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Vantage Technology Magazine
The great Best Buy guide

This is just one page, of our huge Best Buy guide... We select very carefully the finest products of great value, in almost every category. And we include any really good alternatives, explain normally why our recommendation is the best choice and give some vital advice.
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Digital Cameras

You may click here to see exactly how we work... And if you have NEWS about finer worldwide alternatives, any important information (as extra good or bad qualities) on the products I recommend and naturally, any finer pictures... Please click here to email me... And if you like to take fine picture, but not have any digital camera today... Should you first click here to see WHY a digital camera is the absolute best alternative!

This is a time of magic, for everyone who like photography... But there are some strange problems to avoid and the diffraction effect, did really "put a stone in the shoe" so you must be careful to not get more megapixels (max 12 for a compact camera) than you actually have any use for...

How to select a digital camera

You should first ask yourself, how big ZOOM you want... Cameras in phones, have normally no zoom and that is a big disadvantages... Most real cameras (including an ordinary DSLR kit lens) offer from 3x zoom and that means, that you can get up to 2 times closer and you can especially take finer portraits... Then will a 4x wide angle zoom, that is like 28mm in a 35mm camera, let you get more people (or maybe a house) in the picture... But you will come up to 5 times closer with a 6x zoom and objects 20 meters away, will then look as only 4 meters away... Or just as 2 meters away, with a 12x zoom... And there is today some compact alternatives of high class, that offer up to 12x zoom, so you don't need a clumsy camera to get this great advantage... Remember also that the motive (the interesting part of the frame) will be dramatically more sharper IF you can zoom in and use all the pixels, so you not have to cut away everything around the motive in a photo editor... One simple example... If you only use 6x zoom with a 10 megapixels compact camera - will a DSLR camera need 40 megapixels, with an ordinary 3x zoom kit lens, to get the same motive just as sharp.... Because the picture must first get twice as many pixels wide (20mp) and then twice as many pixels high - before you get exactly the same number of pixels, at the motive and can cut away everything around the part you actually want - which you otherwise can "frame" directly with 6x zoom!
And look only for the OPTICAL zoom, because digital zoom give you less sharp pictures... A digital zoom, show simply the centre of the original image (with less pixels) and put sometimes fake pixels between the real one, but you can normally do that better (and whenever you want) with a fine Photo Edit program... Yes, you get normally a basic Photo Edit program with any camera... And if you want extra fine pictures, will you need a good photo editing program... You can click here to find them...
Then is a fine Optical Image Stabilizer the most valuable option... Simply because it is very hard to hold a camera steady and get sharp pictures, with more than 5x zoom... So if you want a long zoom and don't like to use a clumsy tripod all the time, must you select a model with a fine Optical Image Stabilizer... And that will naturally help you get more sharp shots, even with just 3x zoom or less... Then will a good stabilizer, also help you to take sharp pictures in normal soft indoor light, without any need for a flash (that make flat "burned out" pictures) or a clumsy tripod...
WARNING! There are many "anti shake" technologies (especially electronic methods) that NOT work as effective as a real Optical Image Stabilizer and some use even extra high ISO sensitivity as a "shake reduction" technique... But higher sensitivity destroy the picture, with small sensors and give normally very noisy or very soft pictures... Only a few compact cameras from FujiFilm have special sensors that avoid that big problem, but they has other problems... Then can most clumsy DSLR cameras handle rather high ISO sensitivity excellent, but they has also other problems - as lenses that need more light and that you normally must pay a lot extra for a huge lens with an Optical Image Stabilizer ... The "sport" mode many cameras have (that auto select the fastest possible shutter) give almost the same "anti shake" effect as higher ISO and can especially freeze movements, if the camera also have a good lens... And you can naturally use both a "sport" mode and Optical Image Stabilizer (if the camera have that) at the same time, for maximum sharpness!
How many Mega Pixels do you really want?? Cameras with many mega pixels was very expensive and often extra noisy, so the big question was how high resolution you actually need and I did begin every camera class by explaining what you may need... You will now find that info just below... But today has even a basic camera 8 million pixels and most new models give you 12 mega pixels (which actually is slightly too much for a tiny sensor, see more below) so you get anyhow more than you normally need... Yes, many users never use the highest resolution and get instead room for more pictures on the memory card... And if you don't need max resolution, for the size of print you want, can you instead reduce a too big picture with a photo editing program (and not select a smaller size in camera) which automatically reduce a lot of noise and still give you an ultra sharp picture (after little sharpening) if you have any noise to really bother about... You can also use the extra pixels, to take pictures with an extra margin and then creative compose the pictures (or just zoom in) with a photo editing program...
If you want 261x196mm prints, of excellent quality (true 300 dpi) will you need a sharp 7.2 megapixels camera, which give 3072x2304 pixels... Then can you also get twice that wide prints (522x392mm and almost three A4 papers) of fine photo quality, with optimizing in a Photo Edit program... But you can NOT compare this quality with mobile phones, that don't have any optical zoom... Then have they also too tiny lenses, too tiny sensors and no optical image stabilizer, so they handle soft light very bad!
And if you really need huge 310x232mm prints, of excellent quality (true 300 dpi) must you anyhow get a very sharp 10.1 megapixels camera, that give 3648x2736 clear pixels... Then can you also get twice that wide prints (620x465mm or little bigger than four A4 papers) of fine photo quality, with optimizing in a Photo Edit program... You can also read more about "Pixels and Photo quality" a bit below...
Then is there a major PROBLEM with 12 mega pixels or more... First must the lens be very sharp, to handle that high resolution and even cameras with 12 mega pixels and a tiny 1/3 inch sensor, get slightly less sharp pictures at 5.6 aperture and clearly softer at 8 aperture... Because of the dramatic Diffraction Effect that is a side effect of too many pixels on a tiny sensor and simply limit the sharpness dramatically... A higher aperture make the light beams wider and when they begin to cover two pixels, get you the diffraction effect and a much softer image... And that's why you only get full resolution at 2.8 or 4 aperture (if the lens is excellent) with 12 megapixels and a normally tiny 1/3 inch sensor... And why a fine 10mp camera, give practically the same sharpness as a fine 12mp camera at 5.6 aperture - if both have a really sharp lens and 1/3 inch sensors... So if you have a 12 mega pixels camera (with a tiny sensor) should you especially avoid 8 aperture or more - by selecting a lower aperture OR use the sport mode that automatically select a lower aperture, if that mode NOT select a higher ISO value too... And you can never get really sharp pictures with a tiny 16 megapixels sensor (or with 3 to 8mp in a mobile phone, depending on the minimal sensor size) because even 5.6 aperture will then get very soft and the flare or "fogging" you get at lower aperture, reduce also the real sharpness... Yes, your photos will naturally have a lot more pixels - but only be softer, take more space on the memory card and make the saving of each photo slower... And if you reduce the size until the picture really are sharp (after some sharpening) will it anyhow become as big as a 6 to 8mp picture, because of the quality loss in the reduction... This facts was also the main reason why Canon did go down from silly 14.7 million pixels 2008 to 10mp in G11 which was their next "semi pro" compact camera and they do the same with G12... So the MP number is only one rough indication, of the potential sharpness and it has a clear limit, at 12mp with a 1/3 inch sensor!
This mega pixel race is actually crazy... Because even 10mp is actually more than most photographers ever need... And more pixels make also your memory cards smaller, take more time to handle, give especially more noise plus other artifacts and produce actually less sharp pictures with tiny 12 megapixels sensors - because of the diffraction effect, if you not use max 5.6 aperture... The camera companies are sadly forced by the customer's unrealistic desires, to release cameras with more pixels (or lose sales to the competition) and this "customer's desire effect" is exactly the same that force DVD makers to produce discs with 16x speed, even if that ultra high speed (same as a CD at 128x) need an ultra sensitive recording layer - which become self erasing and unreliable, within four years!!
Then will a fine 7.1mp camera with a big zoom, actually give you clearly sharper pictures at 6x zoom, than a 24mp DSLR with a standard 3x zoom... Because you need first a two times as wide picture of 14.2mp, that then must get two times as high and totally 28.4mp, to show the same number of pixels on the motive - that naturally will be just a part of the picture, because you can't zoom in!
A big bright lens Then need many simple cameras 88 lux at 100 ISO - but soft indoor light are from only 22 lux and a flash, will kill any fine soft shadows... So look for cameras that not has a tiny lens and handle soft indoor light... Fine automatic functions And after the sharpness, is the most important for great picture quality, fine automatic functions (exposure, white balance, focus and contrast) and accurate colours...
Some other problems to avoid... There are also some digital artifacts that you don't want, even if you only can see them in rather few pictures... The worst looking artifact (that also are impossible to fix) is pixelation (look like tiny steps) or "zigzagging" on diagonal lines... You can also get that on yellow objects and highlights, but that error is rather rare today... Then come burn out highlights, that also are impossible to fix and very common - but you can often avoid that, by set the exposure compensation one or two step lower... And chromatic aberrations, that I simply call for "purple edges" because it give a glowing "purple effect" on some dark to white edges... But you see it only in a few situations (somewhere in one of 20-40 pix) and you can reduce (or even eliminate) this ugly effect, by not use the widest angle or select less contrast (maybe by underexposing and then get it right, in the computer) or simply replace the purple with grey, in a good photo program... Then is a "holo" effect rather common, with white around black edges, if you (or the camera) set sharpening too high... And finally will you almost never see moire (distorted patterns) in normal photos, but it's good if your camera can handle that too... Very bad cameras, save also pictures with too high compression and that give "jpg" noise that look like tiny worms... But some (like Panasonic) handle this better and get no ugly side effects, even with rather high compression!
Fast actions and more... Some cameras work also very slow, so you miss the right moment and that was actually the biggest problem with digital cameras... But almost every camera I recommend is very fast... Then is any manual control of exposure good and more memory is nice, even if you anyhow should buy a second bigger card... Then is auto lens cover, the possibility to use AA batteries and good battery life - naturally VERY practical... And if it's hard to select between some models, check finally for the best optical or electronic viewfinder OR a bigger screen... Or if the camera can take a fine wide adapter... Remember also that an usd price, is without tax and sek (Swedish krona) is with 25% tax.

Pixels and Photo quality A very fine brilliant sharp paper photo, look like 300 true dpi (that's 300 pixels wide on 2.54 cm) and that are also the print quality, in a fine magazine... And more than 350dpi, don't look better... But a computer screen, show normally just 98-140dpi and that's why web text look ugly and why it's vital to optimize web pictures, like I do... Yes, a 15.6 inch wide notebook monitor show 98dpi and a 11 inch high resolution screen 140dpi... You can also optimize a low noise picture, with a good Photo Edit program and then print (up to) twice as wide, with fine photo quality... The picture will then look as 200 to 250 dpi... Just like most of my web pictures, look as twice the real screen dpi... But if the original is rather noisy, can you only make it max 150% wide, because the program can't calculate the new "between" pixels accurately and the noise will also be more visible!
You will finally need a fine cheap 600 dpi inkjet printer (with edge improvement) to get excellent quality prints, because the ink points will smudge and look as 300 true dpi, on fine glossy photo paper... But very light parts may still look slightly dotty, except with fine Canon printers... And yes, any picture need naturally a lot less dpi (to look perfect) on distance!

