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Old Oct 14, 2004, 12:59 AM   #1
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I've been researching digital cameras for a few months now - looking for a good 10x (or more) zoom, AA batteries, capable of 50 or 64 ISO, at least 4 MP, manual exposure, manual focus - WITH DISTANCE SCALE, fast shutter response... and preferably less than $700.

I know all the cameras that qualify - but none has every feature I want. At this point, there has to be a compromise made. I haven't yet been able to decide what to compromise - and so I still don't have a digital camera. I keep hoping that tomorrow... or next week... someone will add whatever feature is lacking, and introduce it in a new camera, and I'd be set (perhaps Canon's successor to the S1 IS?). I feel time will eventually run out, as the camera companies seem to be gravitating toward the more profitable proprietary batteries in lieu of the cheaper and more practical AAs.

I've been the happy owner of a nice, unique EOS RT for the past 8 years or so, but I must admit that the practicality of digital has me forgetting about film. I've already printed several 'test photos' that I've taken with digital cameras. I've printed at 11x14 and 12x18 sizes, and have been rather impressed - even the 11x14 from the 3.2 MP C-740 was acceptable.

And so, I will be perusing these forums in hopes of gathering more information and knowledge - and even giving some information whenever I can. There is so much to know, so many images to see, and the cameras changing so rapidly that I'm likely in for a long wait still... Thanks to Steve and whomever else is responsible for providing both these forums, as well as the detailed reviews. Much appreciated.


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Old Oct 14, 2004, 9:48 AM   #2
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EOS RT wrote:
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I feel time will eventually run out, as the camera companies seem to be gravitating toward the more profitable proprietary batteries in lieu of the cheaper and more practical AAs.
My "two cents" worth....

I doubt that the manufacturer's are doing it because of profitability. Lithium Ions simply work better. After using Digicams with both types, I've come to prefer the Lithium Ions.

For one thing, they hold their charge much better. With AA's, I'd always have to give them a fresh charge if my camera was sitting for too long.

Another think I like is that you don't have to fumble with multiple batteries trying to get the polarity right when inserting them into the camera or charger (I always hate trying to spot the tiny +- indicators on the inside of the battery compartments with AA batteries). With Lithium Ion, you don't have worry about it. With most models, the battery only fits one way.

As a general rule, they're pretty cheap if you buy generics. I can get generic lithium ion batteries for my latest camera for under $10.00 (and they seem to work as well as the factory batteries that cost around $40.00).

Finally, AA batteries aren't what they are "cracked up to be" when used in a Digital Camera anyway. I've seen some models that wouldn't even take a photo at all using AA Alkalines. They simply used too much power. Others don't take more than a handful. So, with some of these cameras, the argument that you can always use AA batteries in an emergency just doesn't hold water. Note Steve's comments on the e-mails from users he gets wondering if their camera is broken here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/nimh_batteries.html

Now, I've got chargers and rechargeable NiMH batteries for cameras that use AA's. But, to be frank, I really do prefer the Lithium Ions.

No matter which model you choose, regardless of the battery type it uses, make sure you have spares. Factor this into the cost of the camera.

Personally, I wouldn't put too much weight into the type of batteries a model uses. I'd be more concerned about features and image quality, selecting a model that meets my shooting needs.


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Old Oct 14, 2004, 9:58 AM   #3
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My 2c...

You can't get away from the AA! Even if your camera does not use them, chances are your external flashes will (or the accessory battery grip on most cameras) :-)

Get good rechargeable NiMh AA's they make your flashes recycle faster if you don't use them in your camera... :idea:



FYI the Minolta A2 is ISO64, has both the distance info in the viewfinder and in the exif on its output files, and is one of the fastest of the 8Mp around $700: http://konicaminolta.com/products/co...e-a2/10_2.html
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Old Oct 15, 2004, 1:58 AM   #4
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Thanks, NHL - the A2 looks nice... but I'd like a more powerful zoom than 200 mm.

Jim - thanks for the battery insights. You've provided food for thought.
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Old Oct 15, 2004, 8:56 AM   #5
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EOS RT wrote:
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Thanks, NHL - the A2 looks nice... but I'd like a more powerful zoom than 200 mm.

