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Old Sep 14, 2003, 10:15 PM   #1
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Default Trying to find a good digital camera 150-200

Hi everyone, I am trying to shop for my first digital camera. I would like to spend 150-200, but closer to 150ish so i can add accessories if I need it.

I found the Fuji 2650 which looks real good. Does anyone have sugguestions of other real good cameras in this price range or is the Fuji 2650 a real good one to get?

Thank you
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Old Sep 14, 2003, 10:56 PM   #2
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Yes, and Yes

Yes, I have a friend with the Fuji 2600 (predecesor to the 2650), and she likes it. It takes good photos.

Yes, I know of another good choice.

Nikon offers reburbished cameras on their NikonMall web site, and they sell directly to the consumer with no "middle man"

They now offer the Coolpix 2500 for just $134.99 (retails for $299).

http://www.nikonmall.com/searchresul...&searchcatid=3

Although not known for their camera reviews, PC Magazine occasionally reviews cameras by price range.

PC Magazine tested 10 cameras for under $300.00 in it's Oct. 2002 issue.


These cameras were the Canon Powershot A200, Casio Exilim EX-M1, FujiFilm Finepix 30i, HP Photosmart 620, Kodak EasyShare LS420, Minolta DiMAGE X, Olympus Camedia D-520 Zoom, Sony Cybershot DSC-P51, Toshiba PDR-3300, and Nikon Coolpix 2500.

The Nikon Coolpix 2500 was the "Editors Choice".

On a brand new one, Nikon currently has a $50.00 mail in rebate, good through September 30th. Here's the rebate form (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader):

http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/coolpixsummerrebate.pdf

Personally, I'd go for the refurbished model. It would save you money for a spare battery and larger memory card. Note: a rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery and Charger is included with this model, but I'd suggest buying a spare battery anyway.

With many other models, you'll need to buy your own charger and rechargeable batteries. I actually prefer the proprietary Lithium Ion Batteries that manufacturers are switching to, since they are more predictable than AA's, and tend to charge much faster and more reliably.

BTW, I once bought a refurbished camera from Nkon this way. It arrived in perfect, like new condition. I was unable to distinquish it from a brand new camera in any way -- even up very close inspection.
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Old Sep 15, 2003, 10:33 AM   #3
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The Nikon seems real good and has real good reviews as well. The only bad thing I can think of is the hassle of returning it or something if something goes wrong with it, I would have to mail it and everything instead of just going to a store. Is there a full warrenty on the remanufactorered ones too?

Now that I read some more about the Nikon, i read that there is real bad red-eye in the photos, which isnt good because I want to take lots of pictures of my friends and us having some fun. So I am leaning towards the Fuji
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Old Sep 15, 2003, 11:25 AM   #4
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I would go with a Fuji as well.... I find the Nikon's are terrible for night shooting. I've used a wide variety of digitals, but the Nikon (especially the 2500) end up with "light spots" on the picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphx22
The Nikon seems real good and has real good reviews as well. The only bad thing I can think of is the hassle of returning it or something if something goes wrong with it, I would have to mail it and everything instead of just going to a store. Is there a full warrenty on the remanufactorered ones too?

Now that I read some more about the Nikon, i read that there is real bad red-eye in the photos, which isnt good because I want to take lots of pictures of my friends and us having some fun. So I am leaning towards the Fuji
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Old Sep 15, 2003, 4:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphx22
The Nikon seems real good and has real good reviews as well. The only bad thing I can think of is the hassle of returning it or something if something goes wrong with it, I would have to mail it and everything instead of just going to a store. Is there a full warrenty on the remanufactorered ones too?
Nikon offers a 90 day warranty on their refurbished products. Most of the time, a refurbished product comes into being, just because somebody changes their mind about a product they've purchased. So, it gets returned to the manufacturer.

The manufacturer then retests the camera, returning it to meet the specifications of a new camera, repackaging it, and selling it as remanufactrered. They use a 90 day warranty (versus a full year) on these products. I suspect that this has more to do with keeping their dealers happy than anything else (if they offered a full year, why would anyone buy a new one instead).

Personally, I trust the remanufactured products more than I trust the brand new ones. Most of the time, if an electronic component is going to fail, it will fail almost immediately. Usually, only much later in a products lifecycle do you start getting failures due to switch/contact wear, etc.