Take finer pictures!

You should first adjust you camera... Avoid extra noise There are 4 vital facts, about noise and digital cameras... 1) You should simply not use high ISO with any small sensor, except with some unique Fujifilm cameras, but they has other problems... Small sensors are normally made for the lowest ISO and everything else is like using 2 to 8 truck turbos, on a small car engine and that will naturally produce a lot of extra noise OR more and more unsharp pictures, if the camera try to reduce the noise... So you should select max 100 ISO sensitivity and some cameras give clearly better result with a 50 or 80 ISO setting... And if you like to take pictures in "soft indoor light" that is 22-66 lux (without flash) or at late evenings outdoors, should you (a) select a camera that let you select a low ISO sensitivity and (b) especially has a fine Optical Image Stabilizer, which give the same effect as a rise from 100 to 800 iso... Then will (c) a bright lens also help a bit and you can always (d) use a tripod... But a tripod or OIS will naturally not freeze moving objects (only a faster shutter time can do that) just as little higher ISO not will eliminate tiny vibrations...
You can otherwise select up to 2 step lower exposure, if the light not is enough and first let the picture get darker... Then can you very easy adjust the clean low ISO picture so it get perfect, with the "curve" tools (not brightness) in a good photo editing program... And the result get normally much better, if you use that method instead of boosting the sensors sensitivity... The only problem with that method, is that the "white point" will normally move down a bit, but that is also easy to adjust (except with very bad pictures) and that side effect will also make sure, that you not get burnout highlights...
Remember also three more facts... 2) A normal 98dpi notebook screen show a "full size" picture in over 300% closeup, compared to a fine 300dpi print... So any noise will simply look over 3 times more (than it actually is) and be dramatically reduced (not visible) in a high quality print, that is only 33% in size compared to what you see on a computer screen... And you will get almost the same effect, even if you make the picture twice as big and optimize it for max size printing... You can view a picture at 50% size, to see some of the "print effect" on noise, but remember that the print will look dramatically sharper and cleaner... That mean that even a rather "noisy" 400 ISO picture (from a small sensor) may be completely noise free in print...
3) If you check that, will you see that most digital cameras (with small sensors) give clearly less noise at 400 ISO compared with the "grain" from the finest 400 ASA films... Except that digital shadows can look worse, compared with the other clean parts of the picture and most small sensors cameras will also loose sharpness above 200 ISO because of too aggressive noise reduction...
4) And if you scale down to BIG pictures for the web, will normally any noise be totally eliminated, even if you add some sharpness... Then have DSLR cameras much bigger sensors, that handle up to 800 ISO without problem - but that mean also that they need a much bigger and dramatically more expensive zoom lens (if you want more then the silly 3x kit lens) that costs even more with a valuable Optical Image Stabilizer and they need also more light, if they not are extremely expensive...
Don't use the flash A flash kill any lovely shadows and give a very "flat burned out" picture, that only look fine for some "party" pictures... So you should normally use the normal lights indoors and if that not is enough, a separate wide spotlight... Or at least a strong slave flash, from the side...
White balance... Adjust the white balance, so you don't get too yellow indoors, or too blue shadows outdoors... Check the manual, if you don't know how to do that!

And take then pictures... Get first in the best position It's very important that you try to get the strongest light behind you, or at least from the side... You may also have some more light, that absolutely not is visible, behind your motive... Because any light that is directed into the camera, will make your motive pale or grey... Be careful so you not get a bad, distracting or really annoying background - if possible... Then may a small change of the angle (move first side ways and then down) be very important... A few things look also better, if you move up... And if you take pictures of people, is their position also of major importance... It may be smart to study some magazines, days before and select some reference pictures, that look extra fine... A slightly open mouth and some hair over one eye, look a lot more sensual... Hands should be folded, or sometimes closed... A face should either look in the camera or at something, like a book or another person in the frame... And if you have deep shadows, should the nose be directed at the strongest light (or half the face, be in a deep shadow) to avoid strange shadows from the nose...
Frame right Let then your motive (the interesting part of the picture) almost "fill" the frame... But your motive can naturally be several things - like a girl, sitting under a huge tree in a misty park... Use minimum 3x zoom for portraits, even of you frame the whole torso - if you don't want "silly" looking faces, with a huge nose...
Focus Focus your target by first pressing down the trigger, half way and wait on the "focus lock" sign... Then can you change the direction (with most cameras) if you don't want your target in the centre... And squeeze finally off the picture, without shaking the camera and remember that a Optical Stabilizer is a GREAT help...
And take safety pictures If something was very bright in the frame (and you can't set lower contrast) so you might get burned out high lights (or the graph in a histogram, hit high up on the right side) should you adjust down the exposure and take some extra pictures, until you see most of the details... But normally does some burned out high light look natural and a lower exposure, may make shadows completely black... Avoid also leaning pictures and take another one, if you not are sure... Most people does also blink, so say "look now at the camera and blink once" before you take several "safety" pictures, when you photograph people... Take finally more pictures, if you not are absolutely sure you got the perfect framing or angle!

Optimize your pictures

And optimize then the picture, with a fine photo edit program... Click first here and check, if you need to adjust your monitor... Make then too dark indoor pictures, lighter with the curve tool... Which not give as much more noise, as 200/400 ISO does... Adjust (maximise) then the black and white point... Add normally some contrast with curves, make slightly darker dark and slightly lighter light, until the picture not look grayish... Before you add some extra sharpness, without getting any "white halos" or pixelated edges (which you then can make softer, if you want max sharpness) and fine tune the colours... Then has many report that the Qimage program is excellent, if you want to make a 200% interpolation (twice as wide picture) and add then finally some extra sharpness... And remember that fine noise, that is visible on the computer screen in a "print ready" picture - will not be visible in a 300dpi print, that normally is three times smaller!

Safety!

Remember finally that every computer hard-disc will CRASH in time (even if some notebooks hard-discs are much safer) so you must also COPY your digital pictures to some extra media and that may be a second hard-disc... Two hard-discs crash "never" at the same week... So you should take some minutes and copy everything to a new simple DVD-R disc twice every year (because they have only a lifetime of 1 to 6 years) or every second year to a finer disc (that hold up to 50 years) or always save to two hard-discs and if you do that, will your pictures be safe forever... And you should always save your pictures on your hard-disc and NEVER only print them from the memory card, before you erase them... The colour of paper pictures, fade rather fast and you loose also 33-50% sharpness, if you don't have the digital original and have to scan them!!

First some words about megapixels... Most people don't need more than 6 million pixels, but the best value digital cameras have anyhow 10 MP or more today...
And if you want huge 310x232mm prints, of excellent quality (true 300 dpi) must you anyhow get a very sharp 10.1 megapixels camera, that give 3648x2736 clear pixels... Then can you also get twice that wide prints (620x465mm or little bigger than four A4 papers) of fine photo quality, with optimizing in a Photo Edit program... But you can NOT compare this quality with mobile phones, that don't have any optical zoom... Then have they also too tiny lenses, too tiny sensors and no optical image stabilizer, so they handle soft light very bad!
But a camera with a tiny 12 megapixels sensor, get some problem with diffraction - that give clearly softer pictures at 8 aperture or more... You can then use max 5.6 aperture, to avoid this problem OR buy a camera with a bigger sensor... And a tiny 16 megapixels sensor, will never be really sharp - because of strong diffraction at 5.6 or some flare at 2.8 aperture... You may click for deeper Mega Pixels info!

The best value "ultra compact" camera, with 3-5x zoom...
090222Is the elegant Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 that offer a 4x wide angle zoom (as 33-132mm 2.8-5.9 by LEICA that work smooth with 19 steps, has virtually no "purple edges" sharp corners and auto lens cover) 10.1 millions effective pixels and the famous Optical Image Stabilizer, that give you very sharp handheld pictures even in soft indoor light... And it produce pictures of excellent quality, with high smooth sharpness (even in the corners) exact exposure and very nice colours... Or very accurate in "Natural" mode... The noise reduction don't smudge details at low ISO and you get only little shadow noise at 200 ISO... Then has it a big 2.7 inch screen (230 pixels, that is almost 3x sharper than a notebook screen and great in strong sunlight, 16x view zoom and a special high angle view) in a very compact metal body (only 115cm3 or 97x54.4x21.7mm) with good ergonomics, especially compared with other tiny cameras and a real door to the connections... It has a easy power switch and shooting / playback switch... And it work rather fast with under 2sec startup, 0.2-0.8sec autofocus (at wide or tele) almost no shutter delay and 2sec between shots (without flash) or 3 photos at 1.4 sec in burst mode... Yes, the different reviews did report slightly different times... It has also very good battery life (about 360 shots) AF assist lamp, can show live histogram and guiding lines, 60 to 1/2000sec shutter, a metal tripod socket and take SD/SDHC/MMC cards... And it has accurate face detection for 15 faces and a very clever "Intelligent Auto Mode" that actually can help you in many situation (according to several reviews) at only 1550sek or 139usd (but it's almost sold out) with 50MB built in, li-ion battery and separate charger... In black, silver, strong pink or green... Which make this camera to the PERFECT first digital camera and a fantastic alternative to a mobile phone... Yes, it is a real masterpiece if you don't need more zoom... And this camera is actually the 10th improved generation of Lumix ultra compacts, since the legendary FX7 that came 2004...
But you should set it at 100 ISO to not loose any of the finest details (just as most compact cameras) even if 200 work better than usual... You may click for basic info about high ISO and noise! Then has this camera a big screen, instead of a tiny optical viewfinder... And I could not find any review with sharpness lines, just very sharp sample pictures... Yes, the reviewers seem to prefer to test more expensive models... Then is the rather compact Canon A2100 IS below (207cm3) a better choice for most, because it offer a 6x zoom and a fine 3 inch screen, for little more... And the greatest alternative is the elegant Panasonic TZ7/ZS3 you also find below, that is very compact (only 200cm3) but offer a superior 12x zoom (as 25-300mm ) with OIS, a 3 inch ultra high resolution screen and 10.1mp, but that one costs more...
090522And if you want to spend little less, is... Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS10 a slightly more advanced model, with 5x zoom as 28-140 (f2.8-6.9) 12mp and the fine lens give outstanding corner sharpness, virtually no purple edges (chromatic aberration) very exact exposure and accurate colours... It work also very fast with just 1.6sec between shots, even faster in the continuous shooting mode and offer all the other advantages of the slightly lower cost models above... In a very elegant and slightly bigger body (still only 127cm3 or 98.4x55.2x23.4mm) that look best in black, great in silver or cute in pink - for temporary and incredible 990sek with 40MB built in, li-ion battery and separate charger... But you get a bit barrel distortion, at the wide 28mm setting and a tiny 12mp sensor get the problem with diffraction, which make photos clearly softer at F8 aperture or more, so you should use max 5.6 aperture.

