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Old Nov 1, 2003, 10:19 PM   #1
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Subject: Nikon Coolpix 2100

Note that I'm a novice in the digital camera field (intermediate at best with SLR's). This is my first digital camera and some of my complaints could very well be operator error - but... despite the rave reviews here and elsewhere about this camera I'm really disappointed with it. I got it yesterday. The first one was a dud. I got the replacement today and here's my list of complaints:

1) The term "point and shoot" for this camera should really be: "Point. Wait for focus. Shoot". You're cat (dog, kid, friend, whatever) is doing something cute, forget trying to capture a particular moment because by the time the camera focuses, you've lost the moment.

2) Out of the 75 or so shots I've taken so far I'd say at least 20 of those would not come into focus at all. Period. And for no apparent reason.

3) The camera goes into "pause" after 30 seconds of inactivity so let's say you've got the camera powered up, you see a potentially good shot - Oh! Criminy! First gotta reboot the power, then gotta wait for the &*%#@ thing to focus - oh! Time's up! You miss another shot.

4) The "macro mode" sounds like little bits of metal grinding around inside the camera the moment you turn it on. Apparently the second it's on it's working it's little heart out trying to find something to focus on. You don't just turn this mode on and then walk around the garden getting "macro shots". First you find the shot you want to hone in on, THEN you turn on macro mode, take your shot, then turn off the macro mode. The "auto pause" is even quicker in this mode (15 seconds?). By the way, this mode isn't part of the "dial options" but has to be obtained by going thru the LCD menu. It's relatively quick to get to but it's still a pain, especially considering the way it operates after it's on. With an SLR, you want a macro, you just hone in on something and take your macro.

5) Flash! The flash seems to be required for just about every shot I took - even outside! And basically destroys (washes out) the image!

6) It's so dang small! I thought it'd be kinda nice at first but I feel like the jolly green giant handling a newborn. I think I could get past this in time - if the camera were worth keeping. But I'm used to a pretty good size SLR with a good size zoom lense so this macro machine feels pretty awkward.

7) I'm used to fairly good zoom capability too. I'm non-technical enough not to know what "3X" zoom was going to be like - and it's not much! "3x" (optical) zoom seems to be kind of standard unless you pay up the nose for a "super zoom" model.

I'm afraid to install any of the software that came with this because unless I'm doing something really wrong unawares, this needs to go back though I would like to see the definition potential outside of the LCD screen for myself, which doesn't appear terribly impressive. All in all I'm having a really hard time coming up with anything good to say about this camera! I thought it was going to be able to capture sharp detail for use on ebay - which it just might - that is, when it feels like focusing and the flash hasn't obliterated the image but it doesn't even seem to be good enough for ebay use. I think if you were interested in taking shots of things that don't have fine detail (architecture, landscapes, groups of people maybe) it'd be okay - but otherwise, beware.


I have 10 days to return this camera and would kind of like an alternate in mind to check out when I go back in with these points in mind:

:arrow: Immediate, 100% guaranteed focus capability
:arrow: better? easier? more efficent? macro
:arrow: A flash that doesn't wash the image out
:arrow: Zoom, zoom, zoom!

How much of this could I get for maybe only another $100? $200 at most (but that's kind of pushing it right now).

Definitely looking forward to some input!

Thanks,
Becky
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Old Nov 1, 2003, 10:52 PM   #2
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1) Some more expensive digitals do have faster focus, but to be candid I used a manual SLR for 20 years and the digital is still faster than a human being. Many digitals have manual focusing available if you're shooting multiple pictures at the same focus distance, or in a situation where the focus won't work...but when I have to shoot something quickly I have my camera in Program mode it sets the aperture, shutter speed, and focus quicker than I ever could with my SLR.

2) I can't say why your pictures aren't turning out (certainly not without examples with Exif info). Getting back to the focusing issue, in what situations are you not able to focus in? There are some limits on cameras that don't have a focus assist beam for low light, http://www.howstuffworks.com/autofocus3.htm but even if you had focus assist it's only good for 10feet (the range of the internal flash).

3) The camera going into sleep mode is set by a setting in the menu...my own camera can go to sleep anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

4) With some cameras macro mode requires repositioning lenses. With the macro lens on my SLR, I had to depress a button on the zoom ring while turning it.

5) You might have some setting incorrect, maybe you have your exposure compensation turned down.

6) To be honest, you could have bought a bigger camera...a major factor is how the camera feels in your hands. Yes the smaller form factor of digital cameras does take some getting used to, but you can get larger digitals, and some dSLRs are larger than their film counterpart.

