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Old Jul 22, 2004, 7:41 PM   #21
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Any digital camera above the level of something you keep on your keychain needs white balance, contrast, sharpness and saturation settings. The only practical way to do that is with menus. Once they set up the menu system, geehaw modes to lure newbies doesn't cost extra for them to add. They don't bother me if they keep them out of the way.

There are gobs of reasonably priced 35mm cameras with zoom lenses. None have manual zoom or focus controls, nor do they have hot shoes. They don't take filters and their lenses retract and close. It is the cheap way to make cameras – digital or film. Find me a 35mm with manual zoom and focus plus a hotshoe and filter capability for around the $150 price range of the zoom film cameras and I'll agree they should make a digital counterpart for around $400.

Odd that you should complain about cameras under $500 having to fit in your pocket. You bought a pocket camera where there are more competent larger cameras in that price range or lower. Many take AA batteries, and all of them have either optical finders or EVFs. Look at the Minolta 414 or Canon A80 as examples. They both have full manual exposure modes, optical finders and NiMH AAs. The A80 will come out around as cheap and the 414 is considerably cheaper in the US than your 33L. And the 414 has a nice B&W status panel you can see in bright light.

There are many cameras under $400 that have real shiny metal rather than fake shiny metal. I happen to have two of them.

If you are going to have just one large camera and use it frequently NiMH makes good sense. My first digital was a Minolta 7i with AAs. I don't much like them now as I don't use the Minolta as often. They lose about 5% of their charge a day, so you can't just pick the camera up after it has been sitting a while and expect to have sufficient power. Lithium batteries lose about 2%/month after the first day. They are much lighter and more compact. I have a $20 spare lithium for one camera and found one on sale for $10 for another. They are both as competent as the original factory batteries. I bought from someone recommended on the Panasonic board by several satisfied customers and have been very happy with both of them. For those prices I see no reason to put up with the bulk, weight and discharge of NiMH.

I've always had a pocket camera in addition to my more competent larger cameras. I started with Minox and half frame 35mm until they got some decent full frame 35mm cameras you could carry around. I have always gotten more photos with my small cameras that are always with me than with my big SLR gear. The first rule of a gunfight is to have a gun.

I had a choice of black or silver for my FZ10 and elected to get silver. I often take it out in my open boat and black cameras just get too hot in the Florida sun. Silver gets too hot, but black would be unacceptable. If I were a Newfie I would get black though.
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Old Jul 23, 2004, 9:13 AM   #22
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I purchased my Pentax for $299Cdn, the Minolta was $369Cdn and the Canon was $499Cdn. Since neither of these had all of the features I wanted (although the A80 came closest) I chose the Pentax.

I had used a Pentax ME Super with 50mm lens as my "carry around" camera (I know it doesn't fit in small pockets) so I did not own a modern compact 35mm (I carried an old Ricoh 500GX rangefinder camera for a while, very nice camera until it died of old age). I have therefore used SLRs almost exclusively since 1978, from semi automatic (Pentax ME Super) to all manual (Pentax K1000 and KX) to almost modern autofocus Minoltas (7000 and 5000).

I enjoy using the Pentax Optio 33L and it offers far more image options than most of the cameras in its price range (3 different types of bracketing, control over contrast, saturation, sharpness, manual white balance, manual focus, exposure compensation up to +-2, and an excellent review mode). The issue is that I can purchase entry level 35mm SLRs, complete with the "standard" zoom (something in the 28mm to 90mm range) for about $299Cdn while a Fuji S7000 will cost me $887.50. I think the Fuji represents the bottom end of the full featured market (OK the Canon G5 is $820 here). I won't get into a breakdown of all of the cameras I have looked at but it is sufficient to say that a high end P&S digital with the features I would like costs at least double the price of a very capable 35mm SLR.

I am not condemning the entry level digitals, they take excellent pictures and are generally easy to use, what I am saying is that manufacturers can build an economical camera that people like me can afford. I realize that white balance and picture quality require menus, but simple changing capture modes need not. If dials for shutter speed and aperture are too expensive, than give me two buttons (like my ME Super and all of my Minoltas) and why not have a fixed lens with a mechanical zoom, it must be cheaper to do this than it is to produce quiet fast motorized systems (my Pentax makes an awful racket as it extends or zooms). I hope that I am not the only person here who would appreciate a camera which did a little less thinking for you and allow you to have a user interface as simple as my old K1000 for a price that we poorer enthusiasts can afford.

I would love a Dimage 7Hi or an A1 or A2, I would love a Panasonic DMC-LC1 (or Leica D2), the Sony f828 has most of the features I want, and even the Fuji S7000 should offer excellent image quality up to the 8X10 maximum I usually print, but all of these are well beyond my means at this time. The closest thing to affordable I have seen is an old Fuji S602 pro for $460 after rebate, but it is only 3Mp so it offers far less flexibility in print size, although it does offer the advanced control I would like (The lens does extend, but it has an electroniczoom ring which at least puts the control in a familiar place).

I am not here to argue about what is wrong with existing camera designs, they serve their owners (me included) very well. I would just like to see some manufacturer give us the option of a simple (if bulky) camera which is within our means.

One more point, ordered from the US Li-ion battery packs are available for probably $40Cdn (don't forget shipping and exchange rate), however the lowest price I have seen for any replacement battery packs locally is between $60 and $70, that buys a lot of NiMH AAs.

