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Old Oct 10, 2003, 7:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Default Your expertise needed!

I'm finally giving into purchasing a digital camera, or at least looking for one (BIG step for me!) and a friend recommended this site. I don't know all the technical jargon - I only know what I want in a camera. I mostly take pictures of my kids, indoors & out, and go through about 3-4 rolls of film a month. I thought I'd start by posting my "needs" and welcome input from all. Hopefully I can keep the price around $500 or less.

These are really important to me:

*sharp, clear, bright, printed picture quality up to an 8x10 (a photo printer will be my next purchase - I'm done with Moto Photo, et al)
*steady zoom lens
*can store a lot of pictures on it - at least 20 at a time
*minimal shutter lag - the more frames per second, the better
*auto focus **I don't want to have to wait for a "focus" light**
*auto flash
*rechargeable batteries

These aren't as important to me:
*particular name brand - whoever offers what I want, then I want it
*making a movie
*emailing pictures
*compact size - I'll load around a clunker if it will deliver great pictures

Obviously, printed pictures are what I'm interested in. I'm spending at least $58 per month on film & developing PER month! It adds up. But I don't want to give up the quality "pictures in hand" and the ability to give photos to friends & family members & school teachers & the kids' yearbooks, etc. I'll soon be asking about photo printers once a camera is purchased :lol:
Feel free to email directly or I'll be checking the boards.
Thank you all very much!!
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Old Oct 10, 2003, 8:49 PM   #2
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Location: Indian Rocks Beach, FL
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If you use factory ink and paper your printing costs will be about the same as taking the 35mm photos to Wal-Mart. I couldn’t really switch to digital until my wife passed away. She loved sorting through the photos and sharing them with friends. The ones I wouldn’t have printed were often the ones she enjoyed the most. It was really too much hassle to print them all myself. I just print special photos now and usually 5 X 7 or larger.

You will have to buy a memory card with whatever camera you buy. That determines the number of photos you can store. You will typically store over a hundred – most people size their memory cards to do that.

Any digital you might consider would have auto-focus and auto-flash. Some take longer than others to cycle though. Generally the newer and more expensive the camera the lower the focus lag. But you will sometimes have to wait for a focus light in dim light with the best of them. The best dim light focusing camera is the Sony 717. Any decent digital will take rechargeable batteries, but some cheaper ones make you buy the batteries and charger.

I personally think the best prosumer digital on the market today is the Minolta A1, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for you. If you are the type of person who uses auto flash it is too technical a camera. Anything you might consider would have auto-flash, but the A1 is for people who usually want to exercise more control.

The only way to get a “steady” zoom lens is with a stabilizer. The Panasonic FZ1 has that but it is just so-so for 8X10s if you crop any, and most people do. It is relatively light and has a long telephoto lens at 12X. The A1 is the other current camera with a stabilizer but it is pricey and complex if you don’t want to mess with all that. Anything else you are going to have to learn to stabilize it yourself with the proper shooting posture and technique.

There are just too many cameras to pick one based on your criteria. What stands out is the FZ1 because of the stabilized lens. It isn’t something you grow into because it is point and shoot – but it does that well. I would go through Steve’s reviews of 3 and 4Mp cameras and see what you might like. Better yet, go to a camera store first so you can relate to the feel of the camera when you read the reviews. The reviews will cover things like focus and cycle times.
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Old Oct 11, 2003, 10:46 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 823

There's a lot of great cameras out there that meet your criteria, but I thought I'd recommend an option you might not have considered. The C2100 can still be had as a refurbished camera, and it includes everything you wanted, including batteries, charger, and remote. Paying only about $360 will give you room for the additional media, a camera bag and additional batteries you'll want to purchase and still keep you well within your budget.

Once you have narrowed your choices down to several cameras, I'd strongly recommend comparing the test photos in Steve's reviews to see which one suits your needs the most. It's also nice if you can get some hands-on testing of the cameras you are considering. Take your time, and regardless of the advice you get here, you must always keep in mind, "it's your money, you're paying for it... you get what you want!"
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Old Oct 13, 2003, 11:51 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 95

I think I'll take a different approach then the others and reccomend the Canon A series. All these cameras get great reviews and I have personally used two of them (A40 & A60).
They are smallish cameras and have the automatic features you desire as well as full manual capability should you decide later to experiment.
I have printed quality 8x10's with the A40 which is only a 2mp camera so imagine what you could print with the new A80 model!
Here in Canada they A70 is $400 i believe (my aunt just bought one on my recomendation two weeks ago and already I can't remember the price
As for holding 20 pictures on a card that will not be a problem but I'm sure you'll have to buy another memory card no matter what camera you choose because they all come with small cards included.
For your usage i'd say a 64 mb card will be more than enough however it does depend on the camera.The amount of megapixels your camera has and camera settings can drastically reduce the amount of shots on a card.
For instance a Canon A40 set on the highest quality jpg will probably get about 60 pictures on a 64mb card....going from memory here .
I wouldnt recommend shooting using TIFF mode though......yes it is the highest mode on some cameras but the file sizes are HUGE and will fill your card with just a few pics.
I always shoot in the highest quality jpeg on any given camera.
Now to add a little confusion.......
I own an Olympus C-750 and absolutely love the camera......the benefit of this camera over almost any other digicam except a select few is the zoom.It has a 10x optical zoom (not to be confused with digital zoom...digital is useless) while most other cameras have a 3x zoom.It is a 4mp camera which I have printed some amazing 8x10's with at home on my cheap $50 printer.
If zoom is something you find attractive look at this camera.....I can take pictures of things other cameras can't even see!!!
The camera sells for $800 in Canada which is twice the price of the Canon A series but well worth it in my opinion.
Check out my pics at the link below and feel free to email me with any questions you may have.
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