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Looking for a New Little Camera
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Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Looking for a New Little Camera on 05/24/2012 09:55:34 MDT Print View

OK, I just lost my old little camera. So now, I'm in the market for something new. Here are some things I want out of the camera:

1) Lightweight. I would like to get the most camera for the weight I can get.
2) Wide Angle. My old camera started at 35mm (eq.) and it frustrated me. Now I want one that can capture more without resorting to stitching pictures together.
3) Image Quality. I sure wish the point and shoot folks put more effort into sensor quality than quantity. I really don't want more pixels if they are fuzzy. I would much rather have a sharper image than more pixels. I rarely print anything, and every image I see is bigger than every monitor out there.
4) More control on imaging would be nice, but it isn't a deal breaker. I've gotten used to the limited amount of control that I had until Saturday. With my old camera, I had a few modes I used ("Snow", "Night" and Regular) as well as the different focus types (Infinity, Auto, Macro). Fairly primitive, but I didn't mind too much. I'm not sure if I would really take advantage of a camera with SLR capability, even if someone crammed it into a small package.

A few other things worth mentioning. I take most pictures at bright light or with a tripod. Occasionally I will do a low light hand held picture, but that is usually in the winter. I may get a waterproof camera for that purpose (I wouldn't mind owning two cameras).

So far, I've looked at a bunch of little Cannons:

Canon ELPH 110 4.2 oz (120 g)
Canon ELPH 320 4.6 oz (130 g)
Canon ELPH 500 5.8 oz (165 g)
Canon PowerShot S100 6.1 oz (173 g)

So, this leads to a few questions: Are there differences in image quality for the three Elphs, or is it just a matter of features? The 500 seems to have less zoom, but a bigger price tag, so I would assume so, but I'm not so sure about the 110.

Is the image quality of the S100 significantly better than the Elphs? Again, I would assume so, in which case it might be a good sweet spot.

What other cameras should I be looking at (both for the super-light as well as the lightweight sweet spot)?


Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: Looking for a New Little Camera on 05/24/2012 10:11:49 MDT Print View

Image quality will be quite a bit better on the Canon S100. Probably other factors, but it has a larger image sensor, which is probably the primary consideration.

I'm far from a pro, but I also recently went looking for a new camera. I've been very pleased with the Canon digital cameras we've had for the last 10 years, so that's where I started looking. This time around I wanted to get a compact/ultracompact camera with manual controls, which narrows the options quite a bit. In the end, I went with the Nikon P300.

If cost wasn't an issue, I'd go with the Canon S100. The Nikon P300 competes very well against the S100 but lacks a few features that might be nice- manual focus (love the S100's control ring) and support for RAW. If you're on a budget but want a camera with manual control, I'd recommend the Nikon P300 (or the slightly newer P310) without hesitation.

S100 and P300 both have an 24 mm ultra wide angle lens, which is great. Neither have much zoom, which isn't much of a consideration for me. I've rarely used the 3-5x zoom on the cameras I've had. P300 has a slightly larger max aperture at f/1.8 vs the S100's f/2.0. Not a huge deal, but nice to have for my copious indoor photos of the kids. :)

Nikon P300 6.5 oz

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

Tough TG-1 iHS on 05/24/2012 10:48:00 MDT Print View

Wait for Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS. Well spec-ed, wide angle, bright/fast lens, water/shock/freeze/dirt proof.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Looking for a New Little Camera on 05/24/2012 18:49:17 MDT Print View

Most of my small cameras are Panasonic, for no good reason other than they had decent features and prices. My hiking camera is a ZS1, which has a fairly wide angle lens (equivalent to a 25-300mm lens), good image stabilization, and takes mostly decent photos for a point and shoot. I think they're up to the ZS10 by now, but older models are still available.

