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Old Jun 5, 2006, 4:55 PM   #1
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Hey all, I'm looking to buy a new camera, but I'm really worried about buying the wrong one. You see, I'm 15 so if I spend $200 on a camera and it's horrible, I'm not able to buy another one (I just don't have the cash)... so I was wondering, are there many cameras that are simply bad or can the clarity and such usually be corrected just be getting better at photography. (I'm probably going to take mainly landscape photos with the occasional close up of an animal or flower).
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Old Jun 5, 2006, 5:31 PM   #2
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By far the best camera I have seen for outstanding image quality is the Sony R1. This camera rivals the top end of the dSLR's for image quality.

The R1 is also an outstanding landscape camera, but maybe more than you want to spend.
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Old Jun 5, 2006, 5:49 PM   #3
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Unless I was looking up the wrong camera, that one seems to cost upwards of $800, quite out of my price range I'm afraid.
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 8:52 AM   #4
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That's the one all right. You really didn't say what your price limit was. I assumed the $200 you mentioned was just an example.

Most of the brand name cameras produce images of about the same image quality.

So, what to do. First, make a list of features you think you must have, then another list of feature you would like. Now start looking at the camera reviews on this site, and other sites and try and make a list of candidate cameras.

Once you have a short list of candidates, read the reviews carefully looking for information specific to you needs.

One suggestion: buy something cheap (used or refurbished) as a starter camera. Then use it a lot and learn about photography. As you use the camera you will like some things and hate other things about the camera. When you outgrow the camera and start to look for your next camera, you will then know what to look for in a new camera.

The digital camera market is changing daily and most cameras you buy today will be technologically obsolete in a few years. So don't expect any camera (except perhaps a dSLR) to last more than a few years. Most of the entry level point and shoots are disposable (as in not repairable) anyway.

Talk to your friends and see what they have, what they like and why.
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 10:21 AM   #5
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No matter what price range you choose someone always seems to want to nudge you up a little. But that was a little absurd even for this site.

There are different approaches to clarity. There are people who view images 100% where they have to scroll around the screen to see the whole image. They seem to do that so they can be scandalized by minor imperfections.

Then there are people who are happy if their photos look fine full screen and their 4 X 6 prints come out fine. Most cameras made by major manufacturers look fine with that criteria. What you give up are usually controls and features.

If $200 is your total budget you have to consider a memory card and a charger and NiMH batteries. Most entry level cameras come with alkaline AA batteries and you really limit your use of the camera if you stick with alkalines.

You get more features and controls for the buck if you drop to 4Mp. That is enough resolution for a good 8 X 10 print and more than enough for normal use. You absolutely don't want anything without an optical zoom – digital zoom is useless.

This is the camera I would recommend for you: http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-PowerShot_A520~S-P~OR-0
With 4Mp you can get by with a 256Mb memory card and Wal-Mart had a charger and four NiMH batteries for less than $20 at one time. You could just squeak by with your budget. The A520 is an excellent camera to learn on. The resolution is excellent and you have a full range of controls to advance with. Digital is a great way to learn because the photos are free.

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Old Jun 6, 2006, 1:53 PM   #6
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slipe wrote:
Quote:
No matter what price range you choose someone always seems to want to nudge you up a little. But that was a little absurd even for this site.

There are different approaches to clarity. There are people who view images 100% where they have to scroll around the screen to see the whole image. They seem to do that so they can be scandalized by minor imperfections.

Then there are people who are happy if their photos look fine full screen and their 4 X 6 prints come out fine. Most cameras made by major manufacturers look fine with that criteria. What you give up are usually controls and features.

If $200 is your total budget you have to consider a memory card and a charger and NiMH batteries. Most entry level cameras come with alkaline AA batteries and you really limit your use of the camera if you stick with alkalines.

You get more features and controls for the buck if you drop to 4Mp. That is enough resolution for a good 8 X 10 print and more than enough for normal use. You absolutely don't want anything without an optical zoom – digital zoom is useless.

