almost everything a point and shoot should be
I learned the basics of photography shooting BW film in the 80's. I have worked in the professional photography industry for over 6 years, and have been into digital photography since the early Nikon Coolpix 950 in 2001. It had a wonderful twist design for shooting overhead or way down low, a decent viewfinder, took great macro's, and the flash was much more predictable than modern P&S cameras. It was only 2.1mp and pretty slow, but I got a lot of nice photos out of it. I remember enjoying it more than any other P&S I have owned.
IMO Most of today's point and shoot cameras leave A LOT to be desired and have not improved all that much since then. There is not enough of a difference between a $200 and $500 to warrant the additional investment. I am mostly a Nikon DSLR shooter, but Canon seems to beat everyone in this category, and hands down. At the same time these cameras are meant to be abused so you want to be able to afford to go through them. My 870IS was driven over (within a bag), lens housing dented, dunked twice, and is just starting to give up.
Other Cameras I considered: 100hs, 310hs, sx230hs, s95, p300, p7000, s9100
(Compatible Sony, Panasonic, Fuji, etc.) These are mostly 12.1 megapixel BSI-CMOS cameras, I'd be just fine with 10mp. I'll admit that I avoid Sony because of their proprietary cables, chargers, batteries, and memory.
I've done the pixel peeping, reviewed all the spec side by side, and it all comes down to what feels better in your hands, and which one are you going to pickup and use with confidence? Initially I was set out to get the sx230hs. However, the 300hs has a much more responsive zoom than the sx230hs (I disable digital zoom as everyone should). It feels half the size of the sx230hs which means that I'll be more likely to have it with me. (Or lose it so I got it in red which was cheaper too. LOL) I actually prefer the manual pop-up flash so that I can just hold it down and not go through a menu, but it was not far enough away from the lens to significantly prevent red-eye.
NOTE: The Zoom on sx230hs causes the lens to physically get very long. This would not fit an inexpensive waterproof case for beach use.
- Affordable option, went on sale after 310hs was released
- 24mm wide with faster than most f2.7 aperature
(Only the P300 and S95 offer less than f2)
- a little more reach that our 870is and 880is models
- feels higher quality than other Canon models such as 100hs and sx230hs
- slow sync flash, yay!
- tracking focus is VERY useful
- indoor flashed photos retain some skin color
- four presses to delete an image, overkill
- Auto is a little TOO auto for my taste, but I usually use P mode anyway.
(I store the camera in Auto for when other family members grab it.)
- annoying focus zoom view cannot be disabled, harder to compose with it
(You can rarely see the screen well enough to check for perfect focus anyway)
- No way to adjust high ISO flash sensitivity
(It likes to shoot 1600 ISO without flash, when I would prefer a 400 or 800 max)
- no flash +/- compensation
- slippery to hold
- No touch screen, even a partial compromise would do
MANUFACTURER COMMENTS (If they are listening):
- Canon, needs to seriously reduce its line of point and shoots and naming structure!
- Canon, The circular ring should be beveled or have brail like bumps on it (880IS is better)
- Canon, Needs to be easier and faster to change creative Program modes
- ALL, Ideally I'd like a point and shoot with NO in camera processing and RAW
- ALL, I'd like the option to shoot 4:3 video at 720p or 1024p (1024x768 is more than adquate)
- ALL, I'd like the monitor to be counter-set a bit to prevent scratches (use a screen protector)
- ALL, I'd like an option to mark the image for deletion on the PC, but not actually delete it
- ALL, PLEASE LET P&S users bounce the flash, SERIOUSLY!
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bad for good for
|Kids / pets||
|Action / sports||
|Landscapes / scenery||
|Low light (without flash)||
|Flash photography (social)||
|Studio / still life||
= community average