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GGS
2007-04-24, 00:33
I'm looking for a lightweight digital camera for backpacking. Although I love my Canon Rebel II 35mm it's a bit heavy to fit in to the lightweight/ultralight backpacking scene. And clunky to carry at the ready for those brief wildlife photo opportunities. Takes great pics but almost always it ends up locked in the car while I hike because it's just too big.

Features I would like to see:
-small, lightweight
-5 megapixel or better resolution
-3x zoom or better
-Enough storage for 36 or more hi rez pictures
-enough battery power to take 36 or more pictures ;-)
-Deals well with the contrasts of outdoor shots
-Doesn't cost an arm and a leg! Around $150 or less would be really nice.

Picture quality. Needs to be able to handle the contrast that outdoors sunshine creates and still store good photos. Below are two photographs of the same creek in a ravine. One was taken by a $10 disposable camera, the other by my Canon Rebel II. Obviously the $10 pictures are pretty much worthless. A digital camera that approaches the Rebel II shot would be ideal.

Any suggestions?

GGS
2007-04-24, 00:55
I might have answered my own question. Canon PowerShot A550 7.1MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom is available on Amazon.com for $170.00. Looks awfully good. Anyone have any input before shopper's impluse takse over?

KLeth
2007-04-24, 04:51
I have got a Canon A700, this is my second Canon digital camera.
I am very fond of my Canon digital camera which takes splendid pictures despite it is a pocket camera. Canon optics are very good and the housing is sturdy.

Just my 5C

Frolicking Dino
2007-04-24, 05:42
I'm sold on the Olympus Stylus line. Comes in a variety of pixel densities, very impact resistant, very water-resistant and has a good combo of point & shoot with the ability to override the automatic settings when needed. The only things I don't like is the inability to set really long aperture times for really dark night photography and the propriety rechargeable battery.

Iceman
2007-04-24, 09:34
I also vote for the Olympus Stylus. My five year old 3.2/3X waterproof is still cranking out incredible shots. The Li-ion battery has never needed replacement. This weekend I had the camera "dunked" in the pacific ocean as I battled a razor clam, surf rolled over me, clam lost his battle to escape, camera in perfect shape. I also agree with Dino on the aperature/night issue, have had to deal with this one shortcoming...

sailingsoul
2007-04-24, 14:29
We are talking about a camera for camping, right? Then I give you all one word "WATERPROOF !"
From this liveabord boater, any electronics that leaves a building for normal use has got to be waterproof. This is not negotiable. If you read this and it gets wet and dies, you will be sorry. IMO SS :captain:


ps Right Iceman?

GGS
2007-04-24, 14:44
Thanks all for your responses. You talked me in to the Olympus. I ended up going with the Olympus Stylus 740 mainly because of the waterproofing. Also it is a slimmer design than the Canon.

It's a 7.1 megapixel camera, 5x zoom, digital image stabilization. I also ordered a 1gb xD card to go with it.

I'll let y'all know how it works.

sailingsoul
2007-04-24, 14:56
Good call .. How much ?? I need a new camera. My last one wasn't waterproof. SS:captain:

Iceman
2007-04-25, 02:00
Ya, I think waterproof is a key feature for an "out-of-doors" camera. Besides, the moisture that is getting inside other cameras isn't necessarily from rain....

Put your camera in your pocket next to your body protected from the rain and it gets warm. Air inside warm camera expands and pushes out. Yank camera out of warm pocket to take picture of deer on trail. Camera in cool environment now sucks in cool moist air. Cool moist air is now inside camera. Repeat steps above and you soon have a ton of water inside your camera.

My elcheapo Olympus camera has taken awesome pictures in extreme cold and extreme wet conditions. I will admit that on one mfing cold trip it did fog just a tiny bit inside the interior lense, but this was remedied by drying out at home later. One trip with fog, out of hundreds. Not bad. On extreme (like maybe 20 degrees and cooler) cold trips, I keep the camera in a doubled ziplock sandwich bag until ready to use, and the problem is solved.

GGS
2007-04-25, 03:06
Good call .. How much ?? I need a new camera. My last one wasn't waterproof. SS:captain:

Amazon.com lists one for $230. That's the option I purchased. They claim list price is $501. Cheaper options are listed there if you want to risk a refurbished one.

sailingsoul
2007-05-15, 09:42
OK GGS, You've had about 20 days to receive and try out the camera. Did you get it, try it out? We would love to hear a evaluation. How is the video function? I still need a new camera! The Stylus sounds intresting for outdoor use. do you like it?

Amigi
2007-05-16, 02:04
Pentax Optio is my choice. Can anyone tell the difference between 4 MP and 5 MP. Photography mag says no, so curious as to what ya'll think.

My Pentax, I call it the Glock of cameras. Drop it, get it wet, doesnt matter, still works as intended.

ritzhenson
2007-05-16, 10:23
Hey Y'all, I went the other route...$49.00 at wally world. 5.1 Megapixel, added a 1 gig sd card and I'm set. I keep it in zip top bags with silicate pellets. Holds up well, takes decent photos, and if it falls over a cliff...I won't cry! (That is, unless I'm still holding onto it!) Peace, Ritz.

