Pentax Optio 555 or Canon Elph S400

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Reg, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Reg

    Reg Guest

    I'm looking to buy a digital camera for the imminent arrival of my
    first child. From my research, I like the Optio 555 for its zoom and
    manual control (more important to me than the mom-to-be, who will only
    ever point and shoot) but am concerned about its speed. I also like
    the Elph S400 for its (relatively fast) speed and ease of use.
    Picture quality is actually the most important feature to me, but I
    haven't been able to find any head-to-head comparisons. I can't
    decide which way to go - does anyone have any thoughts on which camera
    is better? Thoughts on other cameras would also be appreciated, but
    from my research, I'm really liking these two. Thanks.
    Reg, Jan 15, 2004
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  2. I really like the Pentax Optio 555. Probably the things that made me pick
    the Optio over the S400 include:

    1. 5x zoom. It's like have a built-in teleconverter. Note also that the
    Canon maximum aperture in it's telephoto position (108mm) is f/4.9. The
    Pentax is f/4.6 at 187.5mm. However, at 108mm, the Pentax is around f/4.0.
    The Pentax gather around 2/3 more light, allowing faster shutter speeds or
    lower ISO ratings.

    2. Full priority modes (Aperture priority, shutter priority). The Canin is
    either fully automatic or fully manual. Helpful if you're trying to do more
    creative work.

    3. Preview histogram. I find this invaluable in helping to judge exposure
    before the shot is taken.

    4. Pentax's hybrid AF. It allows auto focusing in nearly dark rooms
    without an annoying AF assist light (although this mode focuses slowly).
    I've been able to get pictures of our baby sleeping without worrying about a
    disturbing light waking him (of course they were using a time exposure
    without flash).

    5. Longer flash range. The Pentax flash has about a 50% longer reach than
    the S400.

    6. Long battery life. Pentax's battery life is around 2x Canon's.
    Typically I can shoot all day on a single battery (although I carry a spare
    just in case).

    7. Availability of a remote control. Great for group shots you want to be

    There are some advantages to the Canon; it's somewhat smaller, I probably
    prefer 4MP over 5MP due to noise/resolution tradeoff, and Canon's lens
    shutters seem to be more robust.

    Overall, I'm satisfied with my choice.

    James Akiyama, Jan 15, 2004
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