Because the camera was tested once when manufacturered, and again (probably much more thoroughly) after being returned, to make sure no problems exist, I have more faith in the remanufactured products reliability, compared to a new camera (especially when purchasing the product directly from the manufacturer -- and with Nikon, you get a 90 day warranty (while paying less than half of the suggested list price for this product).

You're getting a product with a list price of $299.99, for only $134.99 this way. To me, this is a real bargain.

I've got a Nikon Coolpix 950 that I purchased from Nikon this way. It's still in perfect condition, after heavy use over the past couple of years).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphx22
Now that I read some more about the Nikon, i read that there is real bad red-eye in the photos, which isnt good because I want to take lots of pictures of my friends and us having some fun. So I am leaning towards the Fuji
As a general rule, the closer a flash is to the camera's lens, the greater the potential for redeye. So, yes, Redeye is going to be a problem with a subcompact camera design.

The way manufacturers try to reduce it, is via a redeye reduction flash mode. These modes use a pre-flash (or series of pre-flashes), prior to the main flash. The way this helps, is that the bright pre-flashes shrink the pupils of your subjects, so that the redeye is reduced (but often not eliminated).

I've found that using redeye reduction flash modes tends to spoil my flash photos. So, I leave redeye reduction turned off.

My latest camera is a subcompact (pocketable) Konica KD-510z. Because of it's small size, the flash is located very close to the lens, so redeye can occur frequently with this camera too.

To me, pocketability was the more important consideration. Like my new Konica KD-510z, the Nikon Coolpix 2500 is a very small, pocketable camera. I love pocketability, since it lets me take a camera with me everywhere. I carry my new camera in my front pants pocket.

As far as redeye, rather than spoiling my photos (since the use of redeye reduction modes, with their "pre-flash" tends to ruin facial expressions), I simply correct it via software when it occurs.

I use irfanview (a free image editing package) for this purpose. It works very well. If redeye occurs in a flash photo, you simply use your mouse to select the eye. then choose a redeye correction menu choice. It instantly removes the redeye.

I've found that it works much better than many other packages I've tried, and it's simple to use. Some packages tend to leave "black holes" where the pupils were. Others are too finicky on the exact shade of red to reduce. Irfanview seems to work great -- removing the red, while leaving the eyes looking natural -- even leaving reflections in the pupils.

No matter what camera you choose, if it's a small, subcompact model, you'll still end up with redeye in some of your photos. A lot depends on the lighting conditions, distance to subject, angle from camera to subjects eyes, etc. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. The only good way to avoid it consistently, is with an external flash, located high above the camera's lens. Unfortunately, subcompact cameras don't have hot shoes.

I'd suggest downloading a copy of irfanview from http://www.irfanview.com for this purpose. It also has many other image editing features. The best part, is that it's totally free.
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Old Sep 15, 2003, 5:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenKosowan
I would go with a Fuji as well.... I find the Nikon's are terrible for night shooting. I've used a wide variety of digitals, but the Nikon (especially the 2500) end up with "light spots" on the picture.
Each camera is going to have it's strengths and weaknesses.

Neither of these cameras has a focus assist lamp, which can limit their useability in low light situations.

However, if you are interested in shooting long exposure night shots, the Nikon is a much, much better choice, compared to the Fuji.

Here is what Dave Etchells at imaging-resource.com said about the Fuji:

"Night Shots: The FinePix 2650's fully automatic exposure system and maximum shutter time of 1/2-second severely limited its low-light shooting capabilities. The camera produced clear, bright, usable images only down to about four foot-candles (44 lux) which is roughly four times brighter than average city street lighting at night. Plan on using the 2650's built-in flash for any shots after dark."

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/F2650/F265A.HTM

Here is what he said about the Coolpix 2500 in his Night Shots section of it's review:

"Night Shots: The Coolpix 2500 had some trouble focusing at low light levels, but managed to capture usable images as low as one foot-candle (11 lux) with good color and focus. The camera captured bright images as low as one-half foot-candle (5.5 lux) in its "Night Landscape" mode, but that mode fixes the lens focus at infinity, reducing its usefulness. Since average city street lighting is equivalent to about one foot-candle, the Coolpix 2500 should do pretty well in typical nighttime shooting conditions."