This is the camera I would recommend for you: http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-PowerShot_A520~S-P~OR-0
With 4Mp you can get by with a 256Mb memory card and Wal-Mart had a charger and four NiMH batteries for less than $20 at one time. You could just squeak by with your budget. The A520 is an excellent camera to learn on. The resolution is excellent and you have a full range of controls to advance with. Digital is a great way to learn because the photos are free.
The above from beginning to end, is excellent advice. I however, never having owned a Canon, would recomend any of the CHEAP Olympus camera's, many at around $200. Simply make sure that the camera that you want has Optical zoom, as well as Digital zoom.

These are Point and shoot cameras, but one thing Olympus has, that is important for digitial photographu - Is excellent automatic White Balance. Even better than my 5K cameras.

I keep one of these P&S camera's with me at all times, and the one I use now I've had for four years without a glitch.

Dave
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 2:45 PM   #7
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I wanted to second DBB's comments.
First, what Slipe said is right.
Second, you absolutely have to consider what you want to use it for and make sure you get the optical zoom that fits your needs.

For landscapes you need a fairly wide angle lens. Make sure its 35mm equivalent rating has a number in the 20mm range. I have a 44mm lens for my DSLR (taking into account sensor crop, for those reading this who know what that means) and I found it just wasn't wide enough for fall tree pictures. I really needed something wider, so I moved to a 27mm lens (taking into account sensor crop) and that worked very well.

For example, the A520 that was suggested has a 35-140mm lens. That doesn't seem very wide to me, but you could always make up for that by stitching some images together to make a larger one. A solution that can work well or can fall over badly depending on the situation.

Another suggestion would be, if possible, to go to a store and look at some. Make sure you have a short list *before* you go so you don't waste your time. Don't listen to the clerk (you'll probably learn more yourself by asking questions here and reading reviews.) They will almost certainly try to upsell you. But check out as many on your list as possible and think about their feel. Are the buttons placed where you want? How does it fit in your hand? Do you find it easy to use? (yes, you'll overcome that with time, I know.) There are things you'll learn by physically having one for a few minutes that a review won't cover.

Another thing you don't mention is size. Do you want something that is very small? Something that you can carry around always? Must it fit in your pants pocket? Shirt Pocket? That matters, and you have to think about that when you get something. It doesn't matter if it has the perfect set of features if you don't bring it with you.

Eric
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 11:41 PM   #8
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I just helped a friend purchase the canon A620. It cost her $219 at good Costco.com and it is an oustanding camera.

This camera has the articulating led screen that you can move away from the body of camera making down low or overhead shots a breeze.

The image quality is excellent. It has 7.1 mp and includes manual as well as fully automatic functions. If you can save another $25 you will be very pleased with this one.

Here is a camera you can grow into and have around for years. I own the Canon 30D slr and will be puchasing the A620 as a second camera just because it is so vesatile.

Steve's review. http://www.steves-digicams.com/2005_reviews/a620.html
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 1:32 AM   #9
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For your stated use, of primarily landscapes, you want the most resolution you can get. For your price range, there are probably quite afew cameras that will fill the bill. I recently had a look at a Canon A540, which seemed quite a good all-round small cam.

How you plan to use your pictures is also as important as what you take pictures of. For viewing on computer monitors or for 4"x6" prints, you don't need as much resolution as you would for larger sized (8"x10") prints.

brian
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Old Jun 8, 2006, 6:09 PM   #10
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Wow, I was gone for a few days and got a huge number of replies, thank you all VERY much.

I evidently left a lot of confusion with my budget:P

So to be very clear, I can spend about $220 USD on the camera itself plus whatever it costs for the storage card and I already have 4 high performance NiMH batteries lying around, so thats no problem.

I am also mostly limited to what they sell (and have on sale) at my local electronics stores so I will keep a sharp eye for the models you mentioned although I will likely end up getting something similar (if I bought one online, I would get charged a large amount to ship it over the border to Canada and it's rarely worth it).

Thanks again for all the help, I'm going to go browse some stores within a few days and see what I can find (keeping you're suggestions in mind of course
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