THE BIG FIVE:
8 MP DIGICAMS
There are five digicams with 8 megapixel (MP) sensors. If you are looking for a full featured point-and-shoot digital camera, you might be considering one of these. They are so full-featured that point-and-shoot hardly seems like an adequate phrase, but these are all-in-one cameras with a single non-interchangeable zoom lens. Some of them have auxiliary lenses that screw or bayonet on the front of the permanent lens.
I am not tempted to buy one of these cameras, tempting though they are, for three reasons.
1. I already have a point-and-shoot digicam that I am quite pleased with, the Canon G3.
2. I have a Digital SLR that I am VERY pleased with, the Canon 10D.
3. Each of these five cameras falls short in some way from what I would want in an expensive, 8 MP digicam.
I want a zoom lens with at least a 28-200 focal length range (35mm film equivalent), image stabilization, and manual zoom (or at least a better electronic zoom). I want a good viewfinder, minimal noise at higher ISO's and a well designed user interface. I want a common type of memory storage and good battery life. Most important, I want excellent image quality from the lens, the sensor, and the camera's internal image processing software. It wouldn't hurt if the external software for dealing with the RAW images out of the camera was good too.
All of these 8 MP digicams gives me some of what I want, none have all of what I want. Too bad I can't take a little from this camera and a little from that. I am waiting for the next generation of 8 MP digicams.
Your situation may be different. If you have a high end film P&S, or a film SLR, and you want to take the digital plunge with a better than average digicam, one of these may be just what you want.
Get the current (July 2004) issue of POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY and read the comparisons of these cameras. Scroll down this blog (or check the archives) for my April 21, 2004 post with links to reviews for each of these cameras at DP Review and the Luminous Landscape.
You can check my website for advice on choosing a digital camera here
You can read more about the Canon G3 here
If you think you might prefer a digital SLR with interchangeable lenses, you can read about the Canon 10D here