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sstratt1 Feb 20, 2004 1:58 PM

Need advice: Canon A70/A80 or Nikon CoolPix 4300
I'm in the market for my first digital camera and would love some advice. Currently, I have a 35mm Canon Rebel which I love, but would like to get a digital camera for easier use.

The camera will primarily be used for snapshots, indoors and out. Most pictures will be e-mailed or posted on the web, but the flexibility to print out good pictures up to 5 x 7 is very important to me. I'd also like to be able to crop pictures and still print out at least 4 x 6, preferably 5 x 7. I'm not likely to print anything much larger.

From reading a bunch of reviews, I think my first choice among these cameras would be the A80, but I'm not sure I can afford it.

I was just about ready to buy the A70, when Nikon introduced a $50 rebate on the 4300. Now I'm trying to decide if the things I don't particularly like about the Nikon (longer shutter delay, no AF-assist lamp, noisy continuous auto-focus, separate lens cap) are worth putting up with for increased resolution.

I realize this is a very subjective question, but I'd be really interested in your thoughts.


srvsd Feb 20, 2004 9:51 PM

I do like my 4300 but know what you are saying. The lens cap can be a pain (you get an error if you turn the camera on without removing the cap), but you get used to it. The shutter lag is longer than my FZ-10 but still not too bad. It helps to kind of anticipate the action and have the shutter button pressed halfway down so the photo is in focus and almost instant when you push it all the way down. The quality is excellent. You can get nice 8 x 10" prints from a 4 MP camera.

I don't know about the Canons, but the Nikon is a decent choice depending on what features are most important to you.

slipe Feb 20, 2004 10:31 PM

A noisy continuous focus is better than no continuous focus IMO. You can pre-focus in a lot more situations and not have to release it and start again when the subject moves. I have 2 cameras with continuous focus and one without, and I get a lot more blurred shots with rugrats and people at gatherings without the continuous focus. It also helps make up for shutter lag without pre-focus by focusing all the way to shutter release. The downside is that it uses more battery. On the 4300 you evidently have to keep the LCD on to activate the continuous focus, which is a downside of the camera to me.

The 4300 is a medium speed camera and it seems you would want the continuous focus on in many situations, making battery life an issue. With the LCD off (therefore continuous focus off) it appears it would fill a 1 Gig card. But with it on you would have to be judicious with the power to fill a 256Mb card. These are the numbers on that: With manual exposure mode and manual focus it looks like a nice camera. The A70 doesn’t have continuous focus BTW. It has more shutter lag at telephoto but otherwise seems to be a little faster camera. Add the cost of NiMH batteries and charger to the cost of the A70.

sstratt1 Feb 26, 2004 2:55 AM

Thanks for your advice. I'm still pretty torn on this. For the price, the Nikon seems a great deal, but I'm still drawn by some of the Canons features.

Srvsd -- Do you miss the aperture/shutter priority modes on the 4300? One of my motivations for going digital is to finally experiment enough to start to figure out manual modes (I was always cheap with film before or waited too long to process it so I forgot the settings).

Also, do you find that you miss shots because the manual settings are buried a bit in the menus or did you get used to finding what you need pretty quickly?

What kind of spare battery do you use? The Nikon ones seem pretty expensive, but I don't want to get stuck with a crappy third party one either.

Thanks again!

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