special software.

With all this in mind, the price tag remains high… 71,022円 @ Amazon.co.jp

I’m also not at all familiar with Ricoh in general, although at this point, I feel like the digital camera market is probably one of the most diverse markets in the tech sector right now. Everybody is making their own brand of digital camera, but I imagine most of them license their tech from a few big players.

In any case, I’m not really sure what to do. I was all set to buy an Olympus E-3 a week ago, until I decided that I would wait and see what Canon had up its sleeve before I made any rash, expensive decisions. Now I’m off the D-SLR kick (again, for the moment; its best to bide my time at this point and wait and see what Canon brings out to one-up Nikon’s impressive duo) and looking at a bunch of crazy weatherproofed Point and Shoot cameras!

Anyone have any personal recommendations? After reading this, does any one camera you know of strike you as being better for my apparent purposes (weatherproof go-anywhere do-anything camera)?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: