Thursday, December 27, 2007

Canon SD850 battery life

The SD850 has pretty good battery life - I took 327 shots on my first fully charged battery. The LCD was turned off for maybe a 3rd of those pictures, and the flash was almost never used, but I did review my pictures after taking them quite a bit.

Unfortunately, the camera doesn't have a battery charge meter, so the end of battery comes with little warning. Once the low-battery warning came on I got about 20 pictures before the camera turned off. It takes about 2 hours to charge the battery, which is done by taking the battery out and putting it into a relatively compact (slightly smaller than the camera) wall charger.

view your photos at full resolution

If you have a >2 megapixel camera, it's likely that you never view your photos at full resolution, since even a 2mp image is larger than what most monitors can show. While full resolution may be out of reach, it's still possible that you can see more pixels than you do currently. If you have a CRT, it's very likely that you don't push it to the very highest resolution, as Windows just isn't usable (fonts are too small, as are toolbars, etc). And even some LCD users run in less than full resolution mode, for the same reason.

What you'd like to do is temporarily switch to a higher resolution mode while viewing your photos. You can do this by changing your desktop settings, but it's a pain to switch back and forth all the time. Luckily, there's an app that will do the work for you. Reso will change the screen resolution (and/or refresh rate) and then launch an application of your choosing. Once you quit that application it will return your screen to normal.

Use it to start Infranview and you have a high resolution image viewer. You can even place a shortcut on your desktop that does this, and then you can just drag any photo onto it to view the image in full resolution. You'll be amazed how much more your photo's "pop" when viewed at 1600x1200 or higher. This is one of the reasons to hang on to a good 19 or 21in CRT.

See also: this writeup.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

further comparisons between canon sd850is and sony w80

Nightshots: both Ok, but sd850 is better.


(lab shot) S850 has more corner blur. W80 has more barrel distortion. Both are OK.
(real world) both suffer corner blur, but in different corners. SD850 is only slightly worse.

High ISO mode:
(iso 400): w80 is blurrier, but not so that you'd notice at 1280x1024. At 100% zoom it's definitely noticeable, and at 50% zoom it also is, but not badly. Conclusion: it's a toss-up if you don't use the full camera resolution.

Real world resolution:

not much difference in full light, esp. if you don't use full resolution.

in moderate light, there still doesn't seem to be much difference.

Non-photographic issues:

CIPA: W80 340 shots, SD850 230 shots
Dimensions: W80 3.6 x 2.3 x 0.9 in., SD850 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.0 in. (W80 slightly smaller)
Rotation sensor: Yes, both have it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

SD850is price drops

Amazon is still dropping the price on the SD850is ($250), though the price fluctuates up and down a bit. They remain the cheapest price on the net from a reputable seller. Meanwhile the Sony W80 is going for $180.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Casio EX-V7

I'm taking a break from Canon to consider other cameras. The Casio Casio EX-V7 is a nice compact camera if you don't care about an optical viewfinder ($200)

Specs: 7x zoom, 7mp, 2.5in LCD, optical NR, CIPA 240. Dimensions: 3.8 x 2.4 x 1.0 in (0.2 longer and taller than the Canon SD 850).

The 7x zoom is pretty exciting. That kind of range implies some optical trade offs, and indeed there are some: corner blurriness and barrel distortion at wide angles. The corner blurriness isn't so bad, actually, but the barrel distortion is pretty noticeable in lab tests.

It also has a really good movie mode: it allows optical zooming while recording movies, and it records to h264, which is a really efficient codec with small file size and good playback compatibility.

Some reviews: