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Old Jul 18, 2003, 2:01 AM   #1
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Default Could use help deciding on a camera

I thought I had determined which camera I was going to buy, however, after reading a few more reviews, perhaps not. I am looking for a camera for around $500-$600. I need a camera that I can catch the action. I have 2 young children and they are of course active. And they are both in sports activities, etc. I want something with a rather good zoom and of course gives WONDERFUL photos. I'm still learning in the photography area, but I want something that I can use auto or manual settings. Any suggestions? I feel overwhelmed and like maybe I should start my research all over again. My poor family thinks I've taken up residence in the computer chair. :? thanks!!
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Old Jul 19, 2003, 10:11 PM   #2
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I would take a look at the Canon G2 or G3. The latest is a G5 model but it is a little above your price range. If you could get your hands on a used G2 or a new G3 at a decent price I would highly recommend these cameras. I would not buy a camera that didn't support compact flash cards. Canon seems to be the most aggressive in the digital market and I have had good success with their products. Good luck.
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Old Jul 19, 2003, 10:50 PM   #3
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picture taker - For action, and in the price range you specify--- Fuji s602. Very good AF speed/lag and very powerful burst modes(5fps), including a precapture buffered mode(last 5). You might also consider teh Olympus E-10(you can find refurbished ones for in your price range), as it has even quick AF then the Fuji, but nowhere near teh cycle times or burst modes of the Fuji.

Good luck.

-Chris
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Old Jul 19, 2003, 11:20 PM   #4
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Get an Olympus. :lol:
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Old Jul 19, 2003, 11:39 PM   #5
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Hi Picture Taker,
My first digital camera, almost 4 years ago was a Sony 505v. The 505v had one of the biggest zooms at the time 5x. Great colors, great macro ability, but terrible autofocus behavior in portrait type photographs, which I do a lot of. After being amazed at MANY posts of photos taken by an Olympus camera the C-2100uz, and finding it an an incredibly good price, I got it instead of the new printer that I had my eye on, about 2 years ago.
Right from the start, 3 things were very apparent... 1. the Oly autofocus system was light years better than Sony's, 2. the photos from the Oly needed FAR less adjustment in the digital darkroom than the Sony, and 3. it had a 10x zoom and I have found that feature alone to be "worth the price of admission", which BTW has increased the "fun factor" of photography by at least as many times as its' zoom multiple! LOL
Given ALL of the factors you have outlined in terms of your photography needs, the package presented by the Oly 2100uz might have been perfect for you. Unfortunately this camera has been discontinued for quite some time now, but.... FORTUNATELY Oly has also released two cameras having similar characteristics, the C-740uz and the just out C-750uz. Both of these cameras fall within your price range, and the reviews have been very favorable. Steve has reviewed the C-750 recently here. My 2100uz has only a 2.1 megapixel ccd, and I have recently been printing VERY terrific 8.5x11 prints on my new Canon i950 printer with it. Over the past 3 summers, I have taken photos with the Oly of my daughter's pee-wee baseball teams, being the un-official official team photographer. The 10x zoom was an incredible tool for this and many other activities. My ability to catch family candids of my wife and children that are real "treasures" have MANY times been directly related to the reach of the terrific zoom and its' resultant framing abilities. Reading the reviews of both the C-740 and C-750 it seems that most features of 2100uz have been improved upon, with the exception of not providing an image stabilization system on the new cameras. Certainly resolution has been enhanced, color balance and probably even autofocus has been improved since the introduction of the 2100 almost 4 years ago.
My obvious point here is that I think you would do well to investigate these two Olys. I think the additional $100 cost of the C-750 seems more than justified. Both would be easily used in full auto mode by your wife and family members, but in the rather compact body design lies a really terrific digital photography system, perfect I think for a growing family and its' needs as well as the needs of a photographer wishing to grow in his photographic skills. Hope this doesn't confuse you more, but really my final advice is to not agonize too terribly much about many of the intricate specification details between cameras. Surely most of the cameras today easily by-pass most of those ultimate specifications of my beloved 2100uz. The perfect "match" of what my photographic needs have been has far outweighed ANY "possibly" observable deficiencies, when compared to "better" cameras based on ultimately not too important spec. match-ups.
Good luck. Curt

Here are 3 examples of the usefulness of the 10xzoom. The baseball photo was taken from beyond 1rst base, the pony ride photo from at least that distance, if not further. The portrait... my daughter was looking out the living room window, late in the day, and didn't even see me shooting her from the dining room.





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Old Jul 20, 2003, 12:52 AM   #6
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Hi again Picture Taker,
Two more examples, this time taken from Steve's C-750 review sample photos. Resized and given a bit of my normal "darkroom" adjustments. (hope I didn't make them worse LOL). The shots are of the same scene, @ full wide, then full zoom. As the saying goes, sometimes... "pictures are worth a thousand words". Curt

full wide


full zoom
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Old Jul 20, 2003, 7:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Could use help deciding on a camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by picture taker
I have 2 young children and they are of course active. And they are both in sports activities, etc. I want something with a rather good zoom and of course gives WONDERFUL photos.
Just want to add some reality here...the Olympus C-7x0 are great cameras; I own the C-700 myself and I'm very happy with it. There's two negatives about them which I feel I should mention.

The first one is (which is common to most digicams) is shutter lag, the time between pushing the button down and the time the camera takes the picture can be as long (or longer if the camera isn't held steady) as saying, "one thousand"...this can be reduced by pre-focusing (holding down the shutter button halfway just before you think you're going to take a picture and then depress fully to take the picture). Another way to reduce this is to manually focus (not available on the C-720).

