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Old Jun 9, 2003, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default Digital Camera Choice - need unbiased opinion

Hi all...

New to posting but have been doing a lot of research here in the last couple weeks. I am looking for a new digital camera (our sony mavica fd85 having died) and think I have narrowed my search down to the Oly c4000z. My main subject matter is my 18mo old son, both indoor and outdoor pictures, still and action shots. I'm a novice photographer but I want something that will grow with me as I learn to play with settings. I wanted at least 3mp, minimal time between shots, and a continuous picture/burst mode, and priced less than $500. My main priority is picture quality, though, and from what I've read, the c4000z is exceptional in this area (especially with indoor photos). My only other limitation is that I don't want a canon (husband works for direct competitor). Anyone out there have a suggestion for another camera that would be better for my situation?

thanks in advance

carla
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 10:22 PM   #2
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Default unbiased opinion

i was just thinking about asking for an "unbiased opinion" and that doesn't really make sense as people will post with their experiences with their camera... so....... please post with any opinions :lol:

carla
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 10:32 PM   #3
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Ok... my biased opinion is that the C4000 would make an excellent choice in your price range. The Oly C-3xxx and C-4xxx series as a whole have excellent optics and mix a useful blend of auto-pilot (point-n-shoot) features with manual over rides that suit a wide variety of users, and will probably suit you for a long time to come.
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Old Jun 9, 2003, 11:01 PM   #4
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For the price range you're looking for, you may want to check out the HP Photosmart 850. You can read reviews from Steve's Camera Reviews and at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/HP/hp_850.asp.

You can purchase one between $375-$414 by searching on the internet. Some even offer free shipping.

A friend of mine was looking for the same exact model of Olympus that you've mentioned. Once I've shown her my HP Photosmart 850, 4.1MP, and its zoom capability, she went and got herself one just last Memorial weekend. A couple of friends at work made me bring mine in today and right away got online to purchase one. These are true stories, I don't make up story to sell Believe me, it sells itself. Ha-ha, that's how I got one :lol:

The HP850 uses a Fuji lens and delivers great quality photos. You can go to this website to view some of the zoom photos that I took (under Nat), http://www.dp-now.com/cgi-bin/forum/forum.pl/read/8181 and http://www.dp-now.com/cgi-bin/forum/forum.pl/read/8292.

The cons: The HP850 doesn't have continuos capability but 2 seconds between shots is not so bad and I use video clips when needing to record quicker actions. Not pocket size but a little smaller than an SLR. I have long fingers and I actually love its size and good grip which gives some stability when using digital zoom.

The pros: It delivers 8x optical zoom and 7x digital = 56x. It uses regular AA batteries. I purchased 24 NiMH rechargeable batteries for around $29.99 on the internet. Plenty to use and each sets of 4 lasted quite awhile.

If you do get the HP, don't bother to get a dock station. For less, you can get an AC adapter. It recharges the batteries as well while powering your system. I use it to play around and unloading the photos without worrying that the batteries will run out. Besides, the USB cable that comes with the camera works just as fast for unloading and is very simple to use as well.

One last thing, whichever camera you decide to purchase, don't be spending all your money on memory cards, one of 128MB or 256MB should do. Then, if you don't already have one, get yourself a portable image storage. Again, both Steve's and Ian's www.dp-now.com has reviews on these. I got myself a 40GB X's Drive II for $240, no shipping & handling cost. You can get one for much less since they come in 20GB, 30GB, 40GB, 60GB or just empty (no GB and less than $100) and you can put your own 2.5" driver in it. Better yet, if you have an older driver just laying around, format it and stick it in there. Some of my friends are getting one and are doing just that. It is small and compact. It even fits in my purse for traveling.