The other "ultra compact" cameras with 3-5x zoom - has bigger problems, as clearly less good image quality OR not a true Image Stabilizer and that is the most valuable extra function, if you really want quality pictures... Or costs a lot more, without offering better picture quality... Or are simply not tested (yet) by any fine reviewer... So we can not recommend any other alternatives!

Why Not?!? 2011-0122Olympus XZ-1 from 2011 with 4x zoom (as 28-112mm F1.8-2.5) and Sensor Image Stabilizer - was a very impressive compact camera, that did produce pictures of the highest quality I seen then (in 300% closeup) and it need also less light than most compact cameras... Then has it a magnificent 3 inch OLED screen (621t pixels) too... But a 4x zoom is very limited today, you will absolutely not be able to see any quality difference from the cameras I recommend on fine 300dpi prints, you can sadly not lock focus and recompose, it's a bit clumsy at 303cm3 (or 111x65x42mm) even if it not have any extra grip and dramatically more expensive (max 499usd) than the amazing Canon SX130 IS with an excellent 12x zoom, practically the same picture quality and just a bit bigger body (379cm3) with perfect grip, for 160usd... Or the elegant Panasonic TZ7 with a magnificent 12x zoom, a very compact 200cm3 metal body with perfect grip, superb 3 inch screen (460t pixels) and still a dramatically lower price!
2010-1211Canon PowerShot S95 from 2010 was also a very interesting camera, with it's extra fast lens (as 28-108 F2.0-4.9) excellent 3 inch screen (461t pixels) and extra big 10 million pixels sensor... But a 3.8x zoom is very limited today, it has no kind of extra helping grip, rather short battery life (200 shots) and it is finally very expensive (max 399usd) especially compared to Panasonic TZ7 with the same picture quality, plus a fine grip and 12x zoom... Yes, if you have to use 400 ISO or higher will you get cleaner (and also softer) pictures with this camera - but I almost never have to use over 100 ISO and whenever you need more than 4x zoom, will you get clearly sharper pictures with Panasonic TZ7 at a dramatically lower price!
Canon PowerShot G12 give actually a bit cleaner (totally clean) and slightly sharper photos (of 2200 fine lines) than Panasonic TZ8/10 (in Europe) ZS5/7 (in USA) below, is almost noise free at ISO 400 (not max 200 as most other cameras) and has a tiny optical viewfinder, that is almost useless... But the ultra clean difference is only visible at 300% closeup (which is 100% computer screen) and not in fine print, it's very expensive at 4400sek, extra clumsy and has only 5x zoom as 28-140mm... Okay, if you never need more zoom (?) have big pockets and want highest possible quality with 5x zoom, except clearly more purple edges (chromatic aberration) then may this camera anyhow be a nice choice... But the amazing Canon SX130 IS give you slightly higher picture quality, because of less chromatic aberration and 12x zoom in a smaller body, at less than half the price!

And you might wonder why I almost only recommend Panasonic cameras here?!?
That's is simply because Panasonic make some of the finest compact cameras, with Optical Image Stabilisers and that is really the most valuable function in a camera, if you like sharp pictures and especially if you take pictures in normal soft indoor lightening or at long zoom - without a tripod or flash... But there are some very fine models from Canon, too... Then give Panasonic cameras also finer sharpness, than most other brands and they costs normally less... But I would sincerely LOVE to recommend more cameras from other brands, if they begin to make finer alternatives... And I absolute don't get any money from Panasonic, or even cameras to review... But the last may be because I told them, that I will only do "long time" reviews and not return the camera... And my talent is anyhow, to compare alternatives and draw conclusions from the finest reviewer!

First some words about megapixels... Most people don't need more than 6 million pixels, but the best value digital cameras have anyhow 10 MP or more today...
And if you want huge 310x232mm prints, of excellent quality (true 300 dpi) must you anyhow get a very sharp 10.1 megapixels camera, that give 3648x2736 clear pixels... Then can you also get twice that wide prints (620x465mm or little bigger than four A4 papers) of fine photo quality, with optimizing in a Photo Edit program... But you can NOT compare this quality with mobile phones, that don't have any optical zoom... Then have they also too tiny lenses, too tiny sensors and no optical image stabilizer, so they handle soft light very bad!
But a camera with a tiny 12 megapixels sensor, get some problem with diffraction - that give clearly softer pictures at 8 aperture or more... You can then use max 5.6 aperture, to avoid this problem OR buy a camera with a bigger sensor... And a tiny 16 megapixels sensor, will never be really sharp - because of strong diffraction at 5.6 or some flare at 2.8 aperture... You may click for deeper Mega Pixels info!

And if you prefer a compact camera, with a great 6-8x zoom and amazing picture quality is...
20121003The black Nikon Coolpix P7700 from late 2012 the absolute finest alternative, with 7.1x zoom that work as 28-200mm (fine 2-4f aperture, take 40.5mm filters) and a rather big 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor with 12.2 million effective pixels, that give slightly cleaner and clearly sharper pictures (of 2300 fine lines) than Canon G15 or Panasonic FZ150 / TZ25 and actually offer the highest picture quality I ever seen in any camera... Including the finest DSLR models... Then has it also excellent macro focus (from only 2cm distance, but only if you select macro) impressive corner sharpness, the "Vibration Reduction" optical image stabiliser work also very well, it show virtually no chromatic aberrations in any sample, has very accurate auto functions in several reviews, a very nice 3 inch 640x480 or 307200 pixels (with 921600 dots) vari-angle screen, excellent ergonomics, more easy to use controls than normally and 1080p HD video recording at 30fps with stereo sound and mic jack... And the "famous" Sony Cyber-shot RX100 give clearly more chromatic aberrations, soft corners and have just 3.6x zoom... It's work also fast WITH a fast card and need then about 1 second between jpg shots, but it take 3 second with a slow card... Another deep review call it also "snappy" and two other reviews say about 1.6sec between jpg shots, but one review wrote "rather slow" and two noted it can take 3-4sec between raw pictures... And it start up in just one second... It have also many manual options, a smart tiny orange light that warn you when you use the exposure compensation and many other friendly functions... And most owners truly LOVE this camera, they point especially out the outstanding picture quality and say with different words that this masterpiece simply is superior!
But this camera costs from 4000sek (with rechargeable li-ion battery and separate charger) which is rather expensive for most and a 7.1x zoom is rather limited, especially compared with the dramatically cheaper Canon SX130 below, with 12x zoom and almost the same picture quality... Then have it no auto lens cover, but you can simply buy a fine 40.5mm UV filter to protect the lens... It does often over expose a bit, just as many cameras (simply set some lower exposure compensation as I do with my Lumix) and it need a special li-ion battery, that at least manage more than 330 shots in test... And even if you get almost perfect photos (slightly better than normally) at 400 iso, should you anyhow set it at 200 or 100 iso... But it does NOT show noise from 200 iso, as almost every other compact camera... You may click for basic info about high ISO and noise!

The other compact cameras with over 7mp and 6-8x zoom, has bigger problems OR not a true Image Stabilizer and that is the most valuable extra function, if you really want quality pictures... So we can not recommend any other alternatives!

You may think that DSLR cameras is clearly better??
Or that it's great to be able to change the lens?!? But it is very difficult (or expensive) to clean the sensor, every time it get dusty or dirty... Even if some models have a "dust cleaning" function, that try to "shake off" dust with intensive vibrations, but that method work only on some totally dry "non sticky" dust and remove only 0-50% of the dust (after 25 cleaning cycles) according to several test's... Meaning that even the best system (from Olympus) leave half of the dust... Then is a complete digital camera, normally a lot more compact and easy to hold steady, for long times...
And many photographers regret that they bought a DSLR just because they are so HUGE and clumsy, to always bring... The excellent Panasonic FZ28 with 10.1mp was for example only about 600cm3 with it's dramatically superior Optical Image Stabilized 18x zoom (as 28mm wide angle to 504mm, max F2.8-4.4 by Leica) costs about half and give you higher sharpness (2300 fine lines) compared to Canon EOS 1000D / Digital Rebel XT with 10.1mp and 2100 fine lines, a huge 764cm3 naked body and about double that size, with the simple 3x zoom (f3.5-5.6) of clearly lower quality... And even the amazingly cheap Canon PowerShot SX130 IS below, with an excellent optical stabilized 12x zoom and 379cm3 compact body, give higher sharpness than Canon EOS 350D and 4 times as long stabilized zoom, at just 25% of the total size... So you can save a lot of money, even if the Canon 350D and 1000D are "exceptional cheap" because fine stabilized zoom lenses are VERY expensive... The almost 11x stabilized zoom Canon EF 28-300mm IS (as 45-480mm on 1000D and just F3.5-5.6) is over 18cm long, 9cm fat, weight 1670 gram and costs 0808 over 23.000sek... And you can even get a long free holiday, if you simply sell your old lenses...

First some vital words about megapixels... Most people don't need more than 6 million pixels, but the best value digital cameras have anyhow 10 MP or more today...
And if you want huge 310x232mm prints, of excellent quality (true 300 dpi) must you anyhow get a very sharp 10.1 megapixels camera, that give 3648x2736 clear pixels... Then can you also get twice that wide prints (620x465mm or little bigger than four A4 papers) of fine photo quality, with optimizing in a Photo Edit program... But you can NOT compare this quality with mobile phones, that don't have any optical zoom... Then have they also too tiny lenses, too tiny sensors and no optical image stabilizer, so they handle soft light very bad!
But even a fine compact camera with a tiny 12 megapixels sensor, get some problem with diffraction - that give clearly softer pictures at 8 aperture or more... You can then use max 5.6 aperture, to avoid this problem OR buy a camera with a bigger sensor... And a tiny 16 megapixels sensor, will never be really sharp - because of strong diffraction at 5.6 or some flare at 2.8 aperture... You may click for deeper Mega Pixels info!


The superior Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 (in Europe) ZS3 (in USA)
In real size scale, on most wide 15.4 notebook screens

You find the finest "big pocket" alternatives with really huge zooms, a bit below... But it's normally best if you always can bring your camera and there are some "compact to very compact" models, that both give the same quality and offer a great zoom...

And if you prefer a compact Super Zoom camera, with a great 12x zoom...
2011-0101Is the finest alternative still Canon PowerShot SX130 IS from 2011 that especially give excellent sharp clean pictures (up to 2250 fine lines, without any moire) that look just as the samples from the 3 times more expensive G12 even if that one only has 5x zoom, with very accurate colours and exposure, with help of a 12.1 million pixels sensor (now 1/2.3 inch) and a fine 12x zoom (as 28-336mm F3.4-5.6 auto lens cover) with very fine Optical Image Stabilization (very valuable in soft indoor lightening) and auto macro, at incredible low 1500sek... And I could only see a bit purple edges (chromatic aberration) in a few extreme pictures, which is better than average and only worse than Panasonic... It work rather fast with 2.4 to 2.8sec to first taken pix, 0.1sec shutter delay, 0.45 to 1sec with autofocus and a bit slow 2.3 to 2.76sec between pictures, in different reviews... Then has it a nice 3 inch LCD screen (230t pixels, extra fine in sun) you can adjust many aspects (as sharpness, contrast and how strong colours) it has many manual modes (even manual focus) and a very easy elegant menu system... It use 2 AA batteries (max 370 shots with NiMH batteries or 130 with alkaline) and you can record HD video at 720 with slow zooming and stereo sound... So this masterpiece is Highly Recommended, especially if you don't mind a bit bigger camera or want to spend much less!
But Nikon Coolpix P7700 above give a bit higher picture quality, even if it's hard to view the difference in prints and that camera has only 7.1x zoom and costs almost 3 times as much... Then is this camera clearly bigger (379cm3 or 113.3 x 73.2 x 45.8mm) than the very compact alternatives below and rather plastic, even if it look rather good in black and has a fine grip... And the lens slide out twice as much, compared to Panasonic below... The diffraction effect from the tiny 12mp sensor, make also aperture 6.3 clearly softer and aperture 8 very soft, with only 1800 to just 1600 fine lines... Then is a higher resolution screen clearly more fun, one wide angle picture got a bit blurry at the left side (close to the edge) in one review and you get a tiny bit of noise in shadows at 300% closeup, but that is anyhow not possible to see at fine print size... You almost must buy a cheap NiMH charger and batteries... And you should as always set it to ISO 100 because higher give less sharpness and more noise.

2009-0301Then is the finest very compact alternative, the very elegant "old" Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 (in Europe) ZS3 (in USA) from 2009 that may be hard to find... This masterpiece offer every quality the legendary TZ5 has, plus an amazing 12x ultra wide angle zoom (as 25-300mm in 36 steps, F3.3-4.9 and design by Leica with 10 elements in 8 groups, including 2 ED lenses and 2 aspherical lenses with 3 aspherical surfaces - that only slide out 31mm at max tele) and the finest Optical Image Stabilizer (now with an auto mode, that select the best method - for sharp freehand pictures, even in low light and at tele) and 10.1 million effective pixels, that give excellent picture quality - with high sharpness (even in the corners at ultra wide) of 2150 fine lines, very little barrel distortion, no moire or "purple edges" (chromatic aberration) rich true colours (you can also select "Natural" for extremely accurate or "Vivid" for stronger "canon" colours) great shadow details, exact exposure and fine film like grain / noise at 100 ISO (only seen at full screen PC view, which is as 300% close up) that not is visible in high quality 300dpi prints... They did also limit the highest aperture to F6.3 and that is a smart way to avoid the diffraction effect, that otherwise would limit the sharpness at F8 aperture... It has also a slimmer (now only 200cm3 or 104x60x32mm) and clearly more elegant metal body, with the same delicious ergonomic... And the magnificent 3 inch screen, work now perfect in extremely wide angles, offer still 460t pixels ultra high resolution and work superior in strong sunlight, compared with other cameras... Plus AVCHD 720p HD video (1280x720 60fps H.264) with active zoom, separate movie recording button, HDMI out and Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, for high quality stereo sound... Which give you the finest video quality from a compact camera, but worse than a fine full HD video camera... Then get you finally a panorama assist mode and automatic backlight compensation, if you like... It work very to average fast with 1.5 to 2.3sec startup (according to four different reviews) 0.2 to 0.8sec focus with shutter delay (depending of zoom and type of selected focus and it's very accurate focus too) about 1.5sec between shots and the shutter delay is practically eliminated, at 0.0006 second... TZ7 has also advanced face recognition functions (for 6 people) in addition to face focus of max 11 faces... And you can get TZ7 in soft black, deep red, soft brown, silver and deep matte blue... *** But this camera is now sold out because it was replaced 2010 by the slightly different TZ10 (in Europe) ZS7 (in USA) that is very similar, except it has now many manual modes and take bigger 12.1 million pixels photos, but you get anyhow the same 2150 fine lines resolution spread over a bigger picture (so the otherwise excellent photos, are slightly less sharp) and it has also a GPS that eats battery (so you get about 100 to 200 photos on one charge) if you not turn off that function and get 300 photos, at 2480sek... So the "old" TZ7 is still a slightly better alternative and costs also little more... And the lower cost version TZ8 (in Europe) ZS5 (in USA) is basically the same camera as TZ10/ZS7 without GPS and the same budget screen as the "old" TZ6 below, at 2110sek or 240usd... Before that was TZ7/ZS3 clearly more expensive, than most compact cameras - but remember that this masterpiece from 2009 give truly excellent pictures and has an extraordinary zoom, with magnificent possibilities and you can also select the great budget version below, that give exactly the same picture qualities... Many advanced owners did love the older TZ5 so deeply, that they quit using their much more expensive DSLR equipment and this one is clearly finer... Yes, I did also buy this camera... And a little tip - you can safely save the pictures as "normal" quality (that give you about 2.6mb photos, instead of 5.4mb) without any visual difference!
But Nikon Coolpix P7700 above give clearly higher picture quality, even if it's hard to view the difference in prints and that camera has only 7.1x zoom and costs much more... And the rotating mode dial on top of TZ7/ZS3 is a bit loose and easy to change by mistake (so you must simply check it everytime you activate the camera) it show a little bit barrel distortion at 25mm wide, you can not select shutter speed or aperture directly (that's possible in the otherwise worse TZ10) if you use the zoom while filming may it lose focus for a moment and you should select 80 ISO and use max 200 ISO sometimes, as any fine compact camera... And Canon PowerShot SX130 IS you find above, give you also a 12x zoom (as 28-336mm) and excellent pictures, at a dramatically lower cost - but that camera is almost twice as big...
Then was Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 (in USA and Asia) TZ6 (in Europe) a clearly less expensive budget version of the "old" TZ7/ZS3 from 2009 with every quality above - except "just" a 2.7 inch screen (with 230t pixels) only 848x480 video (still 30fps) no HDMI out and a mono microphone... Plus 320 pictures battery life, which is best in this class... But it's also sold out...

2011-0101Then is the finest very compact alternative the elegant Canon PowerShot IXUS 1000 HS (europe) SD4500 IS (usa) from 2011 in dark brown or silver, that give excellent and very clean pictures of max 2100 fine lines, with very accurate colours and exposure, with help of a high sensitivity 10 million pixels CMOS sensor and a fine 10x zoom (as 36-360mm F3.4-5.6 very sharp corners, auto lens cover) with very fine Optical Image Stabilization (very valuable in soft indoor lightening) at only 1300-1700sek or 200usd including a Li-Ion rechargeable battery and separate charger... It's clearly smaller (only 132cm3 or 101.3 x 58.5 x 22.3mm) than Panasonic above and was actually the most compact high quality super zoom camera ever... It has an all metal body, with real doors... Offer high speed bursts (2.8 pix/sec or 6.5 pix sec at 2.5mp) and a "best image selection mode" that can take 5 images quickly and then automatically save the best one... It work rather fast except 3.8sec to first taken pix, less than 0.1sec shutter delay, 1sec with autofocus and a bit slow 2.1sec between pictures... Then has it an 3 inch LCD screen (just 230t pixels, 16:9 aspect, good in sun) and a very easy and elegant menu system... And you can record (slightly noisy) video at 1080p full HD for the first time with a compact Canon - with zooming, stereo sound and a HDMI port...
But the much bigger Nikon Coolpix P7700 above give slightly higher picture quality, even if it's hard to view the difference and that camera has only 7.1x zoom and costs 3 times as much... Then is 36mm is not really wide (so you must often take some extra step back, when that is possible) you get only 150 images from the battery and that is not good (so you must buy one extra) it has no special grip, it's not fast and a higher resolution screen is clearly more fun... So the "old" Panasonic TZ7 and even Canon PowerShot SX130 IS above offer some important advantages... And full HD video gets a bit noisy and need a very fast PC to play smoothly... Then get you a bit noise in shadows, at 300% closeup and some purple edges (chromatic aberration) in the corners at high contrast, but so little that it's not possible to see these effects at fine print size... And you should as always set it to ISO 125 which is the lowest, even if ISO 200 only give slightly more noise... Finally should you select "fine" image quality, because "normal" give some jpg artifacts.

Then was one of Panasonic's compact ultra zoom cameras from 2011 another great alternative Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ18 (europe) ZS8 (usa) with 14 million effective pixels and a huge 16x zoom (as 24-384mm F3.3-5.9) because it has a CCD sensor that actually can handle so many pixels, even if it's on the absolute limit for the tiny sensor... This splendid camera give anyhow excellent sharp pictures in test, even at 24mm zoom and has a fine 3 inch screen with 230.000 pixels... And it has basically the same advantages as the older Panasonic models above... But I have not found any test with lines yet and I guess it "only" give at best 2200 fine lines, viewing the slightly soft samples... Then get pictures with max zoom softer, because of the diffraction effect (a result of 14mp pixels on a tiny sensor, when you use F5.6 or more) and I must WARN about the more expensive version with a too tiny CMOS sensor, below....

But I can unfortunately NOT recommend the more expensive Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 and TZ22 (europe) ZS10 (usa) with 14 million effective pixels and a huge 16x zoom, because the CMOS sensor (exactly the same as in FZ100 below) work in a different way and is simply too tiny for 14.1 megapixels, which first make the pix very noisy and then make the noise reductions fine patterns like hair, grass and bushes very blurry (as a 7 megapixels camera) even at ISO 100 and that fact make this camera completely useless and almost a fraud... Yes, the different between this one and the "older" models above, is actually huge and even the 10 megapixels Canon above, give almost twice as high sharpness in test... So they should not release this model (even if rather small web photos look excellent and ultra sharp) but there are for example one Canon model with 16 megapixels, which is even worse... And it is very strange that some review sites, that observe the extremely low sharpness, anyhow recommend this camera... Then will the diffraction effect (another result of too many pixels on a too small sensor) in addition make the whole pictures slightly softer at F5.9 aperture, which is minimum for max zoom!

More Why Not?!?
2010-12Fujifilm F300EXR has a magnificent 15x zoom lens, in a compact body and a slightly better autofocus system than other compact cameras... But you get more barrel distortion than usual at wide and just ok edge sharpness, so the picture quality is not like the best and the flash always pop up, even if you not use it!
2010-12Canon PowerShot G12 give actually a bit cleaner (totally clean) and slightly sharper photos (of 2200 fine lines) than Panasonic TZ8/10 (in Europe) ZS5/7 (in USA) above, is almost noise free at ISO 400 (not max 200 as most other cameras) and has a tiny optical viewfinder, that is almost useless... But the ultra clean difference is only visible at 300% closeup (which is 100% computer screen) and not in fine print, it's very expensive, extra clumsy and has only 5x zoom as 28-140mm, so it should not even be presented in this "super zoom" class... Okay, if you never need more zoom (?) have big pockets and want highest possible quality, except clearly more purple edges (chromatic aberration) then may this camera anyhow be the a nice choice... But the amazing Canon SX130 IS give you slightly higher picture quality, because of less chromatic aberration and it offer you in addition 12x zoom in a smaller body, at less than half the price!
2011-01Pentax Optio RZ10 is an elegant compact camera, with 10x zoom and too many (14) megapixels on a tiny sensor, that produce VERY blurry and noisy pictures!
2010-10Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V and H55 is another very elegant compact camera with10x zoom and 3 inch screen, but it has so heavy noise reduction that it blurs any fine details, according to 4 reviews...
2010-10Ricoh CX3 is also elegant in black, with 10x zoom, 10 megapixels low light sensor and 3 inch screen (amazingly 920t pixels) but it produce also noisy blurry pictures, if we compare with the best alternatives...

And you need normally some kind of Image Stabilizer, to use more than 5x zoom without a clumsy tripod and even 3x zoom pictures, get easy "shaky" in soft light... So we can absolutely not recommend any ultra zoom camera, that not have that basic function!

The best value "big pocket" camera, with a really BIG zoom...
2009-0728Was the amazing Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 (in Europe) FZ35 (in USA) from 2009 that offer every quality of FZ28 below - plus an even better Optical Image Stabilizer (that give 4 stops advantage, which is like boosting 200 ISO to 3200 without any noise problems) clearly faster actions with 1.2sec startup 1.4sec between pictures (or 0.77sec between max 3 pictures, in burst mode) plus even faster focus (0.29sec wide 0.31sec tele) a 12.1 million pixels sensor that work surprisingly fine and actually give very sharp pictures of 2300 lines (with rather sharp corners) as long as you "open up" the aperture with the lowest possible number - because the diffraction effect, make the pictures softer at F5.6 and very soft at F8 aperture... Yes, this model is just as sharp as FZ28 with 10.1mp - but that camera is anyhow extremely sharp... It has also a new 80 ISO setting (it handle even 200 ISO rather good - but you should never use a higher setting) longer battery life (470 shots and over 450 in test) HDMI output and a stereo microphone, for the new AVCHD Lite (or old M-jpeg) 1280x720 video mode... Finally can you save the photos at "normal" quality, that show no difference from the "fine" setting (not even at 100% on a notebook screen, that is about 3x closeup compared to high quality 300dpi prints) except that each picture take only 3MB instead of twice the space... At only 2700sek with 40MB internal memory, li-ion battery and rapid charger!
Then was Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ45 (Europe) FZ40 from 2011 (with the same excellent 24x zoom) clearly better than FZ100 below, because a very different 14.1 million pixels CCD sensor, that is dramatically less noisy and as result give clearly sharper photos... But the truly impressive high quality photos, are still slightly more noisy than the "old" FZ35 / FZ38 even if that noise (or grain) normally not is visible in fine print... And the diffraction effect (which is another result of too many pixels on a too small sensor) will in addition make the whole pictures slightly soft at F5.6 and too soft at F8 aperture... So I recommend FZ35 / FZ38 in first hand and this camera (absolutely not the FZ100 version) only when the "old" ones get more expensive, as they use to become when only a few shops have some left!
But the "top" model Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 from 2011 with 14 million effective pixels and a huge 24x zoom (as 25-600mm f/2.85.2 by LEICA) was unfortunately NOT an improvement, because the CMOS sensor work in a different way and is simply too tiny for 14.1 megapixels, which first make the pix very noisy and then make the noise reductions fine patterns like hair, grass and bushes very blurry (or you get very noisy RAW photos) even at ISO 100 and that fact (seen it now in 6 reviews) make this camera completely useless and almost a fraud... Yes, the different between this one and the "older" models, is actually huge - so they should not release this one, even if rather small web photos look excellent and ultra sharp... And it is very strange that some review sites, that observe the extremely low sharpness, anyhow recommend this camera... Then will the diffraction effect (which is another result of too many pixels on a too small sensor) in addition make the whole pictures slightly soft at F5.6 and too soft at F8 aperture!
2008-0801Before FZ38 (in Europe) FZ35 (in USA) was the famous Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 from 2008 the best alternative, that is an almost identical version of the older FZ18 with a 10.1 million pixel sensor and this camera handle the tiny pixels clearly better than the competition, so you get anyhow excellent photos and in addition a slightly bigger 2.7 inch LCD screen (230t pixels, ok even in strong sunlight) plus a slightly improved viewfinder (now 201t pixels, still with dioptre adjustment) and then is the magnificent lens probably exactly the same, even if the slightly larger sensor change the effective focal length from 28-504mm to 27-486mm and it's now rated as F2.8 to 4.4 so it need slightly more light at tele, but it offer anyhow better sensitivity than any other ultra tele... And you get virtually no purple edges, very little barrel distortion and amazingly sharp pictures of up to 2300 fine lines (except slightly softer corners) with help of the famous Optical Image Stabilizer (that work better than any other) just as before... Then get you now a HD video mode (max 1280x720 at 30fps) with optical zoom and component video output... Plus a record / play switch, 4 new scene modes (totally 22) even shorter shutter delay with 0.02sec, slightly better battery life (460 pics) and the "iExposure" option, that select settings after the motive... And it offer as before almost every possible manual controls (including 4 custom modes) too... There is also a 3MP burst mode that fire away 8.7 pictures per second... So this rather compact ultra zoom camera, is simply the absolute best choice for the advanced photographers... At only 3690sek (sold out in Sweden) or 360usd with 50MB internal memory, li-ion battery (for 460 pictures before charge) and rapid charger...
But the extra pixels make this version slightly slower than FZ18 between pictures (about 1.5 to 1.8sec for JPG shots without flash) the grip don't feel smooth in my hand and the trigger is not perfectly placed for me, the screen could have better contrast and viewing angles, the eyepiece for the viewfinder is of hard plastic and corners get slightly soft at tele, but they are still sharper than normally... You can also click to see how fine it look, find a lot more information and view a few sample pictures, in Panasonic's official site!

Why not?!! Then are the ultra big zoom alternatives from Canon, Nikon and Olympus clearly worse in many different ways (even if they actually have a slightly more comfortable grip than Panasonic) and they show especially more chromatic aberration, that look as a purple "glow" along edges with high contrast... Then is the lenses not as sharp, bright (so they need more light) and has more barrel distortion... As you easy can see in most reviews and if we find any fine alternative, will we gladly and naturally write about it!

And why is a digital camera, completely superior?!?

I did actually use a fine Pentax system camera, with five exclusive lenses... Until I bought an excellent 2 megapixels digital camera, with 12x stabilised zoom and it was dramatically better, in every vital way... Yes, the digital photos got slightly smaller than carefully scanned dia-positives from my old camera - but the new photos got cleaner and more natural, with very exact colours.... And then did I use an even finer Panasonic LZ7 with 7.1 megapixels and 6x stabilised zoom, which did produce just as big photos, as carefully scanned 35mm dia-positives, of the new higher quality!
And the rather low price of a fine digital camera, give you over 46 unique advantages (each gold arrow) including that the total cost, will be clearly less after a few months, if you like to use your camera... So a fine digital camera is a great investment, for everyone that like to take fine pictures and many of this advantages, will especially help you to take finer pictures than anytime before... If you try almost as hard as before and not get sloppy!
First, you simply don't have to buy any more film... So you save both money and time... And it could also be hard to find the film you prefer, especially on holidays!
And then is it also a lot more expensive, to get very fine paper copies (with right colour, contrast and so on) from old film, because you must then select a shop that handle this good and often pay some extra to get it as you want... Yes, you can easy improve and optimize you digital pictures, anytime you like... First can you take care of the ordinary problems... Fix slightly strange exposing, not perfect colours, cut some stuff or change the composition and rotate the picture a bit... Details that often make photos direct on paper, rather lousy and even may kill a great picture... Then is even easy to fix a bad background, erase people you don't want in the photo and improve your pictures, in over ten other unique ways... And you get normally easy photo editing programs for free, with the camera and we do recommend some more advanced, from free to cheap, in our computer page...
As I wrote above... It was enough with a 2mp camera, to print out excellent 136x102mm big photos of pro quality... And with careful optimizing can you also get twice as wide pictures (272x204mm, almost A4 size) of fine photo quality, almost as fine paper photos from old 35mm film and clearly BETTER than APS photos... Normal "old" 200/400 ISO films give the same quality on paper and clearly worse, if you need to scan the photos to your computer... And you get higher quality with a fine 5mp camera, than with a fine analog SLR camera and film to paper photos...But if you take dia-positive pictures with a fine SLR camera and scan them with the best scanner, then will you need a fine 8mp camera to get a clearly higher quality... With both dramatic less noise and little higher sharpness... Yes, even the best 35mm dia-positive give very noisy pictures (compared to digital cameras) and max 2000 fine lines sharpness!
Then can you see the result directly, in the camera, so you can easy take another better picture... That great possibility and especially that moment, are normally lost forever with film... So that are a GIANT advantage, both for the advanced photographer and the clumsy beginner! And you can naturally show your pix to new friends, directly on the camera screen...
Then can you always take MANY MORE alternative pictures and simply delete the really bad ones, later... Experiment with alternative settings, different angles, other lighting and so on... A cheap fast 2GB card, has room for 700 high quality 10mp pictures... You don't have to actually take every picture, when you experiment, because you will basically see how it will look, on the big screen... You can also take a lot more pictures, from slightly different angles or when the motive move and hope that some will be great, as many "pro" photographers... Even if my theory, is that you get the absolute finest photos, if you invest some extra time and really try to make each picture, to a masterpiece!
The possibility to delete most and save the best, is a special advantages on holidays... You can take over 7000 pictures, delete the worst many times and finally have 600 pics (and still a margin) that are from interesting to excellent... Even if you only can afford a cheap fast 2GB card!
And a very fine digital camera is normally VERY small, compared to a rather compact old 35mm system camera... About 110-300cm3 compared to 1500cm3 with a 38-114mm zoom... So you can always bring your camera with you, even where it's best to be discreet and never miss any more great shots... That are possible the greatest advantage, with digital cameras!
Modern digital cameras has also zoom lenses that is totally superior, compared to old analogue cameras... My last camera has a optical stabilised zoom, that work as 25-300mm for a 35mm camera and is brighter than most of my old fix lenses... So it replace all five of my old lenses, plus the tripod and offer me in addition 300mm tele, instead of just 135mm and 25mm wide instead of 28mm.
And it's light to hold, very easy to hide (from thieves) and easy to protect, from the element of destruction... Like rain, sun and sand... Compared with a system camera, that use film!
You can then show your pictures in full glory, almost directly... In your computer, on internet and send them to your friends, by email... And your originals, will naturally be a lot more easy to handle and they will never loose quality... Even copies, will actually be perfect originals... Yes, it is also very easy to save them in several ways (for extra safety) and copy them to new media, when the technology changes!
You can naturally get excellent paper copies, in several easy ways (even send an email and get copies by post) from your absolute best digital photos... Or make them at home, with a fine cheap Canon printer... And even if the cost is little higher for each copy, will the total cost be 2-50 times lower than with film, because you never have to pay for all these rather good pix, which you don't want on paper, but still want to keep... Or the lousy ones, you simply delete... You can in addition decide the size of the paper copy, directly and only pay for the pix in the right size... Then is it a lot more easy to get the pix, from a digital camera to your computer and you get higher quality (compared with scanning paper photos) within the size limits I mention above...
And most digital cameras are a lot more reliable, than a 35mm camera... Mainly because it has very few "delicate" moving parts, that can break... And compared with a heavy system camera, will the physical impact be softer, if you drop it or hit a corner... And you can forget the frustrating problem, to always load the film perfect...
Yes, you will also avoid MANY other vital problems with film... That sometimes give very strange colours, often are of the wrong type for the situation, quickly become too old, can be stuck in the camera (without any warning) so you don't get any pictures, get damage from x-ray scanners and finally, may get lost by the photo shop!
The only real problems, with digital cameras... Is the very short delay, when you take a picture (even if the best cameras are ultra fast now) and that you naturally must charge batteries, for the camera... But the price is NOT a real problem anymore, if you like to take pictures... Only 10 films with 36 pix (or 6 APS films with 40 pix) are actually more expensive than a superior budget digital camera, with an extra battery charger and after that, will any more pictures be completely free... And you will then get finer pix than a top class old SLR camera, plus all the other advantages!!
Click here for links to the finest reviews, of digital cameras!

SmartPhones and Mobile Phones

First a note... I write normally only about phones I can check personally and I have no access to the phones that only are sold in USA and Japan, so I naturally don't use to write about them...

Smartphones, that work great as ultra portable computers
Smartphones with basic functionality
Mobile Phones, with colour screen

A modern SmartPhone with great OS (operating system) and excellent PIM (Personal Information Management) functionality, is naturally the best alternative and they are NOT a big investment, anymore... It is the absolute best way - to plan your life, do the most important first, handle complex projects, manage your contacts and personal info, compare and investigate things to buy, collect facts anywhere and never forget anything, anymore... And you get actually as cute ultra portable computer, with many other interesting functions, at the same time!
But remember that a rather BIG screen or a real and fine physical keyboard is VITAL for a slim SmartPhone, because on screen keyboards occupy half the screen and that make the rest of the screen very tight, if the screen is less that 4.5 inch... So a 3 inch screen with a physical keyboard, is normally dramatically better than a iPhone with just 3.5 inch screen and just as good as a 4inch screen... But if you get a smartphone with a 5 inch or bigger screen, is that even better in some ways - because half of that screen give you anyhow a good view over the text you write and naturally a clearly better view of photos or web sites... But observe also that some of the rare smartphones with physical keyboards, don't have enough space between totally flat keys and that work lousy.
By the way... In 2011 did people finally buy more smartphones (over 487 million) than ordinary computers (not even 415 million) and the last sum include desktops, laptops and tablets!
You can also click here to read (in a new window) about the perfect Smart Phone, that still has to be made... And you can click here to read my (rather old) detail guide on how to select an advanced SmartPhone, in a new window...

Observe also one fact about mobile phone cameras... You will NOT get sharper photos, with more than 2 to 6 million pixels in a mobile phone (the absolute limit depend on the miniature sensor size) because of the "diffraction effect" that is a result of too many pixels on a tiny sensor and simply limit the possible sharpness... Yes, your photos will naturally have more pixels - but only be softer, take more space on the memory card and make the saving of each photo slower - above the diffraction limit... And if you reduce the size in a photo editor, until the picture really are sharp (after some sharpening) will it anyhow be as big as a 2 to max 6mp picture... You may clickfor deeper info, in our camera section.
And mobile phone cameras are also totally missing the two most valuable options - a good optical zoom and a real Optical Image Stabilizer... So you can only get rather small sharp photos (1750 to 2500 pixels wide) with a fine mobile phone camera (that especially have a fine clean lens) if you take them in bright light and on short distances (for people) or as landscapes... Then must you also reduce the size and sharpen each picture, if you have too many pixels!

I can only recommend smartphones with Android's great OS (see why below) slot for a memory card and a battery you easy can replace, in the future... And the most important part of a smartphone (that not have a physical keyboard) is a rather big screen, so I recommend in first hand alternatives with a 4.7 inch screen or more...

The Best Value smartphone today (if you can't find the xperia pro below OR hate real keyboards) that also work great as an ultra portable computer, is Huawei Ascend G740 with a huge 5 inch ips screen with 720x1280 pixels (excellent 295ppi, because perfect eyes can normally just see 300ppi) very happy owners, 1gb ram, a fast dual core Krait 200 processor, 8gb internal storage, a big 2400mAh replaceable battery, both 3G plus 4G LTE and it take a max 32GB microSDHC card (a 16GB Samsung class 10 card costs only 68sek at eBay oct 2014) at icredible low 1190sek and this masterpiece has actually another HUGE advantage... You can normally NOT use your smartphone as an external (portable) HardDiscDrive or USB stick, because Google replaced that possibility with a dumb slow "Media Transfer Protocol" mode in Android 4 and later, that not allow you to edit any file in your phone, from your PC and not even let you view picture thumbs in your PC when you connect your phone... But Huawei did fix that and you can simply select "USB storage" which act exactly like the old smart "USB mass storage" but in addition let you access the internal memory and not just your microSDHC card... And that mean that you can always bring your finest photos and important text files with you (as I do, including this site) and then very easy update / edit your files from your phone OR any computer, with a short USB cable!And if you want to pay little more and get little less is LG L90 D405 the best great value alternative with a very big 4.7inch ips 540x960pixels screen (fine 234ppi and gorilla v2 glass) 1gb ram, 8gb storage, FM radio, just 0.44 in SAR value and a massive 2540mAh replaceable battery... It take also a max 32GB microSDHC card (a fine fast 32GB card costs only 148sek mid 2014) at 1790sek... This one is also a clearly smarter buy, than any lower cost alternatives, except the Huawei above...

Then will you also find a slighly cheaper BASIC smartphone, below...

And if you can't find the Huawei or LG above at a good price, is the best alternatives Samsung Galaxy SIII GT i9300 or i9305 that offer a slightly bigger 4.8inch screen with 720x1280pixels, 16gb storage, very low 0.24 in SAR value and many happy owners, from 2450sek and i9305 offer in addition 4G LTE from slightly expensive 3100sek in many shops... But you can not activate the smarter "USB Mass Storage Mode" for the USB connection, without a special program (that first need root) and even with that program, can you only edit files on your SD card (not on the internal memory) from your computer... And the default "Media Transfer Protocol" mode will only let you move files and NOT edit any files (or even see thumbs of pictures) from your computer... But you can naturally move files to your computer (if you find them without thumbs) and edit them there, before you move them back... And almost all smartphones with Android 4.1 and higher (except Huawei above) have this very irritating limitation - not just galaxy III and Note 2!
111001And if you want an even bigger screen (or want a rather fine alternative to a real keyboard) is Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100 the finest alternative, with a magnificent 5.5 inch OLED screen with 720x1280 pixels (267ppi) Gorilla glass 2 and max 68% of the huge screen is free to view (about 4 inch) if you use the big nice onscreen keyboard vertically... So it's a fine - but clearly more clumsy and rather expensive - alternative to Xperia Pro below, even if you like to write a lot... And web sites, photos and videos look especially amazing on the brilliant huge screen... Then is Note II anyhow only 81mm wide (that's easy to hold) 151mm high and 9,4mm thick... And the SAR value is amazingly low at 0.17 W/kg... It have also a smart Wacom pen for drawings and extremely happy owners, at slightly expensive 3600sek... And GT-N7104 have in addition both 3 and 4G / LTE but then is the bigger MEGA below cheaper... But this model is almost sold out and you can not activate the smarter "Mass Storage Mode" for the USB connection, without a special program (that first need root) and even with that program, can you only edit files on your SD card (not on the internal memory) from your computer... And the default "Media Transfer Protocol" mode will only let you move files and NOT edit any files (or even see thumbs of pictures) from your computer... But you can naturally move files to your computer (if you find them without thumbs) and edit them there, before you move them back... And almost all smartphones with Android 4.1 and higher (except Huawei above) have this very irritating limitation - not just galaxy III and Note 2!
111001And if you want a smartphone with the biggest screen is Samsung Galaxy Mega LTE GT-i9205 a great alternative, with 6.3 inch 720x1280 pixels 233ppi screen (not OLED but very nice anyhow) and very happy owners, who for example love the good battery life, at 4000sek (it got so popular, that the price jump up) and you get actually a very nice tablet, included in the price... Then is this "huge" phone just 88mm wide, so many think it's perfect in size, you get both 3G and 4G / LTE and the SAR radiation value is ultra low 0.14 W/kg probably because the antenna are located very far from your ear!
070109And if you think an Apple iPhone might be a smarter alternative, must I disappoint you and you can read a lot more about WHY a bit below...

