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Old Jun 8, 2002, 7:11 PM   #1
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OK, here's the deal......

i have been totally hunting a digital camera in the 3.4 - 4.0 megapixel range for a while. i've read and read and read about TONS of cameras, and now i feel like i'm burned out on information and still haven't gotten close to deciding what to get.

i need something small, because i take a lot of trips during the summer to different places and i don't want to lug around a big camera (won't fit in my bookbag that i usually wear when traveling). also, i need to be able to take A LOT of pictures before unloading them onto the computer. i just got back from a school in Costa Rica. i was there for about 5 weeks, and took about 10 rolls of film. it is WAY too expensive to take the pictures i want.

with that said, i have looked at the Olympus D-40Z and it looked great. i've heard wonderful things about Olympus cameras, and this one looked to be right up my alley, but it won't hold a microdrive or anything like that. then i looked at the Cannon Powershot S-40, but it looks to me like the Olympus would make better pictures. There are a lot of other kinds i've checked out, but these two stick out to me. i need other suggestions, cause i'm not getting anywhere with this stuff.

i want the camera to just be point and shoot without all the fancy mumbo-jumbo, cause i'm not into all of that. and i'd like to be able to print out up to around an 8x10 if i decide i like a picture enough to do that.


i'll leave for mexico at the end of this month, and i'll be there for another 4 weeks. it would be great to find something before then.

God bless
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Old Jun 8, 2002, 9:18 PM   #2
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I suggest you include the Olympus 720 in your list. I feel this is the best overall camera on the market today. It meets size requirements, gives me extra zoom for the vacation and travel pictures, and has just the right amount of pixels to make great 8x10's.

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Old Jun 9, 2002, 10:34 AM   #3
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What's your budget? Might get some better advice if we had an idea what you can spend. My advice is to get something that can take AA NiMH batteries and CF memory if not a microdrive.
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Old Jun 9, 2002, 11:50 AM   #4
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Another question to ask is what you typically shoot.

If you're into scenics or vistas, a large(r) zoom may be appropriate. If you're into groups of people or mostly broad scenes, an emphasis on wide angle may be most important. If you're into photographing small items or doing close-ups (e.g., flowers, insects) then macro capability is a must.

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Old Jun 9, 2002, 12:58 PM   #5
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If a 3x zoom is ok, have a look at the Fuji range - nice and compact some of these. Personally I wouldn't worry about a fragile microdrive I think you're better off with several SMs or CFs therefore a C40 is a good choice too.

I've recently read a good review of the Minolta Dimage X and it's as compact as they come and point and shoot.

Consider battery charging too, even if you choose one that uses AAs the alkaline variety are no use as they burn up in no time.

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Old Jun 10, 2002, 1:53 PM   #6
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GoonW - I had to smile when I read your first paragraph as, I too, have reached the information overload in my quest to purchase a digital camera.

The other day I downloaded images from different cameras and printed out on my printer. Results - they all looked good!

My solution was this. Use Excel (or just a grid on a piece of paper) and on the left side list, in order of preference, the most importnat features of a digital camera for you. At the top of each column list the cameras you are considering. Then simply put a checkmark in the columns if that camera fits your needs.

Understand, when finished, it is unlikely that one camera will have a checkmark in every column. I think what you and I have to understand is that this is a "give & take" process. Some people will lament over the macro aspects of a camera, but for me I could care less.

For me the answer was a Canon G2. Would I suggest to you, or anyone else, that this is the best camera of all? No way! It suits my needs.

BTW, you and I still have one hurdle to conquer. Where to purchase!

Trust in the fact you will make the right decision for you.
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Old Jun 10, 2002, 2:06 PM   #7
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Jim, don't fall into the trap of thinking a list of features will help you single out the best camera. That's a cood starting pioint to weed out the field but often camera reviews point out the subtle differences only in the text. Choosing the right camera will have to take into account your experience, shooting style, budget, expectations, etc. etc.
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Old Jun 11, 2002, 10:25 AM   #8
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You're looking for somewhat conflicting things, in a way, which is why this is tough. Hi-res, but lots of photos; great photos, but point and shoot. The good news is that the cameras have matured a lot in the last several months, odds are you'll be happy with a number of cameras if you think realistically about your budget and what you really need.

A couple things:

The Canon S40 is a good balance between the compact Elph line and the G2. Think through the memory issue, and whether you really need 4MP. Or at least, think about whether you want to shoot all your shots at that resolution. You'll need a LOT of memory. If budget is a factor, look at the S30.

At 4MP, the new Sony DSC-P9, due out any day, is in the ballpark. Take a look at some of the other Sony Cyber-Shots as well. Some like the P75 are larger, but with better optics. Others, like the P5, are more compact. But memory is more expensive than the Canons.

MEMORY: If you are looking to be able to shoot lots of photos, that means buying lots of memory. The Compact Flash cards used in the Canons are cheap and high capacity. I agree that the sometimes-flaky microdrives don't make sense next to $0.50 a mb CF cards. If $ is less of an issue, then just pick a camera and get whatever your camera needs. If you need to take 300 photos, that's going to take about 450MB of memory for a 3MP camera. (But maybe you can shoot some at lower res, or discard the bad ones each day.)

BATTERIES: If you are travelling think about getting an extra battery pack. The Canon battery packs aren't as outrageously priced as some of the other manufacturers. Cameras that take AAs can use NiMH rechargeables, which work great, get 2 sets. But I wouldn't pick a camera based solely on batteries - just be sure to have plenty.

OTHER CAMERAS: The Canon G2 is a great camera if you really want the image quality and a reasonably full-featured camera that you can grow into. It's not compact, but it's not huge either.

I don't think the Minolta Dimage X is for you, it's a great supercompact snapshot camera but the image quality is slightly compromised to get there. A better choice if you are looking for something compact would be the Canon S330, although at only 2MP it doesn't quite get the resolution you may think you want.

[Edited on 6-11-2002 by buzzy]

[Edited on 6-11-2002 by buzzy]
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Old Jun 12, 2002, 10:58 PM   #9
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Pick out a couple of cameras you like, and then compare the pictures they take to see which you like best. Steve's Digicams is an excellent resource, and www.imagingresource.com is another.
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