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What camera should I get?

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    What camera should I get?
    « on: 28 / May / 2008, 11:41:05 »
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    Pretty open question. I'm looking to get a Canon camera so I can apply the CHDK hack and renew my interest in photography :D.

    I'm still reading up on CHDK so I may have some mis-understandings of it. What i'm looking for in my new camera in no particular order:

    - cheap price
    - will be supported by CHDK for a long time
    - provides majority of CHDK features

    Should I be buying a camera that is new, or would a used camera be ok?
    I prefer lithium-ion battery packs as i'm under the impression they are more eco-friendly. But they die 'eventually' and may be hard to find in the future. How reliable are AA-based cameras now a days? On par with lithium's?

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    Offline intrnst

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    Re: What camera should I get?
    « Reply #1 on: 28 / May / 2008, 23:28:28 »
    Hi, phillr
    As a research, could you read this and make some criticism? We are trying to improve the page. Thanks.

    Welcome to the Forum.
    -- funny english, be aware -- CHDK for Dummies - The Very First Steps

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    Offline dzsemx

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    Re: What camera should I get?
    « Reply #2 on: 31 / May / 2008, 10:59:13 »
    use these:
    digital cameras review - Google Search
    and
    CHDK - CHDK Wiki for supported cameras

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    Offline BB

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    Re: What camera should I get?
    « Reply #3 on: 31 / May / 2008, 12:19:57 »
    On the bottom end of the price scale, the A570is and the A720is are the two cameras you should be looking at.

    The both have full manual control out of the box. The A720is as 6x (570 is 4x) optical zoom and has a mount for an external tube (wide/telephoto lenses and 58mm filters). For the most part, adding lenses to a P&S reduces image quality so much--that they are hardly worth the money to use (Canon list price for 0.6x wide angle + tube is more than the cost of the whole camera).

    Drawback is that these two cameras only have 2xAA batteries and make for slow flash recycle time (5-8 seconds for full power recycle). Also, neither camera has a hot shoe, so you can only use slave flashes.

    If you want external flash, you have to jump up in price... S5is or G9. S5is is supposed to have just about the best video/audio out there. Both are larger/more expensive cameras.

    If you like the G9's features, but don't need a hot shoe, and like the S5is' tilt screen, look at the A650is which also has 4xAA batteries--much faster flash cycle time.

    The SDxxx cameras--nice (and sort of a bit pricy) if you need a very small camera and, at least one model, has a very nice wide angle lens (which no other Canon P&S has at this time). However, they have full auto controls--so if you are trying to learn basic camera operation--they are not great for that (although, you can manual set controls with CHDK).

    Regarding batteries--I used to think I preferred Lithium Ion batteries. From the data sheets--who wouldn't.... Small, light, fast charge, lots of energy storage.

    But, there is a dark side to LIon batteries... You can't store them with full charge--or they quickly age and die. For storage you are supposed to take them to around 1/2 charge--and who does that (certainly not me).

    So, back to AA's--The historic problem with NiMH (no Cadmium, so environmental issues are a bit better than the old NiCAd cells) has been there very fast self discharge rate. After a year of use, I was lucky to have much power left after a couple months of storage (sometimes only a few weeks of useful power).

    Sanyo Eneloops (and a couple other brands of "Hybrid" NiMH batteries--typically on the box you will see "pre-charged" indicating they are hybrid NiMH) have changed all that. Though they are only about 2,000 mAhr rated batteries (compared to 2,500+ for high capacity NiMHI batteries)--the have one big advantage. Eneloops will have 85% of their power after 1 year of storage.

    So, now, if your camera/batteries sit for a for few weeks unused--the Eneloop reserved charge will end up being higher than that 2,800 mAhr battery (which is quickly self-discharging itself).

    Also, with AA's--I have the option of using Lithium Primary cells... Other than their high price ($2.50-$3.00 per cell)--they are lighter, have 10 year storage life, work well below freezing, and support a very high discharge current. So, while they are about 3,000 mAhr batteries--in high drain/peak load operation (like digital cameras), they last longer than just about any other cell out there... Very handy for long trips where you have no battery charging--and just real handy to carry a set as spares for that one time you need a set and have no other cells/recharger available.

