Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Smallest Canon Camera

Canon makes some very small digital cameras but it's actually a little difficult to tell which is really the smallest canon digital camera. The stats below show Canon's two tiniest ultra compact digital cameras.

PowerShot SD1100 IS

Dimensions (WxHxD)
3.42 x 2.16 x 0.87 in./86.8 x 54.8 x 22.0mm
Approx. 4.41 oz./125g (camera body only)

PowerShot SD770 IS

Dimensions (WxHxD)
3.39 x 2.13 x 0.80 in./86.0 x 54.0 x 20.4mm
Approx. 4.59 oz./130g (camera body only)

As you can see, you have the SD1100 IS which is the lightest canon compact. And you have the SD770 IS which is the shortest in length. The SD770 IS is shorter by .03 inches or .8 mm. Certainly that is not a big difference in size. And on the other side of the coin, the SD1100 IS weight less than the SD770 IS by .18 ounces or 5 grams. Not a hell of a big difference either. I hardly think either of these cameras would feel any different in one's pocket.

The SD1100 IS is priced at $149 at Ritz Camera. The PowerShot SD770 IS is $159 at Amazon and $149 some other places. So for all intents and purposes, the price is the same. So is there much difference between these two little digitals?

Shutter speeds are the same at 15-1/1500 sec. Flash range is the same at up to 11 ft. The 770 can use the SDHC memory card where the other cannot. But they both handle SD & MMC. The SD1100 IS is nicely designed with a stylish colors available. The other compact digital is apparently only available in traditional silver. The SD1100 also features a pinhole viewfinder for those who want an option to the LCD screen.

Reviews seem to favor the SD1100 for picture and video quality. Although the raw stats don't yield much discernible differences, but it has the edge in design and look and feel. Price points are similar on these two ultra compact digitals so if your shopping give the canon SD1100 IS a try for sure. Certainly it can't hurt to compare the two but if you're undecided, general recommendations favor the SD1100. Regardless you will have a camera that fits comfortably in your pocket, purse or backpack. As new models are released I will update this topic as needed. Digital cameras are being released all the time as you know!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A List of Small Digital Cameras

I love small cameras. So I am researching which are the smallest. Here is the list of compact digital cameras I have come up with so far. I will be adding to this post and creating others that describe and compare the features of the these and other tiny cameras. My criteria for small is that they have to be pocket-sized. My experience is with Canon, so this will be mostly information and feature comparison and not usage and experience based. Here's the list so far:

Canon Powershot SD1100 IS
Canon Powershot SD770 IS
Canon Powershot SD790 IS
Canon Powershot SD880 IS
Canon Powershot SD990 IS
Casio Exilim EX-Z300
Nikon Coolpix S210
Olympus Stylus 1050SW
Olympus Stylus 790SW
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150
Pentax Optio M50
Samsung L210
Sony Cyber-Shot T200
Sony Cyber-Shot W150
Sony Cyber-Shot W300

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Looking at Canon Compact Photo Printers

I've been thinking about getting one of these small photo printers to compliment my Powershot S5 so naturally I turned to Canon. Canon has new additions to its line of compact photo printers: the SELPHY CP770 and the compact CP760 Photo Printers. These tiny photo printers are supposed to simplify printing for all users and make it easier to print photos instantly. That sounds like what I need. What’s cool is they can do what they do all without having to use a computer or camera to download images.

The Canon SELPHY CP770 compact photo printer is their small, portable and ”cute” printer for those on the go type of people. The SELPHY CP770 photo printer comes bundled in a basket-style storage 'bucket', which not only houses the printer, but also stores accessories including paper, ink cartridge and power cable. Their design is supposed to allow for easy portability. I’m not sure how important this really is for most people. Do we really need to print photos on the road or at the beach? I really want something EASY to use. Luckily they have simplified their compact printers. Canon says their new design innovations were created with a focus on improving mobility AND usability. Each printer has larger buttons arranged intuitively. They are designed for simplicity and easy navigation through menus. Well I hope they are not too many menus. The number of buttons on each printer has been reduced from 12 buttons on previous models, down to nine for more simple functionality – that sounds better. Ease of use is top priority.

More about the Canon SELPHY CP770 Compact Photo Printer
This model, with its inviting "basket" design and “fun” colors, is supposed to appeal to moms, kids, grandparents or anyone who wants access to a photo printer. Well that’s everyone then isn’t it? The CP770 printer comes with a 2.5" High-Definition LCD monitor so you can preview images before printing. That’s about as big as a digital camera LCD is it not? Not very useful. The monitor itself has also been angled so that it can be easily viewed, even when sitting in front of a table that the printer is sitting on. It comes in two colors: apricot and white. The optional Canon NB-CP2 battery pack allows for printing photos while on the road. Their NB-CP2 battery pack provides hours (how many they don’t exactly say) of printing power before each recharge. An additional neat feature is called "IrSimple". It’s a high-speed infrared wireless access so you can wirelessly print snapshots from your mobile phones, other digital devices. The printer accepts a wireless infrared signal to transmit photo data, but your phone has to support the IrSimple standard.