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Old Jul 23, 2004, 9:25 AM   #23
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Monza76 wrote:
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One more point, ordered from the US Li-ion battery packs are available for probably $40Cdn (don't forget shipping and exchange rate), however the lowest price I have seen for any replacement battery packs locally is between $60 and $70, that buys a lot of NiMH AAs.
Ira:

Each user will have their preferences in battery type. Most models I've owned used AA Batteries. However, my latest digicam uses a proprietary Lithium Ion battery.

Guess What? I now prefer the Lithium Ion. Why? For one thing, it's much easier for me to handle. Instead of multiple batteries to load,you have one battery to load, that only fits in the charger or camera one way. With AA's, I had to fumble with multiple batteries, worrying about making sure I didn't have the polarity reversed (when inserting them into the charger, or the camera).

Also, I've found the Lithium Ion to be much better about holding it's charge when my camera is "sitting on the shelf". With AA's, I'd always need to make sure they had a fresh charge before using the camera.

As for price, if you shop around, you can usually find Generic Lithium Ion batteries for most popular digicams, at a fraction of the cost of the manufacturer's batteries.

For example, I can buy a Generic Battery for my latest camera, for around $10.00.

So, I would never let battery type influence my decision in purchasing a new digicam. There are far more important considerations.


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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:13 AM   #24
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OK on the battery issue, what about the Panasonic DMC-FZ10? The genuine Panasonic battery lists here for about $100Cdn, how hard would these be to find at a bargain price? Another candidate is the Kodak DX6490, it has some of the features I want and the batteries list at $50Cdn.

The Panasonic is beyond my current budget (at nearly $900Cdn) but the Kodak is available for less that $550Cdn. The Kodak does not have a hot shoe but it does have a pc terminal and a reasonable control layout.



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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:30 AM   #25
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Monza76 wrote:
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OK on the battery issue, what about the Panasonic DMC-FZ10? The genuine Panasonic battery lists here for about $100Cdn, how hard would these be to find at a bargain price? Another candidate is the Kodak DX6490, it has some of the features I want and the batteries list at $50Cdn.

The Panasonic is beyond my current budget (at nearly $900Cdn) but the Kodak is available for less that $550Cdn. The Kodak does not have a hot shoe but it does have a pc terminal and a reasonable control layout.



Ira
I don't know about Canada, but it looks like the vendors on Ebay are selling generic batteries for these models forunder$20.00 each in the U.S. (plus shipping). These are "buy it now" prices, so you don't have to worry about bidding (unless you want to try and save a couple of bucks more).

Most of the guys selling them will give you a discount on the shipping for each additional battery if buying more than one. Here's an example for the Panasonic:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...74775&rd=1

Here's an example for the Kodak:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW



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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:39 AM   #26
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Thanks JimC, I will check that out, I also plan on giving the Kodak another look, as I said in an earlier post, if the technology will not adapt to me than I will have to adapt to the technology. My biggest performance issue with most of the digicams I have used is the weak "snapshot" flash, since the Kodak will allow for an external flash I can dust off my old Vivitar. I am concerned about the EVF, these things range from acceptable to down right awful.


BTW I have not mentioned the Konica-Minolta Z1 or Z2 because I just don't like the layout, and I am not sure about the durability of the "mechanical" EVF (moving mirror). I also do not own the later model Minolta flash units required.
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Old Jul 23, 2004, 10:57 AM   #27
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Monza76 wrote:
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My biggest performance issue with most of the digicams I have used is the week "snapshot" flash, since the Kodak will allow for an external flash I can dust off my old Vivitar.
Be very careful with that old Vivitar. I've got aVivitar 273 I use with my 35mm, including the optional "soft light/bounce diffuser kit". However, this flash is not considered useable on modern digital cameras.

This is because the trigger voltage is so high that it can fry the circuits in some cameras. You can get a device that fits into a hot shot (which provides a secondary hot shot), to make the use of these flashes safe.

Here is an article discussing the issue:

http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/flash.html

Here is an example of adevicemanufactured by Wein, known as their "Hot Shoe to Hot Shoe Safe Sync"

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...amp;sku=245292


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Old Jul 23, 2004, 11:20 AM   #28
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The more information I get the more I realize that to go beyond the basic P&S camera may require a much greater commitment than I first imagined. My flash is an early 285 which apparently is not recommended (later 285HV? may be OK).

I think I'd better move over to the Flash forum and start asking about slaves that will work with the Pentax.



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Old Jul 23, 2004, 4:36 PM   #29
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Correct me if I am wrong.

I would assume all slaves should work for your Pentax.

The only problem I can see, would be the use of a strange system like Canon's E-TTL system, that uses multiple pre-flashes to determine proper exposure. This is why they use remote flashes for the EOS line, because you cannot use the old trigger via the camera flash method.

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Old Jul 23, 2004, 6:11 PM   #30
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Chako wrote:
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Correct me if I am wrong.

I would assume all slaves should work for your Pentax.

The only problem I can see, would be the use of a strange system like Canon's E-TTL system, that uses multiple pre-flashes to determine proper exposure. This is why they use remote flashes for the EOS line, because you cannot use the old trigger via the camera flash method.

I think you're right, but he was talking about using his old Vivitar with a Kodak's hot shoe. See his earlier post where he said

Quote:
My biggest performance issue with most of the digicams I have used is the weak "snapshot" flash, since the Kodak will allow for an external flash I can dust off my old Vivitar.



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