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Old Jun 9, 2003, 6:36 PM   #1
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Default Here's a challenge: Mr. Cheapo is looking for a camera!


I've got a challenge for you all: I'm looking for a cheap digital camera.

My biggest problem is that I don't know how to take pictures. I've never really taken any pictures, and I've just realised that it's a shame.

What I need is a good, easy to use, cheap camera that is small and rough enough to stay in my backpack. I want to be able to pull it out when I feel like taking a picture. And I'm not going to take close up pictures of flowers or anything, more like my mate dropping his pants. I almost feel embarrased coming here, since you people "scare" me. You know what ISO 400 means. I don't. F2,8? Haven't got a clue. I've found a Canon camera, A300 that suits my budget fine. But it hasn't got zoom (I know what zoom is! ) - should I get a camera with zoom? My main use for this camera would be taking pictures to put on my web site, but I don't want a crap camera, since I might feel like making paper copies of some of my pictures.

So, I'll be taking pictures of:
- people
- landscapes (you know, hiking...)
- typical action photos - people playing soccer, etc.

I'm not gonna do any "arty" pictures. And if I get the hang of it, I'd rather buy a new camera, instead of getting a full featured one now that scare the daylights out of me.

My budget is limited: about $300, but that is for camera only (I got the extra money for memory card and batteries/charger).

Now, I hope I haven't offended anyone with this post, and I hope you can help me.

Thanks for reading this.

svejar is offline   Reply With Quote
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 8:46 PM   #2
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Default Heresy

Have you thought about getting some disposable cameras and having the pictures printed onto a CD? In the short run (about 20 cameras worth or 400 shots) it would be much cheaper than shelling out for a digicam.

Granted, you won't be able to take 50 shots of your friend's bare bottom, but beyond 2 shots I think you're losing the mood of that moment anyway.

Anyway, that's my opinion. I'll go crawl back under my bridge now.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 9:34 PM   #3
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Mr. Cheapo's pictures will look like Mr. Cheapo's pictures. Get a reasonably priced ($200-300) camera and learn to use it. Less would be a waste.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 11:55 PM   #4
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Action shots are the big problem...most consumer digital cameras take from a fraction of a second to several seconds to take a picture...if you click right when you think something is going to happen you've probably missed the shot. A cheap digicam can't beat a cheap disposible film camera.

Really suggest you do some reading first. I think you will miss not having (optical) zoom...if you can get it for just a few dollars more, why not? Suggest you do some reading on the subject. Go into Google.com and type in things like BUYING FIRST DIGITAL CAMERA to get sites with tips. Also a site like http://www.photocourse.com/ which is a free online book on the basics of digital photography.
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 12:32 AM   #5
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Yes, I agree with Wildman and Mike_Peat.

Since you'll be taking photos of people and landscapes as well, a digital camera is nice to have. It allows you to see instant reviews of your photos and enable you to learn quickly how to frame and take photos.

If you're looking into spending around $300, you can get a pretty decent one of 2MP-4MP digital camera. Some cameras can do up to 60sec video clips also and this can compensate some for action shots.

I agree with Mike_Peat, do some homeworks before deciding. You can also go to Steve's camera reviews and www.dpreview.com to help your research on the right camera for your needs. These reviews also give you the camera's price range and if the camera is easy or complex to use.

You may want to consider getting one with zoom capability since you'll be taking photos of people. Hint: zoom in when taking photo on a person or group of people. Most of the time, you wouldn't want to take photos of both people and the scene in one or you may lose both on the photo. It takes some practice in framing it right and let the camera do the rest on Auto settings.

Get a camera that uses AA batteries to save you money in the long run since AA NiMH rechargeable batteries lasts over 500 recharges. They're getting quite inexpensive these days, between $15-$45 with a charger.

If you get a digital camera, don't spend all your money on memory cards. One of 64MB, 128MB or 256MB should do. Then, invest on a portable image storage for as little as $185 (20GB). Read reviews on these at http://www.steves-digicams.com/digi_...s.html#storage and http://dp-now.com/archives/000037.html. It's very compact and you can carry in your backpack. It's very useful for trips.

Hope all these help you.

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Old Jun 10, 2003, 8:49 AM   #6
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Thank you all for taking the time to answer my questions. I took Mike_PEAT's advice and bookmarked www.photocourse.com - and I've been spending the last 2 hours on that site! If I summarize what you all said, it looks something like this:

- if I intend to use a camera only occasionally, try disposable cameras
- get off my lazy a$$ and try to learn the basics of photography
- if i buy a digital camera, get one with zoom
- put some extra cash in storage and batteries

Well, I will get a digital camera, and I will learn the basics of it. Or at least try. So for now - thanks for the advice, and I'll keep looking for that suitable camera.

svejar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 10, 2003, 4:30 PM   #7
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As to which camera u should get, i suggest either the a60 or a70. Both are great cameras and in your price range. Also, they take aa, compact flash and can take add-on lenses. You will probably also appreciate the fact that they have a point and shoot mode as well as a manual mode so you can experiment with manual settings. Good luck with photography!
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