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Digital Camera
Old 03-21-2006, 08:10 PM   #1
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Digital Camera

My 35 mm camera was stolen along with all my lenses. I am ready to go digital. What are your recommendations for a digital camera.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-21-2006, 08:24 PM   #2
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Re: Digital Camera

What are your needs? What will you do with the pics you take? Put them on the web and email them to friends/family? Make prints? What size and for what purpose? Do you travel alot?
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-21-2006, 09:31 PM   #3
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Re: Digital Camera

Cut-Throat got me off of olympus's and into canons. I've been extremely impressed. But what we're using is probably the polar opposite of what you'll want. We have the tiny little SD300 that takes 5megapixel shots and does digital movies with sound. We've used them for baby photos and movies. Wonderful quality and ease of use, coupled with amazing capabilities in a package that fits in the palm of my hand.

If you're looking for an SLR style, the Canon EOS is a pretty well regarded product.

Look at www.dpreview.com for some ideas.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 12:00 AM   #4
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Re: Digital Camera

I recently got a new digital camera. I wanted best bang for the buck with a few specific features including manual exposure setting options. I also didn't really care to have more than 4MP for this camera as that should be plenty for 8x10's. (I think I had a 3MP lower threshhold which I think works well for 8x10, but I may be remembering wrong here.)

I got a 4MP Canon A520 for $170 from NewEgg. At the stores they were running around $200. It's not as small as the ELPHs, but it's smaller than the compact 35mm's I'm used to, and it could fit in a pocket if I didn't mind some bulk.

The smaller ELPHs are nice if you want a really small camera, but you pay more and I think lose a couple of the manual features I wanted. My sister found an excuse to buy one on her recent trip; it's a cute little thing.

If I wanted to spend a bit more I'd probably get the Canon S2-IS which has a bigger lens (better photo quality potential) and 10x or 12x optical zoom.

If I wanted to spend the money for a DSLR I'd get one of the EOS's. I already have a 35mm EOS, and the lenses would be usable on either camera.

Aside from the DSLR lens situation I didn't start with a Canon bias, but after looking at reviews, prices and features the Canons seem to be the best bang for my wants. Also most of the Canons have an exposure setting wheel very similar to the EOS 35mm SLR I'm familiar with, so that endeared me to them as well.

I'd like a DSLR but know I just plain don't need it. My original plan was to get a cheaper compact camera and then a more expensive featureful camera like the S2-IS, but the A520 was a good all-around compromise and relatively cheap to boot.

As a usage note, I had no interest in the video clip features when I was buying, but my camera has one. I wound up using it for several clips during my nephew's first birthday. His splashing in the water on the "water table" and banging on the xylophone is captured better with a short video clip, and I'm glad I have the feature now.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 06:52 AM   #5
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Re: Digital Camera

Try this site

http://www.dpreview.com/
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 06:54 AM   #6
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Re: Digital Camera

Buying from Newegg is always smart and JandR is also very good.

I love my Canon EOS Rebel XT *DSLR. *I arrived in Chicago and went to 3-4 camera stores and asked what was best. *All of them had good things to say about the Rebel XT.

Otherwise, SONY has several under $200 cameras that are nice. *Can't beat a SONY.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 08:22 AM   #7
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Re: Digital Camera

I have a Nikon 5700 (3 yrs old) and a pocket sized Nikon S1 (1 yr old). They are both 5MP and both take great pics. I print most of my own at home on an HP printer (up to 8x10) and am very impressed with the quality (although my old canon i80 photo printer was better). The 5700 is nice for travel and artsy stuff. The S1 is nice for keeping in my pocket or purse and always having with me in case I need to snap a quick pic.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 08:44 AM   #8
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Re: Digital Camera

I have a Samsung, had it for three years, still can't figure it out.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 10:18 AM   #9
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Re: Digital Camera

We have a Fuji Finepix S5000.
Pros: Great Lens. Higher Optical Zoom 7:1, Lots of options
Cons: Shutter Lag

If you are taking scenery then shutter lag does not matter. If you are taking action shots or kids pictures it does. You can do a work around, but it is a pain. A high zoom and very small shutter lag would be a requirement.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: Digital Camera

How can you determine from a camera's specs weather it has a very small shutter lag?
What should a person look for if they want to take action shots?

