Best budget compact (<200 euros)?

Started Apr 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
bellcurve
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Re: Best budget compact (<200 euros)?
In reply to Barretlight, Apr 6, 2013

Barretlight wrote:

I am looking for buying a compact as a present and have narrowed it down to the older models  below because i want few megapixels - usually meaning sharper images - and of course keep the price lower.

1. Canon Elph 500 HS (ixus 310 hs), 12MP sensor, fast F/2 Lens

2. Canon sx230 HS - 14x Zoom, 12MP sensor

3. Panasonic SZ7 - 10x zoom, 14MP sensor.

Which do you think is the best quality camera?
Is the F/2 lens of the elph 500HS really worth it? In some reviews i saw it had very soft results, and in others it looked great.

I've owned the 500 HS and currently own the sx230 HS.  I like the sx230 better.  Primarily because I found the touch screen interface on the 500HS too slow and indefinite.  The scrolling wouldn't stop where I wanted it to much of the time and selecting an option was hit and miss on first touch.  The buttons on the sx230 are more definite and reliable, and faster.

The other trade-off is the lens.  Having the SX230 now I find I go beyond approx. 110mm zoom (35mm equiv) of the 500HS more often than I thought I would.  Not that I use the full 14x of the SX230 often, but up to a 150 to 200mm equivalent, yes.  The SX230 is tack-sharp at extended zooms and the IS works very well.

Most of my shooting with either was in good light so the 2.0 lens on the 500HS was of less use than the slower zoom on the SX230.  Both can yield very nice pictures in good light.  For the very best results both should be zoomed a bit from their fullest wide angle and stopped down a bit from maximum aperture.  And you should shoot RAW files using CHDK.  From a cursory test the RAW developed jpgs are about 1.5 to 2 ISO stops better than the OOC jpgs in terms of detail and shading.

In the hand the SX230 feels better to me, a bit heavier and more solid, but that's very subjective.

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