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SeaDweller May 12, 2004 7:12 PM


I'm ready to upgrade from my Polaroid FunFlash! 640 camera (done chuckling yet?), which I've given to my 7 year old son. I originally bought the camera for one purpose; an inexpensive way to photograph car parts for posting on eBay. I've read throughcountless web sites andreviews (both personal and professional) over the past few weeks, and the array of options is quite daunting, so I need some guidance from folks who've been through this process before.

I understand the concept of megapixels, and the relation to picture size, but I'm having a tough time deciding how much "technology" I need. Will a 2MP camera suit my needs, or should I move up to 3MP? 4MP? 5MP?

I will be using the new camera for much more than taking pictures to post on eBay. It will bemy primary use camera, replacing my Nikon point-and-shoot, 35MM camera. I've been looking at the Canon S45 and A75, but I don't know if that's "too much camera" for the typical, amateur user.

I won't ask for specific brand recommendations, as I realize it's nearly impossible to do so (there are a multitude ofgood manufacturers), but I would like some guidance as to how much "technology" I need.

What would a good replacment be for the typical point-and-shoot 35MM camera? How many megapixels do I need? Do I need manual controls, or would something more simple foot the bill? How about expandability? Is a 3X zoom sufficient for the average user? I don't want to under buy, but I don't want to over buy either.

Sorry for the novel.....Any input would be most appreciated.......

LTBerry May 12, 2004 7:49 PM

As far as megapixels go, it depends on how big a print you want. For the web, it doesn't matter but for printing, 3mp will make good 4x6's and ok 8x10's. 4mp will make an even better 8x10. What else - 3x zoom seems to be the average, most in the 35-105mm range. That should be fine for most shots.

You hit it right on the money with the canons. Yes there are other good camera manufactureres but the 2 you mention I think might be right up your alley. There's enough fully automatic modes for beginner users and enough manual controls for more advanced users. I tend to frown on cameras that let you have no control over the shutter & aperture other than what the camera decides.

The big difference between the two that I see (other than MP) is the A75 will let you put on lens accessories like a teleconverter, close-up converter, and filters. I'm not sure but I dont think the s45 does that. The s45 will let you shoot in RAW for the best-quality pictures.

I think the a75 would suit your needs fine but if you can get the s45 at the same price you might as well get the one with more stuff. Well, there's my 2 cents.

SeaDweller May 12, 2004 8:31 PM

Thanks for the input..........The one thing that concerns me about the A75 is the sluggishness that folks report. Quite a bit of my use will be sports related, so I need a camera that's "quick on the draw," so-to-speak.

Are there cameras with features similar to the A75 that are "faster"?

CastleDude May 12, 2004 8:59 PM

Take a look at the Minolta Z1 .. Strange looking but if you want to do sports the big zoom will give you a lot of fun (and that is the idea right). It's faster than some DSLRS..

Setiprime May 13, 2004 8:31 AM

SeaDweller -

LTBerry has some good points (personally, I think he is MUCH OLDER than his Avatar shows us). HeeHee.

1) The great megapixel myth is just that! Anything of 3.2Mp plus, will give you outstanding prints. Having said that, 4-5 Mp will give you more control over "tweaking" your shots prior to printing.

2) Keep in mind that you have to have GOOD GLASS to begin with. Its all about light. How much, and how long it takes for the camera to capture it!

3) ALL digital cameras suffer from what we call "Shutter Lag". i.e. the time it takes for the lens to focus, lock on, snap the shot, and send it to the CF card. Please read Steves reviews - they are QUITE accurate.

4) Cameras ?? Three key things: Good glass as I mentioned then get some actual "hands on" and really check out the"feel" of the camera - this is what you will be living with for a long time. Check out the menus and screen instructionssome are much better than others !!

5) Buy the very best you can afford, and BUY MORE THAN YOU NEED right now. The reason for this is simple. Once you find out how much enjoyment you are getting, human nature makes you want more. Well, in a short time you start to wish you had just spent that extra (comparitvely) few bucks, ........ this is what we call "Buyers Remorse".

6) Completely ignore any claims regarding "Digital Zoom" or "Combined Zoom". I'ts another myth created by the manufacturers.

7) Oh yes, get at least one extra CF card, "Just in case".

SeaDweller May 13, 2004 9:39 AM

Excellent advice everyone........I wonder if perhaps the forum could help me narrow down the field somewhat, before I go cross-eyed reading all the reviews. :?

Which manufacturers are known to have "good glass"?

Which manufacturers typically have the least shutter lag?

I believe 3.2MP is more than sufficient for my needs. I can see getting into manual features to improve my photo's, but it's very, very unlikely that I'll ever get to the point of manipulating prints.

Interestingly, just when I think I've narrowed my choices, I run across apparent issues with a given camera. For example, with theCanon A75, folks complain of soft pictures, a purple effect, and slow mechanics. Obviously, there's no "holy grail" when it comes to digital cameras, as each manufacturer seems to have its strengths and weaknesses.Having read countless reviews,many cameras are excellent in some areas, and poor in others, however there must be a handful of cameras to consider with overall performance that's good across the board.

Thanks again for the guidance!

atlantagreg May 13, 2004 10:41 AM

Actually, makers tend to go "in and out" of being the best. At one time, Olympus made the best digicams. Fuji also at one time was making some great ones, but now they're kind of lagging behind a bit. At this time, Canon makes some of the better consumer cams.

A75: Good all-around camera with good images. Canon A80: Better choice if you want to do 8x10 prints due to higher pixels and lower noise in photos. The Minolta Z-series is fast and has a big zoom, but in my opinion they're not built very well (cheesy plastic, not the best quality).

For sporting events you may however, still wish to look at the bigger zoom cameras. The Panasonic FZ10 might be worth considering. It's got a 12X optical zoom with image stabilization, which would help out considerably with sports and wildlife photography. Some report indoor images from it to be a little noisy, but from what I've seen, it's worth consideration. Steves review on it:


SeaDweller May 13, 2004 1:18 PM


I guess I should have qualified "sporting events." The sporting events I'm speaking of are my sons baseball, football and soccer games, so I would imagine a 12X zoom would be overkill for my purposes.

Is it safe to assume that cameras with near full manual control capabilities(like the A75 and A80) also operate in a fully automatic mode?

Finally, what do you typically give up in terms of picture quality, with the smaller form factor cameras, such as Canon's S45?

Setiprime May 13, 2004 3:16 PM

OK- Lets add "insult to injury".

No matter what camera you choose in the price range/feature range you are considering, you will have to deal with SHUTTER LAG.

When the bat connects, when the foot connects, or when the jump shot occurs, you are going to have difficulty capturing that split second.

To get consistant results FROM ANY CAMERA, you are going to have to Practice, Practice, Practice.


Hear me now - believe me later (through your tears).

Buy the Kodak DSC 6490 and live a long and prosperous life !!

Red Viper May 14, 2004 4:40 PM

The Panasonic FZ-10 is a really, really great camera. The burst mode comes in handy when I'm shooting skateboarding, it can take a teleconverter for when the press agents put me too far back, and the hotshoe helps for those late-night assignments with my Sunpak 383. If you have any questions about it, PM me. I'll be glad to help you.

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