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Old 11-08-2006, 03:14 PM   #1
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Digital Camera Recommendations

I'm going to be doing some traveling this spring and was hoping you all could offer some camera recommendations...

I'd like it to be lightweight so I can pop it in my carry on or purse easily.

Durable

Good Quality

It doesn't have to have zoom.

And preferably under $200 dollars but I might go up to $250 if it's really amazing.

Any suggestions?
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:23 PM   #2
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I don't have a specific recommendation, but I do know that there's no reason for you to purchase any camera that has more than 5 megapixels because it's completely useless unless you're going to blow up the pictures to gigantic sizes (like poster size). And, if you're just doing normal sizes, you'll actually lose resolution with anything bigger than 5 megapixels. If you don't go bigger than 5 megapixels, you should be well within your price range.
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:27 PM   #3
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Look at either Canon or Nikon, they make really good cameras. Sony is good also.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:15 PM   #4
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So far I really like the:

Casio - EX-Z60

Samsung Digimax A503

FinePix 520

and the Polaroid i639M

I also like a couple from Olympus but they seem to get pricey fast!

One of the things I don't know anything about are memory cards. I want to be able to take a lot of photos but I won't be near a computer for awhile to get the pics off the camera so I'm not sure what you do... Is there a way to store them on the cam so you still have room for new pics or just buy a couple extra memory cards for when it gets full?
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:22 PM   #5
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I've only ever had Canons, but after using my mom's very cheap, simple Nikon, I'm switching brands. The color quality and clarity is AMAZING. I'd have to tinker around with manual settings or retouch the images on the computer to get the same results with my Canon that I get just using the Auto setting on my mom's cheap Nikon. I'd avoid Kodak or Sony. The picture quality isn't as good, the parts used aren't as good, and pretty much everyone I know who's had a Sony had major problems with it (usually the lens getting jammed all the time).

Like onebloodonelife said, don't spend extra $$$ on megapixels. Not only is it useless unless you want to print huge materials, it takes up way more space, meaning you have to spend more on memory cards, and also makes file transfer slower.

Also, don't pay any attention to "digital zoom" and don't EVER use it All this means is that the original image is enlarged and cropped. My boss has been a photographer for almost 30 years, and he showed me that taking a "normal" photo, enlarging it on a computer, and then cropping ended up with a better quality than using a digital zoom to take the photo. I hope that makes sense. If not let me know and I'll explain it better.

The Nikon Coolpix L3 has 5 megapixels and a 3x optical zoom. It's only $150. You could use the extra $50 of your budget for a 1GB memory card.
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Old 11-08-2006, 09:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by AngelofHarlem01


One of the things I don't know anything about are memory cards. I want to be able to take a lot of photos but I won't be near a computer for awhile to get the pics off the camera so I'm not sure what you do... Is there a way to store them on the cam so you still have room for new pics or just buy a couple extra memory cards for when it gets full?
If you get a 1GB memory card, you can fit a LOT of photos. When I went to Africa for a month, I took about 1.75 GB worth of memory cards, took hundreds of photos (3.2 megapixels), and several videos of dances and song performances. I did not run out of memory.

If you're going to be travelling, I'd get 2-3 512MB cards. That way, not all your memory is on a single card, but you still have plenty. If one gets lost, ruined, or stolen, you're not completely SOL.
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Old 11-08-2006, 10:14 PM   #7
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WOW, thanks for all the great info Lies! That sounds like the best choice so far! Really good price too! Definitely going to look into that one.

Is it pretty small sizewise?
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Old 11-08-2006, 10:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by AngelofHarlem01
WOW, thanks for all the great info Lies! That sounds like the best choice so far! Really good price too! Definitely going to look into that one.

Is it pretty small sizewise?
Yep. It's smaller since it's just a 3x optical zoom. My mom's is actually a Nikon Coolpix E4600, but they're all pretty much the same size. And by "just" I mean more normal than mine, which is 10x, but I haven't used zoom like that since I was on an African safari almost 2 years ago.

I have a super-awesome Canon PowerShot S1 (originally $400), but I've abandoned it for my mom's little Nikon. Here's a few examples pics I've taken with the Nikon. I'm just an amateur, and I simply use the Auto setting.

http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1686.JPG
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1695.JPG
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1332.jpg
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1326.jpg
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/b...s/DSCN1402.JPG
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/l...na%20010-1.jpg
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Old 11-09-2006, 11:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje

Like onebloodonelife said, don't spend extra $$$ on megapixels. Not only is it useless unless you want to print huge materials, it takes up way more space, meaning you have to spend more on memory cards, and also makes file transfer slower.

