Thursday, December 11, 2008


Alright, I have to admit, I am planning on a very ultra compact camera for traveling purposes. You know the most irritating thing about traveling is carrying heavy items and you end up not able to buy much. Traveling light serves the purpose of really going on a holiday to enjoy and relax. Unless of course the sole purpose of the traveling is to take photographs. That is totally different, I am talking about being a casual traveler here - a common tourist.

I have been deciding between these three cameras for some time. Features in bold are the advantages of the cameras. You can easily tell just by looking at the amount of bold lines they have, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX180 (FX150) is a clear winner. Reviews done elsewhere shows all three aren't that bad in terms of photo quality. I love the Panasonic range for always pushing for the 28mm wide angle lens as well as the HD movie format. This pushes me really hard towards getting them.

This model even can shoot RAW and has a superb battery life and good mobility in terms of dimension and weight. Its Autofocus target follows the moving object, reminding me of the days when I played Afterburner with my friend, Edwin is Denim on his Sega Megadrive back in the early 90s. LOCK ON the target and FIRE! Finally, it has a special mode called Intelligent Auto [iA], which switches mode automatically as it detects. It is cool because if it detects it is a Macro shot, it becomes Macro mode, if it detects it is a Portrait shot, it becomes Portrait mode and it goes on, detecting the correct mode for the correct shot. Very intelligent indeed!

However, there is one final reason left why I fear to jump in and purchase Panasonic. They are traditionally not a camera maker like Nikon or Canon. However, Leica, being the superior lens maker are providing the lens, just like Carl Zeiss to Sony. Both Leica and Carl Zeiss are reputable German brands in the field of photography. Finally, I decided to ask my Japanese friend since it is best to ask from the country of origin.

He told me not to worried and shared with me that they are quite good even though they are new in the market. He even shown me his own purchased Panasonic camera from Japan. It has a damn solid built, furiously fast and looks fine. I still remember many years back when they first ventured into digital photography, Ayumi Hamasaki was their first model. I am not sure whether she still is their model for the Lumix cameras now. Even my new colleague from Lebanon is using it. Alright, I guess it is pretty much settled!

Ayumi Hamasaki Lumix Panasonic Cm Talkin' 2 Myself - Click here for more amazing videos

Nikon Coolpix S710
3" LCD (230,000 LCD dots)
14.5million effective pixels
35MP/cm sq pixel density
1/1.72" CCD sensor size
1.4 fps continuous
ISO 100 - 3,200 (6,400, 12,800 at 3MP)
4.8m flash range
F2.8 - F5.6 aperture range
8 sec - 1/2000 sec shutter
28mm-101mm (3.6x) zoom lens
640 X 480 30fps movie clip
93 X 58 X 24mm, 195g with batteries
Approximately 250 shots battery life (CIPA)
Around S$469

Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS
2.5" LCD (230,000 LCD dots)
14.7 million effective pixels
34MP/cm sq pixel density
1/1.7" CCD sensor size
1.3 fps continuous
ISO 80 - 1,600
4.6m flash range
F2.8 - F5.8 aperture range
15 sec - 1/1600 sec shutter
36mm-133mm (3.6x) zoom lens
640 X 480 30fps movie clip
98 X 62 X 28mm, 205g with batteries
Approximately 280 shots battery life (CIPA)
Around S$589

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX150 / DMC-FX180
2.7" LCD (230,000 LCD dots)
14.7 million effective pixels
36MP/cm sq pixel density
1/1.72" CCD sensor size
2fps, 8 images continuous
ISO 100 - 1,600 (Hi Auto 1,600-6,400)
5.9m flash range
F2.8 - F5.6 aperture range
60 sec - 1/2000 sec shutter
28-100mm (3.5x) zoom lens
1280 X 720 30fps HD movie clip
97 X 54 X 25mm, 179g with batteries
RAW uncompressed format
Approximately 330 shots battery life (CIPA)
Around S$569

OK, technically this is not really an ultra compact war. For achieving such high megapixel count, you need a bigger sensor. I guess the current technology is reaching its limit until a new breakthrough comes along. They are considered quite bulky in comparison to those in the 7-8 megapixel range.


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