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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 10:48 AM   #11
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Re: Digital Camera

Consumer Reports has a nice chart rating digital cameras and includes the shutter lag (the delay from when you push the button to when the shutter activates) for each camera rated. I agree it is a key factor to consider along with the delay time between photos, optical zoom, megapixels, and battery life. This info. is also in the CR rating chart.

I have a Canon A510 (3.2MP) which is a great little camera but I would prefer less shutter lag and delay time.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 11:19 AM   #12
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Re: Digital Camera

By the way, I think I saw something that said at around 5MP you'll not see much difference against analog for most common size shots. Not sure where I saw that, but since going to 5MP I cant see any digital effects.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 11:47 AM   #13
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Re: Digital Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute 'n' Fuzzy Bunny
By the way, I think I saw something that said at around 5MP you'll not see much difference against analog for most common size shots.* Not sure where I saw that, but since going to 5MP I cant see any digital effects.
A long time ago I heard 2400 dots per inch is the average photo resolution.

Anyone know the conversion factor?
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 12:09 PM   #14
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Re: Digital Camera

Olympus E1 great camera. The only one with a self cleaning CCD (and who wants dust on your CCD ??). No shutter lag will do 12
shots rapid fire. I like this camera and use it alot.

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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 12:12 PM   #15
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Re: Digital Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
A long time ago I heard 2400 dots per inch is the average photo resolution.

Anyone know the conversion factor?

2 megapixels: 1600 x 1200
3 megapixels: 2048 x 1536
4 megapixels: 2274 x 1704
5 megapixels: 2560 x 1920
6 megapixels: 2816 x 2112 - 3032 x 2008
7 megapixels: 3072 x 2304
8 megapixels: 3264 x 2,468

Looks like the question "What DPI makes a good photo print" makes "Should i have a mortgage" a simplistic question.

It depends.

Some folks say 150dpi makes a 'decent' shot for amateur photography. Some say 250-275 is as good as you really need.

My laser will do a 2400DPI color print, but I think I'd need a 24-32MP camera to do that.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 12:19 PM   #16
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Re: Digital Camera

Interesting stuff...

"This is a somewhat controversial question, and there are many possible answers. Film is an analog medium, so it doesn't have "pixels" per se, though film scanners have pixels and a specific resolution.

Today the one thing most people agree on is that it's a more than any current consumer digital camera. The debate is about how much resolution the digitals will have to reach to start matching the film.

The very short answer is that there are around 20 million "quality" pixels in a top-quality 35mm shot. That's a shot with a tripod, mirror-up, with a top-rate lens and the finest-grained film, in decent light. 12 million are more typical for "good" shots. There may be as few as 4 million "quality" pixels in a handheld shot with a point-and-shoot camera or camera with a poor lens. And of course if focus is poor, or light is poor, or the camera was not held steady, the number will drop down below the 1-2 million pixels of the modern consumer digicam. Of course, one can have a bad shot with a digital camera too, not using all its resolving ability. However, few pick their gear with the plan of shooting badly.

The eye, however, is not as discerning when looking at a picture in the usual context as it can be when looking at things blown up. So many can also argue that a shot of around 9 million pixels would look as good to the eye as a 35mm shot, except when blown up very large and looked at quite closely.

It's important to note another key difference. Film, as an analog medium, does not record just 256 grayscales or the corresponding 16 million colours. And film scanners, even doing just 8 bits per colour, get 24 bits of data for every single pixel. Today's digital cameras only get 8 bits of data for each pixel and they guess (interpolate) the other 16. So the colour accuracy for even a scanned film image is better than the modern digital camera. Good film scanners can also extract more than just levels from 0 to 255. They can often go to 12 bits (0 to 4097) to detect much more detail in shadows, and provide more contrast. As such a film scanner gets as much as 36 bits of information for each pixel, instead of 8.

