Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Help me choose a new camera

  1. Jun 8, 2012 #1
    I'm looking for a new camera. I don't need anything too fancy, but I'd like to be able to record 1080p video, take decent photos, and preferably the ability to mount it on a vehicle dashboard and/or motorbike handlebars to take videos while driving.

    Price is not too big an issue, as long as it does what I need.

    Any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2012 #2
    Do you want a DSLR or a bridge camera?
  4. Jun 8, 2012 #3
    A Canon Powershot S100 should probably do most of what you want.

    For mounting on a handlebar you will need some kind of clamp that fits fit the usual tripod thread. You might get away with one of the Gorillapods, but that would not be my first choice.
  5. Jun 8, 2012 #4
    Bridge camera? What are the relevant differences between the two?
  6. Jun 8, 2012 #5
    Looked it up on amazon, looks pretty good. One of the reviewers suggests waiting for the upcoming Sony RX100. Any thoughts on that? The time is not an issue, I'm not in a rush here, but is it worth the extra couple hundred dollars?
  7. Jun 8, 2012 #6
    A bridge camera has a large zoom range like 20x or something, while it's not very big. But the image quality is limited by a small sensor size as other small pocket camera's, quality is especially bad in low light conditions. Also speed of focus is slow.

    DSLR's are generally more expensive, the standard lens has very limited zoom capability and a lot of expensive glas is needed to cover that 20x zoomrange. But with the larger sensor, image quality is superior especially in low light conditions. Also they focus much faster.

    There is also the micro four third system, combining a larger sensor (in between the two) with exchangeable lenses.

    But it sounds that a lot of basic cameras fit the specification. See:
    See also the guide and maybe http://www.dpreview.com/camerareviews/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  8. Jun 8, 2012 #7
    Thanks to whoever moved the thread. I didn't even realize we had a photography forum here...
  9. Jun 28, 2012 #8
    Ok, I've done a bit of reading. I think I'd like a pocket sized one for the ease of carrying around like the Canon Powershot S100 or the upcoming Sony RX100, though a smaller bridge camera would work as well, if it means I get better quality/battery life for the same price (from what I've found so far, it seems like you pay extra for good quality in the compact cameras).

    One additional question though: Are there any cameras with wireless/bluetooth connectivity so I can automatically upload pictures to my phone/tablet/home computer?
  10. Jun 28, 2012 #9
  11. Jun 29, 2012 #10
    You can put an eye-fi card into any camera using SD and have pics automatically downloaded via Wifi

    http://www.eye.fi/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  12. Jun 29, 2012 #11


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Neo, you might want to research the Panasonic pocket-sized cameras. They are very nice, with Leica optical-zoom lenses, and can fit into a shirt pocket easily. Bridge cameras are fine, but the camera you don't take on a walk is a camera that isn't used. That means lost opportunities for good shots.
  13. Jul 3, 2012 #12
    If you are a professional photographer or if you want to become one, the RX100 is a good choice. Sony seems to target it towards the pros because it has all the manual controls (as opposed to automatic adjustments in point-and-shoots). Image quality is really top notch for this camera due to its premium features.
  14. Jul 3, 2012 #13
    That RX100 does look pretty slick. Is there an estimated price for it yet?
  15. Jul 3, 2012 #14
    Everything I've read suggests around $650
  16. Jul 3, 2012 #15
    yep, quite expensive actually. you could buy a DSLR at that price though the trade-off will be the size
  17. Jul 3, 2012 #16


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Again, I would suggest a high-quality pocket sized camera. I have a couple of Canon 30Ds with some nice lenses, but after we adopted Duke they didn't get out all that much. Got a Panasonic pocket-sized camera with a nice Leica 10x manual-zoom lens, and we could still have photo-shoots on walks.
  18. Jul 3, 2012 #17
    That's what I'm leaning towards as well. I'm debating between the Canon S100 or waiting for the Sony RX100. The only thing is I'm not sure if the Sony will be worth the extra price for my uses.

    I'm looking at the comparison here.
    The main advantages of the RX100 for me seem to be:
    • Longer battery life (330 shots vs. 200 shots for the S100)
    • Light sensitivity (25,600 ISO vs 6,400 ISO)
    • Less lag (13 ms vs 250 ms)
    I could buy extra batteries for the S100 for under $50, so the battery life is not a big deal, just a bit of a nuisance to have to carry/remember to swap them out. [Edit: Make that $10 + S/H, after a bit of searching]

    I don't know enough about light sensitivity to know how much this difference will affect my photos. I imagine for outdoor shots it won't matter, but what about indoor shots? As a beginner photographer, will I notice much difference between the two? I'd like to be able to take photos of my son at his gymnastics and swimming classes, photos of people at family events and/or parties I attend, and maybe photos of displays at museums/zoos/other attractions I visit. Would the S100 be more than sufficient, or will I be disappointed with the image quality in any of these situations?

    Does anyone know how noticeable a 250 ms shutter lag is? Will I find myself missing things at my son's gymnastics class, or will that be good enough for most shots?

    I don't intend to be doing many (if any) large printouts, so the higher MP of the RX100 doesn't matter too much to me. The other advantages of the RX100 listed on that site don't seem like they would affect my usage too much (unless you guys think the aperture or number of focus points will be a big advantage?).

    On the flip side, the S100 has a few features that look like they could be useful as well:
    • 240 fps movies
    • Integrated GPS
    • Better zoom (5x vs 3.6x)
    Has anyone here used the S100 high speed video? How is the video quality? Does it work well both indoors and out?

    It also mentions that the S100 has better wide angle and better macro capability, but I don't know how much either of those would help me out.

    They're both pocket cameras, but the S100 is slightly smaller and lighter, which is a plus (though not a huge deal, as they're both very portable).

    Any thoughts on these features? Will I even notice the improvements of the RX100, or is it just a waste of money for me? Are there any other features/specs that I should consider in deciding that I've missed here?
    Edit: Or any other pocket cameras that offer similar features/performance?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
  19. Jul 3, 2012 #18
    I have the S100 (to complement my 5D2) and I am fairly happy with it. I have not really tried the video features. The GPS is great for travelling, but unnecessary elsewhere.

    For museum shots in particular low light performance makes a difference. Wide angle is nice for travel and landscape. For ball games you will notice the difference in lag. For swimming and gymnastics less so. Things are much more predictable, so once you get a feel for the delay it is ok. The other uses you mention are not so demanding on the camera, imho.

    Battery life on my S100 is perfectly fine if you turn off the GPS if not needed. A second battery is certainly a good investment.
  20. Jul 4, 2012 #19
    Ok, I just ordered the S100, and a 32GB card for it. I might get an Eye-Fi card later though.
  21. Jul 4, 2012 #20
    Also found on amazon 2 batteries and a travel charger for 16.99, including shipping.
  22. Jul 4, 2012 #21


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That should keep you going all day. Good find.
  23. Jul 11, 2012 #22
    I took a few pictures testing out my camera. Check them out here.
  24. Jul 11, 2012 #23


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You done good!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook