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Which Camera Should I Buy?: Discuss Another new camera...As some of you know, I've been looking for a camera to complement the 10D for those occasions when I ...
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Old 08-03-2005, 12:50   #1 (permalink)
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Another new camera

As some of you know, I've been looking for a camera to complement the 10D for those occasions when I either can't or don't want to carry around a big camera and a bag of lenses. I had decided on a G6, and had a brief encounter with one before returning it because it was an import and also faulty.

So, after more deliberation (which I go in for quite a lot) I am now the proud owner of a Sony P200. Yes, it surprised me too, but the reviews could not be ignored. What surprises me even more is how good it is. Rarely do things exceed expectations, but this has, so far at least.

Of course it isn't meant to be a DSLR rival - essentially it's a 7.2MP point-and-shoot camera with the facility for a fair amount of manual control if you need it, and it is genuinely pocket-sized, even in a soft case. I've only just received a 512KB memory stick to replace the pathetic 32MB one supplied with the camera - enough for all of 9 pics at maximum resolution! - so I haven't taken many shots yet. However, first impressions are very favourable. It even manages to get the exposure right on full auto 90% of the time, as long as the lighting isn't too awkward...



This has no adjustment except resizing. Noise and CA are also low at ISO 100, and not bad at 200. The Carl Zeiss lens seems as sharp as, say, the Canon 28-135IS, although that's a subjective impression at this stage. One limitation is that the maximum aperture drops from f/2.8 at max wide angle to f/5.2 at max telephoto, so it isn't ideal for low-light shots.

If anyone's interested, I'll do a more detailed review in due course. For now, I'd happily recommend this little gadget to anyone wanting a pocketable camera capable of results that belie its size.
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Old 08-03-2005, 15:37   #2 (permalink)
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First off ......what do you mean "If anyone's interested, I'll do a more detailed review in due course."

I'll expect a full review backed with images on my desk by the end of the week young man! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Glad you found a camera that does what you need it to, rather than what the marketing people want it to do.
I opted for a little canon ixus 400 for the times when a Dslr wouldn't be practicle I.E down the pub :lol:

Tiny memory cards bundled with cameras really annoy me with a passion :evil:
I remember getting my mits on a fuji S602 which would fit 1 full size TiFF image on the supplied card, hardly a way of encouraging people to get the most out of their new purchase. A few years ago memory was expensive but that excuse has long since sailed but still they persist.
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Old 08-03-2005, 16:37   #3 (permalink)
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The Sony's are good little camersa's. My brother and sister both have them.

The only thing thats wrong with it is, You won't be able to put that 300mm lens of yours on it.
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Old 08-03-2005, 16:51   #4 (permalink)
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Will experiment with P200, 300mm f4L and Magitape in due course.

An even sillier thing about the 32MB card is that is isn't even the 'Pro' version of the Memory Stick, so you can't try out the video at the highest quality (30 fps).

The cheapest source of cards is probably the US or Hong Kong, but I have found a UK retailer with keen prices - www.photo-scotland.co.uk who are based in Essex (don't ask!). I ordered one yesterday and it arrived this morning.

Aye Aye, Cap'n, I'll do the review by the end of a week. [smilie=t:
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Old 08-03-2005, 19:27   #5 (permalink)
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cool

i have also gone down the DSLR standby camera route,

tho i ended up with a lot less powerfull and less expensive camera than the G6, i managed to buy a Nikon 3200 3.2 meg camera for 100, brand new in the box with all the toys,
is from ebay and is only really for the wife n kids to click away with while on holiday, and it is truly small , and i mean small, lol


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Old 08-03-2005, 20:14   #6 (permalink)
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I am glad that you finally got sorted out, I know how long you have deliberated and thought about this but am totally shocked at your final purchase. You never mentioned the Sony in your short list so how and when did it pop up there?

I too look forward to reading your full review, Ohh and congratulations on finally getting sorted.
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Old 08-03-2005, 21:12   #7 (permalink)
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Steve - Yes, I was shocked too! I was set on the G6 until I had the bad'un and sent it back, but I had considered the P200 also. The P200 has only been out a month or so, but its predecessor, the P150, seems to crop up as 'highly recommended' on several review sites. My initial reaction was to ignore it because Sony can't really make good cameras, can they? Well, it appeared that they could, unless all the reviews and feedback were wrong, and the lens is actually Zeiss so maybe the optics are OK too?

At the back of my mind was the little Fuji MX-1700 which I used to carry everywhere. That was 'state of the art' 1.5 MP and cost a fortune in its day! Despite its limitations, I took some decent pics with that camera simply because it was always with me and it was so quick to use. Switch on, press the shutter release, and most of the time the results were OK. Not pro quality of course - but fine as snapshots.

Anyway, I went to Jessops to check out a G6 there, having first established that they would price-match, and I asked to see a P200 as well. It was pretty obvious which would fit in a pocket more easily, but I also found the Sony quite good ergonomically - other small cameras like the Ixus have always seemed too fiddly and difficult to hold, but the Sony felt right. So it was a snap decision (that probably is a pun, if I'm honest) to sacrifice features for size.

I was expecting the image quality to be better than the old Fuji, but perhaps not quite as good as my G2 (even though the P200 has more pixels). Wrong. From the 'test' pics I've taken so far, the P200 outperforms the G2 in every way except low-light focusing where the slow lens at telephoto settings is a handicap. There are no Av and Tv modes, but full Manual is fairly easy to use, and the P mode gets it right most of the time. AF points are selectable, as are metering modes (including spot metering, which isn't even available on the 10D), and there is a live histogram which helps a lot (the G6 doesn't have this). Exposure compensation is also straightforward if you need it.

As a bonus, it does 640x480 movies at 30 fps, which is almost up to camcorder standards. I never thought I'd want or use this, but actually it's rather fun!

And I think that sums up my impressions of the P200 so far. Fun. It lacks the features and versatility for 'serious' photography, but is nevertheless capable of producing images of high quality. It's the sort of camera you can have in your pocket, see something you want to photograph, whip the camera out and take the shot within a couple of seconds.

The bad news... No flip-up screen that I like so much on the G-series! Oh well, more wet knees then!
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