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need help choosing a new digital camera
Old 06-07-2008, 06:02 PM   #1
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need help choosing a new digital camera

Well, I've finally resigned myself to the fact that I need to retire our old digital camera.

I'm not sure where to start in choosing a new one. I want something small and lightweight that will fit easily in a small purse. I'm not a professional photographer by any means! It needs to be user friendly. My friends have shown me their cameras, and I like them all. Apart from price range ($200-$300), not sure how to narrow it down. Suggestions on important factors I should consider? Websites that give good feedback/ratings?

Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2008, 06:33 PM   #2
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Simple girl, the current issue of "Consumer Reports" (July 08) has a lengthy article on digital cameras.

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Old 06-07-2008, 07:16 PM   #3
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My honey got me a Canon PowerShot SD800 IS - very nice - I got her a Nikon CoolPix S52 when Costco had them for $200. She is used to Nikon - it is lighter, slimmer, has a bigger screen than the Canon, and comes with a nice leather case. Both of them can take pictures that look just fine at full monitor size. Color rendition with Nikon and Canon seems truer to my taste. Here's a pretty good review site, but don't make yourself crazy - Digital Camera Reviews and News: Digital Photography Review: Forums, Glossary, FAQ I chose the Canon based on my reading, were i to do it again i would choose the Nikon - simpler.
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:31 PM   #4
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Also have a look at Steve's Digicams - Main Menu for more reviews. I ahve to admit that I looked at upgrading my Casio Exilim 3MP last month and decided to defer because of the confusion. Some of the factors that seemed to be important were:
- battery life - over 200 snaps is a minimum
- real viewfinder - night shots are impossible without it
- quick recovery so a second shot can be taken while the subject is still available
- antishake compensation
- ease of selecting complex settings - these things are so small that settings are a problem
- size and brilliance of the LCD display
- megapixels is less important than image sensor discrimination
- placement of the lens - some have lens too easily covered by fingers
- ease of recharging and uploading.
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Old 06-07-2008, 08:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcowan View Post
Also have a look at Steve's Digicams - Main Menu for more reviews. I ahve to admit that I looked at upgrading my Casio Exilim 3MP last month and decided to defer because of the confusion. Some of the factors that seemed to be important were:
- battery life - over 200 snaps is a minimum
- real viewfinder - night shots are impossible without it
- quick recovery so a second shot can be taken while the subject is still available
- antishake compensation
- ease of selecting complex settings - these things are so small that settings are a problem
- size and brilliance of the LCD display
- megapixels is less important than image sensor discrimination
- placement of the lens - some have lens too easily covered by fingers
- ease of recharging and uploading.
Recently purchased a Nikon Coolpix.

Downsides so far are 1) no viewfinder, and 2) lens in upper left corner, so easy to photograph your finger...
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:49 PM   #6
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I used this website for reviews and ratings.

Digital Camera Reviews, Ratings of Digital Cameras & Comparisons of Popular DSLR Cameras - DigitalCameraInfo.com

Since I live in NYC, I went to B & H to buy the camera that I picked:

B&H Photo Video | Digital Cameras, Camcorders

For me (little kids, need point/shoot camera & movie recorder) I picked the Canon S5 IS and for mom (wanted big screen, convenient easy to use dials, not a tech person by any stretch) Nikon Coolpix S52c.

I too waited too long to upgrade, but couldn't be happier with both cameras.

If you don't mind going on a limb & save a few bucks, B&H has a refurbished section with some good prices.
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Canon Powershot SD750
Old 06-07-2008, 11:10 PM   #7
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Canon Powershot SD750

I bought it just before Christmas. It's been perfect. I even dropped it in the water once accidentally and thought I killed it. After letting it dry out for a couple of days, it returned to normal. The display window is bigger than most other cameras, and I get a lot of compliments when traveling. I think it costs around $220.

It has more functions than I can manage, but all the basics are there: macro, resolution settings, ISO, movie recording, digital and optical zoom (3X), and panoramic. It also comes with a software that lets you "stitch" your panoramic shots into one long scroll -- very handy.

The only downside is that it's not waterproof, so it not great for snorkeling/kayaking. You can however buy a waterproof bag for it to be used under water.

If you go to Amazon.com and search for the models you're interested in, you will see hundreds of reviews. I have found them to be very helpful.

Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:43 PM   #8
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The only downside is that it's not waterproof, so it not great for snorkeling/kayaking.
I've been real happy with our Pentax Optio W10 (until I sat on it) and our new Olympus Stylus 1030 SW. However neither one floats.
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Old 06-08-2008, 01:00 AM   #9
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Stay away from the Canon Powershot A710. I've been very disappointed with the camera and wouldn't wish it on anyone. Bad colors, can't handle metering between bright and dark areas, just a real poor performer all round. Some issues could be mitigated if you tinker with all the settings before every shot, but if you just want to set a camera on auto and snap away, this one is not for you. Eats batteries for lunch too.
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Old 06-08-2008, 06:57 AM   #10
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I've been happy with the Lumix branded cameras with image stabilization. The one I bought was $50!
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:32 PM   #11
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Like Ninja I have been happy with my Lumix which is a Panasonic camera. I compared it with the Canon and Olympus and what sold me was the higher resolution Electronic View Finder. It has an ocular adjustment feature on the EVF so you don't need to put on your reading glasses to use the camera, just look thru the viewfinder and its clear after you adjust for your eyesight.
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:52 PM   #12
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Hello, I'm a new member. I recently bought a camera and have some criteria to suggest:

lens focal length: long telephoto is vastly overrated. Wide angle is much more useful. I would look for wide-angle capability equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm world. There aren't many.

viewfinder: nice to have when the screen is washed out by bright sun

batteries: when proprietary batteries go dead, you are stuck. If the camera takes AAs, you can usually buy some throwaways.

Canon lenses have not tested the best, per on-line reviewers.
Panasonic has Leica lenses which test good, so do Nikon lenses.

What I bought: Nikon P50, $160 at Amazon
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:36 PM   #13
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Simple Girl, I have been through some exhaustive reviews looking for a new point/shoot for DH and a new (appropriate tool time grunting sound here) dSLR for myself. Here's the best answer--go somewhere where there are knowledgeable salesfolks (like a Ritz Camera) and put a few cameras in your hand! No amount of online research (and like everyone here, I live for researching junk on the web, except for pictures of chigger bites like T-Al) will help as much as actually handling the camera.
Having said that, I found a nice clearance sale at Walmart for the point/shoot, and bought a 7.4 mp Finepix for DH that is absolutely great, and got it, a 1gig card and a carry case for $113. I prefer cameras with proprietary batteries to those that eat the regular AA or AAA batteries. This is a nice little camera, really! I also looked at the Nikon L16 at approximately the same price point. Amazing what you can get for $100 these days!

Now on to my endless waffling on the dSLR: this is my first "big" camera, and I went for the Sony Alpha 300 10 mp, anti-shake, live-view screen, lots of bells and whistles. The reason I picked this over the Nikon D series cameras was the brand new live-view sensor it offers (this camera has been out a couple of months). I take a lot of pictures of dogs and kids, and having a camera I don't have to hold up to my face is a big help. Also, being left handed and left eye dominant, I can't see the scene when I put a viewfinder to my eyeball. And finally, my most recent camera was a Konica Minolta with the older style EVF swivel viewfinder LCD screen, which ruined me for viewfinders! This camera, with the kit body plus another telephoto 55mm-200mm lens is going to run about $700.

So the answers to have ready when you go talk to the photographers who inevitably work in these stores: What do you like to shoot? Where? Do you like auto mode or to be able to play with features? Do you make prints? How big?
You get the idea! I was suprised at how much just handling the cameras changed my opinions--I tried out some Canon dSLRs and they just felt too lightweight to me. I'd never have gotten that from the web!
Good luck and have fun!
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:56 AM   #14
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Look at the Canon SD1100. That is my next upgrade for my pocket camera. I have an older Canon in that series and love it for it's size and quality. The SD1100 adds image stabilizing for low light level shots and the ability to do good videos up to I believe 30 minutes or so (mine is limited to 4 minutes). If you watch for the sales you can pick one up for around $200. I find it handy to have a camera that can take great photos and short video clips when needed.

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:09 AM   #15
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mostly very happy with my new canon powershot sd870is. after much consideration before purchase, i'm pleased with my decision to give up a little telescopic power to gain wide angle capacity. i'm getting used to having no view finder but the view screen, though nice and large, is much more annoying in the bright florida sunlight than my research, um, exposed. and though i love the compact size so i can comfortably slip it into a pocket, i'm not crazy about how my aging eyes have difficulty seeing the tiny camera and so i'm not utilizing all the fuctions for which i paid. i basically use it as a very expensive point & shoot. downloading could not be easier and the picture quality is nothing short of excellent. i'm amazed at the detail it captures, even to zoom in after the fact. fun to see what pictures are in each picture.
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Old 06-10-2008, 10:28 AM   #16
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Got a Canon PowerShot A720IS yesterday at the local Sam's Club for $185 plus tax. It was a Consumer Reports Best Buy in the July 2008 edition. Haven't got to play with it since the DW's "to do" list has most of my time at the moment.....

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Old 06-11-2008, 08:05 AM   #17
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Digital Camera Reviews and News: Digital Photography Review: Forums, Glossary, FAQ

We own the Canon ELF IS something or other... that should be in your price range.

We also own two Canon digital SLRs but I'm guessing you weren't wanting to look at those.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:44 PM   #18
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I just read Consumer Reports July - as others have noted the Canon Powershots A650 IS & A720 IS were favorites - I'll probably look at these myself...here's a link to DPReviews review of them - Canon PowerShot A650 IS & A720 IS: Digital Photography Review
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:58 AM   #19
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Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you all know I picked a camera: the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-120 (Amazon.com: Sony Cyber-shot DSCW120MDG/P 7.2 MP Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom with Super Steady Shot (Pink) with LCS-TWE/PI Carrying Case and MSRW-MD1/P Memory Stick Duo Adaptor: Electronics)

It was important to me that it be small, easy to use, and have a view finder. I checked it out at Walmart and really liked it. Decent reviews, too (there's always good and bad stuff, but overall it seemed users like it).

A bonus is it also takes mini-movies, a feature which I love!

Lastly, it's pink... A girl's gotta make a fashion statement every now and again!

Thanks everyone for the tips and links!
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alvarezg View Post
Hello, I'm a new member. I recently bought a camera and have some criteria to suggest:

lens focal length: long telephoto is vastly overrated. Wide angle is much more useful. I would look for wide-angle capability equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm world. There aren't many.

viewfinder: nice to have when the screen is washed out by bright sun
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post

after much consideration before purchase, i'm pleased with my decision to give up a little telescopic power to gain wide angle capacity.
I'll third the comment on wide angle capability. If you don't have enough tele-photo long range, you can always enlarge/crop after the fact ( and still have a good quality picture). But if you can't get wide enough, you are out of luck ( expect maybe for multiple shots and 'stitching').

I didn't realize just how important a real viewfinder can be, until I used one of the kids cameras w/o one.

-ERD50
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