Then was the absolute best value SmartPhone, with a fine keyboard and a really fine operating system...
110822The smart and sexy Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini Pro (and NOT the too simple older X10 mini pro) that came late 2011 and has an excellent keyboard, with four extra keys and Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread - now when HP gone crazy (at the same moment) and stop making smartphones with the slightly smarter webOS operating system... But Android is also very advanced and offer especially over 600.000 third party / extra apps 2013 which mean that you can "design" and improve your Android phone, so it actually become smarter than any other system... I am just now searching deep, evaluating the most promising and selecting the finest third party / extra apps, including some that Android unfortunately need to become truly great and I will hopefully publish my list before the end of this year... Then has this mini SmartPhone (88cm3 or only 92x53x18mm) a rather big 3 inch screen (or 27cm2 and 63.5x42.5mm, 480x320 pixels, extra fine in sunlight, capacitive with haptic response and scratch resistant glass) of 190 ppi (twice of a notebook) that actually work nice for web browsing, everything works very fast and smoothly (clearly faster than many expensive big screen alternatives) with help of the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Scorpion processor and you can even view YouTube videos at the main site (without using the YouTube app) mini pro offer also splendid music audio quality, microUSB port, 3.5mm audio jack, hot-swappable microSD card slot under the battery, WiFi (b/g/n) with DLNA support and Bluetooth (2.1) quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA (3G) with fine reception / sensitivity, very safe 0,46 in SAR value, compass sensor plus tons of other nice features, as a fine onscreen keyboard... This amazing SmartPhone is also very stable, according to many reviews and happy owners... At incredible 1550sek 2013 even with the special Swedish letters - but it is now sold out!
I don't use to give grades, because grades are very relative to how you use the item and this is a great example... At this price is this amazing SmartPhone generally worth 10 of 10 as you can see in the headline... But if you don't write much and want a huge screen, maybe because you love / need to surf or play a lot of games, get it just 6 of 10 and if you don't think a 6 inch screen (as Samsung Galaxy Mega below) is too big for a SmartPhone (and you also love / need to surf or play a lot of games) then get this one only 4 of 10 and finally - if you want a keyboard, surf or play games about half an hour daily (so you actually want Xperia Pro below) and compare without consider the price, then get this wonder 8 of 10 anyhow!
But the 1200mAh removable battery last just one to two days (at normal to light use) which only is slightly better than most smartphones (so you should maybe buy a spare battery) the call quality is fine (according to two reviews) or just ok / average (it's clear, but could sound a bit nicer - according to one review) and the 3G reception / sensitivity is fine, but there are a few other phones that work even better at low signal areas... Then is the 5mp camera average for phones (with correct colours, but it's noisy indoors and a separate digital camera, with real zoom and OIS is as always clearly better) the 1280x720 30fps videos get a bit soft and noisy... Finally has the included music player no manual equalizer, but many free extra programs has that vital function and you should strangely turn off the "xLOUD" feature to get a louder ringer sound.
111001And if you could afford more was Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro the absolute best choice (which came late 2011) because it has a clearly bigger 3.7 inch screen (or 38.5cm2 with 854x480 pixels, 264 ppi) officially with LED backlit LCD that offer very deep blacks, high contrast and accurate colours for the most brilliant photo viewing I seen, plus outstanding viewing angles (more than enough for three people) smart auto brightness, work extra fine in sunlight, has capacitive touch with haptic response and scratch resistant glass... The amazing viewing angles and deep colours, which not are completely possible with any known LCD tech, indicate that they actually use Sony's new and superior Crystal LED tech (!) or something very similar... Then get you in addition a wider keyboard, with bigger rectangular key and the same excellent light click feeling... It is also rather compact (just 102cm3 or 119x57x14-16mm) even if you get a clearly bigger screen and it look very good... Then has it one and a half hours longer talk time (7 hour 3G and over 7 hours in test, when most other manage only 3 to 4 hours in test) from the 1500mAh removable battery and generously 430/400 hours standby (at 2/3G) the fine OfficeSuite Pro by Mobile Systems is included (to view & edit Word and Excel, including the Office 2007 versions and view PowerPoint and PDF) micro HDMI connector for an extern TV or monitor, 8.1 megapixels ExmorR camera, 1280x720 30fps video camera and 8GB microSD card - where the manual is stored, so remember to copy the files if you change to a faster or bigger card... And the silly "carousel style" extra graphic interface TimeScape is easy to turn off... Then get you the same qualities as Xperia mini pro above, including the same version of Android and the same fast Scorpion processor... It has also the same qualities and front design as the very fine Neo model, which got sublime reviews - plus the smooth slide out keyboard and that make this SmartPhone almost magic... So I bought one on my birthday in October 2011 plus another one for safety and when I updated this January 2014 had I still no trouble with this rock stable masterpiece... And it did only costs 2900sek in Sweden feb 2013 with HDMI cable (not included in every country) and everything else... But it is now sold out in Sweden, the safe 0,88 SAR value is "only" rather low and the shiny black backside get a bit smudged with fingerprints.

The best value Smartphones with BASIC functionality - a great OS, screen of minimum 4 inch for a just usable on-screen keyboard, slot for a memory card, replaceable battery and camera is...
May 2009 The fine Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus GT-S7580 that have a just big enough 4 inch 480x800 pixels screen, fine 0.59 in SAR value, Android 4.2 OS and happy owners, at just 900sek... But a 4 inch screen is actually rather tiny for an on-screen keyboard and this phone work naturally a bit slower than the top performer models... But many of the more "advanced" models do NOT let you add a microSD card or even replace the battery, which both are very valuable options...

You should especially select a smartphone with a great OS and excellent programs!

The finest Operation Systems, for advanced Smart Phones... The most important part of a smartphone is the combination of a great operation system, which work as the "gear box" and a generous selections of excellent programs, that both is included and possible to buy... These programs are the "brain" that can make the SmartPhone to a very helpful assistant and possible to make it even smarter... Or rather dumb, very limited and almost useless - if you select wrong... The two finest SmartPhone operating systems (you find below) has some great common advantages, if you compare with a notebook... You can start a fine pocket computer directly, without any delay and when you done what you want, close it directly... And then can you normally continue directly, exactly where you was the last time, so you don't have to find and open the last file once again... They has especially (rather to very smart) Personal Information Manager suites, with an advanced contact manager (extra smart address book) calender and todo program (where you simply note everything you should do when you have time, sorted automatically or manually by priority) - to handle your private information, really plan your life, control other projects, collect facts and never forget anything, anymore... Every post in the PIM programs - like a contact or some thing you have to do when you got time (except in Nokia) can also have an extra page with more text and be placed in a category, so you find it more easy... And it's normally very easy to jump between the most important programs, with dedicated buttons... Or even smarter solutions... Finally can you very easy "sync" with a notebook or desktop computer, when you anyhow charge your pocket computer or by air and then always have a backup... And just as a modern notebook, have they in addition many multimedia programs, so you can especially listen to music on the move and if you don't think the screen is too tiny - view pictures, surf the web and even look at videos!
Android by Google is the clearly finest mobile Operating System for most people... Since HP gone crazy 2011 and stop making smartphones, with the slightly smarter webOS operating system... But Android is also very advanced, with real multitasking and almost every functionality you want, including true Flash for a complete web browser experience... And almost twice as big than iPhone, even in USA and February 2012 was 850.000 new Android phones activated every new day... And Android offer also over 450.000 third party / extra apps in the safe Android Market and the extra helpful site - www.appbrain.com - which mean that you can "design" and improve your Android phone, so it actually become smarter than any other system... And I am just now searching deep, evaluating the most promising and selecting the finest third party / extra apps, including some that Android unfortunately need to become truly great and I will hopefully publish my list before the end of this year...
Then is the almost closed down Symbian the second best - because it has multitasking, every basic program / application you need from the start and a fine looking graphic interface... And some of the basic programs are slightly better, but some is a bit worse... The ToDo list has for example no categories, only 3 priority levels (yes 5 as Palm OS had was much better) and there is no smart "float" function, for calender events... And you can only select from a few thousand extra program (that you can buy or sometimes get free) and they don't use the screen space in a smart way, in some of their phones... Okay the lovely Nokia X6 or the fine budget version 5230 that I recommend below, don't have this idiotic problem - but the elegant designed Nokia E90 use the screen space extremely bad, when you open the wide screen above the lovely keyboard... In the most vital PIM views, does it only use 33% of the screen for your text and you can only select a big fat font... Compared with 80% of the screen in Palm, with clear normal size text (you can naturally select bigger) and about 75% in WM5 with rather small (you can select bigger) clear text... So you could actually see more text, in the "day view" of a Palm Treo 680 or Centro than you can view on a Nokia E90 with an almost 3 times wider screen!!!
And the "new" Windows Phone 7 to 8 mobile operating system is a giant waste of effort and nothing I can recommend... Mainly because it just offer a very new graphic interface, with a less smart design and no real improvements... Yes, they wanted it to look very new - so they simply had to make a very different design - but to be able to do that, did they also introduce six fundamental problems... 1) and 2) They took away any 3D graphic for the icons and made some of them much bigger than you need, so you see much less without scrolling and it look more flat and boring... 3) They don't use large parts of the relatively tiny screen, so you see even less and must scroll even more... But Windows Phone 8* and 7.8 will partly fix that... 4) and 5) They use often silly HUGE "modern" titles / head lines, that steal even more screen space and some don't even fit on the screen, so you must also scroll to read some titles... 6) You get mainly strange colours for the home screens, but Windows Phone 8* and 7.8 will partly fix that too... Yes, the competition did already use all the smart or elegant alternatives - so the only way to come with something that really look new, was to select worse alternatives... Then get you only the same basic functions, that you get in almost any smartphone OS without any clear advantages... And many functions are actually simplified or severely limited (just as iPhone) compared to the best of the competition - so this system has MANY handicaps... You got only very simple multitasking, for example... But they did copy webOS in a less elegant way in WP7.5 and use cards to select between "open" applications - but these apps will normally be in pause mode and NOT active (so Android, Symbian and webOS has a big advantage) plus allow some third party to multitask in the background (Android, Symbian and webOS let everyone do that) and they will also copy some of the synergy from webOS that bring together different email and messenger providers, from their "mango" 2011 autumn update... But in WP 8* will you finally get true multitasking... Then have they only one volume setting for everything (except in some Nokia Lumia) so it's the same for the ringer, alarm and playing music... You get no notification centre, that show who sent new messages or any other details, so you must go (everytime) to the application for that... You have to click images in emails, to view them... The Apollo browser is much slower than Android or iOS mobile browsers, but Windows Phone 8* get a much faster browser... When you touch to focus, the camera automatically takes a picture, even if you don't want that... And the camera settings forget also any change (return to their defaults) every time you load the camera application and they call it a feature, but they may actually change that... Then are there only three fix levels for the screen brightness, except auto... They don't allow apps with AIM or Google Chat... It doesn't have any kind of backup system... You don't have toggle switches for wifi, bluetooth, mobile data and other popular functions - that show the new setting direct... Then has many main "advantages" like Zune and Xbox Live major problems and limitations... The "marketplace" for apps is more complicated than any other to navigate, even with only 1000 apps... The "YouTube app" is in fact a link to the mobile website... There is no kind of Universal Search or any multi page app management... *But you can NOT update any older phone to Windows Phone 8 which actually use the same NT kernel and core base as Windows 8 for bigger computers... Then can you use most older apps in WP8 - but you can NOT use any new apps made for WP8 in older phones... Some of WP8 new features will at least be included in WP7.8 for older phones... And at the debut 2010-10-20 was many parts of the system not even working, yet!

Why not an Apple iPhone?!

