Best Skiing and Action Sports Point and Shoots (my blurb)

Started Nov 29, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Best Skiing and Action Sports Point and Shoots (my blurb)
Nov 29, 2011

The best action camera I have is my 40D, but I cannot always carry that setup. For the last 5 years, I've been decrying the loss of continuous FPS, a casualty of the megapixel wars to the point where the best action point and shoot was buying a used G7, A610 or C7070W. Over the last year or so, some new products have come to market.

Required Features

Optical Viewfinder
Full Res Continuous shooting > 2fps for > 5sec
Image sensor 1/1.8" (or more specifically, more than 3mm^2/MP)
Quality lens > 4x zoom
Full manual controls
Custom Modes
Fast AF/Responsive Operation
Operable with gloves

Other nice features:

RAW
Image stabilization
HD video

What makes a good action point and shoot camera for a skier?

I regularly capture great action at lower shutter speeds. Why? Because I can TRACK my subject in the OVF. That's what the optical finder is all about: no LCD lag/blackout while shooting a moving subject. That's also particularly important if you are preset for a shot and want to click at just the right moment but still want to look through the camera instead of directly at the subject. That and wonderfully extended battery life in low temps and no problems seeing the subject due to sun glaring off the LCD. Optical finders are the key even if they are dinky little optical tunnel finders. They are for tracking action and dealing with the sun, not for landscapes. Obviously, an SLR is the best choice for action, but optical tunnels can do the job.

A610

Better than 2fps is needed for any hope of making a sequence and for getting a good powder sequence.

G7

Sometimes you just have to spray and pray for a couple seconds.

A610

The rest of the items on the list are pretty self explanatory for good image quality, exposure, usability, and speed so you don't miss the action shot.

Italicized cameras are the ones I have purchased.

High End Recommendations: These cameras have large modern sensors, optical finders, fast/quality lenses, full manual controls, HD video, and the ability to maintain 2fps or higher.

Canon G12 (infinite 2fps, 720p)
Fujifilm X10 (adjustable up to 10fps burst then infinite 2fps, 1080p)

The X10 is feature loaded with a huge unique CMOS sensor and an ultrafast f/2.0-2.8 4x zoom. The G12 has a very respectable slightly smaller CCD sensor with a f/2.8-4.8 6x zoom.

These are pricey choices, particularly the X10. Some people want smaller cameras or need the 1080p, but can't afford the G12/X10. Well, there is a new dynamic in cameras that utilize fast BSI CMOS sensors that have reversed the low FPS high MP trend. They often have great zoom ranges, but the lenses aren't the fastest for action. Some lack full manual controls (or real apertures). The price and size savings require smaller, noisier sensors and slower lenses. Additionally, the trend of big LCDs and no optical finders continues. However, many options offer decent performance, great versatility, small size, and at a decent price. The handicaps of no viewfinder are compensated for with short 1 second bursts at 3-10fps. It is good for getting a moment right on the shot you prefocused, but tracking and sequencing is out.

Low End Recommendations: Decent lenses, fast/quality performance for their class, less than 1/2 lb, and capability to shoot 1080p and short high FPS bursts

Casio EX-ZR200 (30fps adjustable)
Fuji F600EXR (10fps adjustable)
Panasonic TS3 (3.7fps waterproof/shockproof)
Samsung TL350 (10fps)

It is nice to see some unique technology out there like BSI-CMOS and EXR backlit CMOS from Fujifilm which allows you to half the MP to double the light sensitivity or dynamic range. I anxiously await real world reviews of the ZR200. I hope to see a Canon G14 and Panasonic TS4 coming out in January.

I hope this was helpful. Discuss!
--
9300ft above sea level

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