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cranfordrd Jan 2, 2003 4:13 PM

First Camera- 3 choices- keep it simple or go for features?
We are buying our first digital camera, my 11 yr old says she wants to be "wildlife photographer" and she will use the camera also. We will take the normal family, vacation shots and I may play around with it for photgraphing the garden, fishtanks etc. I am thinking about the Oly D-550 but my husband says spend extra and go for the Oly C-4000. I fear the 4000 will be "too much" and we'll never need/use all the extras. Also considering the Fuji 3800 but hesitant since they are new (according the the guy in Best Buy) and use a new type of memory. Any thoughts? I am so confused, I've done the research but who knows what you really need until you start "playing". I know there is a wide spread in cost here but for the average user, would the $299 Oly be sufficient?

Gary Senkus Jan 2, 2003 4:26 PM

The Olympus C-2100UZ with its 10X optical zoom and image stabilizer would be the way to got. One of the most sought after cams as it is out of production, does much more. can be found as factory refurbs at about $450. This cam is very easy to use and just plain fun, but hard to find.

gibsonpd3620 Jan 2, 2003 6:14 PM


The new type of memory for the Fuji is the xd-picture card. I would not worry about the future of the memory card as Olympus and Fuji are making this their standard memory card in new cameras. I am with your husband buy the c4000. Even if you never use all the features it is an excellent camera. Check for pricing and vendor ratings. You should be able to buy it online for around $400.

cranfordrd Jan 2, 2003 9:36 PM

To confuse matters more we just returned form "shopping aorund", the 550 is nowhere to be found and after trying the 400 we decided we really wanted more zoom. So now we are wanting at least 3mp a nice zoom (6x at least) any ideas? We liek the Olympus line but would go with something else.

jbailey Jan 2, 2003 11:58 PM

Check the Olympus C730. It has 10X zoom (great for wildlife), 3MP and full manual or automatic controls. Great Lens.

BillDrew Jan 3, 2003 12:06 AM

Your 11 year old is going to be frustrated with any zoom length that comes on any digicam for "wildlife" photography. The longest any of them go to is something short of 400mm equiv which is not going to frame a chipmunk's face at 10 yards/meters. She is going to have to figure out how to get closer than she thinks to be able to get a good shot. Not many 11 year olds will sit still enough to do that.

And that does not address the issue of holding a long lens steady. The image stabilization in cameras like the Uzi give you a stop or two, but that is still asking much of an 11 year old's steadiness. If she is really interested, I'd suggest that she take up archery or shooting to learn how to hold steady. The steadiness issues are much the same for long lenses, archery, and rifles. You can find teachers for the last two of those, but not very easily for handling a long lens.

You also mentioned fish tanks. Lighting those is difficult, and can be done much more easily if you use an external flash well away from the camera. So if that is important to you, make sure the camera will support an external flash.

When you are looking at cameras, spend some time figuring out how using the LCD or EVF suits you. With a long zoom, those are your only choices without spending more than $3,000. I can't stand them, but some folks like them and they are getting better.

lg Jan 3, 2003 10:02 AM

The best long zoom camera that can still be found that is easy to use by all of the family is the C-2100. My 10 year old daughter, wife and two sons can all take sharp and clear images with it. And, like Gary said, it's FUN! Search on eBay for C2100 and also for C-2100 to find one. I bought a refurbished unit ( my second UZI) in November for $360.

checklg Jan 3, 2003 2:48 PM

if you're looking to do wildlife photos you should look at the Nikon CP4500. It works well with the Eagle Eye Optics 5 x zoom and very well at Digiscoping (see forum). But only either very well braced or on a tripod....

cranfordrd Jan 3, 2003 10:23 PM

Well, I decided to go for the the 3800 at Circuit City since I have 14 days to check it out and get a full refund. We played tonight and it is awesome, took pix of my daughters goldfish using macro and flash and actually got the ripple in the water and bubbles, beautiful! Tomorrow we go outside and look for the birds and squirrels, I have not yet actually hooked it up to the PC, I hope the pix on the PC will look as great as they do on the LCD! Thanks for all the help!

Gary Senkus Jan 3, 2003 10:38 PM


Originally Posted by BillDrew
Your 11 year old is going to be frustrated with any zoom length that comes on any digicam for "wildlife" photography.

This is not a petting zoo, taken in africa with Olympus 460Z, 1.3 meg 3X optical

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