Cameras forum

General discussion

compact versus sub-compact

by zachdude / August 1, 2007 9:42 AM PDT

I'm looking to buy a digital camera and I'm not sure whether to buy a subcompact or just a regular compact. I know that compacts have more manual controls and higher optical zoom than subcompacts but neither of these are important to me. The only thing I care about is quality of picture, and I figure that perhaps the compact's lenses are better since they are bigger than that of subcompact cameras. But otherwise, I would prefer the subcompact since it's smaller.

So, bottom line: forgetting about all the other features, is the picture of compact cameras significantly better than that of sub-compact cameras (assuming that I will not use the manual modes)?

Any camera recommendations?

Thanks for your help!

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Compact - Sub compact
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / August 1, 2007 10:25 AM PDT

Three years ago, the sub compact cameras did not produce an image that could compete with a compact camera.

When Canon came out with the SD500 in Feb of 2005, things changed; they had the right combination of CCD sensor and lens. That camera is still a winner.

The sub-compact camera can be a problem for many people, it is more difficult to hold steady.
If you want a sub-compact camera, choose one with optical image stabilization and you should be a happy camper.


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(NT) thanks!
by zachdude / August 1, 2007 12:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Compact - Sub compact
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I vote compact, but own subcompact
by jpachner / August 4, 2007 5:05 AM PDT

This is not a scientific response... I own an excellent sub-compact Canon SD800, which replaced an earlier version. I upgraded for the wide ange lens, image stabalization, and better low light resolution. All as advertised and no complaints but I still feel that cameras even just a bit larger seem to take crisper pictures. That being said, I carry a subcompact because it fits in my purse and anything larger does not. If this was not a limitation, I would buy one step larger, which also tend to be a bit less expensive for what you get.

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Have Both
by wexmary / September 26, 2007 8:45 AM PDT

Sony DSC-H5 Superzoom and Canon IS-570.

I like both. Canon is more portable, but I like extra power and flexibility of the superzoom as well.

Both have their place.

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Compact vs subcompact cameras
by hjfok / September 27, 2007 6:49 AM PDT

I have the subcompact Canon SD500, the compact old Sony DSC V1, and the D-SLR Canon 30D. In good daylight, there is not a big difference with these cameras. The Canon cameras tend to be slightly crisper and sharper than the Sony, but this is just a minor thing since you can adjust the sharpness either on the camera or with Photoshop (or other softwares). But in lower light situations, the D-SLR no doubt is superior. However, my subcompact and compact don't seem to be that much different, both have subpar performance in low light. But my compact has a hotshoe that I can attach an external flash, which produces superior flash photos compared to the subcompact's built-in flash. The tiny flash in the subcompact rarely produces good photos.
And wexmary above pointed out that compact has longer zoom than subcompact, which is probably one of the most prominent advantage but at the cost of its bulk. So if you sometimes need the long zoom and can live with carrying the compact in a small camera case, then compact will serve you better. But if you like to be discrete and put your camera in your pants or purse, then go for the subcompact.
Nowadays, I usually carry the D-SLR and subcompact, rarely use the compact.

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