Hope this helps :-)

NTT (Natalie)
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 12:24 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info Natalie.. I did notice Steve's review said "The shot-to-shot time is a little under 5 seconds before the viewfinder image is "live" again..." but you said there was only 2 sec between shots. Also, i haven't liked the image quality with hp cameras I've seen as much as olympus. The reviews also didn't impress me as much as those on the c4000z. Big zoom capabilty isn't that big a deal to me.. i think 3-4x zoom meets my needs. Steve's article said the 850 isn't that great for action shots... "Depending on focal length and lighting conditions it can take up to a second and a half to get AF lock so this makes it nearly impossible to follow moving subjects" or maybe i'm just not understanding it correctly... any more info on these points is welcomed..

thanks!

carla
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 1:57 AM   #6
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Yes, I tested my camera again just now and it's only 2 seconds between shots. Perhaps, they've improved it since Steve's review. Besides, I've upgraded it with the latest firmware and it fixed passed problems.

The lighting condition that Steve's mentioned is very low low light condition. I'm assuming such as night clubs or parties with a few candlelights which I haven't been in these settings to try out the HP850. I've taken photos indoor with home lights and didn't need to use flash. They came out great and clear.

Since I have mobility problems, the large zoom was important to me so the HP850 works quite well for my purpose. However, if large zoom is not a big deal for you, then, there are many many choices out there with 2x and 3x optical zoom. It looks like you have your heart already set on the Olympus. If this is so, you'll see that every camera has pros and cons. It all depends which matters to you most and which meets your needs. Unless, you want to spend over $1000, right?

Good luck and post your result :-)

BTW, you may want to read Ian's discussion forums and see if you can find anything else on the Olympus, http://www.dp-now.com/cgi-bin/forum/forum.pl
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 1:59 PM   #7
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I don't know that I'm set on the Olympus, I guess I was just excited to finally find what I thought was the ideal camera for me and also maybe relieved I was done researching :lol:
I think I had more or less closed my mind to hp cameras from past experiences of a couple of them... this I didn't do lightly as my husband works for HP. I looked at Steve's sample pictures from the 935 and felt that there were better quality pictures out there from other cameras. I will do some more research on the hp850 based on your comments though as I would definately rather go with an hp if it's quality and features are what I'm looking for.

Thanks much!

carla
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Old Jun 10, 2003, 8:30 PM   #8
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Hum... interesting, thought you might want to know that... I work for HP too Based in Houston hub of ole Compaq. I'm curious in knowing where your husband work but it's up to you.

Being a long time fan of Canon cameras and had own a few Canons, I hesitated quite a bit from purchasing an HP.

If you ask your husband, he may remember about these merger posters. When Compaq and HP just merged, they launched some posters of the "New Inventors" which featured photos of employees of both HP and Compaq all over the world. I was one of the volunteer to participate in that campaign. During the photo session, the HP photographers were using, well, an HP digital camera. I don't know which model were they using but it was probably 2 or 3 models before the Photosmart 850. Those photographers were constantly showing their annoyance with the camera. One of them made a remark that he owned a Canon but was not allowed to use it for work.

I told myself that I would never buy such a low quality camera but when the promotional photos were posted, I was quite impressed with the quality of the photos even at being blown up so big. Still, not sure about the HP camera alone. Not until last year, HP has an 18-wheeler that tour around America to show its latest products. Among these was the Photosmart 850. Just the look of the size of it, I wanted one but the price at the time was around $800. When the price of digicams were more affordable for me, I did some homework among all cameras at that same price range and found myself wanting the HP Photosmart 850. Once I found out about the employee's discount, I purchased one. I'm quite happy with it and since some of my friends are getting one too, I hope we'll get a good profit sharing soon :lol:

So, that is basically the story of how I chose the HP850. Sorry for the long story.

I was thinking that perhaps your husband can borrow one from someone at work so you can try it out yourself. Or better yet, go to a photo store and try the different digicams just to see how they work and feels. Whichever one you'll chose, like a new toy, I know you'll enjoy it for many years to come. Wish you many luck

Natalie
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