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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 12
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Porsche Carrera GT3
Issue Twelve
May 25, 2004
Porsche 911 GT3
2004 New York Auto Show Coverage
BMW Promotes Chris Bangle
First Drive: 2004 Bentley Continental GT
Digital Camera Comparison & Review
ZF Sachs Nivomat Suspension
Preview: 2005 Porsche 911
Coming Next Issue
Beat Gas Prices
BBQ Guide
Dells Auto Museum
iPod FM Tuners

Digital Camera Comparison:
The Quest for the Perfect Road Trip Camera (continued)

Canon Powershot S500 Camera

Fuji S20 Camera

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Digital Camera Sample Photo Gallery
For more info see:
Canon USA
Fuji Film
Olympus USA
Pentax USA
Canon S500 Digital Elph
Street Price: $499.00

Aside from the Minolta, the Canon S500 may be one of the smallest cameras avaiable, but like dynamite, big things come in small packages. The S500 features a 5.0 megapixel sensor that's capable of producing sharp, large scale prints up to 11 x 17-inches. Unlike the Pentax Optio 555, the S500 doesn't offer TIFF or RAW image support, so you'll have to make due with the standard jpeg images.

The S500 has a bright and sharp 1.5" LCD that works well, even in bright, outdoor lighting. Don't expect to find a lot of manual controls on the S500 - some like the simplicity, while some purists complain that it limits the user's ability to capture "the perfect image." We found that the S500 took wonderful photos in almost all settings, and its small size means that you can literally drop it in your shirt pocket and go.

The S500 can accept traditional compact flash memory, and ships with a 32 MB card. With image resolution of up to 253x x 19xx, you won't store many images on that small card, so an upgrade is recommended. Like most of its competitors, the S500 can also capture QuickTime movies and features a really handy panoramic mode that makes for simple panoramic photo composition. Battery life was about average for this class and images are downloaded via a USB cable or a compact flash card reader.

If you're looking for a really compact camera that packs big image quality, and incredible ease of use, consider the S500.

Fuji S20
Street Price: $925.00

If you are really serious about digital photography and are feeling wacky with your credit card, consider stepping up to the new Fuji S20. While it's definitely not in the same price class as the other cameras tested, this is the newest thing from Fuji. It also happened to arrive at my door while I was doing this test, so here it is.

So what do you get for what is essentially equivalent to the cost of a set of track tires? A pro quality camera in every way except for having interchangeable lenses. The S20 has a 6.2 megapixel sensor and will capture photos in TIFF and RAW mode, just like the big boys do. It has a 6x zoom and uses Compact Flash cards as well as the new, tiny XD memory cards (just like the Olympus).

The Fuji S20 is the closest thing you can get to a Pro digital camera without having interchangeable lenses. If you shoot in the highest quality mode it will produce great 16 x 20 prints and rivals most of the new 8 megapixel cameras. The only bad news is this one won’t fit in your wife’s purse, so it’s a little less spontaneous than the others.

We’re talking Porsche Turbo here.

That’s all for now. Just like car shopping, I suggest you go out and test drive before you buy. See what makes the most sense for your lifestyle and consider what other applications you may want to use it for. You won’t go wrong with any of these great compact cameras.

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