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Old 11-18-2005, 11:12 AM   #1
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Digital camera recommendations

I'm looking to purchase my first digital camera, and while I see reviews of all different kinds online, I'm looking to get some opinions here from people who already own one.

I want to get one that is really good quality, but at the same time, I'm not looking to go past $500. I've got a new baby and really want to be able to get good close-up pictures at a moment's notice, so something with decent speed would be nice.

Any help would be appreciated!

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Old 11-18-2005, 11:58 AM   #2
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Canon or Nikon. Olympus is OK, but the digital media cards (xD) are almost twice as expensive as the CF cards you'd use with a Canon. Kodak's are more user-friendly, but the image quality is not near the quality of the Canon or Nikon because of cheaper lenses. I haven't looked into Sony at all so I can't commend either way.

I got my first camera, a Canon Powershot S1-IS, last winter and LOVE it. I talked to my boss for months and together we looked at many options before I decided which one I wanted. He has 35 years of photography experience and only recommends Canon or Nikon. Those two brands use the best quality parts. The S1-IS was $400 and then I got an $80 three year warranty, so with tax it was about $500.

Basically there's a few major factors in each digital camera and you have to decide what combination is right for you. First, the megapixel. My camera is a 3.2 which prints up to 8x11. This is plenty for me b/c I don't plan on printing huge pictures. Also, the greater the megapixel, the more memory card space you need, the faster memory cards you need, and the more space on your computer you need. If you're not planning on doing anything semi-professional, you don't need more than 5 megapixels at most, and 3.2 is fine.

Then there's zoom. Ignore digital zoom, it is evil, don't ever use it. The optical zoom is what's important. My camera has a 10x optical zoom, which I think is as good as you can get with a point-and-shoot. It also has an image stabilizer, b/c the father in you zoom, the harder it is to avoid taking blurry pics. I got this b/c I took the camera on safari in Africa and also to all my U2 concerts. So it really depends on your needs.

You don't really have to worry about "speed" with a digital camera. You can use various auto settings, or manually set everything yourself. You can also use a sports setting which allows you to take like 12 pictures continuously. You can also change how long the camera displays the picture after it's taken, so you don't have to wait before taking another.
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Old 11-18-2005, 12:04 PM   #3
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Before you buy - test the camera at a store.

The one thing that will drive me to an SLRd camera is the slow response time of the camera - the time gap between pushing the button and the camera actually taking the picture.

A significant lag is frustrating, especially when taking pictures of children (i.e., you want to take the picture when they are jumping in the air, but the camera takes the picture of them landing on the ground).

Also, (i) get a DVD Picture Slideshow program for your computer and (ii) find a place to print copies of the "keepers". The most frustrating thing for my wife is that most of our pictures exist in a digital world, where she can't see them on a regular basis.
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Old 11-18-2005, 02:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


The one thing that will drive me to an SLRd camera is the slow response time of the camera - the time gap between pushing the button and the camera actually taking the picture.

A significant lag is frustrating, especially when taking pictures of children (i.e., you want to take the picture when they are jumping in the air, but the camera takes the picture of them landing on the ground).
That's exactly what I don't want to happen. I need a camera that has a fast response time. A baby's expression is so brief that capturing it is very difficult, and getting a camera that can do it well is important.
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Old 11-18-2005, 02:41 PM   #5
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I would reccomend Nikon or Canon
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Old 11-18-2005, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by phanan


That's exactly what I don't want to happen. I need a camera that has a fast response time. A baby's expression is so brief that capturing it is very difficult, and getting a camera that can do it well is important.
You may want to save a little more ($700-$800) and get one of the basic digital SLR cameras. I already have a number of Minolta lenses, so getting the digital Maxxum makes sense for me.

