I'm curious if other members carry a point and shoot camera as a backup to their SLR when on vacation. I'm tempted to dust off a 1989 vintage Pentax PC-505 point and shoot for just that purpose. It was my daughter's camera in high school and college, until she switched to a Canon Sure Shot 85 a couple of years ago. It's totally a "push here, dummy" type of camera - auto-focus, auto-exposure, auto-load, auto-wind. You can't even switch off the flash. But it has a nice 35mm 3.8 Pentax lens, it's compact and the flash is nicely off-center from the lens axis so redeye is less likely. I'd like to have a camera to take to restaurants and ask the server to snap a photo of my wife and myself. This one might do the job. Of course, I'd like to buy a Leica Minilux as a backup, but that won't happen anytime soon. I'm planning to load the Pentax with ISO 400 this weekend and take it along to a baseball game with my old college buddies. Just take a few photos of the gang. We'll see how I make out. Ray
The Stylus Epic 35mm f/2.8 is a nice little camera. Tiny, actually. Takes sharp, saturated shots. Main flaw is that the fill flash, which fires automatically in many situations unless you turn it off, tends to overexpose your subjects unless they are over 10 feet away. With no manual override, you have to be careful. For snaps in restaurants, it's pretty good.
Probably just semantics, but what you describe as the fill flash is actually the auto flash and it does have a manual override in that you can turn it off. The fill flash is the forced flash setting and it works pretty good in fill situationns.
As has been said by many, it is unfortunate that the default setting is "auto flash on" and "spot meter off", but p&s cameras are generally fool-proof-designed for the masses, especially this great sub-$100 performer.
We see comments from some suggesting the Epic as a discreet street shooter, which it is, until you remember you didn't turn off the auto flash, usually when it alerts your subject(s) by firing unexpectedly. You just have to remember that the Epic resets to default everytime you close the clam shell cover.
For years I used a Olympus XA2/A11 then bought the Olympus LT105 (retro red leather (vinyl) & chrome) that I still use and it produces great prints. I've had a few 16x11 inch enlargements made from it that most people assume came from my Nikon SLR's.
I have to agree with what has been said about the Olympus MJU (35mm/f2.8) ... its a outstanding camera, nothing comes close for the money.
I carry a Nikon 28TI. The lens is outstanding, as is the build quality. It's primary drawback is noise. But still, since the program uses a Matrix meter, it's capable of outstanding images. It also has an aperature only mode, which can be set up for center weighted metering. A totally outstanding Nikon camera.
If you can find a Yashica T5 (you might still be able to get one new) pick it up - it's a great camera with a razor sharp Carl Zeiss Tessar lens. A real gem that beat the Mju in most tests and for about the same money.
Adam "I believe in equality for everyone, except ... photographers." (Gandhi)
I often include a Canon SureShot A-1. Although it offers very little control, it is designed to be water-resistant to a depth of 5 meters.
Drawbacks are a somewhat unpredictable exposure program (I almost always shoot slides), film speed set by DX coding only, and the lack of auto-focus capability when used underwater (two preset focuses only, neither permitting sharp images beyond about 3 meters).
On the plus side, the lens is acceptably sharp and moderately wide angle (32 mm). There is a small built-in flash (which results in severe backscatter if used underwater in all but the clearest conditions) which can be forced on or off. And, of course, its ability to survive conditions that would disable or destroy my other cameras has allowed me to obtain photos that would never be attempted otherwise. I consider it a poor person's Nikonos.
Well since I posted this message back in July, I've found a very nice solution to the back-up problem. It's a Rollei Prego 30 - lightweight and compact, features an all metal body with a fixed focus 30mm F 3.5 lens. This handy little wide angle P&S has been on a business trip to Edmonton with me and then took a holiday in Italy with my daughter - we both love its tiny size and sharp optics. Ray