More modern digital cameras gather 10 or even 12 bits of the single colour pixel, and keep it if they record in RAW mode, but reduce it in JPEG mode. Foveon digital cameras record all 3 colours per pixel, like film, but their sensors have lower resolution as of now.

(As a counter note, the 24 bits of colour from a film scanner is nowhere near 3 times as good as the colour interpolated from the 8 bits of data in a digital camera. The interpolation algorithms are good, and rely on the fact that to the eye, particularly in natural scenes, position-brightness information is much more important than colour information. How much better full colour information is is subjective, but it's not even close to 3 times better. On the other hand, even the 36 bits from the best scanner is not enough. The film has much more information.

Negative film itself tends to be able to hold around 1000 to 1 contrast range. Quality slide film projects more levels, though over a slightly narrower exposure range. (To make this clearer, negative films capture a wider range but can't display it when printed. Slide films capture a more narrow range, just a bit better than digital, but can display it all when projected.) Generally one desires at least 12 bits per colour to represent it. Your eye, by widening and closing the iris, can sample an astounding (eye-popping!) 7 decimal orders of magnitude of range of contrast, which would need at least 24 bits.

So there is a lot of information in film. However, not all of it is usable information, which causes the debate about the equivalence in pixels. Film is made up of chemical grains. The more you blow up film, the more you start seeing noise caused by those grains, and eventually the very clumping of the grains themselves. Of course some are bothered by the grain more than others.

The finest films (which are slow and best with sunlight or flash) have very fine grain, and in many cases, the limits of the lenses blur the image before the grains start causing too much trouble. However with a decent lens you don't have to blow up too much before you see the grain. Of course, digital images, once they get to high resolutions, will also be subject to lens limits (and they already are on cheaper cameras.) They are actually more subject because CCDs are currently much smaller than 35mm.

These films, with good lenses, are capable of resolving as much as 7000 pixels (3500 "line pairs") over the width of a 35mm frame -- about 5000 dots per inch. However, before that point, while they can resolve "line pairs," the image is pretty noisy. The lines are not resolved as straight, sharp-edged entities, but you can tell there is a white line next to a black line.

There is more information to be extracted even at this fine resolution, but the deeper you go, the more noise you also extract.

To make the image not look "grainy" and otherwise poor, you need to pull back. Subjective tests suggest this is to about 4000 DPI, or around 5600 pixels. For a 3:2 frame, that means around 20 million pixels. (Of course some people don't mind grain as much as others, so your mileage may vary. Also, if you can get a scan that good, digital techniques can reduce the visibility of grain and extend the resolution of film.)

Down at this level, however, you're reaching the limits of most lenses. They may be able to resolve high-contrast items at this level but most pixels are a little blurry. A crop at this level does not look nearly as good as a scaled down full shot.

What this means is that a 5300 x 4000 digital camera would produce a shot equivalent to a scan from a quality 35mm camera -- provided you could get more than 8 bits per pixel. You could blow up the 35mm shot a little bit more and see a little bit more, but only at the cost of producing a grainy image. Chances are a 3000 x 2000 digital camera would match the 35mm for a good percentage of shots. "

Prints

Prints also are analog output. In theory a print can have all the information of film, however photographic paper tends to only be able to hold a range of 100 to 1 in contrast. That's less than a monitor can. In addition, the printing process is not perfect, and often blurs an image. Typical lab prints don't seem to store much more than 200-250 pixels for each inch. Quality labs can do better -- perhaps up to 500 pixels/inch. (The paper can, in theory, do more, but there isn't that much more in the negative.) Thus a 5x7 print probably is similar to a 1400 x 1000 digital image (if the digital image has enough bits per pixel.) It's rarely more than the 2100 x 1500 that 300 dpi would imply.

