Tag: pocket camera

2013 Holiday Shopping Guide – Which Digital Camera Should I Get?

Its that time of year, and I am asked repeatedly, “Which camera should I get?.”

Christmas is here! Which camera should I buy?
(Copyright 2011 Jordan Reeder / Reeder Studios, LLC)


Even though most of the new smartphones take really decent pictures, most people still like to have a “better” camera. Special occasions, holidays, travel, etc. Most smartphones still can’t compete with a proper modern digital camera in terms of low light sensitivity, optics, resolution, color, autofocus, flash power, RAW capability, dynamic range, etc. A few more years…and smartphones will probably be good enough.

There are 3 big categories for consumers seeking digital cameras.

1. Compact / Point and Shoot / Pocket Cameras – Pretty obvious…small cameras (no interchangeable lenses) with decent megapixel sensors. Downside – usually physically small sensors which produce noisy images in low light, and can’t achieve the shallow depth of field look you get with a full frame or APS -C sized sensor. Generally least expensive compared to other types of cameras, decent cameras for average consumers range from $150-500.

Canon PowerShot S120
(photo from Canon USA website)


2. Mirrorless Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses –  This segment has seen the most change/growth in the last few years. Falls between compact and DSLR cameras. Sensors are now high MP and can be as large as full frame 35mm. Most midrange cameras have a slightly smaller chip size. They do very well in low light, smaller form factor and weight compared to a DSLR. Vast lens selection. In the next few years, many consumers interested in DSLR’s will be buying these instead. Moderately priced. Decent cameras (with 1 lens) for average consumers range from $400-2000.

Sony a7 24.3 megapixel mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses
(photo from sony website)


3. DSLR Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses  Larger / heavier bodies and lenses, SLR viewfinder, usually larger APS-C and full frame 35mm sensors which produce better images in low light. Great color, dynamic range, fast AF, huge selection of lenses, features, etc. Most professionals use some type of DSLR. Decent cameras (with 1 lens) for average consumers range from $650-2200

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame 35mm 20.2 MP Camera w/ Interchangeable Lenses
(photo from canon website)


So which one should you get?

If you want something small that you will take with you all the time because you’ll hardly notice its there, go for the compact point and shoot. I’ve found larger point and shoots like the Canon Gxx (G15, G16, etc.) series get left at home. They weigh too much, if I’m going to mess with that I want a proper big camera with interchangeable lenses. Some people like them…that’s fine…just my opinion.

If you are really into photography, you are probably already thinking about upgrading your current DSLR…then you need to really think about Mirrorless vs DSLR. If you have a bunch of DSLR lenses already, probably best to just upgrade the body.

For those of you who really enjoy photography and are thinking you want interchangeable lenses…look into mirrorless cameras. Cool thing is you can mount a simple compact lens when you want to travel super light and still fit it in a jacket pocket…DSLR would be tough.

In the next week, I’ll post some recommendations on makes and models.



Hey Dad, I insist you use my Canon S100 on your big trip! OOPS! — “lens error, will shut down automatically, restart camera”

Loaned my Dad a Canon PowerShot S100 (reviewed here) for his trip to Hong Kong, telling him it was so much better than his old camera.

Which it is…but a couple of days into the trip I get this message from him, “For some reason ur camera lens will not retract. It says “lens error, will shut down automatically, restart camera” when I try to shut off and close lens.  Camera wasn’t dropped or bumped. I reset lens closing from 1 min to 0 min but it didn’t help. Any ideas ?”

Oops sorry Dad. I googled the issue and came up with this Canon lens issue web announcement:

It has been confirmed that some PowerShot S100 digital cameras encounter a lens error caused by a disconnected part inside the camera. This announcement conveys the details of the issue and Canon’s service policy for affected cameras.

Canon continuously strives to provide our customers with high quality, reliable products that can be used with confidence. We offer our sincerest apologies to any customers who have been inconvenienced.

Some PowerShot S100 units (with the serial numbers listed below) may encounter a lens error due to a part becoming disconnected inside the lens. In particular, this lens error may occur when the camera is used in certain environmental conditions such as high temperature and/or humidity.

click here for more info

Sounds like they will repair free of charge even if out of warranty if this is in fact the issue, probably is because he is in a high humidity environment. Camera normal resides in sunny, dry, sf bay area :)

Will update when resolved.


Canon PowerShot S95 vs S100 – Worth the Upgrade?

There are many high end cameras floating around the studio. But I still need a super compact point and shoot for times when you don’t want to lug around a brick of a camera. When I say compact, I mean slide in your pants pocket and hardly know its there compact. I’m not looking for something to compete with a proper full frame DSLR, just need something for happy snaps.

Over the years I’ve tried a few different brands, and most of the time I go with a Canon. A couple of years ago a few brands started letting us have access to the RAW capabilities of these smaller cameras. Which is a huge upgrade from just getting some jpegs.

I usually replace my previous version when the new one comes out…S90 – S95 – S100. I was happy with the S95, but the features that stood out most with the S100 for me were better HD video 720 to 1080, GPS logging and slightly wider lens.


Below are some comparison shots of the S95 vs S100, both on tripods, self timer, etc. These are screen grabs from lightroom 4, there are no noise adjustments made.

My Conclusion:

The S100 so far looks a little better, not mind blowing…but then again Canon seems to replace these every year so I suspect the differences between cameras won’t be very great. I haven’t posted any video tests yet, maybe in the future. The GPS feature is interesting but it seems to really drain the battery fast. And as with any GPS, reception can be spotty. It is nice when it works though and look forward to that feature being seamless someday. Overall a nice little camera with RAW capability and 1080 video. If you have an S90, its a nice upgrade. If you have an S95, not sure its really worth it. If you are going to buy this camera and just shoot jpegs, I would buy a less expensive camera because if you are not shooting RAW you are wasting your money.

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