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OlegV

the best digital camera for the mountains

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Being tired of carrying my bulky conventional camera, I am thinking of buying Canon PowerShot S500. The main criteria is picture quality, cold-resistance, size and price. Any advices? Thanks.

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For a point-n-shoot, it's really nice (I have the older model, the S400). The only complaints I have are basically issues that could only be addressed with an SLR -- extra mechanical control, different lenses, etc.

 

The Lithium batteries work great. On days where the temps are super cold, I store my camera in my jacket until needed.

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Olympus Stylus 400, 410, or 500. The 400's are 4Mpixles, the 500 is 5Mpixles.

 

This is one of very few waterproofed cameras, has 3x zoom, and has Li-Ion batteries packs.

 

I realy want one. Lemme know if you find one for less than $300.

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this http://www.pentaximaging.com/products/product_details?reqID=1004&subsection=optio

or this http://www.pentaximaging.com/products/product_details?reqID=1022&subsection=optio

 

I've been using the 33WR for more than a year.

I use two lithium AA batteries - never had any problems in cold conditions. Do not care if its wet, dirty or frozen, it just works. One caveat - lcd panel and the glass that protects the lens are somewhat exposed to tear and wear, so I carry it in a lens bag.

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Being tired of carrying my bulky conventional camera, I am thinking of buying Canon PowerShot S500. The main criteria is picture quality, cold-resistance, size and price. Any advices? Thanks.

 

you can't "lie" to physics, so you're gonna have to decide whether picture quality is your "main" criterion, or size/weight. big chunks of glass ALWAYS do a better job of capturing light than small chunks of glass, so "good" cameras will always weigh more than poor ones. then you gotta add in factors like the quality of the glass, the design and workmanship, the number of elements, the coatings, etc, of course, but you can't escape the underlying "fact". i've disappointed myself again and again, trying to break the weight penalty barrier with film cameras, and my conclusion is that it just can't be done. every small camera that i've owned has produced "small" results.

 

so, with this perspective in mind, i'm old school enough to contend that virtually all modern digital cameras are mediocre at best optically compared to even "mid-range" SLRs, altho i've been arguing this exact point recently with Mike Blenkarn (long-time Arcteryx designer, and quality obsessor), who has forwarded me several quite fine shots taken with a Pentax OptioWP: only 4" x 2" x 1", 135gms, and waterproof. for him, this has replaced a clutch of SLR gear, a Nikonos, and a Yashica T4.

 

another mountaineering friend has one of the few digital cameras with a lens that i would consider "worthy": the Panasonic Lumix (i think the FZ10, but sorry, not absolutely sure which model) with a Leica lens. i've seen a few of his shots that fully impress me. but the camera is the same size as an SLR, not far off the weight (550gm), and not cheap (about $500).

 

and battery power is a persistent issue for winter and/or mountain use of a digital camera.

 

digital wins for convenience, but film cameras are not yet dead if QUALITY is the priority.

 

as for me, i'm not abandoning film. in fact, i just bought a Voigtlander Bessa R3A body (rangefinder with interchangeable Leica M-mount lenses) to take over duties from my old faithful, a Minolta CLE, which served me superbly through all kinds of weather, temperatures, and abuse for 20 years. wonderful camera - everything a modern Leica should have been, with superb lenses, but without the ridiculous price tag. 3 lenses plus body, all for under 1200gms (just over 600gms with the 40mm/F2, in case).

 

if you're still maybe-ing about going digital, check out Steve Gandy's super-informative site:

http://www.cameraquest.com/voigtr2ar3a.htm

this might be enough to convince you that film still has a rationale and attractions, especially when you focus on quality.

 

cheers,

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From someone fairly new to the game: I gave myself a Sony Cybershot for Christmas and so far it has worked great in the cold. 5 mp resolution with less available if more shots is more important than image quality. It is small, light, easy to use, and the Carl Zeiss lens does an impressive job for a small chunck of glass.

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I think it's time for me to upgrade my Olympus Stylus 3mp digital camera.

 

My requirements:

5MP or greater

3X Optical or greater

Small size

lightweight

reasonably tough and weatherproof

Good image quality

Good battery life (and the ability to carry extra batteries)

some manual control would be cool too

 

 

I haven't been looking around long, but the

Sony DSC-P100 and the Canon S500 seem like good options.

 

Thoughts?

