Posts Tagged Canon Ixus 860 IS

Tamrac Camera Case

Having used an old camera case for some time for my Canon PowerShot S95 I decided to get a more suitable one. My requirements were: would allow easy access, would fit the camera snuggly, would have room for a spare battery and would attach to my belt securely. After googling and binging the web I settled for the Tamrac 5686 Ultra-Compact Digital Camera Pouch from Amazon for the reasonable price of  85 SEK/9 €. This is a review of it and what I thought.

First thing to notice was that it did not look as the illustration at either Amazon or at Tamrac. I actually liked the design I got better! Lucky me! 🙂

Yes, the camera fits snuggly – so snuggly it actually sticks out about 5-8 mm on top which I think is quite ok. I certainly prefer that to a bigger case! Width and depth is perfect for the S95. The shape of the case – ever so slightly arc-shaped in the front – fits the slightly protruding barrel of the S95 like it was constructed for it! It just slides into the case without a hinge! The “lid” closes perfectly over the top and the velcro is wide enough to grip very tightly.I do prefer the velcro type of lid to the zip when it comes to easy access! On the positive – or negative – side it does make a noise when you lift the lid!

There is a pocket in the front – about 5 x 7 cm – with an internal velcro about 1 cm down to keep things from sliding out – making the pocket about 5 x 5 cm – if you use the velcro. As you can see in the picture (above right) you might even let a flat object stick out of the pocket if you want to – making the usable size about 5 x 9 cm. The lid closes over the pocket. This pocket is ideal for the camera battery or an extra memory card or any other relatively flat object!

At the back of the case there is a sturdy strap to attach the camera case to your belt.  It is equipped with double velcro!  Both on the inside – like most camera cases I have had – but the Tamrac has an extra velcro on the outside of the strap with a security flap the you fold bach up over it – making the risk of losing the camera seem highly unlikely! This is something I appreciate a lot – having in the past thought of extra security solutions with sewn on carbide hooks and other complications to minimize the risk of dropping/losing the case – and my camera!

The velcro used in the case seems to be of good very sturdy and tightly gripping quality! Time will tell how well it lasts from repeated openings… The fabric also seems well-chosen for its use. Both soft and a little silky and sturdy at the same time. The case is also padded slightly to protect the camera.

The only hang up I have is the very thick plastic badge sewn onto the lid …

Conclusion

The Tamrac 5686 is a really good case that breathes quality and good thinking! I do recommend it for the Canon S95 or similarly sized cameras! (Like Canon S90, Ixus 750, Ixus 860IS, Samsung WB2000…)

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Review Samsung WB2000 – Box content

I am holding it right now! Well almost – as I am typing – but I think you know what I mean!

I will give away something: It is both gorgeous and terribly annoying at the same time! Read on and I will explain why I feel like that!

In this review I will both go over some of the specification of the WB2000 (but not all of it as you can find that on the Samsung site … ) and my views on some of the features. Concerning facts I will concentrate on the slightly more difficult to find facts that you usually do not find in the fact sheets. Fair or not, I will be comparing it every now and then with my trusted old Canon Ixus 860 IS.

The BOX
The box contains: the camera, a battery, a short handstrap,  a “travel” charger, a short USB charging lead,a quickstart booklet and a CD. Not much to say about the box itself.

The charger and battery
A little let down I think is that the charger is only for charging the battery while it is in the camera!  If you have just one battery that would not matter much but it is not very practical if you a have extra batteries. It is also fairly slow (takes several hours – I will be back with the hours and minutes later). This is actually my FIRST camera ever to charge the battery in the camera itself – so I was a little surprised and maybe a little dissapointed! The charging lead is a short  (50 cm incl contacts) special lead with one larger contact with a built in quite bright LED (red, yellow, green) to conect to the camera – the LED shifts from red to green and gives a very clear indication when the charge is finished. Included in the box is one Samsung battery (SLB-11A 3.8V 1130 mAh).
The (EU) charger itself is fairly compact, handles 100-240 V, 50-60Hz and outputs only 4.4 V 400 mA via the USB socket it is equipped with – which maybe explains why it is such a slow charger. I have ordered an “external” charger from Amazon for £7.77 to remedy this shortcomming – maybe as slow but at least I can use the camera while charging my other battery – and I can actually charge two batteries at the same time!
If you are like me, you will use the camera the most while you are travelling. Calling such a slow in-camera charger a travel charger shure beats me … A small FAST external charger would have done the trick and earned the name travel charger for me!  The Canon external charger wheighs in at 58 gr versus the Samsung 72 gr – to be honest, in EU you have to add a short powerlead to the Canon charger bringing up the total to 136 gr. The Canon charger outputs 700 mA making it a snappier charger…

