On the weekend, Claire and I ventured down to our local Harvey Norman and Domayne super stores to investigate buying a new portable digital camera. Claire and I first dipped our toes into the world of digital cameras about three years ago when we purchased a Canon Ixus 400. At the time, the Canon Ixus 400 was one of the upper models within the Canon portable range and we paid approximately AUD$1150 for it including some simple accessories.
After a lot of use and wear and tear, the Canon Ixus 400 is still in perfect working order; it just seemed like a good time to upgrade to something a little more current. After investigating what sort of features the current range of compact digital cameras have, we came out with a short list:
- 6.0+ megapixels
- 2.5+ inch LCD screen
- 3x+ optical zoom
- Physically about the size of a pack of cards
- Very light
The two serious contenders where the Canon Ixus 65 and an Olympus FE240. On paper, the two cameras have an excellent feature set:
|Canon Ixus 65||Olympus FE240|
|Megapixels||6.0 megapixels||7.1 megapixels|
|LCD Screen||3 inch||2.5 inch|
|Dimensions (mm)||90.3 (w) x 56.8 (h) x 20.2 (d)||93.5 (w) x 56.0 (h) x 23.4 (d)|
|Weight (g)||145 (chassis only)||115 (chassis only)|
|Image Size (px)||2816 x 2112
2272 x 1704
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
|3072 x 2304
2048 x 1536
1920 x 1080 (16:9)
640 x 480
When you look at the above list, both digital cameras have an excellent feature set. However, considering its a portable camera – the numbers are not the be all and end all of buying. It’s important to actually try and use the camera and navigate through the menu options to do other actions as well. When navigating through the menu options, the Canon Ixus 65 had a superior navigation system, there is no doubt about it. The buttons on the camera were easier to use and I personally thought that the on screen display was easier to understand as well.
Both cameras have a feature called image stabilisation, which essentially means its meant to deal with you moving the camera around while taking a photo. It turns out, holding a camera that is only 100-150gm perfectly still while taking a photo is quite difficult and without the image stabilisation technology, all of your photos will turn out blurry because you’re moving (without realising it). After taking a handful of photos, it seemed that the Canon had the goods over the Olympus. What I’m not totally sure about is whether being indoors may or may not have had any impact on that.
Both of the portable cameras have large LCD view finders – especially when compared to the 1.5″ LCD on the Canon Ixus 400. The Olympus FE240 has the smaller of the two LCDs and unfortunately it also lacked the clarity of the larger Canon display. The colour through the Olympus was pretty reasonable, however you could see what appeared to be grid lines from the crystals in the LCD. It wouldn’t have bothered me particularly, knowing that it wouldn’t have an impact on the image quality of the photos – however Claire thought it was quite important since you quite often end up showing people photos which are on your digital camera.
In the end, both of these compact digital cameras were more than capable of taking your happy snaps. We ended up going with the Canon as our existing Ixus 400 has been such a reliable little unit. The image quality on the LCD on the Canon was clearly better than on the Olympus and the Canon Ixus 65 also had quite a few different photo filters (such as sepia, black & white, black & white with feature colours, ..).
I can’t wait to take it for a run when we’re out and about next and report back with some, what are hopefully, some nice photos.