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Canon ELPH S500. Don't know about the cold, but otherwise, great for the price and weight. Good battery life too. thumbs_up.gif

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I have been using the cannon s400 as well. Now the s500 might be a little better.(1 more megapixle but more cash too). This camera takes great pix and video is great too. I like the metal case and have had the camera wet. The case got soaked so the camera was damp for sure and still worked fine. The only problem I had with it was climbing Mt. Baker when I stepped on it and fractured the lcd screen. The camera still worked fine and still was able to download all the pictures. The nice thing about cannon is when something like this happens you send it in and they fix the camera and check all the functions for a flat fee of 100 dollars. Their pretty quick about it too.I compared several cameras over a months time and the best compact point and shoot for me was the s400. In my opinion the picture qaulity is hard to beat and the batteries last a loooooong time. I do carry a spare(about 23 dollars) but even on some long climbs (3 days or more) I never changed the battery. Hope this helps.Try this link great info www.dpreview.com

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after much hemming and hawing i ended up getting the canon s410. it's pretty damned small so i have little excuse not to have it with me. i've been pretty happy with the picture quality, although i think the picture-taker could use some training. cantfocus.gif

 

another review site: http://www.steves-digicams.com/

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Canon S500.... thumbs_up.gif

Small, good optics, great feature set. It is a proven design, as it has just been refined and improved from the previous model. I owned the S100, and now own two S400 cameras, and they have always worked great for me. They shoot little videos, and have that panorama feature.

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I just got my Nikon Coolpix 5200 a few weeks ago and have been quite happy so far. 5 MP, ~6 oz, 3x zoom. The lithium battery seems to last plenty long enough for me (although I have a spare I'll probably carry on multiday trips). Startup time is very quick, and it seemed to work fine in the cold on its first trip up Hood. Picture quality is good so far, although the guy behind the viewfinder could use some practice...

 

The Canon S500 was the other model seriously in the running. The specs are very similar. Nikon uses their low-dispersion glass, and it was a little bit cheaper (~$400 w/1 GB card and spare battery). But really the decision came down to: I'm a longtime Nikon shooter and have always been happy with their products. The Canon looks like a great camera as well. You'll do well with either one.

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I have a G2 and love it--aside from it being heavy and bulky. You can't go wrong with Canon.

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What is the difference between "high speed" compact flash and regular compact flash memory? Does it make any difference? I've seen 40x, 60x, and 80x cards advertised. What should I get?

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What is the difference between "high speed" compact flash and regular compact flash memory? Does it make any difference? I've seen 40x, 60x, and 80x cards advertised. What should I get?

 

I've never paid attention to the speed of the compact flash cards when buying them, but they do make a difference based on the speed you can write to the disk. More megapixels=more information that needs to be written to the disk means fast is preferred...but I've never had a problem with speed. Maybe I could take more pictures in a shorter time period (Distel32 type photo spew) with a faster card, but I haven't felt the need.

 

Here is a FAQ that explains the different compact flash speeds.

 

My advice would be to buy faster cards, but if they're too expensive than go with a slower one. snugtop.gif

 

I'm from the Olympic Peninsula, btw. Did I mention that? Not Olympia.

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I have a G2 and love it--aside from it being heavy and bulky. You can't go wrong with Canon.

canon has a great reputation for picture quality and camera design. i pretty much only looked at canons. (made my life a little easier with all the choices out there!)

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Not to get too far off topic, but can anyone recommend a good camera case? I like the Ewa-Marine bags, but they are very expensive. Maybe I'll just keep the camera in the case unless the weather is nice frown.gif

 

Jeff

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Not too sound too much like a salesman, but IMO the only way to protect your digicam in the mtns is to put it in a Pelican Case or an Otterbox.

 

My fav is the Pelican Micro #1020, because it is so small. I know a Pentax Optio 550 fits in there and I think the Canon S500 would too.

 

If your camera is a bit too bulky for the #1020, you might need to go with the bulkier Otterbox 8000, which fits my Canon A80 w/xtra batteries like a glove.

 

Several of my coworkers on a hotshot fire crew use these boxes and they all like them. They are *nearly* unbreakable. They protect from all water, dust, and impact. FYI, I recently broke the hinge of my Otterbox 8000 (while it was open) and they are replacing it for free.

 

Find them at:

www.pelican.com

www.otterbox.com

 

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I just bought a Fujifilm 'finepix' E550.

digital 6mp (so you can get poster sized enlargements),

9 oz, runs off lith batt's so should be cold resistent, relatively small size.

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I've been very happy with my Canon S70 which has one of these rarities for a fixed lens digicam, a wide angle lens (28mm). Size wise it's bigger than the very small pocketable, but in exchange for that you get full manual controls and RAW storage. The one thing I really wished it had was a hot shoe (but then we're not talking small size anymore). I got a filter adapter for it and will get a polarizer and grauate ND filter; the rest can be done in post processing.

 

drC

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My fav is the Pelican Micro #1020, because it is so small. I know a Pentax Optio 550 fits in there and I think the Canon S500 would too.

can you only get those online or can you find them locally? (i didn't see a list of shops on their website ... although perhaps i didn't look long enough. cantfocus.gif)

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