Canon SELPHY CP760 Compact Photo Printer
Canon boasts ease of use for their new Canon SELPHY CP760 compact photo printer. That’s what I want to hear. It’s gat a compact simple to use design to print great 4x6 inch photographs and make the most out of a digital camera. Sounds good. It has a new 2.5 inch, Thin Film Transistor (TFT) control screen which can be clearly viewed from various angles. Bigger is better, too bad. The screen should allow users quickly navigate through menus and neatly preview images before printing. The addition of simplified card slots lets users plug in memory cards or print straight from the camera with a USB cord. This sounds like the simplicity I’m after. I want to take the memory card, put in the printer and print. But does it also hook up to the computer? I need to find that out.

Photo Quality
Another cool thing is that both the CP770 and CP760 photo printers feature this new overcoat technology to help reduce blurring, and fingerprint smudges. Very important when you’ve got kids! After the yellow, magenta and cyan colors have printed, a special overcoat layer is applied to the image through a proprietary lamination process. This lamination helps reduce bleeding and blurring of printed photo and also helps to reduce the risk of water and fingerprint smudges - YAY!! - as well as fading that can be caused by ultraviolet light or other environmental factors.

So the research on compact photo printers goes on. I’ll probably look into what else Canon has to offer, and maybe start investigating some older printer models. More on the Canon compact photo printer search coming soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Canon S5IS Sports Mode

The Canon Powershot S5 IS has what I'm sure was intended to be a cool feature to take action shots: sports mode. Well it's really not that great. You would think sports mode would take a clear focused shot of someone jumping or running or whatever. Well it doesn't, but there it a viable alternative to get great action shots with your Powershot s5 IS.

Program mode in the default setting I found works better to get clear, non blurry action shots with the S5IS. You can also try playing with the ISO settings to improve your pictures. ISO settings can improve pictures in low light situations. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor, so the lower the light the higher the ISO should be. I got some nice of my daughters jumping off the couch with this setting. Pretty neat to see the hair flying all over the place.

Maybe I'm missing the point and sports mode with the Canon S5 IS is intented take action shots with a lot of streaks and blurring, but I prefer the clear shots that program mode gives me. Try it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Digital Camera Megapixels - How Many?

More megapixels equals better pictures. Is it true? The New York Times say it’s a big fat lie. Other disagree, so what is it? Should we buy a digital camera with the most megapixels possible? Or should we not be concerned and just get the cheapest digital camera? The Canon S5 IS has 8 megapixels, is that good?

Of course there are other factors besides the number of megapixels that affect picture quality. Let’s rule out photographic skill and try to talk only of camera hardware. The most important is the camera’s lens. Compact digital cameras have tiny lenses. Tiny lenses make for worse pictures in general. Don’t expect your pocket sized camera to take pictures as good as an SLR just because your megapixel count is higher. It doesn’t work that way.

Pixel Overload
Years ago when 1 and 2 megapixel digital cameras were the norm, an increase made a difference. Now, that’s not the case. Now we are at the point where some experts say that the increase in megapixels is degrading picture quality. Too many pixels mean smaller pixels. Smaller pixels on a camera’s sensor, which converts light to electrical signal, means less light sensitivity. That could lead to noise in the image. Noise is anything from poor edge definition to off-color specks.

8 is Enough
When do we need more megapixels? We need more to make large prints or to zoom in and crop prints. If you want to make 12x16 prints you should have at least 6 megapixel. 8 is plenty – like the S5. If you want huge professional quality posters you may want more resolution and probably a more expensive SLR. Anything more than 8 on a powershot or other point and shoot is probably not helping your image quality. And most certainly it’s not helping your hard drive which will need to be a lot bigger to accommodate the larger file size of your images. So don’t get hung up on megapixels. Now is a good time to buy a camera because you can get an older model with less rez for cheaper. So the cheapest digital camera might be the best one! Soon there won’t be any more smaller megapixel cameras as the marketing frenzy over larger megapixels continues to escalate. I wonder if digital camera binoculars will go through the same pixel frenzy?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Powershot S5 over the Holidays

I've been rambilng on and on about the features of the Canon Powershot s5, but are all these features useful? Yes they are! Over the holidays, i utilized some of the nifty camera features to my delight.

One particular case of feature exploitation was when i was recording video of my two girls dancing around xmas morning with their new matching umbrellas. I thought wow this is a perfect shot, and bang I snapped off a picture without having to switch modes and stop shooting video. The Photo in Video feature is useful! And that picture was a great one.

I also discovered that the S5 12x zoom is great for someone lazy. My mom and daughter were walking around looking at holiday decorations at a neightboor's house and lazy me didn't even have to walk over to them to get a closer shot. Thanks S5IS! i also made good use of the zoom while shooting video as well, something not many digital cameras in this price range have.

Another neat feature of the s5 is night scene which is pretty cool when you're out looking at christmas lights.

One disadvantage of my Powershot S5 i'm discovering more and more is the poor battery life, especially when I shoot video. Shooting video with the S5 suck the life out of the AA batteries super quickly. I really am beginning to wish the Powershot s5 IS came with a better digital camera battery. I still haven't gotten around to buying a rechargable set of AA batteries.

I'll try to post a few pictures soon, until then check out the Canon S5 at a camera store near you!