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Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 04:56 PM   #1
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Good digital camera?

We want to buy a decent digital camera (something in the 3+Megapixel range), low cost but good quality, to take lots of shots of our wedding next month.

I have a couple of older ones, but they're 1MP and I'd like something better.

I've had good luck with the olympus brand. Simple point and shoot with good image quality and easy transfers to the PC are important. I like the olympus USB connection that makes it look like another disk drive to the pc.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 05:45 PM   #2
 
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Re: Good digital camera?

TH,

Go for the Canon Digital Elph - The S410 model. The photo quality cannot be beat! They are heads and tails above the Olympus in picture Quality. Software is decent and easy to use.

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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 05:59 PM   #3
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Re: Good digital camera?

I've got an Olympus C-720. It's over a year old - I think C-740 might be the current model number. Anyway - 3 MP, 8X optical zoom (24X digital), we love it.

Picture quality is great. Even 24X digital zoom will produce good quality.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 06:03 PM   #4
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Re: Good digital camera?

Thanks for the quick replies.

You guys forgot I'm a cheap bastard.

I'm looking for under $200.

So far I dug up the olympus d-395, and that looks good for very easy to use (this is going to get passed around to relatives all day long..."push this button" is as much direction as I wanna give!), and the fuji a-210 which some 'experts' say is better than the d-395 for the same price with some tradeoff of usability.

Either can be had for ~$120-130, plus another $50 for a good size memory card.

Anyone have these, or other suggestions?
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 06:06 PM   #5
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Re: Good digital camera?

Kodak Easyshare CX6330. Consumer Reports has it on their CR Best Buy list. Reconditioned about 159.00 (shopping.com), new about 199.00
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 07:48 PM   #6
 
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Re: Good digital camera?

TH,

Spend a few extra bucks and get the Canon S410 or S500! - You'll be glad you did in the long run!

These things pay for themselves in the long run. With a New kid on the way, you'll be taking plenty of Picts. The Compact flash Card is cheap also!
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-28-2004, 08:37 PM   #7
 
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Re: Good digital camera?

My wife bought a Bell and Howell digital camera for
$20.00! Special one day sale. Has done everything we wanted to do. If it craps out, we don't care.

John Galt
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-29-2004, 06:08 AM   #8
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Re: Good digital camera?

I think the C-720 can be found for $199.00. You want something with a decent optical zoom to get those close up shots of the baby. A 3 MP camera will produce photographic quality 5 x 7 pics, and 8 x 10 that most of us will think look great. (the photo snobs will see the difference, but who cares about them!).

Probably any name brand 3 MP camera with at least a 6X optical zoom will be sufficient. Anything more and its overkill, anything less and you'll be regretting the purchase.

BTW - I've found it's cheaper to use the online photo services when I want prints, versus printing my own. The photo paper and the ink cartridges add up quick.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-29-2004, 08:06 AM   #9
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Re: Good digital camera?

Some general unsolicited advice about photography: Take a few film pictures now and then. Take some black & whites. My dad has a suitcase full of photos from 1900-1940; I doubt many PC pics printed today will be around in 2070. I have some doubt as to whether the digital originals will still be around (due to storage medium format and degredation concerns). Even most color film photos will fade, but black & white photos can last a long, long time.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-29-2004, 09:53 AM   #10
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Re: Good digital camera?

Quote:
I think the C-720 can be found for $199.00. You want something with a decent optical zoom to get those close up shots of the baby. A 3 MP camera will produce photographic quality 5 x 7 *pics, and 8 x 10 that most of us will think look great. (the photo snobs will see the difference, but who cares about them!).

Probably any name brand 3 MP camera with at least a 6X optical zoom will be sufficient. Anything more and its overkill, anything less and you'll be regretting the purchase.

BTW - I found it's cheaper to use the online photo services when I want prints, versus printing my own. The photo paper and the ink cartridges add up quick.
Hi COD,

I think you have offered some good, knowledgeable advice. Have you researched this recently or do you have a photography background?

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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-29-2004, 12:52 PM   #11
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Re: Good digital camera?