The second one is focusing in low light. The camera doesn't have an autofocus assist beam...the camera needs a certain amount of light to focus, if that level of light isn't available, the camera can't focus. Other brands (including other Olympus models like the C-5050) do have AF assist beams. You can add this feature to the C-700/730/750 by purchasing the FL-40 flash (the 720/740 can't use this because they have no external flash socket), but it costs almost as much as the camera itself. BTW, I berate Olympus on this issue whenever I can to get them to see the light (not to mention adding it to the camera) since they have it on other models like the C-5050.

Just thought I should mention those issues.

- Check out the Oly_C-700 Yahoo Group, discussions, fun assignments, etc. for all C-7x0 users, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Oly_C-700/
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Old Jul 20, 2003, 1:43 PM   #8
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Hi Mike and all,

Mike, you stated that:

Quote:
Just want to add some reality here...the Olympus C-7x0 are great cameras; I own the C-700 myself and I'm very happy with it. There's two negatives about them which I feel I should mention.

The first one is (which is common to most digicams) is shutter lag, the time between pushing the button down and the time the camera takes the picture can be as long (or longer if the camera isn't held steady) as saying, "one thousand"...this can be reduced by pre-focusing (holding down the shutter button halfway just before you think you're going to take a picture and then depress fully to take the picture). Another way to reduce this is to manually focus (not available on the C-720).
While "shutter lag" is common to all digicams, and really SLR and DSLR cams as well but perhaps to a lesser degree, so as not to sway someone away from choosing an Oly C-7X0 due to this issue, I thought I would introduce another bit of "reality" here. As you mention, and has been my experience, anyone who owns a digicam for any length of time learns that in almost EVERY situation, especially when it comes to capturing action the "pre-focus" method is the preference. This is accomplished (as you also noted) by a user pushing the shutter release button down half-way to "lock-in" focus and exposure, and then continuing to hold the half-way point until the desired moment, when you fully depress the shutter release button to take the picture. This method reduces the shutter lag to almost imperceptible levels in some cases and very useable or workable scenarios in others. Truthfully, I have found that even with the pre-focus method, it sometimes remains a matter of timing to capture the exact moment desired. I have learned that for sports action, using my Oly 2100uz, by using the continuous auto-focus option and the pre-focus method the shutter lag "issue" is even further reduced.

All that being said, the "reality" I would like to inject here is some comparitive shutter lag times of several current and widely used digicams to see how the Oly C-740 and C-750 "measure up" to the "competition". The shutter lag times below are all pre-focus method results as compiled by Dave Etchells, in his camera reviews, on his web-site "The Imaging Resource".
http://www.imaging-resource.com/
The quoted times are "milliseconds".

Olympus C-750- 0.07
Olympus C-740- 0.093
Nikon 5700- 0.094
Canon G3- 0.104
Sony F717- 0.120
Fuji S602- 0.19
Olympus C-2100uz (my camera)- 0.129

As can be seen, in terms of the shutter lag "negative", (*using the pre-focus option) the Oly C-740 and C-750 seem to fare very "positively" against some rather "heavy-weight" competition! Curt

Oly C-2100uz- "timing is everything" :lol:

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Old Jul 20, 2003, 2:19 PM   #9
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Digeeedad, you have posted some really great shots, quite typical of my experience with the UZI! But, before getting lost in the thread, let me first reply to

picture taker:

While the C-2100 is no longer in production, you can still find an excellent class A refurbished unit, warranted for 90 days by Olympus. I have purchased two of these in the past year, each from a different source. Both meet or exceed the performance of my original C-2100, which I purchased new. Cost for these refurbished units were both under $400. Aside from the price, and in addition to the nice points Mike_PEAT made about the Oly 7xx series, there are a couple of reasons I'd recommend a refurbished unit over one of the newer Olympus 7xx models:

1. Optical image stabilization (I'm really amazed no one thought to mention it yet!!!). All else equal, this "steadycam" feature allows you to take pictures at slower shutter speeds without camera shake, which can cause your pictures to be slightly out of focus. Typically, I'd say you can take the same pictures at 1-2 shutter speed settings slower than the 7xx models under the same conditions. This means better performance in long zoom and low light conditions.

2. The C-2100 comes with a built-in focus assist light, which will let your camera focus properly in low or no light conditions. Again, better low light performance.

Lastly, the price break gives you the option of adding a (used) FL-40 flash, bracket and cable, giving you a really dynamite combination for very close to your price range of just a camera!

I bought one on eBay and another I bought directly from a Olympus refurbished reseller in CA, who advertised on eBay. If you are interested and need further assistance finding one, please let me know.

NOW.... back to you, Digeeedad:
Quote:
I have found that for sports, using my Oly 2100uz that by using the continuous auto-focus option and the pre-focus method the shutter lag "issue" is even further reduced.
My experience has been that you can greatly reduce this lag by turning off continuous autofocus and half-pressing the shutter using the single focus method. I am quite surprised to find a shutter lag of .129s reported for the C-2100 by a reputable source. I would challenge you to experiment and report your own findings here. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
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Old Jul 20, 2003, 2:43 PM   #10
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What I meant is that for sports you have to learn how to deal with shutter lag...it is a fact of life with most digicams. I did not mean to say that the C-7x0 is worse (although I did post my experiment's results above).
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