    As far as I understand (which is not a whole lot)--Once a camera is supported by CHDK--the basic functions will be there forever more. And new functions will continue to be added--as long as the camera has the memory and physical hardware to run it (example, SDxxx cameras don't have aperture control--but use a Neutral Density Filter instead).

    One thing with CHDK--you are going to be following the Canon product line--it takes a while for somebody to volunteer to do the porting--and this can take weeks to months to accomplish.

    Also, when Canon releases a new camera, there is no guarantee that it will every support CHDK. First people that know how to dump firmware and port CHDK have to volunteer. Second, Canon may make changes (by accident or on purpose) that make porting CHDK more difficult--or even impossible.

    For example, one of the newest Canon A series, the A590is, appears to have change their firmware so that the CHDK users no longer know how to load programs into the camera (changed loader encryption or whole process?). So, at any point, we may be left with no further development path for CHDK and new Canon models to come down the line.

    So--your best bet is to look at the Canon P&S cameras currently available and supported--and make your choice from one of those. You can review porting activity for new cameras (like the G9) and make an educated guess if it will be supported in your time frame or not.

    -Bill

    -Bill


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    Offline 73113

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    Re: What camera should I get?
    « Reply #4 on: 14 / October / 2008, 06:33:45 »


    Regarding batteries--I used to think I preferred Lithium Ion batteries. From the data sheets--who wouldn't.... Small, light, fast charge, lots of energy storage.

    But, there is a dark side to LIon batteries... You can't store them with full charge--or they quickly age and die. For storage you are supposed to take them to around 1/2 charge--and who does that (certainly not me).

    So, back to AA's--The historic problem with NiMH (no Cadmium, so environmental issues are a bit better than the old NiCAd cells) has been there very fast self discharge rate. After a year of use, I was lucky to have much power left after a couple months of storage (sometimes only a few weeks of useful power).

    Sanyo Eneloops (and a couple other brands of "Hybrid" NiMH batteries--typically on the box you will see "pre-charged" indicating they are hybrid NiMH) have changed all that. Though they are only about 2,000 mAhr rated batteries (compared to 2,500+ for high capacity NiMHI batteries)--the have one big advantage. Eneloops will have 85% of their power after 1 year of storage.

    So, now, if your camera/batteries sit for a for few weeks unused--the Eneloop reserved charge will end up being higher than that 2,800 mAhr battery (which is quickly self-discharging itself).

    Also, with AA's--I have the option of using Lithium Primary cells... Other than their high price ($2.50-$3.00 per cell)--they are lighter, have 10 year storage life, work well below freezing, and support a very high discharge current. So, while they are about 3,000 mAhr batteries--in high drain/peak load operation (like digital cameras), they last longer than just about any other cell out there... Very handy for long trips where you have no battery charging--and just real handy to carry a set as spares for that one time you need a set and have no other cells/recharger available.


    Thanks bill! I was looking for some info on batteries and this is a nice and compact answer to some questions I had on this :)
    Maybe a thread with experiences for this is an option...

    Also, when Canon releases a new camera, there is no guarantee that it will every support CHDK. First people that know how to dump firmware and port CHDK have to volunteer. Second, Canon may make changes (by accident or on purpose) that make porting CHDK more difficult--or even impossible.

    For example, one of the newest Canon A series, the A590is, appears to have change their firmware so that the CHDK users no longer know how to load programs into the camera (changed loader encryption or whole process?). So, at any point, we may be left with no further development path for CHDK and new Canon models to come down the line.

    So--your best bet is to look at the Canon P&S cameras currently available and supported--and make your choice from one of those. You can review porting activity for new cameras (like the G9) and make an educated guess if it will be supported in your time frame or not.

    -Bill


    For the A590 people are now in fact making progress. It seems, as with most things, it just took some time to catch up to new developments. So Phillr (or people with similar demands for their cam) might want to consider that one as well.
    getting started with chdk Basic articles

     

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