A lot of research 18 months ago when we upgraded digital cameras, and with two kids and two dogs in the house , a lot of pictures taken

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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-29-2004, 06:18 PM   #12
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Re: Good digital camera?

Still on the fence.

I dont know why, but I've never had much call for a zoom function. I was either taking a shot of something up close to me or a panorama type shot. The two cameras I've owned that had the optical zoom, thats what broke on the camera. We go to the beach a lot and I think sand was a factor.

I have a pair of the olympus D-370's, which are similar to the D-395 except they're 1.3megapixel. Easy to use. I like the photo quality. Love that I can just plug it into any computer without software and copy photos. Batteries last a LONG time. The damn software that came with some older cameras I owned was my primary source of problems.

My main motivation is some improvement to the quality for shots of the wedding and baby, because I'm going to make some wedding albums out of the photos and will be editting and cropping them.

I also have a top of the line minidv camcorder from the bones of my former spendaway life.

Its a damn confusing marketplace though. Just like health insurance and cell phones. I think its meant to be that way.

I'd also like to see some standardization in flash. I have a 340MB CF minidrive, a handful of CF chips (mostly smaller), some big smartmedia chips, etc. Now it looks like everythings "xd". Grrr.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-29-2004, 11:41 PM   #13
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Re: Good digital camera?

I've had good luck with Canons, and most of them are known for good lenses and good color rendition. If you're a cheap bastard, buy a used G1 on ebay. Should be around $100 for a really nice 3.3M-pixel camera. Splurge and buy a spare battery.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 12:34 AM   #14
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Re: Good digital camera?

Most of my coworkers who are not photo nuts (unlike me) have followed a few general rules and had great results. Here they are:
-Stick to Name brands. Don't buy on price alone, otherwise you might end up with exactly what you paid for, bad photos.
-Get a 3+ Megapixel digital camera. The prints and screen quality will be good quality for standard size photos. You can get digital pictures printed cheaply at both Sams and Costco.
-If you do any outdoor or even standard photography and the only thing separating two cameras is minor stuff and zoom go for the higher optical zoom. There are a couple cameras out there with 10x optical zoom, which makes them pretty awesome for getting really close to the action. Ignore Digital zoom, it doesn't do you any good especially at lower MPixels (at higher MP it can be useful).
-Compact Flash is the cheapest media. If you get a choice and there isn't a signifcant difference in cameras get Compact Flash. Doesn't matter if you buy a <200 dollar digital camera if you have to buy expensive media for it (such as memory stick, which can be twice as expensive as CF in some cases).

There are other opinions on battery types, etc. Most of those are individual choices, not really something to be concerned about unless you really want to stick to rechargable AA's, etc.. Note that most digital cameras will not take alkaline batteries and be happy with it. They are best served by NiMh or LIon.

Before I bought any digital camera I would read the reviews at the following sites - ignore the technical jargon if you don't care and skip to the conclusions:
http://www.steves-digicams.com
http://www.dcresource.com
http://www.dpreview.com (the forums here are great!)

Regarding the USB Connection:
Most (maybe 99%?) cameras sold today have USB connections. If they don't get a cheap media reader for <$20 on sale at compusa/bestbuy and just plug the media into your computer rather than the entire camera. I have found this to make getting pictures off of the camera much easier since you can just stick the media into the reader and copy it over just like it was a file on a floppy. One thing to note about this is with many cameras after you are done copying the files remember to reformat the media after you stick it back in the camera to avoid issues with getting your files off later.

Hitting your $200 price point should be pretty easy with the requirements listed. Most cameras I help friends purchase these days are in that $150-300 range and have great image quality.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 05:25 AM   #15
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Re: Good digital camera?

Quote:
I doubt many PC pics printed today will be around in 2070. I have some doubt as to whether the digital originals will still be around (due to storage medium format and degredation concerns). Even most color film photos will fade, but black & white photos can last a long, long time.
Being a bit of a photo buff, there is probably some truth to this. Photos printed on most home "inkjet" printers are prone to fading. I have some inkjet prints that are starting to fade ofter just a couple of years. Exposure to light increases the fading. If you send the files to a print service they will probably use archival inks and paper (such as Fuji crystal archive) and will probably last about as long as those B+W's.

