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[filmscanners] Good deal on nice digicam


Since you mentioned image stabilization, I though I'd give a heads up on
a potential buying opportunity that probably won't last long, for people
looking for a great digicam who are  spoiled on DSLRs, in terms of
design and features, but who want to have a fairly small and lightweight
substitute when they don't feel like carrying around a whole kit.

Firstly, I want to be clear that I have no personal stake in this.  I
don't even own Canon stock, and I have no affiliation with any camera
retailer, it's just my wife and I (we both bought one) are having a ball
with this camera.

We recently purchased a Canon S3IS. It was just replaced by the new
S5IS.  I tend to usually wait for the new model to come out before
buying the one being replaced, to see if there is any glaring design
error, and also to save some $.  The new S5IS is about $200 US more than
I paid, for what I consider little benefit (8MP versus 6MP, a hot shoe,
a larger LCD screen (2.5" versus 2") and one higher and even more
useless ISO step at 1600).  The new one has the next generation
processing chip, which seems to deal with the noise issue by smearing
things more to get an extra stop, but from what I've seen of sample
pics, I am not convinced the 8MP sensor and the new  processor improves
anything.  Besides which, for any serious photographer, this is a camera
you want to use at 200 ISO and under.

Both models are digicams using the identical 12x optical zooms, and a
silly little 1/2.5 sensor chip, but the camera is a mini-SLR design and
it has a very well designed optical image stabilization system that is
fantastic (I get an extra 3 f-stops from it, meaning I can hand hold an
image I would have had to shoot at 800 ISO on a non-IS camera  at 100
ISO).  Of course, that doesn't answer a need for fast shutter speeds for
moving objects, so probably not great for action stuff in low light. But
the IS  lessens the pain of the sensor size and the noise issues
considerably.  In the meantime, this thing fits nicely in ones hands
(even small ones like mine and my wife's, has an almost fully
articulating LCD screen, plus a dipper correctable electronic
viewfinder, and double or triple the features most DSLRs have.

It has all sorts of manual features for those who want them, and tons of
programmed mode, as well as a pretty nice movie mode up to 640 x 480 at
30 fps and stereo sound. It uses standard (and cheap) MMC and SD flash

Is it a replacement for a DSLR?  Not really, but it rocks for size,
weight, features, and cost (they are selling for as little as $280 US now).

Anyway, I've "sold" a good half dozen people on the S3IS (even before I
bought one for myself  - hey, they were in the market before I was ;-))
and not one of them has any remorse about the purchase (well, they all
wish the LCD screen were larger and the manual was an easier read,
considering all the features).

As a digicam, the design and build is very nice (it actually is made in
Japan for a change) and it even uses AA batteries (4).  Its not for
making perfect 16" x 20" enlargements, but as a everywhere camera,
(really easy panoramic stitching and software package too) it is a great
deal now, before it disappears (its discontinued due to the new model).

As to image stabilization is general:

Although there is some controversy as to if sensor chip based image
stabilization is equivalent to optical stabilization in the lens (some
claim optical is more accurate, or can add an extra stop), on DSLRs the
beauty of the in-camera sensor chip based IS is that any lens you slap
on the body has IS, where the optical system requires each lens to be
designed with IS in it, which can add up and means a lot of legacy
lenses are lacking the feature.

Since I am heavily invested in Nikon lenses, I'm still waiting for Nikon
to offer an in-camera IS body which is of reasonable size and weight (I
find all the current higher end DSLRs cameras too large for my hands,
and none have in-body IS).  The D40X with IS would be near perfect. (if
it functioned with the previous generation of  AF lenses).


James L. Sims wrote:

>Well, we've sort of done that with digital cameras.  They have also put
>my old Pentax cameras out of service, and after all the work I did
>fabricating a pressure plate that kept the film reasonably flat.  At my
>age, I'm also an advocate of image stabilization - I'm taking sharp
>pictures, again - hand-held!
>Arthur Entlich wrote:
>>Hi James,
>>Thanks for the formula.  I guess we need to go back to glass  plates ;-)
>>James L. Sims wrote:

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