Friday, March 10, 2006

Decisions, Decisions!

Like the rest of the Singapore population (or so it seems), I made my way down to the overcrowded exhibition halls of Suntec City to glimpse at the potential digital cameras choices. Like half of the Singapore population (or so it seems), I made a beeline for the popular digital camera brand names.

Honestly! It seems like everyone is getting a digital camera. Could it be due to increase in narcissism in the society? Or could it be due to the NYP Tammy sex scandal incident that everybody realize it is better recording sexual escapades on digital cameras instead of phones?

I was quite overwhelmed by over-enthusiastic salesmen who were chattering away at lightning speed, sputtering spits over my face. After all the ordeal of being shoved, pushed and spitted against, I finally decided on my potential three candidates.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX8

PRICE: SGD599.00
I like the matted feel of the camera, but detest the view and menu navigation (I am very anal in aesthetics.) . I am clueless regarding the ISO whatsoever, but am sufficiently impressed with the optical stablizer. Ha. The things marketers can come up with to impress malleable shoppers like me. What's more amazing is they allow photography in the most diverse modes, for instance - "Food, Baby, Fireworks, Party, Snow, Self-portrait, Soft Skin.. "

So apparently, the SNOW mode makes the snow in your photograph looks whiter. JUST HOW COOL IS THAT? I mean I can brag like "Eh look, dude. My snow is whiter than yours." I am not sure what FOOD mode does, though. Or SOFT SKIN. If these modes make my food look more appetizing or my skin appear softer, I am SO buying this. (Ha. ha. I am kidding about the latter.)

Canon Ixus 60

PRICE: SGD599.00
So, it is funny how I have studied consumer behavior and how irrational consumers can be and yet, I am ironically suspectible to all the effects. The flesh is weak, my friend. We have all heard about versioning, and how manufacturers are cunningly plotting and scheming to suck all consumers arid by gradually releasing subsequent versions with very marginal improvements. Yeah, so say hello to Canon Ixus 60. I wonder about the day when Canon Ixus 1000 gets released and I will tell my grandchildren "Last time ah mah used Canon Ixus 60 okay."

Oh, I digress. Canon is a very safe bet because my brother's camera is a Canon too. It has been established to be reliable and it has served us well. It looks sleek, screen-wise and external. It does not, however, have the fancy SNOW mode to make my snow look whiter, but it does have a 6.0 Megapixel capability (which beats Panasonic 5.1 Megapixel).

Sony Cybershot DSC-W50

Price: SGD609.00
Of course, like the other two, this camera looks sleek and classy. As I was playing with the camera, I noted they have like, "A Dummy's Guide to Functions" pre-installed. So, it is like, I will press on a certain icon, a text explanation will appear and explicate the obvious. For instance, clicking on NIGHT MODE probably has the explanation - "This is for taking photographs at night."

Duh, I thought to myself. The salesman, however, thought this was a very marketable factor and thus enthusiatically blurted "Only our cameras are the only ones with text explanations, you know!" Right. I must look like a dummy who don't know functions very well, or the salesman is plain desperate to sell his cameras.

Oh, and Sony has the fancy preset scene modes, one of which makes water bluer and snow whiter. Woo hoo! Okay, I am gonna sound like a retard gushing about such trivial attributes to all the camera connoisseurs.

Which is also why I value opinions from you people!! Please enlighten! Thank you very much.

Oh oh, there is also a dark horse. Fuji seems highly recommended, but it is damn expensive. So many choices! How, like that?


Anonymous Toukarin said...

Hmmm... did you take a look at the Nikon cameras...? Heard there were a few good bargins.

Anyway, for the various shooting modes, it's not a selling factor really. More important are its core features such as the ISO.

A quick guide available here

Of course, the optical stablizer feature is a good thing to have.

If I were to choose between the 3... it would be between Lumix and Ixus. I simply hate Sony's interface and the fact that I have to buy their ridiculously-priced memory sticks for all eternity.

But I would advice that you check out Nikon first.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous yq said...

if u want a cam tt looks nice, either the lumix or canon... nikon is good too but i feel that looks-wise it's not as sleek looking? haha. it was one of the reasons why i din buy nikon last time too (i think price was the other factor) :P

but of course if looks dun matter tt much then can check out nikon too.

but i'm still partial to canon la.. i think it's v reliable and of good quality. hehe.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Toukarin said...

Forgot to include some testing tips:

1. Fiddle with the manual modes if it's present. Take as many photos as you can to see the difference. This allows you to see the difference in image quality when the aperture and shutter speed are adjusted.

2. Look out for the corners of the photos you take. Spot if there are curve-ins or distortion in the photos due to the lens being round. If so most likely there are manufacturing faults.

3. Test out the metering modes intensively to see if they match your expectations. Since you're not going to use manual mode most of the time, see if the basic metering modes are good enough of a quality for you. Remember that what you see on the LCD screen is not always indicative. This is the case for Canon coz the image on the LCD preview looks slightly darker than when it's uploaded to the computer and printed.

4. Test the flash intensively, since I *think* you won't be taking photos at night without flash often (the images will look like crap if you don't have a tripod or some stable support). Compare images with and without flash on darker areas to see the difference.

5. Zoom: Remember digital zoom is fake zoom. What matters is the optical zoom - and see if the image is still as clear. Sometimes manufacturers combine optical and digital zoom and tell you it has 10x zoom, which is going to result in a very low-quality image.

6. ISO: think the olden days of film in 100, 200, 400. Basically it's how sensitive you want the film to be. Tuning to higher light sensitivity when it's not required means you will see a lot of noise (pixelated images) when you zoom in for a closer look in the preview. Make sure the ISO works fine (say use 200) for lighting conditions in the exhibition hall. You should almost not see much noise when you zoom in the preview.

PS. Any ice-cream treats? =P
PSS. Got help me get laptop brochures?
Most likely I'll only be visiting only on Sunday (last day usually has the best offers - drawback is that the best stuffs are usually sold out).

4:16 PM  
Blogger yian said...

My vote goes to Canon, as I think it's realiable. But somehow, Lumix seems to be pretty good too, with the optical stablizer and funky functions.

My apology if I don't help much =)

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Toukarin said...

Comments from my professional photographer friend:

- The IXUS is durable & reliable.
- The Lumix Lens is damn good.

So... if you haven't bought it yet... something for you to ponder upon.

8:14 PM  
Blogger jellybeano said...

Thanks dearies for all your input! I think I shall take Sony out of the running. Panasonic or Canon... :)

10:37 AM  

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