Dear Lazyweb, I need a new compact camera

Dear Lazyweb,

My DSC-T1 gave up the ghost the other day. I blame the electronics (by way of a hard knock sustained during the move back to our flat) because the resulting photos are now reminiscent of a badly tuned NTSC TV broadcast, and after having performed a perfunctory autopsy I don’t think there is much to do but scrap it and move on.

Given that its battery life wasn’t stellar and that I have had several occasions to hate the MemoryStick format with a passion during the course of the years I’ve owned it, I wouldn’t say it was a big loss. Thing is, I really need a lighter alternative to my 350D”, and the DSC-T1 had a marvelous ability to take really good macro shots (something pretty rare in pocket cameras).

Plus a smaller camera is handier for capturing thousands of kid-related pictures, etc. You know how it is.

So I’m in the market for a new pocket camera. If I had to list my top 5 requirements, I would probably go with:

  • Decent optics and CCD
  • A non-funky storage medium (SD preferred, although something with beefy internal storage would be better)
  • A sane charging method (I am absolutely fed up with Sony’s stupid unified cables)
  • A standard USB plug (Again, I am absolutely fed up with Sony’s stupid unified cables)
  • Ability to shoot short video clips

Buying another Sony is a possibility – the DSC-T2 seems pretty nice, (for one, it has 4GB of internal storage), it’s on sale just about anywhere and would ordinarily be a no-brainer purchase, but these pics show it still uses a stupid unified cable instead of a plain USB one and I’m really put off by that.

pfig, ever the purist, recommended the Ricoh GR Digital II, which seems nice (uses SD storage and has a standard USB mini connector) but a tad on the expensive side and a bit big at 10.7×5.8×2.5 cm (4.2×2.3×1.0 in).

Plus I don’t know if I need RAW (have never felt the need to use my Canon that way). Also, I can’t find it offhand in any Portuguese retailer.

Other folk have rightfully asked me if I wanted something that does video, and I’m kind of in the fence regarding that. I had been looking at the Sanyo Xacti range, and as it happens pfig also owns a Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65.

I’ve taken a look at the HD700 recently, and it seems to do all I need in terms of still photography plus largely not suck in terms of storage and connectivity, so I’d probably try to swing that instead.

But, again, I’m kind of in the fence regarding video – I just don’t see myself fooling around with iMovie (there are better things to do in life), and I think that the current crop of video cameras make things too complex – if I can’t drag and drop an MP4 file straight from the camera into anything else, then I’m not going to use it.

The Sanyo seems to be an exception in that regard, but my impressions of modern video cameras have been tainted ever since I tried to help a friend deal with some proprietary variation of AVCHD. Bottom line is that if I can’t just copy files across and play them anywhere without installing software, I don’t want it.

So, what’s your recommendation?

Update: So I walked into a Canon retailer and had a good hard look at the G9 a lot of folk suggested, which looks competent and beefy but entirely too large. I was quite taken by the IXUS 70/SD1000, though, which despite not having too many features seems to fit the bill (for one, it has a decent USB port, as well as manual exposure and shutter control) and very good value for money (it’s Eur. 179 against the IXUS 80/SD1100’s Eur. 289). This is by no means a decision, mind you, since I’ve even added the Ricoh to my Amazon UK wishlist – it’s more of a refocusing on smaller, shirt-pocket-sized cameras, so keep those opinions coming…