It's always better to scan from print film or slide film. You get far more contrast, and far more detail, and it's not second generation. (Though be warned some slide scanners are not up to the range of contrast in a good slide.)

Digital Printing

Makers of digital printers play lots of games with their resolution. The "dots" they speak of (when they talk about a 720 dpi resolution) are dots of single colour ink. A pixel, on the other hand, is a dot capable of the full colour range. You need lots of dots to make a specific colour and not look spotty. To render a pixel well can require scores of ink dots. In the end, the goal is a "continuous tone" image at a given number of pixels per inch. Most printers can only simulate continuous or near-continuous tone. (Digital film recorders, or photographic paper recorders, can do near-continuous tone.)"
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 01:22 PM   #17
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Re: Digital Camera

Megapixels vs. Maximum Print Size Chart
Megapixels Pixel Resolution* Print Size @ 300ppi Print size @ 200ppi Print size @ 150ppi**
3 * * * * * * 2048 x 1536 * ** *6.82" x 5.12" * * ** * *10.24" x 7.68" * ** * *13.65" x 10.24"

4* * * * * * * * * *2464 x 1632 * * * 8.21" x 5.44"* * * * * *12.32" x 8.16" * * * * 16.42" x 10.88"

6 * * * * * * 3008 x 2000 * * * 10.02" x 6.67" * 15.04" x 10.00"* 20.05" x 13.34"

8 * * * * * * 3264 x 2448 * * * 10.88" x 8.16" * 16.32" x 12.24" 21.76" x 16.32"

10 * * * * * * 3872 x 2592 * * * 12.91" x 8.64" * 19.36" x 12.96" 25.81" x 17.28"

12 * * * * * * 4290 x 2800 * * *14.30" x 9.34" * 21.45" x 14.00" * * * * *28.60" x 18.67"

16 * * * * * * 4920 x 3264 * * 16.40" x 10.88" * 24.60" x 16.32"* 32.80" x 21.76"

35mm film* * * 5380 x 3620 * * 17.93" x 12.06" * 26.90" x 18.10" 35.87" x 24.13"
scanned

*Typical Resolution. Actual pixel dimensions vary from camera to camera.

I found this chart at: http://www.design215.com/toolbox/print_guide.php a very good discussion on megapixels and print resolutions. As you can see if you are going to print an 8x10 then 2 Megapixels is fine. If you are going to go larger then more is better.

Also if you use the ‘Digital Zoom’ of a camera or take a picture and crop the center out of it, then more is better. You can crop an 8 meg picture and blow up the print larger than cropping a 3 meg picture and blowing it up. i.e. if you crop a 1/3 of a 3 meg picture you have a 1 meg image. Crop 1/3 of an 8 meg image and you have a 2.6 meg image and it will print to a larger picture.
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 03:22 PM   #18
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Re: Digital Camera

In the course of a year at w@@k, I've purchased a few cameras. I just ordered a block of 15 and am ordering 15 more today. I like this site Steve's Digicams for the comparison reviews of the major offerings out there, both today, and in the used market. When we got the fitst 1 meg cameras we thought they were just fine. It's much like the ever evolving PC Chip wars that there is always a better one around the corner. If you don't get up in the pixel hype and your requirement is for snapshots (see Rustic23 above), you don't necessary need the newest camera.

I picked up a very useable 3 meg camera for point and shoot fun a month ago for $35 on Ebay, and it came with a 256mb card, something that would have been pricey when the camera was new, but is ubiquitous now.

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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 04:48 PM   #19
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Re: Digital Camera

Flash is getting REALLY cheap now too. High speed 2GB SD cards can be had under $50 now...
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Re: Digital Camera
Old 03-22-2006, 05:50 PM   #20
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Re: Digital Camera

Thanks for all the great input. I am really just taking family photos. I might enalrge a few to 8 x 10 but most will be smaller. I like the idea of being able to shoot some video so I may look at that A520 but I do like the size of the ELPH. Maybe I need both.
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