Jonas4321
2007-05-17, 10:59
Hey Y'all, I went the other route...$49.00 at wally world. 5.1 Megapixel, added a 1 gig sd card and I'm set. I keep it in zip top bags with silicate pellets. Holds up well, takes decent photos, and if it falls over a cliff...I won't cry! (That is, unless I'm still holding onto it!) Peace, Ritz.

What camera was that? Brand? Model? Did it have USB or do you need a card reader? Sound like a good option.

GGS
2007-05-17, 12:10
OK GGS, You've had about 20 days to receive and try out the camera. Did you get it, try it out? We would love to hear a evaluation. How is the video function? I still need a new camera! The Stylus sounds intresting for outdoor use. do you like it?

Give me a couple more days and I'll post a review. If you're thinking of buying this camera hold off for the review, there's info that you might find helpful

Frolicking Dino
2007-05-17, 20:28
I've read the reviews on the Sakar Digital Concepts camera (the only 5.1 Megapixel under $60 at Wally world) on several sites. People say it eats batteries (many were able to take fewer than 10 shots with new Alk batteries!) and resets itself to a really low resolution every time it is turned off. Several complained that it overexposes everything with the flash and give dark photos without the flash.

GGS
2007-05-21, 18:32
Sorry all for the delay on writing this review.

Olympus Stylus 740 digital camera, $230

Features
7.1 megapixel, 5x Optical Zoom, digital stabilization, small thin size (3.8” W x 2.1” H x 0.96” D), All Weather camera, 27 shooting modes including Portrait, Landscape, Landscape & Portrait, Night Scene, Night & Portrait, Sport, Indoor, Candle, Self-Portrait, Available Light Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, Museum, Cuisine, Behind Glass, Documents, Auction, Shoot & Select1, Shoot & Select2, Beach & Snow, Under Water Wide1, Under Water Wide2, Under Water Macro. Read all the gory details here http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1265.

Product as tested:
Comes with a proprietary rechargeable battery. On my first outing I took some 30 shots – about a trip’s average for me - and the battery still showed 100% charge so for my particular needs I am not concerned with battery life yet. I purchased a 1gb picture card to go with it ($14.99), using that card I can store some 270 pictures at the highest quality 3072 x 2304 setting - more pics than I’ve taken in the last 3 years - and a whopping 1300 pictures at the 2048 x 1536 setting! The camera is easy to handle, turns on and off quickly, and easy to shoot. The waterproof design has already saved my butt, day 2 out of the box I tripped and fell into a puddle while holding the camera. The 5x zoom helps get close to wildlife without introducing too much of a stability issue. I’ve used Landscape, Available light, and Sunset shooting modes so far and they have worked well. I played around a bit with trying to photograph stars, not much luck but not sure if I’d had the right settings either. The camera is small and lightweight, perfect for backpacking with.

I have two beefs about this camera:

Digital Stabilization. It works fine, however many of the shooting modes like low light situations can not be used in junction with DS because they are chosen with the same rotary button – you can choose DS OR you can choose one of the other nifty shooting modes. Which is kinda goofy because it would help with those longer shutter speeds to use DS. The newer Olympus Stylus 760 “breaks out” the DS feature onto a separate button so you can toggle it on/off while using the other control to change shooting modes.

LCD Display. Very difficult to see in bright sunlight, even when the brightness is turned up all the way. You pretty much have to point the camera “thataway” and hope your subject is in the frame. Zooming in on moving subject matter was out of the question. Note: the newer 760 does NOT solve that problem, it just moves the LCD brightness control from a buried menu option to an external button. The LCD still isn’t bright enough. In shade or other non-sunlight situations the LCD works fine.

Conclusion: Overall I am happy with my 740. I feel it was a good purchase for $230. If you are about to purchase a camera I would recommend getting the 760, it now retails the same as the 740 and a few features are easier to use. If you can afford it go with the 780 ($320) it has enhanced digital stabilization and Olympus claims the LCD can be read in bright sunlight.

Iceman
2007-05-21, 19:42
Excellent review. Great balance, goods and bads..... I am an olympus fan, and will be upgrading soon from my earlier version of this camera. Mine in use, probably about 6 years so far, heavy heavy use/abuse. I like my all metal case, couldn't find in the specs, is yours a plastic case?

GGS
2007-05-23, 01:14
I like my all metal case, couldn't find in the specs, is yours a plastic case?

It looks like metal to me... Feels pretty rugged, not like one of those cheap plastic disposable cameras.

oops56
2007-05-23, 02:13
Yep tell me all but cameras i got a complete dark room with cameras 35 mm a nice cherry bellows 5 by 7 no use all that stuff now that the digital is here. 3 mouths ago got 3 more new digital 2 for one for wife keep one in car one by the computer now like i need 3 more cameras cause i got 10 or 12 old ones just getting dust. the ones i got was samsung S500 5 . 1 mega pixels 3 x zoom optical then goes to digital for more and bells whistle not bad but ok so far

sailingsoul
2007-05-23, 10:50
Thanks for the report,GGS. I will put it to use. SS :captain:

sailingsoul
2007-06-10, 18:08
GGS, you stated in your review that one shooting mode is "portrait", is there a self timer. Also does the camers do video, I know some do. Thanks. SS :captain:

GGS
2007-06-11, 06:57
GGS, you stated in your review that one shooting mode is "portrait", is there a self timer. Also does the camers do video, I know some do. Thanks. SS :captain:

Yes and yes. Both features are very easy to use.