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digital camera recommendations?(7 posts)

digital camera recommendations?tarwheel
Dec 11, 2002 11:53 AM
Excuse me for interrupting the usual political/religious discussions, but can anyone recommend some good digital cameras in the $300 or less price range. I am not too computer savvy, so need something pretty idiot proof. I'm looking for one for my wife for Christmas, but have been overwhelmed by all the choices out there.
re: digital camera recommendations?Beaver
Dec 11, 2002 12:30 PM
I picked up a Canon A40 a few months ago to take on a trip to NY because I didn't want to take my SLR. I've seen it on sale now for $250 at BestBuy and Ritz.

In the $300 range, you can't go wrong with any of the offerings. I went to Ritz in Cary Towne Center, went through the list of cameras in that range and walked out in 15 minutes. I chose the Canon because you can add accessory telephoto and fisheye lenses. Panasonic was my second choice as it has a Leica lens. The Sony was nice and small, but I didn't want the Memory Stick. The Nikon Cool Pix is a nice camera also, but doesn't have a viewfinder, you have to use the lcd screen, which eats batteries.

I recommend getting rechargeable batteries. Digital cameras eat batteries pretty quick, especially when you use the lcd screen. With all but the Nikon as I mentioned, you can turn the screen off to save battery life.

The Canon has been very useful lately. My fiance took it with her wedding dress shopping so she could email her out of state mother pictures of her in dresses. And it's good for insurance purposes as well, I took pictures of all my valueables and put them on a cd rom.

Just one negative to mention about digital cameras, what you see on the screen of the camera is not exactly what you get when you download.
Why do you need one?ColnagoFE
Dec 11, 2002 2:51 PM
If you aren't computer savvy these will likely drive you nuts. I already have a scanner at home so I can digitize any photos I need to. I have yet to find a convincing reason I need one of these over a conventional camera. Too many negatives and not enough positives in my opinion.
Actually, there are no negatives :) nmPdxMark
Dec 11, 2002 3:14 PM
thanks everyonetarwheel
Dec 13, 2002 7:57 AM
The camera is for my wife, who is a photo buff. We don't need something top-of-the-line because we have a nice SLR camera already. I figured it would be useful for posting pictures on the web as well.
Real happy with my Olympus D510. . .js5280
Dec 11, 2002 3:12 PM
It's no longer available, not sure the replacement model number offhand. Nice pictures, good adjustibility w/out being overwhelming, durable, takes nice action shots, easy to use and interface w/ the computer. Here's some digi common rules of thumb.

Brand? A common saying is buy a digital camera from a camera manufacturer (e.g. Olympus) and not a computer, film, or media manfacturer. They should have a leg up on the what's really important, the camera and len. Makes sense but probably less important with the growth of the industry.

How many megapixels (MP) do you want? Typically 2-3MP is good for PRINTING smaller than 8x10, 4-5MP PRINTING 8x10 or larger. If you're posting on the web, you'll probably shrink them to <.5MP (e.g. 800x600) anyways. If you view them on your monitor, 2MP is probably the max size. While 3+MP gets you better quality, it comes with a storage space penalty both on the camera media and your hard drive.

Zoom? Optical zoom is much better than digital zoom. Digital tends to pixelate pictures (i.e. lose definition) I don't use the digital zoom very often because of this. Usually you get a mix of both at that price range. I don't recommend getting a camera without some zoom, it's very handy.

Batteries? Digi's eat batteries. I love my Olympus cause it takes stadard AA batterys or CRV3 lithums. I bought some AA NiHH rechargables and they work great, I've taken close to 100 pics w/out running them out. And if they did, I can buy batteries anywhere. I have heard some have digi's propritary batteries (I think Sony) that don't alway hold charges very well and expensive to buy a backup battery.

Media (Film)? Plan on buying a memory card, most cameras come with WAY too little space. You'll take a LOT more pictures using a digital. A 128MB Smart Media goes for about $50 now and will hold dozens to hundreds of high quality pictures. There are some cameras with propritary media (again Sony) and that can be more expensive.

Are you taking Action shots? If so, think about time it takes for the camera to open and be ready to take the shot. Also, make sure you can pre-focus. That is, point the camera to where you'll eventually take the picture, push the shutter button half-way to "pre-focus", this gives the camera time to focus and get the exposure set, continue to hold it down, pan to your target, pan with the target to the spot you pre-focused, click the button the rest of the way to snap the picture. Lag is common problem with digi's and unless you pre-focus, your picture may snap later than you wanted and/or be out of focus.

Other great resources. MTBR (Mtn. Bike Review) has a lot of posts on what digi to buy. They share a TON of pictures there, just do a search. Then there's, another sister site of RBR.

(Okay Gregg, when do I get my commission check for promoting all the Consumer Review sites?)

Here's a sample of my D510 (ah, Stockholm), but it's been reduced to 800x600 (about 300KB file size so I have to host it, RBR only takes up to 200KB). The full size looks even better.

Sony P31 or P51Qubeley
Dec 11, 2002 6:03 PM
I got my P31 early this year for $220, which is what P51 is about now. 2 mega-pixel.
Very happy with it, compact, well built. loaded with features yet still easy to use, idiot proof.
I am not into photography at all, only use it for taking casual family/trip/Ebay pictures. Quality of picture is great at least to me. Buy a bigger memory(like 64 or 128), you can take hundreds of pictures.
I recommend it.