Digital Camera Advice

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-Wallstreet-'s picture
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Joined: Dec 26 2003
Posts: 148

Hey everyone. I've recently decided that I want a digital camera, but I don't know where to start. First of all, which brands are good? Here's what I'm looking for:

-Takes good pics (obvious)
-Is pretty compact
-Good battery life (this is very important, as our family digicam SUCKS in this area)
-At least some optical zoom
-CF memory slot

I've heard good things about Sony and Nikon, and I like the flip-out iris of the the Nikon Coolpix (2500, I believe).

So basically, if you've got a digicam and some time, please tell me about it. What model and megapixels, memory type and battery type. Also, if you've got any recommendations, that'd be cool too.

My price range is between 250 and 300 dollars.

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Dr. Webster's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1687
I heartily recommend Nikon. I

I heartily recommend Nikon. I have both a Nikon digital camera and a film SLR, and they're well built and take great pictures. Around Christmastime I also plan on getting a Nikon digital SLR, likely the D70.

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LTong's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 141
Canon PowerShot Series

My Canon PowerShot A80 has made me very happy. 4MP 3x digital zoom 3x optical zoom. It's got many auto modes to suit specific scenes and very intricate custom modes. It does decent video with sound. And my favorite feature is the swing out LCD display for personal pics. The 9 point autofocus is great, it's also got easy to use manual focus. You can even add accessory lenses, something most consumer digicams don't offer. Battery life on one time use batts is pretty bad, but since I got rechargable Energizers it lasts longer than I ever expected. I don't have solid numbers, but with two sets and a portable charger, I've never run into a problem. By the way, it uses standard AA size batts.

Of course Canon just recently released updated models, so the A95 replaces my A80 in its price rance but adds a bigger LCD and 1 more megapixel. The A85 replaces the A75 and is now about equivilant with mine, and for about a hundred less than I paid.

http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=113

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Logan Tong

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 66
Nikon

You've seen my two cameras... I like Nikon a lot. Nows-a-days you can get a 3.2 MP for $249 I believe. Same body as my 2.1 Nikon (Coolpix 2100) but smaller. The new ones use SD, not CF. They all have 3x optical zooooooms, plus the worthless digital zoom. This lovely little camera that I'm talking about is the Coolpix 3200.

Olympus: Slow shot-to-shot times and shot review times. Drives me crazy.
Canon: The PowerShots are huge compared to my Nikon. The Elphs are nice and small but expensive.
Sony: You pay more for the name. THe only one I'd consider is the T1 because of the size and the fact that it's 5MP. But $500? Ouch.
Epson: They're dead as far as cameras go.
Kodak: Eww. For beginners only. They're big and chunky too.

That Nikon 2500 that you talked about... it's discontinued now. It wasn't actually that great. The lens was cool, but MacAddict reviewed it, and they got halos around objects in their pictures, and said that it was too easy to poke the lens the wrong way, so fingerprints got everywhere. I agree with all of that - I tried one before buying my Nikon. Cool, but overpriced, and I didn't really like it.

I'd stick with Nikon.

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Joined: Sep 16 2004
Posts: 274
I would say nikon is by far t

I would say nikon is by far the best
but i would goto a store and try a few out

dankephoto's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
re: Digital Camera Advice

I don't know the current market at all, but I can offer these observations:

* Optics, optics, optics! - the fundamental choice! Buy a camera with the best optics you can afford. All the other stuff is worth &*^%&*%$ if the image that hits the sensor is crap.

* Get a cam that can use standard inexpensive NiMH rechargable AA cells, plus alky cells can be used in a pinch.

* Stick with your choice of CF cards if possible, the range of capacities and media types is unsurpassed with any other type card.

just my .02¥

dan k

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Blackstealth's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 119
A few words...

-Wallstreet- wrote:

-Takes good pics (obvious)
-Is pretty compact
-Good battery life (this is very important, as our family digicam SUCKS in this area)
-At least some optical zoom
-CF memory slot

I carry round my Canon Powershot G3 (4Mp) and Sony DSC U40 (2Mp) with me on a daily basis. Both are great cameras for different situtations. The Canon will tackle any conditions or job you throw at it no matter how bad (and it's pretty tough too). The Sony's great for a camera that can live around your neck or in a shirt pocket and take decent pictures regardless of levels of light.

Here's how they stack up against your requirements:

Compactness:
The Canon seems reasonably big, it lives in a Tamrac case on my belt - bulkly as hell but you've never any doubts if it's still attached or not. But the camera fits snugly in the palm of your hand (remember compactness is relative - whats a small camera to me might be huge to others, I have big hands). The Sony's smaller than your average cellphone and fits in almost any pocket - but isn't too well featured.

Battery Life:
My G3 gets used heavily but I only have to charge the battery every 2-3 weeks. It's an OEM Canon Li-Ion battery. The Sony runs off a couple of rechargeable AAAs which need charging once a week or so depending on use.

Optical Zoom:
G3 is equivalent to 35 to 140mm zoom, pretty useful range - however an extra 60mm on the top end would be nice. Sony is a fixed 33mm equivalent.

Compact Flash:
Powershot takes Compact Flash and is happy with multiple Gig cards. I carry around a couple 512Mb cards and an emergency 256Mb (which I've only ever needed once after a 512 failed - they do when they get sand in!). Sony uses Memory Stick Duo - small format, but expensive - however a 128Mb card stores 200+ 2mp images at high quality.

Other recomendations:
I can't recommend www.dpreview.com highly enough, it is the definitive guide to digital cameras and myself and others take their buying guide and recommendations as gospel - they're that good. Avoid the Canon Powershot G5 like the plague, it might be 5Mp, but the G3 takes far better pictures.

But go out to your local camera store and have a play about with whatever they've got in the way of new and used digital cameras. You'll know when you've got the right camera in your hands.

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Joined: Mar 12 2004
Posts: 57
Digital Bliss

I have a Nikon 775 and it has been in for repairs 3 times. The culprit was the telescoping lense. And the lense protector refuses to open, I have to do it manually. One thing to consider is the LCD surround, you should look for a recessed LCD screen, mine has been scratched due it's design... Another thing to consider is the media, Compact Flash cards are durable, and Smart Media is on the way out. (I have washed and dried my CF - still works)
The newer xD cards are the way to go. But CF is still a good media as well. Sony uses a propriatary card, and you will find better deals with 3rd party vendors for media.

As far as picture accuracy/color goes, Photoshop is a great equalizer for all cameras. As stated before, a good optical zoom is prefered to the digital variety.

Fuji, Canon, Olympus, Nikon, Kodak, Casio, take your pick, and look at the features... Refurbs are a great deal too... The fewer moving parts the better.

Try PriceGrabber.com

Cheers.