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Old Apr 25, 2007, 10:05 PM   #1
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Hi! I am the student council advisor at my school and we are going to purchase 5 digital cameras for our school. We are looking to spendat least $200 per camera withthe cameras having a least 6 megapixels. Elementary students (Grades 2-6)as well as teachers will use the cameras (which makes me think we'll want somethingsomewhateasy touse).Do you have any recommendations?

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Old Apr 25, 2007, 10:30 PM   #2
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For the students, you will want something relatively rugged - the younger ones, as well as the faculty, will need something very simple and easy to use.:lol:

I am not that familiar with the current lineup, but I often recommend Kodak to friends who don't want to get too involved in photography. A model with an optical viewfinder would be a good choice to teach proper technique. Basic models with a 3x optical zoom should be well within your price range. Don't forget you will probably need additional memory cards - cameras are usually supplied with very small storage. Camera docks for at least a couple of them would also be a very good idea.

I'm sure you will get plenty of other recommendations - You might even want to look into uderwater/waterproof models, as kids can be less than careful with even their own stuff, much less someone else's.

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Old Apr 26, 2007, 11:04 AM   #3
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Get the cheapest thing that will meet your specs, so that when they get drop-kicked, lost, or stolen,you won't be out a lot of money. And buy from a local outlet that will likely stock them or their like in the future, so you can get replacements quickly.

Let's face it. You won't be doing photography; you'll be taking snapshots. I think you'll be best served by something simple, durable, cheap, and replenishable.

Go to Wally-World, Target or the like, see what they have, and buy a case of whichever one has the fewest buttons, knobs and switches.

Just for the fun of it, you might instead buy one of each, and see which ones get used the most, and which ones take the best pictures under the toughest conditions. In fact, you could hand them out to different kids and have them all take pictures of the same event. Then you could compare the results youself.

Let us know how it goes!
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Old Apr 26, 2007, 11:14 AM   #4
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I think VTPhotog has given very sound advice. Kodaks are generally very easy to use and produce good results with their default setting. Their menus are fairly straight forward if the defaults need to be altered.

VT's reasoning for suggesting "weatherproof" cameras is valid but the most prevelent line of cameras meeting that criteria are the Olympus Stylus series cameras and they all use rechargeable LiIon batteries so some equipment manager will have to make sure they're charged when needed. A camera that uses replaceable AA alkalines will only require that a stock be maintained and even if no stock is maintained they are quickly purchased anywhere.

What was the basis for the 6-7MP criteria? Kodak has a fine entry level camera, the C533 with 5MP. I have done comparison shots using my son's C533 against my more expensive 6MP Kodak Z612. I don't think anyone would be able to tell the difference in up to a 16x20 print and certainly not on a computer screen. The Kodak's allowone buttonreview of the pictures taken and kids really like the instant gratification of immediate results.

I'd also suggest reviewing Steve's Best Camera list: http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.htmland check the 6-10MP, the 5MP and the entry level groupings. There are a number excellent cameras within thoselists that meet your budget targets.
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Old Apr 26, 2007, 5:41 PM   #5
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I think the best rugged cameras are the Olympus mju range, the 725 & 770 are waterproof, crushproof and shockproof to a drop of 1.5m.

Good for when they slip from little hands.
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Old Apr 27, 2007, 8:59 AM   #6
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peripatetic wrote:
I think the best rugged cameras are the Olympus mju range, the 725 & 770 are waterproof, crushproof and shockproof to a drop of 1.5m.

Good for when they slip from little hands.
In the USthat series ofOlympusiscalled Stylus. Steve's test shots for the 770 seemed very soft so I hesitant to recommend that one. My organization has a mixed fleet of 300 Stylus models 300, 400, 410, 500, 600 and 710 so I'm generally familiar with that line of cameras and they meet our requirements very well.

None the less I think their LiIon rechargeable batteries might create a problem in a small equipment pool situation. An equipment manager will have to create a system to insure that charged batteries are always available any and every time the cameras are required. The first time someone goes to use the camera and the batteries aren't charged everybody involved with the camera idea will feel the heat. That's my reasoning for suggesting a camera that uses easily purchased and stored alkaline AAs. In my organization we don't use an equipment pool, the cameras are assigned to individual adults along with two batteries. If they can't take a picture because of no charge on the batteries it's their own fault.
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