Also, don't pay any attention to "digital zoom" and don't EVER use it All this means is that the original image is enlarged and cropped.

Absolutely, great advise.

Any Coolpix will do.
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Old 11-09-2006, 12:35 PM   #10
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Canon or Nikon are good choices as mentioned before (e.g. powershot and coolpix). The powershot A540 is nice. The color saturation, sharpness, etc. can be set on some models. If not, Photoshop is good for making adjustments.

Some features to look for, if you need them, are video as well as manual modes. I use manual modes for concert shooting - e.g. shutter priority. ISO adjustments are also nice to have.

See reviews/sample photos at pcmag.com, Steve's Digicams, and www.dpreview.com.

If possible, go to Best Buy with a memory card and take sample shots using the display models and compare them at home.

Quote:
Originally posted by onebloodonelife
I don't have a specific recommendation, but I do know that there's no reason for you to purchase any camera that has more than 5 megapixels because it's completely useless unless you're going to blow up the pictures to gigantic sizes (like poster size). And, if you're just doing normal sizes, you'll actually lose resolution with anything bigger than 5 megapixels. If you don't go bigger than 5 megapixels, you should be well within your price range.
It depends. I always shoot at 8MP - e.g. at concerts, and then crop or reduce the image size. 8MP allows me to have more of a fudge factor - I can zoom in and get a larger image if needed, escpecially if I am somewhat far from the stage.
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Old 11-09-2006, 01:06 PM   #11
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Can I recommend Picasa for any tweaking or retouching? I've used Photoshop and FireWorks for years, and currently they're not even installed on my computer because Picasa does everything I need and it's far simpler. Oh, and free!
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


Yep. It's smaller since it's just a 3x optical zoom. My mom's is actually a Nikon Coolpix E4600, but they're all pretty much the same size. And by "just" I mean more normal than mine, which is 10x, but I haven't used zoom like that since I was on an African safari almost 2 years ago.

I have a super-awesome Canon PowerShot S1 (originally $400), but I've abandoned it for my mom's little Nikon. Here's a few examples pics I've taken with the Nikon. I'm just an amateur, and I simply use the Auto setting.

http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1686.JPG
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1695.JPG
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1332.jpg
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/a...s/DSCN1326.jpg
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/b...s/DSCN1402.JPG
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/l...na%20010-1.jpg
Those are gorgeous! I could never get that type of quality with the cam I have now. Amazing for an Auto Setting too! I think the Coolpix is the way I'm going to go for sure. Thanks again all the advice and pics. It looks incredible!
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Old 11-09-2006, 04:39 PM   #13
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As for storage, I travel a lot and I love taking a ridiculous amount of pictures (especially in some lighting, you nevver can tell what's gonna come out so I take it 2-3 times sometimes much to the amusement of friends). I have a Sony (their new ones are decent but I'll probably switch brands when I get a new camera this spring) and large Sony memory cards are expensive. (that's something you'll want to investigate - what kind of card does the camera use, and how expesnive are large ones?) I highly highly highly recommend the iPod camera connecter, especially for long-term travels. Obviously you have to make sure you don't use your iPod, but my 60gig provides plenty of room for unlimited pictures.

Another thing - in most cities, even in Africa, you should be able to find a camera store or computer/internet cafe that will let you upload your pictures and burn them to disc. Thatway you can unload your card but not have all of them in the same place, just bring along a few CDs. I've met people travelling for as long as a year or more who think this is the best method.
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Old 11-09-2006, 09:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by AngelofHarlem01


Those are gorgeous! I could never get that type of quality with the cam I have now. Amazing for an Auto Setting too! I think the Coolpix is the way I'm going to go for sure. Thanks again all the advice and pics. It looks incredible!
No prob. You can PM or e-mail me if you have any other questions or need advice and I can ask my boss. He's used Nikons for years and he's an amazing photographer. Here's some of his pics he's taken with a cheaper model Nikon digital, if you're interested:

http://www.calvin.edu/~bvriesem/
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Old 11-10-2006, 11:47 AM   #15
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I just picked up a Canon SD800. Kick-ass camera. Dell.com had it for about $75 off retail. A good bit of manual settings, which makes it good for exploring and tweaking. The white balance is fantastic, too.

For memory cards, get them from buy.com. They usually have awesome rebates on memory cards. For the new camera, I got a 2GB Kingston SD card for a mere $26.
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