The handstrap
A short thing to put around your wrist. One would think that there is not a lot to say about a handstrap – and there isn’t! Exept perhaps that it is just that: a handstrap – a simple loop to put around your wrist. The Canon handstrap has a little plastic “ring” so that you can “tighten” the strap around your wrist making it sits there more securly. Not much to talk about or complain about – but that little ring it gives you a much better feeling of security – stopping the handstrap from sliding off …

The Booklet and CD
A printed “getting started” guide and a CD with manuals in  lot of diffrent languages and software for transfering pictures from the camera to the comtputer and to process them – also the RAW pictures thet the camera can produce! I will be getting back to this later if there is any interest…

Finally I arrive at the camera itself! I will split the review up in diffrent areas as I go along…

See you soon…

/Photoman

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How I selected my new digital compact camera

You can go about buying a new camera in a number of diffrent ways – from just picking what the person in the shop shows you or you can try and find out as much as posible beforehand, make lists and then try to make an informed decission. I don´t have any facts showing that the last way gives a more satisfied owner – but I like to find out things and brood on the decission for some time – I actually think it is great fun! This is the story of how I went about it. Maby this can inspire someone else out there to also try something fun!

First I started out by reading lots about the current crop of cameras on the web in places like www.dpreview.com and then I mostly used Google and Bing to find info on lots of different sites.

Then knowing what features the new cameras was offering – this autum – I tried to write down the things that mattered most to me! (Camera wise that is! 😉 ) Buying a recently released camera means that there are few or no reviews to help you with the selection. Many cameras offer very similar features making it difficult to differentiate between them.

The sensor
It would have to have a sensible pixel count. Preferably not much over 10 Mpix. This because I do like to use available light if at all possible. The latest new feature is back illuminated sensors so that would also be a bonus for available light photography – but not really knowing how much of a difference it would have I do not put such a weight on that feature.

The Lens
I like wide angle shots so it would have to be at least 28 mm on the wide side – preferably 24 mm.
I also liked the lens to be reasonably fast having a wide angle f-stop of at at least 2.8 – but better the more light it let through!
I decided that the zoom range was not that important so I settled for a moderate minimum of at least 5 times zoom.
As I like to get really close to things and takes lots of pictures of flowers and other small things the “macro” distance had to be in the order of a few centimeters (an inch or two).

The Flash
Having said that I prefer available light my requirements of the flash is not so high. One thing that matters though is being able to use the flash close to the motive. I did find out that not many cameras can use the flash at their closest focusing distance – a pity I think – but one that I have to accept. Not that easy to find out about this fact for the cameras on my shortlist.

The Shutter
Here I must point out that I think the term “shutter speed” is not such a good word – you are not interested in the speed of the shutter itself (which probably stays the same all the time) – you are more interested in the time which it is open … so I will be using “shutter time”.
The shortest shutter time I decided was almost uninteresting due to the fact that all cameras have 1/1500 – 1/2000 sec. Again my interest in available light affects the requirement. Night photography requires looong shutter times so being at all able to set long times (at least 10-15 sec) was important – and that the camera automatically could handle times of at least 1 second – preferably longer – for convenience.

The ISO
Here I wanted to have automatic ISO-setting (which almost all cameras feature) and a wide range –  from ISO 100 to around ISO 3200. Preferably also some indication what ISO-value the camera chose. Yes I know that ISO over 400 starts to show noise and 3200 has LOTS of noise – especially with a small sensor. Still it is nice to be able to actually take a picture – even if it is very noisy! Beeing able to set the maximum ISO-value would be a bonus!