120612And if you think Apple's iPhone might be a smarter alternative, must I disappoint you... It is a magnificent thing in a few ways, with the nice 3.5 inch screen (with only 320x480 pixels, before iPhone 4 with 640x960 pixels - that only work ok in direct sunlight, just as most smartphones) 8 to 32gb memory, the first version (not the second) and iPhone 4 is ultra slim (under 12mm) the Safari web browser was at the beginning the finest included browser (with a slight margin) and the finger navigation system, is very easy to use...
But the main problem is that you get "locked" to a PC and itunes, that you must use to sync your PIM data and a few file formats for music or video... And even if you have to use a cable, does it sync rather slow... But they did also offer a cloud solution in iOS 5 that make you a bit more free and that is especially valuable if you want to use the iPad or iPhone without another computer, just as you can do with Android... Then is this "smartphone" also one of the dumbest, because several vital elements are missing from the system... So even the old Nokia 5230 (or Nuron in USA) with Symbian, is clearly smarter in many ways and have other great advantages, as real multitasking and that one costs not even a third as much... And the latest version iOS 6 has still no real multitasking, so even Android 2.2 is smarter both totally and in several other important ways... There are for example many annoying interruptive notifications, that pop up over what you are doing and not just at the top of the screen, as in Android... But it got a half smart "notification center" in iOS 5 at least... You can't have a spellchecker without auto correct, that change many correct words (!) and not is possible to adjust... You can't play flash in the web browser... Text file management is also very limited and you can't use an iPhone as a portable hard drive / usb memory... And there was (until 090316) no way to cut, copy or paste text... But they did include a simple "reminders app" in iOS 4 and you can finally get some ToDo functionality from the Apple App Store, so you can at least fix that huge handicap...
Then has it almost none "multitasking functionality" except that you can listen to music, take phone calls and the alarms work, when you use other programs - but otherwise can you not use two programs (as you easy can in Android) so when you open a new program, does it normally close the last one or put it in a sleep mode... So if you download a TV episode, must you wait until its done and then can you not save it for later, either... Yes, you can only save pictures... Apple did offer little more multitasking in iOS 4 that mainly allow a few more programs, to "work" in the background (actually just alert, in different ways) but still with much bigger multitasking limitations than Android or Symbian...
It has also two BIG hardware limitation - you can't use any memory cards or even replaceable the battery (yes, you must send it to a repair centre when the battery die) and observe that a few "simplified" Android phones has this incredible dumb limitations, too... It's also complicated to make a call, because you need more steps (it has no voice dialling) and there is not even a search function, in the phone book... But you got finally a global "spotlight" search in iOS 5 and search functionality in many system programs... And the call list don't show what's incoming or what's outgoing calls... A clear majority of owners, vote that the earpiece of the first version is a bit too quiet (it might just be difficult to position accurate to the ear) and many note that the speaker phone is even worse... Then did the phone sound quality of the 3G version get clearly better than before, but it was anyhow only "acceptable" and not excellent, according to several reviews...
The EDGE data is very slow and it's not possible to use an iPhone as a modem to a notebook, as you normally can do with Android phones... Then is the talk time not that great, if you also use it to listen to music or surf the web and so on... So you normally have to charge it daily and for the 3G version, sometimes more often and remember that you can't even change the battery... Music (mp3/iTunes) can't be used as ring tones... You can't record video with the camera, that anyhow give lousy pictures, that get horrible in low light... And it has not a front camera, so you can't do video calls either, which is possibility in many other smartphones... Then take the huge "miniature" mobile version of OS X about 700MB from your memory...
And at the beginning couldn't you buy and use any more really advanced programs, except the few fancy ones that is included... But that last huge limitation did dramatically change after February 2008 even if many programs naturally are severely handicapped by the clumsy on screen keyboard, that especially leave very little space for the program and the fact that almost no kind of multitasking is possible... And the possibility to show smart widgets (information windows for the home screen) that you can use in Android, don't exist in any iPhone... But some of all the other negative aspects may naturally be fixed (or not) sometime in the future, just as Cut & Paste finally came after several years of intensive complaints...
So Steve did actually lie brutally in his first presentation, when he told everyone that his iPhone is both much more smarter and easy to use than Palm Treo... A Treo with the old Palm OS was actually dramatically more smarter, because it could do exactly the same things and a lot MORE from the beginning (except wifi, that really eat battery life in any phone) plus even more, if you want to expand it with more advanced programs and if we compare with the ultra smart Android or even Symbian, is the difference gigantic!
Another very strange aspect with Apple and the iPhone is that they refuse to pay any license fee (at least until Nov 2009) for many vital patents they use and Nokia own - even if every other mobile phone company does pay... That is completely outside common business sense and actually an arrogant act of stealing!
When Apple did release the big iOS 4 update 2010 did it finally include very limited multitasking (mainly for background audio, VoIP and GSP functionality - but that and some of the following fixes did not work in older iPhones) faster reopening of applications with "where you was" memory (that Android always has) local notifications, folders for applications, a better mail app with an unified inbox, iBooks, custom backgrounds, Game Center with multiplayer network, Bluetooth keyboard support, spell check and developers will get more functions to work with... But Symbian and especially Android had generally all this, or even finer alternatives and a lot more smart functionality... The following iOS 5 and 6 was minor updates, so even Android 2.2 is actually smarter... And note also that many updated functions do NOT work in older iPhones!
By the way, the South Korean company LG did also release an extremely similar smartphone - LG Prada (one of many Prada models) some month before iPhone and nobody found it amazing... Even if Prada's OS actually did offer more possibilities and the interface was just as elegant... And it had also the same size, the same generous screen and the same kind of finger tip navigation... But the design of that LG Prada was a bit different and strangely similar to generation 4 of iPhone - which is an almost exact copy, with it's glass backside and metal sides!





And the finest alternative SmartPhone, with the clearly worse (and now gone) Microsoft Mobile operating system...
Was the innovative and very elegant Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 that came 2009 and especially offer a rather elegant slimline qwerty keyboard, that has a very good feeling and is very accurate (tested by me, with writing every letter twice and the Swedish version have separate too) together with a smart micro navigation pad (that also work fine) a truly excellent high resolution touchscreen (3 inch 800x480 pixels and 25.4cm2) extra easy navigational system (with smart icons, called panels) and a strong battery (10h talk or 500h standby at GSM and 6h talk or 627h standby at UMTS / HSPA in test and 1500mAh) that you can change... Only 99cm3 (110.5x17x52.6mm) and 160g... Quad Band GSM 850/900/1800/1900 with EDGE and GPRS, UMTS (tri band) HSUPA (for max 7.2 Mbit downloads) MMS, WiFi (802.11b/g) play MP3, AAC, MPEG4, FM radio, has miniUSB (for charge and sync) and a big 3.5mm headphone jacket... The keyboards slide function, does also feel excellent and very reliable... Then has it Sony's media player (as extra alternative) GPS (only aGPS that need the mobile network) and 3 months test version of Wayfinder (you can then save maps from your PC to xperia) 256MB free ram and take microSD (4GB is included and support 16GB cards) 3.2mp autofocus camera (without any lens cover, but an easy to wipe off glass) with vga video (640x480) at only 2990sek (almost sold out in Sweden) with a 4MB miniSD card, headset, extra pen, li-ion battery and charger...
But almost every normal task (as making a note in the calendar or open a program) need twice as many "actions" to be done, compared with (the now dead) Palm OS that also was better in other ways and the extra sexy black version, has some shiny black surfaces that get very greasy... And you should (as always) buy screen protectors... It work faster than most smartphones with Windows Mobile, but slower than most with Palm OS or Symbian...

Long before that was the finest alternative SmartPhone, with the clearly worse (and now gone) Microsoft Mobile operating system...
051020The extremely promising Sharp W-zero3 (or WS003SH) from 2005 the best alternative with the worse Windows Mobile 5.0 OS if you live in Japan... This ultra elegant black dream machine offer a 3.7 inch VGA screen (640x480 pixels) and a qwerty keyboard (with delicious "glass" keys) in a nowadays huge 237cm3 body (7013026mm) which anyhow was the best combination for an advanced SmartPhone, except my optimal design... Then has it Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition... Click here for why this OS is worse, in a new window... Plus PHS network phone on a W-SIM card (work only in Japan) internal antenna, Intel PXA270 Xscale 416MHz processor, 128MB rom 64MB dram, WiFi 802.11b, a 1.33mpixels camera and might costs under 450usd, according to the price in Japan...
But this phone did only work in Japan and it don't seem to have Bluetooth or use miniSD cards...

And the best basic LOW COST mobile phone, with colour screen is...
Seem to be the very nice looking dark grey Nokia 100 with 1.8inch screen that just costs 149sek, operator free!

You may wonder why we don't recommend any other of the new models?! They are simply not better, than the few we recommend and many popular models have vital limitations, as a not replaceable battery or a dramatically higher price, without any clear advantages!
The SAR radiation value, are now on the package (in Europe) and the radiation is 20 times lower on the best model, than on the worst and everything under 1.00 is consider to be very safe...
In Sweden is Comviq the cheapest mobile operator and as good as the other... You can even change to a finer number, for a few hundred sek and change to a new phone, extremely cheap if you just prolong your old subscription.

Wrist Watches

My gallery, with some extra interesting models... Click a picture, to see the big one!

My second Casio * My first Casio..* Citizen Aqualand II * Raymond Weil "Parsifal"

An elegant Orient * A very old hi-tech Citizen * A magnificent Breitling

My morning clock * World time by Citizen * A glittering Tissot * Breitling Crosswind

You could buy Japanese brand watches, at half the Swedish (and most countries) price, on the holiday resort Canaria Island and you got also a lot more models to choose from... Simply because (1) there are too many watch shops and people don't come there to buy watches (2) so the importers add very little, on the factory price (3) some shop is ready to sell, at almost the import price (4) and it was also tax free... Yes, I just heard that the tax free time is over... But watches and some other stuff may still be a lot cheaper there, than in Hong Kong or anywhere else..
Then I normally find the lowest price, by looking around in more shops, for the best "direct offer" price and almost never, trough any kind of bargain offers! Remember also, that in most tourist towns, are there a few shops which sometimes sell demo items as new, faulty products, returned goods and stuff you can't use in your country... So you should always test the product, as much as possible, before you pay (or a least leave the shop) and check if you can get the main accessories (as a charger, you can use at home) plus an international guarantee... But these things costs very often extra, even if they should be included and you must sometimes buy some accessories somewhere else.

We have a lot more photo galleries...
You find first fine photos and text about the finest mini yachts and other boats and a gallery with old cars and other fine technology - in the Great technology page...
And big galleries with sublime art, objects of great beauty, fine architecture, lovely views, cat's, other fine animals, funny stuff and Stockholm - in the Art, great beauty & joy section.

Magazines The monthly magazines "HemmaBio" and "HiFi & music" has the deepest tests in Sweden, today... But otherwise is the English T3 a very nice publication, which present (but hardly test) the latest stuff, in all areas (!) every month...

Other sites You find also a great collection, with helpful REVIEWS of almost every audio and video product, in eCoustics big free website... Click here to explore... And lick here for links to the finest reviews, of digital cameras!

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