Jim - thanks for the battery insights. You've provided food for thought.
Have a look at Minolta Z series. It has a longer zoom, is powered by AA cells and has a lot of user control (A,S, and full manualexposure) I am not sure about the manual focus though. Concerning type of battery I also prefer AA cells. I have several devices that run on AAs (digicams, radios, flashlights, walkman) and a bunch of NiMH. Most of todays digicams have a low enough energy consumption that they can operate for quite some time even on alkalines. My Olympus C5050 (although 2 years old model) can take about 65 pictures with LCD on a set of AA alkalines, so it is a solution for emergency power.
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Old Oct 17, 2004, 2:08 AM   #6
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Yes - I've tested the Minolta Z2, and have had a good look at the Z3. While the photos I took with the Z2 were ok (albeit on the 'soft' side),it was too cheaply made for my liking.I've been taking a good look at the Z3, and frankly have been less than impressed with the image quality of the sample photos I've seen to this point.

Right now, my inclination is toward the Olympus C-750. It has a remote control, which the Z2 and Z3 lack. The Z3 does have the stabilization thing - but that's not of great importance to me. I've not tested a C-750, but have tested its lesser sibling, the C-740, and I was impressed. The photos were crisper than were those of the Z2, and the compression ratio on the C-740 was less than on the Z2, which left the C-740 images larger than similarly sized Z2 images - this, despite the Z2 being 4 MP, and the C-740 being 3.2 MP.In the 640x480 resolution photos, there were glaring artifacts in the Z2 photos, but none at all in the C-740 photos.

Of course, now that I've seen that a Multiple Exposure feature is possible on a digital camera, I'd like to include that in the list of features I seek -but Multiple Exposure is still very much a rarity in digicams.

One of these days...
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 7:08 PM   #7
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They are cheap now. My concern with li-on rechargables is will they be as available a few years from now. Will my camera be useless sooner than I wish? It looks like to me likemanufacturers are designing digitals to be disposible after a few years. This way consumers can buy more cameras to keep up. Hmmm. This concerns me. The batteries are certainly a good place to start. Oh and Walmart prob doesn't carry them.:?
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 8:19 PM   #8
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I think the manufacturers try to use a battery that will be around for quite a while, so probably no problem with that. My nikon 950 uses 4 AA batteries. So I just buy 8 Nimh AA's and two chargers. So if I'm on holidays...and if I was forced to charge all 8...I just charge them all at the same time ...a set in each charger. If for some reason I needed alkaline AA's to snap maybe a few pictures on demand ... then at least I can just dig some up, or get them from any local convenience store...even while on a holiday trip somewhere.

But on the other hand. I now have a canon g6. I just do the same thing. I have 2 batteries and 2 chargers. Sure..it takes only an hour or so to charge these lithium ion batteries for the g6... but I have two chargers anyhow..so that I can just charge both batteries at the same time if necessary.
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 9:26 PM   #9
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I agree with JimC on the batteries. I still have 3 sets of NiMH and a charger after giving one charger and set to my daughter. I will never buy another camera that uses AA. They are too heavy and bulk up the camera. I also find the self-discharge to be a nuisance. I can buy an inexpensive aftermarket lithium and keep it almost fully charged for months in my bag – it is there when I need it.

I agree it is blind stupid to make a manual focus without a focus readout in the viewfinder or LCD. But the two really superior cameras in the long zoom category don't have the distance readout, and I wouldn't take an inferior camera to get the feature.

The FZ20 is the pick of the litter IMO if 5Mp is sufficient. At 12X zoom it is over an f-stop faster than the Z3 and is 5Mp. Super zooms don't tend to be super quick, but the FZ20 is reasonable. The focus assist lamp helps eliminate some of the need for the focus distance. The flash is one of the most powerful built in to any camera. I wish it had raw mode and the distance readout in manual focus, but it is very good otherwise.

The Nikon 8800 is even slower at full zoom in aperture – almost using up all of the advantage of stabilization. But it is 8Mp and quite competent. It does have some focus problems that the lack of a distance readout exacerbates.

If you like big prints the best 13 X 19 crop you can get from a 5Mp camera is around 135 PPI. If you have to crop any that goes down. 135 PPI makes a better print than some people would tell you, but you can get improvement by increasing that. I wouldn't go under 5Mp if you like large prints and more Mp is better if you plan to get a wide format printer.

After using my FZ10 for a year now I won't ever buy a long zoom camera without stabilization. Stabilization is great for available light at wider angles as well.

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Old Jan 5, 2005, 9:55 PM   #10
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I don't reckon that 4 AA batteries is all that much heavier than a lithium ion battery casing right? And the space taken by 4 AA batteries isn't too much different than a lithium ion pack too right?
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