Limited P&S Options - Advice?

Started May 25, 2013 | Questions
ergalthema
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Limited P&S Options - Advice?
May 25, 2013

I have some rewards points on a credit card that I want to use for a point and shoot to take backpacking. Here are the 3 options I have narrowed it down to:

Canon Powershot A3300

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530

Canon PowerShot A1300

Olympus VR-320

I know these are all relatively crappy. I have been using my Galaxy Nexus for pictures the last 2 years. The quality has been good enough for me, but I don't like draining my phone battery on hikes. The A1300 has a viewfinder. I honestly don't know if I would use it.

If you think the Olympus is not much worse than the A3300, then I could get the Olympus and have some leftover points. The A3300 uses all my points.

Any info would be very appreciated!

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Canon PowerShot A1300 Canon PowerShot A3300 IS Olympus VR-320 Sony Alpha DSLR-A330 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W530
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Eddaweaver
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to ergalthema, May 25, 2013

I would discount the A1300 because the viewfinder would be so misleading that it'd be useless and it is otherwise the same as the A3300 except it lacks image stabilisation and has a slower lens.

Nearly all online discussion about cameras nowadays is about the high end models so it is harder to get an in depth idea about lower and mid end models.

The VR-320 is a travel zoom camera meaning it has lots more zoom than the others and a really wide angle 24mm equivalent lens. Sometimes extreme lens designs can compromise image quality though, but zooming it in slightly away from full wide angle may improve things if that is the case.

The W530 is really lightweight and slim.

The A3300 should support CHDK. Its lens isn't quite as wide angle as the other two. Focus speed is from what I can find somewhat slower than the VR-320's. I don't know how fast the focus speed would be on the W530 but I don't normally associate poor performance with Sony.

Here are some images from the cameras

http://www.flickr.com/groups/1788591@N23/pool/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/1731253@N25/pool/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/2071360@N25/pool/

Click on "light box", press F11 on the keyboard to go full screen then use the arrow buttons. Don't click on the slideshow Play button as the new flickr does some annoying floating effect. Art filter / panorama pics aren't good representations of a camera.

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Lumixdude
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to Eddaweaver, May 25, 2013

Basically they all seem to be slow as molasses from what I can gather and what's worse is neither the Sony or the Canon have image stabilisation. If you've got shaky hands neither will be a good option. The Olympus has image stabilisation both in body and in software http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/olympus_vr_320_review/ Your chances of actually producing a viewable image will be greatly enhanced.

The Olympus seems to be OK in video but nothing special at 720p, usable for personal usage but I wouldn't write home about it. Its IQ seems to be OK but a little soft at the tele end, as a bonus 24mm is fairly wide at the narrow end. On a plus side it seems to produce usable images at ISOs below 400 which is pretty decent for a camera in its class, you're not going to be shooting night shots, but it gives you some leverage. Its sample images look pretty decent when all thing align.

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/olympus_vr_320_review/sample_images/

I would be tempted by it if I didn't have funds for something better, however I'd take it for what it is and wouldn't expect magic prints. If all you're doing is shooting in auto and wanting 6x4 prints it should do alright. I'd be tempted to shoot at about half the pixel count though if you are worried about image quality.

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donaldsc
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to Eddaweaver, May 25, 2013

Eddaweaver wrote:

I would discount the A1300 because the viewfinder would be so misleading that it'd be useless and it is otherwise the same as the A3300 except it lacks image stabilisation and has a slower lens.

.

I slightly disagree if battery life is a real problem with the OP.  If you use the viewfinder instead of the LCD, you will greatly extend the battery life.  I know that the viewfinder is like looking through a tunnel and I also know that you see only about 80% of what you will actually get but you can always crop off what you do not want later.  I love viewfinders and I can live with the disadvantages so I do not have to use the LCD which I use as infrequently as I can.

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Draek
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Get the A1300
In reply to ergalthema, May 25, 2013

I've got its predecessor and it's not only an excellent camera in terms of ergonomics and the quality of its files, with a pair of rechargeable batteries and OVF use its battery can easily last for around a thousand shots per charge vs the ~200 shots of most compacts, and even AA batteries can last for a couple days' worth of light use.