So, the Nikon Coolpix 2500 can produce bright, useable images, with good color and focus, in light as low as one foot-candle (11 lux), in it's normal modes. With the Night Lansdscape Mode (which locks focus to infinity), you can shoot in light as low as one half foot candle.

In contrast, the Fuji required 4 to 8 times as much light, severely limiting it's useability for night shooting.

Now, you may never even need the Nikon's much better night shooting ability. Long exposure photos will require a tripod anyway to prevent blue due to camera shake. I rarely use this feature. The last time I needed long exposures was for taking photos of Christmas Lights in my area. We rode around finding interesting lights, and when we found a good home, I'd get out (with my camera and tripod) and take some longer exposure photos.

No camera is going to be perfect for all shooting conditions. Compare the cameras you're interested in, looking at the features that are more important to you, in conditions that you will be using the camera in.

I'd suggest reading through multiple reviews on cameras you are considering, to get more than one reviewers perspective.

Some of my favorite resources:

http://www.steves-digicams.com - Steve reviews a lot of cameras. Bear in mind, that he's usually less critical than most reviewers though, so take this into consideration. Steve's reviews are great for new users, because he goes through a cameras menu system in great detail. His conclusion section is very useful in determining a cameras strengths and weaknesses, too. Also, Steve usually includes some of the same subjects in his sample photos section for each camera reviewed. This makes it easy to compare photos from camera models you are considering.

http://www.imaging-resource.com - Dave Etchell's does great reviews. He also offers a feature known as the "comparometer", which lets you compare images from cameras you are considering "side by side" in the same conditions. Dave also has a "picky details" section for each camera he reviews, so you can look at things like Startup times, autofocus lag, shot to shot times, etc. Performance can vary dramatically between camera models.

http://www.dpreview.com - Phil Askey is the most thorough reviewer in the business. Unfortunately, because his reviews are so detailed, he doesn't review as many cameras as some of the other reviewers. Phil also tends to be more critical than other reviewers, so take this into consideration.

http://www.megapixel.net - Denys Bouton offers a unique review style, and I find his information very helpful. He comes out with a new online "issue" monthly (on the 15th of the month). The new issue came out today.

http://www.dcresource.com - Although his reviews aren't as detailed as those from Phil Askey or Dave Etchells, Jeff Keller (owner/editor of dcresource.com) offers unbiased opinions of the cameras that he reviews. He will tell you what he likes, and doesn't like about the cameras he reviews.

Another good resource is a photo sharing web site like pbase.com

They have a camera database, that let's you look at photo albums from their subscribers, from most cameras on the market. Bear in mind, that the photographers skill, and the lighting conditions have more to do with good photos than anything else. Also, unless photos from the same cameras, are taken of the same subject, in the same conditions, there is no way to say which camera performs better.

However, this does give you a way to see what photos look like, from typical users, and you can browse through the albums to see what photos look like in the conditions that you'll use the cameras in.

Here's the link to the camera database:

http://www.pbase.com/cameras

Good Luck with your Search!
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Old Sep 15, 2003, 10:06 PM   #7
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My friend pointed out another good camera, Olympus D-560 for 200 bucks. What do you think of that one?
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Old Sep 15, 2003, 11:00 PM   #8
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I am gonna go with the Fuji I think

Thanks for the tips and advice!
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 12:03 AM   #9
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The Fuji is a very good choice. I have a friend with a 2600, that is very happy with it. She uses it to photograph items that she sells on Ebay, and is very pleased with the photos.

Make sure to budget some extra money for a battery charger, and rechargeable NiMH AA Batteries, as well a some money for a larger memory card (the cards that ship with digital cameras are more "starter cards", not allowing many photos before you'll need to download them to your PC.

Good Luck, and Happy Shooting!
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Old Sep 16, 2003, 12:16 AM   #10
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Yeah, im gonna buy a 64mb size on amazon for like 35 bucks, a combo recharger/2100 batteries/battery case for about 40-something from thomas batteries site

so i should be ok..total around 245 or something

Any suggestions on a case or anything? Preferrably one that isnt 2 expensive or anything.

Thanks!
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