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Old Aug 12, 2002, 3:06 PM   #1
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Default Looking for advice on a replacement...

Well, it finally happened. I dropped my digicam one too many times. Probably get a case for this new one.

old cam: Panasonic DV-SD4090 (and reason I chose it)
120MB superdisks (and I have an SD drive in my PC)
It's a disk. How much easier is it to swap?
$10/120MB disk is cheap.
1.3MP, but I wasn't spending $1000 for the SD5000 that just came out.
3x optical zoom + 2x digital zoom

New cam wants/needs:
high storage capability.
ability to swap media.
cheap media.
3+ megapixels
3+ optical zoom
price needs to be less than $700 retail (max of $600 online). wife will be screaming for a Hasselblad instead of a regular SLR if I spend much more.

reasons for my wants/needs:
I take lots of pictures when I go places. I went to Hawaii for 10 days and filled 3 superdisks before I came back. Would have taken more pics, but I couldn't find any more disks at the last minute. I don't have a laptop, so DLing images nightly is not an option. Plus, ANY media format is smaller and easier to carry than ANY laptop. I want to actually start printing images instead of just posting them, so the higher the resolution, the better, right? Having had a 3x zoom, I'd say that's a minimum for any shots. The higher the better, but I know there are price concerns to watch.

I really have no brand loyalty, but I don't want a no name camera either. In browsing this site, I've read a few of the reviews. I'm leaning towards:
Nikon (my dad's regular cameras have always been Nikon, and he swears by them)
Minolta (I have an APS Minolta right now that has an incredible zoom and features for an instant camera)
Canon (just another name I always hear about for regular cameras)
and after reading a review on other brands,
Fuji and Olympus.

I am boycotting Sony because I love my ripped MP3s and burned CDs and they make it very hard to play them.

Your thoughts on these brands?
Your suggestions for cameras? (top 3 in order would be appreciated).
Obviously cost is a major concern. I'd really like to keep it under $500, but am willing to sacrifice a few extra bucks for that little extra.

And lastly: Local store or online (not e-bay)? I've ordered electronics online many times in the past and had no trouble with anything as of yet. I'm not in a huge rush, so saving a few bucks is preferable to walking out of the store with one.

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Old Aug 12, 2002, 3:12 PM   #2
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Old Aug 12, 2002, 4:39 PM   #3
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If you want high storage capacity you may need to look at cameras that take compact flash memory as smart media and memory stick go no larger than 128mb. If you are really serious about memory capacity look at something that will take a 1gb microdrive/compact flash type II. I can store over 400 fine quality, 5 megapixel JPGs before having to dump to a PC. Microdrive is actually the cheapest storage per megabyte you will find.
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Old Aug 12, 2002, 4:50 PM   #4
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... 420 pictures is what the counter estimate for the 5Mp (D7) with the microdrive; but in actual use, one can easily go pass 550 shots... It all depends on the pictures content! Also make sure to pick a camera that sports the "El Cheapo" AA NiMh as power source, otherwise it's no good to have a microdrive and no power to run it (or expensive to power, ie. external battery pack or handgrip)

BTW, I used to do exactly what you did using an Iomega Fotoshow to off-load until my 256Mb cards exceed the Zip250 disks... LOL

[Edited on 8-12-2002 by NHL]
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Old Aug 15, 2002, 3:15 AM   #5
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Default Thanks...

Well, opted to get two cameras for the price of many. Guess it was easy to talk the wife into a digital camera after seeing a digital vs. film comparison on another site. And I can save some money up front since I don't require the horsepower of 4+MP for two digital cameras.

I opted to get myself a Minolta Dimage X now (actually ordered it Tuesday). I got this camera mostly for it's size. I am sick of lugging around the digital camera equivalent of a cellular phone "brick". And I'll be getting the Minolta Dimage 7i for her birthday in November (unless something else catches my eye before then). She's fixated on an SLR, so this seemed like the best choise. And a 7x optical zoom seems really nice.

The only thing is that another person I know didn't like the microdrive since it sucked batteries.

Any comments? Any reason my choices are bad?
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Old Aug 20, 2002, 8:32 AM   #6
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Default On Microdrives and Batteries...

Yes, microdrives do use considerably more energy than CF cards, but the tradeoff is capacity and costs.

The Minolta's have not been known for having great battery life, but the solution for an extended trip is to use an external battery. There are a variety available, but my personal favorite is the Eagle Eye Dual-Force Pro PowerPack. This is a relatively inexpensive solution to the problem of batteries. The Dual-Force is a 5000mAh rechargeable NmH battery which has two sides. It can either be used one side at a time or you can simultaneously power an external flash and your camera. I use it with many of my digicams and won't leave home without it! Eagle Eye is in the U.K., but ships worldwide and shipping costs are very nominal. The battery comes with either a US, U.K. or European charger, and a connector for your camera. This is a very well made unit (look for a mini review later this week) and sells for about $116 U.S. There is also an inexpensive optional belt pouch which is highly recommended. I can get over 1500 shots with my Nikon CP4500 running a 1 gig micro-drive with LCD on - drive reformat, etc. This thing is like a dozen Energizer Bunnies!

Here's a link to the site:

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