The Panorama Support
This is a favorite of mine – panorama pictures. How this is implemented is important to me. A lot of the cameras has what is called “sweep panorama” in which you just sweep your camera slowly across the scene and the camera will create the wide (or high) picture automatically. What is bothering me a little is the fact that this does not seem (according to the descriptions I have found) to use the full resolution of the cameras. That would mean that it would be of little use to me. At least now, beforehand, I would say that I prefer to stitch together the fullsize pictures with Microsofts eminent FREE panorama stitch software “ICE” – try it you will like it! Easy to use and produces really GREAT results! Evens out exposure and tries really hard to make the seams invisible. The only drawback I have seen is that if it can not automatically figure out how the pictures should be stitched together you can not help it by selecting similar points in both pictures. (I have used it a lot and only had a handfull of properly taken panorama series that it could not stitch.) It handles hundreds of pictures and Gigapixels!

The Screen
My previous compact camera (and my current DSLR Canon EOS 550D – which has an absolutely gorgeous display) both had/has 3″ displays. I do NOT want a widescreen display that normally would show pictures with space at the sides – wasting a lot of the screen pixels. This requirement might change in the future – I guess – but for now it is still valid for me so the screen will have to be at least 3″ – and filling out the screen with the pictures! Having being spoilt by the Canon EOS 550D display – and actually seeing that it helps in getting better pictures by showing me a lot better the “final” image – I would like to have a screen with quite a bit more than the standard just over 200 000 pixels. I have not yet seen the advantage in touchscreen – I want to be able to adjust the settings with just the fingers on buttons that I have learnt to find and use. But this might also change in the future!

The Movie Mode
Again having being spoilt by the Canon EOS 550D – and its superior full HD 1920×1080 movie mode I don´t really want to go with anything but full HD! I do realize that I can not demand the same quality as the HD movies from the 550D with its big sensor!
Beeing able to zoom and autofocus during filming makes the compact camera double as a (half)decent movie camera so that would be handy – but not absolutely required! Stereo sound would also be a bonus.

Summarizing my compact camera requirements:

  • Sensor – not too much over 10 MPix, back lit
  • Lens – 24 mm, 5x zoom, bigger then f 1:2.8, min focus 5 cm
  • Flash – being able to use it really close
  • Shutter – long times (> 10 sec manually and >1 sec automatically)
  • ISO – wide range 100-3200
  • Panorama support – for full size pictures where all pixels are used
  • Screen – 3″ or bigger – NOT wide screen and > 200 000 pixels
  • Movie Mode – full HD 1920×1080 with autofocus and zoom during filming is a bonus

The MOST SCARY of all of this is that I will not know how well the camera handles and how user friendly it is or how good photos it takes and that I will not be able to figure out just from the specifications…

Tomorrow I will discuss my shortlist of cameras that I considered.

Till then…
/Photoman

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Hello world!

This blog will be about things I do. I will start out with how I went about buying a new digital compact camera. Over time it will be a sort of review of cameras that I own – compared to cameras I have owned.

My whole life I have been working with solving problems and improving solutions so I guess I will be giving Samsung FREE advice (look out for the blue text) on how to improve their camera from a users perspective – the user beeing me! I do realize that all designs is a compromise on what is possible, what is desirable, what sounds good, what costs least, etc … but quite often you see what is just bad design decissions! It would be great fun meeting for a day with the designer(s) of this camera that I have bought!

I have just seen that my new camera is in the post and should arrive in just a few days. My plan is to write about first the selection process and then move over to a review of the new camera – with some comparisons to my previous camera (Canon Ixus 860 IS – that I really liked) that I lost a few weeks ago.

The camera that I have ordered is the brand new Samsung WB2000 (Samsung TL350) – I am very exited about it. It sure sounds good on paper with soo many cool features! This must be one of the most feature packed cameras I have ever seen … but I have not held it in my hands yet!

/Photoman

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