Canon and Nikon both make good digital SLRs as well. You can start with a good all purpose lens and grow from there.
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Old 11-18-2005, 03:13 PM   #7
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I have a Canon Powershot A95 and did extensive research on digitals before I bought it as well as comparing prices and found an excellent bargain on Amazon.com I love the camera, it takes great pictures and does a lot more function wise than I will probably ever use but like I said it was a great bargain. I'd recommend it.
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Old 11-18-2005, 03:25 PM   #8
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This is nice - Olympus C-770. The video is not video camera quality but it’s good all the same. Cheaper than buying both. Plus it’s innocent looking enough to take to shows and film.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0402/04021213olyc770.asp
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Old 11-19-2005, 05:44 AM   #9
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You know, for my first camera, it has served me pretty well -

Cannon Power Shot A520


A tiny, inexpensive camera that doesn't do a whole lot, but it serves it's purposes well, and takes good pictures. I know it's not the best, but it was for a good price. Getting a great service plan and accessories, it came to somewhere around 350$ for me.


But really, I'd take others advice, as digital things are not quite my bag, baby.
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Old 11-19-2005, 12:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by phanan
That's exactly what I don't want to happen. I need a camera that has a fast response time. A baby's expression is so brief that capturing it is very difficult, and getting a camera that can do it well is important.
You can adjust the camera's settings so it takes less time. I can take pictures non-stop w/ my digital and I don't have an SLR.

If you don't want to wait for it to focus, put it on manual and not autofocus.

If you don't want to wait for it to display the picture it took before you can take another, set that time to 0 seconds.

If you know you want to take a string of say 12 pictures nonstop, use the sports function.

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Old 11-19-2005, 12:43 PM   #11
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check this site out for help in comparing cameras. i found it useful. caron ended up with a canon elf. i don't remember which one exactly. but i love my sony work camera.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/
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Old 11-19-2005, 09:27 PM   #12
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A canon elf? I am going to have to look into that one. I am looking to get my son a digital for the holidays. I love my Canon Powershot. (just wish I could find what the heck I did with the 2 memory cards I had for it!)
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Old 11-19-2005, 09:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
You may want to save a little more ($700-$800) and get one of the basic digital SLR cameras. I already have a number of Minolta lenses, so getting the digital Maxxum makes sense for me.

Canon and Nikon both make good digital SLRs as well. You can start with a good all purpose lens and grow from there.
Being a media geek, I can't say enough great things about SLRs. Now if only I could afford them...

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Old 11-20-2005, 02:59 PM   #14
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The Canon S2 IS is a solid pick, an upgrade from the S1 IS mentioned previously. It's got 5 MP and 10x optical zoom. It's also got one of the best movie modes in the business.

I would also recommend the Panasonic DMC-LZ5. It's got the clearest, most crisp images I've seen in any comparable camera, thanks the Leica lens. It's got a 12x optical zoom, which is the largest "ultra zoom" you can get. The movie mode isn't quite on par with the S2 IS, but I would say the image quality surpasses that of the Canon.

Also, the Panasonic seems to have less of a redeye problem than the Canon.

Edit to add that the Panasonic also has image stabilizer!
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Old 11-20-2005, 04:00 PM   #15
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I second Kariatari's recommendation of the Canon S2 and Panasonic LZ5. Both are very nice cameras. The Canon has a little funkier styling, the Panasonic looks very elegant, but both are quite good and offer nice feature sets and picture quality.

Normally I would say that if you want fast response, then save a little more and get a dSLR, but it depends on what you want from your photography. If you only want something for snapshots that probably won't get printed bigger than 4x6, then a dSLR is going to be too much and you'd be much better off with a nice digicam like the S2 or LZ5. If, however, you think you might want to get into photography more, then I highly recommend getting a dSLR and just growing with it - if you don't have any lenses from a 35mm SLR system, I recommend starting with either Nikon or Canon - they have the most extensive lineup of bodies and lenses and have proven to be on top of the digital game (I prefer Canon, but it's really up to the individual). It'll cost more (initially and over time as you buy new lenses, etc) but the camera is far more flexible and capable, and will give better picture quality than any digicam. And you can make larger prints. I just got a couple 16x24" prints and even a 20x30" print from pictures I took with my Canon 20D - they all look fantastic!
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