7) If you're a former SLR user, you would probably know that zoom is everything from the widest angle to closest telephoto...3x zoom doesn't mean 3x closer than the human eye. The lens on your camera is 38-115mm (35mm film equivalent). Many of the 10x zoom cameras are 38-380mm but they are only 7.6x zoom in when compared to the human eye (which is about 50mm).

To be honest, many people do get good shots with this camera...but I do see a trend (especially from SLR users) that expect digital cameras to be perfect...they are only as good as the user and what they are willing to learn. Without seeing shots with Exif info, no one can see what you're doing wrong or what setting is incorrect (or maybe there's a defect with this particular camera).

If you are going to get another digital, TRY IT before buying it. Maybe even take a course on digital cameras. Even with my 20 years of manual SLR experience I had a lot to learn. You may want to start here http://209.196.177.41/contents.htm
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Old Nov 2, 2003, 7:33 AM   #3
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Becky, you have a fairly complete list of the problems that pretty much all users of lowish priced (~$300) digicams. About the only one you missed was noise in the image. I'm kinda looking forward to your list of problems with printing:-)

As Mike_PEAT said, several of those can be dealt with by changing the camera settings, i.e., you have to spend some time with the manual. More expensive cameras will deal with some of the problems, but will have an even thicker manual to read. I doubt that another $100-200 will fix all of them.
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Old Nov 2, 2003, 2:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
the digital is still faster than a human being
It could be that my SLR camera isn't very fancy either but I could focus with it a lot faster than this camera does. You have to hold the "shoot" button down halfway on the Coolpix, wait for it to focus and then depress all the way to capture (or more like miss) the image. With my SLR, if I was shooting several pic's of the same subject at pretty much the same distance my focus would already pretty much be set (with maybe only minor adjustment) but with the Coolpix shooting the same thing from the same distance, it has to start it's focus from "scratch" each time. I can't imagine trying to take action shots with this camera though there's a "sports" scene mode.

Quote:
in what situations are you not able to focus in?
I was outside yesterday about 3 p.m. - cloudy skies but definitely enough light for my SLR with 400 film and trying to hone in on a red pepper. It refused to focus (I took the shot anyway just to see what the image would be like and sure enough it was blurry). It did the same thing with some leaves (wouldn't focus) but when I took the shot it actually came out pretty good. Another instance was in my kitchen trying to capture the details of a seed packet (white background, dark lettering, image of cucumbers). And again with a recipe card (medium green border, parchment like background, green lettering). The camera couldn't do it. These are just a few of the incidents I can recall. I just assumed that a digital would be just as good at focusing (if not better) than my SLR - equivalent to a point and shoot 35mm camera at least. I don't know enough about digitals to know if it's me or the camera.

Quote:
The camera going into sleep mode is set by
thank you! ops:


Quote:
With some cameras macro mode requires repositioning lenses. With the macro lens on my SLR, I had to depress a button on the zoom ring while turning it.
I only had to turn the lens with the SLR for macro. Then I was set to go around the garden getting closeups to my hearts content - no hassles. This camera is supposed to get excellent macro shots "up to 1.6"" - not so far in my experience. I could adapt to the macro quirk if the focus consistantly worked (there's a problem with the focus in macro mode also).

I have some technical equipment - but I'm not a very technical person. I actually know very little about SLR's (zoom, aperture, ASI, lighting, etc. etc.) even though I have one (and have used it to good effect). To be honest I *didn't* realize that 3X zoom meant the equivalent of a 35mm camera (not 3 times closer than the human eye). Pretty smart, huh?

Quote:
I doubt that another $100-200 will fix all of them.
So what of all this *could* be fixed for another $100-200? Those of you with digital experience probably have some kind of an inkling about whether there's something wrong with the camera or if I'm just doing something wrong... what's your inkling? I'd sure like to be able to take this thing back if there's something wrong with the camera and move up to something more reliable - or if it's just me, I'd sure like to figure out what I'm doing wrong so I can fix it! Time is an issue because I'm basically working two full time jobs (going to college with 19 credits - ugh!) so I don't have a whole lot of "play" time (and if I were more responsible I wouldn't have *any* play time but I can only study so much!), even on the weekends. So your input is really appreciated.
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Old Nov 2, 2003, 5:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky0669
...
So what of all this *could* be fixed for another $100-200? ...
This is the point where you have to read the reviews, here and a couple of other places for anything you short-list. No one but the folks who review cameras is likely to have any experience with the range of cameras you are looing at.

Focus seems to be one of your primary issues - several sites comment-on/measure focus speed.
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