Yeah, yeah, its OVF sucks, it's tiny, doesn't cover even near the full frame and the only information it gives is an AF confirmation light you need to see with your peripheal vision, but the fact it's there is a plus for many people, and the huge difference it makes for battery life (and the AA Powershots are already superior to the Li-ions without it), means I consider it an option much superior to the other cameras, given the OP's priorities and usage scenarios.

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39 Steps
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to ergalthema, May 25, 2013

ergalthema wrote:

I have some rewards points on a credit card that I want to use for a point and shoot to take backpacking. Here are the 3 options I have narrowed it down to:

Canon Powershot A3300

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530

Canon PowerShot A1300

Olympus VR-320

I know these are all relatively crappy. I have been using my Galaxy Nexus for pictures the last 2 years. The quality has been good enough for me, but I don't like draining my phone battery on hikes. The A1300 has a viewfinder. I honestly don't know if I would use it.

If you think the Olympus is not much worse than the A3300, then I could get the Olympus and have some leftover points. The A3300 uses all my points.

Any info would be very appreciated!

I have the Canon A1200 with viewfinder peephole. In fact I have two of them, as the first disappeared into my wife's purse and never came out shortly after we purchased it two years, or so, ago. We never use either, as she uses her newer cell phone and I am now enamored with a SLR of a different brand these days.

But back to my point. The Canon A1200 tended to be very slow to focus. One day indoors I found myself unable to even focus on the white MS Mouse for the computer. Something had to be wrong, so I started disabling all the fancy default focus aids on the menu(s). When I disabled the "smile" feature, the A1200 focused quickly, closely, and accurately on the mouse with minimal lighting. Just like the old days with the 4xAA cell Canon A75s before digital rot set in.

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Darrell Spreen
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Re: Get the A1300
In reply to Draek, May 25, 2013

Draek wrote:

I've got its predecessor and it's not only an excellent camera in terms of ergonomics and the quality of its files, with a pair of rechargeable batteries and OVF use its battery can easily last for around a thousand shots per charge vs the ~200 shots of most compacts, and even AA batteries can last for a couple days' worth of light use.

Agree.  I have the same camera and I'll add that I use Lithium AA batteries (more expensive than alkaline AA batteries) and I'm well past 1200 shots and they're still going.  But I prefer the OVF which saves on batteries.  The camera is capable of very good pictures and has a decent range of custom adjustments.

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ergalthema
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to ergalthema, May 25, 2013

Thanks for all the responses! This was my first post here and I can tell this is a very helpful forum.

Someone else recommended the Sony DSC-WX80, which I can get for $150. Apparently it's less than 5oz, so I wouldn't mind bringing extra batteries. The specs all sound good for the price - all around better than the cameras I listed above.

I never was interested in wi-fi on a camera and I could do without it. However, I might occasionally want to upload a picture using my phone before I get back home, and I also might like to use my phone to control it remotely.

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Henry Falkner
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to ergalthema, May 25, 2013

The Olympus VR-320 appears to have the same 14 MP CCD that is in my Stylus 9010 (2010), as compared against the 10 MP CCD in my SP-570UZ bridge camera (2008). As far as small CCDS go, the 14 MP CCD is one of the better CCDs. 5x optical zoom is better than no optical zoom.

The Olympus P&S jobs seem to be better lasting than the Canon ones, comparing my experiences with those from friends with Canon P&S cameras.

Henry

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Eddaweaver
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to Lumixdude, May 26, 2013

Although the Canon Powershot A1300 lacks image stabilisation, the A3300 IS does have it - every Canon with IS at the end of the name has optical image stabilisation.

The Sony website said the W530 has optical image stabilisation though that looks like it may be a mistake as imaging resource says it doesn't.

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Eddaweaver
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to ergalthema, May 26, 2013

It looks like a reasonable choice. It's available in several colours.

Is the $150 through the rewards points scheme? It's hard to see it for that price online. I wondered because many online camera shops are scammers.

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ergalthema
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to Eddaweaver, May 26, 2013

B&H has it for $150 right now.

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ergalthema
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Re: Limited P&S Options - Advice?
In reply to Eddaweaver, May 26, 2013

Oh, and your other question - my maximum cash reward was $150. A couple of the cameras I listed that I could get with my points were more closer to $200, so I thought I might be getting a better deal. However, I think the WX80 is the best option of them all, so I'll take the cash and get that camera.

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