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Old Aug 27, 2003, 7:27 PM   #1
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Default Need advice before purchasing

With the first grandchild due in December, Iím in the market for my first digital camera. I want to be able to take indoor shots as well as outdoors, and definitely portrait or close-up shots of the new baby. It will also be used for pictures when I vacation or am out and about at home in New Orleans, or visiting family elsewhere.

My first stop was Samsclub.com to see what I could buy there, since prices are a bit lower on most Iíve seen. If I order online and pay with AMEX, I also get an additional year's warranty.

I picked two. I also considered another that my daughter and son-in-law have ordered. I will reconsider that one (the Kodak LS443 with docking station) when I see how theirs works. The price was great for it, but didnít have a few of the bells and whistles I THINK I want.

I first checked out the HP850xi. Steveís review here was for the HP850 (donít know the difference between plain and xi versions) and sounded good. However the representative pictures didnít look too great compared to the HP935, and Iíd read about a lot of problems people had with it at the HP discussion forum here. It was within my budget at $402, but disappeared from Samsclub.com before I could make up my mind. It is 4MP with 8x optical zoom.

I also was enamored of the HP935xi for $429. It includes the docking station, an insert to make it stay stable on the docking station, the AC adaptor, and some other extras not included in Steveís review here for the HP935. It has 5.3 MP and 3x optical zoom. I was blown away by the sharpness and detail in the pictures in Steveís review. Pictures for the others I reviewed just didnít compare. I was put off by the lack of AV port on the camera itself (is only in the dock), the red-eye problem shown, and the lack of control on the viewfinder, as well as lack of a neck strap. I also wonder if I need more than 3x optical zoom, especially taking portrait style pictures of a baby. Thus, I havenít made my purchase yet and hope IT doesnít disappear from Samís Club site before I decide!

Everyone I ask says sacrifice megapixels for more optical zoom. But the representative pictures I see seem to say the opposite. I donít mind the large filesÖI plan to buy a large capacity storage card and have a computer that will handle them till I burn to CD. I just donít know which way to go and am having a hard time making a decision. Any input would really help. I want a camera that comes with the necessitiesÖdonít need to spend several hundred more on cables and such just to make the camera work with my computer. If anyone has another possibility for me to consider, in my price range of $500 or less, Iím open to more research.

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