And now on to the digital point-and-shoots. For many folks this category is one of the most important. Everyone, pros included, use one. You or your friends always have the photographer that you can ask: What should I buy?
Honestly it is a subjective choice depending what you needs are and how you are going to use the camera. And of course the price.
Most of the cameras we saw had large LCDs, image stabilization, at least 6 megapixels, and 30FPS movie capabilities with sound and good battery life promises. Remember, if you are going to shoot video, have a LARGE media card to save it. After that came the specific features that may speak to your needs.
There are usually more entries into the field from each company than we discuss. Just the highlights today. Here is a breakdown of what we saw new at PMA that piqued our interest:
From Nikon come 2 sleek models, the S5 and S6. Both @ 6 megapixels, Nikon optics with a 3x optical zoom, wi-fi one the S6, recharging dock. Each model is only .8 in. thick. Either a 3â€ LCD or 2.5â€ LCD.
Of course you canâ€™t always get want you want in one package. The S5 has an optional underwater housing (clean design, approx $120.) but then smaller screen and no wi-fi.
For your close-up shots, these will go as close as 1.6 in. That is pretty darn good!
And, as is the trend, the lens uses a prism for the zoom, so it stays slim.
From Canon, there were a lot of new models but of particular note were the SD 700 IS and the SD 630 IS. Here again, choose your features: with 6 megapixels, 700 has 4 x optical zoom, 630 has 3x, 700 has image stabilizer (helps with the blur), 630 does not.
700 has the smaller LCD BUT a viewfinder (very unusual in todayâ€™s digital P&S, more prevalent in the Canon line) Soâ€¦if you are shooting the kids soccer game and need the longer lens and image stabilization perhaps the SD700. If you are more concerned with your playback to share, maybe the SD630. Both cameras are a little bigger than the Nikons.
We were happy to see the SD30s stay in the line. Small, colorful, well done.
On to Fuji: The big news this year seems to be the F30 with ISO 3200, extreme image stabilization (well demoâ€™ed at PMA) and an interesting feature button that shoot 2 shots for each press of the shutter: one is with natural light with proper ISO automatically set, and the next shot is with flash (or flash fill). You choose the shot to keep. 6.3 megapixels, 3x zoom.
Pentax came with 2 P&S cameras that caught our eye. The Optio A10 and the Optio WPi.
The A10 has 8 megapixels, Shake Reduction (image stabilizer) and uses DivX technology for the video. Editing video is possible right in the camera. Good option but will you do it? Perhaps to eliminate questionable video to make more room on your card 2.5 in screen. Then there was the WPi, Displayed underwater, this camera is water resistant and claims to be waterproof for about a 30 min. full submersion. Impressive.
Then we came to Olympus. Of course there big news was the 4/3 imaging sensor standard on the new DSLR EVOLT E-330. However, the camera that kept us coming back with questions was the new Stylus 720 SW. Waterproof?, Shockproof? This camera has been produced with a rubberized housing that is then sealed into the metal body around it. When demonstrating the unit, they did the old joke of the â€œshort dropâ€ when handing it to you. Dropping the camera before you truly were able to reach it. They were also screening a video with a truck running over the camera while it was shooting. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking? Yes, shockproof.
The word is that it can go to a depth of 10ft, and yes, in saltwater, for approx 1 Hour. What happens when that time is up? You bring the camera out of the water, for about 10 mins. letting it re-pressurize, give it a little fresh water rinse, and you are back in the water. There are 4 underwater settings to adjust diopters and filtering. Seems like a pretty good beach vacation digital camera. There is an underwater housing for deeper dives for longer time.
In the niche category is one of our favorites from Panasonic. Is it brand new? No. But current and unique. We love to shoot panoramic, and of course you can trim and reformat in many programs available. The Lumix DMC-LX1 shoots 16:9 format, 8.4 megapixels, AND a Leica lens with a 35mm equivalent to 28mm to 112mm zoom. Here is an example of a specific camera that had just what we were looking for.
Last DISCLAIMER: All of these cameras were viewed within a trade show environment and the people showing the wares were either product folks or salespeople. The cameras were not field tested, nor used in a natural setting. We always recommend going into your local camera store and really taking a close look at the camera that meets your needs. The way it feels in your hand and the way you can operate and use the features is what will make it a camera that you shoot with all the time. And that is what it’s all about.
Not all of these cameras are available quite yet. Some are just a few weeks away. And remember..when new models come in, the old models go down in price.
If you would like specific help in your search for the right camera for you, we can help point you in the right direction.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
More coming in a day or two with a wrap up on more products to consider from PMA.