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Old Dec 17, 2004, 10:47 AM   #1
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I am looking for advice in purchasing my first digital camera. My wife wants to start out more as a hobby, she is an avid scrapbooker and our 3 year old has broken her 35 mm. She takes really good creative pictures and would like to move into taking portrait style so we can stop paying the "professionals" at Sears and JCPenneys to take mediocre digital pictures of our kids.

She has been looking a little at the local stores and is being led to believe she would need to get at least a 6.3 mega pixel,more likely 8 or 8.1,that wouldhandle both8X10 and 11X14 size photos. She wants to able to add a flash and a lens as she gets better. Our budget doesn't allow for the purchase of a true "professional" camera, but a good one that she can grow with is what we are interested in.

My confusion on what camera comes from the conflicting information we are receiving. She is getting the mega pixel sales pitch at the retail shops, these are specialty camera stores and not the retail giants (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc…). And when I research on the internet, I see more advice to not worry about mega pixels and concentrate more on the features and optics. As long as mega pixel is greater than 3, then I should be OK.

Some of the recommended models have been:

Canon G3 - 4mp

Canon G5 – 5mp

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ15

Olympus E-10. 4mp

Olympus E-20

Fuji FinePix S5100

Konica Minolta DiMage Z2

Any suggestions or advice on which camera might fit these requirements would be greatly appreciated. I would also be interested in any websites to use or avoid for purchases and advice.

Thank you.

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Old Dec 17, 2004, 8:42 PM   #2
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~ The G5 is a great camera. Ihave it, loveit , and it takes some great photos. You can still find the G5, but seriously consider the G6. I'm not so sure what your price range is, but if it's in your range take a look. With the wide range of accessories for the G6 you can get what you need. The G6, and G5, also have the D!G!C chip which is a great plus andthey have theflip and twist LCD screen which helps alot with those low or high shots.You can read more about the G6 on the link below. For the best advice on cameras go to your local camera store. Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.stores don't really know alot about photography and the cameras that theysell. Good luck!~


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Old Dec 18, 2004, 9:03 AM   #3
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Really it depends how much zoom you need as to which camera I would recommend. For portraiture 140mm will suffice, but some you are quoting go up to 380mm. Could you be more precise please? As regard pixels, 5mp will suffice up to A4 size photos, and you will get no benefit whatsoever from going bigger, except for cropping before printing.
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Old Dec 18, 2004, 10:07 AM   #4
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Megapixels basically represent resolution (i.e. how many sensor detectors it has). Where this comes into play is when you print your pics. More megapixels means that you can print bigger pics. When you print your pics, you are basically printing several hundread (between 150 to 300) dots per inch. If you have more "dots" you can print more/bigger.

Roughly speaking, a 3 megapixel image can produce very good 4x6 or 5"x7" pics, and average 8"x10" pics. If you have, say, 5 megapixel images, you can print excellent 8"x10" and average 11"x14". These are just rough guidelines and may vary a bit depending on how good hte pics have to look.

If you want 11x14, your wife is correct in going for 6MP or 7MP cameras; 3 MP isn't going to cut it for 11x14. I'm not an expert in printing (some others here can help you more on this) but most people say 3 MP limit is around 8"x10" (if you print beyond this, you can see the dots if someone looks very closely at the image i.e. image won't be sharp).

Another benefit of higher megapixels is that it allows you to crop better. By cropping, it refers to the action where you cut off a portion of an image and concetrate on it. For example (this is a very rough example), say you take an image of a person standing beside a tree. With a 5 MP image, you can crop only the person (cut off everything else except the person; remove the tree) and you may still be able to print 8"x10". In contrast, if you had a 3 megapixel camera, you really can't crop the image and print 8x10 (3MP is almost at the limit with 8x10 and if you crop, you are basically throwing away pixels so your image may end up being 2MP, which isn't good enough for high quality 8x10).

So to sum up, there are two benefits to having higher megapixels: ability to crop and ability to print larger images. In your case, I would go for 5+ megapixels if you can afford it.



Having said all that, if the SENSOR SIZE of two cameras are the SAME, then having more megapixels generally degrades image quality by introducing noise (little dots that show up as fuzziness). This depends on many factors but in general, you should go for a lower megapixel camera given that the sensor size is the same.



Only digital SLRs (DSLRs) allow you to replace the lens with another one. Based on your budget requirement, this is out of the question. The best you can do with consumer and prosumer digicams is to attach add-on telephoto/macro/wide-angle lenses to the main existing lens. This pretty much leaves your lens (and its quality) the same as before but allows you to increase zoom (eg. add telephoto converter) or wide-angle or macro or whatever.

If you want flash--and I'm sure you MUST get a flash for portraits--then look for a camera with flash hot-shoe. Ultra-compacts and compacts (these are the small cameras) generally do not have flash hot-shoe. So rule out any compacts and ultra-compacts. High-end ultra-zooms, mid-end prosumers, and high-end prosumers generally have flash hot-shoe add-on.


Different people classify cameras into different categories. For your purposes, I would exclude ultra-zooms (i.e. 10x+ zoom). Zoom won't help with portraits, and these cameras generally have smaller sensor than similarly priced low-zoom general cameras.

So I would NOT look at the Panasonic Lumix line (FZ15 you listed) or the Konica Minolta Z3 or the Fuji 5000 (?? I'm not sure if this Fuji is the ultra-zoom but I think it is).

Instead, I would look at low-zoom general photography cameras. Perhaps the two top mid-end general prosumer cameras are the Canon G6 and Sony V3. You already listed the Canon G line and that is a pretty good line for your purposes I think. You should seriously consider the Canon G6, which is the latest!

You can also look at high-end prosumer cameras. These generally cost a lot (US$1000) but offer the most flexibility and power in a non-DSLR camera. Examples include Sony F828, Canon Pro1, Konica Minolta A2, Olympus 8080, and so on. You can also look at older high-end prosumers, which are obviously much cheaper. The Olympus E10 and E20 you listed are examples of older high-end prosumers; another example is Sony F717. So if you can find an older, but very good, high-end prosumer, it should be considered.

So you have two choices: either go for a low-zoom general camera (like Canon G6) or a high-end prosumer.

Hope that helps
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Old Dec 18, 2004, 11:05 AM   #5
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Maybe this will help:


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