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Old Jun 1, 2003, 11:24 AM   #1
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Default Narrowing choices - need help choosing camera

I have been researching for a couple of weeks now and I am trying to decide between a couple of cameras or waiting for some new models. I currently have a point and shoot Olympus film camera and want to upgrade to a good quality digital that will allow me to advance my photography skills. I am most frustrated with my P&S lack of range (ie wide angle but especially telephoto) so that is very important. I also want something that takes really good pictures with as true of colors as possible. I will need to take some classes to learn more about using manual controls so I need a camera that can get me started on auto and let me learn on the manual settings a long the way.

I would estimate that approx 30% of my pictures are indoor of people such as family parties etc. Probably another 20-30% are outdoors of people, including being able to catch my boys on the soccer field or snowboarding or capture the fun at a picnic or lawn party. I travel a lot and really love to catch unique character pictures so a telephoto is important. Maybe another 20% are scenery shots of the mountains, ocean shore and islands, interesting buildings and other shots while traveling. The final 20% is likely to be wildlife, flowers and pet animal photography. This last catagory requires good telephoto but also the ability to get fairly close to a small object like individual flowers or insects. One of my sons raises fancy colored reptiles, so getting close ups with excellent color would be a real plus.

My candidates:
Canon G3 - good camera, cool stitching software, but just not enough zoom. The salesman tried to convince me that I can crop the pictures, but I don't think that would really satisfy my requirements.
Sony DSC-F717 - love many of the features, but just not ergonomically comfortable in my hands. I tried to like it, but it just doesn't feel right or balanced when I handled it.
Minolta DiMage 7i - haven't seen it in person since it is sold out at my 2 local camera shops. Size looks about right, and price is cheaper then Nikon. I wish it had a flip out LCD monitor, but I like many of the cameras features, on paper anyway.
Nikon Coolpix 5700 - I like the look and feel of this camera and the Coolpix reputation for excellent image quality. It has many of the features I want, including the extra zoom, but I am a little scared off by the price and some of the negative things I have read about it in low-light conditions. I will admit this camera has really grabbed my interest, but I suspect that it may be more camera and complexity then I really need and the price is still high even after the rebate. I am a little worried that I have talked myself into the Coolpix 5700 and it is really too difficult of a camera for a novice.

I ruled out the Olympus 5050, but I saw that the 750UZ is expected out soon and it is has plenty of zoom. The price will be much more reasonable then the Coolpix 5700, but what will I be giving up by waiting for this camera?

Thanks for any input,
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Old Jun 1, 2003, 12:48 PM   #2
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Just to comment about the Olys, the C-5050 has something the C-750 doesn't have, a focus assist beam which is needed for low-light photography to aid in focusing (unless you learn to do manual focusing for those situations)...for manual focusing to work you need a certain amount of light, http://www.howstuffworks.com/autofocus3.htm

Here's a site you may want to check out to learn about the basics about digital photography, http://www.photocourse.com where they have a free online "book".
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 11:13 AM   #3
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In my opinion the Nikon is a much better camera than the Olys. I would gladly part exchange my Oly730 for the Nikon 5700 if I had the dosh.

I think the Olys are becoming too noisy. When you consider the noise levels generated with my old Oly 3020 compared to my Oly 730, it shows the latest CCDs are noisier - something I find annoying.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 3:10 PM   #4
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If you won't be printing anything over 8x10, you may want to consider the Olympus C-2100. It's still available as a refurbished unit, and it has all the items you mentioned. The camera can operate in Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, or full Manual, and will shoot at 1.7 fps. The macro mode will allow you to take great close-ups as well. The images it takes are NOT noisy, and it has an autofocus illuminator like the 5050. It will also accommodate add-on lenses and filters. It comes with batteries & charger, a remote, and has image stabilization, a feature that is hard to find these days on cameras equipped with 10x or greater optical zoom lenses.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 7:12 PM   #5
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The more i read about the G3 and when you hold it in your hand ... it looks and feels very good.
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Old Jun 3, 2003, 12:39 AM   #6
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about the lack of zoom on the g3, you can add add-on lenses. Depending on the attachment, you can vastly improve the zoom of the camera.
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