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Old Jul 14, 2004, 8:00 PM   #11
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The most important part of any camera is the lens, whether it's a digital or "chemical" one. I would avoid any camera on which you can't find a review. I suspect this one is made in China with a plastic lens which won't provide satisfactory results. Spend a few more dollars and get something that will do the job.
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 5:22 AM   #12
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DO NOT buy the HP PS 635!

I bought one and they are a faulty design. Yes they do use batteries so fast that you will end up throwing it away in disgust.

Mine used batteries faster and faster until it would not start at all. I just got a replacement camera and I cannot get it to start.

See the Posts under the HP section (search for 635) and you will see our experiences with thistruly crappycamera. The sad thing is, it takes nice photos....but 20-30 low res. photos per 2000 Nimh set of batteries?! Give me a break Hewlett Packard.

Hewlett Packard are criminals. They just get their cameras made in
China for slave wages (probably US$20) and then sell them for 400% profit which would be bad enough but when there is no quality control or pride in their reputation it is a great example of "The Corporation" at work.

Listen to the wise people on this forum who suggested paying a little more for a decent camera. If you get a nice cool camera it will not sit on the shelf gathering dust. You will be converted to using this fantastic modern device which will bring you much joy and provide personal memories for you and your loved ones.

Note: The followingadvice is for a basic useful camera for the person who wants to take snaps easily.

2MP?, 3MP?, zoom?: most people only need to print a 6in x 4in photo which 2MP-3MP can handle fine. Optical zoom should be at least 3X which makes objects 3 times the size and is useful for medium distance 5-50 metres.

You pay more for good quality glass optics which the established camera brands use, eg. Kodak, Fuji, Olympus, Nikon, Pentax, Canon etc. If they have made cameras for 50 years they must be OK.

The next most important thing could be the interface, a well designed menu system is easy to navigate through and most used functions should be a single selection not hidden away.

Storage: the flash card for storing the many images. Compact Flash was the cheapest (in Australia) up until this year when Secure Digital has caught up and is sometimes cheaper. SD cardsare also smaller so more camera manufacturers will be taking it up I imagine. XD is more expensive and Sony Memory Stick is the most expensive. So if you want a cheap first camera go for one that uses Secure Digital cards and this will make the final price (camera, flash card & power) lower.

Power: batteries and a charger. Using "one use" batteries is expensive and environmentally damaging. In Australia Nickel Metal Hydride or Ni-MH are the rechargeable batteries available, they currently go up to 2500mAH (milliAmp Hours). Lithium-Ion is the latest technology but unavailable in consumer form ie. AA AAA etc. They are used by manufacturers only it seems. E.g. Apple's Ipod uses Lithium-Ion batteries but the replacement is through Apple and costs about AU$200 and the 20Gb Ipod is AU$500...

Most cameras take 2 AA batteries so at least 4 batteries and a fast (1 hour) charger are necessary. Due to the explosion in digital camera sales rechargeable batteries are getting cheaper and more "powerful". E.g. 2 years ago 2000mAH were the highest capacity available, now its up to 2500mAH and the cost is about the same at AU$20 fora 4 pack.

So, in AU$ about $250-$300 for a good 3MP, 3X optical zoom camera, 128Mb SD card (about 100 hi-res images) $25, 4 batteries $20 and a 1 hr. charger $50 equals: $345-$400 or for our Nth American friends: US$260-$300 minimum.

I hope this helps.


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Old Feb 23, 2005, 6:57 AM   #13
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For a real entry-level lower price range camera with quality outputyou should also consider the Canon Powershot A400- You'll get 3 MP, a little bit of optical zoom, AA battery use, and various other features like Digic processor, macro mode, pre-set exposure modes, image orientation sensor, multi-point autofocus, focus-assist lamp, etc...
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 8:13 AM   #14
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I agree with the other guys about avoiding the generic unreviewed cheapo cameras.

What about a Kodak 7330? Easy to use. 3X optical zoom. Should be cheap somewhere. The 7430 (4 megapixels)is down under $150 at some online dealers.

Do you pay lots of duties if you order from an American camera dealer?

I would wait and save an extra $50 if it meant I could get a better camera from a reputable company.

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Old Feb 23, 2005, 9:49 AM   #15
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I'll add my vote - don't get a noname cheapie - it WILL gather dust.

I've owned HP cameras in the past - they do take nice pics, but they chew batteries, too. I've gone to Olympus and Canon now - for better or worse.....

I'd also recommend you look at the Canon A-series cameras. The A310 and A400 are nice inexpensive (sub-$150)compact pocket cameras with nice images, AA batteries, and CF or SDmemory (the cheapest,most common memory types). The new Canon A510 is priced at US$199, and can be gotten for as little as US$176 plus shipping; the A75 is also in that price range.

Fuji makes nice cameras too, but the proprietary xD flash memory comes at a very premium price not justified by it's performance. Add $25-50 to the cost of the camera because of the cost of a reasonable sized memory card over and above the price of a CF or SD card of the same size, and the camera isn't much of a bargain anymore.

Nikon's 3200 might be one to look at, too - it's in the US$150 range. It has too dark a lens, but as long as you have the flash on it'll be ok.

Good Luck! ECM
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