I have had two CD's of photos fail and become unreadable after a couple of years, though this is probably a fair way to preserve photos, remember 8 tracks, floppies, and beta.

Home prints from digital file are fun, but if you have some family or other photos you would like to preserve for late in life or another generation, your best bet is probably to send the files to a print service. Most of these places will use archival inks and papers. For my family photos, I also make double copies on CD just incase.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 06:28 AM   #16
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Re: Good digital camera?

Digital may catch on someday like electricity and the automobile, but I'll stick with film for the important stuff and maybe play someday with digital images for fun.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 10:13 AM   #17
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Re: Good digital camera?

Yeah, I have a 35mm camera I still use from time to time, but its a bear to use. Old minolta with a lens the size of rhode island. Takes beautiful photos though.

Random: your list is a good one. I can second the "off brand" comments. I bought a "free after rebate" noname camera. Of course the company never paid the rebate, pretended to go out of business and came back under a different name selling the same camera. Which was a total piece of crap.

I have some 3 year old shots printed on top quality photo paper with a great inkjet that are starting to fade already. Prints from the before I was born still look good and I have an old shot of my great grandfather as a young man in military uniform that still looks great.

I was considering one of the recent color laser printers. There are a couple you can get for <$500, although the replacement toners are hideously expensive. I dont print much though and the laser has a huge advantage in that it doesnt have ink cartridges that dry out if you're not a heavy user. Wonder if the prints from those will last longer...

In case you've missed the news stories on it, home made cd's and dvd's appear to have a lifespan of just a few years. Maybe more for a quality piece of media that is protected from temperature and humidity. DVD should last longer than cd simply because the 'true' media is sandwiched in the middle vs cd's being right on top. Even commercially made cd's and dvd's - you know, the ones we paid extra for because they're supposed to last almost forever? - may not work past 10 or 15 years, especially the cd's. This left me thrilled as I bought over 400 cd's and 200 dvd's, presuming I'd have them for life with good care.

So while I blast them onto dvd every year or so (and with media under a buck for dvds...), I also bought a $15 external firewire case, stuck a 30gb drive in it, and I do a photos and movies backup to that a few times a year.

Hopefully I'll keep these around a while.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 01:06 PM   #18
 
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Re: Good digital camera?

TH,

Save your money and don't buy a printer that costs more than $125. - An HP. Most people once they get into digital photography rarely print their photos. I know I don't. I bring my laptop along and that way I can show movies also. The digital cameras today can take some great movies! You'll want these of your kid. Don't scrimp on the camera! - Your Kid is only a kid once!

I owned 35 mm with all the lenses and many point and shoot. Digital cameras IMHO are the best thing that's happened to photography. Not having to develop pictures make them pay for themselves.
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 05:08 PM   #19
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Re: Good digital camera?

Even though I am a photo buff, I remain a film user and have not gone digital (though I do have a camera that takes 4"X5" negatives). *The digital wave has driven down the market on used film cameras and you can get some steals on eBay. *

I do scan film and print at home. *Epson has a few home printers that use pigmented inks (I think they call them Durabrite) that are archival and when printed on the matching Epson papers are said to last something like 80 or 100 years without noticable fading and are also water resistent. * Inks and paper are both $reasonable. A very good and much cheaper alternative to a color laser. *Mine is the Stylus C84 and cost less than $100. *They have fancier models. *The prints are not quite as nice as some injets, but I have a critical eye and I don't think most would notice. *I had one print in a local contest from my C84 that won best of show and enough money to pay for the printer and scanner and a years worth of film. So maybe the print quality ain't all that bad * *
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Re: Good digital camera?
Old 06-30-2004, 07:31 PM   #20
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Re: Good digital camera?

How are they on long term non-use? My problem is the ink jet cartridges dry up on me and I'm only getting a few dozen pages out of each before they dry out. Makes the ink per page a little pricey.

I tend to print a few dozen, then nothing for months. I use the laser for most printing, as its a hell of a lot faster.

Hence my interest in the color laser, because although they're expensive, I could go a year between prints and the color toner is still good. Might end up balancing out.
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