My standard advice for anyone looking for a hiking camera is to get something with a decent wide angle lens and optical image stabilization. Waterproof is a nice feature, but reduces the number of choices. (My waterproofing system involves a ziploc sandwich bag.) Other than that, buy on features and price -- image quality is going to be similar for almost every point and shoot camera. Price is related to features and age more than image quality.

The S100 allows more control, shoots raw files, has a decent lens, and will shoot nice photos, but it's still a tiny sensor and will have trouble at higher ISO values. But for your purposes it should make good photos and the manual control is a nice bonus. I love the ring around the lens -- set it as your zoom ring.

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Canon Powershot 300S on 05/24/2012 19:10:24 MDT Print View

It pays to read some reviews at sites like,, even user ratings at Amazon. Here's page with listing of popular pocket cams with links to reviews and blurbs on each:

I just picked up a Canon Powershot 300HS, which is a recently superseded model. 300HS is 4.9oz, 12 megapixel cam, 24mm wide angle with 5x zoom, good quality 1080P video. The superseding model goes up to 16megapixels and has only 28mm wide angle, both steps backward in IMO. You can find new 300HS's at discounted prices (around $135?) but I picked up a like-new one off eBay for $99.

Edited by hes on 05/24/2012 19:11:08 MDT.

Daniel Fascia

Locale: UK
Panasonic Lumix LX5 on 05/24/2012 19:19:20 MDT Print View

I carry a Lumix LX5, which is pretty light (271g) and has a useful 24-90mm equivalent zoom range Leica branded lens and a larger than usual sensor for a compact. It has full manual control and shoots raw. My setup is that and a Gorillapod SLR + Ballhead and a set of ND grad filters (there is an adapter for the LX5).

It makes a pretty darn capable lightweight kit. I've printed up to A3 from it with very satisfactory results.

Art Tyszka
(arttyszka) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Nikon? on 05/24/2012 19:32:04 MDT Print View

I'm a big Canon fan and shoot mostly with my T1i and Tamron 18-270. I also like to make videos via iMovie, and the SLR is a lot to pack in when trying to lighten everything else - so when I saw the Nikon AW100, I had to try it. I'm very impressed with the image quality of the stills and full HD video. The water/freeze/shock proof part is also what I decided was a must for true outdoor use.

You say you mostly shoot in full light, but I always like to have the flexibility of shooting in low-light and the AW100 does a nice job there. Whatever you get, I think weather-proof is a must have for backpacking so you don't have to worry about it, unless you're serious about shooting, then a SLR is hard to beat, though some of the new hybrids come close.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Tough TG-1 iHS on 05/24/2012 19:48:37 MDT Print View

+1 on the Olympus Tough TG-1 iHS. I suspect that it is going to be one of the most popular cameras for the UL crowd. The specs are fantastic.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Looking for a New Little Camera on 05/24/2012 19:59:54 MDT Print View

+1 on the Canon S100. I have it's grandfather, the S90. Thing it has the best combination of features, control, size, and image quality. I have tried several of the waterproof pocket camera, and have never been happy with image quality. That said, I bring a camera that is larger than the S100 if a trip has an emphasis in images over the hiking… for me, that means a Fuji X-Pro1.


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Olympus TGi ihs on 05/24/2012 19:59:58 MDT Print View

Yep Miguel, that looks like my next camera. Been looking for years and THIS one looks like a good backpacking camera that will not be soon "outdated".

adam blanton
(adamallstar) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Canon Powershot 300S on 05/25/2012 08:41:22 MDT Print View

+1 on this guy, if you're looking for tiny this is the way to go. Photo quality is excellent

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Canon S100 on 05/25/2012 19:04:17 MDT Print View

+1, great little camera that is a significant improvement from Elphs (in my opinion). my go to backpacking camera.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Howabout on 05/25/2012 19:21:42 MDT Print View

a camera tha can withstand being dropped? I use a Canon SD1100 IS but I think that my next camera with have waterproof/shockproof (or resistance) as a consideration. Expecially for hiking. Just a thought.