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Cheap, pocket point and shoot as a backup camera <$100

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by craniac, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    So I packed my camera in my checked luggage on the way home from Europe. Actually, it was in my carry on, and we ended up checking our carry on luggage, which got lost. Two of the six pieces are still missing.

    The day I got home, I received an emergency email and had to fly from our home in Qatar to Utah. During the layover, I was in Philadelphia for ten hours without a camera, which was bearable.

    In addition, my wife does not always like it when I bring the Panasonic GX1 along, although sometimes with the 14mm lens I can sneak it into a pocket.

    So now I feel the "need" for something I can slip into my pocket as an every day carry. The difficulty level, however, is that my budget is about $100, preferably less.

    Any recommendations? I just clicked around Amazon and saw an Olympus Stylus VG-190 that received good reviews. My mom has a tiny little Nikon S220 that I've been borrowing for the past few days, and it is perfectly fine. I am not a pixel peeper, but it is nice to have something that fires up quickly for candid shots.

    Thanks for your input.
  2. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    For P&S (new) at that price range, I much prefer to simply use my smartphone. Read reviews online of smartphones that include an assessment of their camera's abilities. Its something that is always with you. It provides easy capabilities for sharing and apps for processing (I use Avery). With the exception of optical zoom, cheap P&S in that price range won't give you much more than a smartphone in terms of IQ.
  3. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    I have a cheap, $100 smart phone, and the image quality is terrible.
  4. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Well there are deals on things like the E-PM1 & 2 that are in the $200 range.

    But for real small / cheap I would look at Canon A series (current one I think is the A1400). One big reason is several still use AA batteries, so no charger needed.
  5. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    Looking at getting my wife an XZ-10, which used/refurbished is around $150. Fast lens, small, can shoot raw to iAuto.
  6. BeyondTheLines

    BeyondTheLines Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2012
    If you don´t mind used, I bet you could get a Canon S95 off of ebay for around $100
  7. eekim

    eekim New to Mu-43

    Jun 10, 2013
    San Francisco
    Eugene Eric Kim
    I'd upgrade your smart phone. Today's iPhones (and many Android phones) are as good as (and in many cases, better than) the best small sensor compacts. Plus, you'd have a nicer smart phone.

    If you absolutely want something different, I'd look at getting a used Canon S95. I just looked at eBay to see what they were going for, and it looks like you could get one for $150, which in my opinion is a great price for a very good camera that will still outperform comparably priced new compacts.
  8. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2014
    Agreed. I used an iPhone 5 and a well-reviewed pocket-sized Canon (not the S95) on a trip in 2012 and I couldn’t tell the difference. Phones have the same size sensor as most of these compacts and the lenses (at least the iPhone lenses) are very good for their size, plus there are many more software options for touching up photos and sharing them. Why carry an extra device when you’re going to have a phone with you already?
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Cheap smart phone will usually have a cheap camera... its an area that they cut corners on. Did you expect differently?

    $100 buck premium during the purchase/renewal of a smart phone goes a long long way. In particular, the latest generation of premium smartphones have been focusing on the camera's image quality. Most of these are surpassing the image quality of the typical cheap P&S camera.

    There is a reason why P&S cameras are no longer being manufactured by some companies... Olympus included. The market is no longer buying low end P&S cameras in lieu of premium smartphones.

    My Samsung S4 produces better images than my wife's (now son's) Olympus Stylus Tough. Of course, it doesn't have the waterseals and zooms... but the S4 is always with me.
  10. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    XF1 is available under $200. Very small with good IQ.
  11. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    I'm not sure why I'm getting lectured about the smart phone I purchased. I didn't buy it to take photos.

    I used to own an S95, and sold it for the Panasonic GX1. That's something to consider. I don't use a phone with a monthly data plan, because that's $600 a year I'd rather spend on something else, so I'd have to buy an unlocked Iphone, which gets rather expensive.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. I'm just being argumentative so I'll weigh your advice and figure something out and retire from the thread at this point.
  12. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I picked up a refurb XZ-10 as my take anywhere camera during the last 20% sale on Olympus refurbs. At that time, it came to $138 all in, probably $9 more than that if bought right now on the 15% sale. It's a noticeable cut above anything that can be gotten for $100. The other camera to look at in the ~$150 range is the FujiFilm XF1.
  13. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green

    I use Virgin Mobile's $35/month unlimited data plan (they also have a $45 a month unlimited voice and data plan) along with an HTC One V phone that I picked up in mint used condition on ebay for $50. That's about as cheap as you can get for a smart phone plan with unlimited data in the U.S. The camera is 5 MP, but not too bad.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. craniac

    craniac Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2013
    Orem, Utah.
    Mark Crane
    Wow, that is a deal. Do you have a link to that sale?
  15. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    • Like Like x 1
  16. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    Pentax Q is the only small camera that I know that feels and operates like a big boy camera. Manual controls, minimal menu diving. ND filter built into many of the lenses. Shoots RAW.
  17. spdavies

    spdavies Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 9, 2013
    Another option would be the Panasonic Lumix LX-5 or LX-7 (used).
    Really nice small cameras with full manual and auto controls
    and fast zoom lenses.
    Well built and excellent picture quality.
  18. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 19, 2012
    I'll second the Canon S95 idea. I purchased a nice, clean, used (about $110 on Craig's List) one for my wife to replace her relatively ancient (2004) Canon S-45 (4.5 Mp) which was still functioning but had become too bulky (?) for her. The S95 is much slimmer and of course is a very functional 10 Mp. She's extremely pleased and I got so jealous (hard to believe) that I bought an S100 for myself and it's now been my inclement weather/very compact carry backup for two travels to Europe in the recent year, backing up my Panny GX1, and, this year, my Panny GX7. While my wife shoots jpgs, I do shoot the Canon in RAW and pp in Lightroom, using a cross camera calibration that very nicely emulates Nikon D2X Mode II, my favorite color "character" and for which I also use similar D2X calibration for my Nikon D610 and Panny GX7.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Used Canon S95. I saw a few on eBay.
    I'm presently using its younger brother the S120 when I just don't wish to mess with the GX1-P25 or I wish to preserve the battery on my iPhone5.
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